By Jessica Jones
For the Independent
Digging into family histories and finding lost connections is something that has hooked David Guba.
As president of the Stettler Genealogy Club, Guba said genealogy, and finding out about family history, is like, “solving a mystery.”
“It goes to the why,” he said. “If you’re kind of curious about where you came from, why you’re here, and how your grandparents, or great-grandparents came here, and what they had to endure to survive, and for you to exist, it’s like you’re a detective and need to solve that mystery,” Guba said.
The Stettler Genealogical Society started in 1988 by Margaret Martin and Elva Knapp under the direction of well-known, local genealogist, Dr. Charles Bird.
The club meets every first Thursday of the month at the Stettler Library (6202-44th Ave) and hosts authors, assists its members on family tree linkages, helps them create documentation, and members assist each other in making new ancestral discoveries.
They are able to utilize ancestry.com, the second most used web site in the world, for free of charge at the library.
Guba explains that there are many reasons for a person to take interest in genealogy but the primary reasons are to make an account of ancestral pedigree, find out medical history and figure out and discover family culture.
He has been so interested in his own family history that he has been able to travel to a small village in Hungary where his grandfather lived.
“People want to know about their culture and want to see where their family came from,” he said, enthusiastically adding that while he was in the village he located a cousin.
“Her grandfather and my grandfather were brothers and it was exciting for everyone.
“It’s important to learn about who you are and where you came from and it is interesting to find out, holy, this person did a heck of a lot for me to exist today,” he said.
Guba says he personally first took an interest in genealogy when he was in university, having breakfast with his grandmother.
“She was like, ‘Pass the jam, oh, and by the way, grandpa is not your real grandpa.’
“Turns out there was a family secret … so it’s important to start (genealogy) with your living relatives to get information, so that’s what got me interested in learning about his family, and it just kept going from there.”
The only problem, Guba laughs, is that genealogy can “become addictive.”
“The more information you get makes you want to keep at it and you think, ‘Oh, I’ve got to find that cousin’ and that mystery becomes another mystery that you need to solve and then it turns out to be 4:00 in the morning.”
The club’s December meeting, open to guests and new members, will feature a Christmas celebration of cultures with food and drink. They co-host with the Stettler Learning Centre and the library to offer an international potluck supper. Guba gets requests for his Hungarian goulash.
For more information, visit stettlergenealogyclub.weebly.com.