Tuesday, June 30, 2009

CVGS Members at SCGS Jamboree

Four Chula Vista Genealogical Society members, and two CVGS "friends," attended one or more days of the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree on 26 to 28 June 2009 at the Burbank Airport Marriott and Convention Center. There were about 1,500 registrants for this conference, which is the largest regional conference on the West Coast.

Three CVGS members (Shirley Becker, Susi Pentico and Randy Seaver) and one "friend" (Mary Kanta) went on the early AMTRAK train on Friday morning, arriving before 10 a.m. at the convention center, and returned on the 4:25 p.m. train on Sunday, arriving back in San Diego at 7:50 p.m. The train trip was organized and sponsored by the San Diego Genealogical Society, which handled all reservations and arrangements - what a great thing to do! CVGS member Ruth Himan and "friend" Ann Diffley drove up together on Saturday and drove home on Sunday.

There were over 100 educational sessions and several special events over the three days, plus the exhibit hall where commercial vendors showed and sold their wares. Many Southern California genealogical societies had exhibits also. In addition to the educational opportunities, one of the highlights of every conference and seminar is the chance to meet and talk with other genealogy enthusiasts. It was great to meet and listen to world renowned genealogy speakers and to be able to talk to them in the exhibit hall or hotel lobby.

There was a Facebook face-to-face meeting on Saturday afternoon in the convention center area. Here is a picture of Susi Pentico (in red) and Pam Journey (in blue) talking to Bruce Buzbee (of RootsMagic), and Shirley Becker (in plaid with her back turned) talking to Jackie MacMaster.

Randy has shared some of his experiences at Jamboree, along with many photos mainly from the genealogy bloggers events, on his http://www.geneamusings.com/ blog.

CVGS member Ruth Himan started a blog called Genealogy Is Ruthless Without Me after returning from the Jamboree.

I hope that we can inspire Ruth, Shirley and Susi to write something about their Jamboree experiences in a blog post and newsletter article too.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

CVGS Program - Joan Lowrey on Passenger Lists

The June program meeting of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society featured Joan Lowrey, who presented "Did They Really Come on That Ship?" Joan's CV was described here.

The presentation covered eight case studies of passenger lists and indexes that demonstrated one or more of the following problems:

* Some entries on passenger lists may be crossed out because the passenger didn't make the boat. However, they may be indexed in passenger list databases.

* Some index entries may provide wrong date of arrival. You can use several resources to try to find the correct date and find the passenger list entry.

* While a ship may have originated in one port, some passengers may have boarded at another port.

* More than one resource should be reviewed to obtain all possible information about names, ages, relationships, birthplace, etc.

* Persons not born in Germany (or earlier German entities) may not be listed in the book Germans to America, even though they boarded the ship in Germany.

* Some online passenger lists may be duplicates of an earlier passenger list of the same ship because of errors by providers, enumerators, or indexers.

* Different passenger list indexes may spell names differently. Search by ship (if known) or first name.

* Persons may have sailed on one ship, then boarded another ship in another port before landing in the USA. The departure list and arrival list may not match.

* The Castle Garden web site has more passenger records than those that arrived at Castle Garden between 1850 and 1890. The records on the website before 1850 and after 1890 may not reflect the actual arrival location.

For her case studies, Joan used the book series of Germans to America, the Ellis Island and Castle Garden websites, the Ancestry.com USA passenger lists collection, the Hamburg departure lists on Ancestry.com, and newspaper articles (especially The New York Times 1851-1980 archive). The San Diego Public Library in downtown San Diego has a complete collection of Germans to America in the Genealogy Room. Unfortunately, the Chula Vista library does not have this resource.

Joan's case studies demonstrated how poorly the handwriting on the lists were, and how poor some of the indexes are. Experienced genealogists know and understand this, and learn how to work with all of the available resources but novice researchers often expect perfect indexes and easily readable lists.

This was a well-done and useful presentation because it showed that the records and indexes are imperfect and that traditional resources can be used effectively with online resources to solve passenger list research problems. This is one of Joan's specialties and her counsel should be heeded!

Monday, June 22, 2009

CVGS Program on Wednesday - "Did They Really Come on That Ship?"

The next Program meeting of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society is Wednesday, 24 June, at 12 noon in the Auditorium of the Chula Vista Civic Center Library (365 F Street in Chula Vista).

After a short business meeting, Joan Lowrey will present "Did They Really Come on That Ship?"

Joan Lowrey has been researching her family since 1957, and has been a professional genealogist since 1990. She specializes in Germany and the U.S., and does extensive research in San Diego County. She has a Bachelor’s degree in mathematics with a minor in German from Chestnut Hill College, Philadelphia, and worked with analog and digital computers as an engineer in the guided missile department at RCA in New Jersey.

A charter member of the German Research Association, Joan served as president 1989– 1992 and editor of its quarterly newsletter, The German Connection, 1989–1993.

In 1986, she started a Personal Ancestral File user group and in 1988 founded the Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego, of which she is a past-president. She led the PAF User Group in CGSSD until 2000, and was editor of CGSSD’s quarterly newsletter, COMPU.GEN for 13 years.

Joan’s first book, The Green Family - the Descendants of Barzilla Green and Susan Elizabeth Boyt, was self-published in 1971. She was the author of the Personal Ancestral File Users Guide (1990–1997), co-author of A Guide to Selecting Genealogy Software, and co-author of the Guide to Genealogy Software.

Since 1985 she has compiled the “Family History—Upcoming Events, Classes, Opportunities” column for the San Diego Seagull, and distributes a monthly flyer with this information, which is also posted online at http://www.cgssd.org/.

Joan is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists and numerous local genealogical societies. She speaks on German genealogy and computer genealogy topics nationally, and makes presentations at genealogical societies in Southern California.

CVGS welcomes and encourages guests and visitors to all society programs, which are free to attend. Please enter through the Conference Room in the east hallways in order to sign in, pick up handouts, and have a snack before the meeting. There will be refreshments after the meeting also. For more information, please contact Randy Seaver at rjseaver@cox.net or call 619-422-3397.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Live-blogging the Computer Group meeting

We had some problems connecting the control PC with the projector and the wireless mouse was not charged, so we eventually connected the projector to a computer that was working with a wired mouse connected. Frustrating to think the library has systems that don't work.

When we got it working, we tried to find Dick's family in the 1873 plat map for Dane County, Wisconsin. There are maps for each township in Dane county at http://www.danecountyhistory.org/1873plat/1873plat.html. He found the area in Westport township where his Ibenthal family settled after 1873. Then he found the map of Middleton WI on the www.middletownhistory.org site, and found the area he lived in in the 1940s. Dick also found a photograph on the Wisconsin Historical Society site for his Ibenthal family.

Several others worked on their own during the time the rest of us were looking for Dick's homesteads and haunts.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

CVGS Research Group Summary - 10 June 2009

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society Research Group meeting on 10 June 2009 had nine in attendance. We tried to get a wireless signal on the laptops from the lbirary but failed miserably. We shared information instead:

* Shirley B. printed out a working pedigree chart (7 wide, 3 tall 8.5 x 11 sheets) and pieced it together. She identified several research opportunities from the chart - Sweet, Robbins, Shelmandine, Graves and several other surnames - all from upstate New York in the 1800s.

* Dick said "if you don't do anything long enough, something will show up in your mailbox." He received a letter from a cousin providing articles about his grandfather in Wisconsin. Another letter from a man in Wisconsin contained images from a 1908 Sears Catalog for a 9 room Kit House for $1995, which Dick's grandfather ordered and built.

* Ruth is "up to here in genealogy, and loving it," working 8 to 12 hours a day finding ancestors and adding to her family tree. She learned in the past month that this is a life project, and is hooked. She bought a 40 x 25 family tree chart from ancestry to give to her father for a birthday present. Ruth also found out that her mother's gravestone in Napa has wrong dates on it and wants to fix it.

* Dorothy is back to genealogy after a 10-year hiatus. She searched for death dates and places for her Norgaard grandparents in San Diego, got the dates from the www.vitalsearch-ca.com site, but couldn't get the death certificate at the Chula Vista office of the County Recorder - she will have to go to the San Diego office. Dorothy also visited the Danish house in Balboa Park last Sunday and had a great time.

* Joan is "waiting for an epiphany - her brick walls are still standing firm." She volunteered to help a friend obtain a 1934 death record in New York - the group said she should contact the New York State Archives.

* Randy mentioned that his OASIS class is finished, that he is reviewing RootsMagic 4 on his blog, and that RootsMagic 4 seems to have the easiest-to-make source citations.

* Susi is working on filling in blanks and sources in her database, and is enjoying her Facebook Friends. We found that five of the attendees were on Facebook.

The next CVGS Research Group meeting will be the second Wednesday of July, the 8th, in the Chula Vista Civic Center Library Conference Room at 12 noon.

Monday, June 8, 2009

June Newsletter is online

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society has been putting the monthly newsletters online for some time. Before last month, the current newsletter was hidden behind a password protection. We are experimenting with opening it up for the genea-world to see the current issue on the theory that it is a publicity vehicle that will bring more prospective members to our meeting than we might lose by putting it online.

You can read the June 2009 issue of the CVGS Newsletter here.

We welcome constructive comments of the content. What should be added? What doesn't work? Do you like the colors? Does it need more graphics? Tell us at cvgenealogy@gmail.com.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Genealogy Days in Chula Vista - June 2009

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society events for June 2009 include:

** Wednesday, June 10, 12 noon to 2 pm, Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library (365 F Street) -- 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, June 17, 12 noon to 2 pm, Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library (365 F Street) -- CVGS Computer Group meets in the Library Computer Lab. We will visit some helpful genealogy web sites. This is an opportunity for those members who haven't used computers for genealogy research to practice with a mentor to guide them.

** Wednesday, June 24, 12 noon to 2 p.m., Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library (365 F Street) - CVGS Program Meeting in the Auditorium. After a brief business meeting, the featured speaker will be Joan Lowrey, a well-known and respected San Diego genealogist, who will speak on "Did They Really Come on That Ship?"

** Monday afternoons (12 noon to 2 PM) - June 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29 - 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 greater San Diego area and want to attend our events - please come and introduce yourselves. If you have questions, please email Randy at rjseaver@cox.net or phone 619-422-3397.