I’ve written about one of my favorite hobbies – genealogy – in the past, but feel called to do it again. This time it’s to talk about the Genealogy Open Labs that the Genealogical Research Society of Eau Claire (GRSEC) and the public library have promoted for years. They began about 15 years ago when the GRSEC created a Computer Interest Group to help its members learn to better use their computers to “do” genealogy. This group fizzled out due to lack of interest and someone to take charge. Because I work here at the library, it seemed like a good idea to help the group out by meeting in the Microlab at the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library. Permission was granted and we’ve been coming here ever since. Six times a year (3 in the Spring and 3 in the Fall) interested researchers have gathered to work on their own family trees with the help of GRSEC members who give of their time. We often will open with a short presentation on a current topic ranging from favorite websites, a particular nationality, a virtual tour of some of our library’s databases, or simply how to get started in genealogy.
We saw a change in venue just this week! Due to the Microlab being converted into a Makerspace, the Open Labs have been moved to the Chippewa Room in the lower level of the library. In this cozy room, we had 5 people come to hear GRSEC member Deb introduce us to US Genweb and the Clark County History site. The library provided laptops and we were able to do everything we could do in the Microlab (now Makerspace), except print. This looks to be a good change for us! Our next Open Lab will be Thursday, November 17, from 10:15 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. At the beginning of the session someone from the Latter Day Saints Church will speak on Family Search, changes and new things being offered.
Have you hit a dead end in your genealogy research? Come check us out for help!