Genealogy

Tracing your family history is not a new idea for many people, but recently the hobby has grown in popularity.

A group gathered at the Naperville Public Library to take part in a workshop and learn more about how they can grow their family tree.

“I think genealogy is one of those hobbies where it’s very much built on people helping people.” Said Laura Kovarik, Genealogist with Fox Valley Genealogical Society. “When I was starting out, I had a lot of people helping me work on it, so this is my way, I think I’ve been working enough where I can pass it on to others.”

Kovarik has been doing this for 20 years, but with changing technology comes a new way to discover your past.

“I wanted to get more serious about it and Naperville Public Library has offered a number of classes that have been helpful in getting me aware of all the websites that are available and what ones are available,” said Catherine Gavin, a participant to the genealogy workshops.

That curiosity spread to me, and I decided to trace my family’s history. To do this, I asked Doreen Marvin, another genealogist with Fox Valley Genealogical Society to help.

Through research and travels she has been able to help families find their long lost past.

We started the search by keying in on certain dates of my mom’s side of the family, the Stepien’s, and to my surprise we were able to find out more than I ever expected.

“This is Maria, and she was born in 1890 and died in 1959,” said Marvin.

Maria was my great-great Aunt, who came over to America from Poland when she was just 20 years old, only a few years younger than me. I also found out why she left in the first place.

“That’s when the German’s bombed, so I’m thinking that’s why they were coming over,” said Marvin.

My family eventually made their way to Chicago and from then on grew to include myself. But that was only half the picture. In tracing my dad’s side we ran into some problems. But according to Doreen if you think you’ve hit a brick wall, think again.

“Keep searching, keep asking, it’s fun its intriguing and there’s lots of magic that goes along with it,” said Marvin. “I think if you really believe you’re going to find something, that those relatives are there with you and they’re going to help you find what you need to find to make it.”

Turns out a look at the past can help connect you to who you are in the present.

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