Workshop helps research family history

By Luis Lopez, Advocate Staff

For those interested in uncovering the lineage of their family roots, Contra Costa College will be providing hands on help and guidance with genealogy research Saturday and March 23 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Library and Learning Resource Center.

The Genealogy for Beginner’s workshop will be hosted by retired CCC librarian Ellen Geringer and is free for students, $15 for the general public and $5 for current Friends of the Library.

“I found genealogy both appealed to me and made use of my reference librarian experience in how to locate additional sources of information online, how to structure a search and the need to document what is found,” she said.

Geringer has more than 25 years of experience with genealogy research and is an avid hobbyist.

She will provide tips, demonstrate how to use genealogy websites and also show how to document and keep track of what guests find.

Many people have the desire to know where their ancestors come from, however, a project of that magnitude can seem like a difficult thing to get started on.

The workshop is aimed at making genealogy research simple and more accessible to the general public and the only necessary information to get started are details about immediate family.

Geringer said attendees of the event can expect to start their genealogy research at the workshop.

During the event, attendees will be able to learn how to start their own family trees while also receiving advice on pitfalls to avoid.

Fourth semester accounting major Leslie Ventura said genealogy research could be an interesting thing to do.

“I think this is something that is nice for the college to do. I could see myself beginning genealogy research on (my family) in my spare time,” she said.

Ventura especially thinks the service can be helpful for older people.

“(It could help) older people who might not know how to use the computer to begin a search. I feel that would be helpful for them.”

However, the event is significant for anyone that wants to know about their roots.

Student Abigail Plascencia, who has yet to decide a major, said the workshop is helpful for many first-generation Americans.

“I think this is really helpful. Because I know some of us are the first generation of our families in America. So, it’s hard to know where you came from sometimes because all your family is in another country,” she said.

She also believes the college could do a better job of promoting the event.

“This is the first time I’m hearing about this and I think they should make this more known. This is something that I’d definitely like to come to. I have friends who would like to as well,” Plascencia said.

Over time, Geringer has helped more than 10 friends discover their roots since she was introduced to genealogy research by a sister-in-law a few years before she retired in 2014.

After finding information about her dad’s family, she was hooked and disappeared into genealogy research for long research sessions.

She said the workshop is a good way to help others get their searches started and raise funds for the Friends of the Library program, which provides funds to the college Library.