Volunteers and Council staff with over 200 years of combined genealogy experience are ready and waiting to help Wyndham residents discover their heritage this Family History Month.

For the past six years Wyndham City’s Family and Local History Librarian, Karen Seckold, has helped countless people uncover their family’s history.

Ms Seckold said her passion for discovering the truth came from researching her own family history.

“I’ve spent 40 years researching my family’s history. It was really all about curiosity and wanting to know where we came from and why people are the way they are,” Ms Seckold said.

“People are always shocked when I tell them what I’ve discovered. Some of my family come from convicts and one can trace their lineage all the way back to William the Conqueror, who is my 33rd Great Grandfather.”

Ms Seckold said she loved helping people discover their own family history.

“You never know what you’re going to find – everyone has a story to tell. The worst thing that can happen when you’re looking into your family history is if all your ancestors were honest, because then you won’t have court records or newspaper clippings to go off!”

“We have people come here who don’t know anything about their family at all, and it feels amazing when you can help them achieve their goals of discovering their own history. I get a real buzz out of helping people, and so do our volunteers.”

“People are amazed at the resources we have here at their local libraries. We have access to all kinds of records and nine volunteers who can sit with people and help them work through their family history and uncover it themselves. Between myself and the volunteers we have over 200 years of experience, so there’s not much we haven’t seen before.”

Wyndham City’s Learning City portfolio holder, Cr Josh Gilligan, said Family History Month was the perfect time for people to consider looking into their backgrounds.

“This August is Family History Month. At the Plaza Library you can learn how to use social media to research your family history and the basics of getting started in genealogy, while the Manor Lakes Library will be holding Family History Groups. These sessions will give people the tools they need to start uncovering their family history,” Cr Gilligan said.

“Discovering your past can be an incredibly powerful thing, especially for people who have always lived with unanswered questions. Our community is so lucky that we have people like Karen and our wonderful volunteers who can help them join the dots and find out a bit more about what makes them who they are.”

For more information and to book a spot at a Family History Month sessions visit www,wyndham.vic.gov.au/services/libraries or call 8734 2600.

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