Church to host fair to help people with family research

HISTORY: Genealogy event this weekend to include instructional classes, with no registration required

Special to the HeraldNovember 20, 2013 

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints will host a genealogy fair from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

The church, located at 13420 94th Ave. E. in Puyallup, is offering the free service because members hope to help the public research their own family history.

“We want people to know that they can come to our facility,” said Janice Martin, a spokesperson for the center.

Martin said the church is the leading genealogical organization in the world.

“We have ancestry.com that you would have to pay for, but you can come to the facility and use it for free,” she said. “We pay for it.”

The genealogy fair will consist of 45-minute classes with no registration required. In addition, staff members will be available in the church’s cultural hall for one-on-one consultation.

Cyndi Ingle, a website creator and presenter, will be the keynote speaker from 2 to 3 p.m. Ingle’s website, Cyndi’s List, launched in 1996.

Family history coordinator Mitch Noll said Ingle has been featured on national news.

“I thought that putting on a family history fair would let the community know that there is a family history center right in Puyallup for them to use,” Noll said. “We are very excited about this event because families are very important to our church.”

The event is expected to draw between 400 and 500 people.

Class topics will include genealogy for beginners, how to use the U.S. Census, how to contact relatives for genealogy information, how to understand family history documents, writing a personal family history and using online resources.

Noll said researching his family history has given him a stronger connection to his past.

“I find myself being more interested in geography,” he said. “History is a big part of this, and I’m learning about my Civil War ancestors.”

Noll said the church’s family history center is open to the public for free from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and from 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays.

“Basically, we want people to know that this resource is there, and you don’t have to be a member of the church to use it,” Noll said. “We have a lot of trained people on site during those hours to help people navigate the system.”

Joan Cronk is a freelance reporter for the Herald.

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