Saturday, March 29, 2014

Spring Seminar on Saturday, 29 March, Features Jean Wilcox Hibben - Register Now!

It’s not as far away as you think! Our Spring Seminar is open for reservations and we have an interesting ‘menu’ planned for you. 

Please mark Saturday, March 29 on your calendar and plan to attend and learn all sorts of ways to improve your genealogy research, have some fun AND enjoy a catered lunch. We’ll have drawings for great prizes, vendors and expert speakers. Popular and knowledgeable Jean Hibben will offer four presentations, with additional talks by her husband Butch Hibben.

 Jean’s first talk will be “This is NOT Your Grandma's Genealogy: Making the Transition from Paper to Electronic Record-Keeping.” Are you a bit intimidated by the thought of organizing and storing all your research on the computer or ‘in the cloud’? Are you still stuck with boxes and boxes of paper? Jean will give you tips to convince you that modern technology is, indeed, your friend. She’ll discuss the advantages and disadvantages of computer over paper and will cover what to you need to know to transition away from total paper record keeping. Butch Hibben will discuss how to use Smart Phone technology for those interested in portable genealogy. He will also present his popular Living Legacy Project and be will be available throughout the day to share more information.

 The second morning session will be Jean’s presentation of Elisabeth: The Story of a German Immigrant. Jean’s novelization of her great great grandmother’s life is full of drama, love and history. Her narrative is a compelling picture of American history and will deal with topics such as the Civil War, law, and immigration.  The book will also be for sale at the seminar.

After lunch, Jean will present Lessons Learned from Genealogy Roadshow. Remember how the TV show made genealogical research look so easy? Jean shares with us how developing stories for a television show means having a minimum of time to gather together a wealth of family history, and how we can use those methods to make an interesting narrative of our family. How does one record lead to the next, and what alternate resources are available when one is unable to travel to other locations? 

Jean’s final presentation will be Up Close and Personal, a discussion of suggestions for doing research where our ancestors lived and died. This will include travel tips, hints for cemetery visits, contacting libraries and societies in advance, planning interviews of living relatives, and post-visit “debriefing” and organization. If there is time, attendees will be encouraged to share their personal experiences.

It will be an informative and entertaining day, so register now on our website ( You may pay by check or credit card - $45 for CVGS members, $50 for non-members – but there is a $5 discount if you register by March 8. 

So sign up now, before you forget! And remember, this is our big fundraiser for high school scholarships. We will have a drawing for a deluxe kitchen accessories basket too (have you bought your tickets yet?).   There will be door prizes and opportunity drawings also.

Come join us for our “Recipe for Genealogy” seminar!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

"Postcard Collections and Genealogy" Program Review

Carol Davidson Baird provided an enthusiastic and informative presentation on "Postcard Collections and Genealogy" at the March 26th monthly program meeting of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society to about 35 attendees.  See Carol's biography and talk summary in March 26th Program Meeting - Carol Baird on "Postcard Collections and Genealogy."

Carol started collecting postcards as an adult, and used postcards from her collection and experiences from her travels to illustrate hr presentation.

Topics covered included the purposes of postcards (communication, souvenirs, advertising, official notices); postcard subjects (e.g., buildings, famous art, ships, locations, advertisements, personal photos, etc.); history of postcards (from 1870s to the present); how to date postcards from postmarks, stamps, different paper types, card style, handwriting, images shown, printed legends, etc.

She also noted that you can learn about geography, history, customs, holidays, personal lives, and more from collecting postcards.  They are useful in genealogical research also (e.g., pictures of ancestral towns, ships on which your family emigrated, ancestral schools and places of worship) and perhaps have correspondence from family members and friends.

Carol used several postcards received by her family in Germany before and after World War II to illustrate some of the genealogical usefulness.  A researcher can add personal information to a biography from personal letters and information on postcards.  She provided a short genealogy case study derived from 13 postcards to a teenager in the 1908-1910 time frame that she found in a box of postcards at a collectors show.  Miss Mary B. Hyde was the recipient of romantic postcards from a number of young men.  Carol researched Mary Hyde, found her as a 17-year old in the 1910 U.S. Census in Los Angeles County with parents and siblings, and found an Ancestry Member Tree for her that showed she married a John Francis Delaney in about 1911, and had two daughters.  

She noted that sometimes serendipity happens - Carol found a card with a famous art painting of a nude woman sent from Spain in 1969 by her and her siblings to her uncle in Burbank.  She found it in a box of postcards for sale at an antiques store in the Los Angeles area. 

One of the audience questions was where a researcher might find postcards for their family or ancestral localities.  Carol said to look in home paper and photo collections, antique stores, stamp and coin shops, ephemera shows and county fairs, nursing homes, military bases and post exchanges, old friends, historical societies, and local libraries.

This was an interesting presentation for many of the attendees.  Some expressed dismay that they did not have any postcards from their parents or grandparents, and some lamented that they knew many postcards had been lost when their elders died and the heirs cleaned out the ancestral homes.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

March 26th Program Meeting - Carol Baird on "Postcard Collections and Genealogy"

WEDNESDAY, March 26th
from 12 noon to 2 p.m.
At Chula Vista Civic Center Library Auditorium (365 F Street)

Carol Baird: “Postcards Collections and Genealogy”

 Why study postcard collections for genealogical research? It is one of the most popular collecting hobbies since it started in the 1870s. Your ancestors may have sent postcards to their relatives showing their home, town, vacation, or passenger ship. In this talk, Carol will talk about the history of postcards, what you can learn from postcards, and how you can use postcards in your genealogical research.

 Carol Davidson Baird is the only child of German survivors of the Holocaust and has researched her family for 42 years. She is past president of San Diego JGS and North San Diego County Genealogical Society as well as past editor for both society newsletters and has served on the Board of Directors of NSDCGS since 1999. She is past co-editor of Stammbaum and wrote the IAJGS manual on how to start a JGS in your hometown. She writes for journals and newsletters and lectures on German Jewish and Holocaust genealogy throughout California. Carol's many travels to Europe with her family included visits to archives, town halls and concentration camps. Carol has an archive room in her home.

This meeting is open to all persons, and is free of charge to attend.  There will be a short society business meeting before the program speaker.  Snacks are provided by CVGS volunteers before and after the meeting. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

CVGS Newsletter for March 2014

The February 2014 issue of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society (CVGS) Newsletter was published last week.  You can read it online, in a PDF format - use the Newsletter link at

The Table of Contents lists:

page 1 - March 26th Program Meeting 
page 2 - President’s Message
page 2 - April 5th Workshop
page 3 - Spring Seminar News
page 4 - Scholarship Fund Basket 

page 5 - Research Group Review
page 6 - Next Computer Group Meeting
page 6 - April 23rd Genealogy Research Trip
page 6 - Hospitality Committee Needs You!
page 6 - Escondido Family History Fair Review

page 7 - February 26th Program Review
page 7 - Watch RootsTech Recorded Sessions
page 8 - Lemon Grove Research Group News
page 8 - More Research Tips for Beginning Genealogists
page 9 - CVGS Society Information 

page 9 - San Diego Genealogy Events 
page 10 - Genealogy Days in Chula Vista

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

CVGS Saturday Workshop on Saturday, 8 March is on Kentucky Research

The March Saturday Workshop is on 8 March at 12:30 p.m. at the Bonita-Sunnyside Library in Bonita, California (4375 Bonita Road, turn left at Billy Casper Way).  

Susi Pentico will lead a discussion about Kentucky Research.  Bring your Kentucky research problems and questions, and share what you know about researching in this state.

Monday, March 3, 2014

February Program Review - Ceasar Castro's "California in the Mexican-American War"

The 26 February program presentation for the Chula Vista Genealogical Society was "California and the Mexican War (1846-1850) from a Genealogical Point of View" by CVGS member Ceasar Castro.

Ceasar noted that historians want to highlight leaders and events, but genealogists want to find information about individuals - not only the leaders, but the soldiers and residents also.

In this talk, Ceasar provided a detailed history timeline of the events that led up to the Mexican-American War (1846-1848), not only in California but also in the United States and in Mexico.  

California was explored in the 16th century by Cortez, Cabrillo and others, but it wasn't until 1697 when Spain granted permission to the Jesuits to settle Baja California in Loreto, and built a series of missions.  Alta California was not settled until Jose de Galvez and Father Junipero Serra arrived in and built a mission in San Diego in 1769.  More missions and presidios were built up and down the coast until the 1820s, when Mexico declared independence from Spain.  The Spanish and Mexican governments conferred large land grants, called ranchos, on retired soldiers and their friends after independence. 

The first U.S. citizen to settle in California was Thomas Larkin in Monterey in 1832 as a consul.  Others followed in small groups, especially in northern California around the San Francisco Bay and along the California Trail through Sacramento and the Sierra Nevada.  

John Fremont was tasked by the U.S. government to come overland in June 1845 to survey western North America, and he arrived at Sutter's Fort in the Valley and in Monterey and met Larkin.  The U.S. Navy sailed along the coast and occasionally had conflicts in the ports.  The catalyst for the Mexican-American War was probably statehood granted Texas in 1845, and increasing conflicts with Mexico.  War was declared by Congress and President Polk in May 1846.  Orders were given to capture California and small battles occurred in Los Angeles, Monterey, Sonoma, Vallejo and other settlements between U.S. settlers, soldiers and sailors and the Mexican soldiers and settlers.  

U.S. soldiers under General Stephen Kearny, the 500-strong Mormon Battalion, and a group of New York Volunteers, headed to California overland and by ship around the Horn.  Sonoma, Monterey and Yerba Buena (San Francisco) were captured by U.S. forces already in California, and Los Angeles was contested for months.  The Bear Flag Republic was declared in Sonoma in June 1846.  Los Angeles was recaptured by the Mexicans and Californios in September 1846. 

Kearny's troops arrived in early December 1846 in eastern San Diego county, and found the Mexican and Californio defenders who had been alerted by residents on a nearby rancho.  The Battle of San Pasqual ensued and Ceasar described it in significant detail.  Both sides eventually claimed victory, but the U.S. side had more casualties.  

Throughout the discussion, Ceasar presented lists of the known U.S. participants in the different movements and skirmishes.  His handout provided a bibliography of historical books that discussed the military, political and social history of California in the 1840s.

Ceasar will finish the history and have more information about California as it approached statehood in 1850 in a subsequent presentation in September.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Genealogy Days in Chula Vista - March 2014

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society events for March 2014 include:

**  Saturday, 8 March, 12 noon to 3 p.m., Bonita-Sunnyside Library (4375 Bonita Road) -- Saturday Workshop:  Susi Pentico will lead a discussion on "Kentucky Research."

** Wednesday 12 March, 12 noon to 2 p.m., Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library (365 F Street) -- CVGS Research Group WILL NOT MEET this month due to library closure during the week of March 10 to 16.

** Wednesday, 19 March, 10:30 a.m. 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 Gary Brock and Shirley Becker. Bring your laptops to sharpen your computer skills and investigate online genealogy resources.

** Wednesday, 26 March, 12 noon to 2 p.m., Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library (365 F Street) -- CVGS Program Meeting in the Auditorium.  Carol Baird will present "Postcards for Genealogy"  Refreshments before and after the meeting.

**  Wednesdays, 5, 19 and 26 March, 10 a.m. to 12 noon, Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library (365 F Street)-- Research Assistance in the Family Research area.  John Finch will help you with your research problems.  Bring your laptop if you want to do online research.

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 - turn north on Billy Casper Way, just west of the Otay Lakes Road intersection with Bonita Road, on the north side of Bonita Road.

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.  All CVGS events are FREE to attend, except for some seminars and picnics.