Who Are You?

Family history will be uncovered at the Terrebonne Parish Main Library’s Genealogy Day on June 27, a program aimed at encouraging community members to learn the art of ancestry research.

The idea to offer such a program, which kicks off at 10 a.m. and will be held in either the computer lab or distance education room depending on crowd size, was inspired by the many people who flock to the library in search of family lineage.

“We do have a community that has a very strong interest in genealogy and genealogical research and we also have a community in Terrebonne Parish and the outside parishes like Lafourche and St.

Mary parishes who participate in genealogical research,” Terrebonne Parish Library System Public Relations Coordinator Lauren Bordelon said. “A lot of people do this and I have to give them a lot of credit because they really know what they are doing and they are really able to research, find, discover and correctly plot it.”

During the day-long program, guests, whether new to the hobby or those with minimal knowledge, will first learn how to use Ancestry Library Edition and Heritage Quest Online databases, which can only be accessed in-house. Tutorials will show how to log on, which computers can be used to do such research and how to search within the databases.

“There are techniques and ways and most importantly, there are resources, and if the public and community doing that research don’t know the resources or how to use the resources, it can be confusing, frustrating and something you give up on and we don’t want that,” Bordelon explained.

Following the tutorials, guests will be led to the Genealogy Room, a state-of-the art facility that houses research sources including the databases, microfilm, periodicals and books. Each source offers information ranging from census data to birth and death records, with much of the information concentrated on south Louisiana, Cajun and Acadian lineage. Library staff as well as volunteers from the Terrebonne Genealogical Society, formed in 1972 to curate information on the area’s history, will be on-hand, Bordelon explained, to assist guests in looking up family names in indexes and further orienting guests with the often complex process.

“[Community interest] is why we have the room,” Bordelon said. “When the library was built, we knew we had to put this room in there. It is a room unlike any other…Everything up there is either rare or first edition.”

For Bordelon, preparations for the program have fueled her fascination of genealogy, a hobby both sets of her grandparents enjoy. She said through working at the library, she has witnessed how exciting the search for family history can be and hopes people will come out to the event to learn how to uncover their own unknown ancestry.

“My maternal grandmother has so much stuff,” she explained. “I know as the librarian in the family, one day I’m going to inherit all of this. I can say from personal experience and professional experience, when people start, they don’t stop. They just have so much information and it’s a treasure to have. When I go to my grandma’s house, it’s on the bookshelf and it’s so darn much and I think, ‘Mawmaw, what are you going to do what all of that?’ but then I think about what we would do without it.”

Genealogy Day will be held at the Terrebonne Parish Main Library, 101 Library Drive, Houma. The event is free and open to the public and guests are invited to bring notebooks and flash drives to record research, although the items are not required to participate.

Who Are You?