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L.A. Beat

Galt workshops are about hands on learning begining with family history research

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For people who like their history a little more hands on rather than from dusty old text books, The Galt Museum is beginning a special series of monthly workshops, Jan. 19.Monta Salmon indicates some of the research material available at the Lethbridge Family History Centre. Photo by Richard Amery
“It’s a new series called Galt Workshops. And the idea is to take topics from Southern Alberta and bring them alive in a hands on way,” said Leslie Hall, Galt Museum community programs co-ordinator, adding the Jan. 19 workshop  features guest speaker Monta Salmon who will be teaching participants how to research their family history.

“She’ll teach you how to get started if you are thinking about it. It’s not that scary. So she’ll teach you the basics,” Hall continued.
“It’s a great, informal way  to start learning about it,” she continued. The two hour seminar takes place 7-9 p.m and admission is free.
 Hall is planning on having these workshops once a month.
The next one will be a beading basics workshop on Feb. 10. The one following that will be on how to create  patchwork quilt.

“It is inspired by  a historical piece of art in our exhibit,” Hall said adding the Café Galt presentations are kind of similar, but  the workshops are more hands on.

“The Café Galt  lecture series have gone really well, but I think these workshops will be a really nice addition to them,” she continued adding the workshops are designed for people, like her, who prefer to learn in a more hand-on way.
“It’s something I  am personally really interested in,” she said.

She said adding the idea came about while talking to a co-worker about programs they would like to see for adults.
“So it’s always been in the back of my mind,” she said.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to  partake in a program that is more hands on and we have some wonderful guest speakers,” she continued.
“Whenever I design a program, I design something that I would want to attend. So we’re definitely going to have some fun with it.”
Monta Salmon, who works out of the LDS Family History Centre at 1912-10 Ave South, is looking forward to sharing her knowledge about researching family histories.

“It’s just always been an interest of mine,” said Salmon, who first became interested in genealogy when she was 12, partially because the family history is an important part of the  LDS church.
“Family history is one of the  fastest growing hobbies. So there are a lot of people interested in it,” Salmon said adding  an important first step towards learning  your family history is to talk to surviving grandparents and great grandparents if possible.
“I was lucky. I knew my grand-parents and three of my great-grandparents. A lot of people forget to talk to their families until it’s too late,” she continued.

“Everyone wants to know who they are and where they came from,” she said adding the Jan. 19 workshop will be an excellent opportunity for people who want to get into genealogy, but have no idea where to start. A  simple strategy  to get started, which Salmon will expand on in her presentation, is to put an empty box somewhere where it will be in the way.
“Then search high and low in your house for anything important  to your family history, like letters, passports and journals and put them in the box,” she said that is followed by filling out a form listing your names, your spouse’s name, parents and grandparents’ names, their date and place of birth, researching the branch of the family tree you want to explore, and then doing it all over again.

Salmon said the Family Research Centre is available for anybody to use for free other than a minimal photocopying fee and minimal fees to get information sent from Salt Lake City. They offer 12,000 films from all over the world, all of the data from Canadian Census dating back to the 1840’s, microfiche, a couple computer rooms, maps, an extensive library and records of marriages and birth dating back to the turn of the century, a lot of English and Scottish records as well as an extensive collection of Ontario records, possibly the largest  collection in Southern Alberta, maybe western Canada according to Salmon. And you never know what you will find out.

“My father was born in Alberta but moved back to Ontario during the war. A lot of people made sacrifices,” she continued adding it is  important to recognized these sacrifices ancestors made.
“It’s not just a collection of places and dates. That’s just the skeleton of your family tree, it’s filling in the story that’s the fun part. Not just John and Marry got married. But what sacrifices did they have to make to get married. If you research  and find Mary didn’t have  a child for six years, then you look further and see the husband may have gone to war,” Salmon observed adding it is not only interesting , but important to learn about the time period you are exploring to paint a backdrop and give rationale for the circumstances of ancestors’ actions.

The centre is open 9-5 p.m. on Mondays, 9 a.m-9 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays and Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. It is open to anybody, not just LDS members.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
A version of this article also appears in the Jan. 19 edition of the Lethbridge Sun Times
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