Valerie Lunt carries a reproduction dress and bonnet to be added to a display of historic items and costumes from 1847 to the 1860s as part of the Santa Clarita Valley Family History & Genealogy Fair held The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Valencia on Saturday. Dan Watson/The Signal

Genealogy fair unveils family histories for SCV residents

New branches were added to family trees as visitors to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on McBean Parkway at its Santa Clarita Valley Family History and Genealogy Fair on Saturday.

Over a hundred guests attended various workshops where they built upon their own knowledge of their family trees while also uncovering relatives they may not have known of before they stopped by. One technique was indexing through the use of FamilySearch, which is sponsored by the LDS Church. The process consists of finding digitized family documents through the years, such as census records or birth certificates, to verify a person’s identity and add them to existing family trees.

Users of FamilySearch can also compile their family trees through the organization’s mobile app.

“Everything’s getting more digitized,” said director Glenna Rae White. “We wanted (something) tech-friendly for everybody, especially for the youth. We find that the youth are getting more into all this and what are they about? So we want to get something that speaks their language.”

Other workshops included a Spanish language session on genealogy, how to search through British birth records, understanding DNA’s role in finding relatives and a special session for local Boy Scout troops to fulfill requirements for their genealogy merit badges. Following a lunch break, the fair concluded with a

The process of learning more about family history is more than just making names come alive, White said.

“They had sorrows, they had triumphs,” she said. “They went through hard things and sometimes when we look at the difficult things that they went through, it’s like, ‘OK, I’m a Walker, that’s my maiden name, we are Scottish and we can handle tough things because they did.’ And that’s who I am.”

Richard Winger found the session focused on using DNA and how the use of genetic testing has become widespread in finding new relatives across the country or around the world.

“In fact, I found a second cousin who had been put up for adoption as a newborn,” Winger said. “We actually figured out family relationships and he knew our family but didn’t know that he was actually a part of it and related to us.”

The Valencia FamilySearch Center, located inside the LDS Church, is free and open to the public. Guests do not need to belong to the LDS Church. For more information, go to familysearch.org/locations/.

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