The Story County Genealogical Society (SCGS) celebrated its 50th anniversary in collaboration with the Ames Public Library on Sunday.
SCGS is a charter chapter of the Iowa Genealogical Society. They were formed in 1968 in order to create awareness and interest about the practice of genealogy, while helping others who may be interested in learning about their ancestors. They are continuously accepting new members with any interest in genealogy.
Nancy Long, SCGS president, has observed an increase in new genealogy and DNA testing services such as 23andME, and Ancestry, over the past few years. Although her organization has been inactive for 50 years, it has slowly adapted to the changing industry by implementing new programs through online databases. They also continue to work with physical records dating back almost 200 years.
She believes an increased interest in genealogical services has bloomed so quickly due to the public’s curiosity about their past.
“People are interested in their ancestors, where they came from, how they got to this country and got to where they grew up,” she said.
The genealogical society collaborated with Ames Public Library for the event due to a long-standing relationship between the two organizations. In 1978, the society developed a collection of books with the library according to Mary Logsdon, the director of the library’s adult services. They recommended genealogical books to the library that would be good for purchase and shared the cost of the collection. This resulted in a large collection over time, which created an even stronger partnership.
Logsdon works closely with the genealogical society for its programs and contribution to the library. She was very impressed with its increased interest and development of programs at the library over the past several years.
“They started with a monthly program as a lecture series that invited a number of speakers on a number of topics,” she said. “They’ve built on each year and done something a little bit different, so it’s been a productive partnership that they’ve been committed to.”
Starting in January, the society will be hosting a program involving a four-part writing course during its monthly meetings. People who have completed their genealogical research can work with ISU sociology lecturer, Alissa Stoehr, in developing a narrative. This narrative will allow genealogists to write a story about their ancestors from their collected research.
This program is one of the many the society continually develops to foster a local interest in genealogy and continue to let the organization thrive for the years ahead. For Long, this course is special because it allows a family’s history to be in one place for someone to learn more about their ancestors and family.
“We want to write these in order to preserve them for the coming generations,” Long said.