roots and branches genealogical society west volusia
PHOTO COURTESY TERRY HALL A NEW GENERATION OF GENEALOGISTS — Members of the Roots and Branches Genealogical Society of West Volusia gather for a changing of the guard in the society’s leadership last December. From left are President Terry Hall, Treasurer Linda Dolbeare, Secretary Sandy Streitberger, Vice president of membership Judy Jasen and past president Pauline Crahan. The club was first established in 1986 and celebrated its 35th anniversary last year.

Want to learn about your family tree?

Ever wanted to learn a bit more about your family tree, but didn’t know where to start? The Roots and Branches Genealogical Society of West Volusia has you covered with three free introductory genealogy classes this month.

Genealogy is the study of a family’s lineage, and these three classes will help get amateur genealogists off the ground, Roots and Branches President Terry Hall told The Beacon.

“We will start with information about genealogical definitions, formats, forms, and multiple resources including those offered free by the library. The second class will cover information on the U.S. and state censuses, the National Archive, birth, marriage and death certificates and city directories,” Hall said. “The third class will explore using Google for genealogy, historical maps, immigration and military records.”

For anyone who has ever been interested in learning about their family history, there’s no time like the present. Genealogy is the best way to understand your family’s journey, Hall said.

“Their choices determined where they lived and raised their families, how they supported themselves and why many made the decisions to immigrate to America,” she said. “Now is the best time to explore your family history, because with each parent and grandparents that we lose, we lose a library of memories and information about the past and our ancestors.”

Even if you think you know a lot about your family, properly studying your genealogy may turn up some interesting new information. Hall has learned a lot about her family through genealogy, she told The Beacon.

“I’ve been able to document three male ancestors that fought in the Revolutionary War which was amazing,” she said. “I’ve also found ancestors that had plantations and owned slaves which was upsetting.”

The introductory meetings for the Roots and Branches Society will be held on three subsequent Thursdays this month at the DeBary Public Library, 200 N. Charles Richard Beall Blvd. The first meeting will take place 2-3 p.m. Thursday, March 10; the second meeting will be 2-3 p.m. Thursday, March 17; and the third meeting will be 12:30-1:30 p.m. Thursday, March 24.

All meetings are free and open to the public and will be held in the meeting room at the DeBary Public Library. Anyone interested in attending must register by sending an email to


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