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Genealogy workshop helps people track family roots on May 11

By Lailani Upham

Eugene Mark Felsman, Family History/Genealogist will offer a free genealogy research workshop at the SKC D’Arcy McNickle Library on May 11, from noon to 4:30 p.m. Workshop is open to the public. (Lailani Upham photo) Eugene Mark Felsman, Family History/Genealogist will offer a free genealogy research workshop at the SKC D’Arcy McNickle Library on May 11, from noon to 4:30 p.m. Workshop is open to the public. (Lailani Upham photo)

PABLO — A free genealogy workshop will be offered to the public at the Salish Kootenai College D’Arcy McNickle Library on May 11 from noon to 4:30 p.m.

The workshop is offered by local genealogist Eugene Mark Felsman, who began his own research in 1980 after returning back to the Flathead Reservation after being off the Reservation for many years in a foster home.

He was placed off the Rez while in the fourth grade, he said.

Felsman returned in 1978.

Felsman says his own journey of researching his family background has led him to want to help others find their family history and learn more.

He says there are about 100 online family history site however, he goes through the list every fall to find the free sites, so people do not have to pay to look up their history.

“I don’t use or teach others to use the paying sites.”

He has offered the genealogy research class five times so far. “I have received a pretty good turn out. Many people find out more about who they are and sometimes surprised to see who might be in their family tree.”

Felsman says he has used indexes dating back to 1885 to 1960 from the Missoulian, Flathead Courier and Ronan Pioneer, Bureau of Indian Affairs censuses.

Although much of his research is tribal family history, Felsman says he also has information and ways to learn more of the people that have been living on the Reservation from 1885.

Felsman is a retired SKC library researcher and still works on family history study on his own time.

Felsman served in the U.S. Army and served time in Vietnam with the 159th Aviation Battalion working on helicopters. Shortly after serving he returned to the Flathead Reservation and began his journey of finding his family. He said when he first got back he knew about five family members.

He then landed a position at the D’Arcy McNickle Library and began to build the microfilm library for research from several sources.

From 1870, he said he has come across over 10,000 articles on tribal members of the Flathead Reservation.

The tribal history collection at D’Arcy McNickle totals approximately 4,000 videos, books, monographs, newspaper articles, etc.

The free workshop is made available through a grant at the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The class will again be offered this summer. Date to be announced.

For more information on the class, call Fred Noel, (406) 275-4875.

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