Wednesday, June 25, 2008

"DNA 101 - Genetics for Beginners" Program Summary

Do you remember those excellent teachers and professors when you were going to school - how they could explain a complex subject so that you could understand it, and inject some humor and fun into the topic besides? That's what it felt like, to me, at the CVGS Program Meeting today at the Library.

Dr. Stephen Baird (program summary and curriculum vitae here) presented "DNA 101 - Genetics for Beginners" at our meeting today and it was like going to class again and enjoying it (I admit that I loved many of my science classes when I was in school!). His handout was a glossary of terms used in his presentation for handy reference. His presentation was beautiful - a PowerPoint done the way I like them - large print, some understandable charts, no flash graphics, etc.

I can't go point-by-point in this summary - suffice it to say that he touched on the basic history of genetics and DNA from Mendel to the present, and put it in terms that we could relate to. For instance, human beings have 23 pair of chromosomes, 30,000 genes and 3 billion base pairs, and are, at most, 0.1% different from each other. Humans and chimpanzees are about 2% different from each other in DNA terms.

After describing the chromosomes, the genes, and the DNA base pairs, Dr. Baird described the global phylogeny of all species (how and when certain species occurred and from what they were mutated), the different haplogroups of humans (those with the same genetic markers), and how they spread out of Africa into all of the continents with an approximate time frame. He explained why the Y-DNA and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) are important to human genetic testing for genealogy research - the Y-DNA being passed from father-to-son, and the mtDNA being passed from mother-to-child.

Many of the technical charts that he used were obtained from the web site. Some of them were obtained from the tutorials at and He used his own DNA test results to show charts similar to those in this downloadable tutorial for presentations. Dr. Baird also described the relative costs of doing 12, 25, 37 or 67 markers for Y-DNA testing and for doing the basic and more advanced mitochondrial DNA testing.

At the end of the hour-long presentation, which seemed to go very fast (for me, at least!!), Dr. Baird played his guitar and sang the "Ballad of Gregor Mendel" from one of his CDs (available for sale at It was a wonderful end to the talk. Then the questions began...and lasted a good 20 minutes!

We had 48 people in attendance, including 15 visitors from all over San Diego, and even one from Orange County. This was one of the very best presentations and meetings that we've had in my six years on the CVGS Board.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Online Vital Records Web Sites

Vital records are necessary to prove parent-child and spousal relationships in every family. Unfortunately, vital records are not available for every state for every year. Many states did not require the recording of births, marriages and deaths until the 20th century.

What are the best web sites to determine if vital records exist, can be obtained online in either index or certificate form, or can be obtained through contact with a state agency? I recommend these sites:

1) Vital Records Information -- This web site has links for each state that describes the records available, and the process to obtain them online or by mail. You can order a certificate online, or through the mail, using this site, but you will pay a charge to VitalRec for the service above the cost of the actual certificate.

A warning: do not click on a link that takes you to a come-on "FREE birth search" or similar - those links take you to a "private investigator" type of site that demands more money to obtain records for you.

2) Vital Records Express Certificate Service -- This site has links to every state and provides information necessary to order birth, marriage, death and divorce records from the correct state agency. You can order the certificates through this web site, but you pay a fee to VitalChek over and above the actual cost of the certificate.

3. Online Birth and Marriage Databases -- . This site has a state-by-state listing of what birth and marriage records are available in online databases. Many of the links go to, a subscription web site.

4. Online Death Index Databases -- This site has a state-by-state listing of what death records are available in online databases. Many of the links go to, a subscription site.

Note that there may be vital records indexes online for some states that are not on these last two web sites. There may be indexes available on other commercial web sites (for instance, Massachusetts Vital Records from 1841 to 1910 are available on

If the vital records that you are seeking occurred in your local area, it is always cheaper and faster to go to the local County Clerk and request the vital record. In many states, including California, you can order a birth, marriage or death certificate "for information purposes only" and not have to prove that you are the person, or related to the person, or the attorney or representative of the person.

Monday, June 23, 2008

USGenWeb Web site Highlights

The U.S. Genealogy Web site at is one of the very best FREE genealogy sites to find out information about a U.S. state or a county within a state. The web page says:

"Welcome to The USGenWeb Project! We are a group of volunteers working together to provide free genealogy websites for genealogical research in every county and every state of the United States. This Project is non-commercial and fully committed to free genealogy access for everyone.

"Organization is by county and state, and this website provides you with links to all the state genealogy websites which, in turn, provide gateways to the counties. The USGenWeb Project also sponsors important Special Projects at the national level and this website provides an entry point to all of those pages, as well.

"Clicking on a State Link (on the left) will take you to the State's website. Clicking on the tabs above will take you to additional information and links."

There is a web site for every county in every state in the United States. Each state and county web site has a volunteer coordinator that keeps their page up-to-date.

Some county pages have a tremendous collection of transcribed books, cemetery transcriptions, maps, vital records, biographies directories, etc. for example, check out Jefferson County, New York or Dodge County, Wisconsin. Each county web site is different in format and content.

There is a search engine available to search the US GenWeb Archives at . You can search archives for each state or for each project. Or you can search the entire Archives for your surname, a specific person, a locality, etc. using the Search box at There are helps, tips and tricks for searching the Archives at

USGenWeb Archives has links to the following projects:

* Census Images
* Immigration and Naturalization Project
* Marriage Project
* Maps Project
* Obituary Project
* Pensions Project
* Special Collections Project
* Court Cases Project
* Tombstone Transcription Project

Some of these projects are just starting out and need volunteers to submit information or help organize the project.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

CVGS Program on Wednesday 6/25 is "DNA 101 - Genetics for Beginners"

The next Program Meeting of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society is Wednesday, 25 June, at 12 noon in the Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library (365 F Street) Auditorium. Dr. Stephen Baird's topic will be "DNA 101 - Genetics for Beginners."

Dr. Baird will attempt to fill the gaps in your understanding of how DNA sequences relate to inheritance, using FamilyTreeDNA results as examples. Terms used in genealogical genetic reports will be explained in a language that can be understand by general audiences as well as "rocket scientists!"

He will discuss the Y, X and autosomal chromosomes and how they can be used for family history identification as well as for following diseases and the timing of mutations. He might even illustrate the salient points of his lecture with a song or two from his upcoming CD recording of scientific songs.

Dr. Stephen Baird graduated from Stanford University with a degree in Biology and Stanford University School of Medicine. He is Professor of Clinical Pathology at UCSD School of Medicine and Chief of Pathology at the Veteran's Administration Medical Center in La Jolla, CA. He received the highly respected Distinguished Teaching Award from the University of California 's San Diego Division of the Academic Senate, the UCSD Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching, as well as three UCSD Medical School 's Kaiser Teaching Awards.

Dr. Baird's research interests are in lymphomas and leukemias but he has also spent a good deal of time studying creation stories, Biblical and modern, as well as the genetics of human diseases and the genetic variations found in all modern human beings.

His interests in genealogy relate to how family trees could be used to study inheritance of various traits, both normal and disease processes.

Based on his love of music and science, he has written many scientific folk songs, now performed on CDs called "Hallelujah! Evolution! - Scientific Gospel" (including several songs he uses in his medical school courses), “Ain’t Gonna Be No Judgment Day,” “Water On Mars,” and his newest “Breakin’ The Rules,” a CD of mostly folk ballads.

There will be short business meeting before the Program speaker. When the library opens at noon, please enter through the Conference Room door to sign in, pick up the handouts, get a drawing ticket, have a snack and greet your colleagues. At 12:20 p.m., we will meet in the auditorium to start the meeting.

Guests and visitors are always welcome at CVGS meetings! We hope to see you there.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Rootsweb Web Site Highlights

As part of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society Beginning Genealogy class this week, I was asked by the instructor to provide a list of some FREE genealogy web sites that can help researchers find information.

One of the genealogy sites I selected was the Rootsweb (part of the domain) site at This web site has significant genealogy resources, including:

1) Search all Databases on Rootsweb:

* WorldConnect Database at -- Contains user-submitted research data from GEDCOM’s for over 500 million names. Being user-submitted it is error-prone. However, it is very useful to determine if other people are researching a specific individual or family line. Ahnentafel and descendant reports for up to six generations can be created.

* Social Security Death Index (SSDI), post-1937, at -- Contains government data for deceased persons whose names were submitted to the Social Security Master Death Index (note it doesn't include every person with a Social Security number). The web page permits you to write and print a letter to the Social Security Administration to obtain the person's SS-5 Application which may include the person';s parents names, an address at the time of application, and the person's birth date and birth place.

* Death record indexes for California (1940-1997), Kentucky (1911-2000), Maine (1960-1997) and Texas (1964-1997)

2) Mailing Lists – Subscribe to Surname, Locality or Interest Mailing Lists via Email. There are over 31,000 Lists – see Index at You can sign up to receive one or more mailing lists by email and you can contribute your own posts by email to a specific mailing list. Even more importantly, you can search the Mailing List Archive by key word or time frame at

3) Rootsweb/Ancestry Message Boards at There are over 160,000 boards for surnames, localities and special topics. To see the Message Boards requires a free registration. You can also search all of these Message Boards using Names or Keywords, or find a specific message board and search only the posts on that board.

4) Web Sites at Rootsweb at These include regional resources and web sites (including many genealogy society web sites), surname websites, major projects hosted by Rootsweb, and Freepages created by registered users.

5) The Rootsweb Guide to Tracing Family Trees at This is a 31 part tutorial for beginners to start their genealogy work.

There are many more pages at Rootsweb that can help you find your ancestors and your family history. Check out Note that, even though Rootsweb is part of the domain, all web pages, past and present, that are identified as Rootsweb are free to access and use.

Friday, June 20, 2008

LDS FamilySearch Web Site Highlights

As part of the CVGS Beginning Genealogy class this week, I was asked to provide a list of some FREE genealogy web sites that can help researchers find information.

One of the sites I selected was the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) site This web site has significant genealogy resources, including:

1) Family History Library Catalog – Search for Books, Manuscripts, etc in FHL Collection at
This site allows you to search for Surname, Locality and Ethnic/Social Group Books and Manuscripts in their collections. The Microfilm and Microfiche items listed can be ordered at local LDS Family History Centers (FHCs).

2) Online Databases at --, including --

* 1880 US Census, 1881 Canada Census, 1881 UK Census transcriptions (no images) with Every Name Indices
* Ancestral File – search for submitted family data (error-prone, all member submitted)
* Pedigree Resource File – search for submitted family data (member submitted, edited)
* International Genealogical Index (IGI) -- search for extracted data items (error-prone if member submitted)
* Record Search Pilot Databases - The LDS is currently imaging and indexing many of the microfilms and microfiches in their collection. When image collections and indexes are completed (or partially completed), they are put on this web site for access by anyone.

3) Research Outlines – States, Countries, Special Groups, Topics -- These Research Outlines provide information about the records available for each state, country, group or topic treated. Many are in PDF form and can be downloaded.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Pennsylvania Historical Records Access

There is a grassroots movement to encourage the Pennsylvania state government to permit open access to Pennsylvania death records older than 50 years. The People for Better Pennsylvania Historical Records Access (PaHR-Access) web site, with information, sample letters, and mailing addresses, is

This site says:

"Currently, all death certificates recorded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania since 1906 have restricted access regardless of how long ago a person died. Pennsylvania Division of Vital Records regulations require the requester to supply several pieces of information (including when and where the person died), spend $9 and wait 5 weeks or longer for each and every death certificate. A requester is also required to have a direct relationship to the deceased in order to obtain a copy of a death certificate. Often a requester doesn’t know if the person is related and needs the death certificate to find out. This is especially true when compiling family histories and trying to find the descendants of a common ancestor. The information a requester is expected to supply is quite often the very information a requester is looking for and the very reason for wanting a death certificate.

"Many of us have experienced the frustration of either being told the death certificate could not be found or being sent the wrong certificate. Yes, a requester can pay $34 for an extended search of up to a ten year window with the charge of an additional $25 for each extension to that search window. To say the least this is quite costly to the requester and very time consuming for the Division of Vital Records. Sadly it doesn’t always result in a successful search and the fee is not refunded.

"Also Pennsylvania doesn’t have a publicly accessible index to see if the person even died in Pennsylvania. So it becomes an expensive guessing game that doesn’t always result in finding a death certificate even when the person actually died in Pennsylvania. Because of the many burdensome and counterintuitive restrictions, the public is not able to use these historic records as much as they should be able to.

"We understand the concerns about privacy. However, there is no practical reason to keep all of these records restricted indefinitely. Therefore, our basic proposal is that the death certificates that would be accessible online by the public would have to be at least 50 years old. Currently that would mean only the death certificates of persons who died before 1958 would be made accessible. As each year passes the next year in line would be made accessible online to the public."

Read the entire web page, and if you feel moved to write a letter, please do that.

Many of our CVGS members have Pennsylvania ancestry, and the lack of online death records after 1906 is very frustrating.

There is really no good reason that Pennsylvania should not put more recent death records in an online index or make the actual death certificates available for free - other states do it as a public service.

Searching the Rootsweb Mailing List Archives

One of the most interesting genealogy tasks I pursue every year is to search the Rootsweb-sponsored and archived Mailing Lists. This used to be very difficult when you had to select a specific list and search it month-by-month.

Now, you can search one specific or all of the lists at Rootsweb using a search box at If you choose the Advanced Search tab, you can specify search terms that are in the body of a message, in a subject line, on a specific list or posted on a specific date (such as June 2005, 2005, or a range such as 2005-2007).

If you just input a surname in the "Body" section of the search box, you will receive a list of every post with the surname in the text of the posts, including the submitter of the post.

I use this Mailing List Archive Search box on a yearly basis to:

1) Find information submitted about my major family surnames - Seaver, Carringer, Vaux, Auble, Dill, etc. I go through them one by one and determine if I need to add the information to my database. Who knows, I may discover a distant cousin in the process.

2) Look for information about a specific person, especially for common surnames like Smith, Miller, Johnson, etc. If you get too many hits, for a common given name and surname, you can add a town or county to narrow the search.

For instance, I can search the entire mailing list database for "Ranslow Smith" (using the quote marks) and find that there are only 3 posts with that search term, all of them mine, unfortunately! If I search for "Russell Smith" I get 2,218 matches, but if I specify "Russell Smith" AND Jefferson NY, I get 10 matches in the specific area I'm searching for him.

3) Look for information posted by a specific person. You can put the person's name or email address in the "From" line. This can be useful if you find an older mailing list post and want to contact the author, but the given email address doesn't work. If you input the author's name in the "From" box you may find a more recent email address.

The Search of the Rootsweb Mailing List Archives is really pretty useful and time-saving. And it's FREE!

I noticed that, as of today, there are 33,668,488 documents in this Rootsweb Mailing List Archives, dating from the early 1990's.

This is a fantastic resource, especially for researchers just starting their search.

The posts are also found using a Google search using appropriate search terms.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Kentucky Land Office Records

A CVGS colleague passed the Kentucky Secretary of State web page to me to check out for Kentucky Land Records.

There is a PowerPoint presentation, with accompanying notes, on this web site that provides historical information about colonial history, colonial land claims, the land patent process in the 1800's, and how to obtain these records.

The Powerpoint presentation (warning, over 10 mb) of the Land Office program from the May 10, 2008 workshop co-sponsored by the Kentucky Genealogical Society and Kentucky Historical Society is here. The accompanying supplemental notes are here in PDF format.

The information that is online at the Kentucky Secretary of State web page includes (see for all databases):

* Virginia & Old Kentucky Series: Patents authorized by: Revolutionary War Warrants; Certificates of Settlement & Preemption Warrants; and Treasury Warrants
* West of Tennessee River Military Series
* Jackson Purchase Locator
* County Court Order Series Database (over 8200 patents link to scanned images)

Land records that are not online include:

* South of Green River Series
* Kentucky Land Warrants Series
* Tellico Series* South of Walker’s Line Series (Tennessee Land)
* West of Tennessee River Non-Military Series (use the online Jackson Purchase Locator to determine location of these patents)

This is a wonderful resource for historians and genealogists. If only every state or county would do something like this, our research efforts would be enhanced and quicker.

Thanks to Susi P for passing this on from the KYMERCER mailing list.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Research Group Summary - 11 June 2008

The June meeting of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society Research Group was today at the Library, with 10 persons in attendance, including one non-member.
We went around the table at the beginning of the meeting to see what each person was doing in their research.

* John requested four obituaries from Columbus, Ohio via Inter-Library Loan (ILL) and received them within 10 days for $5 to the CV library. They were faxed from Columbus to Chula Vista.

* Joan re-submitted her vital records request to Pennsylvania with the correct fee (she hopes). She's going to start research on her Wallace family.

* Dearl reviewed the Confederate Pension file that he received from the Texas State Archives.

* Charlotte is working on her Dodworth family in Sheffield in England, but has had little time due to family commitments. She will be gone on vacation until August and will visit family in Canada and Kentucky (lucky girl!).

* Shirley H is helping a lady in Tennessee work on a DAR lineage.

* Virginia ordered an Ohio Valley history book on ILL. She is getting her papers organized in folders.

* Shirley B went to the FHC last Saturday, and found census records for her elusive Wright family. Some records confused her more, and some revealed secrets.

* Dick has been working on to correct information in a Texas graveyard, and corresponded with a friend who photographed gravestones in his hometown.

* Ray is just starting out, and has input the family information he has into FamilyTreeMaker. He asked for web sites and databases that might have information on his families.

* Randy described his forays into Legacy Version 7, The Master Genealogist Version 7, RootsMagic Version 3, and Family Tree Builder 2.0. He also talked about the Unclaimed Persons forum on Facebook.

After the table round, Randy briefly discussed the Genealogy News of the Month, highlighting the databases for states mentioned around the table.

During Question time, Shirley H asked if Revolutionary War veterans were identified in any census records? John noted that the 1840 census identified Rev War veterans by name even if they weren't head of household.

Shirley B wondered if the early volumes of The American Genealogist were available in San Diego. Randy said he thought they were on the shelf at the SD
Family History Center.

Joan recently received a stack of land records from a Minnesota historical society, and asked about their value to her. Several noted that these records may identify siblings or children, the location of the land, the place the buyer resided, neighbors and witnesses who might be family members, etc.

Randy posed a research question about a recent query - a James B. Garrett resided in Justice Precinct 5 in Kaufman County, Texas in the 1880 and 1900 census. The correspondent wanted to know how he could identify the land that was sharecropped by Garrett. John suggested finding the names of owners of land near Garrett in the census records, then finding that owner's name on a plat map or in land records to identify the approximate location. Shirley recommended using that information to find tax lists, voter registration lists, the 1880 agricultural census, and other local records to try to identify neighbors and associates of Garrett.

Randy provided the syllabus material from the last two seminars to Ray to help him get started in online research. After the meeting, Randy showed Ray the library computer terminals and how to access Ancestry Library Edition on them.

This meeting had excellent sharing to answer questions and recommend ways to solve research problems.

Genealogy News Summary for June, 2008

Here is the Genealogy News for June sent out to the CVGS member email list today and discussed at today's CVGS Research Group.


* -- Steve Morse's One-Stop web site has added Phonetic Name Matching, Searching Naturalization Records in One Step, Searching Reference Books, New Orleans Ship Records, French Revolutionary Calendar Converter and Muslim Calendar Converter, and an Arabic Transliterator

* -- New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston launched a new Web portal highlighting the wide range of databases, publications, and articles focusing on New York state research. This is a subscription site.

* now searches across more than 12 billion records in over 1,500 databases to provide you the most extensive genealogy searches available anywhere on the Internet, and it's free. It also takes a long time to complete!

* has Holland Land Company Maps at the State University of New York (SUNY Fredonia).These maps are mainly about New York state and western New York at that - from Herkimer County west, but also contain early maps from Pennsylvania to Maine to Georgia and points in between.

* Genealogy Sleuth - research by country, state, record type, etc. - see:

** United States:;
** International Genealogy Sleuth - ttp://;
** Specialty Sites for Genealogy Research (Belgium, Danish, German, Great Britain, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Polish, Romanian, Slovakian, Swedish, Swiss and West Indies) -


a) - subscription site (US = $155.40, World = $299.40, now available for FREE at San Diego FHC has Ancestry Institution with World databases, or at Chula Vista, Carlsbad, San Diego City and San Diego County Public Libraries which have Ancestry Library Edition); Ancestry has over 7 billion names in over 25,800 databases. See new content at New databases include:

** Tennessee Tombstone Inscriptions, Manuscripts, Bible Records, Will Books, etc.

** North Carolina Death Certificates, 1909-1975.

** Many Virginia genealogy books

** Updated England and Wales Birth, Marriage and Death Indexes, 1837-1983.

Borders Bookstore in Plaza Bonita has Ancestry World Deluxe collection available for FREE access on their computer system. See

b) - subscription site (US = $49.95 for 2 years, World = $149.95, now available for FREE access at the San Diego FHC) has over 9,200 databases, over 1 billion names. Recently added content is at New items are FREE at WVR for 10 days. New databases include:

** over 800 databases from the Godfrey Memorial Library. The databases include books in the categories of correspondence, family histories, genealogies, biographies, memoirs, autobiographies, diaries and from extracts from diaries, and writings and works of famous people.

** 30 years of Naval Academy content from The Naval Academy database contains a complete list of all of the midshipmen who attended the academy. The database also provides interesting details about the midshipmen, such as their personalities, likes, dislikes, nicknames, what they were known for, as well as historical information.

c) - subscription site ($59.96 annual retail, $7.95 monthly, now available for FREE at San Diego FHC, they offer 7-day FREE trial) has 382 Titles, over 37 million images, over 1 million images free. Content list at Information added this month includes:

** The entire collection of military photos will be made permanently free on the site. The collection features over 80,000 photos from WWII and Vietnam making it the largest collection of its kind on the web.

** 1860 US Census is now 81% complete.

** Confederate Soldiers for AL, GA, MS, LA, TX, TN, SC, NC, VA (partially complete

d) - subscription site (trial $9.95 for one month, $69.95 for 12 months) has archives for 2,500 U.S. newspapers in all 50 states, from the 1600s to the present day, with over 224 million family history records, over 28 million obituaries, more than 119 million historical newspaper articles, and more than 11,700 historical books.

** Added content from 126 newspapers in 23 states.

e) - a UK subscription site (30 days 14.95 pounds, 12 months 89.95 pounds, also pay-per-view options) offers England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland databases.

** Added to its collection of over 10 million National Burial Index records, which go back to 1538. These parish records are crucial for any family historian as they predate the start of civil registration in England and Wales in 1837. The index gives the date and place of burial as well as age at death

f) - the LDS FREE site for indexed and browsable databases -- recent new content includes:

** 1850 US Census indexing is 67% complete (100% browsable)

** England Baptisms and Marriages, 1700 to 1900 (LDS contributed records)

** Mexico Baptisms and Marriages, 1700 to 1900 (LDS contributed records)

** Texas Death Index and Certificates, 1890-1976 - 100% complete.

** Philadelphia, PA Marriage Indexes, 1885-1951 - index only, not searchable.

** West Virginia Birth Index, 1853-1930 (indexing 36% complete)


* The Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree is June 27-29, 2008 in Burbank. See for more information.

*, a leading online genealogy course provider, has recently partnered with, Inc. to provide free introductory courses exclusively to members.

* has created a number of new Webinars - all of the ones available are listed here. All Webinars are free to anyone - you don't have to be an Ancestry subscriber. The upcoming Webinars that you can participate in (you do have to register) include:

** June 17, 2008 8:00 PM EDT - Irish Ancestry - Part of the Ethnic Ancestry Seminar Series;
** June 24, 2008 8:00 PM EDT - Polish Ancestry - Part of the Ethnic Ancestry Seminar Series;
** July 1, 2008 8:00 PM EDT - Italian Ancestry - Part of the Ethnic Ancestry Seminar Series.

The Archived Webinar videos can be viewed any time, you just can't participate in the Webinar. The recently archived Webinars include:

** New Enhancements to FTM 2008 (presented June 5, 2008);
** English Ancestry (presented June 3, 2008); Introduction to Family Trees on Ancestry (presented May 27, 2008);
** June 10, 2008 8:00 PM EDT - German Ancestry - Part of the Ethnic Ancestry Seminar Series;

* The Ancestry Store is offering a FREE eBook titled "Military Records at" by Esther Yu Sumner, published in 2007 by The Generations Network. You can download the eBook in PDF format from here. The file is large - 16.9 mb, so you will need a cable or DSL connection or better.

* The Learn Web Skills ( web site provides tutorial instruction in genealogy research to individuals working alone or in a group. The site has an online genealogy tutorial that is excellent for both beginning and veteran Internet online researchers. See


* Millennia Corporation has released Legacy Family Tree version 7.0 for Microsoft Windows. The program offers Wall Charts, Automated Mapping, SourceWriter and a host of new features (Deluxe version is $29.95 downloaded). They offer a FREE Standard version that has many, but not all, of the features of the Deluxe version.

* Family Tree Builder 2.0 can be downloaded for FREE from

* The Master Genealogist (TMG) Version 7 can be downloaded from and used for a one-month free trial.


* Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland ( announced that the National Library of Ireland now allows public access to their microfilm copies of Roman Catholic parish registers for Cashel & Emly, Cloyne and Kerry. The National Library’s collection of microfilms covers the surviving pre-1881 baptismal and marriage records of almost all Roman Catholic parishes throughout Ireland. These records are fundamental to genealogical research for most people of Irish descent.

* The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and The Generations Network, Inc., parent company of, today announced an agreement that makes millions of historical records more easily available to the American public. The agreement allows for the ongoing digitization of a wealth of historical content, including immigration, birth, marriage, death and military records.

* The US Citizenship and Immigration Service (CIS) rules for a fee-for-service genealogy program will go into effect on August 13, 2008. The cost per index or record/file request (from a microfilm) will be $20 and $35 for a textual record. The types of historical records available under the new program are: -

** Naturalization certificate files(C-files) from September 27, 1906-April 1, 1956 (from all federal, state, municipal courts and more);
** Microfilmed alien registration forms from August 1, 1940 to March 31, 1944; - Visa files from July 1, 1924 to March 31, 1944; - Registry files from March 2, 1929 to March 31, 1944; Alien files numbered below 8 million and dated prior to May 1,1951

To request records under this new program, a special form must be used: Form G-1041 for index or Form G 1041A for records request. Requests may be submitted electronically on the electronic forms through its site When requests are made online then payment form used MUST be a credit card.

*, a non-profit, volunteer based organization dedicated to providing genealogical and historical records and resources for world-wide access, recently partnered with, Inc.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

CVGS in the News today!

The June 7, 2008 edition of the San Diego Union-Tribune has a long article about the Chula Vista Genealogical Society activities and some family history information from several members. The article is titled "Genealogical sleuths search for the facts of individual lives" by Michelle Ganon, and it was published on Page 1 of the Our South County section, with a continuation on page 3. The article includes two pictures of our May program speaker, Jackie Webster, who spoke on "Scottish Research."

The article, without the photographs, can be read at I'm not sure how long it will stay on the web site.

Here are photographs of the two pages with the article.

The reporter, Michelle Ganon, contacted me by phone about two weeks ago, and sent me a list of questions by email. I responded to them, and invited her to attend our meeting on Wednesday, 30 May, to interview some of our members. She came with a photographer,. The photographer took pictures during our meeting.

Michelle stayed an extra hour after the meeting and interviewed a number of CVGS members. Then she followed up by email and phone with several people, including talking to my wife about her experiences as a "genealogy widow." Michelle did a great job on the article - weaving facts on the society in with family history stories of our members.

Our society really appreciates this effort by Michelle Ganon and the Union-Tribune to spread the news about our society, its history, purpose, and the stories.

Note:Newspaper page photos by Randy Seaver, 7 June 2008.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Genealogy Days in Chula Vista for June

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society events for June 2008 include:

** Wednesday, June 11, 12 noon, Chula Vista Civic Center Library -- CVGS Research Group meets in the Library Conference Room. We will review the latest genealogy news, share success stories and information, and discuss members research problems, and potential solutions, based on the collective knowledge and wisdom of the group.

** Wednesday, June 18, 12 noon, Chula Vista Civic Center Library -- CVGS Computer Group meets in the Library Computer Lab. We will visit some new genealogy web sites and/or Ancestry Library Edition (ALE) databases. This is an opportunity for those members who haven't used computers for genealogy research to practice with a mentor to guide them. It is also an opportunity for members who don't have an Ancestry subscription to dig into the ALE databases.

** Wednesday, June 25, 12 noon, Chula Vista Civic Center Library -- monthly Society Program Meeting is held in the Auditorium. This meeting has a short business meeting with announcements of meetings and activities, followed by a presentation on a topic of genealogy and family history interest. At this meeting, Dr. Stephen Baird (of UCSD) will present "DNA 101 - Genetics for Beginners."

Beginning Genealogy classes will be taught on Saturdays, June 14 and 21, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. by Bernice Heiter in the Library Conference Room. The class is free, but the handout materials are $10. Please contact Bernice to register for this two-session class (

On Monday afternoons (12 noon to 2 PM) - June 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30 - Genealogy Table Talk with Dearl Glenn and John Finch in the Family Research section of the Chula Vista Civic Center Library. They ready and willing to help people with their research, discuss a problem or success, or just tell stories.

The Chula Vista Civic Center Library is located at 365 "F" Street in Chula Vista - between Third Avenue and Fourth Avenue, midway between I-5 and I-805 (take the "E" Street exit from the freeways.

We welcome guests and visitors to our CVGS programs and events - if you are in the Chula Vista area and want to attend our events - please come and introduce yourselves. If you have questions, please email Randy at or phone 619-422-3397.

Monday, June 2, 2008 FREE at Borders Bookstore

Borders Bookstores announced their "Concept Store" on 14 February 2008 in Ann Arbor MI, and Dick Eastman was probably the first to notice that the announcement included a sentence:

"Customers interested in tracing their roots can access 'Borders Genealogy Services' provided by, and because many Borders customers are authors looking to publish their own work, the Digital Center also includes 'Borders Personal Publishing' powered by"

In March, DearMYRTLE also wrote about the Concept Store and the opening of a store in Las Vegas that included this sentence:

"The store blends digital and Internet options with a fresh new look, enriching in-store services, and a number of exciting features to create a uniquely satisfying customer shopping experience. "

Our CVGS colleague John Finch told me the other day that a new Borders Bookstore had opened at the Westfield Bonita Plaza shopping center in National City, and that they had on their computers for patrons to use.

I wandered over there to check out the new Concept Store and see what they had for family history researchers. I am really impressed!!!

First, they do have Ancestry Institution (which is an Ancestry World Deluxe collection, minus some features, such as DNA, Publish and Store) on three computers in the central technology area, plus six more computers scattered around the books and other products. You can check out the historical records, family trees, stories and publications and photos and maps sections. The Ancestry capabilities are identical to what are at the 13 Regional Family History Centers (including San Diego). At this time, a customer can print out pages for free in this store! The guy who I talked to said someone was there for three hours the other day and printed a whole handful of papers.

The central technology area has several kiosks - one for Family History, one for Personal Publishing using Lulu, and one for creating Photo Albums. In the Family History area, there is a book display for family history books, including "Using FamilyTreeMaker 2008," "Finding Your Mexican Ancestors," "Finding Your Irish Ancestors," and several others.

They are also selling FamilyTreeMaker 2008 software (plus a training DVD and several other e-books) in three different forms -

* $29.99 with a one-month Ancestry US Deluxe subscription.

* $59.99 with a three-month Ancestry US Deluxe subscription.

* $99.99 with a six-month Ancestry US Deluxe subscription.

Each of those is a pretty good bargain if you want FTM 2008 and an Ancestry subscription.

This seems like an excellent marketing strategy by both Ancestry and Borders. Ancestry gets people interested and sells their software and subscriptions, and Borders makes something from the sales. And it's a one-stop shop for people who want to make a photo album easily, or publish a book easily. However, they are not offering Internet access.

I wondered how our genealogy society can take advantage of this opportunity, and I thought of:

* Encourage our members to use the Ancestry Institution down at Borders - the more people who use it, the longer they will keep it. Even if they charge for printing at some time, it is still a bargain. It's also closer and more accessible for our members who don't want to go all the way to or on the freeway to the FHC.

* Determine if Borders will refer patrons to our society if they ask about it. Perhaps we can put our brochures in the Family History area.

* Offer beginning genealogy classes to Borders patrons - see if they will take signups for classes at the library.

* See if they want a "genealogy consultant" on a regular basis to help people use Ancestry. Sounds like fun!

To top it off, they have a coffee shop inside the Borders store and the food court is right outside the front door. I may go shopping more often! It was interesting to see the emphasis on technology items - CDs, DVDs, photos, e-books, audio-books, genealogy, etc. in addition to the traditional book selections. They aren't selling expensive hardware (not computers or cameras) but they are selling MP3 players, photo frames, music by the song, CDs, DVDs, movies, etc. They are also selling "bring-it-in-services" and software.

If you don't have an Ancestry World subscription, this is an opportunity to access all of Ancestry's databases for FREE without driving to Mission Valley.

The LearnWebSkills Online Tutorial

The Learn Web Skills ( web site provides tutorial instruction in genealogy research to individuals working alone or in a group. The site has an online genealogy tutorial that is excellent for both beginning and veteran Internet online researchers. The tutorial is in six modules:

I- Getting Started (Home Sources, Charts, Recording Information, Citing Resources)

II - Using Online Resources (Online Databases, Search Engines, Directories)

III - Gathering Key Records (Vital Records, Federal Census Records)

IV - Exploring Further (Probate Records, Church Records, Military Records, Newspapers)

V - Sharing Information (Discussion Lists, Message Boards, Software Programs)

VI - Quiz

Module II, provides tutorials for:

1) Social Security Death Index
2) Rootsweb WorldConnect Project Database
3) LDS FamilySearch Databases
4) Ellis Island Database
5) Castle Garden Database
6) (only the 1880 Census)
7) Google Search Engine
8) Cyndi's List
9) USGenWeb Project

In each tutorial, there is a summary of the database or web site, and links for Demonstration or Practice. If you click on Demonstration, you will get step-by-step directions in the left-hand frame for how to use the database of web site with examples shown in the right-hand frame. If you click on Practice, then the step-by-step directions appear in the left-hand frame, the actual web site input boxes and results are in the right hand frame, and you can input your own ancestors into the databases.

This web site has just provided a new tutorial for Researching Your Patriot Ancestor. This tutorial series has four modules:

* Getting Started (includes Home Sources, Social Security Death Index, and Chart basics)

* Finding a Revolutionary War Patriot (includes the Rootsweb WorldConnect database, census records, FamilySearch, Google, and DAR/SAR Patriot lookups)

* Documenting the Lineage (includes the SSDI,,, Family History Library Catalog, and

It all works beautifully. And it is free! The tutorial is fairly simple to use and accesses only freely available online databases.

However, a similar tutorial that utilizes commercial web sites such as Ancestry, WorldVitalRecords, Footnote, GenealogyBank, NewEnglandAncestors and others might be useful to those who have access to these sites (for instance, at home, at a library, at the LDS Family History Library, and selected LDS Family History Centers).

The whole tutorial can be used to provide a fairly complete course on how to effectively pursue genealogy research on the Internet. IMHO, it is much better than any static lecture course because the student can see a demonstration and then practice using the databases with the step-by-step directions on the screen.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Early Western New York Maps

Tim Stowell on the NYDUTCHE (Dutchess County NY) mailing list posted a message with the following link:,

under which is the Holland Land Company Maps at the State University of New York (SUNY Fredonia). These maps are mainly about New York state and western New York at that - from Herkimer west, but also contain early maps from Pennsylvania to Maine to Georgia and points in between.

This is a wonderful map site with many maps that I haven't seen before for much of upstate and western New York. I had hoped to find a map that shows the lots for the Jellis Fonda Patent in Oneida County, but didn't see one.