Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Gaslamp Quarter History meeting summary

The program at the Chula Vista Genealogical Society meeting on Wednesday, 29 July was about the Gaslamp Quarter in downtown San Diego. The speakers were Melissa Trew on “The History and Culture of San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter” and “Every Building Has a Genealogy” by Dan Haslam. The talk summary and brief biographies of Melissa and Dan are posted in San Diego Gaslamp Quarter Program on Wednesday, 29 July .

Melissa's talk summariuzed the Gaslamp Quarter Historical Foundation (GQHF) activities, including the William Heath Davis House Museum where GDQHF has their offices; Walking tours of the Gaslamp Quarter; The "Fallback Festival" in November, the ShamRock celebration on St. Patrick's Day, Private Party Rentals, and the "History of the Gaslamp quarter" exhibit - then and now under development. The two-hour walking tours are Saturdays at 11 a.m., and visit several refurbished Victorian era homes in the Gaslamp quarter.

Dan's talk was about the history of several of the buildings in the Gaslamp Quarter, including the William Heath Davis House; Yuma Building (probably the most famous brothel in San Diego for many years; Old Spaghetti Factory; the Keating Building (which served as the offices for the Simon and Simon TV detective show in the 1980's); the Cole Block, and several more.

The history of the Davis house has been traced to around 1850 when it was built and furnished with items brought around Cape Horn from Portland, Maine by Mr. Davis. It first stood at State and Market Streets, was moved to 11th and G Streets in 1873 and then to its present location at 410 Island Street in 1984. It was refurbished at that time. While at 11th and K, it served as a County Hospital and charged patients $1 per day. Dan says that the house is haunted, and it is on the Ghost Tours conducted by local companies.

This was a fun and interesting program about walking on downtown San Diego's wild side, from a historical perspective. As Dan noted, respectable persons never went below Broadway at night. Some of us native San Diegans have always wondered what happened in the Stingaree and other areas below Broadway. The area was the haunt of many US Navy sailors over the years!

The Gaslamp Quarter is thriving now with many restaurants, hotels, stores, and shops over a 16 block area between 4th Avenue and 6th Avenue, and between Broadway and Harbor Drive. There are 94 buildings on the National Registry of historical buildings in this area. The Gaslamp Quarter Historical Foundation is trying to preserve and redevelop some of San Diego's heritage.

The opportunity drawing prizes today were two sets of two tickets for the Walking Tour.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

San Diego Gaslamp Quarter Program on Wednesday, 29 July

The next Program Meeting of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society is Wednesday, 29 July at 12 noon at the Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library (365 F Street in Chula Vista) in the Auditorium. There will be a short business meeting before the program.

The Program will be about the Gaslamp Quarter in downtown San Diego -
“The History and Culture of San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter” by Melissa Trew, and “Every Building Has a Genealogy” by Dan Haslam

The Gaslamp Quarter Historical Foundation (GHQF) is the non-profit organization which oversees the 16½ block historic area in downtown San Diego as curator and operates the William Heath Davis Museum.

Melissa Trew is the Executive Director of the GQHF. She is dedicated to promoting the history and culture of the Gaslamp Quarter. With her twenty years of experience in public school education and her MA in Library and Information Systems, Melissa uses her knowledge to transform organizations into high fidelity institutions that improve the capabilities of all personnel, develop a community of trust and interaction among all stakeholders, and perpetuates a culture of high achievement beyond the organization.

As Director of Operations at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hawaii, Melissa ensured financial stability for innovation and change as well as created an organizational infrastructure that promoted transparency and flexibility. As the principal of Central Middle School in Honolulu Hawaii, Melissa established a culture of commitment toward authority, responsibility, accountability, and self management for the campus.

Daniel Haslam serves as Director of Development for the GQHF, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2006. Dan regularly speaks to groups about GQHF, writes extensively for the Foundation, writes grants and leads walking and historical tours for GQHF. Dan grew up in rural Vermont and has lived in San Diego for the past eight years. Prior to moving to California, Dan practiced law for twenty years in Tucson, AZ and Washington, DC. During this time he also served as a professional golf club manager (1990-94) for the oldest golf club in Vermont. In addition to his work for the GQHF, Dan consults as a guide and downtown redevelopment specialist for the Centre City Development Corporation, which is the downtown redevelopment arm of the city government.

Please join us for this interesting program about historical San Diego. Enter through the Conference Room door in order to register your attendance, pick up handouts, buy an opportunity drawing ticket, and have a snack. The meeting will start at about 12:20 p.m.

Monday, July 20, 2009

CVGS Road Trip - Carlsbad Library on 25 July

The next Chula Vista Genealogical Society Research Trip will be on Saturday, 25 July to the Georgina Cole Library in Carlsbad CA.

A car pool will leave the Chula Vista Parking Garage (between 3rd Avenue and F Street, in back of Fuddruckers and Marie Callenders) just after 9 a.m. (meet on second level, midway between two entrances). We expect to arrive at the library by 10 a.m. and will leave the library at about 2 p.m. and be back in Chula Vista by 3 p.m.

The Georgina Cole Library is located at 1250 Carlsbad Village Drive in Calrsbad. From Chula Vista, go up Interstate 5 to the Carlsbad Village Drive turnoff, go to the right (east) on Carlsbad Village Drive, through one traffic light, and turn left into the library parking lot (see information and map here).

Researchers can search the Carlsbad Library Catalog here. The Genealogy collection covers the entire second floor of the Cole library, and is described here. The Online database collection is here, and includes NewspaperARCHIVE and HeritageQuestOnline.

If you wish to join the carpool, please let Randy know (email, phone 619-422-3397) by Thursday. We usually have 10 to 15 researchers on the Carlsbad trip every year.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Computer Group Summary - 15 July 2009

The Computer Group meeting of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society was well attended on 15 July - there were 12 in attendance and all available computers were taken. With the library time change, we can now get in early and set up so we can start right at noon.

While Gary was getting his laptop setup, Randy demonstrated the Genealogy Wise ( social networking site and recommended it to members.

Gary hooked his laptop into the projector, and we watched the Genealogy Germs YouTube video of Randy Seaver's interview with Lisa Cooke at the SCGS Jamboree (see to watch it yourself). Then Ruth told the group about her blogging experiences.

Gary has a developer's copy of Microsoft Windows 7 and Internet Explorer 8 on his laptop, so he went through the Start menu, the File Folder setup, the browser options, etc. This took most of the time period, but the time was well spent as an introduction to the next Windows operating system and browser. Gary said that he liked it much better than Windows Vista.

The Flash player is still not installed on most of the library Computer Lab computers. this really limits the access to many genealogy web sites these days, including FamilySearch Record Search, Footnote, GenealogyWise, and others.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

CVGS Member Ahnentafels

Once in awhile, a researcher in another place does a search for an ancestor and finds one or more names in the Ahnentafel reports submitted by CVGS members. There are at least 15 ahnentafels on the CVGS website at That is the surname index list - click on a letter and then on a surname to see an ahnentafel.

We had an email come in today from a person who is a third cousin of one of our members. She also happens to be a matrilineal descendant of a purported Native American ancestor of my member colleague. They are already in contact as a result of the CVGS Ahnentafels and will, hopefully, help each other out. If they have the mitochondrial DNA test done, it will benefit both of them, and several other cousins too.

We don't get many matches from these ahnentafels, probably because we have so few. They are not difficult to make with genealogy software (except for Family Tree Maker, which won't make a clean ahnentafel list!), and they are text files so they are easy to add to the web site. Gary, our Webmaster, has a neat indexing program to create the Surname index that leads to a given Ahnentafel. Just think how many people we could connect if we had 100 ahnentafels, or a thousand online.

It's great to see our web site, and our effort to create and publish the ahnentafels online, pay off with cousin connections.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

CVGS Research Group Summary - 8 July 2009

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society Research Group met on Wednesday, 8 July with 12 in attendance.

* Randy started the session by describing the SCGS Genealogy Jamboree events he attended, and passing the syllabus and program around for the group to see.

* Shirley described her activities and the sessions she attended. She heard Paul Nauta, Wendy Elliott, Lisa Alzo, Chris Child, Leland Meitzler and Lisa Louise Cooke during the conference. She showed her spreadsheet with 20 Eber Sweet persons, listing birth, death, parents and spouse, in an effort to keep them all straight. She worked also on her Wright family in NY.

* Virginia has uploaded her tree on OneGreatFamily, and received a query about her brickwall Robert Dunlop. She has found a Dutch ancestor in her Bland family line, and is learning a lot from her ancestor's California diary from 1856.

* Dick is going to Chicago and Wisconsin for a vacation later in July. He's going to see his kids, cousins, buddies, attend a reunion and do some research in Dane County WI. He got lots of good advice about preparing for the trip and going to different repositories.

* Gary is recovering from his computer hard drive crash, and has installed the Windows 7 beta and says "it is different."

* Dave helped his 11 year-old grandson with a family tree project. They studied in the library, worked in his family tree program, and created a report with family photos and charts from RootsMagic. His grandson got an "A" on the paper and his presentation. Dave hopes his grandson continues to be interested in family history.

* John did more work in in the 1911 census for his daughter-in-law's family. He had more success with his Patrick family in North Caroline - he found some land records in Rowan County in 1762 and in Davie County in 1792, including a map with his William Patrick shown. He also contacted Bear Creek Baptist Church and got some cemetery pictures, but not of Patrick graves.

* Marcia found a USA Today article about the "Terrible Legacy of Eugenics" and shared it with the group.

* Pat talked to our June speaker, Joan Lowrey, who helped her obtain a record of Pat's ancestor in a New York Immigrant Savings Bank ledger for 1867. It listed the Irish home counties of the couple, their residence in New York City, and more.

* Neva noted that researchers can find information about cemeteries by Googling the town name and a specific cemetery, or use just the town name and the word "cemetery." She described her experiences trying to get a Colorado death certificate for her long-deceased grandfather - she needed to show her relationship to the deceased with documents.

* Randy shared his experiences with,, and his search for the family of Ben Kaber.

The next CVGS Research Group meeting will be Wednesday, 12 August at 12 noon in the Chula Vista Civic Center Library Conference Room.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Book Review - William Dollarhide's Census Substitutes and State Census Records - Volume 1

In this two volume series, author William Dollarhide identifies Census Substitutes, as well as State Census Records, for the United States of America. The substitutes are those name lists derived from tax lists, directories, military lists, land ownership lists, voter registrations, and other compilations of names of residents for an entire state, one or more counties of a state, or one or more towns of a county.

Thirty-seven states conducted colonial, territorial, or state censuses that are extant and available for research today. Usually taken between Federal Decennial Census years, these records often contain unique information, and may even shed light on the lives of your ancestors that may have been on-the-move.

Volume 1 - Eastern States covers the:

* The Old Southwest -- Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi

* New England – Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont

* Mid-Atlantic States – Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania

* The Old South – Kentucky, North Carolina, south Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia

* The Old Northwest – Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin

* The Central Plains – Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Dakota Territory/North Dakota/South Dakota

William Dollarhide, Census Substitutes & State Census Records - Vol. 1 - Eastern States, Family Roots Publishing Company, 255 pp, Soft cover, Perfect bound, 2008.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Useful Websites for Genealogy Research - July 2009

This is my list of new to me and useful genealogy websites for the month of July:

* The Biblio web site at has used, rare and out-of-print books available. This site has over 50 million listings and is used by used book dealers and store owners. A check of "genealogy" in the Subject field revealed over 31,000 matches, many of them for $1.

* The California Digital Newspaper Collection at has over 200,000 pages of California newspapers spanning the years 1849-1911.

* The 101 Best Websites for 2009 were listed, in ten categories, by Family Tree Magazine at

* There are County Formation Maps on the web site. These County Formation Maps use the Animap system (by permission of Goldbug, the Animap providers) and are probably the best online resource for finding how states and counties developed over the years from colonial to modern times.

* The 1911 England and Wales Census is available at You can search the index for free, but images are pay per view.

* 19th century British Library newspapers are online at, provided by the British Library, in partnership with JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee) and Gale, part of Cengage Learning.

* There are hundreds of Irish genealogy databases at Most of these databases are searchable, and some are free to access. Others require a small membership fee to access the information. Available databases cover every Irish county, including directories, cemetery transcriptions, census records, surveys, maps, and more.

* A searchable index for millions of Alien Registration Files, compiled since 1940, is available at

Sunday, July 5, 2009

New and Updated Genealogy Databases - July 2009

Here is my summary of important databases added or updated at several commercial websites:

1) New or Updated Databases at

* 1861, 1871 and 1881 Canadian Census (World)

* US, Canada, UK Obituary Collections Updated

* Canadian Passenger Lists (1865-1935) Updated (World)

* US City Directories Updated (US)

* US School Yearbooks Updated (US)

* Many Canadian, Australian and German books (World)

2) New/Updated LDS Indexing Projects (Free). These databases are available for FREE at - the LDS site for volunteer-indexed and browsable databases -- recently added or completed projects:

* Delaware Birth Records (1861-1908)

* Idaho Death Records (1911-1937) (no images)

* Massachusetts Death Records (1841-1915)

* New Mexico Death Records (1889-1945) (no images)

* Rhode Island State Census, 1915 (no images)

* Canada 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881 Census (no images)

* Campeche, Coahuila, Colima, Mexico Catholic Church Records (browse images)

3) New or Updated Databases at ($$)

* Los Angeles CA City Directories (ca 1884-1916)

* Dawes Enrollment Cards (1898-1914) (100% complete)

* Florida Today and Poughkeepsie Journal Historical Newspapers

4) New or Updated Databases at ($$)

* ACGS Index of Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials (New York only)

* The American Genealogist, Volumes 14–18

* New England Ancestors Magazine, Volumes 4-6

CVGS bloggers

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society now has three active blogger members:

1) Ruth Himan has two blogs:

* Genealogy is Ruthless Without Me

* Hayley

2) Susi Pentico has one blog:

* Susi's Chatty Performances on Genealogy

3) Randy Seaver has three genealogy blogs:

* Genea-Musings

* The Geneaholic

* South San Diego County Graveyard Rabbit

In addition, the society publishes this blog, the Chula Vista Genealogy Cafe.

For a 90-person genealogy society, doing pretty well! Over 3% of our members are blogging.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Must-Read Blog Posts from June 2009

This is my selection of must-read blog posts from June 2009:

* A Genealogy Blog Primer by Thomas MacEntee on the Geneabloggers blog. Thomas created a primer on blogging for genealogy, and has a PDF version and a presentation version.

* “The TRUTH is Out There…” by Arlene Eakle on the Arlene Eakle Genealogy Blog. Arlene lists some truisms and illustrates them by her own research examples.

* How to Find a Loyalist Ancestor by Lorine Schulze on the Ask Olive Tree Genealogy a Question blog. Excellent advice for finding your Loyalist ancestors.

* Search Engines Can't Read Your Mind Or Your Images by footnoteMaven on the footnoteMaven blog. fM has sage advice for naming and tagging the family photographs you post on the Internet so that search engines, and your cousins, can find them.

* What I Want in a Family Tree Program by Randy Seaver on the Genea-Musings blog. A list of wants and needs for genealogy software.

* After I'm Gone - I Want My Genealogy Research To Live On by M. Diane Rogers on the CanadaGenealogy, or, 'Jane's Your Aunt' blog. Diane shares her genealogical will with everyone, and has wise words for that "final tweet."

* June 4th: Old Maids Day by Arlene Eakle on the Arlene Eakle's Genealogy Blog. Wise advice about those spinsters who helped their parents and saved the family history.

* Google Wave is Coming; It's Undertow Will Claim at Least One Victim by John Newmark on the TransylvanianDutch blog. An interpretation of Google Wave and the impact on the computer industry, based on watching the Google Wave demo.

* The Problem with Primary Source Documents by Lee Drew on the FamHist blog. Lee points out that death certificates, in particular, sometimes have erroneous information.

* NARA Databases at by Randy Seaver on the Genea-Musings blog. The NARA databases are listed by Microfilm Series number.

* Preventing Identity Theft with the SSDI by Dick Eastman on the Eastman Online Genealogy Newsletter. Must reading for legislators and county recorders!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Genealogy Days in Chula Vista - July 2009

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society events for July 2009 include:

** Wednesday, July 8, 12 noon to 2 pm, 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, July 15, 12 noon to 2 pm, 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.

** Saturday, July 25, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. -- Research trip to Carlsbad Georgina Cole Library. A carpool will leave the Chula Vista parking garage at 9 a.m. and return at about 3 p.m. Contact Randy Seaver if you want to go in the carpool.

** Wednesday, July 29, 12 noon to 2 p.m., Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library (365 F Street) - CVGS Program Meeting in the Auditorium. After a brief business meeting, the featured speakers will be Melissa Trew on "The History and Culture of San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter" and Dan Haslam on "Every Building has a Genealogy."

** Monday afternoons (11 a.m. to 2 PM) - July 6, 13, 20, and 27 - 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 greater San Diego 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.