Among the primary goals of the Siuslaw Genealogical Society (SGS) is to provide an educational resource for those interested in family research. The SGS Library Researchers have always been among the major contributors in this effort. The Siuslaw Library is temporarily closed to the public (due to Covid-19 restrictions) however, during an otherwise typical week the researchers volunteer to assist those not only interested in getting started in family research, but inquiring about DNA testing, and seeking guidance to research questions.
SGS Library Researchers Debby Wright and Pat Rongey enjoy helping others in family research and have a number of memorable experiences to share.
Debby Wright is usually kept busy welcoming walk-ins or ‘regulars’ with appointments. Most often, she encounters individuals requesting assistance in searching for biological family members who have become estranged due to any number of circumstances. One unusual request however, came from an individual interested in researching the family who were previous owners of the home she purchased. Debby soon discovered that despite her research efforts, she was unable to locate any information. Undeterred, she pursued resources at the Pioneer Museum. It was there she began to unravel the mystery – a neighbor woman recalled the previous owners had legally changed their name shortly after moving into the house. A quick review of the museum’s records set Debby on the path to BLM records, the Siuslaw News and census records. In the end, Debby located information on the previous owners and their son and was able to share the research results with the present owner of the home.
Pat Rongey reports having received the following note of thanks:
“Today marks one year since the first time I saw a picture and the name of my father (name omitted) and I never would have found him without your help. I’m forever grateful for you Pat and appreciate what you do to bring families together it’s truly amazing— you’re amazing!”
Pat recalls assisting another gentleman at the library who was seeking to find his birth father. As an experienced researcher, this was not a particularly unusual request for her. As Pat inquired a bit more regarding his request, she learned that although he had used his stepfather’s name for many years, it became apparent that the need for him to know his original surname was of great importance. In time, Pat located his birth family’s information and revealed it to him. He was thankful and in the following weeks would often stop by the library’s Siuslaw Room to again express his gratitude. Pat learned shortly thereafter, the gentleman had passed away from cancer.
As a reminder, the Siuslaw Public Library is currently closed to the public until further notice due to Covid restrictions. Therefore, SGS Library Researchers are not on-site to assist in family research until the library re-opens.