Archiver > QUEBEC-RESEARCH > 2005-04 > 1113411604

Subject: Genealogy
Date: Wed, 13 Apr 2005 13:00:04 EDT

A blast from the past
Family History Library helps genealogy buffs uncover their stories
With a little digging into her family's past, Karen Haff discovered just how
far a potato can take a man.

As the director of the Family History Library at Glenwood Springs' Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Haff mixes work with play. During her
extensive genealogy research, Haff found out that her great-uncle, Eugene
Grubbs, traded his horse, Mormon Annie, for a 300-acre potato farm in the late

She also learned that her great-uncle was one of the founders of the annual
Potato Days festival in Carbondale and that he once met Brigham Young - the
former Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints president who led Mormon
pioneers west - while he was passing through the valley during the gold rush.

"The earliest I have researched dates back to 1670," Haff said. "Some people
get bored by genealogy, but I love it. You learn new things, and it's really

The Family History Library at the church, at 409 29th St. in Glenwood
Springs, is open to the public from 1-4 p.m. Wednesdays and 7-9 p.m. Thursdays, or
by appointment by calling 704-9960.

"People don't need to be intimidated by the name Mormon," Haff said. "We
won't try and grab them in the church."

Librarian Joel Kline, who also enjoys genealogy as a hobby and has worked at
the library for a total of eight years, agreed with Haff.

"When you come to the library you work on family history," said Kline, who
has lived in Glenwood Springs since moving from Los Angeles with his wife in
1970. "We have a room set aside for that."

The library includes computers, books, and microfilm and microfiche machines
to help people research their family histories. The genealogy resource is a
scaled-down version of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, the
largest of its kind in the world featuring the Ancestral File database containing
more than 36 million names linked to families.

"We have microfiche films available for rent from Salt Lake City for six
weeks at a time," Haff said. "We also have Colorado census records on microfiche
and some permanent census records."

Kline said he has been able to trace his family history back to 1628 with
the assistance of the library's books and pedigree charts.

"I have over 1,000 people I can point to and can say 'I am related to you in
some type of direct line,'" he said. "I searched out a great-grandfather who
was a real-life teamster and had his Conestoga wagon stolen by Confederate
soldiers in Washington."

Haff, who joined the church in 1970, has also uncovered many stories and
recollections of her family's historical background.

"My ancestors helped build the Underground Railroad back in Pennsylvania,"
she said. "When my great-uncle built the house in front of the fish hatchery,
the U.S. State Department sent him to Germany to learn about growing potatoes
from Kaiser Bill. "Brigham Young told my great uncle, ' ... Some men get
rich with gold but if you grow vegetables, you can get rich too."

Haff's family history goes to show that one man's potato is another man's
pot of gold.

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