A Slippery Rock church is offering free services that could help area residents fill out their family trees.
“There’s so much information out there, it’s incredible,” said Laurie Karl.
Karl is the director of the Family History Center at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 247 Kelly Blvd., where she and her family are members.
There are many Latter-day Saints churches that have genealogy programs, and the Slippery Rock location applied with the main office to open its own center.
“There’s an interest here,” Karl said.
Residents can learn more about the Family History Center during an open house set for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday.
The project took about two years to finalize, and the church was assisted by representatives from FamilySearch, an organization operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
FamilySearch registration is free, and it helps users piece together their family trees with access to a variety of records, she said.
“A tree goes up but it really goes out as well,” she said, showing on a computer how her own family tree keeps growing.
The Slippery Rock Family History Center also has paid subscriptions and memberships for other genealogy programs and resources – like Ancestry.com and newspapers – that visitors can use for free.
The center itself includes several computers – all of the records are digital and are continually being updated – and trained volunteers.
The center’s regular hours of operation are 10 a.m. to noon and 6:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesdays. Appointments can be made for other days, and visitors can bring their own laptops.
People of all ages have already been enjoying the Family History Center, and Karl hopes to see more families on Saturday.
The open house will include finger foods from around the world, children’s activities, demonstrations on how to find relatives and certain records, and more.
Some of the church members will be displaying photos and other items that show their family history and background, Karl said as she noted how pictures and documents can be added to the FamilySearch records.
“That’s when it starts getting fun,” she said of filling in the blanks.
Info: Call Laurie Karl at 814-450-1708 or email PA_SlipperyRock@lds.net