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Retirement community learns about remembering the past

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The Garnett Place Retirement Community frequently organizes monthly events for their residents ranging from businesses and other groups holding what they call a snack and learn. This month's event was special as the Family History Center provided them with information on how to preserve their family's history through ancestry research.

"This is a way to get back to the roots of their family and help them to feel more alive and more useful if they can see a purpose, that's important," Kacy Novak, who held the presentation said.

Novak is with the Family History Center and also teaches classes on the subject at Kirkwood Community College. She has been tracking her own family's history since the 1980's including her husband's Czech heritage. To her it's important to understand that through your past, the future becomes easier to understand.

"It's my purpose in life to make sure everybody knows who they are and who their ancestors are and I really have a believe that as we find out more about our ancestors it helps us to find more about ourselves," Novak said.

Her presentation involved many resources such as websites and even facial recognition software. She also however passed around a book containing pictures of her own family and artifacts connected to them. All of those can help teach a new generation about what the past means to their future.

"These people have got stories, they have stories that they don't even know are in there," Novak said. "Kids today are road less, they don't know who they are. By telling them about us and our ancestors maybe they realize they can do this."

Janice Berridge has six kids in five different states. While she is not so sure about using a computer, she knows her husband and staff members at the community can help her identify the things she wants to pass along to her kids and also make them understand where she comes from.

"I wanted to learn how to preserve our ancestors family. I just wanted to leave my legacies with them," Berridge said.

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