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,,, and 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.

The Charter Members of Pastfinders


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 2023

Executive Board Officers
President: Anjanette S. Mercer
Vice President: Vacant
Secretary: Shirley Parker
Treasurer: Peter Stauder
Executive Board Directors
Director: Mr. Donald Kotar
Director: Sandra Oliver
Director: Stanley Wells
Program Chair: Lisa Yeager
WebMaster: Stanley Wells
Publicity, Facebook Master: Anjanette S. Mercer
Collection Acquistions: Shirley McDaniel
Collection Acquistions: Sandra Oliver
Collection Inventory: Marjorie M. Hamel
Youth Programs, Boy Scouts: Jody Close
Open House, Library Liaison: Anjanette S. Mercer
Help Session Coordinator: Sandra Oliver
Nominations, Audit: Peter Stauder
Member Publications: Lisa Yeager
Historian: Deena Scintilla
Membership Chair: Stanley Wells
Recording Secretary: Catherine Kwech
Sunshine Ambassador: Shirley McDaniel
Zoom Administration: Stanley Wells

Pastfinders Monthly Meeting

Meetings are currently hybrid
The Event Calendar page will have Zoom registraton information as well as in-person information
4:30 to 6:30, Presentation starts at 5:00 PM

Our regular monthly meetings are held for eight months of the year, Froms September to May excluding December deue to the holitdays.

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. To Find out more please check out the Event Calendar 

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 2019 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.



Pastfinders Help Sessions
Pastfinders Research Assistance program is availalbe online or face-to-face at Cooper Memorial Library in the Genealogy Room. Please send an email to to  request research help.  Please provide your contact inforamtion and some information about your research brick-wall.
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.

Beginner classes are offered quarterly (in January, April, September and November).
Please check the Event Calendar for details
Meetings are currently being held Virtual on Zoom and in Person at Cooper Memorial Library. 
Class 1:
Class 1 presents the basic search for family genealogy in 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.