Sunday, February 26, 2012

CVGS Program on Wednesday, 29 February: Key Moments in Chula Vista History

The February program meeting of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society (CVGS) will feature Dr. Steven E. Schoenherr speaking on "Key Moments in Chula Vista History."

The program will be held on Wednesday, 29 February, at 12 noon in the Auditorium at the Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library (365 F Street, Chula Vista).  There will be a short business meeting prior to the presentation.

The program will focus at "Key Moments in Chula Vista History" from the city's origin in the 1886 vision of Col. Dickinson to the city's great leap in size with the 1985 Montgomery annexation.  Dr. Schoenherr recently authored the book Chula Vista Centennial: A Century of People and Progress to celebrate Chula Vista's Centennial.

 Dr. Steven E. Schoenherr was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and earned his B.A. in History at Indiana University and his Ph.D. in History at the University of Delaware. He moved to San Diego in 1977 and taught in the Department of History at the University of San Diego from 1977 to 2007.

Schoenherr wrote his dissertation on Stephen Early, FDR's press secretary, and has written articles on Bing Crosby, Jane Addams, and the transistor radio; another project was a web page for theEncyclopaedia Britannica on the History of Sound Recording. He also produced a DVD history of the National Security Agency for Spyfest '03, a DVD set of films and images for the Hearst Symposium '05, and a DVD collection of Universal Newsreels from 1929 to 1967, including a 6-disc set on the World War II era.

Some of Dr. Schoenherr's publications have been multimedia productions, including video documentaries on San Diego's Gaslamp District and the Villa Montezuma; his World War II Seminar at the University of San Diego involved teams of students and produced the World War II Timeline website.

Now retired, Schoenherr recently co-authored a book on the history of Bonita for Arcadia's “Images of America” series. His article on “National City In Pictures” was published in the Journal of San Diego History, Summer 2008.

If you have a copy of Dr. Schoenherr's book, he will be happy to autograph it for you.  If you wish to purchase a copy of the Chula Vista Centennial book, please bring your checkbook.

Please note that entry to the Auditorium will be ONLY through the main doors off of the South entrance to the Library.  There will be no entry through the Conference Room door off of the East entrance to the library. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

CVGS Computer Group Review - 15 February 2012

The 15 February meeting of the CVGS Computer Group had only eight attendees, but we had some genealogy fun.

Randy reviewed the SSDI issue, the 1940 U.S. Census Indexing project, the San Diego City Directories added to, the Pennsylvania Death Records (1906-1961) available at the Pennsylvania Archives, and Megan Smolenyak's book Hey! America! Your Roots Are Showing.

Virginia has had computer problems with a virus that slowed her system down and prevented some actions.  She eventually called AVG (anti-virus software company) and the technician took over her computer and corrected the problems over most of a day.

Jaye is researching her ancestors Thomas and Loretta Halley and wondered if more could be found about their ancestry.  Several researchers went looking in databases and found information for her from and  Several census records, and death records, were printed out for her.

Joanna's computer is not working, so she wanted help finding information about her ancestor Homer Williams and his ancestry.  She thought that his father was Homer Williams, but we found her Homer (born in 1909 in Buffalo NY) as a son of Bruce and Lillian Williams in the 19190, 1920 and 1930 census records.

Other attendees noted that they learned something about searching with wild cards and birth date/birth place filters by watching the searches performed on Ancestry and FamilySearch.

The next meeting of the CVGS Computer Group will be on Wednesday, 14 March at 12 noon in the Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library Computer Lab.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

CVGS Joins 1940 U.S. Census Community Project

Dear CVGS Members,

We are excited to announce that our society has joined the 1940 U.S. Census Community Project to help index the 1940 U.S. Federal Census!  Indexing records from our state, we will be an essential part of this monumental grass-roots effort that will put one of the richest genealogical data sets in the world online, complete and free of charge forever.  

Go to and register to participate with our society.  Simply select Chula Vista Genealogical Society on the profile screen when creating your account. Every new person indexing with our society gets us closer to milestones that qualify us for incentives provided by the sponsors of the project, so sign up today!

Thank you in advance for your participation. We look forward to the impact this resource will have for researchers of our area and so many others.

Warm regards,

Gary Brock, President

About the 1940 Census Community Project

On April 2, 2012, images of the 1940 U.S. Federal Census will be released for the first time. Unlike previous census years, images of this census will be made available as free digital images.

Upon its release, the 1940 U.S. Census Community Project, a joint initiative between,,, and other leading genealogy societies and organizations, will coordinate efforts to provide quick access to these digital images and immediately start indexing these records to make them searchable online with free and open access.

Interest in the 1940 U.S. Census is both significant and sentimental because it documents what is often referred to as “The Greatest Generation” of U.S. citizens. As a group, these are individuals who:

•          Survived the Great Depression
•          Fought in the Second World War
•          Innovated technology (TV, Microwave)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

CVGS Research Group Meeting Review - 8 February 2012

The February meeting of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society (CVGS) Research Group was on Wednesday, 8 February in the Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library Computer Lab, with 17 in attendance. The meeting was moderated by Randy Seaver.

There were many news items of interest during the last month, and Randy described the public access to the Social Security Death Index, the impending release of the U.S. 1940 Census, an updated GEDCOM, the use of Dropbox, the RootsTech 2012 Conference, the emergence of brightsolid as a commercial company with U.S. resources, and the FamilySearch research wiki and research courses. The brochure for RootsTech 2012 and some of the syllabus articles were passed around the group. Randy reminded attendees that they can watch about 20 hours of streamed video on the website from the conference.

In the discussion of current research problems and successes, these issues came up:

* Bob C. had been searching for links to royal ancestors through his Neville line, and found a book on the Westmoreland family that provides the information that connects them through a name change back in the 16th century.

* Susi asked what the best way to publicize research problems and research queries that CVGS members have to the rest of the genealogy world, and get research advice or suggestions, other than through message boards. Her example was our colleague Shirley's Wright family problem in upstate New York. Randy suggested that the CVGS blog could be used to publish genealogy queries or requests from CVGS members so that blog readers or search engines will pick up fresh content.

* Sam asked how other researchers pursue research on a new family line. What do they do first, then next, etc.? The group consensus was to:

* Search online family trees to determine if research has been done before
* Use free and commercial historical record collections to find evidence for the family line, starting with the latest generation and working backward in time.
* Do searches on Google, Mocavo, Dogpile, etc. for specific family names and residences
* Consult the Family History Library Catalog for books or manuscripts for specific surnames and family locations. Order microfilm to find historical records that are not yet online.
* Consult other repository catalogs for holdings on specific surnames and localities.
* Write to or travel to the distant repositories to research in their holdings
* Travel to the distant localities to do research at local repositories (genealogical societies, historical societies, local archives) and organizations/businesses (churches, schools, cemeteries, mortuaries, etc.).

The question was asked "What online resources should be consulted?" Randy, with suggestions from the group, compiled this list on the white board (for U.S. research):

* (commercial, free at FHC, free at San Diego city and county library branches) - historical records, family trees, learning center, more.
* (free at home) - historical records, research wiki, research courses, family trees, etc.
* RootsWeb (free at home) - WorldConnect database, death indexes for CA, KY, ME, TX, many user free pages
* United States GenWeb pages (free) - one for each state, one for each county, many user contributions
* Find-a-Grave (free) - cemetery records, many transcriptions, some photographs
* Fold3 (commercial, free to use at FHC) - historical records, memorial pages.
* WorldVitalRecords (commercial, free to use at FHC) - historical records.
* (commercial) - historical records
* AmericanAncestors (commercial, some free New England databases, free to use at Carlsbad) - historical records, scholarly journals
* GenealogyBank (commercial) - historical and present-day newspapers
* Google (free to use) - search for specific names, years, locations (no deep links)
* Mocavo (free to use) - searches only genealogy websites (no deep links)
* Dogpile, Bing, others (free to use) - different search from Google.

That lead to the question "What offline resources should be consulted, and where can I find them?" The group offered (for U.S. research):

* Birth, Marriage, Death records - local, county or state offices; local libraries, genealogical and historical societies. Some are on Family History Library (FHL) microfilm. Many are online.
* Land, probate, guardianship records - local or county offices; local libraries, genealogical societies, historical societies; Many records pre-1920 are on FHL microfilm. Few are online. Indexes for recent records may be online at county office websites.
* Military records - State Archives, National Archives, hereditary organizations. Many records are on FHL microfilm, many are online.
* Immigration records - National Archives. Many are on FHL microfilm, many are online.
* Naturalization/citizenship records - National Archives, local, county or Federal courts. Some are on FHL microfilms, some are online.
* Historical newspapers - local, state and regional libraries may have indexes and microfilm. Some are online at free or commercial sites.
* City directories - local, state and regional libraries may have books on shelf. Some are on FHL microfilms and some are online.
* Tax records - county and state offices. Many are on FHL microfilm, and some are online.
* School records - local historical societies, school offices.
* Church records - local historical societies, local churches, denomination offices. Some are published, some are on FHL microfilm, some are online.
* Cemetery records - local repositories may have books, local historical and genealogical societies, local businesses, many are on FHL microfilm, many are online.
* Voter registration lists - local repositories, local historical or genealogical societies, some are on FHL microfilm, some are online.

It was a spirited discussion, and the group enjoyed being able to use the computer lab terminals to do a bit of research in the process.

The next meeting of the CVGS Research Group will be Wednesday, 14 March at 12 noon in the Computer Lab at the Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library (365 F Street in Chula Vista). If you have research challenges, research successes, or research questions to ask, please come and share with the group.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Rest in Peace - Phyllis E. Learned

One of our dearest members died on Tuesday, 7 February. Here is the obituary printed in the San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper on 10 February for Phyllis E. Learned:

"LEARNED, PHYLLIS E. Sept. 6, 1922 to Feb. 7, 2012

Phyllis was born on Sept. 6, 1922, on her grandparents' farm outside Hildreth, Neb. to Maynard Goodwin and the former Violet Opal Gray. The parents soon parted and she grew up in various Nebraska towns where her mother first taught school then was a beautician. There Phyllis met her future husband Don Learned at a dance, and they were married on Feb. 6, 1943 in Jacksonville, Fla., during the middle years of World War II. Don stayed in the Navy and they eventually settled in San Diego, buying a home in National City, and later building one in Chula Vista.

Phyllis got interested in real estate and as a broker opened her own office, South Bay Investments, on Third Ave. in Chula Vista. She retired in 1980 after the death of her husband. She has been busy since then with her gardening, churches, family, and genealogy researches.

Phyllis died early Tuesday after a massive heart attack suffered the afternoon before while playing cards with friends at the Chula Vista Seniors Center. Services will be held at 1 p.m. today at the Hilltop Baptist Church, 740 Hilltop Drive, Chula Vista. A reception will be held at her daughter Jan's home afterwards. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in her name to the Gideons Bible Society, either directly or through the church.

She is survived by her son, Don Learned, a former Evening Tribune reporter; her daughter, Jan High; four grandchildren (Scott Learned, Christi Connolly, Jason High, Devin High); and seven great-grandchildren.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

CVGS Saturday Workshop on 11 February - Pennsylvania Records

The next Chula Vista Genealogical Society (CVGS) workshop is on Saturday, 11 February at 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Bonita-Sunnyside Library (4375 Bonita Road in Bonita).

The workshop leader will be CVGS Member Susi Pentico who will discuss "More Counties for Pennsylvania Research."

This workshop is free to attend.

See Genealogy Days in Chula Vista - February 2012 for more CVGS activities in February.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

February 2012 CVGS Newsletter is Available

The February 2012 issue of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society Newsletter is available online at, in a PDF format.

The Table of Contents includes:

*  page 1 - February 29th Program Meeting: "Key Moments in Chula Vista History" with Steven Schoenherr
*  page 2 - President's Message
*  page 3 - Spring Seminar Announcement: 31 March, "British Isles to America and Migrating West" with Bill Dollarhide and Leland Meitzler.
*  page 3 - Ask Gene E. Allogee, Tips and Techniques
*  page 4 - Research Group News

*  page 4 - Computer Group News
*  page 4 - Lemon Grove Research Group News
*  page 5 - January 25th Program Review
*  page 5 - Lemon Grove Research Group News*  page 5 - Escondido Family History Fair

*  page 5 - CVGS Saturday Workshop Programs*  page 6 - Season 3 of "Who Do You Think You Are"
*  page 6 - SSDI May be Removed from Public Access
*  page 7 - News from the RootsTech 2012 Conference
*  page 8 - Online Articles That Might Help Your Research

*  page 8 - Comparative Name Variant Project
*  page 9 - CVGS Society Information
*  page 9 - San Diego Genealogy Events
*  page 10 - Genealogy Days in Chula Vista

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Genealogy Days in Chula Vista - February 2012

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society events for February 2012 include:

** Wednesday 8 February, 12 noon to 2 p.m., Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library (365 F Street) -- CVGS Research Group meets in the Library Computer Lab, led by Randy Seaver. 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.

** Saturday, 11 February, 1 3 p.m., Bonita-Sunnyside (County) Library (4375 Bonita Road) -- Outreach Workshop meets in Community Room. Susi Pentico will present "More Counties of Pennsylvania."

** Wednesday, 15 February, 12 noon to 1:30 p.m., Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library (365 F Street) -- CVGS Computer Group meets in the Library Computer Lab, led by Shirley Becker. Sharpen your computer skills and investigate online genealogy resources.

** Wednesday, 29 February, 12 noon to 2 p.m., Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library (365 F Street) -- General Society Meeting meets in the Auditorium. Author Steven Schoenherr will present "Key Moments in Chula Vista History"  There will be a society business meeting before the presentation.

The Chula Vista Civic Center Branch 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). 

The Bonita-Sunnyside (County) Library is located at 4375 Bonita Road in Bonita - just west of the Otay Lakes Road intersection with Bonita Road, on the north side of Bonita Road. The Chula Vista South Library is at 389 Orange Avenue (southeast corner on Fourth Avenue) - parking lot is off of Orange east of Fourth.

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.