Public library hosts ancestry search

The Kodiak Public Library. (Courtesy of the City of Kodiak)

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

The local library is making it easier for people to research their genealogy.

Starting this month, the Kodiak Public Library Association is sponsoring a year-long subscription to Ancestry [dot] com. The website provides access to a number of resources, including immigration and church records.

Library director Katie Baxter says the local focus on genealogy began with the Scandinavian festival in November, but for a long time the Alaska State Library has made a suite of databases available. That includes a data collection called HeritageQuest and print resources, like passenger lists, available at the local library.

Baxter says she believes people are curious about ancestors’ lives because people want to know more about their own origins.

“And recognizing that everyone has a story, and I think too as our elders who immigrated to this country have gotten older and eventually passed, the younger generations recognized they were losing people in their lives who were just treasures, and people who had had crazy adventures.”

Baxter says not all of our relatives had been forthright about those stories, maybe because they were trying to leave them behind when they moved to the United States.

“They really had to go uphill sometimes to get their education, find their jobs, and they really did not want to remember. That’s one thing I’ve learned. But then people of my age, are like ‘but wait a minute, there are stories there. It’s part of me.’”

Baxter says the resources are available at any time through the library’s internet connection, but there will also be a workshop for those who prefer a guided experience. The ancestry club meets Thursday, Jan 18 at 6 p.m.

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