PARKERSBURG - Roughly 40 people from around the area attended the Mid-Ohio Valley Genealogy Fair on Saturday at the Parkersburg/Wood County Public Library on Emerson Avenue.
During the three-hour program in the library's basement meeting room, the crowd was told how to trace their ancestry through a range of different resources.
"This was a great response," said Ron Barnes, president of the Capt. James Neal Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution. "We had no question people would come out for this because genealogy is an affliction and once you start working on it, you don't want to stop."
Photo by Jolene Craig
Genealogy expert Harley Dakin, owner of Appalachia Ancestry in Newcomerstown, Ohio, listens as an audience member discusses her family tree during the Mid-Ohio Valley Genealogy Fair on Saturday at the Parkersburg/Wood County Public Library on Emerson Avenue.
Harley Dakin, owner of Appalachia Ancestry in Newcomerstown, Ohio, told the crowd that, in genealogical terms, a generation is between 20 and 22 years.
"So, when you're going through your family records, keep that in mind," he said.
Dakin, who is also on the Researcher's List of the West Virginia Division of Culture and History on its State Archives website, also spoke about DNA as well as how analysis can help determine family members.
"Male DNA mutates slower than in females, which makes it more difficult to determine family members, at times," he said.
He told a story of how one known cousin of a local family knew of a gene mutation other males in his family had but it did not come back on his own DNA test.
"He ended up contacting the lab that worked on the DNA and told them of the known mutation," Dakin said. "When they rechecked his sample, they found the mutation that had not shown up on the first analysis."
Because the genes mutate slower in males, Dakin told the attendees it is a good idea to test males in the family before females.
"I would never give up finding a (male) relative for DNA testing," he said. "You'll be very happy when you find the answer."
Other speakers for the event included Carey Clevenger, an employee of the library and a specialist in the Genealogy Room, who spoke on the layout of the genealogy room, its history, functions and uses. Others included Lou Ruf, Bob Enoch with the Wood County Historical Society and Jim and Janet Lockhart.
Jim Lockhart and Ruf are state genealogists for the West Virginia Society of the Sons of the American Revolution. The Lockharts have also served as registrars, president and regent of the local Sons of the American Revolution and Daughters of the American Revolution. In the past year, the Lockharts were honored as West Virginia History Heroes by the State Culture Center for their years of promoting the history and genealogy of the Mountain State.
Saturday's event was organized by the Capt. James Neal Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution and the Capt. James Wood Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Members of the two groups spent four months organizing the day's program with some of the area's top genealogical researchers.
"We hope this is the first of many genealogy events," Barnes said. "We would like this to be an annual program."