The Senator John Heinz History Center and Ohio County Public Library are partnering to present a free workshop to “Explore Your German & Scandinavian Roots.”

It’s time to dig out those yellowed, hand-written letters that Great Aunt Katharina in Old Europe wrote to Grandma over here in the USA.

On Wednesday, Oct. 23, the Ohio County Public Library in Wheeling will welcome presenters from the Heinz History Center and affiliate member, “Unlock Your History.” Museum professionals and experts in history, hand-written documents and preservation, along with those in attendance, will explore and discuss how heirlooms, genealogy, translation and history all come together to demonstrate the importance of your personal story. Your story matters.

Learn about the documents that might be in your attic, and how you can better understand their contents. Our presenters will discuss how anyone can decipher clues hidden within documents, and they will provide guidance about when to get more help. We’ll also hear about options available to care for your personal artifacts.

Presenters Pamela and Stefan Israel, experts in German and Scandinavian document translation, will dig into the No. 1-claimed heritage in the U.S. (per the 2000 Census), German, with insight into the genealogical history and some of the unique challenges in understanding these letters and other documents.

As a special opportunity for Wheeling and patrons of the OCPL, the workshop will include an offering of free, brief reviews of your Germanic and Scandinavian family letters, postcards and other documents. If you think you have something written in German, Danish, Dutch, Swedish or Norwegian, now is your chance to discover what they are all about. Be sure to bring a sample for a quick review at the end of the session.

Unlock Your History Workshop Schedule for Wednesday, Oct. 23

10 a.m.: Arrive at OCPL, located at 52 16th St., Wheeling

10-10:15 a.m.: Welcome/opening remarks

10:15-10:45: History – German Immigration & Language

• 10:15-10:30: History of German Immigration on a Global Scale (Pamela and Stefan Israel)

• 10:30-10:45: Local History Expert (Sean Duffy, OCPL programmer & local history specialist)

10:45-11:15 a.m.: History of Language and Artifact Analysis (examples led by Pamela and Stefan Israel)

11:15-11:45 a.m.: Collection Care (led by Robert O. Stakeley, History Center Affiliates Program coordinator, archivist and librarian)

11:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m: Research and Documentation, such as online translation, etc.

12:15-12:30 p.m.: Your Story Matters: How Your History is THE History

12:30-1 p.m: Lunch Break (brown bag or on your own)

1:00-1:15 p.m.: Transition time

1:15-1:30 p.m.: Q&A/Next Steps/Conclusions

1:30-2 p.m.: Show & Tell — Quick Assessments of Your Written Troves

2-3 p.m.: Guided and/or self-tour of the Wheeling Room; a show & tell of a selection of OCPL archival collections; and a sneak preview and explanation of the Wheeling in 250 Objects exhibit.

Toward the end of the day, there will be a raffle of five sets of free admission passes for two to Heinz History Center (a $36 value).

To register online, visit the OCPL’s website at ohiocountylibrary.org, click News and find the “Unlock Your History” story with registration links.

For questions, or to register by phone or email, please contact Sean Duffy, at 304-232-0244 or lunchwithbooks@yahoo.com.

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