Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Ann Montgomery's "Carlsbad Library Genealogy Collection" Program

At the Chula Vista Genealogical Society program meeting today, Ann Montgomery made a presentation about the "Carlsbad Library Genealogy Collection." The program announcement was here. This is a subject dear to my heart, and the hearts of many San Diego area researchers.

Ann stated that the Carlsbad library has the third largest genealogy collection in California (after Sutro Library in San Francisco and the Los Angeles Public Library, I think). It is certainly the largest collection in San Diego County. The library genealogy home page is here. The library catalog is here.

In her presentation, Ann described the genealogy library holdings - the family history and local history books, the periodicals and journals, the microfilm and microfiche, the census index books, the online databases, CDROMs, etc. She also discussed the online catalog, the genealogy user guides created by the library staff, and inter-library loan requests.

For me, the hidden gems in the Carlsbad genealogy collection are:

* the City Directories (before 1860 on microfiche, 1861 to 1880 on microfilm) for many US and some foreign cities.

* State Census Records on microfilm. This lists only what is held by Carlsbad library.

* the User Guides for several states, specific collections, and specific repositories. For example, the Vosburgh NY Church Records transcriptions on microfilm can be viewed at the library.

During her talk, Ann showed screens for each of the online databases, which include:

* Ancestry Library Edition - in-library use only
* Access NewspaperARCHIVE - available at home with library card
* Heritage Quest Online - available at home with library card
* New England Ancestors (NEHGS web site) - in-library use only.
* - in-library use only.
* Biography and Genealogy Master Index - available at home with library card.

The Carlsbad Library genealogy room staff are Carlsbad city employees, but they work closely with the North San Diego County Genealogical Society. The society and its members contribute many books and periodicals to the library each year.

Ann's talk was very timely, because the Chula Vista Genealogical Society will have a research trip to Carlsbad Library on Saturday, September 6. We will carpool, leaving from the parking garage in downtown Chula Vista at about 8:30 a.m. and leaving Carlsbad at about 2 p.m. Now is the time for CVGS members to start planning their research at Carlsbad Library - check the catalog for resources about your surnames and localities, decide which online resources you want to search for elusive ancestors, etc.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The CVGS Mentor Program

What is a "mentor?" The dictionary says:

men - tor /ˈmɛntɔr, -tər/
1. a wise and trusted counselor or teacher.
2. an influential senior sponsor or supporter.

–verb (used without object)
3. to act as a mentor: She spent years mentoring to junior employees. –verb (used with object)
4. to act as a mentor to: The brash young executive did not wish to be mentored by anyone.
-- Synonyms 1. adviser, master, guide, preceptor.
Source: Unabridged (v 1.1)
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.

We all need a mentor, don't we? More than one, probably, depending on how many activities we are involved in learning about.

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society has a number of members who have volunteered to be an adviser or guide (really, a mentor) to other members or local genealogy researchers who are interested in learning more about their ancestry and family history. The advice might be about:

* San Diego area repositories with genealogy information
* where to find genealogy forms and checklists
* filling out pedigree charts and family group sheets
* where to search next for information about a specific ancestor
* finding data in or using online databases
* genealogy software problems or capabilities

Most of these tasks can be easily discussed with one or more CVGS mentors during or after normal CVGS meeting times, or on Monday afternoons (12 noon to 2 pm.) at the Library Table Talk sessions in the Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library. There are usually two or more members there to help anybody interested in genealogy research.

Our goal in this mentor program is not to do all of the genealogy research about your ancestry for you. That's your job. But we're very willing to help you along the way with information and encouragement, and we want to enjoy and appreciate your successes.

If you are a CVGS member and want a genealogy mentor, please contact the society at and ask for someone to contact you. Please leave an email address or telephone number and your issues that you need help on, and we will contact you.

If you are not a CVGS member, we invite you to join CVGS. Our membership application is located here.

If you want to ask a question about genealogy in general, or San Diego area resources in particular, please email us at We'll be happy to try to answer your questions!

CVGS Program on 7/30 - "Carlsbad Library Genealogy Collection"

The next Chula Vista Genealogical Society program meeting is Wednesday, July 30th at 12 noon at the Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library. After a brief business meeting, the guest speaker will be Ann Montgomery, who will speak on "Carlsbad Library Genealogy Collection."

The Carlsbad Georgina Cole Public Library has the largest collection of genealogy books, microforms and periodicals in San Diego County, and is a "must-visit" for local genealogy researchers. The library provides at-home access to HeritageQuestOnline and NewspaperARCHIVE for library card holders. In the library, they have access to Ancestry Library Edition,, and Ann's talk will cover all of these resources and more.

Ann's curriculum vitae is:

Ann Montgomery received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California. She has had several careers, but for the last 17 years she has been involved in one way or another with Family History. Ann began her own family history research by volunteering in the Carlsbad Family History Center 17 years ago under the tutelage of a professional genealogist. After working there over 8 years, she began working at the Carlsbad City Library in the Genealogy division. Ann has taught many classes for the LDS church and has spoken at several family history fairs. For several years she has taught multiple classes about the facilities and materials available at the Cole Library genealogy department. She enjoys teaching people how to use the collection and how to use the various subscription databases and also how to do research on-line.

At present, Ann teaches a class on the New Family Search including the Record Search part of the Beta version of family search. Ann enjoys helping people get acquainted with the wonderful facilities in Carlsbad and enjoys giving tours to new library card holders.

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society will have a research trip to Carlsbad Cole Library on Saturday, 6 September in order to follow up on the information in this talk.

Please join us for this free meeting. Guests and visitors are welcome at all CVGS meetings. We request that you enter via the Conference Room door near the East entrance of the library in order to register, gather handouts, buy an opportunity drawing ticket and have a snack. We will start the meeting in the auditorium at 12:20 p.m.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Newspaper Archive Web Sites

Historical newspaper articles can be used to find news items, announcements, and obituaries of our ancestors, and often provide unique information available in no other resource - either on line or in printed form.

Bill Dollarhide authored an excellent list of historical newspaper archives web sites available online in the January/February 2008 issue of the Everton's Genealogical Helper (which is available at the Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library stacks).

The list was in three parts - large mega-sites, US State or Regional sites, and International sites.

The large mega-sites included:

* - NewspaperARCHIVE is an individual or institution subscription site with over 2,800 titles of newspapers from 1759 to the present. Some holdings are available on and (also subscription sites), and some are available for online home use through public libraries (if you have a library card for the ones with the database).

* - GenealogyBank is an individual or institution subscription site with over 2,500 titles of newspapers, including Historical Newspapers 1690-1980, and America's Obituaries 1977-present with over 26 million obituaries. GenealogyBank is affiliated with NewsBank. Public libraries (with a library card) may provide home access to Newsbank.

* - ProQuest Historical Newspapers is an institution subscription site for Historical Newspapers and other collections. Public libraries (with a library card) may provide home access to some databases.

* - Ancestry is an individual and institution subscription site that includes Historical Newspapers (from NewspaperARCHIVE) and Birth, Marriage and Death Announcements, 1851-2003) from the ProQuest Historical Newspapers collections for 8 large city newspapers.

* - World Vital Records is an individual subscription site with access to the NewspaperARCHIVE collection and the Small Town Newspapers collection.

* - Accessible Archives is an individual or institution subscription site with nine historical newspapers from the eastern USA.

* - Chronicling America is a Free site at the Library of Congress, with selected newspapers from 1897 to 1910.

* - Small Town Papers is a Free site with over 250 small town newspapers.

Joe Beine has collected a number of regional and state newspaper archives, which includes all that are in the Dollarhide article, and they can be found at

Many newspaper archives in printed or microfilm format can be found in local or state historical societies, public and private libraries, or at the newspapers themselves. Some of them have partial or complete indexes. For a specific locality, a researcher should try to find the indexes and the holdings in that locality.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Official CVGS Web Site back on Rootsweb

I mentioned on Sunday that the Chula Vista Genealogical Society web site housed on Rootsweb/Ancestry had gone missing on 6 July all of a sudden for some reason.

On Monday, 14 July, I sent a message to the Ancestry Support Team through their online Help desk telling them about it. I received a response on Tuesday, 22 July (6 working days later). It said:

"It is there: They moved a server. Perhaps he tried to access it during that move? Can he access it now? Sorry for the inconvenience. HelpDesk"

On Monday, 21 July, our webmaster contacted Rootsweb through the their Accounts Team and received this message on Tuesday, 22 July (one day turn-around):

"Your web account is active again. It appeared that there was a request from my predecessor to close this account, but there was no reason specified. I've looked over the pages on your account and can find no reason for the site to have been closed. Did you receive an email from someone at RootsWeb indicating that the account would be or was closed? If so, did it provide a reason?"

So it took awhile to find it and put it back where it belongs. It's there now - at They moved a server? And busted links for how many web sites? Or databases? Or did they close the account because someone hacked the password and requested it to be closed? How frustrating...

It's nice to know that requests for help are answered. We do appreciate it.

One lesson here is to contact the Rootsweb and/or Ancestry Support Team early and explain the problem thoroughly so that they can respond with alacrity to satisfy their customer.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Using FamilyTreeMaker 2008

I am posting a series of articles about Using FamilyTreeMaker 2008 on my personal genealogy research blog, Genea-Musings. Here are the posts to date:

* Using FamilyTreeMaker 2008 - Post 1: Loading. Installing the program and uploading an existing database file.

* Using FamilyTreeMaker 2008 - Post 2: Exploring. Looking around the uploaded database file to see what the different views look like.

* Using FamilyTreeMaker 2008 - Post 3: The Menus. Most of the menus were itemized and described.

* Using FamilyTreeMaker 2008 - Post 4: Starting a New Tree. I started a new tree and added some people demonstrating the program options to do this.

* Using FamilyTreeMaker 2008 - Post 5: Adding a Source. I added sources to the Facts that I previously entered.

* Using FamilyTreeMaker 2008 - Post 6: Adding Children to a Family. I added children to a family in my new tree.

* Using FamilyTreeMaker 2008 - Post 7: The Person Menu. I defined the person menu items and demonstrated adding a spouse.

I will update this post periodically as I add more posts in this series.

If you have specific questions you want answered in this series, please make a comment to this post or email me at

Sunday, July 20, 2008

New CVGS Web Site

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society (CVGS) has had a web site at for more than five years. In addition to the informational web pages, we had a members' surname search engine, the newsletter archive, informative articles, and a society photo gallery on linked pages.

On Tuesday, 6 July, our web pages disappeared for some reason. Click on the link above and you'll see what I mean. We don't think we made any overt move to edit or delete the pages since that date.

In the past week, we managed to collect the home page from the Wayback Machine ( and most of the text pages from Google search cached pages, but we do not have the rest of the web pages that were linked to the available pages. We do have all of the info in PDF and JPG files, and we'll have to rebuild the information base over time.

When this happened, we searched for a contact for Rootsweb to ask why and how this happened. Shirley sent an email to the Rootsweb Review editor and got a response five days later saying to send an email to, so we have. I went to the Ancestry Technical Support page on 14 July, and sent a request for information about why this happened, and for advice and a contact to determine if there is backup of the pages on the Rootsweb server. Six days later, I've had no response.

Last night, I realized that since this blog is on Google, and the society has a Gmail address ( that we can build a free web site on Google, so I spent several hours last night putting our new site up at It's not perfect or complete, but it's there in case somebody needs information about the Society or wants to contact us.

This is a fine time to ask our readers - what would you like to see put on the CVGS web site? What information do you need in order to pursue genealogy research in Chula Vista or the San Diego area?

Please go visit our new web site at

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Chula Vista Researchers - use Ancestry Library Edition while you can

The Chula Vista Public Library subscribed to Ancestry Library Edition (ALE) two years ago, and we in CVGS were ecstatic and thankful. Society members (and other library patrons) were able to use it to help people do research in our Computer Group meetings, at our Monday Table Talk sessions, and whenever someone needed to use it. ALE was on about 30 computers at the Civic Center Branch where we have our meetings, and I don't know how many at the other two branches.

The Library staff notified s last week that the Library would not renew the ALE subscription as a cost-cutting measure. apparently, several online database subscriptions will not be renewed in order to support higher priority items.

The Ancestry Library Edition database access at the Chula Vista Public Library branches will end on 31 July 2008. If you really need to use ALE, I encourage you to go to the library during the next two weeks!

We in CVGS are disappointed over this decision, but we understand the reasons behind it. We hope that the Library funding will be increased in coming years to permit subscribing to ALE again.

What are the other options for accessing Ancestry for CVGS members and other local researchers?

* The San Diego City and San Diego County Library systems have subscriptions to Ancestry Library Edition for FREE access. Bonita Library is the closest to Chula Vista in the County system.

* The San Diego Regional Family History Center in Mission Valley has Ancestry Institution available for FREE access at the Mission Valley site (4195 Camino del Rio South).

* The Borders Bookstore in Plaza Bonita has Ancestry on their computers for FREE access.

* Several CVGS members subscribe to Ancestry and might be able to help members with lookups.

During this exercise, we found out what the yearly subscription cost for ALE in our "small town" of over 200,000 was. Anyone want to guess?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Query: Nena Spackman

CVGS received a query last month on our web site form from Marsha, who asked:

"About five years ago I purchased three Plein Air paintings of desert scenes. On the back of one painting is a label. The label is titled "consult." Next line reads "Nena Guilbert Spackman" followed by "Interior Decorations and Art." The label lists the studio at 135 Fourth Avenue, Chula Vista, and a phone number of C.V. 456-J. The paintings appear to be from the 1930s or 1940s based on the coiffure of the picture.

"I love the paintings and have tried to locate information on Nena Guilbert Spackman but cannot find any matches online. I can email pictures of the paintings and back label. Please let me know how I can help. I purchased these in Redlands, CA from an antique dealer. He said they were purchased from an estate sale sometime around 2000 somewhere in the Los Angeles Hills."

I did several hours of research, and tried to email Marsha with my response, but the email was bounced back three times. So, I'm posting the response here in hopes that Marsha will search again for Nena Spackman and see this post:

I was able to find several records online and in the Chula Vista Star-News newspaper. Here is what I found:

1) Nena Guilbert Spackman was born 27 January 1891 in Michigan, father's surname Minnick, mother's maiden name Misener. She died 11 January 1946 in San Bernardino county, CA. (from the California Death Index

2) Nena Minnick married Robert A. Spackman (born ca 1885 in England) in about 1929, probably in Los Angeles, CA. In the 1930 US census, they resided at 1647 Point View Street in the 57th Admin. District of Los Angeles city, Los Angeles County, CA (on NARA Microfilm T626, Roll 137, ED 125, Page 3A, lines 23-26, accessed on The household included:

* Robert A. Spackman - head of household, owns home, worth $8000, male, white, age 44, married, at age 44, born England, parents born England/England, a carpenter, works on houses.
* Nana Spackman - wife, female, white, age 38, married, at age 38, born MI, parents born Ohio/Canada, no occupation.
* Raymond W. Spackman - son, male, white, age 18, single, born NY, parents born England/England, a carpenter, works on houses.
* Ida C. Minnick - mother-in-law, female, white, age 65, widow, married at age 26, born Canada English, parents born PA/Canada, no occupation.

This census record is very helpful - since it gives Nena's husband's name, the fact that he had a son from a previous marriage, and Nena's mother's married name and birthplace.

3) Robert A. Spackman died 8 December 1933, at age 50 in San Diego County,CA (from California Death Index, 1929-1939 on

4) Raymond Archibald Spackman was born 6 October 1911 in New Jersey, died 16 March 1990 in Los Angeles County, CA, mother's maiden name was Dyer.

5) Mrs. Nena G. Spackman was listed in the California Voter Registrations lists in these years:

* 1932: Los Angeles City, Precinct 1710, at 5639 Aura Avenue, a Democrat
* 1934: Los Angeles City, Precinct 1710, at 5639 Aura Avenue, a Democrat
* 1934: Chula Vista, San Diego county, at 156 G Street, an artist, a Democrat
* 1936. Chula Vista, San Diego County, at 99 National, a Teacher, no party
* 1942: Chula Vista, San Diego County, at 135 2nd Avenue, an artist, a Democrat
* 1944: Chula Vista, San Diego County, at 135 2nd Avenue, an artist, a Republican

6) An article was published in the Chula Vista Star-News weekly newspaper on Friday, January 18, 1946, page 1. The article has a picture of Nena Gilbert Spackman and is titled "Dies Suddenly In Kaiser Hospital." The article says:

"Death, resulting from a heart attack, came to Nena Gilbert Spackman, age 54, well known art instructor, Friday, January 11, at Kaiser Hospital in Fontana, Calif., after about a ten-hour illness. According to the San Bernardino county coroner, who performed an autopsy on the body, Mrs.Spackman was stricken suddenly with what was thought to be indigestion. He pronounced her death due to natural causes.

"At the time of going to press, funeral arrangements were incomplete, pending removal of the body from Fontana. Tentative plans have been made for the funeral on Saturday afternoon. Services will be held at the Berge-Roberts Mortuary in National City with interment at Glen Abbey.

"After a 13-year residence in Chula Vista, Mrs. Spackman had moved last September to Fontana and has since been a teacher in the night school in the San Bernardino public school system. She has also done therapy work at the veteran's hospital at Lake Arrowhead.

"During her residence here, she spent 11 years as a teacher in the San Diego city schools and at Sweetwater Union high school. She also has taught in the Bishop School for Girls at La Jolla, where she did stage settings and costume designing for the dramatic department. Before coming to Chula Vista, she was an instructor in Hollywood and Los Angeles.

"In Chula Vista, Mrs. Spackman was active in the production of fiestas and dramatic presentations. She was a past oracle of the Royal Neighbors of America lodge.

"She is survived by an aunt, Mrs. Ella Gray of Newport Beach and by a stepson, Raymond Spackman of North Hollywood. She was a cousin of C.A.Majors of the Chick Inn in Chula Vista and also of Mrs. Delbert Lewis of Orange. She was born Jan. 27, 1891, at Crystal Lake, Mich. Her husband, Robert Spackman, passed away several years ago."

I looked for an additional article or obituary in the Star-News in the next two issues, but could not find one.

7) I looked for census records for Nena Minnick or Nena Giulbert or Gilbert in the 1900, 1910 and 1920 census and didn't find her after much searching. I did find her parents, John Minnick and Ida Minnick, in the 1910 census residing in Alma Ward 3, Gratiot county, Michigan.

8) I Googled her names "Nena Minnick," "Nena Gilbert" and "Nena Spackman" and did not find any useful mentions of her life or career. There was a Misener genealogy at that listed her as daughter of Ida (Misener) Minnick and provided more information about her parents. She was an only child, apparently.

There are still some records that could be found if one were interested:

1) A death certificate could be obtained from San Bernardino County, but would not likely provide much more useful information than the above.

2) The San Diego City Directories could be searched to trace all of the entries for her over the years. They would likely show the same addresses found in the Voter Registrations. They might show who she lived with over the years. These are available at the Chula Vista library for many years,but not all years are available.

3) An obituary or article about her art might be found in the San Diego newspapers. I didn't check the index at the Chula Vista library to see if there was a listing. A copy of any article would require a trip to downtown San Diego's library.

4) A search of the Los Angeles City directories for the 1920's and 1930's might show her residences and occupations during those years she was residing there.

5) It is possible that she came from Michigan to California in the 1910's or 1920's - she apparently had an aunt and several cousins in California and she may have come to live with them while she went to school or started her teaching career. That's all conjecture, of course!

In summary - there are some records about her, but not many. And there is very little about her professional career, other than the obituary.

There is a difference between the home address in 1944 of 135 Second Avenue and the studio at 135 Fourth Avenue on your picture label. It's possiblethat they are both correct - a check of the City Directory would probably straighten that out.

You mention that the paintings were bought sometime around 2000 in the Los Angeles Hills. This probably means that Robert Spackman's son, Raymond Spackman, owned them and it might have been his estate that sold them. There may be a listing for the estate of Raymond Spackman (or a spouse of his) around 2000 in the Los Angeles County Probate Court records. I don't know if listings like that are available online.

That's all I can find in a two to three hour search. I hope it helps - at least you have some idea of the life records available for her, although her life between childhood and the 1930 census is pretty much a blank canvas.

I have a fairly poor copy of the newspaper obituary - I can send you a scan of it or could send it to you in the mail.


If you want to submit a query to CVGS for research about someone who lived in or died in Chula Vista area, please submit it through the CVGS web site at

Family Tree Magazine's Top 101 Best Genealogy Web Sites

The September 2008 issue of Family Tree Magazine came this week, and I've enjoyed reading their list of the 101 Best Web Sites for 2008.

You can see all of their list here. The list is divided up into the following categories:

* Best for Beginning Researchers

* Best for Web Researchers

* Best for Military Researchers

* Best for US Researchers

* Best for African-American Researchers

* Best for Canadian Researchers

* Best for Immigration Researchers

* Best for British Isles Researchers

* Best for "Continental" Researchers

* Best for Jewish Researchers

* Best for Genetic Researchers

Check out their list - you may find a web site that has your elusive ancestors hiding in their databases!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

"The Case for Open Records" Brochure

The Records Preservation and Access Committee has created a one-page, two-sided color brochure for use by genealogy societies and members to support the aims of RPAC. It addresses the facts, pros, and myths for keeping public records open. It also gives guidelines for the access that genealogists need.

The brochure, in PDF format, is available at RPAC Brochure–The Case for Open Public Records.

The RPAC web site post says:

"The Records Preservation and Access Committee have developed a tri-fold brochure entitled 'The Case for Open Public Records.'

"Special thanks are in order to President Jan Alpert of the National Genealogical Society for her role in coordinating the project and NGS for sponsoring the design of the brochure. We also thank Heather Henderson of Ancestral Origins for the graphic design of the brochure (and for her patience in managing the numerous edits of its content.) Copies of the printed brochure are available at 12 cents each plus shipping by contacting

"We also want to thank the members of the RPAC committee who contributed information and provided editing support.

"Permission is granted for genealogical organizations to locally reproduce in its entirety the attached PDF version of the brochure."

Hat tip to Ruth Stephens at Bluebonnet Country Genealogy for noting it on the CoGenBlog.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

CVGS Research Group Summary - 7/9/08

The July meeting of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society Research Group was today at the Library. There were 13 attendees at this meeting, and they all had something to share. We started with introductions, and welcomed two visitors (Frances from Chula Vista, and Cynthia from Washington DC) and Ellie, a member from the Bay Area. We started with asking the attendees what genealogy research they've done this past month:

* Randy discussed attending the SCGS Genealogy Jamboree in Burbank, and passed the syllabus around plus his blog posts about the Jamboree. He also showed the Google Maps Street Views and how it can be used to view ancestral homes.

* Dave found a cousin in Georgia and they've been sharing lots of information about their families.

* Jeanne found some cousins addresses using and found them on Google maps. David (10 years old) read the book Private Eyes for Idiots and wants to apply the lessons to genealogy research.

* Ellie has been working through her late mother's scrapbooks, and shared a postcard in German. She is putting a book together using Microsoft Publishing.

* Cynthia has been visiting the DAR library and the Archives in Washington, DC, but has had trouble finding information about her Russian ancestors.

* Marie has been talking to a Nebraska home town neighbor of her parents, who shared lots of juicy stories about her mother and her siblings as teenagers.

* Virginia enjoyed the SCGS Jamboree, especially the Naturalization and Genealogy Organization talks. She contributed information to a family newsletter editor.

* Shirley also enjoyed the Jamboree, and after hearing Leland Meitzler's talk about "Genealogy Organization in the 21st Century," she bought a 500 gb hard derive and has started building her digital archive of documents.

* Dick received the NPRC information about his father's WW 1 Army service - there were only four pages because of the fire in 1973.

* Frances is just starting her research, and has visited Santa Barbara to find cemetery records and has talked to her grandparents about their family.

* Bob found a 1920 picture and article on the San Diego Historical Society web site about his great-grandfather who settled near Julian in San Diego County and had a store in Ensenada in Baja California. He also obtained an enlistment record for him in the Spanish-American War that said he was blue-eyed, not brown-eyed. Now Bob knows where all the blue eyes in his extended family came from!

* Nancy is wondering how to find a family Bible with the names and dates of one of her families. She has a typed piece of paper from the Bible records, but would like to find the Bible.

Randy briefly discussed the Genealogy News of the month,

Ellie asked the group to help her find more records of Bernhart Heinrich Kopcke, her grandmother's older brother. She thinks he was born before 1880, emigrated from Germany after 1880, and died around 1900, but has a photograph with his name on the back that shows an older man. He lived in Arkansas and Texas for some period. She has checked several online resources, including passenger lists, 1900 census records and the FHL Catalog. The group suggested posting to surname and locality mailing lists and message boards, looking in the 1910 census in case he "went missing," doing dating of the clothing in the picture, naturalization records, and a name change.

The CVGS Research Group meets every second Wednesday at 12 noon in the Conference Room at the Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library.

Genealogy News Summary for July

Here is the Genealogy News summary for July that we discussed in the CVGS Research Group today (and emailed to the CVGS members):


a) -- The Cook County Clerk's Bureau of Vital Records provides non-certified versions of birth, death, and marriage records for the purpose of genealogical research. Records found on the site are for Chicago and Cook County, dating back to 1872, including: Birth certificates that are 75 years or older (before today's date in 1933; Marriage certificates that are 50 years or older (before today's date in 1958); Death certificates that are 20 years or older (before today's date in 1988). Each record costs $15, plus a credit card fee of $1.75 will be charged for your total order. Once you pay for the record(s) you want, you will be able to view the original records (not transcriptions) on your computer screen. You can also save the images to a hard drive or print them on a local printer. You find the records in an index, then can order them online for a fee. There are other methods to obtain these records.

b) - USGenWeb site for Schenectady County, New York Genealogy and History. The site has many digitized books with Hudson and Mohawk Valley ancestors.

c) - Kentucky Land Records web site - there is a PowerPoint presentation, with accompanying notes, on this web site that provides historical information about colonial history, colonial land claims, the land patent process in the 1800's, and how to obtain these records.

d) -- Uncle Sam's Genealogy Resources by State, brought to you by the US Federal government. These are mainly links to state government offices and state historical societies,

e) -- Free database of over 82 million obituaries and death notices dating back to 1937.


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 26,200 databases. See new content at New databases include:

** Many Virginia and West Virginia databases and publications.
** Library of Congress Photo Collection, 1840-2000 updated.
** US School Yearbooks updated
** Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, 1861-1865

b) - subscription site (US = $49.95 for 2 years, World = $149.95) -- now available for FREE at the San Diego FHC. Over 9,800 databases, over 1 billion names. Recently added content is at New items FREE at WVR for 10 days. New databases include:

** More than 500,000 records from hundreds of Jewish cemeteries across the United States, Canada, Germany, and Israel have been indexed and are now searchable at through Jewish Data, a new partner of, Inc.
** Many databases from Genealogical Publishing Company and Simmons Historical Publications, including immigrant records from the British Isles.
** More than 9,000 passenger lists, containing millions of names from the Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild (ISTG), are now online at

c) - subscription site ($59.96 annual retail, $7.95 monthly) - now available for FREE at San Diego FHC, they offer 7-day FREE trial. 392 Titles, over 40 million images, over 1 million free. Content list at Information added this month includes:

** Older City Directories for New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago, Boston.
** San Diego Naturalization Index and Records, 1868-195

d) - subscription site (trial $9.95 for one month, $69.95 for 12 months). It has archives for over 3,500 U.S. newspapers in all 50 states, from the 1600s to the present day, with over 224 million family history records, over 28 million obituaries, more than 119 million historical newspaper articles, and more than 11,700 historical books.

** Added content from 219 newspapers in 37 states.

e) - 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.

** No new recent databases listed on web site.

f) - the LDS FREE site for indexed and browsable databases -- new content includes:

** West Virginia Deaths, 1853-1970
** 1850 US Census indexing is 69% complete and 1860 census is 5% complete.
** 1930 Mexico census indexing is 14% complete.


a) Midwest Genealogy Center in Kasnsas City, Missouri is now Open. The new Midwest Genealogy Center is one of the nation's largest libraries specifically for people tracing their ancestry. Unlike many similar collections, almost all of the plat maps, census records, marriage licenses and other documents are accessible directly by the public, not locked away in storage. For more information, look at the library's web site at

b) Everton’s Genealogical Helper - Online Edition is now available for download. Cost is only $12 per year for the full six issues of the magazine. Traditional magazine subscribers get FREE access. However, for the next week, the Jul-Aug, 2008 issue will be “in the clear,” and available to anyone that wants to check it out. Download your copy of the Jul-Aug, 2008 issue of Everton's Genealogical Helper at:

c) Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills, the definitive guide to the citation and analysis of historical sources, is available for download for $24.95 as a PDF e-Book at The hard-copy price is $44.95.


a) RootsMagic 4 will be released very soon. Read more about this genealogy program for Windows on the RootsMagic blog at:

b) The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding is a genealogy program that runs on a web server. TNG has most all the features one expects in any modern genealogy program, including a powerful database, easy methods of adding new data, relationship charts, timelines, and more. Users of version 5 or version 6 may upgrade for $12.99. The standard price of the Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding is $29.99. More information may be found at


a) launched a brand-new homepage that logged-in members will see the next time they visit the site. This new page combines the best of the old homepage with all of the personalized features and tools formerly in the MyAncestry tab. Learn more about the new homepage at

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Online Immigration and Naturalization Web Sites

Immigration records are usually in the form of passenger lists. There are a number of FREE web sites with many passenger lists of people coming into the USA from other countries. They include:

** Ellis Island (NY) Passenger List Records: New York City Passenger Database, 1892-1923 --

** Castle Garden (NY) Passenger List Records: New York City Passenger Database, to 1892 --

** Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild: Passenger lists for many ports transcribed by volunteers --

** Finding Passenger Lists & Immigration Records 1820-1940s: Arrivals at US Ports from Europe (links to commercial web sites) --

** Steve Morse One-Step Web Pages – Search Immigration, NYC Vital Records, Census, etc. (links to commercial web sites) --

** Olive Tree Genealogy Ship Passenger Lists (links to commercial web site links) --

** (commercial web site) has many databases for immigration and emigration - see their list at

The USA National Archives web page at provides information about the ship passenger list holdings at the Archives buildings around the country.

There are also several sites with Online Naturalization indexes and records, including:

** There is a Guide to finding naturalization records online at

** Online Naturalization Records and Indexes (links to commercial web sites) --

The USA National Archives web page at provides information about the naturalization records holdings at the Archives buildings around the country.

If any readers know of additional web sites that have significant collections of immigration and naturalization records, please comment on this post.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Online Everton's Genealogical Helper - FREE Until 7/12

Leland Meitzler posted "Everton’s Genealogical Helper “Online Edition” FREE for the Next Week" that announced that for the next week, the Jul-Aug, 2008 issue will be “in the clear,” and available to anyone that wants to check it out.

If you want to subscribe to the Online Edition of Everton's Genealogical Helper, the cost is only $12 per year for the full six issues of the magazine. Traditional Magazine subscribers get FREE access.

You can read the download information and download the July-August 2008 issue at It does require Adobe Acrobat 6 or higher. This issue is 26.6 mb, so you might not want to do it on a dial-up connection. My cable connection took about 30 seconds.

This seems like a very good deal for me, and I hope that other genealogy magazines will follow suit.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Genealogy Days in Chula Vista for July 2008

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society events for July 2008 include:

** Wednesday, July 9, 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, July 16, 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, July 30, 12 noon, Chula Vista Civic Center Library -- monthly Society Program 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, Ann Montgomery will present "Genealogy Research at Carlsbad Library."

On Monday afternoons (12 noon to 2 PM) - July 7, 14, 21 and 28 - Genealogy Table Talk with Dearl Glenn and John Finch in the Family Research section of the Chula Vista Civic Center Library. They are ready and willing 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.