For those who are interested in learning about family histories, the new Texoma Genealogy Group in Sherman wants to help give them the tools to get started. The first meeting of the group will be held from noon to 2 p.m. Wednesday at Grandy’s in Sherman.


The group is free to join and requires no registration. The group will be led by Cindy Barnhart and Carol Beck.


“Our focus will be on training those beginners who don’t know where to start, who to ask or what to do with what they already have,” group organizer Cindy Barnhart said. “We are offering a step-by-step process to those just starting their family research with presentations, handouts and individual help.”


Barnhart has more than 30 years of genealogy experience researching her family. She received a certificate in family history research from Brigham Young Independent Study at Brigham Young University. She has also scheduled and taught both beginning and advanced classes for five years in Lake Kiowa until moving to Sherman two years ago.


Beck has more than 10 years of genealogy experience. She assisted Barnhart in organizing and teaching the Lake Kiowa genealogy beginner classes until she took over the leadership of the main group two years ago.


“We can’t guarantee that you are related to George Washington or Queen Elizabeth but we can guarantee you will have fun, learn history and better understand who you are,” Barnhart said.


There are several reasons why genealogy has grown in popularity over the years, Barnhart said. Due to the availability of information, an aging population and television shows, a lot of people are looking for their ancestors.


“The first step is to compile the information you have and then talk to family members about what they may have or know,” she said.


Common mistakes people make when researching genealogy, Barnhart said, are copying information from online trees or taking other family members information as fact without verification and not knowing how to organize information which can lead to missing important information. People also do not properly record where they obtained their information for future reference, she said.


“We advise people to make use of free resources first to decide whether fee-based sites are worth it to them,” she said. “There are many ways to access free genealogy information. Most libraries provide worldwide genealogy references and maps. They typically offer access to fee-based sites such as Ancestry for free. Museums offer local historical information. As people progress in their research or are excited about their newly discovered information, they may decide to pay for fee based websites.”


People can attend the meeting, though a meeting recap will also be posted on the group website. There will also be handouts for the benefit of those who were unable to attend meetings. For more information about the Texoma Genealogy Group, visit https://www.texomagenealogygroup.com/ or call Barnhart at 512-293-4398 or Beck at 902-893-4000.