October is Family History Month, and what better time to celebrate your family’s heritage!

Tracing the heritage of your family can produce so many insights into the struggles and the accomplishments of one’s ancestors – the story of why your family came to live in a certain place, how family members learned a trade, what religious, fraternal or civic organizations your ancestors belonged to, what sort of awards and recognitions your ancestors received, who might be your distant cousins. With the ever-increasing amount of information available in print and online, researching the lives of your predecessors has never been easier – and more complicated at the same time! So, where to begin?

The best way to begin a family history project is to start in the present and work backwards in time – from the known to the unknown. Gather up any family documents, talk to older relatives, and peruse family photographs. Look for birth, marriage, and death information on your family members, as these are the “building blocks” of a family tree. As you work your way backwards in time, also take note of family friends, neighbors and associates. Knowing about them can sometimes provide clues to your own family’s stories.

But what do you do when you finally hit that “brick wall” in your research? What steps can you take to discover more about your ancestors’ lives? To help you with your research and in honor of Family History Month, the Local History and Genealogy department is offering a variety of programs in October to enhance your family heritage sleuthing.

The month begins with a program titled, “Did He Say Regiment, Squadron, Battalion, Destroyer or Attack Transport?” presented by Bill Stolz on Thursday, October 2nd at 7:00 p.m. in Meeting Room 3 of the Covington branch. Bill will discuss tips and research strategies for navigating military-related print and online resources.

Learning how to recognize and decode clues in old family photographs will be discussed by Cierra Earl in her program, “Family Photograph Investigation”, which will be presented on Tuesday, October 7th at 6:30 p.m. in Meeting Room 2 of the Covington branch.

Looking to spend some time with your fellow genealogists? Interested in some late-night research? Then join us for our “Evening with the Ancestors” lock-in on Saturday, October 11th from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. at the Covington branch. Research is required for this event and limited to 40. Refreshments will be served.

pinterestAre you a Pinterest user? Would you like to see the many ways you can use Pinterest to organize and share your family history? Join us on Tuesday, October 14th at 6:30 p.m. in Meeting Room 2 of the Covington branch for Elaine Kuhn’s program, “Create a Visual Family History with Pinterest” to see how easy it is to organize and share the many images associated with the history of your family.

Do you have German ancestors? You will not want to miss German genealogy expert Kenny Burck explain the processes for “Locating Your German Family’s Village of Origin.” His program will take place on Thursday, October 23rd at 7 p.m. in Meeting Room 1 of the Covington branch.

As part of the Library’s “Zombie Outbreak!” program, don’t miss Cierra Earl’s presentation on using electronic tools for locating your long-lost family members. “Bringing Up the Dead: Finding the Deceased in Online Resources” will be offered on Saturday, October 25th at 3 p.m. in Conference Room 2 of the Covington branch.

Please join us and other interested researchers at our Congenealogy program on Monday, October 27th at 6:30 p.m. in Meeting Room 3 of the Covington branch. This monthly gathering offers opportunities to learn about the latest in resources, events, and genealogical discoveries. This month’s speaker will be Lois Hamill, University Archivist with Northern Kentucky University, who will talk about ways to care for family collections.

We will also be offering programs at the other two KCPL branches in October. Elaine Kuhn will be at the Erlanger branch on Monday, October 20th at 6:30 pm to discuss “Getting the Most from Online Genealogy Research”; Bill Stolz will be at the Durr branch on Tuesday, October 21st at 6:30 to discuss the same topic. Join us to discover some of the latest and most useful databases, web sites, and searching tips.

Family History Month is a great time to celebrate your family’s heritage. And with the holiday season upon us, now is also a perfect time to begin gathering information to share with your loved ones, to prepare questions to ask your older relatives, and to encourage other family members to join you on the research trail. Happy ancestor hunting!

This blog was written by Elaine M. Kuhn Local History & Genealogy Services Coordinator.

The Local History and Genealogy Department of the Kenton County Public Library is located on the top floor of the Covington branch at 502 Scott Blvd. For more information please, contact the department by phone at (859) 962-4070 or by email at history@kentonlibrary.org .

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