The genealogical society moves to the museum

By CHRISTINE STEPHENSON
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JASPER – The Dubois County Genealogical Society will be holding an open house this weekend to officially welcome the public to its new location at the Dubois County Museum.

The open days will take place on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the genealogical room of the museum. The organization plans to hold a grand opening at a later date, said Tom Kellams, who heads the company – but this weekend will be an opportunity for anyone curious about genealogy, whether from a specific family or the county in general.

“It will be fair to the people who want to stop and see what we’re doing,” Kellams said. “And if they want to contribute their genealogical information, we’ll have people there who can help them get on the right track.”

Although the genealogical society has been in existence since 1992, it operated out of houses until it moved to a permanent location at the museum in May.

The organization already has more than half a million names registered in its database, Kellams said. And volunteers are available to help enter information and use more comprehensive ancestry computer programs than most ancestry or DNA programs people typically use at home. The site also contains hundreds of books on the history of Dubois County – from high school directories to church directories, marriage licenses and obituaries, family trees and personal artifacts of residents dating back to the 1800s.

“We’re in a pretty good position to get just about everything everyone wants to know,” he said.

The organization already has a number of people with their family genealogies, Kellams said, but there is always room for more. Most of the members are older, but this is not unusual. Some say their kids aren’t interested in genealogy and want to donate their books and materials to the organization before they get thrown out.

But the interest in family history is still present among young audiences, Kellams said. Children always inevitably ask their parents questions about their family, and as they grow older they often decide that they want to get involved in genealogy themselves. The desire to know more about your family, and therefore yourself, is pretty universal, he said.

“(The company) is going to be an ideal thing, I think, here in the county,” he said.

From next week, the genealogy room will be open at the same times as the museum. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.


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