New genealogy centre opening in Cornwall Public Library

New genealogy centre opening in Cornwall Public Library
From left are Nicole White and Lilian Heagle of Généalogie et archives Saint-Laurent and Cornwall Public Library CEO Dawn Kiddell.

CORNWALL, Ontario – Local genealogists are getting an early Christmas present.

The official openeing of the Généalogie et archives Saint-Laurent, at its new location at Cornwall Public Library, will take place Thursday from 1 to 5 p.m. 

Généalogie et archives Saint-Laurent has been operating through fundraising, donations and memberships since its inception in 1986 in the Nativity Church basement. It is the only genealogy centre in this region.

Earlier this year officials with the Généalogie et archives Saint-Laurent signed a lease agreement with the Cornwall Public Library, with the approval of city hall, that will allow for more than 15,000 documents and associated paraphernalia to move to its new home in the massive basement on Second Street West.

The basement at the library is huge, doubling as a fallout shelter during the Cold War and today houses some of the relics from the former Capitol Theatre in Cornwall.

But movers were secured this summer to transport Généalogie et archives Saint-Laurent’s massive collection of archival material.

It will be stored in a small room in one section of the library basement while funding is secured to upgrade a much larger expanse on the lower level of the facility that could also one day to be home to other agencies and some of their pieces.

The genealogy centre has been trying for months to secure a government grant to allow it to renovate the space, which is basically just a large empty room with concrete columns.

In February last year the library obtained a construction estimate and drawings to renovate a portion of the former emergency shelter area of the basement as required by funders. The project cost for renovations to house only genealogy centre material, roughly one-third of the intended space, was $280,444, according to a city hall report.

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