Friendships, interest in family history spurred

Classes, field trips and fairs have brought a new dimension of friendship, cooperation and interest in family history to many residents in Grand Junction, Colo.

It all began several years ago when the Museum of Western Colorado decided to take its staff to visit the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. That experience resulted in regular field trips to the library. The trips, sponsored by the museum, are a cooperative effort of the museum staff, the Grand Junction Family History Center of the Church and the Mesa County Genealogical Society. The trips since their inception have been conducted twice annually.In addition to the field trips, activities at home have helped foster an interest in family history. A first this year has been a six-week beginners genealogy class conducted by the museum and taught by members of the museum staff and two members of the family history center staff, who are also members of the stake public affairs council.

Dorothy O'Dwyer, co-director with her husband, Bill, of the Family History Center in Grand Junction contacted Mesa State College's Department of Continuing Education about having classes on use of the Personal Ancestral File, the Church's family history software for home computers. The college readily accepted and offers the classes twice a year. From this has grown a users group, the Colorado West PAFers.

The pinnacle of all these activities was the family history fair, "The Faire with a Flaire," held last February. Sponsored by the family history center and held in the stake center, the fair was a cooperative effort of many organizations in the community which provided displays and exhibits. Included were exhibits on "How to Begin Your Genealogy," "British Research," "100 Years With the Daily Sentinel," "Family Reunions" and "Journals and Family Histories." Also included were tours of the family history center, several photography exhibits, a PAF computer demonstration and many others.

Between 450 and 500 people attended. Before the fair was over, participants were talking about what they would like to do next year.

All these activities have promoted many new friendships. "New" cousins have found each other. Attendance at the family history center has grown and community attitudes toward the Church have become more positive.

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