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Mormon Community: 20 Florida Scouts 'climb' their family trees

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Twenty area Boy Scouts, along with their parents and leaders, joined with genealogists from the Southern Genealogy Exchange Society at the local LDS Church's Family History Center Jan. 24 to learn basic research skills and "climb" their family trees.

The Scouts completed all of the requirements for the Genealogy Merit Badge (or Heritage Belt Loop for Cub Scouts), including how to interview relatives, making a map that tracks migration patterns and shows where their ancestors lived, creating a three-generation pedigree chart.

The Mauerman brothers, Abriel and Aero, from Troop 314, which meets at the LDS Spanish branch on Hendrix Avenue, wanted to research how they got a German last name. The family is from Panama.

Garrett Bennett, from Troop 182, which meets at Holy Spirit Catholic Church, solved another mystery. "It was so much fun. We even found a mistake in my grandmother's book. We looked at census records on the computer that showed what my great-great-grandmother's name really was."

Terry Bennett, Garrett's father, said, "Both of us learned a lot today. My grandfather never talked about his family. Today, we found in a census record that he moved out when he was 17, lived with another family and worked as a laborer. There must have been hard feelings and that is why he didn't talk about his parents. I grew up in rural Arkansas. We used to go to cemeteries and the local courthouse to find out about our family. Today we learned about how to use the computer and how to find records on microfilm and microfiche. We both want to learn more."

— Eileen Ward