Library meeting focusing on geneology

Published 10:41 am Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Demopolis native Alan Koch shared his experiences in trying to identity all the persons buried in the Demopolis Jewish Cemetery during last week’s Lunch at the Library.

In an effort to help improve and spur more local research efforts, Koch left his notebooks at the library. He hopes this information will encourage Demopolis residents to contribute some of their recollections and, perhaps, copies of their photographs to his effort.

“What I have done is nothing unique,” he said. “I haven’t authored anything. I have just tried to compile what’s there into something a little more personal.”

Koch added that his biggest hope was that more people would become involved in genealogical research and tracing their family’s history.

“If nothing else…maybe I can encourage others to use resources in the library and on the Internet to learn more about their own families and their own various heritages,” he said. “There is an overwhelming amount of information available – so much so that the most difficult thing is often just trying to stay focused. Let me just say that it all becomes worthwhile when you find a naturalization petition or a passport application or another document in an ancestor’s own handwriting.”

Also, he forewarned that through the course of some of this research that many families may unearth long-forgotten skeletons in the closet.

“Do you run the risk of finding black sheep,” he asked. “Count on it.” .