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Genealogy Celebrates Family History Research Room

Librarian Suzanne Malek standing next to a shelf in the Learning Commons.
Rebecca A. Eckland

On Friday, Oct. 8 the computer lab in the Learning Commons was filled with guests from across the community to celebrate a major milestone for TMCC’s Genealogy Lab: the opening of its Family History Research Room. These guests were joined by others who, by virtue of a Zoom conference, could also witness the grand opening event from as far away as Florida and New York. As Genealogy Researcher and Learning Commons Librarian Suzanne Malek would say, genealogy’s appeal is universal—who doesn’t want to know more about their own history?—and one of the fastest-growing areas of research and interest in the United States today. 

TMCC's Genealogy Lab began four years ago, and later became a contracted affiliate with the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, which is the world's largest genealogical library. Malek, a passionate researcher for the discipline, created and fostered the Genealogy Lab as a resource for students, faculty, staff and the community. To date, the books in the genealogy collection are the most circulated books at the TMCC Learning Commons, and the lab has hosted over 200 guest speakers at no additional cost to the college, which have been attended on average by 40-50 participants each week. 

The Family History Room will house the growing acquisitions and resources that are available to help TMCC students, faculty, staff and community members to learn more about their family histories. “What I love about this new space is that everyone is welcome in the Open Genealogy Lab. It’s a true community resource, here at your community college. And that’s exactly what we are here for—to serve our community,” said Malek in her speech at the opening ceremony. 

Discovering Our Roots

October is National Family History Month, and several heritage groups in our community joined the opening ceremony last Friday to not only celebrate this new resource but to continue an ongoing collaborative effort between the Genealogy Lab and community organizations. “One of the goals of our new genealogy research room is to form working relationships with the many wonderful local lineage, heritage, genealogical, historical societies as well as local libraries. By all of us working together, we can create learning opportunities and growth for everyone,” said Malek.

During Genealogy Lab sessions as well as while working with individuals, Malek stresses proper research and writing skills, as well as correct citation formatting, promoting genealogy as more than a hobby, but as a potential career path. Students and community members alike have long remarked that Malek’s passion for this kind of research has opened doors, both to their pasts (unlocking family secrets and histories) while developing and honing research skills that can be used to build bright professional futures. 

“We want to be the one-stop place to do your family research. This has been one of my goals, and certainly something that will benefit the community in the years to come,” she said. 

Thanking Those Who Contributed to the Family History Lab

Malek, who served as Master of Ceremonies for the opening event, thanked many individuals and organizations whose generosity of both funds and books has made the Family History Research Room a reality. 

These donors include: 

  • Susan Holly Gallup
  • Barbara Foor Larson
  • Mona Crandell Hook
  • Ann Potts
  • Sue Gregory
  • Diane Hicks
  • Jan Lochard
  • Marsha Strand
  • Pam Nelson
  • Tracy Lane
  • James and Laura Dickey
  • Katherine Hoffman
  • Ron Zarcone
  • Daughters of Norway Lodge 29 in Reno
  • Global Heritage Fund ℅ Community Foundation of Western Nevada
  • Wendy J. Gregory
  • Suzanne Malek
  • Colonial Dames of the 17th Century
  • Daughters of the American Revolution- Nevada Sagebrush Chapter
  • Daughters of the American Revolution- Battle Born Chapter
  • Nevada Society of Mayflower Descendants

For more information about the Genealogy Lab at TMCC, visit the Genealogy LibGuide or call 775-673-8260.