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Genealogy Buffs Organizing

Lynn Krim was born in East Greenwich, but left for 35 years. When she returned she got interested in tracking down her family and has been quite overwhelmed.

She volunteered to help transpose some diaries for local historian Alan Clarke and was pleasantly surprised when she came across her great grandfather’s name. She knows he worked for the Madison family at what is now Goddard Park. Her grandmother was born at home in East Greenwich and that house still stands.

Lynn is sorry she doesn’t have more information and regrets not asking questions of her parents about the family. 

Tracing her history is hard work, so she is attending meetings of the recently formed East Greenwich Genealogy Society.

During the Society’s recent meeting at the East Greenwich Free Library, the library’s Diane Hogan showed members how to find and use library and internet resources in the search for family members.

Many of the search sites are free and people can access them from their own computers. The library subscribes to some services that charge, which makes it very useful to searchers.

Gravesites and the census are among key genealogy tools. There is a Rhode Island cemetery database as well as a site named findagrave.com. A lot of local information has been gathered, but it needs updating and some of it needs to be updated from older software programs. Some information, such as older newspapers, is on microfilm.

Alan Clarke has helped Robert Allen Greene get the new group going. He says Greene has talked about a genealogy group for years, partly because of his deep interest and partly because he thought it would be fun to have a group whose acronym is EGGS.

Greene is one of the long line of descendents of historic Rhode Island figure Surgeon John Greene and has a huge collection of material about his and other local families.

Clarke says Greene probably knows more about genealogy than anybody in the world and one problem is trying to find a place to store and preserve his collection. Clarke, whose main interest is history, also has a large collection of material that he would like to see saved. The library, in spite of an expansion, doesn’t have enough room for Greene and Clark’s documents.

Looking down the road, EGGS wants to be a resource to help people just getting into genealogy by helping them access information as well as showing them how to use what is available at the library and online. For now they plan to meet at 10 a.m. on the third Friday of each month, probably at the library.

Clarke agrees with Krim that tracking down family members isn’t easy, but the internet has made it a lot easier than when it involved poring over documents and writing letters that often were not answered.

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