The York County Heritage Trust is offering a crash course on genealogy research in January for Yorkers who make it a resolution to trace their family history in the new year.
The trust hosts monthly "Lunch with the Librarians" programs, and January's theme is "who do you think you are?" - mimicked after the popular television show that traces the family histories of celebrities.
The free program, held at 1 p.m. Friday, is an informal way for library volunteers to give tips and advice to first-time researchers, said Lila Fourhman-Shaull, director of library and archives at the trust.
Fourhman-Shaull said the monthly programs change in topic, but all of them are genealogy-related for people hoping to trace their history.
But filling in the spaces of a family tree can require more than just looking up birth records: Fourhman-Shaull said
Pennsylvania didn't keep those records until 1906. But the trust has other resources available, including centuries-old church records that date back to before York was officially a county.
Other sources: Fourhman-Shaull said other resources such as property deeds, archived tombstone inscriptions and military records can all play a part in tracing a family history.
Fourhman-Shaull said it is impossible to know how long researching a family might take because it depends on what information a person is looking for: Names and dates are one thing, but connecting with a person and learning more about their life can require some extra research.
But the director says many of the library's volunteers are genealogists by trade and heart, and are "attached at the hip" to people who come in with research they would like to begin.
"They're like trivial pursuit to the nth degree," Fourhman-Shaull said.
Fourhman-Shaull said another goal is to teach people how to keep track of their research so they can organize where they discovered information.
To participate: The director said she caps the monthly workshops at 20 people to keep a more informal atmosphere so people can feel comfortable about asking questions.
The meeting doesn't require any specific materials, but Fourhman-Shaull said attendees should come with some idea of what they would like to research.
"Come equipped with what you know," she said.
Pre-registration is required, and $10 lunches are available for purchase. But Fourhman-Shaull said attendees can also bring their own lunch or eat before coming to the event.
The program will take place at the Historical Society Museum, 250 E. Market St.
- Reach Nikelle Snader at firstname.lastname@example.org.