Wednesday, February 13, 2008

CVGS Research Group Notes - 13 February 2008

The monthly CVGS Research Group meeting was held in the Library Conference Room today with 10 attendees. After Randy reviewed the monthly Genealogy News, we discussed research problems of three of the attendees.

John is doing research for Norma, an email contact, who is searching for her Sandoval and Verdugo ancestry in northern Mexico. She has names, birth dates and birth places for three of her grandparents, and names for one set of great-grandparents, but can find no more information. They settled in Cochise County, Arizona in the 1890 to 1915 time frame. The problem statement was "how can Norma find records of these people in Mexico?" John searched the 1900 to 1930 census data, the World War I Draft Registrations, the US/Mexico Border Crossing Cards, and the LDS FamilySearch IGI, and found corroborative information, but could find no additional information about the families. The group suggested researching Arizona birth and death records online; if there is a Social Security number then obtain the SSA; check local newspapers for obituaries and articles; search the FHL Catalog for microfilms of the churches in Mexico where they were from, and order the films and read them; scan online databases, message boards and mailing lists for the surnames and the localities to find other researchers who might have more information; identify siblings (from the Arizona records) and obtain their records also - they may identify parents names or birth locations.

Ann brought an old Bible, which had been badly damaged by exposure to water, heat and dirt in an attic or basement. The Bible dates to the 1830's and is in poor condition. Pasted on the inside of the front cover is a poem written in 1839 to commemorate a 22 year old wife who died, one of Ann's ancestors. There are two obituaries pasted on the inside of the back cover, and there is some handwriting on the inside back cover. Ann wanted to know how to save the family information, and how to preserve the Bible itself. The group recommended taking digital pictures without a flash of the pages for which she wants to capture the information. We recommended that she consult with an archivist or book preservation company to preserve the Bible.

Phyllis told us an interesting story. Her father had three wives and families, but she didn't know that until her step-sister Kay contacted her several years ago. They have been trying to find information on Kay's mother, Rosa, and have found quite a bit. Rosa was adopted, married, had two children, and left the family when Kay was 8 years old. They think they know her birth date in 1916. There is a family rumor that she committed suicide in Nebraska in the early 1950's. They have reviewed the local newspapers for the death, and the county vital records, with no luck. They contacted the state adoption people, and they require a death certificate for Rosa before they will provide any information. The group suggested looking for death records in nearby counties in Nebraska and Kansas. It is possible that Rosa didn't die then but married again and left records somewhere else. If that happened, there should be a divorce record from her first husband that might provide more information. This is one of the most diffcult 20th century challenges - multiple wives, mysterious death, adoption, etc.

Dick noted that had excellent records of cemetery records - he's found quite a few of his relatives there. The group pointed out that and the USGenWeb County web sites have lots of cemetery records also.

Randy passed around examples of the California Voter Records for some of his ancestors to show the information provided. He also passed around the results of his search in the Oneida County NY will abstracts and grantor/grantee deed indexes. These were obtained from FHL microfilms of the records and saved to his flash drive at the FHC, then printed at home from the saved images.

This was a fun and informative meeting with lots of interaction among the attendees. Having more eyes reading and brains working on difficult research problems can yield good results.

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