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Connecting the dots

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Left, Lynn Coons seeks help from FCPL Genealogy Coordinator Jill Garrison. Coons was looking to find the real cause of death of a family member after obtaining a confusing death certificate.
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GUIDING LIGHT:Frankfort resident Cindy Wineburgh uses the microfilm during the genealogy workshop. Wineburge was looking up an obituary from 1908.

By Katharine Calabro - kcalabro@ftimes.com

The Frankfort Community Public Library is helping locals fill out their family trees by providing them with space and resources.

On Friday, members of the community gathered after hours from 5-9 p.m. in the lower level of the library for the quarterly genealogy workshop.

According to FCPL Genealogy Coordinator Jill Garrison, the library has been holding genealogy lock-ins and workshops since 2014.

“That was when ancestry was newer and a lot of people couldn’t afford their own subscriptions,” she said. “We have a free library edition, so people can learn how to use our subscription.”

Members searching to fill out their family trees can use the library edition on any of their devices as long as they are connected to library’s Wi-Fi. Garrison said having the event after library hours allows for locals to spread out and take full advantage of resources available.

“They can ask questions, and they don’t have to be quiet,” she said. “You can get the networking going on and talk to other people who have maybe researched what you’re interested in.”

Not only is Garrison available to help during this time, but locals are able to look through microfilm, books and even court files. The library offers information on criminal, civil and guardian cases from as early as 1828.

Though all court cases are local, the library does offer information that is out of state or not in Clinton County. Garrison said regardless, the library is a good place to start when researching family history.

“We have people email from out of state all time time,” she said. “But this is a good place to do local research. If you’re doing stuff that’s not local then you’re going to be using ancestry or heritage quest which are on our computers or the books we have.”

For Frankfort resident Lynn Coons, doing research on her own has been easy, since it’s something she personally loves doing. However, the workshop gives her the opportunity to fill in the missing pieces.

Coons said she’s using the library’s resources to figure out what really happened with a death of a family member. She said that using the microfilm to look up a news article, could be just what she needs.

“I actually have been pretty fortunate on my own but I like history so I don’t mind digging,” Coons said. “I found a copy of the death certificate, but I wanted to see if I could find a news article and see if I could figure out what really happened.”

While Garrison has her hands full with plenty of other projects, she said genealogy is by far her favorite thing to work on. She said the idea behind the workshop was to help people get past their brick walls.

“I enjoy helping people figure out what the next step is in the research they need to do,” Garrison said.

Because the event isn’t directed with a set schedule, Garrison said it’s all about what people make of it. With resources and a set time made available, she said FCPL is all about providing people with what they need to continue their family tree journey.

“You can ask the genealogy staff where else to look or what kinds of records are available,” Garrison said. “A lot of people like it because they have a hard time scheduling time to do it. We provide that quiet and uncluttered place.”

Garrison said the workshop will continue throughout next year, but will not take place in December or January due to weather. However, those looking to spend more time on their family trees and need assistance are more than welcome to call the library and set up appointments.