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February 11, 2014 > Researching family history

Researching family history

Submitted By Nanette Larsen Dunford

By age 14, Ralph Severson of Alameda had stuffed eight briefcases with family history records for each of his grandparents. Now, as director of the Oakland Family History Center, he maintains his records on computer. Severson told those attending a family history workshop sponsored by the Alameda County Daughters of the Utah Pioneers that the only paper copies he currently keeps are certificates, historical records, and photographs. He is still gathering history from his 90-year-old parents: his father has been reluctant to talk about his World War II years, his great aunt Susan, who died at 101, told many stories about her youth in Turkey Creek, Louisiana.

Fremont resident Barbara Pimentel, who attended the Daughters of the Utah Pioneer (DUP) workshop, and Ralph Severson, also of Fremont, both have ancestors from Flores, an island in the Azores. She and Severson have worked together before, but so far have not found any mutual relatives. The workshop helped her learn more about the new Family Search, and inspired her to work harder on family history.

Shelley Stroschein discovered a Òhappy surpriseÓ at the DUP workshop. On the bookshelves was a book about her English ancestors who settled the Livermore Valley.

With about 60 computers available, the Oakland Family History Center has a number of specialists for different ethnicities and localities. Among these are African American, Chinese, Jewish, Laotian, Pacific Islanders and many others. There are 29 detailed websites alone for African American ancestry.

The Family History Center
Tuesday & Wednesday: 10 a.m. Ð 9 p.m.
Thursday Ð Saturday: 10 a.m. Ð 4 p.m.
4766 Lincoln Ave., Oakland
Phone: (510) 531-3905

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