Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content Expo in Colorado Springs highlights ways to dig into family history

by Jesse Byrnes jesse.byrnes@gazette.com - Updated: July 30, 2013 at 2:06 pm

Colonial ancestors, long-lost cousins and present-day awkward uncles can be found using a few key tools and resources that family history researchers hope to promote in Colorado Springs.

Workshops, activities, displays, educational tools and software aimed at furthering interest in family history and genealogy will be debuted at an expo by Celebrating Family History on Aug. 2-3 at Hotel Elegante off South Circle Drive.

Celebrating Family History, a new sister company to Utah-based Family History Expos, aims to help people assist others and conduct their own family history research.

"We have seen people that get into family history and learn about themselves and why they are the way they are," said Holly Hansen, founder and president of both companies.

Hansen has used the software to look up her own ancestors from Scotland. "It's exciting. It helps you appreciate more who you are."

The expo includes more than 40 speeches and workshops on a wide range of genealogical topics, from how to utilize Google, newspapers, books and directories for family history research, to workshops on Scandinavian and Swedish naming conventions and heritage. Other topics include how to take pictures on cell phones and cheap ways to conduct research.

In addition to the company's product line, there will be a book vendor with 400 titles and an Ask the Pros area where genealogists and registered attendees can sit down during or between classes to learn more about their own family history.

"The main rule is to look at the entire story. Don't just start looking for parents names," said James Tanner, the expo's keynote speaker, who has more than 30 years of genealogical research experience.

It's not just birth records that are important, Tanner said, but insurance documents, housing details, car records and other artifacts. "The idea of genealogy is to use that cloud of records that follows everyone to explain how your family grew and developed."

It's also key to find all your relatives, not just the ones you like, Tanner said. Much of the time people just want to know what tools are available and what sources are needed to find a family member.

"There are millions of people in the United states that have their family trees online," he said. That makes it a lot easier for people to contact each other and find out who their relatives are, he added, but if all fails: "Don't give up. There are always more records."

This year marks the fifth time the expo has come to Colorado, the first three times in Loveland and last year in Colorado Springs.

"You don't have to be an expert to come to these classes and participate in them," said Hansen, adding that organizers are excited to help everyone from beginners to experts.

For a complete list of topics and lecturers visit www.FamilyHistoryExpos.com.

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Connect on Twitter: @jessebyrnes

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