Family history and genealogy research has been a passion of mine for many years. I am thrilled that my new role here at Alvah N. Belding Memorial Library allows me to bring this passion to the public during monthly meetings of the newly formed “Silk City Genealogy Interest Group (GIG)”.
As a “teacher” of genealogy for the past four years, I repeatedly preach to those willing to listen to me, the importance of seeking out records and information from places where your ancestor lived. Small places such as libraries, historical societies, and museums, whose collections do not always make it to the internet, but likely contain gold nuggets of information that cannot be found elsewhere.
Taking my own advice, and desperately wanting to register my husband as a Son of the American Revolution, I immediately poured through the holdings of the library’s local history collection on my first day of work. Knowing that my husband’s family settled in Ionia county for a length of time, I was hoping to make a connection beyond his third-great-grandfather that would tie his family into Abial Worden, a Private from Connecticut who fought in the Revolutionary War.
Using online resources, I could not make the connection I needed to advance the male Worden line and prove the parentage of Pardon Worden, Sr. (my husband’s fifth-great-grandfather) as Abial Worden, though that is where my assumption leads me. However, genealogy is based on proof, not assumptions, so I needed something more.
To my delight, I came across a rather large collection of local family histories on the shelves of the Belding library. Family histories are a great resource! Researched and compiled by family members with personal knowledge of that family and its history, I struck gold. On the shelf were two volumes of the genealogy of Pardon Worden, Sr. and Pardon Worden, Jr., compiled by different authors, but containing the same information.
These books were researched and compiled thirty years prior, and have been safely kept in the library, just waiting for someone like myself to come along. Both volumes are full of careful research, loaded with names and dates and places that I can use to further my research, including one important name listed in generation seven: Abial Worden, a direct ancestor of my husband. I am still jumping for joy!
I still have much research to do, but my suspicions have been confirmed, and I now have dates and place names to help me on my way. As an added bonus, these books also contained many family photographs, including that of Pardon Worden, Jr., whom I have never seen.
Do you have ancestors from Ionia County? If you do, the library just might have the hidden gem you need to move your research forward.
I would love to help you research your family tree and teach you the finer points of genealogy the first Friday of each month at 10 a.m. at the new GIG. The first meeting is October 6. All meetings are open to the public and for all levels of researchers. I can’t wait to help you catch the genealogy bug.