21st annual family history fair held in Tyler
TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Learning about your roots and long lost family was the focus of an annual event in Tyler that deals with establishing ancestry.
The 21st annual family history fair was held at the W.T. Brookshire Conference Center.
“I think all of us have a yearning inside to know, ‘Where did I come from?’ And, this is a great place to come and learn from professional genealogists. Learn how you research your ancestors. Learn about your heritage,” said Michelle Bailey, president of the East Texas Genealogical Society.
The event featured guest speakers on researching ancestry and genealogy, booths from East Texas counties with historical record documents and even kids activities.
“People can learn about taking a DNA test, then you combine that DNA test with the actual genealogies,” Bailey said.
America, being the great “melting pot,” has many people with the need to know who their family was. Where they came from is a mystery that is much easier to solve these days.
40 years ago, DNA science was in its infancy, but today you can find some amazing things in your ancestry.
“Now you can get on a site, like Family Search or Ancestry, and you can find millions of records right at your fingertips. So, things have changed. Geography, culture, history, ethnicity -- all of those things come together in family history,” said guest speaker Bob Taylor of the Family History Guide Association.
Karen Cooks found she was a descendant of a man who fought for Texas’ independence.
“Nathan Howell, my great great grandfather,” she said.
She then found a relative through the fair.
“Elbert Cooks. His name was in a Smith County school record journal. My great grandfather’s brother. Ancestry, it affects you on a daily basis because of your children, even just making decisions in life, illnesses and going about your daily living. And, where you come from,” Cooks said.
Taylor said it is much easier to search your lineage now using DNA and ancestry search websites.
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