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Looking for their ancestors is in Temecula Valley Genealogical Society’s future

By in Press Enterprise on July 15, 2017

By Carl Love

Barbara Perez has 10 cousins in Southwest Riverside County alone.

She knows because, as president of the Temecula Valley Genealogical Society, she’s researched her ancestry.

Thanks to computers, massive name databases and even cheaper DNA testing, more folks want to know where we came from. The local group meets once a month at Temecula City Hall and holds Friday classes at the Ronald H. Roberts Library. Those classes include genealogy, computer users and DNA, and special interest groups that focus on African American, German and Hispanic backgrounds.

Members also take monthly outings to libraries around Southern California and an annual trip to Salt Lake City for research. Everything is open to the public.

So it’s a busy group.

A recent summer social included a get-to-know-us activity where members worked the room of almost 50 people. They filled out worksheets with names of people with ancestors ranging from Quakers to many European nationalities to those who traveled west on the Mormon Trail.

Today, people worry about economic change wiping out professions, but folks here have ancestors who worked as blacksmiths, chimney sweepers, carriage makers and of course farmers, all jobs not much represented today. History tells us professions come and go, if that’s any consolation.

The society is mostly seniors who readily admit they have the time needed to dig into their past. However, Perez, 76, proudly notes, “One of our members two years ago did give birth.”

That’s Jessica Conklin, 37, the group’s historian, who joined 10 years ago and has studied her past since she was 20. She even took a trip to meet her father’s family in Poland.

Trips are not a commodity to be wasted. Perez says one member tagged along with her husband on a business trip and visited 10 cemeteries.

This focus on the past can yield surprising results. Growing up, Perez was often told […]    

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