Linda Sellers isn’t just interested in her own genealogy; she also enjoys helping others connect with their ancestors.
“I love to see the happiness in others when they find a lost relative or learn new stories about their family,” said the assistant director of the Dayton East Family History Center, 3060 Terry Drive in Fairborn.
Owned and operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the center is free and open to anyone who wants to do family history research.
“In the church, there are no paid positions in local congregations. … All are nonpaid volunteers,” said the Beavercreek resident, noting that Ausra Penkal is the director and Anisa Guy volunteers as the other assistant director.
“Three years ago, I was asked if I would put my family history knowledge and expertise to good use as a volunteer. … About a year ago, they asked if I would serve as an assistant director.”
The center is open from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. on Thursdays, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Fridays and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturdays. It is staffed by history consultants, providing assistance for all levels of genealogists, from beginners to advanced.
“Whether you need help getting started or locating that long lost death certificate, help is available. The center also offers free access to many of the most current Internet tools, like Ancestry.com, so patrons can learn about the tools and get help on how to use them to their advantage,” she said.
The center also offers access to microfilmed records from around the world, free classes and workshops for all levels at no charge.
“Information about your ancestors has never been more easily accessible than it is today. Many patrons who come in asking for help getting started are amazed at how fast they can gain access to information about their families,” Sellers said, noting that the center has the equipment to help put their information, photos and stories into Familysearch.org, a free, permanent, secure cloud storage website that interfaces with other online genealogy sources.
“In the past, many saw genealogy as (a project of interest) for the retired … but technology has changed all that. We are seeing many more young people, including teenagers, getting excited as they learn how they can connect with their past,” she said. “Everyone can gain great strength from learning about their ancestors.”
“Studies have shown that children are much more resilient in stressful situations if they know significant information about their extended family. They are much more able to cope with difficulties if they have grown up hearing about how their parents, grandparents and great grandparents overcame things in their own lives,” said the mother of four.
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