Friday, April 11, 2014

April 9th Research Group Meeting Review

The April Research Group Meeting of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society had 21 in attendance at the Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library.

In the first hour, Karen Yarger and Diane Godinez made several announcements, and then Randy Seaver discussed how to access and use the FamilySearch record collections, since only some of them are indexed, and some are not indexed.  The latter must be browsed, and there are many "genealogy gems" hiding in those unindexed collections, including probate and land records for several states.  He used New York Probate Records as an example, and demonstrated finding the "waypoints" and locating a specific record in a digitized book of Estate papers for one of his ancestors.  He also highlighted the website to create a number of colorful and useful family tree charts based on information from the FamilySearch Family Tree.

In the second hour, research questions and problems were posed and addressed by group members.  For instance:

*  Laura asked how she should try to find her ancestor, James Craft (1810-1880), who moved from Maryland to Pennsylvania to Illinois to Iowa during his lifetime.  She has only census records for 1850 to 1870, and cannot find his parents.  The group suggested identifying the places that he lived and looking for military, land, church, cemetery, tax and probate records on microfilm or on FamilySearch.

*  Sally is just starting her research, and a family story is that James Russell was a Revolutionary War soldier, and she wanted to know how to prove that.  The group recommended that she confirm her ancestral line back to him by working backwards, using vital, census, military and other records, family by family.  For Revolutionary War soldiers, the DAR has a useful database, there should be a Compiled Military Service Record for the soldier, and there may be a pension file for him.  

*  Jane is also starting her research, and has been working on FamilySearch.  She wondered if she should invest in subscriptions for and  The group suggested that she should use the free sites, including,, and the Rootsweb WorldConnect family tree database, to find more leads before investing in a subscription site.  She also asked about immigration sites, and the group suggested, and FamilySearch, and that had passenger lists for all ports in their collection.

*  Shirley bought some of the Rhode Island Roots periodicals at the book sale at the CVGS seminar and has found some helpful items for her ancestor, Samuel Tillinghast.  

*  Helen asked if some one with the first names of "Ayres Marie" could be an "Iris Marie" in other records.  The group thought so.  She said that autosomal DNA tests show a possible cousin has an "Iris" in their tree.

*  Hazel wondered how accurate FamilySearch Family Tree data is.  The group thought that form any families in the 19th and 20th century, the information was accurate since it was based on family papers and genealogical research.  When you get back into the 18th century and before, the information may not be as accurate because of the lack of records and duplicate entries for persons and events.

*  Bobbie displayed the 150th Anniversary book for her local church in Lake County, Illinois, which has articles submitted by descendants and members, including her own.  This is an example of what you might find at local libraries and historical societies when you visit an ancestral location.  
The next meeting of the CVGS Research Group will be on Wednesday, 14 May 2014 at 12 noon in the Conference Room at the Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library.  

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