Finding your ancestry in Columbiana

Published 9:07 pm Tuesday, March 2, 2010

If you’ve ever wondered about your family’s history but haven’t known where to start, a facility in Columbiana can offer help.

During the Columbiana city council meeting on March 2, two representatives from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints gave a presentation about their free family history services. At their Family History Center, people interested in their ancestry can learn how to search through old records, microfilm and online databases to discover their roots.

Church members Clem Muck and Pauline Williams extended an invitation to the community to use the Family History Center’s facility.

“Our church is very interested in genetics based off our interest in families,” said Muck. “We want to offer our resources, experiences and programs to the community,” he said.

“There are 16 trained consultants who can help you find who you are and where you come from,” said Muck.

Williams, the director of the Family History Center, shared a personal story she discovered about her grandmother by taking the time to talk to someone who knew her as a young girl. “I never would have heard that story had I not gotten in touch with her,” she said.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has collected records worldwide since the 1930s and the church in Salt Lake City has the most extensive archive of family records in the world, said Williams.

The Family History Center researched the genealogies of five Shelby County mayors and gave them their results on Feb. 13.

Williams assisted Columbiana Mayor Allan Lowe in finding out more about his ancestors, which included relatives who fought in the Civil War for the north and for the south, as well as a Native American ancestor. “That makes me the perfect politician,” he joked.

Anyone interested in finding out more about their genealogy can visit the Family History Center on 190 Egg and Butter Road. Their office hours are Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Consultants are also available by appointment, said Muck.

In other business, Mayor Lowe proclaimed March the Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. Tammy Lusk represented the Arc of Shelby County and spoke about the services the Arc provides for children and adults with developmental disabilities. Their early intervention and counseling services come at no cost to the families who need them, said Lusk.

The proclamation included the statistic that 121,000 Alabamians have some form of intellectual and developmental disabilities. To get in touch with the Arc of Shelby County, call 664-9313 or visit