County’s interest in genealogy grows

Published 11:07 pm Friday, August 9, 2013

The Manning family rejoices over finding the ship their uncle fought on in WWII.  MONA MOORE | DAILY NEWS

The Manning family rejoices over finding the ship their uncle fought on in WWII.

Janet Yonally knows the thrill of finding some distant relative’s name on a century-old census.
“It is like you’re on a hunt,” she said. “And if you unearth family history, it’s cool.”
As director of Family History and Genealogical Center of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, she assists in hunts and cool finds several times a week.
“More and more people seem to be getting interested in it,” Yonally said.
The center has kept up with the pace of interest, adding extra hours to the schedule and even an extra day. The church now offers three opportunities a week to dig into family history.
The center opens its doors Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and is open Sundays after its 9 a.m. service. The center is also available by appointment.
Branch President Bob Deaver said the church will do whatever is needed to keep up with the demand.
“I think it’s a marvelous addition to what we do here – in addition to helping lead people to Christ,” he said. “It’s very convenient for them, doesn’t cost them anything and we have access to the largest collection of genealogical research in the world.”
Yonally said a lot of genealogical research could be done online, but the center offers free access to sites that would charge up to $300 a year to use.
The most recent addition has been a printer with an attached scanner to let researchers scan in and upload photographs and documents to the research database.
The center has at least two volunteers on duty who will actually conduct the Internet searches for those unfamiliar with the process.
Yonally said the first step is always the hardest for people.
“We tell people who are just starting out to write down any information they know about parents, grandparents, birthdates, birthplaces, marriage dates, marriage places and if they died, where,” she said.
She recommended interviewing family elders and reading family Bibles, which often include family trees.
Once armed with the information, decide what else you want to know about your ancestors and research what has already been done. Sometimes, distant relatives have started the family’s genealogical research.
Yonally said if the family has resided in the county for at least 100 years, chances are, the research has already been started.The center has several publications on prominent Beaufort County families.
The final step is to evaluate the research and share it with others.