Genealogy is something every person on the planet has in common. This study of families, family history and the tracing of lineage can bring together thousands of people with the singular goal of learning the truth.
Some people do it for health reasons, others due to adoption and wanting to find their biological relatives and for some, it’s just out of curiosity. Enthusiasts use historical records, genetic analysis and other records to obtain information about their family.
For locals that are interested, there is a genealogy group that’s been in existence for about a year and a half, meeting at 1 p.m. on the third Friday of every month at the Idyllwild Library. Everyone is welcome — beginner or expert.
Idyllwild Library Branch Manager Shannon Ng is the group’s founder.
“I lost my mother a year and a half ago, and she left me mass quantities of family history,” said Ng. “I thought if I started a group here, it would keep me moving on all of our genealogy. My goal was not to lose everything that my mother put into it.”
Each month there is a theme. This month, the group is working on timelines — taking a relative’s personal information like birthday and where they lived, then adding historical events during those timeframes to get a better idea of their history and personal lives.
“In the past, we’ve done introductions to family tree maker and an introduction to Ancestry.com,” Ng said. “For Halloween, we told ghost stories because every family always has ghost stories.”
While these themes create the baseline for meetings, usually discussions about what each member is working on arise and everyone encourages each other to find different tactics when the path might not be leading them in the right direction.
The group is a place for everyone. With a laid back atmosphere and everyone willing to help one another, the whole point is to keep everyone moving forward with their personal journey.
While there are free resources available at the library like Ancestory.com, others bring more tangible resources like books and records on paper. Regardless of how the research is done, it all leads to the same goal of tracing a family history.