Volunteer Spotlight – Alan Zeller

Alan Zeller is a seasoned genealogy researcher. He got started with genealogy in 2001 when he bought some software for his first computer. He practiced with Family Tree Maker, and soon after, joined the local genealogical society where he very much enjoyed fellowship and sharing research strategies and tips.

Alan has been a library volunteer since the summer of 2015. He took over when Mary Wenzel, a member of the local genealogical society, had family obligations that forced her to cease her volunteer work at the library. Alan explained, “Mary promised advice and encouragement to anyone who would take her place,” so he volunteered.

This is not Alan’s first gig with the library. Previously Alan spent his working years in local manufacturing plants, including Indiana Moulding & Frame, National Can Corporation, and New Energy Corporation. During one long stretch of unemployment (around 1981) Alan found relief with a year-long job at the library. Alan said, “I helped weed the collection when the La Porte City Library and the county library were combined.”

Why does Alan enjoy helping with genealogy research? “Each person is a new story, and helping find a single elusive fact is as satisfying as finding a whole family,” explains Alan, “and most fulfilling is showing someone the first step, knowing they will be able to follow the trail.”

You can find Alan at the library for drop-in genealogy research assistance most Fridays between 1:00pm-3:00pm.

If you are interested in volunteering, please complete the Volunteer Application and return to the attention of our Volunteer Coordinator, De Burke, at 904 Indiana Avenue, La Porte, Indiana, 46350, or drop it off at any library location. Have questions? Contact her at 219-362-6156 ext. 371.


Alan’s top two genealogy research tips:
– The first thing I try to stress is the importance of knowing and recording the source of your facts. Otherwise, I promise that you will “re-discover” them several times.
– The second thing is to question every fact. You will find that contradictions appear—knowing the sources will help you judge which is more probable.

Posted on July 16, 2020

by Pam Okosun

Category: Programs

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