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Family history seminar to explain high-tech hobby

Published: August 14, 2014

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (August 14, 2014) -- For those who’ve ever wondered why they are the way they are, perhaps it is time to find the answers.

Fort Rucker’s Religious Support Office, along with area experts, will provide an opportunity for people to learn more about searching for ancestors and why this past-time is gaining universal popularity Aug. 28 at 7 p.m. at the Spiritual Life Center, Bldg. 8939, according to Chaplain (Capt.) Troy Allan, Fort Rucker spiritual life chaplain.

“The seminar, ‘Understanding Our Stories from Stories of the Past,’ is free, and open to anyone interested in learning how to discover their Family history through new and current research methods and technology,” Allan said. “Our goal is to encourage people to begin looking for their ancestors. In our day of digital technology, we have been given amazing tools to discover who we are and what we can become.”

Along with millions across the globe, Allan has discovered the satisfaction and introspection learning about ancestors provides.

Although hard numbers are hard to find, researching Family history is becoming one of the most popular hobbies in America, second only to gardening, according to an October 2012 Good Morning America report. And recent reports bear this out.

Since 2009, paying subscribers to have increased by 195 percent and Family Tree experienced a 563 percent growth, according to Glen N. Greener at

With more than 2 million paid subscribers, Tim Sullivan, Ancestry CEO, said, “It’s no longer a niche. There’s a broad mainstream interest in family history.” reported a billion dollars in revenue in 2012.

The post Family history seminar is free, however, and the presenters will share some professional secrets that have helped them get to know more than four generations of their own ancestry.

“Knowledge is power. And with knowledge of the tools available, plus knowledge of how to make the tools work, we are able to unlock a great opportunity to shape our futures with the narratives of the past,” Allan added.

Allan, himself an avid genealogist, gained an interest in his ancestors at a young age.

“I have been conducting Family research almost as long as I can remember. My mother and father are great Family history buffs. I recall reading amazing stories of my grandparents and their grandparents as a child and thinking, ‘I don’t think I could have done that!’ when hearing the stories of courage about their lives,” he said.

“We are inviting a few local area experts to provide us with insight and knowledge on the process,” Allan said.

Retired Army Aviation spouses Sherri Murray and Maxine Meyers will share their Family history experiences and focus on how today’s technology provides effective, easily accessible databases of genealogical information to make searching for ancestors  practically painless.

Murray will lend her expertise to those attending the seminar, and along with Meyers will also teach an upcoming Family history course here on post.

“The seminar is designed to get people excited about Family history and generate interest in participating in a six to eight lesson course on Family history focusing on the tools available to find our past,” Murray said.

“Family history is understanding who we are at a much deeper level. That is, there are many answers to who we are and why we do the things we do locked away in the stories of the past. Without knowing these stories, we may simply overlook strong character traits that may help us in times of need or even to solve difficult problems,” Meyers said.

“For example,” Allan said, “I know that my great-great-grandfather was a man of amazing faith and courage. Knowing this about my grandfather helps me push forward in times of need as I know his story is also part of my story. Knowing the narratives of our Families helps us create the narratives of our future. 

“Not all of the past is glamorous,” Allan said. “There are some things we may find about the past that may be surprising, but that is what keeps me searching and interested. I hope to do Family history as long as I live.”

Childcare will be provided (call for reservations) and refreshments will be served. For more information, call Allan at 255-3447.

This article was originally published at

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