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Who and where you came from

March 3, 2011 - Diane Speer
I grew up in a small Pennsylvania town that got its name from Gen. "Mad" Anthony Wayne of Revolutionary War fame. Family lore has it that I'm descended from one of two survivors of what came to be known as the Corbly Massacre when in 1782, in my hometown of Waynesburg, Indians scalped and killed a white family on its way to church. Tracing my family's roots to see if that's really true is one of those things on my to-do list of the future (a.k.a. what I will do when I retire).

I'm reminded of that interest in ancestors everytime I pop into the Alpena Family History Center to do a story related to genealogy. The center's director, RoseMarie Guthrie, contacted me recently about a new project there that involves making records much more available online. The volunteer staff there also is knowledgeable and always willing to help visitors in their quest to find genealogy information. According to RoseMarie, it is rare that someone stops in looking for information on a particular person and doesn't leave having found at least something related to their search.

Not only does the center contain many helpful Alpena and Michigan-based records that are being reorganized, but access to records held at other Family History Centers around the world (there are over 4,000 such centers!) also is expected to begin with the launch this spring of This free online family history site is being put up by the LDS Church based in Salt Lake City. The LDS Church sponsors the Alpena's Family History Center as well as all of the other centers.

RoseMarie said doing family history research should become easier and easier as more and more records are put up online. That makes me figure, by the time I do actually get around to tracing my roots, it should be a snap. In the meantime, however, I encourage others interested in their past ancestors to stop by the center on Tuesdays or Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and find out who and where they came from.


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