MIAMI — The “Keys to the Past” genealogy workshops have helped many “unlock” doors to their past.

The 12-part series which covers a wide range of topics, begins Feb. 21 and runs through May 9 at the Miami Public Library, 200 North Main.

This will be the 12th year for the series, with sessions held upstairs at the library. Each one is free and runs from 5:45 to 7:45 p.m. Participants should enter through the north door.

“It’s evolved from classes that come in every other Wednesday afternoon,” said genealogy specialist Barbara Becker. “We help each other. It’s really evolved into quite a little deal.

“I have some people take it year after year.”

Topics for each week include:

Feb. 21: Key to the front door, beginning charts and how to fill them out

Feb. 28: Key to the desk, organization and documentation

March 7: Key to the filing cabinet, beginning search and sources

March 14: Don't lose the car key, maps and census records

March 21: Key to the vault, birth, marriage, divorce and adoption records

March 28: Try the skeleton key, death records and visiting cemeteries

April 4: Key to the courthouse, land, deeds and tax records

April 11: Key to the fort, military records

April 18: Key to the longhouse Indian tribal research

April 25: Open the gates, immigration records

May 2: Fill your key ring, course review

May 9: The magic key, preservation of records, artifacts and going grave dowsing.

“There are many doors to open and locate your family history,” Becker said. “There are also many keys to open those doors, one by one, because you need to know what and who you are looking for.”

The genealogy department at MPL has many records on Miami and Ottawa County as well as books on all the other states, immigration, wars and Native American tribal rolls, Becker said.

“Miami newspapers are indexed and are on microfilm,” she said. “There’s also a number of maps and atlases.”

The department also has a collection of all of the area high school yearbooks, city directories and early phone books.

“We welcome donations of these books, especially ones of the 1920s and ’30s,” Becker said. “We also appreciate county histories, vital record lists and family books.”

To register for the workshops, call Becker at 918-541-2292.

“This is a very interesting hobby that leaves family records for the generations of the future,” Becker said. “Solve many family mysteries you have always wondered about.”