CADILLAC — Experienced genealogy volunteers with the Wexford Genealogy Organization are offering two free workshops on Saturday, Sept. 14 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The WGO is located at 601 Chestnut St. behind the Cadillac Senior Center in Suite B.
The 10:15 a.m. workshop is titled “Using Ancestry.com and the U.S. Census for Research.‘ Alison Walters and Richard Tubis will provide their expertise.
Ray Vasser, the Missaukee director of public works and a cemetery specialist, will conduct the 1 p.m. workshop titled, “What Can I Learn from a Cemetery Visit?‘
The open house includes a free lunch at noon and a tour of the genealogy library.
The nonprofit offers three rooms packed with resources, including four computers loaded with search programs like Ancestry.com world edition, newspapers and Find A Grave. They also have a library filled with local records.
Best of all, they have experienced researchers willing to help with personal genealogy quests that help solve family mysteries.
Meet two genealogy pros
Two retirees with years of research experience volunteer at the Wexford Genealogy Organization, open to the public every Thursday from noon to 3 p.m.
Both retirees became involved in genealogy years ago to solve family mysteries.
Richard Tubis is a retired military computer programmer and data analyst.
“They needed a computer nerd here,‘ he said. “I love computer stuff.‘
Tubis was adopted as an infant and dove into genealogy research to find information about his birth mother. He has spent years unraveling his family history.
“It was a mystery I kept going back to,‘ he said. “It took years to find out ... to get birth certificates, to find adoption records and to find the obituary of my mother. I learned I had a half-brother and he ended up not wanting anything to do with me.‘
But the research did bring peace of mind.
“I’m convinced my mother did what she thought was best for both of us,‘ he said. “She gave me life and birth and I thank her for that.‘
Alison Walters, a retired teacher and librarian, became involved in research to uncover unsolved family mysteries as well.
“I started doing research 30 years ago before computers,‘ Walters said. “I searched through microfiche, hard copies, went to court houses and libraries ... one of the first things I learned is that people lied, maybe they couldn’t spell, there are a myriad of reasons for not reporting things correctly and sometimes mistakes were made.‘
Walters is familiar with the “dead ends‘ that can stop people in their research. And she knows how to get around some of those blockades.
“We love the hunt,‘ Walters said. “We try to solve the problems that people come in with. It can be surprising what people find out.‘
“I can come at things faster and from a different direction,‘ Tubis said. “The biggest problem is reaching across the ocean for these records. Europe was pummeled in World War II and a lot of records were destroyed. None of us here are genealogists, but we’ve learned by doing. We have years of experience and the public might as well take advantage of us.‘
Organizer Judy Liptak wants the public to know that people can use their resources on Thursday afternoons. There is no charge, just a donation bucket. And a free membership will be given away during the open house.
“People don’t know how much information is out there or how to get it,‘ Liptak said.
“We get weekly updates telling us how many thousands of records have been added to different entities online from all over the world,‘ added Walters. “There are not just from churches, but from universities and governments.‘