Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Ken Kramer's "About San Diego" Program

The Wednesday, 28 January CVGS program featured Ken Kramer, the Channel 7/39 host of the "About San Diego" local history program. Ken's curriculum vitae was posted here.

We had 64 persons in attendance today - pretty good considering our membership is only 93. There were 23 visitors, including several genealogy spouses, and quite a few from the community who had seen the notice in the newspaper and a local email political newsletter.

Ken talked about the development of the TV show, his own career, many examples of interesting San Diego area stories, and showed three videos of South Bay stories. Few people in the audience were aware of the Otay River flood in 1916, the Otay Watch Works and the Salt Factory on San Diego Bay.

Ken said he grew up in Los Angeles watching "Ralph Story's Los Angeles" stories on Channel 2. His goal for the "About San Diego" show is to celebrate the history of the area, the beauty of the county, and give viewers a sense of place - so that they consider it "theirs" - they identify as a San Diegan. The vignettes are really about "who we are" - stories about people and places in our home town.

There are some stories that Ken said he gets asked about all of the time -

* the midget houses (built for the munchkins in "Wizard of Oz") on Mount Soledad (not true - they just look small from the road when you look down on them);

* the Belmont Park roller coaster that went off the track and crashed into the Jack-in-the-Box next door (not true, it was a Taco Bell...wait, not true at all, never happened);

* Thomas Edison stayed in the Hotel del Coronado around 1900 and when the lights dimmed he went to the basement and added coal to the boilers (not true - the electric works weren't in the Hotel basement).

He mentioned how several street names were derived:

* "Lanoitan Street" in National City: "National" backwards is "Lanoitan."

* "Espola Road" in North County is not a Spanish name - it is the first two letters of EScondido, POway and LAkeside put together

* Pomerado Road" in North County is not a Spanish name - it is a combination of POway, MERton and RAncho bernarDO put together.

There were true stories from long ago:

* In the late 1880's, the city of San Diego contracted for a flume to bring water from the Cuyamaca Mountains to the city. When it was built, the city mayor, California governor and other dignitaries were put in little boats and sent down the flume - a wild ride before Mr. Toad! At the San Diego terminus, the valve was opened and nothing came out. So they hooked the valve up to the old water system, opened the valve, and the politicians praised the fresh, er, brackish water they'd been drinking previously.

* In the 1960's, Regis Philbin had a local TV show and took a Marine Drill Instructor along to spend the night in the Whaley House in Old Town (which was supposed to be haunted). By 11 p.m., the Marine was out in the middle of the street and wouldn't go back in the house, and Regis said that he would never go in the house again.

* In 1916, the City hired a rainmaker, Charles Hatfield, to fill Lake Morena in the back country for $10,000. Hatfield set up his rainmaking apparatus and put chemicals into the air, and it started to rain soon after, and didn't stop for days. After 22 inches of rain, the rivers and streams overflowed, the Otay Dam broke and washed away farms, people and livestock in the river valley below the dam, resulting in $8 million in damages. Hatfield wanted his money, and the city agreed, but said Hatfield had to be liable for any damages. He left town quickly.

Ken's current television show, "About San Diego" airs on Saturday and Sunday nights at 6 p.m. on Channel 7/39. Original episodes are shown on Sunday nights, and the Saturday shows are repeats about three months later. He has just signed with KOGO-600 AM to do segments in the morning show. He is also working on a book "About San Diego" and hopes to have it published by Christmas. Ken promised to come back to Chula Vista for a book signing. And more stories "About San Diego."

The audience really enjoyed Ken's personality, his career stories and the stories about the places we live and work. There seems to be a thirst for knowledge about local history in the population, partially because most people are from someplace else, and partially because our busy lives prevent us from reading local history books at our leisure.

For our genealogy society, this was a superb program. It brought many community people in who are non-members. Hopefully, it will cause some of them to join our society and discover the fun of genealogy and family history.

Monday, January 26, 2009

"About San Diego and the South Bay" Program on Wednesday, 28 January

The next program meeting of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society is Wednesday, 28 January at 12 noon at the Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library (365 F Street) in the Auditorium. There will be a brief business meeting before the speaker is introduced.

Ken Kramer is our featured speaker with his program "About San Diego and the South Bay." Ken is known to most San Diego residents for his "About San Diego" radio and television broadcasts that bring us interesting, humorous, historical and always entertaining anecdotes of our city and region. His series "About San Diego" has been honored by the Council of California History, the Save Our Heritage Organization, and has won several national awards for excellence in writing and reporting.

Ken has been in broadcasting since he was a kid and experimented with a home constructed radio broadcasting station. He now has more than 30 years experience and has won 10 "Golden Mike" Awards, 5 Emmy Awards and numerous local awards.

Currently, Ken is a contributing reporter for NBC, Channel 7/39 in San Diego. His "About San Diego" program airs at 6 p.m. on Saturdays. You can see video clips, take San Diego quizzes and learn more about Ken on his web page at

CVGS welcomes guests and visitors to all of our meetings. Please enter through the Conference Room door in the east hallway of the library in order to sign in, pick up handouts, have a snack and chat with genealogy friends and colleagues. The meeting will start in the Auditorium at about 12:20 p.m.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

CVGS Computer Group on 1/21/09

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society Computer Group meeting was held in the Library Conference Room on Wednesday, 21 January, because of a schedule conflict with another party that signed up for the computer lab. They didn't show up...but we stayed in our assined place. There were eight of us in the meeting.

Randy, Gary and Shirley had their laptops running, but no one could get a signal for the wireless Internet in the room. This is a constant frustration for us - we are so close... Randy started out hooked up to the projector.

Shirley opened the meeting asking if people had any computer-related problems that the group might be able to address.

A question was asked about Automatic Updates - how do you control when they are performed? We recommended going to Start>Control Panel>Automatic Updates and clicking the bullet for Automatic Updates and pick the day and time for them - pick the middle of the night if you leave your computer on all night. If you don't want to do that, then pick one of the other buttons to suit your pleasure.

A question was asked about accessing and using the Queries board on the Ohio USGenWeb web site. There is a Queries link in the top menu, and clicking that takes you to a query board. The user has to log in (if already registered) or register (fill out a form, wait for email confirmation and acceptance) and then will be allowed to use the Query Board.

Randy had Family Tree Maker 2008 on the screen, and since almost everyone in the group used some version of FTM, he showed some of the features of FTM 2008. Unfortunately, the Places screen couldn't show the Microsoft Earth maps since the Internet wasn't available in the conference room. Likewise for the Web Search screen. He showed the People screen, the Publish screen, and the Media screen. He showed several different charts and reports from the Publish screen, including an ahnentafel report and a descendants report. On the Media screen, he brought a photograph of his father into FTM 2008 (from his My Pictures file) and made it the thumbnail photo for his father.

Gary then connected his laptop to the projector, and demonstrated the Family Tree Builder 3.0 program. He used this program to create large genealogy reports for his ancestry, and he scrolled through the created report.

We hope to be back in the Computer Lab next month for the Computer Group meeting. Unfortunately, the Lab computers are not equipped to access web pages using Flash technology in Internet Explorer, so that limits the use of some genealogy web sites like the Record Search on and

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

CVGS Research Group Summary - 14 January 2009

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society Research Group met at the library today. Twelve fun-loving genealogists were there to share their research experiences and offer help to several attendees.

Randy Seaver just returned from a visit to The Generations Network (TGN) and the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. He summarized his invited visit and tour of the TGN facilities, and the discussions with TGN staff about, Family Tree Maker 2009, and more. He had two days at the FHL and got a lot of research done.

Gary Brock is still working on his Roff surname in western New York in 1805. He has been looking at Quaker records and New York records. He's going to look for other Roff families searching for ties to his line.

Joan Largey is starting to research her mother's line. A grandmother came from England in the late 1800's at age 14 with her family that settled in Minnesota. An obituary and death certificate provided her parents names, so she asked what records to find next. The group suggested death records for the parents, naturalization records for the father, immigration records, US and England census records, and the English civil Registration records for the parents (or parish registers if before 1837). The web site was recommended as a place to obtain records for a reasonable price per unit.

Rita Clamser has started researching her husband's family. Apparently, there are no photographs from the family because "we didn't like our picture taken." She has data on his father and grandfather (parents born in Holland). She wanted to know how to find where in Holland. The group suggested obituaries, death records, census, immigration and naturalization records to determine the ancestral home and family members.

Shirley Becker brought a large map of New York State from 1804, which she bought recently on a web site. It is absolutely beautiful, even in black and white, with all of the rivers and streams and townships as they were in 1804. She is also working more on file organization and hopes to have a presentation for CVGS in April.

Shirley Harper brought in an article on DNA research in the magazine Neurology and passed it around.

Virginia Taylor summarized the SDGS meeting on 10 January with Lloyd Bockstruck, who gave four presentations to about 200 people. One of the talks was about Illegitimacy, and that records can be found in churches, and in name changes approved by state legislatures.

Dave McCracken thinks that one of his great-grandfathers in PA was named Robert Huntsinger and had his name changed to Emanuel Lehr after being adopted by a Lehr family. The group suggested he search for guardianship and court records in the specific PA county.

Dick McNulty is still waiting for the FBI to send him more information about his uncle, a resident of Leavenworth Prison, McNeil Island prison in WA, and other state prison systems. The uncle was incarcerated for stealing stamps from post offices. Dick's son was fascinated by the 200 page file already available, but said it was "disgusting."

John Finch submitted a query to a Pennsylvania genealogical society and received an answer - they found nothing that would help him.

Randy Seaver finished off the meeting telling about his research "finds" at the FHL - marriage certificates for several of Ed M's ancestors, probate records for his Smith family in Andrew County MO, and deeds for his Vaux family in Andrew County, MO.

The next CVGS Research Group meeting will be on Wednesday, 11 February in the Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library Conference Room (365 F Street, Chula Vista CA).

Genealogy News Summary for January 2009

Here's the genealogy news for late December and early November:


* - Papers of the U.S. War Department 1784-1800 are in this collection of more than 55,000 documents in a free, online format with extensive and searchable metadata linked to digitized images of each document, thereby insuring free access for a wide range of users.
* - The online Family Health History Tool allows people to create a comprehensive family health history report that can be used by a healthcare professional. It is capable of charting complex family relationships and storing pertinent family health information in standardized pedigree nomenclature. It will reduce the amount of time that doctors and other health professionals spend in collecting data, thereby allowing for more time to be spent in evaluation and defining treatment.

* - Ask Olive Tree Genealogy a Question. Do you need help finding an ancestor? Do you have a genealogy question you would like to ask Lorine Schulze McGinnis? Do you want to know where to find certain genealogy records?

* - David Allen Lambert has started a Question of the Day feature on the web site of the New England Historical and Genealogical Society (NEHGS).

* - Michael John Neill's Find Famous People in the Census features contests (you can win valuable prizes) and examples of famous people found in the census records.

* - Sharon E. Sergeant and Colleen Fitzpatrick have a web site dedicated to describing forensic genealogy efforts to uncover fraudulent genealogy and family history claims.

* - State census records finder (not a complete list).


a) at - subscription site (US = $155.40, World = $299.40) - now available for FREE at San Diego FHC (Institution with World databases) or San Diego City or County Public Libraries (Ancestry Library Edition). Ancestry has over 7 billion names in over 27,100 databases. See new content at New databases this month include:

* 1900 U.S. Federal Census updated - includes revised index prepared by FamilySearch Indexing.
* US Naturalization Records 1791-1992 (World Archives Project) - This collection is currently being indexed by World Archives Project contributors. It contains images of paper indexes to naturalization records (primarily Declarations and Petitions) for various courts (primarily U.S. District and Circuit courts) and years.
* Wisconsin Divorce Records, 1965-1984
* Delaware Marriage Records, 1744-1912
* Florida State Census, 1867-1945
* Sweden Births from Sweden Death Index, 1947-2006 (in Swedish, need World subscription).
* U.K. City and County Directories, 1600s-1900s - This database is a collection of directories (street, commercial, trade, court, post office, etc.) for various areas of the United Kingdom from the 1600s to the 1900s. (need UK or World subscription)
* Netherlands Births and Christenings, 1608-1882; Netherlands Marriages 1637-1892 (in Dutch, need World subscription)
* Denmark Births and Christenings, 1631-1900s; Denmark Marriages, 1631-1900s (in Danish, need World subscription)

What's coming soon at Ancestry? Check out

b) - subscription site (US = $39.95 for 1 year, World = $119.95 for 1 year) -- now available for FREE at the San Diego FHC. Over 11,000 databases, over 1.35 billion names. Recently added content is at New US items are FREE at WVR for 10 days. New databases include:

* 25 titles of United Kingdom vital records from the Anguline Research Archives (ARA). Many of the databases in this collection contain parish registers.
* Abstracts of Wills and Inventories, Fairfax County, Virginia, 1742–1801
Forks of Elkhorn Church: With Genealogies of Early Members Reprinted with Numerous Additions and Corrections
* Early New York Naturalizations: Abstracts of Naturalizations Records from Federal, State, and Local Courts, 1792–1840
* Families of Ancient New Haven, Volumes 1 and 2
* Barbour Collection of Connecticut Town Vital Records, 27 volumes of the 55-volume-set that covers 137 towns and includes 14,333 typed pages.

c) - subscription site ($69.96 annual retail, $11.95 monthly) - now available for FREE at San Diego FHC. They offer 7-day FREE trial. 455 Titles, over 48 million images, over 1 million free. Content list at Information added this month includes:

* US City Directories for Newark, San Francisco, Pittsburgh
* World War II Collection - Interactive USS Arizona Memorial; WWII Hero Pages (over 8.8 million created); WWII Photos; WWII Documents

d) - subscription site (trial $9.95 for 30 days, $69.95 for 12 months). It has archives for over 2,500 U.S. historical newspapers in all 50 states, from the 1600s to the present day, with over 224 million family history records, over 29 million obituaries from more than 1,140 newspapers in more than 130 million historical newspaper articles, and more than 11,700 historical books.
* Added 63 titles from 24 states

e) - the LDS FREE site for indexed and browsable databases -- new content includes:
* Arizona Death Certificates
* Hungary Obituaries, 1840-1990
* 1870 US Census 99% complete

f) - 1911 England and Wales census is online. The index is free. You have to register and pay, using pay-as-you-go credits, to view, download or print the actual records.


* - The Guild of One-Name Studies and Pharos Teaching and Tutoring Ltd are pleased to announce a brand new five week introductory course on One-Name Studies, starting 27th April 2009. The course covers surnames and their history; core records needed for one-name studies; the analyses of one-name data and all the practical aspects of running a one-name study. The price of the course is £42.99.

* - Outstanding faculty at Boston University teaches the Genealogical Proof Standard® in the new Ancestral Research and Genealogy Certificate Program. Classes will be held on Saturdays over a 14-week period starting January 17, 2009.

* National Genealogical Society Conference in the States is in Raleigh, North Carolina from 13 May to 16 May 2009. Registration forms are on Conference web page here. The Family History Conference program is listed here. The Program has tracks for BCG, Migration, Carolinas, GenTech, Working with Records, States, Ethnic, Methodology, NARA, Military, Workshops, Land, Libraries, Basics, etc.

* - two new Searching at tutorials by Barbara Renick, a noted Southern California genealogist and conference/seminar lecturer.


* - MyBlood is a brand new genealogy program from Belgium. It is currently in Alpha test. It is available in two versions: Windows and Macintosh. English, French, and Dutch versions are available today and the program includes a Translator Tool to help you translate everything in the application. MyBlood is a visual program: almost everything is oriented around pictures, graphs and historical timelines. It can import GEDCOM files so that you do not have to re-enter all your data into this new program. The Alpha version of MyBlood is free, but to be able to save changes, you need to register for a free license key. The program will be a commercial product once the regular version is released. Pricing has not yet been announced.

* Family Tree Builder 3 - MyHeritage, one of the world’s most popular family Web sites, today announced the launch of Family Tree Builder 3, a powerful software program that MyHeritage members can download and use to build family trees, research family history and add content like photos and videos. It is freely available on

* - Modern Software Experience: Tamura Jones' web site is comprised of original articles dealing with genealogy, browser, office and other software packages. In each article, he analyzes the program components and features, tests them with his own databases, and constructively criticizes the package - what does it do well, what could it do better, where is it dangerous, etc.


* has limited free family tree databases to 500 persons. They offer a Premium ($3.95/month, up to 2,500 persons) or a Premium Plus ($9.95/month, unlimited database) plans.

* has a Pro plan ($4.95/month) for additional benefits over basic account.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Genealogy Days in Chula Vista - January 2009

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society events for January 2009 include

** Wednesday, January 14, 12 noon, Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library (365 F Street) -- 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, January 21, 12 noon, Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library (365 F Street) -- CVGS Computer Group meets in the Library Computer Lab. We will visit some helpful genealogy web sites. This is an opportunity for those members who haven't used computers for genealogy research to practice with a mentor to guide them.

** Wednesday, January 28, 12 noon to 2 p.m., Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library - CVGS Program Meeting in the Auditorium. After a brief business meeting, the featured speaker will by Ken Kramer of NBC 7/39 who will speak and show slides and videos in his Stories of San Diego and the South Bay. Ken has a weekly show called About San Diego on Channel 7/39 with stories and vignettes about historical San Diego places, persons and events.

** Monday afternoons (12 noon to 2 PM) - January 5, 12, 19 and 26 - Genealogy Table Talk with Dearl Glenn and John Finch in the Family Research section of the Chula Vista Civic Center Library. They are 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.