|Thursday, 21 August, 2014|
By ALEXANDRIA ALVAREZ
FORT HALL — During the Bannock Gathering August 4 and 5, Ardith Peyope gave a presentation about finding your family histories.
Her presentation was held in the library and on several tables there were several family histories in binders.
“I think its important for people to learn about their family histories, and in all we have 21 binders. I’ve learned through trial and error to do these things and one of my greatest tools is that machine over there that allows me to look at microfilm,” began Peyope.
The microfilm range from the years 1885 to 1901 and using the Census has also helped Ardith to find names, ages and sometimes death.
“When people come in and want me to help them find information about their families, I start by asking who are your grandparents, and do you know when they were born? If you can supply me with a name, I can usually find it, and I can start with the Census roll, and I got back to 1885. I just finished up one a few days ago, and I only knew that the person was born in 1906, but wasn’t noted till about 1907. I got his parent’s name and was able to track him to 1885, and worked my way to the present,” said Ardith.
Unfortunately, finding information on families can be extremely difficult for several reasons: agents during the time of the reservation eras were key in documenting information about tribal members, but sometimes they did not all follow through very well when documenting. Ardith has also found a gap between 1934 to 1937, and said that she has never laid eyes on a 1936 census roll even though according to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Tribes is said to have all the documentation, supposedly enrollment has it. There was also a gap between the years 1947 to 1953, that happened a long time ago, important documents were being stored at old police department, which is now the Language and Culture Department, had a bathroom flow over, and much of the documentation that had been stored there was destroyed.
“I’ve done a lot of things through genealogy, and have been requested to help tribal members, different tribes and programs to help, and I often used newspapers to compile obituaries if I can get my hands on it,” said Ardith.
Ardith also likened all the tremendous amount of work to childbirth, stating because it is long and intensive, and often you feel like you want to burn out; it can be a sad thing to do, as she described that many of the people she researched had many children who died, mostly because of tuberculosis, or disease that Indian people were not used to fighting. Peyope encourages people to come in and learn about their family history, and encourages people to bring in old photos to include in the family binders.
“These people didn’t just live and die, but they did something while they were here, photos can make them more interesting. I know that these are not perfect, I have never had any sort of formal training, but I do the best I can to get things right. I go on instinct, and there’s a little voice that says to try this, or something else,” concluded Ardith.
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