Saturday, May 31, 2008

US Military Records eBook FREE at

The Ancestry Store is offering a FREE eBook titled "Military Records at" by Esther Yu Sumner, published in 2007 by The Generations Network.

You can download the eBook in PDF format from here. The file is large - 16.9 mb, so you will need a cable or DSL connection or better. The eBook has a description of each American War or Conflict from Jamestown and New England in the 1600's through the Vietnam conflict. Each section summarizes the war, the military records available from the war, and the resources available at

This eBook is well worth the time to download it and read it. The background information on each war or conflict provides an excellent summary that refreshed my distant memories from American History classes!

Thanks to Juliana Smith's 24/7 Family History Circle blog post here.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

"Scottish Research" Program with Jackie Webster

The CVGS program speaker on Wednesday, 28 May, was Jackie Webster, who spoke on "Scottish Research." Jackie's CV and talk summary was posted here.

Jackie focused on the research that can be performed either using online resources or the LDS resources available at the San Diego Family History Center. She explained where records were located at the FHC, especially the Research Guides, the microfilms, the CDROMs, the computers, and the British Isles (BIGRA) collection. Jackie described the major books found at the reference desk and the British Isles shelves.

She summarized the availability of the Civil Registration of births, marriages and deaths (after 1855) and the Old Parochial Registers (OPR) of Scotland for the Church of Scotland (Presbyterian), which has baptisms, marriages and burials before 1855. Scotland has 33 counties and over 900 parishes. All of these records can be found on microfilms, and many are held permanently at the San Diego FHC. She also mentioned non-conformist church records.

Jackie covered the census records, which are available for 1841 to 1891 at present. They are all available on microfilm, and several are in online databases. The FHC has all of the 1861 and 1871 census microfilms, and a microfiche series with the transcribed 1881 census.

The BIGRA shelves at the FHC have many genealogy gems, including Family History society newsletters for many counties, books for monumental inscriptions, occupations and trades, gazetteers, clans and tartans, and surnames.

Jackie showed examples of many records for her ancestors, and described the processes used to find them. She particularly mentioned the army, medical, ministry and biographical records connected with the Honorable East India Company (HEIC) for military persons (many from Scotland) who served in India during the 19th century.

This presentation was full of interesting and useful information, especially for those with Scottish ancestry. In response to a question, Jackie explained that Scotland was initially settled by people from Ireland in the medieval time, then some Scots migrated to northern Ireland in the early 1700's, and many emigrated to Canada (especially Nova Scotia) and the USA in the mid to late 1700's.

Jackie ran out of time to cover the Internet resources in detail. Her handout listed the following web sites:


* -- IGI, Ancestral File and Pedigree Resource File have many Scottish families.

* -- a commercial site with Civil Registration BMD from 1855, Old Parish Records to 1854, the 1841 to 1901 census, and wills and testaments to 1901 (free). You can subscribe for a set number of credits (30 for 6 pounds).

* -- free site for historical records and documents.


* -- National Archives of Scotland official web site

* -- digital archive for the Scottish Archive Network which has digitized all testaments from 1500 to 1901.

* -- National Library of Scotland catalog

BACKGROUND: -- Statistical Accounts of Scotland - sources for Scottish life in the 18th and 19th century.

DIRECTORIES: -- GENUKI is a "virtual reference library" of genealogical information that is of particular relevance to the UK & Ireland. It is a noncommercial service, provided by an ever-growing group of volunteers in cooperation with the Federation of Family History Societies and a number of its member societies.

We had a reporter and a photographer from the San Diego Union-Tribune present at the meeting. The reporter interviewed several members after the meeting, and the photographer took shots of the Board members, the speaker, and the attendees. We hope to see an article in the newspaper next week.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

CVGS Beginning Genealogy Workshop on June 14 and 21

The next Beginning Genealogy Workshop sponsored by the Chula Vista Genealogical Society will be Saturdays June 14 and 21 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Conference Room at the Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library. The workshop is FREE to attend.

CVGS Member Bernice Heiter will be the teacher of this class which will cover the basics of genealogy and family history research. There is a class syllabus which will cost $10 to cover the cost of providing it.

To sign up, please contact Bernice (email

Monday, May 26, 2008

"Scottish Research" Program on Wednesday, 28 May

The next program meeting of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society will be Wednesday, May 28, at 12 noon at the Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library (365 F Street) auditorium.

After a brief business meeting, Jackie Webster will present "Scottish Research."

Jackie's talk description and curriculum vitae are:

"Jackie Webster's interest in genealogy expanded after she retired in 1990 and joined local organizations - BIGRA, GRA, & SDGS - and took genealogy classes. Trips to the FHC in Salt Lake City extended her information. She also joined other organizations relevant to her area of interest - Pennsylvania, Palatines, Nottingham, Glasgow and Scotland FHS, and they provided much more information about her family history. She currently volunteers one day a week at the SD FHC and one day a month at the SDGS in El Cajon. She is the Scottish Interest Group chair for BIGRA, and purchases publications, film and fiche on Scotland for the SD FHC. She holds periodic meetings there on specific topics of interest; the next meeting is July 10th on Scottish Land and Property Records.

"Jackie will show us what records to research and where to find them specifically at the FHC. She will show us how to use the Scottish Research Outline and why we also need to use the English Research Outline. She will show us how Scottish history effects our research and where to find census and church records, maps, & locality registers. She will show us how to use the catalogues and where to find gems not listed in the catalogues! Finally, she will show us how to use the internet for Scottish research."

Please join us for this interesting presentation. When you come into the library, please enter through the Conference Room door to register, pick up the handouts, buy an opportunity drawing ticket, and have a snack.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Military Collection FREE on Ancestry Until May 31

To celebrate Memorial Day and the agreement between the National Archives (NARA) and to provide NARA documents on the Ancestry commercial web site, Ancestry will make all parts of their Military Records collection FREE from May 20 to May 31.

The Ancestry Military Collections home page is at The Ancestry page concerning the National Archives is at

The list of Military databases currently available on Ancestry is here.

This is good news for researchers who don't have easy access to the Ancestry database collection.

Monday, May 19, 2008

La Jolla DAR Meeting on May 24

I received this notice via email last week:

Do you have a Revolutionary War Ancestor?

The La Jolla Chapter of The Daughters of the American Revolution will hold a Genealogy Workshop on Saturday, May 24th, 2008 11:00 A.M. at the La Jolla/Riford Branch Library at 7555 Draper Avenue, La Jolla.

The workshop is open to the public. All Daughters of the American Revolution and prospective members would greatly benefit from this information.

This workshop is designed to assist in the following:

* Organizing your Family Records
* Gathering Information from Family Members
* Securing Certificates: Birth, Death, Marriage
* Searching Federal Censuses
* Searching State and County Records
* Using Libraries and Web sites designed to search for Family Records

Linda Phillips, La Jolla NSDAR Chapter Registrar

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

CVGS Research Group Discussions - May meeting

The May meeting of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society Research Group was today at the Library, with 11 members in attendance.

We went around the table at the beginning of the meeting to see what each person was doing in their research.

* John tried to find his ancestors in the 1776 Census book for New Hampshire, but struck out.

* Dearl has a collection of the US state resource guides from Family Tree Magazine available.

* Dave was able to GEDCOM his data files into FTM 8.

* Myrna described her recent trip to New England and walking cemeteries all over western CT and MA.

* Bobbie is working on her father's German Titus line, and is looking for a living male to do a Y-DNA test.

* Virginia received a surname book and family newsletters from a distant cousin.

* Shirley has been adding to her Pearsall database with information from surname books.

* Dick is trying to find his father's military records from World War 1, and made his uncle's criminal and prison records into a timeline.

* Julie wondered where she could find cemetery records in Texas.

* Joan went down to the Social Security office recently and is now confident that SS does not know John Robinson Hall's death date.

* Randy shared his Russell Smith research status, the email from his newly found second cousin, and the SCGS Jamboree program.

Randy then shared a bit about the genealogy news for the month, especially the new Ancestry and FamilySearch Record Search databases, and passed around examples of the different records.

Joan shared the military pay records that she got from the National Personnel Record Commission in St. Louis for her John Robinson Hall. He apparently was in the Air Service from 1918 to 1920 and again around 1930. She had to pay $50 for these records on about 8 pages. Shirley made a handwritten timeline for the records and gave it to Joan to help sort them all out. Joan is still searching for a death date for JRH, who probably died in Philadelphia after 1942.

Myrna shared her search for Bounty Land records on the site with examples for several of her ancestors. She also sent away for the War of 1812 Widow's Bounty Land Warrant for Elias Beach of Huron County, MI. She received many pages for $25, which provided the widow's maiden name, the wedding date, and former residences of the family. Myrna also mentioned that she looked again at some older papers and gleaned a few clues and leads from them with this new information at hand. She passed out a one-page summary of her BLM and BLW pension research.

The group suggested that Julie find the US Genealogy Web site ( for her Texas counties of interest to see if they list cemeteries in the county, or have transcriptions from the cemeteries. She could also check and to see if her family is listed.

This was a very spirited meeting, and everyone was amazed at the records found and the research in progress. I found it interesting that the papers shared by the group today were all obtained the "old-fashioned way," by writing to a repository and receiving a package of paper.

Genealogy Research News for May


* Missouri Digital Heritage Collection at - includes records of enduring historical value from institutions throughout the state of Missouri. These historical resources, including documents, photographs, maps and other materials of interest, are grouped by general topic.

* The Los Angeles Regional Family History Center web site at is a really great site - with lots of information about activities at the LARFHC in Santa Monica. Besides the summary information on the main page, there are links to many pages with information on specific topics.

* Greg Matthews has a great web site at that has a collection of web tools and ideas designed to make genealogy easier for each of us.

* The Northern New York Newspaper Project at, a free site, provided by the Northern New York Library Network to enhance access to the region's local history.

* Shirley told me about another historical newspaper archive for northern New York - at Tom Tryniski's Fulton History site - Tom has many genealogy and history resources on his site.

* How many other people share your name? Check out, which bases its findings on census records.


a) at - subscription site (US = $155.40, World = $299.40) - now available for FREE at San Diego FHC (Institution with World databases) or Chula Vista Public Library (Ancestry Library Edition). Ancestry has over 7 billion names in over 25,000 databases. See new content at New databases include:

* Returns from Regular US Army Regiments, 1821-1916
* US Navy Cruise Books - 1950-1988
* Tennessee State Marriages - 1780-2002
* Updates to Drouin Collection (Canada)
* Updates to New York Passenger Lists 1820-1957
* Updates to US Public Record Indexes
* Historical Southern Families (23 volumes) and Notable Southern Families (Volumes 1-6)
* Updates to US School Yearbooks

Note that searches can now be performed using their "new Ancestry Search engine." It looks and feels different, and produces somewhat different results. See my post at

b) at - subscription site (US = $49.95 for 2 years, World = $149.95) -- now available for FREE at the San Diego FHC. Over 8,100 databases, 2 billion names. Recent content at New items FREE at WVR for 10 days. New databases include:

* 48 databases provided by Simmons Historical Publications. These databases are excellent resources for people researching Kentucky, particularly the counties of Calloway, Graves, Marshall, McCracken, Montgomery, Obion, Rutherford, Smith, Stewart, Todd, Trigg, and Warren. These databases include court records, newspaper abstracts, wills, deed books, and marriage records.

* 350 databases from the Godfrey Memorial Library, including books with descendants, family history, genealogies, biographies, memoirs, autobiographies, diaries and writings/works of famous people.

* Gazetteer of the State of New Hampshire (Merrill and Merrill), (1817) 2007. This is the first gazetteer ever published for the State of New Hampshire (1817) and a wonderful resource for researchers because it identifies many places by names which have otherwise been lost to history.

c) at - subscription site ($59.96 annual retail, $7.95 monthly) - now available for FREE at San Diego FHC, they offer 7-day FREE trial. 356 Titles, over 34 million images, 1 million free. Content list at Information added this month includes:

* 1860 US Federal census - index 67% complete - can be annotated
* Dawes Packets (Applications for Enrollment of the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes, 1898-1914) - 71% complete
* US Passport applications, 1795-1905 - 37% complete
* Homestead Records - Nebraska (Broken Bow Office only), 1890-1908 - 84% complete
* Naturalization Records for Los Angeles CA Superior Court - 1876-1915 - complete

d) at - subscription site (trial $9.95 for one month, $69.95 for 12 months). It has archives for 2,400 U.S. newspapers in all 50 states, from the 1600s to the present day, with over 224 million family history records, over 27 million obituaries, more than 119 million historical newspaper articles, and more than 11,700 historical books. Each article is a single digital image that can be printed and preserved for family scrapbooks.

* Added content from 78 newspapers from 23 states

e) at - a UK subscription site (30 days 14.95 pounds, 12 months 89.95 pounds, also pay-per-view options) offers England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland databases.

* 1901 Census records for Gloucestershire and Somersetshire.

f) at - the LDS FREE site for indexed databases --

* Washington State Death certificate index - 1907-1960
* Philadelphia PA Death Certificates - 1803-1915 - 100% complete
* West Virginia Deaths, 1853-1970 - index 41% complete
* 1900 US Census - index 98% complete
* 1850 US Census - index 61% complete
* Civil War Pension File - 90% complete


** The Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree is June 27-29, 2008 in Burbank. See for more information.


* announced that genealogists can now import their family history into Geni using the popular GEDCOM format. The launch of this features makes it easy to move their research into Geni to easily share it with their family.

* Legacy Family Tree 7.0 will be available as a pre-release edition at the National Genealogical Society Conference this week in Kansas City, Missouri. It will include the new mapping, sourcing, and wall charting features. For those who purchased Legacy 6.0 from July 1, 2007 to the present, we will begin shipping your upgrades next week. Our hope is to make Legacy 7.0 available from our online store by the beginning of June. See


* The Catholic News Service has published an article about new Vatican orders
to not cooperate with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the microfilming of records. The Vatican wishes to block posthumous rebaptisms by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a practice that Catholics, Jews, and some others find objectionable. The article is at

* Dick Eastman listed the genealogy scams and ripoffs that he has uncovered at

* FamilySearch announced that it is working with the UK family history Web site and The National Archives of the United Kingdom to increase access to select British historical records. The first major projects will provide access to millions of names of deceased British soldiers and seamen from eighteenth to twentieth century.

* FamilySearch announced the release of two new free research tools that will help those with British and Scottish roots to find their ancestors. The research guides, Finding Records of Your Ancestors, England, and Finding Records of Your Ancestors, Scotland feature easy-to-follow instructions, colorful graphics, and removable worksheets. Free copies can be viewed, downloaded, or printed online at

* FamilySearch announced an inaugural project in concert with, Inc., to digitize and index a valuable German genealogy collection containing over 3.5 million names from the period of 1650-1875. The Brenner Collection contains 3.5 million names on more than 750 rolls of microfilm, representing between 900,000 and 1.5 million images. A final count will be determined once all of the records have been indexed.

*, Inc has teamed with FamilySearch to improve the user experience of the Family History Library Catalog for millions of people worldwide by adding new Web 2.0 functionality and enhancements. The improvements will also enable users to spend research time more efficiently by directing them to the information that will generate the quickest results.’s improvements to the catalog will make it searchable by major online search engines and allow users to annotate item descriptions —increasing their accuracy and enriching the content.

* FamilySearch announced a records access agreement with to publish two significant Civil War Era databases online — the 1860 U.S. Census and Civil War Pensions Index. The two relevant collections will provide free online access to millions of names of individuals from the 1860 to 1865 period in the United States. The completed databases will expand FamilySearch’s growing, free U.S. Census collection online and Footnote’s Civil War Collection.

* The Generations Network press release titled " Global Content, Product, and Marketing Update - May 14, 2008" by CEO Tim Sullivan was published at It describes the latest new content, future planed content and the improvements to Ancestry's user interface.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

FamilySearch Record Search databases

I haven't checked into the LDS Record Search databases recently, so I clicked over to (you do have to register if you have not been there before) and found that the list of indexed and/or browsable databases now includes:


* 1850 United States Census - indexed and browsable, new or updated in last 30 days
* 1850 United States Census (Mortality Schedule) - indexed and browsable, new or updated in last 30 days
* 1850 United States Census (Slave Schedules) - indexed and browsable
* 1855 Massachusetts State Census - indexed and browsable
* 1855 Wisconsin State Census - browsable

* 1865 Massachusetts State Census - indexed
* 1875 Wisconsin State Census - browsable
* 1880 United States Census - indexed
* 1885 Wisconsin State Census (browsable)
* 1895 Wisconsin State Census - browsable, new or updated in last 30 days

* 1895 Argentina Census - indexed
* 1900 United States Census - indexed and browsable
* 1905 Wisconsin State Census - browsable
* 1930 Mexico Census - browsable


* England, Cheshire, Register of electors, 1842-1900 - indexed
* Freedman Bank Records 1865-1874 - indexed
* Maryland, Cecil county Probate Estate Files 1851-1940 - indexed and browsable


* Vermont Land Records, Early to 1900 - browsable


* New York Passenger Arrival Lists (Ellis Island) 1892-1924 - indexed


* United States World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 - browsable


* Cheshire, Church of England Burial Records 1538-1907 - indexed
* Cheshire, Church of England Christening Records 1538-1907 - indexed
* Cheshire, Church of England Marriage Records 1538-1907 - indexed
* Freedmen's Bureau Virginia Marriages ca. 1815-1866 - indexes
* Georgia Deaths 1914-1927 - indexed* Ohio Deaths 1908-1953 - indexed

* Ontario Deaths 1869-1947 - indexed
* Texas Death Index 1964-1998 - indexed
* Texas Deaths, 1890-1976 - indexed, new or updated in last 30 days
* U.S. Social Security Index - indexed
* Utah Death Certificates 1904-1956 - Indexed

* Utah, Salt Lake County Death Records, 1908-1949 - indexed
* Washington Death Certificates, 1907-1960 - indexed
* West Virginia Deaths 1853-1970 - indexed
* Czech Republic, Litomerice Regional Archive Church Books 1552-1905 - browsable

* England, Diocese of Durham Bishops Transcripts ca. 1700-1900 - browsable
* France, Coutances Catholic diocese 1802-1907 - browsable
* Germany, Brandenburg and Posen, Civil Transcripts of Parish Registers, 1800-1974 - browsable
* Illinois, Diocese of Belleville, Catholic Parish Records 1729-1956 - browsable
* Spain, Albacete Diocese, Catholic Parish Records 1550-1930 - browsable
* Virginia, Fluvanna County Colbert Funeral Home Records 1929-1976 - browsable

The "indexed" databases can be searched (and many of them are linked to images, but not all of them are) and the "browsable" databases can be searched page by page (they appear to be collected into groups - counties or towns, etc.)From talking to my society colleagues, my impression is that very few casual researchers knows about these FREE databases being available. The LDS people down at the FHC know about them.

FamilySearch Indexing is about a year old now, and has done a tremendous job of indexing these databases, with more in the works. It may take 5 years or more to get all of the US census records online, but it's going to happen. It may take longer to get the vital, deed, probate, tax, town, church and other original sources online, but it's going to happen. I can hardly wait.

20 Ways to Avoid Genealogical Grief

This web site has some suggestions to help beginners prevent misfortune when learning how to do genealogical research. Many of these tips are "old hat" to experienced genealogists, but it is always worthwhile to remind ourselves of the basics of sound research.

One of the most important one is:

8. Remember that just because information is on computer or in print, it ain't necessarily fact! Information in recent family histories is often based on that from older published works. If the older books are incorrect, the wrong information simply gets repeated and further disseminated.


Monday, May 5, 2008

Genealogy Days in Chula Vista for May

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society events for May 2008 include:

** Wednesday, May 14, 12 noon, Chula Vista Civic Center Library -- CVGS Research Group meets in the Library Conference Room. 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.

** Wednesday, May 21, 12 noon, Chula Vista Civic Center Library -- CVGS Computer Group meets in the Library Computer Lab. We will visit some new genealogy web sites and/or Ancestry Library Edition (ALE) databases. This is an opportunity for those members who haven't used computers for genealogy research to practice with a mentor to guide them. It is also an opportunity for members who don't have an Ancestry subscription to dig into the ALE databases.

** Wednesday, May 28, 12 noon, Chula Vista Civic Center Library -- the monthly Society Meeting is held in the Auditorium. This meeting has a short business meeting with announcements of meetings and activities, followed by a presentation on a topic of genealogy and family history interest. At this meeting, Jackie Webster will present "Scottish Research at the FHC."

On Monday afternoons (12 noon to 2 PM) - May 5, 12, and 19 - Dearl Glenn and John Finch will be at the table in the Family Research section of the Chula Vista Civic Center Library, ready to help people with their research, discuss a problem or success, or just tell stories.

The Chula Vista Civic Center 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.

We welcome guests and visitors to our CVGS programs and events - if you are in the Chula Vista area and want to attend our events - please come and introduce yourselves. If you have questions, please email Randy at or phone 619-422-3397.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Chula Vista Historic Home Tour

The Chula Vista Historic Homeowners, the City of Chula Vista and the Heritage Museum Society are sponsoring a Historic Homes Tour on Saturday, May 10, from 10 am to 4 pm. For more information, see

Four historic homes will be visited on a self-guided tour, with a turn-of-the-century "tea in the garden" on the grounds of one of the homes.

Tickets will be on sale at the Chula Vista Heritage Museum (360 Third Avenue, Chula Vista) from 9:30 am until 2 pm on the day of the event. They are $23 per person, and $20 for members of the Friends of the Chula Vista Library or the Heritage Museum. Group rates are available - contact Glenda at 619-420-5612.