Thursday, May 14, 2009

CVGS Research Group Summary

We had our Chula Vista Genealogical Society Research Group meeting on Wednesday, with 10 persons contributing. There were some interesting problems.

Ann (a visitor) is doing research for a friend, and was looking for a McNabb born in about 1892 in Texas in the census records. She found him in the 1920 and 1930 census with his family, but couldn't find him in 1900 and 1910 with his parents. The group suggested trying different last name variations - McNabb, MacNabb, M'Nabb, Nabb, etc. And to use wild cards for both names, and birth year and birth place to narrow the search.

Mary has an interesting challenge - her mother was raised by her father, and Mary has looked for what happened to her mother's mother without much success. And she wants to know her grandmother's ancestry too. The grandmother's maiden name was Esther Fletcher, and after she left her first husband (mother of her mother, born in 1912 in Quebec) in Maine, she married a Sprague and a Marks and lived in Toronto, Ontario. The group suggested looking for an Ontario death record, obtaining a death certificate, finding an obituary, etc. One of the marriage records may provide a birth date and place and perhaps parents names.

Ruth had an interesting problem too - her great-grandfather, John C. Hayley born in 1872 in Tennessee, ran off from his family at age 14 when his step-father put him down a well (who could blame him for running off?). She thinks that John C.'s father was Johns W. Hayley (1829-1874) who died in Tennessee, and left no land or probate records. Her question had to do with the father of James W. Hayley - was it James W. Hayley who died in 1842 in Madison County, Tennessee? Ruth has James W.'s will and John W. is not mentioned. The group suggested looking for other Hayley's in the area in the 1840 time frame (census, land, probate, tax records) and pursuing records of John W.'s death (obituary, county history) which might provide clues to his parentage.

Dearl decided to clean up some of his older file folders, and found that he had many more records than he recalled from his early years of researching. There's a good lesson here for everybody - check your previous work before doing more on a family.

Marcia followed up on some of the ideas from the April seminar, and has found another Timothy Leahy descendant in Ireland and they are corresponding. In the mean time, she found her Corkery family in Iowa, and found cousins on the Internet along with some family trees. We recommended getting death records and obituaries for the siblings of her Corkery, and to check the county history books also.

Pam is still chasing her Benjamin Sherman in Connecticut. She's going to step back from finding new records and try to sort out what she already has before charging off for more new information. She's planning to find a book by Roy V. Sherman using Inter-Library Loan.

Gary wondered where he could find information about the history of La Vista Cemetery in National City for a Memorial Day project. We suggested the National city library's Local History Room which has the Star newspaper indexed in a card file and has many books and pictures about National City history.

John sent an email to one of Randy's blogger and Facebook Friends and received a packet of information about two North Carolina families, including land records and the will of a John Leeper in 1796. He was surprised that the wife's name was Elizabeth, and now wonders if he started with the wrong information from an online family tree. He really appreciated the results from the query!

Dick has a problem with Family Tree Maker 2009 - he downloaded the update and now cannot open the program. He will contact the FTM customer service to see what needs to be done. We assured him that his databases were fine, and he could uninstall and reinstall the program, or anything that FTM sends him, and use his database with it.

There wasn't much time for Randy, who briefly described how the War of 1812 pension file index is not name indexed on, and that he had found 15 databases like that on

Several people wanted to know about how to obtain the Social Security for a relative, and we pointed them to Rootsweb where they write the letter to the SSA for you.

The two hours seemed to fly by as we all wondered about the complexity of families, the things that happen in family life, and the fact that we may collect only 10 to 20 records that reflect just snapshots of a person's life over 60 to 80 years (perhaps 20,000 to 30,000 days).

No comments: