Thursday, March 10, 2011

CVGS Research Group Summary - 9 March 2011

There were 14 attendees at the Chula Vista Genealogical Society Research Group on Wednesday, March 9th.

Randy Seaver led a free-wheeling discussion of Marriage Records.  He defined some terms and types of marriage records in a presentation, listed some online resources for indexes and records, and showed  different types of records from his own research.  The attendees shared some of their records, told some interesting stories about searching for records, and had many questions about finding them online and in repositories. Randy's handout is available for an email (

Some of the research stories:

*  Sylvia went to an unnamed county office and they gave her the original marriage certificate in the file, and put her name as a contact.

*  Bobbie and Steve have had problems getting marriage records from a county clerk, and wondered if there was another means to obtain it.  The group suggested looking for them in Family History Library microfilms.

*  Helen was persistent and received the record on her second try, but with a different clerk.

*  Many have had experiences with friendly and helpful record offices, with unfriendly clerks, have received no response to a mailed or email query, and have found some records were lost or damaged.

In question time:

*  "How do you find information about specific state or county marriage records?"  The group suggested the FamilySearch Research Wiki, the USGenWeb pages, a local genealogical or historical society, and FHL microfilms to determine what's available and how to obtain records.

*  "What is the value of online trees, and which are the best?"  The group noted that Ancestry Member Trees and Rootsweb WorldConnect are the largest collections of separate trees, but the FamilySearch Family Tree promises to be an interconnected tree when it is available to the public.  The value of online trees is to serve as "cousin bait" and to provide leads to extending your family tree, but you need to verify the data since there is a lot of duplication and many errors.

*  "How can I write to a state and obtain official vital records?"  The group noted that each state has different guidelines, and that the state vital records websites provide the forms.  Some states require your identification and a statement of your relation to the person whose record you're requesting, and some do not.

*  "I saw the DNA chart on the wall at the Family History Center - is DNA testing worth it?"  The group noted that Y-chromosome DNA for patrilineal (male) line descendants can provide confirmation of a surname line if close matches can be found for others with the surname.  Likewise for mitochondrial DNA if close matches can be found for the matrilineal (female) line descendants.  The new autosomal testing can decipher relationships up to third cousins if specific DNA markers are identical.

It was a very lively group this month - full of ideas, experiences and questions. 

The next CVGS Research Group meeting will be Wednesday, April 13th at 12 noon at the Chula Vista Civic center Branch Library in the Conference Room.  The discussion topic will be Newspaper records.

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