The McPherson Public Library will host a series of classes on genealogy research called "Trace Your Line: Family History Research for Beginners" starting Sept. 7.

"We've wanted to do this for some time," said McPherson Public Library Director Steve Read. "There are quite a few people out there already doing research with their family, and there are people who want to start doing it, but it can be quite a daunting task."

Read and McPherson Public Library Head of Adult Services Jennie Hall will teach the classes.

"We've both researched our family histories and continue to do so, we have experience not only helping patrons but doing this ourselves," Read said.

The classes, which are free and open to the public, will meet for seven weeks.

Read said the information presented in the classes will be helpful for all researchers, whether they are just starting out or want to pick up new tips about tracing genealogy. Each class will highlight different aspects of genealogical research.

"We'll be starting at the beginning and just working our way through it," Read said. "It's just amazing what you can access. It's certainly different from what it was."

"Trace Your Line: Family History Research for Beginners" will start with an introduction to tracing your family tree, including an overview of resources for research and strategies for the organization of your historical material. Read and Hall will talk about using census records, tax lists, military records and popular websites for genealogical research.

"We have a lot of online resources," Read said. "We get quite a few requests from all over the United States and internationally, asking for copies of obituaries from McPherson county newspapers."

Later classes will cover how to preserve and store documents and photographs, doing international research and how your DNA can reveal your family history.

The classes will last for roughly an hour, with time afterwards set for attendees to ask questions and receive assistance with genealogical research.

"Really, all they need

to bring is a pen or a pencil," Read said. "We're trying to make this as easy as possible."

Heading to your public library is a good way to begin delving into your family's past.

"It is the starting point for family research," Read said. "The number of resources that we have is just amazing. So many resources are being digitized now that there's just a wealth of information that we're able to access."

Holding the genealogy classes prior to the holiday season may allow participants to determine what questions they can ask other family members when visiting with them.

"That will give people time to do research," Read said. "Every family has their family historian, and that's an important resource."

The hour-long classes begin at 6:30 p.m. on Thursdays in the meeting room at the McPherson Public Library, located at 214 W. Marlin St. You may attend one or all of the sessions. No pre-registration is required. For a complete schedule of topics covered in each class, visit

"I think a lot of people will find it's something they really enjoy doing," Read said. "This will give them a great start."

For more information about the "Trace Your Line: Family History for Beginners" classes, call 620-245-2570 or email

Contact Patricia Middleton by email at or follow her stories on Twitter at @MacSentinel.