Keeping local history alive

President Joanne Retzlaff with member and volunteer Maxine Mills and treasurer Kaye Saunders. Photo: Breeanna Tirant
President Joanne Retzlaff with member and volunteer Maxine Mills and treasurer Kaye Saunders. Photo: Breeanna Tirant

The Collie Family History Society has been running for 32 years and helps others find out about their history and ancestors.

The society is a not-for-profit organisation runs solely off volunteers at the Miner’s Institute on Tuesday’s 7pm – 10pm and Wednesday’s from 9am – 4pm, or other hours out of request. 

Society president Joanne Retzlaff said that although family tell you things about the past, sometimes they’re not always correct so researching them further was a good way to establish a timeline. 

“I was about 12 when I asked my granddad a few things about when he came to Collie and I actually wrote them down and I’m glad I did because I still have it. But that’s not to say that if he said they came here in 1906 they actually did, some things are out of proportion when family tell you,” said Mrs Retzlaff. 

Mrs Retzlaff said that researching about your own family gives you “goosebumps” and finding out she had another family in New Zealand came as a surprise.

“My grandparents were supposed to have been married and weren’t because my grandfather wasn’t divorced from his first wife. So you find these things along the way, the skeletons,” she said. 

Mrs Retzlaff said a members fee of $30 for the year or a $5 fee for a once off visit to the society would allow access to all computer programs as well as the supplied books. 

"We use online programs, ancestry and find my past and we also use the legacy family tree program, you can put all the members of your family and photos on there. We research for our own ancestors or get requests from other people by email,” said Mrs Retzlaff. 

Lee Fontanini and his wife Kellie sent in a request to the history society wanting more information about their family in Collie, Mr Fontanini said he was happy about the information the society provided. 

“Thank you for your assistance in helping us with our family history, this new information will give us some hope of tracing them further,” said Mr Fontanini. 

To find out more visit the Collie Family History Facebook page or call 0408 902 730.