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Genealogy Club will celebrate 20 years

Update: This event has been cancelled due to weather. The Genealogy Club will have their next regular meeting on Wednesday Jan. 15 at 10 a.m. at the library. 

The Pearl River County Genealogy Club will celebrate 20 years of helping residents learn about their heritage on Jan. 11 from 10 a.m. to noon in Holland Hall at the Margaret Reed Crosby Memorial Library.

The club began on Jan. 19, 2000 and encourages locals to dig into their family history, said club President Mike Fitzwilliam. The club holds an annual genealogy event in May where members assist people in researching their ancestry. The group especially tries to help people who are new to genealogical research and don’t know where to start and those who are unable to afford computers or genealogy research service subscriptions, Fitzwilliam said.

The anniversary celebration is open to the public and will feature a special presentation about the U.S. Census Bureau from genealogist and head of the St. Tammany Parish Genealogical Society, Marguerite Scully, Fitzwilliam said. The presentation will be hosted in conjunction with the Hilda Hoffman Memorial Archive.

One of the first places people begin researching their family history is often ancestry.com, which relies heavily on census information, Fitzwilliam said. The website is easy to navigate and can quickly supply people with information, but Scully’s presentation will focus on some of the hazards of relying too heavily on census information. She will also discuss how to use census data to enhance a family tree.

Scully is a skilled researcher and helped mentor Fitzwilliam in genealogical research, he said.

The club meets regularly in the History Room of the library at 10 a.m. on the third Wednesday of the month, except during the months of June, July and December when meetings are not held. Anyone interested in joining the club can learn more at the next meeting set for Jan. 11.