Schedule for the Pella Genealogy Club

Note that we usually meet on the third Thursday of the month at 10:15 in the Library Meeting Room (take the first right after coming into the library).

Future Meetings

21 May 2020 - 10:15 a.m.


16 April 2020 - 10:15 a.m.


19 March 2020 - 10:15 a.m.

Introduced last September, the Pella Community Memory Database is a new, grant-funded online resource created by the Pella Public Library with the intention of digitizing and making available some of Pella's many historical documents. Come learn about the progress being made on the database, ways in which you can use the database in your own research, and how you can volunteer to help. There will also be a discussion of long-term goals and next steps after the two-year grant cycle is complete. (Chris Brown and Sandy Verhoef)

20 February 2020 - 5:00 p.m.

Continuation of the Your Genealogy session started the week before.

13 Feb 2020 - 5:00 p.m.

Your Genealogy

This learning series will provide a straightforward approach to starting your family history. Topics will include what information to look for and demonstrations will be provided on where to find useful information. Beginning and experienced genealogists will find useful tips to creating and expanding their knowledge of their personal genealogy. (Brent Martin)

Past Meetings

16 January 2020 - 10:15 a.m.

Sharing Your Family History

Who will be interested? How much to share - trying not to overwhelm your audience. What format is best? Should I wait until I am "finished" with my research? (Jan Van Weelden) -- Notes

21 November 2019 - 10:15 a.m.

The Genealogy Club meeting will have a presenter, Brent Martin. He will describe the recent changes in the Ancestry DNA interface, pitfalls in the new features and strategies for using your DNA results in genealogy.

17 October 2019 - 10:15 a.m.

We had a Dutch Bingo round table discussion: participants shared their tools, techniques, and questions regarding genealogy and connecting the dots between their family trees.

19 September 2019 - 10:15 a.m.

We will have a program on the use of death certificates in genealogy research. We will talk about how death certificates can yield various pieces of information and we will also discuss where they are housed, how to find them online, what web sites have them digitized online, how to use them thinking about family health issues and more. (Al Hibbard) -- Notes

20 June 2019 - 10:15 a.m.

Demonstration of OpenArchives Netherlands and WieWasWie (Jan Van Weelden) -- Notes

16 May 2019 - 10:15 a.m.

Visit the Marion County courthouse

18 April 2019 - 10:15 a.m.

What's available at county courthouses? (Al Hibbard) -- Notes

21 March 2019 - 6:30 pm

Wendy Street shared a paid website the library currently supports called HeritageQuest. This can be accessed by going here and then using the Quick Links section on the right of the page. There are many useful portions of the site and it is free for library patrons (but login with library number is needed). Try it out.

21 February 2019 - 10:15 a.m.

We shared what we found were our favorite and useful free genealogically-based websites. List can be found here.

17 January 2019 - 10:15 a.m.

"Raising the Dead" webinar from New England Genealogical Society. Link Here.

20 December 2018 - cancelled due to proximity to Christmas.

15 November 2018 - 10:15 a.m.

We had a brain-storming strategy about future meetings.

18 October 2018 - 10:15 a.m.

No formal program but we had a (brief) general discussion.

20 September 2018 - 10:15 a.m.

No formal program but we had a general discussion with a focus on how to help a new member get started.

23 August 2018 - note: 6:30 p.m.

We had a program on cemetery care and gravestone repair, presented by John Heider, president of the State Association for the Preservation of Iowa Cemeteries.

21 June 2018

Unless some other topic comes up, we will view a session from the last RootsTech meeting in February this year. Here are three candidates; their titles self-disclose their content


11 May 2018 - evening session - time 7:00 pm

Brent Martin shared more on DNA and its applications to genealogy. The session will attempt to clarify what the Ancestry DNA site has to offer and how those features can be used to advance your genealogical research.

Since the vast majority of the site's features depend upon your account being associated with a public family tree, it is recommended that you set that up by doing the following: From your genealogy software or online tree - download a GEDCOM of about 6 generations of ancestors (be sure that all living people are appropriately classified as living); Log into your Ancestry account, under the home page header "Trees" choose "Create & Manage Trees", "Upload" the GEDCOM, check the "Allow others to see" box and under the home page header "DNA", "Your DNA results summary", and then "Settings", under "Family Tree Linking" link yourself to your uploaded tree.

19 Apr 2018

It was a small group and we had some discussion on various topics. Phil came for his first time and is interested in coming again.

15 Mar 2018

Al Hibbard shared a case study entitled "Who are the parents of Clara Smith's husband?". Here is a description:

This is a case study of a single person (Clara Smith) and starts with a simple question: who are her husband's parents? In other words, not just their names but their place in life and within their families.

In order to attempt to answer this question, we will discuss some important research strategies that are sometimes not employed as well as they should: ask questions, look at the original record, make timelines, find corroborating evidence and so on. It will be the trip that is important, not the answer to the question.

Notes: pdf of talk; summary of Points to Put into Practice; one final note: in the afternoon after this meeting, a webinar from the New England Historic Genealogical Society was given (and watched by me, Al) that had some overlap with what was shared by me.

15 Feb 2018

We watched a webinar held an annual webinar day at the National Archives. The particular url is now at and we started at about 1:28 into this.

16 Nov 2017

General discussion

19 Oct 2017

General discussion

21 Sep 2017

General discussion

[More dates will be added as time permits and details can be found. I have exhausted my email searching for other past gatherings; does anyone have others saved in their mailbox?]