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Genealogy Event Planned at Cedar Falls Public Library | Local News

CEDAR FALLS – “Celebrating Family History Through Research” is coming to Cedar Falls later this month.

The event, co-hosted by the Cedar Falls Public Library and the Cedar Falls Human Rights Commission, will take place February 17 at 6 p.m. in the library meeting room.

It takes place during National Black History Month, also known as African American Heritage Month. The focus will be on learning about the challenges African Americans face when trying to uncover their roots and how to overcome them.

One such challenge is the fact that African Americans were not listed in the United States Census until the 1870s.

HRC Vice President Sonja Bock, Professor of Sociology at Kirkwood Community College, will lead up to 24 attendees in a fun introduction to genealogical research through various digital techniques and programs.

However, a person should not expect to walk away with a completely completed family tree.

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“We’ll get you started, but then it’s up to you where you want to go,” she said.






Vice President Sonja Bock will lead the “Celebrating Family History Through Research” program.


Photo provided


She has over 20 years of experience in genealogical research. One of her first personal discoveries was finding her biological parents as someone who had been adopted.

“But I didn’t have all these great tools that you have today,” she joked. “I had to do it the old-fashioned way.”

One of his goals with the seminar is to raise awareness of the free resources the library has to offer. Programs like 23andMe and Ancestry.com will be used during the evening session.

“It can sometimes be overwhelming with the number of sites and tools online,” she said. “I’m here to help make it easier for them and to make it as easy as possible. While technology is a good thing, it has advanced and become more complex. »

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The technology will draw on a trifecta of information resources for family tracing – oral history, physical documents and records, and DNA.

An example of a deeper discovery for Bock, which she will explain in more detail at the event, revolved around her great-grandfather who was not who he said he was in the stories he told the family.

“He totally recreated himself,” said Bock, who used various clues, like a gold earring he was wearing, to slowly uncover the truth about him.

“You’re not always who you thought you were,” she said. “You might start out thinking you’re 100% German, then all of a sudden after doing your research you find out you’re not.”

Everyone is welcome to participate, but registration is required for the free event through the library’s website, cedarfallslibrary.org.

A limited number of laptops will be available, so participants are encouraged to bring their own. Snacks will be provided and prior to the start of the event at 6:00 p.m., a social hour will be held at 5:30 p.m.

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The South Tama County Schools Chief and Waterloo West High graduate was one of four finalists who visited the district on Thursday for a day of interviews.