Genealogy Weekend at History Center

Tim Camerato February 24, 2012

People interested in beginning to research their family tree can find out how during Genealogy Weekend at the Senator John Heinz History Center.

Workshops will be conducted on the themes of African-American and Jewish genealogy beginning Saturday with “A Journey of Discovery,” a lecture on how to trace African-American family roots, and ending Sunday with “Finding Your Family’s Story,” which focuses on how to use online tools and the Rauh Jewish Archives at the museum.

Dr. Alexis Macklin, director of Library and Archives at the History Center, said anybody interested in ancestral research should come.

“It can be a little bit of looking for a needle in a haystack. And a lot of people get to a certain place and they don’t know where to go next,” said Macklin. “ doesn’t have all the records, for example, so you might be able to get so far and then say, ‘Well, where else do I go?’”

Macklin said people looking for tips on general genealogical research would be best off attending Sunday morning’s presentations about online resources. She said there are a lot of sites where people can find information.

She said one of the best is the for-profit company

“Mostly, I go to Ancestry for census documentation, but there’s also passenger lists, there’s also church lists,” said Macklin. “And what’s happening is that history centers around the nation are just contributing their records because they want people to have access to this.”

Macklin said “A Journey of Discovery” is a prelude for the upcoming exhibit “From Slavery to Freedom: Pittsburgh and the Underground Railroad,” which will debut at the History Center in November.

She said the weekend’s events are free to the public, but pre-registration is encouraged.