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From the Green Valley News, Sunday 20 January 2008, page B9

Genealogy Today, by Betty Malesky

Genealogy Keeps Your Mind Active

Most of us look forward to retirement long before it becomes a reality. We dream about the day we no longer have to get up in the morning and go to work—but often put little serious thought into how we will occupy our days. After all, how much golf can you play?

Retirement experts warn us we need to make plans and find a purpose for our new "life of leisure." Above all, we need to keep our minds active. No, this hasn’t turned into a retirement column—just an invitation to find your ancestors.

Genealogy is a hobby that keeps you young because it never grows old. For each ancestor you find, there is always the lure of two more waiting to be discovered. If anyone tells you his family has already been done, he is either deceived or lacks understanding of his heritage.

Perhaps your surname has been done, but your ancestry is much more than the surname you are born with. You have two parents—while you don’t bear her name, your mother is as much a part of your ancestry as your father. Then you have four grandparents, eight great grandparents, and so on—with new surnames introduced in each generation.

Genealogy utilizes a number of skills: research, organization, and creative thinking to name just a few. If Sudoku puzzles challenge you, think about the challenge of reconstructing a family, one generation at a time.

I’m often asked how you can begin a search for your ancestry. When I began back in the dark ages, few books, classes, or conferences were available to help, but since Alex Hailey’s TV program, "Roots" appeared in the 1970s all that has changed.

Today there are hundreds of genealogy societies, thousands of books, and a multitude of genealogy software programs to help you in your search. Research trips are offered to nearly all of the European countries with experts to help in your quest. Online mailing lists and bulletin boards offer access to other researchers working on your family lines, and often introduce you to interesting relatives you never knew you had.

The Green Valley Genealogical Society will offer a beginning genealogy class at the Green Valley Public Library on January 29, 2008. You will learn how and where to start the search for your roots. Instructor Millie McManus and other society members will be available to answer your questions after class.

Three more classes will follow: February 5, Edie Sly will teach on Immigration; February 19, Clarice Bird, Director of the Sahuarita Family History Center will talk about using the center and the resources and research aids available there; and on February 26, Carol Bates-Smith will discuss using U.S. Census Records.

All classes are scheduled from 1:00 until 3:00 p.m. and are free and open to the public. Come and learn how genealogy can keep your mind sharp, your retirement interesting, and provide a legacy your descendants will appreciate for generations to come.

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