Thursday, October 29, 2009

CVGS Program Summary - "Genealogy Vacations"

Randy Seaver presented "Genealogy Vacations" to 30 attendees at the Chula Vista Genealogical Society meeting on Wednesday, 28 October. The talk started with a review of what a National Lampoon's Genealogy Vacation movie might look like - the Griswolds take off for Salt Lake City with the kids and grandma, but not her dog. Mr. G. finds generations of ancestors at the Family History Library, and the rest of the family is really bored at the motel ... but Mr. G. insists on a side trip to Phoenix AZ where grandma keels over and dies when Mr. G. discovers, and then tells her, that her mother was they bury grandma right there in Phoenix. Mrs. G. runs off with the solemnly dapper funeral home director, the kids take off for a bus tour to Disneyland, and Mr. G. spends extra days at the state archives.

And can't you just hear the complaint from the bored teenager - "We spent two days in Phoenix and all I got was this lousy gravestone rubbing - not even a T-shirt."

Randy's program was really in two parts - first, how to succeed in taking genealogy vacations - where and when to go, what to do when you get there, be sure to check repository hours and access rules, figure out what unique resources they may have, etc. Family reunions and special family history trips were addressed, as were technology tools and using the Internet to plan the ideal genealogy vacation.

The second part was pretty much a travelogue from Randy and Linda vacations taken in 1990 to New England, 1993 to England, 1999 to Scandinavia, 2004 to the northeast, 2008 to New York and The Master Genealogist cruise, and 2009 to the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) Conference in Little Rock while visiting friends. He used lots of pictures, itinerary maps, and told many genealogy research stories - most of them with a lesson learned.

The takeaways from the talk include:

* Blend family visits and tourism with genealogy research to keep everybody happy.

* Try to meet as many family members as possible - share information with them, see their pictures and hear their stories.

* Enjoy the historical places, and learn the local history and customs.

* Search for unique records at every repository you can find, because that may be the only place they are located.

* Leave time in the schedule for opportunity to knock and be taken advantage of - find the distant cousins, go to the cemeteries, research that elusive ancestor, browse the stacks.

* Technology can fail - have backups, chargers and cables.

* Good luck in genealogy research is often the residue of plans made and opportunities taken.

Monday, October 26, 2009

CVGS Program on 10/28 - "Genealogy Vacations"

What is the best way to plan and enjoy Genealogy Vacations? Is it to visit five libraries and ten cemeteries in three days and then attend a genealogy conference, dragging your spouse along the way? Or is it to combine genealogy research with family visits and sightseeing? When you visit a repository or a cemetery, how do you prepare for the visit?

The October 28th program meeting of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society features Randy Seaver discussing Genealogy Vacations. The meeting will start at 12 noon in the Auditorium of the Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library (at 365 F Street in downtown Chula Vista).

Randy’s presentation will provide some guidelines, and some examples from his experiences in England, Norway, on cruise ships, in New England, New York, Pennsylvania, and Salt Lake City, and more!

Randy Seaver is a native San Diegan, a graduate of San Diego State University in Aeronautical Engineering, and a retired aerospace engineer with a 38-year career at Rohr/Goodrich in Chula Vista. His ancestry is mainly colonial New England and Upper Atlantic states, with a few German and Dutch forbears.

His genealogy activities include serving on the CVGS Board (currently Newsletter Editor and Research Chairman), speaking occasionally to Southern California societies and groups, teaching the Beginning Computer Genealogy classes at OASIS, and writing the Genealogy 2.0 column for the FGS’s FORUM Magazine. He is also a member of NGS, NEHGS, SDGS, and CGSSD. Randy blogs daily about genealogy subjects at Genea-Musings, The Geneaholic, the South San Diego County Graveyard Rabbit, and is the editor of the Chula Vista Genealogy CafĂ© blog.

We look forward to seeing you at this meeting - please enter the auditorium through the conference room off the east hallway at the library, in order to register your attendance, pick up handouts, buy an opportunity drawing ticket (the prize is a copy of Family Tree Maker 2010 donated by Randy Seaver). The program will start at about 12:20 p.m. with a short business meeting.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

"Every Life Has a Story" Seminar Summary

"Who would want to know about my life? I haven't done anything."

We often hear this lament when we encourage people to talk or write about their life stories, yet every person has a unique story - one that belongs only to them, and that, in most cases, has not been told to anyone. The stories can include the life events, the hardships, the joys, the experiences, the loves, the people they've met, the places they've been.

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society (CVGS) seminar on Saturday, 24 October at Fredericka Manor (a Chula Vista retirement community), was designed to encourage CVGS members, Fredericka residents and community members to share their personal stories with their friends and family. Our host, Betsy Keller of Fredericka Manor, welcomed the 70 attendees, and then drew tickets for about twenty door prizes. Betsy introduced the CVGS President, Gary Brock, who provided a short description of CVGS activities, and introduced Barbara Ibaibarriaga, the CVGS Programs chairperson. Barbara introduced the program speaker, Susan Walter of Chula Vista.

Susan Walter spoke about "Every Life Has a Story." She talked about her grandmother's life, and played an audio tape that revealed that her grandmother was the May Day Queen for her high school class. Her grandmother had many interesting experiences as a girl, wife and mother and grandmother, and Susan shared stories, pictures, artifacts and a scrapbook. She noted that every person has wonderful, and occasionally horrid, stories that can be used to reach out to younger generations. Susan told her own story of "The Trip from Hell" - a 30-hour train and bus trip from Guadalajara to San Diego after her plane ticket was stolen.

Susan noted that for your own story, you know all of the characters, you've done all of the "research," use all of your senses, you don't need to start at the beginning - just start telling or writing stories about your life experiences. Some people find it easier to talk about their life stories, others think it is easier to write them down. Whichever way works best - the point is to share your life stories with your family and friends that care about you.

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society wants to help members and community people tell their stories - they are willing to make tape recordings of family stories, transcribe them and provide them in a digital format for posterity.

After the talk, the attendees were assigned to tables for a delicious lunch in the Fredericka Dining Room. Each table had a Fredericka host and a CVGS host - and all were encouraged to tell some of their life stories while feasting on soup, salad, quiche lorraine, turkey sandwiches, and dessert.

It was a fun and interesting day, with a wonderful talk and a great lunch.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

CVGS Fall Seminar on Saturday, 24 October

The CVGS Fall Seminar will be Saturday, 24 October, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Fredericka Manor (183 Third Avenue, Chula Vista). The program will feature Every Life Is a Story by Susan Walter. Reservations are required by 10/19 – Contact Betsy Keller at (619) 205-4116.

The morning will begin with introductions and door prizes in the Auditorium, followed by Susan Walter’s presentation. After Susan’s talk, we will adjourn to the Dining Room for a sumptuous lunch. CVGS members are encouraged to talk about their own memories and to encourage Fredericka residents to share their memories.

There will be a registration list for CVGS members, guests and Fredericka residents to sign up to record their memories and family stories in coming weeks using state-of-the-art digital voice recording equipment.

Susan Walter will present the idea of writing or recording memoirs and family stories for future generations. Because the idea of "writing an autobiography" can be so daunting, the more simplified collection of brief memoirs will be explained in the hopes that it may help to get those with stories to tell to actually tell them. Susan will share some examples of memoirs from her own life, and her very treasured tape recording, featuring the voice of her grandmother, will be heard.

Susan Walter is a historical archaeologist. She and her husband, Stephen Van Wormer, also a historian and archaeologist, have lived in Chula Vista for about 15 years. They live in the 115 year old orchard home of John M. Davidson, who was one of Chula Vista's founders. Stephen was raised in National City; Susan was born in Texas, raised in the San Fernando Valley, and moved to the San Diego area about 30 years ago. They have 2 adult children. Susan and Stephen have cooperated on hundreds of projects throughout the county, as well as working separately. One of Susan's specialties is conducting oral interviews and the collection of local history stories. She loves it when those stories are preserved for future generations. She knows each of you have fascinating tales to tell, because "Every Life Is a Story."

We hope to see you all there!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Free Genealogy Webinars

Webinars (WEB semINARS) are online seminars, usually in the form of a PowerPoint presentation where you can hear the presenter’s voice and see the charts.

Some of the most recent webinars (these are FREE) include:

* "Getting the Most Out of Footnote" at

* New England Historic Genealogical Society has quite a few online seminars at

* has many webinars listed at including:

*** Best Strategies for Searching
*** Getting Started on
*** Family Tree Maker 2010 New Features Demo
*** Genealogy in Gotham: New York City Research
*** Ancestry World Archives Project: New Features Demo
*** Introducing ExpertConnect
*** European Research: Tips and Tools for Success
*** Genetic Genealogy Made Easy

Sunday, October 18, 2009

New or Updated Genealogy Databases - October 2009

New and updated databases from some of the subscription web sites are listed below for early September and early October:

1) New or Updated Databases at ($$)

* The Connecticut Nutmegger, Volumes 37-41
* The American Genealogist, Volumes 29-33
* ACGS Index of Baptisms, Marriages and Burials
* Massachusetts Vital Records: Marriages 1913
* The Virginia Genealogist, Volumes 6-10

2) New or Updated Databases at ($$)

* Holocaust Collection, including
** Concentration camp registers and documents from Dachau, Mauthausen, Auschwitz, and Flossenburg.
** The "Ardelia Hall Collection" of records relating to the Nazi looting of Jewish possessions, including looted art.
** Captured German records including deportation and death lists from concentration camps.
** Nuremberg War Crimes Trial proceedings.

* Baltimore City Directories, 1863-1923
* Boston City Directories, 1786-1926
* Brooklyn City Directories, 1862-1900, 1902-1912
* Buffalo City Directories, 1861-1923
* Chicago City Directories, 1843-1916, 1923
* Dallas City Directories, 1878-1923
* Detroit City Directories, 1861-1923
* Fort Wayne City Directories, 1861-1923
* Los Angeles City Directories, 1873-1924
* Louisville City Directories, 1861-1923
* New Orleans City Directories, 1861-1923
* New York City Directories, 1786-1922
* Newark City Directories, 1861-1923
* St. Louis City Directories, 1863-1923
* San Francisco City Directories, 1861-1923

3) New or Updated Databases at ($$)

* 1860 Census Index (view images on
* 1930 Census Index (view images on
* Australia and New Zealand records
* Selected Mexico Newspapers
* Selected Canadian Newspapers

4) New or Updated Databases at ($$)

* Reports of Deaths of American Citizens Abroad, 1963-1974
* Honolulu, Hawaii Passenger Lists, 1900-1953
* Atlanta GA Federal Pententiary Index, 1880-1922
* US Patent and Trademark Office Patents, 1790-1909
* US Special Census on Deaf Family Marriages and Hearing Relatives, 1888-1895
* London, England Marriage Banns, 1754-1921
* London England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1637-1812
* Many Italian and German Books

5) 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:

* Illinois, Cook County Birth Registers, 1871-1915
* United States Census, 1920 (51% complete) (no images)
* Wisconsin State Census, 1855
* Mexico Census, 1930 (17 states) (29% complete)
* Mexico, Coahuila, Catholic Church Records, 1627-1978 (browse images only)
* Mexico, Tlaxcala, Civil Registration, 1867-1937 (browse images only)
* England, Cheshire School Records, 1796-1950
* France, Protestant church records, 1612-1906
* Italy, Palermo Province, Monreale diocese, Catholic Church Records, 1530-1919 (browse images only)
* Slovakia, Presov Record Books (Hungarian and Slovakian Place Names), 1592-1952 (browse images)
* Argentina National Census, 1869
* Argentina National Census, 1875
* Argentina, Tucuman, San Miguel de Tucuman, Catholic Church Records, 1727-1949 (browse images only)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

CVGS October 2009 Newsletter is Online

The 10-page Chula Vista Genealogical Society Newsletter for October 2009 is available on the CVGS web site here.

You can read past issues of the CVGS Newsletter here.

Each issue has articles about upcoming programs, past program reviews, research and computer group news summaries, two pages of computer-related information, a feature article, and news of San Diego area genealogy events.

If you would like to contribute an article to the CVGS Newsletter, please contact the editor, Randy Seaver, via email at

Thursday, October 15, 2009

CVGS Research Group Meeting Summary on 14 October

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society Research Group met on Wednesday, 14 October at the South Chula Vista Library in the Conference Room. There were seven in attendance. We went around the table and attendees discussed their recent genealogy activities.

* Dick knows that several cousins have useful information, but he cannot get them to tell him over the phone or even write it down on forms he has sent them.

* Helen has cousins asking questions about their ancestry, and she is trying to help them out. Her mother's family is very secretive and Helen has been talking to her aunt about some of the family stories with some success.

* Shirley worked on her Pearsall line. She found that a Thomas Pearsall in Virginia adopted a boy in 1670, probably named John Beecher, who took the name of John Parshall. This line went to Long Island NY and then upstate NY. This may be provable with some DNA tests of the Pearsall and Parshall lines.

* Susi is searching for more information about her Susan Mattison (born ca1816 in MA?, died 1879 in IA) who married Noyes Jones in MA or NY. Some cousins say the birth date was 1812, other data says 1816 or 1818, perhaps in Hampshire County MA or Rensselaer County NY. The group suggested further research for probate, land and tax records in the suspected localities.

* John reported on his vacation to NM, AR, NE, CO and home. He visited the unkempt Hillcrest Cemetery in Gallup NM and found nothing helpful. He did have success in Butler County NE where he visited 5 cemeteries after receiving helpful information from a resident via email. He later met the resident at the library. John also went to Rising City looking for school yearbook records at the school, and found pictures of his great uncle with help from the friendly staff. He was referred to Hinkle's Pub where he met some old-timers who talked his ear off, and went to the library where he found probate records of his great-uncle.

* Gary and Wanda just returned from their vacation trip to the upper Midwest. Wanda flew to Duluth and joined a tour that included "Northfest" in Minot ND. Gary flew in later and they went family/friend visiting and leaf-peeping in Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula. They hit the leaf-peeping just right! They took pictures of the Montgomery Wards store in Ashland WI where Wanda's parents met.

* Randy talked about his vacation to the lower Midwest - Kansas City, Topeka, Springfield, Little Rock, Memphis and Branson. He passed around the FGS conference schedule and some of the presentation summaries for people to read.

The next CVGS Research Group meeting will be Wednesday, 11 November at whichever Chula Vista Library is still open.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Chula Vista Civic Center Library Closed

The Chula Vista Civic Center Library was closed over the weekend indefinitely in order to perform unscheduled maintenance. Some people have said that they found asbestos in the structure and must eliminate it.

There is no indication as to when this library branch will re-open. Hopefully, it will be soon.

This closure affects this month's CVGS meetings, including:

* Research Group meeting, scheduled for Wednesday, 14 October at 12 noon - this will meet at the South Chula Vista Library (389 Orange Avenue, corner of Fourth Avenue in Chula Vista)

* Computer Group meeting, scheduled for Wednesday, 21 October at 12 noon - meeting at South Chula Vista Library in Conference Room A

* CVGS Program Meeting, scheduled for Wednesday, 28 October at 12 noon with Randy Seaver speaking on "Genealogy Vacations" -- meeting at South Chula Vista Library in Conference Room B (capacity 50).

Friday, October 2, 2009

Genealogy Days in Chula Vista - October 2009

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society events for October 2009 include:

** Wednesday, October 14, 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, October 21, 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, October 24, 10 a.m. to 2 pm, Fredericka Manor (183 Third Avenue, Chula Vista) -- CVGS Fall Seminar with Susan Walter presenting "Every Life Has a Story" followed by a free served luncheon in the Fredericka Manor dining room. Attendees will be offered the opportunity to make an appointment to record some of their life stories for posterity. Reservations are required - please contact Betsy Keller at 619-205-4116.

** Wednesday, October 28, 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 speaker will be Randy Seaver, CVGS member and former President, on "Genealogy Vacations."

** Monday afternoons (11 a.m. to 1 PM) - October 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 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.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

CVGS Program - "Lost and Forgotten Cemeteries of San Diego"

The September 30th program meeting of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society featured Dr. Setrh Mallios of San Diego State University's Anthropology Department as the speaker. Dr. Mallios's topic was "The Lost and Forgotten Cemeteries of San Diego." His curriculum vitae was posted here.

This presentation was one of the "best ever" we've had at CVGS. Seth is an accomplished professor of anthropology, and has written two books (with David Caterino) on San Diego cemeteries - The Cemeteries of San Diego and The Cemeteries of San Diego County, both published by Arcadia Press and available online and in San Diego bookstores.

Seth described the San Diego Gravestone Project, which includes a study of San Diego's dead and how San Diego treats them, restoration and preservation of grave markers (which are a non-renewable cultural resource), and anthropological analysis of mortuary culture.

The goal of the San Diego Gravestone Project is to document all cemeteries and grave markers in San Diego County erected prior to 1960, to locate them using a Geographic Information System (GIS), to document them with digital photos, using archaeological rigor and standardized methodology. The project includes collecting data about gravestone physical properties (type of marker, type of material, condition) and literal properties (inscriptions, etc.).

There are 23 known cemeteries within San Diego city limits, and about 150 known cemeteries in the County. However, some of the known cemeteries are buried under parks, roads, parking lots and buildings. The most well-known example is Calvary Cemetery in the Mission Hills neighborhood of San Diego. There were over 3,000 burials in this cemetery when it was converted to a park (called Pioneer Park) in 1968. The gravestones were removed and dumped in a ravine at Mount Hope Cemetery several miles away. When the stones were found, the 142 "best looking" stones were salvaged and returned to Pioneer Park and placed in a corner of the park. These stones were not placed on the graves of their namesakes, just put in the corner. The graves are still in Calvary Cemetery under Pioneer Park.

A 1982 article in the Journal of San Diego History listed 38 known cemeteries in San Diego County. Mallios's team found another 110 cemeteries by searching old maps, old photographs, surveys and word of mouth.

Seth provided a chronology of San Diego cemeteries - breaking the known locations down into Prehistoric, Mission and Indian (1769-1847, with Indian, Spanish and Mexican remains), Pioneer (1848-1907, with early American and Victorian graves), and Mega (1908 to the present, with gardens and landscaped grounds). He noted the trends in types of markers and symbols over the years. The shift from above ground columns, tablets and markers to flush in-ground stones took place in the 1910-1920 time period, and was heavily influenced by World War I and the 1918 influenza pandemic.

There was much more in the hour-long talk, of course! This presentation was an enjoyable, amusing and informative walk through San Diego's past. Seth is an excellent presenter and an expert in San Diego burial cultural history.

There are some interesting articles available online about Seth Mallios and the San Diego Gravestone Project:

* The San Diego Gravestone Project (with a list of pre-1960 burials at the Jewish Home of Peace Cemetery in San Diego)

* City of the forgotten dead (describes the Calvary Cemetery debacle)

* Cemeteries are the repository of centuries past