Monday, September 24, 2012

CVGS Fall Seminar Summary - "Show Me Your Roots"

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society Fall Seminar was held on Saturday, 22 September 2012, at the bonita-Sunnyside Library.  The title of this event was "Show Me Your Roots."  There were two sessions with essentially the same planned events - one in the morning (10 AM to 12 noon) and one in the afternoon (1 PM to 3 PM).

The morning session had about 20 CVGS members and 12 non-members in attendance.  The non-members ranged from beginners with a pedigree chart to intermediate researchers with some research background.  

After CVGS President Gary Brock welcomed the attendees, CVGS member Sam Seat made a 30 minute presentation about how to begin and progress in your genealogical and family history research.  His points included:
  • Buy a computer program for your family tree – Family Tree Maker (Win and Mac), RootsMagic (Win), Legacy Family Tree (Win), Reunion (Mac), MyHeritage (Win).
  • There are many online video courses for Beginners and others – check out the FamilySearch courses/videos
  • Fill out your pedigree chart – a skeleton of 5 generations of ancestors – with names, dates, and places
  • Fill in the blanks on the chart – find records, family, local, repositories, online search
  • Use free online searches and record collections such as Google, FamilySearch, USGenWeb, Rootsweb, Find-A-Grave
  • Use online commercial subscription sites with record collections such as Ancestry, Archives, Fold3, GenealogyBank, etc.
  • Be careful – don't believe everything you see, use “official” records to make sure data indexes and online trees are correct.
  • What can you find – birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates, census records, city directories, wills/probate records, land records, military records, immigration records, SSDI, cemetery records, etc.
Sam provided some examples from his own research - images of vital record certificates, census records, wills, city directory pages, gravestones, draft registration, website story, etc.

Bonita-Sunnyside Librarian Hielde Kraus provided a short overview of the library genealogy holdings, including Ancestry Library Edition on the Catalog computers, access to local university libraries with a library card, and the use of Inter-Library Loan to obtain books from other libraries.

At this point, the CVGS Mentors were introduced - Bernice (French-Canada), Shirley (New York, Reunion), Sam, Randy (New England, RootsMagic), Susi (Mid-Atlantic, New England), Karen (Norway, Maryland), Bobbie (French Canada, Bavaria), Ken (Family Tree Maker), and Kevin (MyHeritage).

The plan was to have the mentors help the attendees to fill out their pedigree chart, but all of them had one already started, so the session quickly moved to helping the attendees with their software briefings and research questions.  

Shirley, Randy and Ken discussed and demonstrated the programs to several persons.  Other attendees had questions concerning genealogical resources and how to attack their research problems, and the CVGS members provided advice and went online using their laptops and mobile devices to find records that might help the attendee.

After lunch, the afternoon session had the same CVGS attendees, and five more C VGS members came to ask questions, see software demonstrations, and for help with their research problems.

Drawings were held after both sessions, with CVGS memberships and donations from local restaurants and attractions as door prizes.

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