Genealogy is one of the fastest growing hobbies in the world today and for good reason– people want to know where they come from.
“It received a great boost when Alex Haley wrote Roots back in 1977,” Family History Center volunteer Susie Putnam said. “People want to find out where they came from, and in doing so, they realize the sacrifices made by those who went before them. Their ancestors become real people, not just a name.”
Lake Stevens offers a place where folks can go to learn their family history and find answers to questions they may have in searching their ancestry.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints offers
a Family History Center at their Lake Stevens chapel near Target at 10120
Chapel Hill Road.
“It’s a fascinating hobby, you learn a lot about your family,” Family History Center volunteer Dave Putnam said.
For some, the thrill is in the hunt. Digging through information to find that missing link can be very rewarding.
“In the searching to find that missing ‘person’ it takes a lot of research, digging, thinking, writing, and it is like playing detective, and solving the mystery. It is very rewarding when the puzzle is solved,” Susie said. “In addition, in researching your family history you often find relatives still living that you did not know you had, and it is great to visit with them, (via email, phone, or in person) and share the family stories.”
The Family History Center is open to anyone and everyone. Volunteers service the center everyday but Sunday. The center offers several computers, microfiche and microfilm in which folks can use to find names, birthdates and other information regarding their families.
“We really like to get right down and personal. We ask what do they know about their parents, grandparents, etc., as far back as they know anything,” volunteer Nancy Kildahl of Sultan explains. “Then we teach them about working online with different programs like Ancestery.com and how to choose a program to work with like Personal Ancestry File. We teach them about using U.S. Census Records for those of their family that lived in the U.S.”
There is so much out there for people as far as free information, the staff at the Family History Center can help guide people where to go.
“We show them many free sites on the Internet and help them learn how to use them. Also we have available to use a rental program through the Salt Lake Family History Center where they can rent films (for a fee) to help with research on items that may not be available on the net or through the local Sno-Isle Library system,” Kildahl said. “We have many resources available and are constantly updating our staff on their uses. We do not charge dues or fees for the use of our service, just a small fee for copy machine or for film rental.”
Families are reunited with loved ones who have gone before them through the many resources available at the Center.
“I believe many people are drawn to it in fulfillment of the prophecy found in the Bible,” Susie explains. “In Malachi it speaks of the latter days when the hearts of the children will turn to their fathers. We certainly see the hearts of many people all around the world who are seeking out and wanting to know who are their fathers, (and mothers) who came before them. It is a very rewarding hobby.”
Every family has a story and as people research their family histories, they are creating more stories to add to their family legacy.
“There are many beautiful stories of families finding long lost cemeteries and gravestones,” Kildahl said.
She tells a story of one of those families.
”The one I like the best is of the family that were on vacation and the wife suddenly turned to the husband and said, ‘turn here’. He said, ‘this is just a dirt cow trail, why do you want to turn here?’ The wife answered, ‘I don’t know, just do it.’ They followed the trail to the end and the wife got out of the car. She walked up a slight incline and tripped over a bit of cement. Her husband helped her up and said, ‘what is the name of your grandfather?’ She answered, and then looked at the stone...it was the headstone of the grave of her grandfather who had died 70 years before, and he had been buried on the local small graveyard, which was now used for a dairy farm.”
For hours of operation or to contact the Family History Center call 425-334-0754.