Friday, September 30, 2011

CVGS Fall Seminar Summary: Anne Bowman – “Irish and Scots-Irish Genealogy Research”

The morning presentation at the Chula Vista Genealogical Society Fall Seminar on 24 September was by Anne Bowman, titled “Irish and Scots-Irish Genealogy Research”

Anne's one hour PowerPoint presentation discussed basic concepts of Irish genealogy research in depth, and discussed Scots-Irish research in the U.S. briefly. 

She started by noting that 30-35% of Americans claim Irish or Scots-Irish ancestry, second only to German ancestry.  The first Irish emigration was in the 1700s, and were mostly of Scots-Irish heritage.  In the mid-1800s, the emigrants were mainly Irish Catholics fleeing the potato famine in Ireland.

To find your Irish emigrant to the U.S., always start with what you know; work backwards from yourself un til you find the immigrant; Collect as much info as possible in USA so that you can recognize him in Irish records;  there may be multiple people with the same name from the same town, village, region.  You need their full name, date of birth or age, place of birth or last residence before immigration, year of immigration, and the port of entry.  Look at Family Groups, since many immigrants traveled together with family and friends.

The types of records with clues include home photos, letters, passport; newspapers; Vital records; Census records; Military records (service records, pension); Social Security Applications; church and cemetery records; probate records; naturalization records; and passenger lists.

Anne described the different jurisdictions in Ireland, including:

*  Jurisdiction and Land divisions: organized large to small: country, province, county, poor law union, barony, civil parish, town or townland
*  Only one Ireland until 1922, then split into Republic and Northern Ireland
*  Four provinces before 1922 – Leinster, Munster, Connacht, Ulster
*  32 counties – 26 in present Irish Republic, 6 in present Northern Ireland
*  Poor Law Union: 162 work houses in several civil parishes in the 1850s. Civil Registration Districts follow PLU boundaries
*  Civil Registrations – non-Catholic marriages recorded in 1845. Roman Catholic births, deaths and marriages started in 1864
*  Barony – 273 barony divisions, used up to the 1901 census, but not used today
*  Parishes – Civil parishes and Ecclesiastical/church parishes. Civil parishes have the same boundaries/names as those of Anglican or Church of Ireland. Catholic parishes have different boundaries than civil parishes
*  Town/Townland: size varies from very small parcel up to thousands of acres. Need maps and gazetteers to find. See websites. (

The reasons for Irish to emigrate to North America included:

 *  Religious oppression
*  Famine with High mortality rates (1845-1855: potato blight/famine caused 1 million deaths)

By 1855, one fourth of population of Ireland had gone  to the US.  In the 1850 US census: almost 1 million people claimed Irish birth

The U.S. Records that may help identify an Irish immigrant include:

*  Federal and State Census records
*  Passenger lists – limited value because of many similar names. Tracking family groups is more productive.  Use, and  
*  Church records – baptism, marriage , burial. Godparents. Headstones. Central archives for diocese or original church. Some re on Microfilm from the LDS Family History Library.
*  .Newspapers: Boston Pilot had “Missing Friends” 1831-1920 used by immigrants to find family/friends in USA. Column sometimes listed exact origin of immigrant and parish of seeker and one being sought. Available at (NEHGS).
*  Institutions – hospitals, asylums, banks (NY Emigrant Savings Bank records are on,

Irish Records that are available include:

*  Census records before 1901 were destroyed in 1922 fire.
*  Vital Records in United Kingdom start in 1864, marriage records give only father’s name, death record has no parents
*  Church records – each parish has their own records, some start mid-1700s to mid-1800s. Many are Indexed and searchable, and some are at LDS Family History Centers
*  UK Tax Records – Tithe Applotment books for civil parishes in 1824-1840; Griffiths Valuation 1848-1864, lists all households, names, landlords, acreage, and is online
*  Estate Records – Catholics did not own land until the late 1800s. Landlords kept lease, rent, account records
*  Records from the 1700s are in the National Archives of Ireland.
*  Find a list of English vs Gaelic names –

In her presentation material about Scots-Irish Research, Anne noted that this refers to immigrants of Scottish heritage who were either born in Ireland or who lived in Ireland before emigration.  They are also called Irish Presbyterians, Ulster Scots or Scotch-Irish.  Many people from Scotland settled in  Northern Ireland in the late 1600s.  They were of the Presbyterian religion or association.  They can be identified from family traditions, names, etc.
Some history:

*  1609: first Scottish plantation in Ireland
*  1717: first wave of migrants to America (Large group in 1718 from Londonderry to Boston, then many to New Hampshire)
*  1725:  second wave
*  1740:  third wave
*  1775-76: American Revolution
*  1717-1776: 2.5 million Scots-Irish migrated to colonies
The greatest number of Scots-Irish settled in Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, but they were in all 13 colonies.  After the American Revolution, many went to Georgia, Kentucky, and Tennessee.

The reasons for emigration included:
*  British policy required 10% tax on Scots-Irish who were Presbyterian
*  Neighborly friction with Catholics
*  Better opportunities
*  Migrated freely
*  Some came with British regiments, as indent servants or prisoners
The American records of the 1700s are limited - there are no vital records, census records, or naturalization records.  Researchers can use property, probate, court, military, cemetery, and church records to find their Scots-Irish immigrants.  They came with family groups and lived near extended family, so look for ministers and their homelands.

Anne provided a one-page syllabus with a list of the Irish and Scots-Irish online resource websites. 

This was a fast-paced, well organized basic research review on Irish and Scots-Irish research in both the U.S. and in Ireland. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

CVGS Fall Seminar Summary: Donna Bradley – “Ways of Getting Over, Around, or Under Your Brick Walls”

The Keynote Address at the Chula Vista Genealogical Society Fall Seminar on 24 September was by Donna Bradley, titled “Ways of Getting Over, Around, or Under Your Brick Walls.”

In her 30 minute lecture, Donna noted that "Everybody has brick walls;" "Genealogy is the world’s greatest treasure hunt. No one is going to hand you a map;" "You can’t hide who you are, neither could your ancestors;" "The key for what you’re looking for is in history;" and "Nothing takes more time than genealogy."

She noted that the "usual resources" found by researchers are – home papers/photos, family papers, census records, Internet searches, county vital records (in California since 1905), etc.  There are other records available, but they are harder to find. 

Information from one record triggers clues and hints and leads to more information.  Consulting with friends, relatives, colleagues works well – two brains are better than one.  There are people out there that know something about your family, you just need to find them!  Nobody will search for your people better than you will.

Donna suggested looking for records of:

*  Plaintiffs and defendants in court cases
*  Books, magazines and publications
*  Church records – every religion has records
*  Voters lists
*  Tax lists
*  BLM land patents 
*  School records sometime have family information; Alumni books often have information
*  State and National Archives
*  Historical and genealogical societies and museums

This was a good basic summary of how to try to break down your brick wall research problems. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Wednesday, September 28 Program - "Finding the Living - and Maybe the Dead"

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society (CVGS) program on Wednesday, 28 September at 12 noon in the Auditorium of the Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library (365 F Street, Chula Vista CA 91910) features:

Arnold Botts on "Finding the Living - and Maybe the Dead."

Arnold Botts is a retired Sergeant with the Chula Vista Police Department. He joined the department in 1968, and retired 25 years later, having worked most aspects of police work including patrol, detectives, and under cover. Since retirement, he has been a private investigator, working several aspects of that field. His work has included covert surveillance, personal protection, criminal and civil investigations, and background investigations.

His presentation will discuss methods and resources that private investigators use to find living people. This has a direct application to genealogists trying to locate living relatives, old friends and classmates.

This program is free for all persons to attend. Please enter the auditorium through the conference room door in order to register your attendance, pick up the program sheet and have a snack and drink, compliments of CVGS.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

CVGS Research Group Summary - September 14th

by Gary Brock:

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society Research Group meeting on September 14th had nine members in attendance. Our illustrious leader, Randy Seaver, was absent, however. Randy played hooky for this session to attend the FGS conference back in Springfield, Illinois then to Fort Wayne to do some research at the Allen County Public Library followed by a stop in Michigan to visit blogger friends and finally to Wisconsin to complete his genealogy tour with Linda. You can follow him on his tour at

In the first hour and a half, the group watched a Legacy Family Tree webinar by Thomas MacEntee who presented "BACKING UP Your Genealogy Data," which Randy obtained at the SCGS Jamboree in June. The handout attachment was sent to all members the day before the meeting for them to print out and bring to the meeting. In the presentation, Thomas discussed Making a data backup plan, Identifying data for backup, Types of backups and several Online data backup services.

After the presentation we had an open sharing, with research highlights, questions and answers, etc.
The highlights:

* Karen shared a discovery that may explain how an ancestor named Leland Stanford Steeves got his name. Leland Stanford, of course, was a prominent early California tycoon, governor and founder of the now prestigious Stanford University. She learned that her ancestor was born just seven days after the death of his famous namesake and his parents probably used the news of Stanford’s death to pick a name for their new son. Maybe for good luck or prestige in life. Karen has so far found no connection between her Steeves ancestors and the Stanfords.

* Shirley has been working in the 1790-1840s on her Pearsals, Millers and Graves lines. She found it interesting that her ancestor Thomas Graves enlisted twice in the War of 1812, and has a pension file. The file enabled her to find his family in the 1810 US Census in Minden, New York. It appears that he would not have been much over twelve years old on his first enlistment. John Graves, the father, enlisted in the War of 1812 also.

* Verena told us about her confusion while working on her Debra Magroo. It seems there are so many Magroos in the area where she is researching that it is hard to know who is who.

* Dearl said he had the same problem with his Glenn line in South Carolina. In looking for one of his Glenn ancestors in the early censuses he found fifteen men, (heads of household), all with same name.

The next CVGS Research Group meeting will be Wednesday, October 12th at 12 noon in the Conference Room at the Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library. No topic has been selected but Randy will probably have much to tell us about his Midwest Genealogy Tour and the FGS conference.

Friday, September 2, 2011

CVGS Fall Seminar on 24 September 2011 at Chula Vista Golf Course

The Fall Seminar of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society will be on Saturday, 24 September 2011 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Chula Vista Golf Course (4475 Bonita Road, Bonita, California).

The featured speakers and their subjects will be:

Keynote Address: Donna Bradley -- "Ways of Getting Over, Around or Under Your Brick Walls"

Morning Presentation: Anne Bowman -- "Scots-Irish Research Clues"

Afternoon Presentation: Donna Bradley -- "American Indian Research"

This is an all-day paid event. Registrations end on 15 September 2011.  The registration fee is $35 which includes morning refreshments, a keynote address, two main sessions, a fully catered lunch, afternoon light refreshments, opportunity drawings and door prizes. There will be vendors on hand with books, CDs, Photo kits, Handwriting Analysis and a Society book sale.

The schedule for the day is:

8:30 a.m. Check-in, registration, Venders setup
9:00 a.m. Opening and introductions by President Gary Brock
9:15 a.m. KeyNote Address: Donna Bradley, "Ways of Getting Over, Around or Under Your Brick Walls", Q and A
10:00 a.m. Drawings, Break, Refreshments, (vendor tables open)
10:30 a.m. Anne Bowman, "Scots-Irish Research Clues", Q and A
11:30 a.m. Drawings, Lunch (vendor tables open)
1:00 p.m. Announcements, Drawings
1:15 p.m. Donna Bradley, "American Indian Research", Q and A
2:30 p.m. Drawings, Refreshments, (vendor tables open)
3:00 p.m. Seminar end

(Click here) if you would like to register on-line for this event.

(Click here) if you would like to register by mail for this event.

For a flyer on this seminar (click here).