Friday, April 27, 2007

Online Historical Newspaper web sites

The February 2007 issue of Family Tree Magazine has an article about online historical newspaper web sites, with a summary of costs, extent, etc. This is really helpful to me.

I went browsing at the magazine web site and discovered that this page provides the index to the current issue. There are some "web extras" for the major articles, so I clicked those also - content that is not in the magazine itself, including more of the interview with Steve Morse.

You can also download all of the web links in the current magazine articles in a PDF document. This can be extremely useful - you can click the web links with the PDF document open. There are 6 pages of links!

Back to the Newspaper Archives - there are these web sites available for you to use (most for a subscription fee, of course):

1) Historical Newspaper Collection - at There are 16 million pages from more than 1,000 newspapers in the US, UK and Canada. You can search the full text with key words, but not strings of words. You need an Ancestry subscription ($155.40 for US Deluxe) to access the pages.

2) Accessible Archives - at This includes selected newspapers, including African-American newspapers, from the 18th and 19th centuries. They also have a section for county histories. It appears that it uses advanced search capabilities. The subscription cost is $59.95 per year.

3) Newspaper Archive - at This is advertised as the largest online newspaper collection, with over 2,400 titles dating back to 1759. The subscription cost is $71.40 per year, but a subscribing library may offer it for free. uses this archive, so if you have an Ancestry subscription, check it out first.

4) GenealogyBank - at There are more than 500,000 issues from over 1,300 newspapers dating back to 1690. There are also obituaries since 1977, 17,000 historical books, and more. The subscription price is $19.95 per month, but the web page currently shows a deal for 66% off.

5) ProQuest Historical Newspapers - at This site provides access to 9 major historical newspapers. The access must be through a subscribing library.

6) Small Town Newspapers - at This site has free access to the archives of over 250 small town newspapers. If your town is here, go for it!

Before you invest in a subscription, you should check with the local libraries in your area and determine which, if any, newspaper archives they subscribe to. You may have to go to the library to access the archives, but some libraries permit home access using a library card.

San Diego Public Library online databases

The San Diego (city) Public Library has the following genealogy oriented databases (at

1) Ancestry Library Edition - can be accessed only at the library and branches, not from home

2) Biographical and Genealogical Master Indexes - can be accessed from home with a library card bar code number.

The SDPL also has two newspaper databases that can be used to find genealogy data (for use in the library or with home access with a library card bar code number):

1) ProQuest Historical Newspapers - this has only the New York Times Archive, 1851 to 2003.

2) ProQuest Newsstand - the following newspapers are in the SDPL subscription:

Afro-American Red Star - 10/3/1992 to current
American Banker - 1/2/1987 to current
Atlanta Constitution - 1/1/1995 to 11/2/2001
Atlanta Journal - 1/1/1995 to 11/2/2001
Atlanta Journal-Constitution - 11/3/2001 to current

Boston Globe - 1/1/1980 to current
Chicago Defender - 11/22/1999 to current
Christian Science Monitor - 9/30/1988 to current
Denver Post - 8/21/1988 to current
Detroit News - 5/23/2006 to current

The Guardian - 8/18/1992 to current
Houston Chronicle - 2/13/1985 to current
Michigan Chronicle - 1/5/1994 to current
New York Amsterdam News - 1/2/1993 to current
New York Times (Late Edition) - 6/1/1980 to current

San Francisco Chronicle - 1/1/1985 to current
Los Angeles Sentinel - 10/17/1991 to current
St. Louis Post-Dispatch - 1/1/1992 to current
New Orleans Times-Picayune - 4/12/1993 to current
USA Today - 4/1/1987 to current

Wall Street Journal (Eastern edition) - 1/2/1984 to current
Washington Post - 1/1/1987 to current

Chula Vista Library Online Databases

Have you read the article by George G. Morgan's on his "Along Those Lines" blog at about "Library Databases - The Unused Asset"? If not, please click on the link and read it.

I checked into my local library online databases to see what might be helpful to me and my colleagues in Chula Vista - the list is here. You need a Chula Vista Public Library card to access the databases.

There are two newspaper databases on the Chula Vista Public Library site:

1) Newsbank - America's Newspapers - 51 US newspapers with full text search capability, many from the 1980's to the present day.

The specific newspapers in the Newsbank America's Newspapers collection in the Chula Vista Library database include:

Chicago Tribune - 1985 to current
Detroit Free Press - 1982 to current
New York Post - 11/21/1999 to current
New York Times Book Review - 1/2/2000 to current
New York Times Magazine - 1/2/2000 to current

New York Times - 1/2/2000 to current
Philadelphia Inquirer - 1981 to current
Arizone Republic - 1/1/1999 to current
Denver Post - 6/1989 to current
Las Vegas Review Journal - 9/26/1998 to current

Boston Globe - 1980 to current
Washington Post - 1977 to current
Miami Herald - 5/19/1982 to current
Charlotte Observer - 1985 to current
Kansas City Star - 1991 to current

Al Dia (Dallas) - 9/29/2003 to current
Arlington (TX) Morning News - 4/1/1996 to 1/12/2003
Dallas Morning News - 1984 to current
Fort Worth Star-Telegram - 1991 to current
Quick DFW (Dallas) - 11/10/2003 to current

La Opinion (Los Angeles) - 2000 to current
Los Angeles Times - 1/5/2006 to current
Orange County Register (including 23 weeklies) - 1987 to current
San Diego Union-Tribune - 2000 to current
San Francisco Chronicle - 1985 to current

San Jose Mercury-News - 1985 to current
Seattle Times - 1985 to current

2) EBSCO - Newspaper Source - full text from 25 US and international papers, and selected full text for 260 regional US newspapers. I couldn't find a list of them to determine the time spans for them.

In addition, the Chula Vista library provides access to Ancestry Library Edition on the library computer system, but not for home access. Ancestry Library Edition has access to many historical newspapers in their collection.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Online Genealogy Guides and Tutorials

Are you looking for an online tutorial or set of basic genealogy "how-to" articles? I found quite a bit on the Internet that can get a beginning researcher off and running, or provide a "tune-up" to an experienced researcher.

I looked for comprehensive beginning genealogy guides on the Internet in hopes of using it to help the beginners in our local society, and I thought I would share them with you.

Cyndi's List at has a complete list of web sites with articles and study lessons. The best of the bunch I found were:

1) Kimberly Powell at the About.Genealogy site provides a 4 lesson study titled “Introduction to Genealogy” at

2) "The Rootsweb Guide to Tracing Your Family Tree" is at There are 31 “how-to” articles on many facets of genealogy research, plus guides for many countries as well.

3) "A Beginner’s Guide to Family History Research," by Desmond Walls Allen and Carolyn Earle Billingsley, a 13 article series at . This is copyright 1997, so it is a bit dated, but only with respect to the Internet and computer sections. The series explains the research process very well.

4) Genealogy Research Associates have a two course education series. Course 1 provides a brief overview of family history research procedures in 6 lessons, and Course 2 covers some specific record groups in 7 lessons. The courses are at

Lastly, the very best online genealogy tutorial, using step-by-step examples and practice lessons:

“Researching Your Family Tree” is an online interactive tutorial site at There are 5 modules, each with a number of subjects. This tutorial provides step-by-step methods of finding genealogy resources in traditional repositories and online databases.

Our Society has used modules from this in our monthly Computer Lab to help new members and experienced people new to computers to wade into the online databases.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Research Group Meeting on Wednesday 4/25

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society has a monthly Research Group meeting on the 4th Wednesday of every month (except December). It starts at 10 AM in the Conference Room in the Chula Vista Civic Center Library (365 F Street, Chula Vista). The next meeting is Wednesday, April 25th.

The purpose of the Research Group is to provide research help and advice to the members of CVGS and guests. The format is usually:

1) A summary of the Genealogy News for the last month.

2) Research problems of the attendees - the attendee describes their problem, including what research they have already performed. The other attendees then ask questions and offer advice on how or where further research might be performed. The freely-given knowledge of the group is often very helpful to the member with the problem!

3) Research successes of the attendees - the attendee describes their recent research "finds" - often with a document or image to show and tell. These successes usually don't happen overnight!

4) Online demonstration of web sites or databases to supplement the research problem advice.

The Research Group has fostered a wonderful spirit of helpfulness and sharing among CVGS members, and we enjoy sharing our problems with the group. We, as a group, also enjoy hearing about the research successes.

If you have a genealogy research problem, please consider attending the Research Group meetings. We can probably help!

Best San Diego Genealogy Research Sites

The five best research sites for genealogy in San Diego, IMHO, are:

1) San Diego Family History Center -- I've spent 19 years there turning microfilm, reading microfiches, microfilms, books and journals, sifting through online databases and talking to my friends there. It costs money to play there - film rentals and page copies cost, but, in most cases, it is cheaper to rent the films than go to Salt Lake City and turn microfilm there. The focus at the FHC changed several years ago - from traditional research using books, microfiche and microfilms of original records to using online databases (including The online databases have essentially replaced the IGI on microfiche. Unfortunately, the access to at thew FHC was recently limited to the 1880, 1900 and 1920 census records, and some indexes. The real "gems" in the FHL microfilms haven't been replaced yet - the land records, probate records, tax lists, etc. for almost every county in the USA. They will be indexed and digitized eventually, but there will still be a need for the FHC.

2) Carlsbad Public Library -- the genealogy book collection is excellent - many surname books, many locality books, and a wonderful journal collection, plus the UMI microfiche collection of surname books, locality books and public source books. The best part is that they keep adding to the collection of books. I've spent many days at Carlsbad searching all of those resources., Ancestry Library Edition and are available in the library. Over the last 5 years, my Carlsbad library card provided home access to the HQO resources - census, Revolutionary War pensions, PERSI, and historical books.

3) San Diego Genealogical Society library -- the society has its own members library in El Cajon, rented in a small office complex. In addition to the surname and locality book collection, they have an excellent periodical collection - probably the best in town. One of the "gems" here is the vertical file collection by surname or locality - these are papers donated by the members or the estates of members. Another "gem" is the Leaves and Saplings publication that SDGS has published over the years - including cemetery lists, voter lists, early deaths, early probate files, etc. from San Diego records.

4) San Diego Public Library (Downtown San Diego) -- the basis of this genealogy book collection is a DAR book collection donated many years ago. It is in the Genealogy Room, which can be accessed through the California Room (local history room). However, they are the only library with a complete run of the New England Historic Genealogical Register and the American Genealogical and Biographical Index (AGBI). The California Room also has the archives of the San Diego newspapers on microfilm (with an index 1868-1902 and 1930-1980) and a nice collection of San Diego City directories. Ancestry Library Edition is available in all branch libraries in the system.

5) Chula Vista Public Library (Civic Center Branch) -- This library hosts the modest Chula Vista Genealogical Society book and periodical collection. A local history room houses an incomplete San Diego city directory collection plus other historical resources. Microfilms of the Chula Vista Star-News (from 1916 on) and the San Diego Union (from 1975 on) are available for perusing without indexes. Ancestry Library Edition is available in all branch libraries. CVGS holds their regular meetings, research group and computer group meetings in the facility. The 100 seat Auditorium is the best venue for genealogy speakers and programs in the city (if only they would install wireless internet in it!).

I want to mention the National City Public Library, because when they built a new library several years ago, they dedicated significant space to a Local History Room which houses the archival material, including the National City newspapers, an excellent collection of the San Diego city directories, and a curator. Unfortunately, it is open only three afternoons a week.

The San Diego Historical Society is excellent, but I haven't used it much. This is in a large room in Balboa Park, with many racks of archival material about San Diego history. I found Sanborn maps, landowner lists, pre-1920 probate records and other genealogical gems at SDHS. While they charge non-members for use, the repository has curators with expertise in handling archival materials and knowledge about San Diego history.

I know that El Cajon, Escondido and probably other San Diego County cities have local history rooms, but I haven't visited them. In addition, I know that San Diego State University and University of California San Diego have large research libraries, but I have not been there to determine the extent of their genealogy holdings.

So there you have it - all about San Diego genealogy research sites. If any of my San Diego readers have a different opinion, I'd love to hear them.

Top 10 Genealogy Web Sites

I am occasionally asked by members of our society: “what are the best genealogy web sites you use?”

It’s a difficult question to answer, since it depends on whether you are looking for genealogy data (names, dates, places provided in original sources or by other researchers) or genealogy information (history, articles, news provided by writers, speakers, etc.). I tend to search for both on a daily basis. Many web sites provide a mixture of the two.

Top web site lists are listed by genealogy magazines, columnists and bloggers occasionally.

Here are my Top 10 genealogy web sites, in approximate order of their value to me as a genealogy researcher:

1) Ancestry – a subscription site, but free at some libraries (including Chula Vista and San Diego libraries). Has the complete census records, with an every name index. Has over 25,000 databases, including books, city directories, newspaper archives, etc. with excellent search capabilities. Has PERSI access. Has recently added Canada and UK census records and other content.

2) Rootsweb Genealogical Cooperative – repository of user-submitted data. The WorldConnect database is very useful. The Social Security Death Index and other databases are helpful. The Rootsweb/Ancestry message boards for surnames, localities and general subjects are great ways to find others researching your family surnames. Rootsweb has the threaded genealogy mailing list archives and a search capability.

3) LDS Family Search – The LDS church databases (IGI, Ancestral File and Pedigree Resource File) can be helpful in finding extracted or submitted genealogy data. Has 1880 US, 1881 Canada and 1881 UK census transcriptions. Has excellent Research Guides for all states and many countries. Has the Family History Library Catalog (FHLC) where a researcher can determine the book, microfilm and microfiche holdings of the library.

4) Heritage Quest Online – must be accessed through a library that has a subscription, but can be accessed from home (with the appropriate library card). This site has all of the census images, with head-of-household indexes for 1790 to 1820 and 1860 to 1920. Has access to PERSI, Revolutionary War Pension Files, 25,000 genealogy books and Freedman’s Records.

5) United States Genealogy Web – Genealogy and history resources for each state and county, usually including vital records, cemetery records, published book lookups, etc.

6) New England Ancestors – Subscription site for the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) in Boston. Has images of the NEHG Register (1847-1994), Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850, Massachusetts Vital Records (1841 to 1910), access to the ProQuest Historical Newspaper collection, New England Sanborn maps, and many other databases.

7) Genealogy Research Guides - Joe Beine’s links to vital record indexes, military indexes and data, census indexes, passenger data, naturalization data, and many other indexes and sites.

8) – a subscription site, but it has some free elements. The census records and genealogy books are similar to HQO. The user-submitted data in the user pages can be helpful. The GenForum message boards for surnames, localities and general subjects are great tools to find others researching your family surnames.

9) Cyndi's List of Links – Excellent site with many links for information on history and genealogy research, but no actual data.

10) Steve Morse's One-Step Search Engine – a very useful list of one-step search engines for many databases, including Castle Garden, Ellis Island, New York vital records, and many more, including many Ancestry databases.

That’s my Top 10 – I know there are many wonderful sites that I haven’t mentioned, but almost all of them can be found by using one of these 10 web sites.

Using Search Engines to find your ancestors

One of the major tools that we can use to find ancestors on web pages is a Search Engine - like Google, Dogpile or several others.

I will use Google as an example (at

Let's say you are searching for information about and ancestor named Isaac Seaver.

1) If you input the two words isaac and seaver into the Google search engine, you will get web pages with the two words on the same page - over 78,000 hits. Many of the hits may be where the two words are not used together but with, say, Isaac Smith" and "Tom Seaver" on the web page. Some of the hits do relate to genealogy, most of them do not. That is way too many to try to find the nugget you may be searching for about Isaac. Rather than spend a lot of time clicking on every hit, you can reduce the number of hits and improve the quality of them.

2) You can reduce the number of hits, and increase the quality of the results, by putting the two words in quotes - as in "isaac seaver." The search engine will find those two words in that exact order - there are now only 105 hits, and most of them relate to genealogy.

3) If you want to reduce the search to find Isaac Seaver, born in 1823 in Westminster MA, you could use the search terms "isaac seaver" westminster which results in 45 hits, or "isaac seaver" 1823 which results in 43 hits, or even "isaac seaver" 1823 westminster and you get only 26 hits. All of these hits apply to Isaac of Westminster born in 1823.

4) If there are still to many hits for the person you are searching for, then you could add a spouse's name, e.g.: "isaac seaver" "lucretia smith" - that results in only 5 hits, all pertaining to the correct Isaac Seaver.

5) Remember that there are many databases with lists in alphabetical surname-first order - for instance, cemetery listings, land record indexes, etc. So you should always consider a last name first scenario - like "seaver isaac" - which results in 7 hits.

6) Many names include a middle name or initial, so you should also consider using a wild card for the middle name. For example - "isaac * seaver" where the asterisk * means one or more words in between isaac and seaver, results in 9 hits.

7) If the surname is fairly common, or if there are some famous people with the surname, you can use the advanced search capability in Google (at to eliminate certain hits. for instance, Tom Seaver was a famous baseball pitcher, so if I search for "tom seaver" I get 294,000 hits, most of which deal with baseball. If I use the search string "tom seaver" and not "baseball," then I get 45,000 hits. [Note that Google is different in this aspect from some other search engines which use the Boolean operator NOT to do the same thing.]

Check out all of the search capabilities on the advanced search page.

The Google search engine will find names in the Rootsweb mailing lists and message boards, but not the Genforum message boards. It will also find people in the Rootsweb WorldConnect database, but not in the or LDS databases.

Google searches more than web pages. If you go to the "more" link on the main page of Google you will get to the web page. Here you can see a list of what Google can search for you - News, Blogs, Images, Patents, Books, Catalogs, directories, Finances, Maps, Scholarly Works, Videos, and many more things. If you are on a web site with many pages of information, you can search the web site by inputting site: before your search string. For instance, on the CV Genealogy Cafe blog site, you could put the search string site: "research group" into the Google search engine and see the hits that include the search string "research group.".

Google is really amazing! It is a necessary tool in the researchers toolbox.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Articles on Genealogy Research

When you have a puzzling research problem, where do you try to find answers or help? One place I look is in the online treasure trove of articles at the following web sites:

1) Ancestry has over 11,000 research articles in their Ancestry Library - and access to them is free. You can print them out or download and save them.

2) has a library of over 100 articles, plus free online classes in Getting Started, Internet Genealogy and Tracing Immigrant Origins.

3) Rootsweb has research guides on general topics and on specific countries or ethnic groups. In addition, there are Rootsweb Review archives for the popular weekly newsletter.

4) LDS FamilySearch has research guides for each state and many countries that tell you what information is available in traditional research (on site or in books, microfilm or microfiche) or in online databases.

5) The genealogy page at has many helpful research articles (on the left hand edge of the web page).

6) The Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) has a number of excellent articles on their Skillbuilding web page.

If you have a question about certain types of records, or online search techniques, you can often find help reading articles at these web sites.

HeritageQuestOnline Resources

I have accessed HeritageQuestOnline (HQO) for several years. It is a subscription genealogy site, but libraries do the subscribing.

You can access HQO for free from home if you are a member of the subscribing societies or libraries (over 2,500). There is a list of known subscribing sites here. In San Diego County, only Carlsbad Library subscribes to HQO.

HeritageQuestOnline includes the following genealogy information:

1) U.S. Federal Census records from 1790 through 1930. There is a head of household index for the 1790 to 1820, 1860, 1870, and 1900 to 1920 census, but there is no index for 1830 to 1850, 1880, and only a partial index for 1930. You can search by surname, given name, place of birth, age, ethnicity, etc. You have to use the exact names in the index to find them, and it does not permit wild cards. I use the Advanced Search quite a bit. You can also search for a specific film/roll/page if you know the numbers (say from another site). You can use the Browse button and search a specific state/county/town or ward. You can download the census pages to your computer files.

2) Surname and Local History Books - The "People" button leads you to more than 20,000 searchable surname and local history books that are not under copyright protection (basically those published before 1923). The challenge here is to use the Search function judiciously - it finds books with every one of your search terms (e.g., if you put in "Seaver" and "Worcester" in the Search box, it will provide every book that has these two words in the book - whether they are in the same article or not). You can use some search words like "near" (within 25 words) and "exact" (for exact spelling of a name or place) to narrow the search, and you can use a wild card asterisk as a suffix (such as Seav* would give you Seaver, Seaverance, Seavey, etc). You can download the scanned pages to your computer files.

3) Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files of 81,000 RevWar veterans. They are searchable by name, with exact spelling required (so if you don't find your guy initially, try alternate surname spellings). You can view images of the original applications and save them to your computer files. However, only 10 pages from the file are online - you have to access the full file at the Archives to see the rest of the pages in the file.

4) PERSI (the PERiodical Source Index) is a comprehensive subject index covering more than 1.6 million articles in more than 6,500 genealogy and local history journals written in English and French since 1800. This is an index only, not an every name index. You may find surname specific articles, but you can't read the article text. If you find an article you want to peruse, you can search for it in your local libraries and copy it, or contact the Allen County (IN) Public Library to obtain the article for a fee.

5) Freedman's Bank Records is a database of African-American depositors to the Freedman's Savings and Trust Company after the Civil War. The files may contain personal data, family data and signatures of depositors. You can download the images to your computer files.

HeritageQuestOnline is an excellent resource for the pajamas-bound genealogist, and it is free if you have a library card to a participating institution. If you don't have one, please consider obtaining one! You can go to Carlsbad yourself, or accompany us on a CVGS Research Trip there in the near future.

LDS Research Guides

Some of the most helpful, and least known, resources for finding records in states and countries are Research Guides compiled and published by the LDS church. I rely on these guides to tell me what records are available and to help me find records.

About 75 Research Guides were recently purchased from the San Diego Family History Center for the Chula Vista Genealogical Society. The guides obtained included:
  • All 50 States plus DC
  • 5 Canadian Provinces (Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia)
  • 11 European countries (England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway)
  • 4 North American countries (USA, Canada, Mexico, Latin America)
  • African-American Research,
  • Native-American Research,
  • Jewish Genealogy
  • Tracing Immigrant Origins
  • US Military Records
The guides are in Notebooks and are stored in the CVGS file cabinet drawers at the Chula Vista Library in the Family History section. You can read them and/or copy them at your leisure. You can purchase your own copy at the San Diego Family History Center in Mission Valley for a nominal fee (most are $2.50).

You can read them and download them at the LDS web site, Research Guides

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

How to Ask a Question

One of the purposes of this blog is to facilitate communication among the members. Although most of us have email, not everyone does. In addition, a member may have helpful information that would advance another member's research.

For instance, if I post a note about one of my elusive ancestors, then each of you could make suggestions for me to do further research. All this requires is a willingness to share information by two people:

1) The person with the elusive ancestor - needs to share the problem statement, what is known about the ancestor, and what resources have already been found.

2) The reader who might know something - if they have information about the ancestor, they could share it. If they have information that might help find the ancestor, they could share that.

If you want to ask a research question about any topic, then send us an email to the Genealogy Cafe at CVGenealogy(at) We will read it and put it into a post on the blog, along with an answer to the question. We will collect all of these questions in one of the Labels on the Left Sidebar of the blog - called "Questions and Answers."

If you want to share your elusive ancestor problem, then send an email to the Genealogy Cafe at CVGenealogy(at) We will read it and put it into a post on the blog. And ask our members, or even readers from outside of CVGS, to comment on it or share their information. We will collect all of these in one of the Labels called "Elusive Ancestors."

The main reason for posting these Questions and Answers and Elusive Ancestors notes is that this blog is searched by Google. Therefore, someone searching for the specific ancestor on Google will find the post in question and, hopefully, be moved to respond.

Receive Blog Posts via Email

If you don't want to have to check the blog for new posts, you can sign up to receive blog posts via email.

On the left sidebar, there is a title that says "Click Below to Subscribe by Email." The link itself says "Subscribe to Chula Vista Genealogy Cafe by Email."

Click the link and a form will appear for you to put in your email address, then type in the letters in the lower box (this is a spam filter so that spurious email addresses don't subscribe). Then click on the "Complete Subscription Request" link and you are done.

Please note that you will receive emails for each note posted on the blog, but not for the comments to the posts.

How to Make Comments here

One of our members asked "how can I make comments to a post" on the CV Genealogy Cafe blog?

The procedure is simple, but there are some things to know:

1) For the post you wish to comment on, click on the "# Comments" link at the bottom of the post. Note that # is a number, 0 to ??

2) You will get a text box.

3) Type your comment in the text box.

4) When you are done typing, scroll down to show the three buttons - Google/Blogger User, Other or Anonymous.

* If you have a Google or Blogger account, click that button and enter your Google/Blogger information.

* If you want to leave your name, click on the Other button and enter your name.

* If you want to stay Anonymous, just click that button.

5) Then click on "Publish my Comment" and you are done.

Your comment should show up on the comment list. Note that it will not show up on the main blog page - you can see it only by clicking on the Comments link.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

CVGS Member Surveys - Part 1

This is Part 1 of the Member Survey responses from CVGS members. The survey was handed out at society meetings in December, January and February to meeting attendees. In addition, it was emailed to the membership email list (about 70% of the membership). There were 24 responses received. Most of these are members who attend the meetings and programs.

Q: How many years have you been pursuing genealogy research?
* less than 1 year - 17%;
* 1-5 years - 22%;
* 6-10 years - 9%;
* 10-20 years - 22%;
* over 20 years - 30%.

Q: How many years have you been a member of CVGS?
* less than 1 year - 19%;
* 1-5 years - 48%;
* 6-10 years - 19%;
* 10-20 years - 10%;
* over 20 years - 5%.

Q: What caused you to start doing genealogy research?
* Interest in ancestors - 13%
* Wanted family info - 13%
* Curiosity - 13%
* Family papers - 13%
* Record for children - 4%
* Family member - 29%
* Doing memoirs - 4%
* History buff - 4%
* Discover grandparents name - 4%

Q: How often do you do some genealogy activity?
* Daily - 24%;
* 2-6 days a week - 10%;
* Weekly - 29%;
* 2-4 times a month - 10%;
* Monthly - 19%;
* Occasionally - 5%;
* Rarely - 5%

Q: In what areas of the USA do you have ancestry (some responses have several areas)?
* New England - 25%
* NY, NJ, PA - 54%
* MD, DE, VA, NC, SC - 17%
* GA, FL, AL, MS - 13%
* KY, TN - 17%
* OH, MI, WI, IN, IL - 54%
* KS, MO, NE, IA, MN, SD, ND - 29%
* TX, OK, LA, AR - 17%
* Mountain states - 8%
* CA, OR, WA, AZ, NV - 21%

Q: Have you been to at least one of those areas to perform research?
A: YES - 50%; NO - 50%

Q: In what foreign countries do you have ancestry (some responses have multiple answers)?
* England/Wales - 58%
* Scotland - 17%
* Ireland - 46%
* Germany - 71%
* France - 25%
* Benelux - 21%
* Scandinavia - 17%
* Central Europe - 8%
* Baltic States - 4%
* Spain - 4%
* Mexico - 4%
* Armenia - 4%
* Canada - 17%

Q: Have you been to any of these countries to perform research?
A: YES - 19%, NO - 81%

CVGS Member Survey - Part 2

This is Part 2 of the CVGS Member survey. There were 24 respondents (but not all answered every question).

Q: Have you done research at the San Diego Family History Center? If so, often often do you go there?
A: YES - 80%, NO - 20%
* Once a year - 52%;
* 2-4 times a year - 24%;
* 5-10 times a year - 10%;
* More than 10 times a year - 14%.

Q: Have you done research at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City? If so, how often have you been there?
A: YES - 16%; NO - 84%
* Once - 2; Twice - 1; 11 times - 1

Q: At what San Diego County libraries have you done genealogy research?
* Chula Vista Public Library - 87%
* Carlsbad Public Library - 83%
* San Diego Public Library - 46%
* San Diego Genealogical Society Library - 17%
* None - 8%

Q: Do you have and use a computer system? Is it a Windows system or a Macintosh system? Do you have a laptop computer?
* Windows PC - 87.5%
* MacIntosh - 12.5%
* Laptop - 25%

Q: How would you describe your Internet skills (e.g, non-existent, poor, fair, good, great, expert)?
* None - 0%
* Poor - 12.5%
* Fair - 50%
* Good - 25%
* Great - 12.5%
* Expert - 0%

Q: How often do you go on the Internet to pursue genealogy research (e.g., daily, weekly, monthly)?
* Daily - 20%
* Several times/week - 12%
* Weekly - 32%
* Monthly - 32%
* Rarely - 4%

CVGS Member Survey - Part 3

This is Part 3 of the CVGS Member survey. There were 24 respondents.

Q: Have you used the web site? If so, how often?
A: YES - 87.5%, NO - 12.5%;
* Daily - 6%,
* Weekly - 44%,
* Monthly - 38%,
* Rarely - 19%

Q: Have you used the WorldConnect database? If so, how often?
A: YES - 79%, NO - 21%.
* Daily - 0%,
* Weekly - 29%,
* Monthly - 47%,
* Rarely - 24%

Q: Have you used the site? If so, how often?
A: YES - 58%, NO - 42%.
* Daily - 0%,
* Weekly - 33%,
* Monthly - 50%,
* Rarely - 17%.

Q: Do you subscribe to If so, how often?
A: YES - 54%, NO - 46%.
* Daily - 21%,
* Weekly - 43%,
* Monthly - 29%,
* Rarely - 7%

Q: Have you used Google to find genealogy data? If so, how often?
A: YES - 67%, NO - 33%.
* Daily - 13%,
* Weekly - 33%, * Monthly - 53%,
* Rarely - 0%

Q: Have you used Ancestry Library Edition at the Chula Vista library? If so, how often?
A: YES - 50%, NO - 50%.
* Daily - 0%,
* Weekly - 0%,
* Monthly - 33%,
* Rarely - 67%.
(Note that over 50% of the respondents have Ancestry subscription at home so don't have to use the Library.)

Q: Have you posted messages on genealogy surname or locality message boards?
A: YES - 33%, NO - 67%.

Q: Do you subscribe to any Rootsweb genealogy mailing lists for surnames or localities?
A: YES - 25%, NO - 75%.

Q: How often do you go to the CVGS web site? Do you read the CVGS newsletter at the web site?
* Weekly - 17%
* Monthly - 42%
* Rarely - 8%
* Never - 33%

CVGS Member Survey - Part 4

This is Part 4 of the CVGS Member Survey results.

Q: What other genealogy societies do you belong to? (24 responses, some with more than one)
A:* None - 67%
* National Genealogical Society (NGS) - 8%
* Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego (CGSSD) - 8%
* San Diego Genealogical Society (SDGS) - 4%
* New England Historical Genealogical Society (NEHGS) - 4%
* New York Genealogical and Biographical Society (NYGBS) - 4%
* California State Genealogical Alliance (CSGA) - 4%
* New York Jewish Genealogical Society - 4%
* Essex Society of Genealogy (ESOG) - 4%
* Central New York Gen. Society - 4%
* Indiana Genealogical Society - 4%
* Pennsylvania Genealogical Society - 4%

Q: What genealogy magazines or periodicals do you subscribe to? (24 responses)
A:* None - 71%
* Family Tree Magazine - 17%
* Everton's Genealogical Helper - 4%
* The American Genealogist - 4%

Q: Have you attended the CVGS Research Group? If so, how often? (24 responses)
A: YES - 86; NO - 14%
* Monthly - 25%
* Regularly - 21%
* Several times - 32%
* Twice - 8%
* Once - 4%

Q: Have you attended the CVGS Computer Group? If so, how often? (23 responses)
A: YES - 74%; NO - 26%
* Monthly - 22%
* Regularly - 17%
* Several times - 26%
* Once - 9%

Q: What suggestions do you have for ways CVGS can better serve you, or help you pursue genealogy research? (6 responses)
* Offer a mentor to new members to answer questions
* Offer a trip to Salt Lake City
* Offer software training
* Offer step-by-step tutorial training for beginners
* Help with ahnentafel report
* More detailed computer training and help.

Friday, April 6, 2007

CVGS Research Trip on Saturday 21 April

The next CVGS research trip will be to the Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego (CGSSD) meeting on Saturday, April 21. The CGSSD meeting is held on the UC San Diego campus - directions can be found on the CGSSD web site -

The program starts at 9 AM with User Group meetings for FamilyTreeMaker, Legacy and RootsMagic. At 10:15 AM, there is a break with refreshments and networking. The society business is discussed starting at 10:30 AM, led by CGSSD President John Kracha, and the guest speaker starts at about 10:45 AM.

Alan Jones is the guest speaker on the topic of "Using USGenWeb and WorldGenWeb."

CVGS members who want to carpool to this meeting need to be at the Chula Vista parking garage before 8:30 AM (second level, midway between the Fuddruckers and Marie Callenders entrances). We will leave at 8:30 AM, and will return by 12:30 PM. Contact Randy Seaver (619-422-3397 or to get on the carpool list.

We're off and Blogging

Thanks Randy for getting this idea up and running.

It's good to see that the Chula Vista Genealogical Society is involved in modern cutting edge communications technology. I think this new channel may play a large role in the societies continuing outreach to the community (local) and now the whole world. I hope this venue will give people a great place to ask questions, contribute answers, tell stories or maybe just a comment from time to time.

I was particularly fascinated, Randy, in our meeting Wednesday when this idea was brought up, on how excited members around the table became. It was like, "well dah", "why aren't we doing this already?" Every once in a while a great idea pops out and it's fun to see how fast everyone gets going on it.

So congratulations on implementing the first step. We are open for business now and I hope lots of our members will get involved and as the rest of the world gets to know us I hope we can have some lively and interesting conservations here in the Cafe.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

April 30 Program Meeting

The April 30 program meeting of CVGS will be held at 10 AM in the Chula Vista Civic Center Library auditorium. Please enter through the conference room to sign in, pick up the agenda and speaker handouts, and have a snack.

The program will start in the Auditorium at about 10:20 AM. A short society business meeting, led by President Randy Seaver, will take about 20 minutes.

The program speaker will be Margaret Fairfield Read, who will speak on "Strength of Western Women - Quilting Women's Lives." Margaret's grandmother left a book of hand-colored quilt patterns. Finding scraps of information about ancestors' lives is a challenge, which is made even greater when the ancestors are female. The object of this presentation is to give you ideas for learning more about your female ancestors. This talk will focus on the female ancestors of Margaret Read, showing the places information has been found and the ways in which Margaret has pieced together the fabric of those lives, starting with her grandmothers, then going back to their grandmothers, and great grandmothers when possible.

Margaret Fairfield Read taught elementary school in Encinitas for thirty-seven years. When she retired in 1998 she was able to devote her time to genealogy, and now teaches classes for North San Diego County Genealogical Society and also OASIS. She is a member of numerous genealogical and historical societies in the United States and in Ontario, Canada. She has attended NGS Conference, SCGS Jamboree and several family history fairs.

Please plan to attend this meeting. Guests and visitors are always welcome to our meetings and programs.

Welcome to the Genealogy Cafe!

The Chula Vista Genealogy Cafe is a wholly "owned" blog site of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society (CVGS) - with world headquarters in Chula Vista, California - just south of San Diego.

The purpose of the Cafe is to serve genealogy information to members of the society. The information might be:

1) CVGS events - programs, meetings, groups, research trips, seminars, etc.

2) San Diego area genealogy repositories and resources

3) Online genealogy resources

4) Members' research queries - problem statements and solutions

5) "How to" questions from the members - problems and solutions

In addition, the Cafe can be a gateway for people from all over the world to submit queries to the society for genealogy research.

So, come on in - sit down in your favorite chair with your favorite drink, tell us about yourself - and let's talk!