Thursday, March 26, 2009

Your Personal Genealogist

Central Library is really fortunate to have two great volunteers working in its Genealogy Center on the 4th floor. Both Bernard Marks and John Burke have been generously giving their time for the past year so that the library can offer its popular – and free -- Book a Genealogist service to the public. As volunteers, Mr. Marks and Mr. Burke meet individually with people who are interested in getting a little extra help with their research – both beginners who would like some direction in getting started, and people with genealogy experience who might benefit from suggestions on new research strategies.

By working on his own family’s history for nearly twenty years, Mr. Marks has become passionate about the importance of genealogy and of teaching people to do their own research. He finds that being multilingual helps when working with people who have questions about the spelling of surnames. The ten languages he speaks include Polish, Russian, German, Spanish and Yiddish.

Mr. Burke’s interest in genealogy came from his desire to have a connection with his unknown Irish ancestors – to learn each one’s story. He describes the excitement of finding a long-missing piece of information about an ancestor’s life as “a real rush.” Now Mr. Burke’s goal is to pass along the information he uncovers to his children and grandchildren.

Without the help of these two dedicated volunteers, Central Library could not offer the Book a Genealogist service!

If you’re interested in meeting with one of Central Library’s Book a Genealogist volunteers, please make an appointment by calling the library at 916-264-2920, or visit

B. Daugherty

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