Monday, September 9, 2013

CVGS Fall Seminar Review - "A Century of Service: A Genealogist's Perspective"

The Fall seminar of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society (CVGS) was on Saturday, 7 September at the Bonita-Sunnyside Library in Bonita, California.  There were over 40 attendees for this FREE day-long event.

Four presentations were made on the history and events of the War of 1812, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War and World War I, and a fifth on the records that are available to family history researchers.

CVGS President Virginia Taylor welcomed the attendees soon after 9:30 a.m., and introduced each of the speakers:

1)  Karl Zingheim, the historian of the USS Midway Museum, presented "The War of 1812: When the Navy Saved the Republic."  He called this war "a needless conflict" in four areas - a land war centered on Maryland and DC, another centered on New York and Ontario, a "fresh-water" engagements on the Great Lakes, and "salt water" engagements in the Atlantic Ocean.  Karl concentrated on the naval conflicts, which saw several isolated victories by the U.S. Navy in the Atlantic over the British royal Navy that had not lost a ship in 10 years. The U.S. Navy won the engagement on Lake Erie under Oliver Hazard Perry, and on Lake Champlain, but there was a two-year standoff on Lake Ontario.  Karl's presentation was entertaining and had many photographs, maps and other images depicting events, but did not note any genealogical record information.  The handout for this war provided a detailed timeline, some bibliograp
hic references, and some online web page resources.

2)  Margaret Lewis, past-President of the San Diego African-American Genealogy Research Group (SDAAGRG) presented "The Civil War Story: Transforming the Face of the Nation."  Margaret described the Civil War from secession to Appomattox without details of military movements and battles.  She described her ancestor's experiences.  Jacob Wilks was emancipated in 1863, and enlisted in the U.S. Colored Troops regiment in 1863 as a Private.  He was present at Appomattox and described his recollections in a memoir.  Margaret showed several of his records, and her handout listed different types of military records available at the National Archives and in online databases.

3)  Susi Pentico, past-President of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society, presented "The Spanish-American War: Remember the Maine."  Susi described the timeline for this relatively short war, noting that there were 10 weeks of fighting in Cuba and the Philippines, but a guerrilla war in the latter lasted until 1902.  She provided links to several historical websites in her handout, but did not highlight any online or archival record collections.  Gary Brock passed around his great-grandfather's Spanish-American War enlistment record.

4)  John Finch, past-President of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society, presented "World War I:  A Nation of Immigrants emerges as the World Power."  John provided a detailed history of the rival blocs in Europe existing in 1914 and during the war, the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand on 28 June 1914 in Sarajevo that sparked the war, the world events that occurred during the war, the battles in northern France and Belgium, and the peace treaty.  The highlight was a film clip from the movie, The War Horse, depicting the infantry and cavalry battles in northern France.  He  discussed the relative force sizes and casualties, and mentioned the 1918 influenza epidemic.  John recommended the book The War to End All Wars by Adam Hochschild.  John provided examples of several collections for World War I records, and his handout included lists of collections on, Fold3, and FamilySearch.

5)  Susi Pentico closed out the seminar by providing an overview of genealogical resources and methodology for military records.  The handout included links to FamilySearch, USGenWeb, Fold3, (National Archives), Ancestry, GenealogyBank.  She noted that researchers should consult State Archives sites, county, university and state libraries, genealogical and historical societies, and local DAR and SAR chapters.

The Fall Seminar committee provided drinks and snacks for the attendees, there were several door prizes, and a historical timeline from 1809 to 1921 was provided to orient the attendees.  Attendees either brought their lunch, went out for lunch to a local eatery, or munched on the snacks.

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