By Tiffani Stewart,
St. Charles City-County Library District
New Melle, Missouri has a rich history. It was settled in the 1800s by a brave group of pioneers from Melle, Germany, who named their new home after the beloved city they left behind. Many of the descendants of those original settlers still live in the area and truly value their heritage.
One of those descendants is Alice. Today she is sitting in her regular space at a public computer at the Boone’s Trail Branch Library. She has lived in the New Melle area her whole life and her hobby is family - specifically her family’s history and genealogy. The Library is her home away from home.
Alice’s family encouraged her early on to remember the names and stories of her ancestors. “I was not really interested, but the stories were so good!” Alice remembers. She realized that the stories would be lost if they weren’t written down, so her adventure began.
In the early 2000s, Alice began using her home computer to access a website called Familysearch.com. As she discovered family documents with names and locations, she posted inquiries on different website forums for possible living relatives. A distant cousin, Georg, contacted Alice in 2010. They discovered that they were related, and began exchanging the information that both had collected about their family over the years. Georg visited sites in Germany to request records in person, which Alice verified and recorded. Georg was even able to unearth Alice’s great grandmother’s birth certificate from an old church! Alice estimates that over the years, she and Georg have exchanged literally thousands of emails.
That’s where the Library came in. As technology got faster and more expensive, Alice found that she could not keep up. Her old computer was no longer able to handle some of the new websites, and her internet connection was painfully slow. When she discovered that she could use updated computers with high speed internet at the Library, and access the Ancestry.com website free with her library card, she was delighted. For many years, she has used the library to email, research, and print everything she needs. “Any question I have, I can look up. It broadens my knowledge. And I don’t have to worry about someone hacking into my computer at home,” she says.
Alice has since completed her family history and shared it with all of her living relatives, as well as the Boone-Duden Historical Society and the Kathryn Linnemann Branch local history collection. She has discovered family in Utah, Idaho, Illinois, Tennessee, Missouri, California, and Germany. She regularly corresponds with many of them, including another German cousin, Wolfgang.
Several years ago, Wolfgang and his wife visited Missouri and stayed with Alice through the town’s “Friendship” program connecting residents of New Melle, Missouri with Melle, Germany. Those early settlers would smile to know that their legacy remains and their ancestors are now connected - with help from the Library.
If you decide to go to the Augusta Branch or the Boone’s Trail Branch and dig into your family history, enjoy a class or event this month:
• Veterans Day Appreciation (during regular business hours), Sun., Nov. 11th -Mon., Nov. 12th. Join us for cookies and coffee as we honor veterans for their service to our country.
• International Games Week (Augusta), Mon., Nov. 5th, Tues., Nov. 6th, Thurs., Nov. 8th and Sat., Nov 10th. Drop in during library hours to play tabletop games.
• I Love Quilts (Augusta), Tues., Nov. 6th, 10:00 a.m. Create beautiful embellishments with a technique called fabric ruching. Bring your Show & Tell projects and Block of the Month!
• New Melle Nonfiction Book Discussion Group* (Boone’s Trail), Thurs., Nov. 15th, 10:00 a.m. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by M. Shaffer and A. Barrows is fiction, but based on true events. This book inspired the popular Netflix movie! See what the buzz is about, then join us for a great discussion.
• Joy of Cooking Recipe Exchange (Augusta) Sat., Nov. 17th, Mon., Nov. 19th, and Tues., Nov. 20th. Drop in during open hours to exchange your favorite holiday recipes. Recipe cards provided.
• Augusta Book Discussion* (Augusta), Mon., Nov. 19th, 2:00 p.m. Read and discuss with us, News of the World by Paulette Giles, about Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd’s journey through Texas to return a kidnapped young girl to her family.
• Movie Talk: Salmon Fishing in the Yemen* (Boone’s Trail) Tues., Nov. 27th, 6:00 p.m. Check out Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, starring Ewan McGregor, watch it at home, then join us to discuss. This delightful movie follows the partnership between a scientist and a sheik to bring sport fishing to Yemen.
• Coffee at the Library (Augusta), Thursdays at 9:00 a.m. Come in for a hot cup of coffee and great conversation.
• Hand and Foot Canasta* (Boone’s Trail), Thursdays at 1:00 p.m. Join us for this exciting rummy card game. Never played? We’ll teach you! Please register as seats are limited.
• Knit-a-Long (Augusta), Thursdays at 2:00 p.m. The Augusta Knitting Club meets every Thursday to create with friends.
• Discovery Kids: Magnets* (Boone’s Trail), Nov. 5th, 5:00 p.m. Stories and experiments with magnets are very attractive.
• Story Time (Boone’s Trail), Thurs., Nov. 8th, 10:30 a.m. Stories, songs, and crafts to enhance early literacy. Story time is open to children ages 3-6.
• Story Time (Augusta), Tues., Nov. 20th, 3:00 p.m. Find out what these turkeys are thankful for, then make a paper turkey to take home. Open to all ages.
• The Peanuts Movie (Augusta), Mon., Nov. 26th, 5:00 p.m. Celebrate the birthday of Peanuts creator, Charles Schultz, with a special showing of his movies.
• Special Story Time: Snowmen* (Boone’s Trail), Mon., Nov. 26th, 6:00 p.m. Celebrate the magic of winter with this special themed story time.
• Discovery Kids: Snow* (Boone’s Trail), Dec. 3rd, 5:00 p.m. Create your own snow!
• Club Read: El Deafo* (Boone’s Trail), Mon., Nov. 19th, 6:00 p.m. Read El Deafo by Cece Bell, then join us for Club Read, open to grades 4-8. We’ll talk over drinks and snacks about this cool graphic novel. Bring a friend! Books now available at the branch.
*Register at www.youranswerplace.org or call Boone’s Trail at 636-398-6200 or Augusta at 636-228-4855. The Boone’s Trail and Augusta branches are open Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 9:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. and Saturday, 9:00 a.m.-12:00 noon.