Wednesday, November 12, 2008

CVGS Research Group highlights - Wednesday, 12 November

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society Research Group meeting at the Library today had 12 in attendance, including three visitors. We went around the table and everybody shared their genealogy highlights for the last month:

John is still chasing birth certificates from England with some success. He found orphan records in Luzerne County PA that might have information about his 2nd-great-grandmother.

Andi (a visitor) is visiting John from Northern California, and they are having fun chasing some of her ancestors in Tennessee using the census and vital records on Ancestry.

Dearl is still fighting his new computer - he thinks he's losing.

Jerome (a visitor) has been working on his genealogy for awhile and has 2,000 persons in his database. He's looking for a place to get research tips and techniques - we told him he's at the right place. He wondered "how much work should you do on lines?" and Shirley said "as much as you want."

Charlene (a visitor) has been doing her research for about ten years, and has two local ancestors that she is researching.

Virginia received her mitochondrial DNA results from Ancestry - she is in the H haplogroup. She was cleaning a closet and found some treasures that her sister gave her some time ago.

Shirley H. wondered why the 1900 US census index on Ancestry has changed. We explained that they shifted to the index generated by FamilySearch Indexing.

Phyllis wondered if there were marriage records in Brook County VA (now WV) in 1820. We recommended checking the USGenWeb site and the LDS FHL Catalog. She mentioned the BYU family history TV program that is on digital cable channel 435 at 11:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. No one else knew about it.

Shirley B. received an envelope from her sister with their mother's birth certificate, and her SSN on the back of it. There was also a paper with the names of four Plue relatives - she wonders if they are still alive.

Dick is enjoying working with Family Tree Maker 2009 - especially the links to He gave a brief summary of his uncle's safecracking exploits for the group's amusement.

Nancy wants to reorganize all of her paper files. We recommended the Sharon Carmack book about Organizing Your Family History Research.

Randy discussed the new Google Your Family Tree book and passed it around. He also described his adventures in New York City and on the Wholly Genes Conference and Cruise to the Caribbean, and passed the syllabus around.

Shirley B. demonstrated her new genealogy filing system on her computer. She adopted Leland Meitzler's system that he described at the SCGS Genealogy Jamboree in June. The key is to have a fast scanner and a big external drive. She brought her 500 gb external drive and walked us through the computer filing system.

Andi and John described Andi's research problem. She has 1880 and 1900 census data for her George Cory (born ca 1836 in VT) family in Dickson County, TN, and a marriage record in 1870 for George Cory and E.R. Pickett, but her grandmother was positive that Harrell was Elizabeth Rebecca's maiden name. It's made more complicated by two "Hessell" brothers living with the Cory family in 1880. We recommended looking for an earlier marriage of a Harrell to a Pickett, and looking for George Cory, the two "Hessell" brothers, and E.R. (or Elizabeth or Rebecca) with different surname spellings in the 1870 and earlier census records. We also suggested looking in online family trees to find more about the families, and looking in military records, since George was an "engineer" in the 1880 census - perhaps he was a former Union soldier and part of the Reconstruction effort.

Charlene had two problems to discuss: Her Willis Mills was born about 1820 in KY, but resided in IL, MO and TX in his life. She had a timeline with many names marrying Mills people in these places, but is not sure if they are all related or not, and if they are, how are they related? We suggested that she check online family trees and the USGenWeb county sites, and search probate, land and tax records to try to put families together. This sounded like a big kinship problem with several families moving together and inter-marrying. Her second problem is the William and Margaret (Reynolds) Taggart family - were they from Ireland or the Isle on Man? Charlene has found them in PA, IL and MN, last in the 1885 state census in MN. We suggested that their origin might be found in county history books, obituaries, naturalization records and death records.

This was a very lively session - it was fun to have several problems to challenge us.

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