Genealogy volunteers helping connect Iowans to their past

Published: Jan. 26, 2018 at 2:42 PM CST
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If you've driven along 1st avenue in Cedar Rapids there is a good chance you have passed a hub of history and didn't even know it. The Genealogical Society of Linn County Iowa sits right inside the Iowa Masonic Library and Museum. There, a group of volunteers are helping people connect with their past.

On the shelves at the society's library are records that include those of birth, death, and voting registration. The documents are used to help people rediscover their roots and they're able to do it thanks to volunteers like Eileen Kozman and her husband Joe by their side.

"I've put in the last year 1,000 hours volunteering here," said Eileen.

Eileen is a wiz at looking through records and you may even call her an arborist of sorts who specialize in family trees.

"You have people come in from all over the world and they're hunting for their family that started out in here in Iowa and its always so much fun to find family for them," said Eileen.

Joe labors more on the technical side. His time these days has been consumed with developing the organization's digital database.

"We can get the person's name, where they lived, maybe if they died we can determine that date," said Joe.

Digging into genealogy Eileen and Joe will tell you is challenging, time consuming work. Still, the couples does it happily for free.

It's free to use the society's library but enlisting the help of those like Eileen and Joe does come with it a small fee. The couple says they're always looking for more people to get involved with the organization.