Pages of the Past Lake Villa District Library Hosting Free Genealogy Program

Article excerpt

Byline: Abby Scalf Daily Herald Staff Writer

Nancy Waltz has only begun to uncover the story behind her family's history.

While on the Internet, the Lake Villa resident saw a picture of the ship her grandmother took from Amsterdam to the United States.

"That was so exciting for me. I was hooked," she said.

Waltz, who is retired, wanted to make the best use of her time by searching for her family's history. She joined a genealogy class offered by the Lake Villa District Library.

Waltz said her family never thought to capture any stories for future generations.

"Now as a third generation, I'd like to leave some history to my children," she said.

Through books, access to Web sites and free classes, the library is helping patrons like Waltz study the past.

Because the Internet is a popular tool to study history, the library will host a free program by noted genealogy expert Brother Joseph Martin at 10 a.m. Saturday.

The library is at 1001 W. Grand Ave. To register, call (847) 356-7711.

Martin, who is assistant to president at Lewis University in Romeoville, has pursued genealogy for 20 years.

"He will give the basics, what to expect and not to expect looking for family ancestors on the Internet," said Shannon Kurtz, genealogy librarian. "People have unrealistic expectations."

Genealogy is growing more popular because area residents love local history, programming director Nina Kenney said. The village is forming a historical society. Many residents have written books about local history.

Kurtz said there is a generation that wants to know its roots.

"Our grandparents didn't tell us and we didn't think to ask," she said. "We wish we did."

Genealogy also is growing because people can find anything on the Internet, said Tom Kaplan, head of adult services. Many sites are free.

Kaplan said the Internet offers census records, newspaper accounts and obituaries. One patron found a World War I civilian draft record.

"But you can never get every piece of the puzzle. There is always a piece waiting to be found," he said.

While Ancestry Plus requires a subscription to find records on its Web site, the library offers free access in the Internet lab. The site provides information on 1. …