Family History class at Library

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Dixon: ‘It’s about finding the stories’

A new class hitting the Cassville Branch Library in February will help patrons learn how to learn their family history.

Debra Dixon, the instructor for the Family History class at the Cassville Branch Library, said the classes will be held every Thursday at 11 a.m. in February, and the classes will last anywhere from an hour to an hour-and-a-half depending on the need.

“I am trying to do two things,” she said. “First, I want to help people who are working on their family history and are stuck, and second, I want to help people get interested in their family history even if they have never even started gathering information.”

With the information age upon us, it is important to understand all the places people can look at for information.

“Family history is huge,” Dixon said. “It isn’t about finding a name and a date, it’s about finding the stories.”

During the first class, Dixon will hand out cards for people to fill out.

“They can put a name, place or time period that they are more interested in finding out about,” she said. “I will be testing the waters to see how much the patrons want to know.”

The stories of a person’s ancestors are sometimes not what they think they are.

“I want people to find out why they settled where they did and how,” Dixon said. “I want to help people flush out those old stories and really understand their ancestors more.”

Dixon said she began looking at her own family history in her teens.

“I retired and moved here from southern California two years ago,” she said. “This was something I started with my church, and I went to the library to use their computers. They suggested that I open it to the public and use the library as a meeting place.”

Dixon said the Cassville Branch Library has a wonderful genealogy department and set-up to offer this class.

“If you don’t know a lot about your family history, this will be interesting,” she said. “Each class will have an assignment, so there will be a bit of homework so that we can come back ready to move onto the next step.”

Every family history is different, and Dixon aims to customize the class to the needs in the class.

“No two families are the same,” she said. “I think learning about your family history helps to give you a sense of identity and an appreciation for who you are.”

People end up where they are due to the sacrifices made by the people before them, Dixon said.

“Family histories and stories gives you a sense of belonging to the people before you,” she said. “History comes to life when it is your family that lived it.”

The Family History classes are free, and for more information or to sign up, people may call the Cassville Branch Library at 417-847-2121.

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