Giving the gift of a family tree - KCTV5

Giving the gift of a family tree

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INDEPENDENCE, MO (KCTV) -

When you think of Christmas presents from your family, you probably think of a sweater knitted by your grandma or a robe from your husband, but there's also some more unique ideas out there.

With the flip of a page and the tap of a keyboard your family's history can come alive inside the Midwest Genealogy Center.

"My father had an aunt Goldy and they called her a wild child," said Cheryl Lang, reference librarian for the Midwest Genealogy Center. "Oh, the voice recording is everything because after that person is gone, then you still have that voice."

Between census records and an oral history room for recording family stories, people can piece together their family tree going as far back as their patience will take them.

"(We use) military records, birth, marriage and death records," said Charlotte McIntosh, assistant branch manager for the Midwest Genealogy Center.

People at the Midwest Genealogy Center have countless stories on connecting people with their roots.

"Each family has a unique story," McIntosh said. "He said, ‘this is so special to me' and he was going to take it home and share it then with his children and grandchildren because this was a link between his grandfather, and himself and then his grandchildren."

And people can make those connections their gift to family this holiday.

KCTV5's Alice Barr checked out how easy it can be. With the assistance of McIntosh, she typed in the name of her paternal grandfather in the system's database.

"We can actually view the image of the census record," McIntosh said.

Barr found out that her grandparents grew up two houses apart from each other. After that, Barr and McIntosh searched for the county where Barr's grandparents are from and then they were off to the stacks.

In a book on revolutionary patriots, they came across a name that rang a bell.

"There's a John Barr, which is my family," Barr said.

While it was a quick and exciting discovery, it was just the beginning of Barr tracing her family line. It's a journey and an emotional gift for any family.

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