Pastfinders of South Lake County
All about the Pastfinders

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History of the Pastfinders Organization

On February 1989 the following members formed what is now known as the Pastfinders Genealogy Society of South Lake County. They had come together as a group in the Cooper Memorial Library which, at that time, was located on Desoto Street in Clermont, Florida. Originally, the Genealogy Room had one shelf of books. The library later moved to the corner of Montrose and Lake Avenue. Since 2009 Cooper Memorial Library has been located on the Lake Sumter State College Campus at 2525 Oakley Seaver Blvd., Clermont, Florida. We were provided with a wonderful space with room for many more books and 2 computers for research. We celebrated our Twenty-Fifth Anniversary on February 15, 2014 and have since acquired our non-profit status.

Pastfinders Mission

Pastfinders of South Lake County; Genealogical Society is a group of people who are interested in preserving family history through the science of genealogy. They dedicate their time to preserve family history and to educate others on how to do their own family research. Pastfinders assist local groups from boy scouts to senior homes as well as the general public; anyone who wants to build their family tree or break thru the brick wall they have come to. Pastfinders have been helping people find their ancestors in many countries such as Germany, Scotland, Poland, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, and the United States for over 25 years.

Specific Goals of Pastfinders are:

Present programs of genealogical and historical interest to the members and the community.

Encourage the research and preservation of genealogical and historical information.

Educate members and others in the proper practice of research and documentation.

Advocate and support the use of computers and the Internet in genealogical practices.

Provide genealogical and historical resources to the Cooper Memorial Library in Clermont, Florida.

Pastfinders Officers and Board Members


President: Esther Long

Vice President: Sandi O'Brien

Secretary: Rose D'Angelo

Treasurer: Marlyse Lee

Corresponding Secretary: Joanne Close

Member of the Board: Lisa Beni

Member of the Board: Dotty Dill

Member of the Board: Stanley Wells

Pastfinders Standing Committees

Book Committee Chair: Joan Gathings & Shirley McDaniel

Computer Committee Chair: Stanley Wells

History Committee Chair: Shirley McDaniel

Library Liaison Committee Chair: Joanne Close

Publications Committee Chair: Joanne Close

Publicity Committee Chair: Dotty Dill

Research Committee Chair: Unknown

Surname Index Committee Chair: Mary Page

Website Committee Chair: Stanley Wells

Pastfinders Regular Meetings

Regular Meetings are held on the second Thursday of the month except for the months of June, July and August. We meet in the main conference room, Room 108 at the Cooper Memorial Library except in December when we meet at a restaurant. Subjects generally deal with history, genealogy, members experiences or other appropriate subject.


Pastfinders Training and Help Sessions

The Genealogy Room is staffed by Pastfinders members who are eager to provide training for beginners and help with the more experienced people seeking their roots.

There are weekly open help sessions that do not require an appointment, be sure to bring you family history files with you.

There are also specific training classes for the basic forms used to collect and document your family history. To get started in Genealogy only requires information that you already know (at least true for most people), that being your father and mother, grandparents, when they were born and where they were born. Discovery begins there.

See the Quick Look Schedule on the Home page for exact dates of this meetings, they are free and you do not need to be a member.

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Computer Users Group Meetings

The Computer Users' Group meets at 1 PM on the third Wednesday of the month in Room 221 at the Cooper Memorial Library. Our goal is to present information on using and maintaining computers, sites where genealogical information may be found and how to make the most of the marriage of computers and genealogical research.

Genealogy Open House held Yearly

Pastfinder held an Open House on October 11, 2015. The next scheduled Open House will be on February 25, 2017.

Pastfinders help Boy Scouts earn the Genealogy Merit Badge

Pastfinders sponsor a 6 week workshop to educate Boy Scouts about Genealogy which leads to earning the Genealogy Merit Badge. Joanne Close has taken on this project since 2011. Joanne notes that we've graduated 38 boys and families who have been exposed to genealogy. There are nine requirements for the badge and 13 tasks to be completed. Each of the boys is responsible to chose an area and then present their findings. Areas are: History and Timelines in Genealogy, kinds of evidence, the importance of Interviews, types of resources, Organizing, Photography in research, and impact of computer and Advancing Technology. This program is typically held in the Spring.

Above photo was taken at the presentation of the Boy Scouts findings to the Pastfinders
Below photo was taken during a workshop at the Cooper Memorial Library Genealogy Room.

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