Pastfinders Genealogical Society of South Lake County
Pastfinders History 
 

In January 1989, the following members formed what is now known as the Pastfinders Genealogy Society of South Lake County. They had come together as a group in the Cooper Memorial Library, which, at that time, was located on Desoto Street downtown Clermont. Originally, the Genealogy Room had one shelf of books. The library later moved to the corner of Montrose and Lake Avenue. Since 2009 Cooper Memorial Library has been located on the Lake Sumter State College Campus at 2525 Oakley Seaver Drive, Clermont, Florida. We were provided with a room for our Genealogical collection consisting of over 1500 books, several periodicals and four computers. The computers at the library can be used to access Ancestry.com, FamilySearch.org, AmericanAncestors.org, and HeritageQuest.com for free.  We acquired our non-profit status in 2013. In 2018 Pastfinders hosted their first two day conference bringing in a record number of new members totaling 99 by the end of that year. Pastfinders held their second two day conference in February, 2019 which brought in a record number of attendees.

 
 
 

Pastfinders Mission

Pastfinders of South Lake County; Genealogical Society is a group of people who are interested in preserving family history through the science of genealogy. They dedicate their time to preserve family history and to educate others on how to do their own family research. Pastfinders assist local groups from Scouts to senior homes as well as the general public, and people seeking to build their family tree or break thru a brick wall they have come upon. Pastfinders has been helping people find their ancestors in countries such as France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, United Kingdom, and the United States for over 25 years.

Flags of representative Nations

Specific Goals of Pastfinders are the following:

  • Present programs of genealogical and historical interest to the members and the community.
  • Encourage the research and preservation of genealogical and historical information.
  • Educate members and others in the proper practice of research and documentation.
  • Advocate and support the use of computers and the Internet in genealogical practices.
  • Provide genealogical and historical resources to the Cooper Memorial Library in Clermont, Florida.



Operating Year: January - December 2020


Executive Board Officers
President: Catherine Kwech
Vice President: Vacant
Treasurer: Stanley Wells
Secretary: Rose D'Angelo
 
Executive Board Directors
Director: Sandra Oliver
Director: Jody Close
Director: Vacant
 
Committees
WebMaster/Computer Users Group: Stanley Wells
Publicity, Facebook Master: Anjanette Mercer
Programs (Vice President): Vacant
Collection Acquistions: Shirley McDaniel
Collection Acquistions: Sandra Oliver
Collection Inventory: Marjorie Hamel
Youth Programs, Boy Scouts: Jody Close
Open House, Library Liaison: Vacant
Senior Programs Coordinator: Vacant
Help Session Coordinator: Vacant
Historian: Vacant
Nominations, Audit: Peter Stauder
Member Publications: Vacant
Membership Chair: Stanley Wells
 

Pastfinders Monthly Meeting

SECOND THURSDAY OF THE MONTH
Room 108 in the Cooper Memorial Library
Meetings are currently being held Virtually using Zoom 
The Event Calendar page will have Zoom registraton information 
5:30 to 7:30, Presentation starts at 6:00 PM

Our regular monthly meetings are held for eight months of the year, we do not meet during the 3 summer months and December is our Holiday Dinner Party.

Our Speaker are usually Nationally known Genealogist with various areas of expertise.

Subjects generally deal with history, genealogy, member experiences or other appropriate subjects. Meeting are free and open to the public.

 
 
 
 
Family Tree Maker SIG
 
2nd and 4th TUESDAY OF THE MONTH
Room 221 in the Cooper Memorial Library
Meetings are currently being held Virtually using Zoom  
 The Event Calendar page will have Zoom registraton information 
2:00 to 3:30 PM

This Special Interest Group (SIG) focuses on getting the most out of the Family Tree Maker Computer Program.  Our goal is to demonstrate how to use Family Tree Maker using the FTM Companion Guide Book to ensure that all aspects of the FTM program is covered.

The Companion Guide has 14 chapters and we discuss every single one.  It takes about 5 months to complete the guide and then we start over.  Check the Event Calendar to see which chapter and subject is scheduled for the next meeting.  Questions are always welcome.

We will be incorporating FTM 2019 changes into the meetings starting in January 2020.

 

 
 
 
 
Pastfinders Help Sessions
 
EVERY TUESDAY OF THE MONTH
Genealogy Room in the Cooper Memorial Library
10:00 AM to Noon
Until we are able to meet in the Genealogy Room at Cooper Memorial Library and have face to face meetings, we have initated Personal Assistance BY APPOINTMENT and will provide Genealogical help by phone or virtually using Zoom.  This is currently offered only to Pastfinders members.  Log in to the members section to learn more.
 
 
I want to start a family tree, but where do I start?
I have a lot of family history, but how do I get it organized?
I have a family tree, but how can I share it with my family?
 
You have Genealogy questions, Pastfinders have answers!
The Genealogy Room is staffed by Pastfinders members who are volunteering their time to provide training for beginners and to help the more experienced people seeking their roots.

There are weekly open help sessions that do not require an appointment. Be sure to bring you family history files with you.

There are also specific training classes for the basic forms used to collect and document your family history. To get started in Genealogy only requires information that you already know (at least true for most people), that being your father and mother, grandparents, when they were born and where they were born. Discovery begins there.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 Genealogy Beginners Classes
 Beginners Classes will restart in February 2020.
CLASS 1 - FIRST WEDNESDAY OF THE MONTH
CLASS 2 - THIRD WEDNESDAY OF THE MONTH
Genealogy Room in the Cooper Memorial Library
1 - 3 PM
 
Class 1:
 
Class 1 presents the basic search for family genealogy two ways; where to begin your search and what information is needed for family history; where and how do I record and organize this history; what sources are available to find more ancestors; and how do I document my information.
 
Class 2:
 
Class 2 displays documenting hints, how to recognize vital primary and secondary sources and their uses; where to find home records; understanding where and how to use census information from your search; common research errors and how to avoid them; types of family tree timelines and presentation style formats.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Saturday Genealogy Special Events 

One-on-One Help/ Photo Scanning/ Conference/ Computer Software Classes
 
Several times a year, Pastfinders holds a special event on Saturday morning. These events are held at Cooper Memorial Library periodically thru the year.  Please check the Event Calendar on the menu bar for more details. 
 
Pastfinders volunteers will provide one-on-one help for beginning and experienced genealogists.  Bring your records either printed, on a USB or on a tablet. Here is some of the information needed for beginner genealogists: Names of parents, grandparents, birth dates and birth locations. Please call to make an appointment for the One-on-One sessions.
 
Photo Scanning is done by Pastfinders in order to help preserve the past for future generations. The photos you have of your great grandparents and parents might discolor and fade over time, documents of birth certificates might tear and get lost. By digitizing photos, negatives, documents and slides, these precious memories can last generations. The volunteers at Pastfinders use a Flip-Pal to scan photos of all sizes. Please bring your photos along with a storage USB to transfer your valuable treasures. 
 
The Mid-Winter Conference is a new addition to Pastfinders calendar of events. For several years Pastfinders held an open house at the library to present genealogy to the public. Since 2018 Pastfinders has replaced the open house with an educational conference featuring guest speakers to help further the education of those already participating in the science of genealogy.
 
 
Pastfinders Annual Holiday Dinner 

Pastfinders traditionally has a holiday gathering during the month of December. This is a wonderful time for members to get together share a drink and enjoy good company.  Guest and family are welcome to attend the dinner, participate in a fun gift exchange and to mingle with one another.