The Dubbo Family and District History Society is gearing up for a special milestone as it celebrates its 40th anniversary on August 26, 2023.
Over the decades, the society has transformed the way people explore their family histories and connect with their roots.
The society's journey from its humble beginnings to its present status as a valuable resource for history enthusiasts is a testament to the dedication of its members and the ever-evolving landscape of genealogical research.
Founded in 1983, the society has come a long way from its first meeting held in what is now the council building's meeting rooms.
Linda Barnes, the president of the society said they had not only witnessed changes in its physical meeting spaces but also in the methods of research and access to historical records.
In the early days, researchers often relied on physical records, sending letters and making visits to libraries and archives.
"That's the big change and people were quite happy to recognise that you were going to be quite some doing the family research, whereas now people tend to want it fast," she said.
The growth of online databases and resources like Ancestry, MyHeritage, and FamilySearch has changed the field of genealogy, making it easier for people to trace their ancestors from the comfort of their homes.
One of the society's key achievements has been its commitment to indexing and preserving historical records.
Society member Lyn Smith said the society has painstakingly indexed various documents, including rate books, to enable efficient searches for researchers seeking information about their ancestors.
"The amount of volunteer effort invested in indexing and digitising materials has been central to our success," she said.
The 40th-anniversary celebration promises to be a meaningful event for both past and present members.
"It's a bit of a reunion because there are a lot of people who have been associated with the society in the past, but are no longer for any number of reasons," Ms Barnes said.
The afternoon tea event will feature displays of memorabilia, talks, speeches, and the opportunity for members to reconnect and share stories.
The society's outreach extends beyond its physical location, with remote members benefiting from online research services.
Lesley Abrahams, the society's research officer, assists individuals with their family history inquiries, even if they are unable to visit in person. The society charges a research fee for these services, which contributes to the organisation's sustainability and ongoing preservation efforts.
"I've done so much research on my own family so I really enjoy looking into other people's and helping them however I can," she said.
Ms Barnes said the society's members show the enduring spirit of volunteering.
"All of this, you can imagine is volunteer work and we love when people come here to do their own research too," Ms Barnes said.
The 40th celebration will take place at 2pm on Saturday, August 26 at the Baptist Centre on Cobra Street.
If you plan on attending please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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