Thursday, February 11, 2010

CVGS Research Group Summary - 10 February 2010

There were 13 enthusiastic researchers at the CVGS Research Group meeting on 10 February, including three guests. We went around the table sharing our research experiences.

* Randy used the Chronicling America newspapers (1880-1922, from 22 states) on the Library of congress site to sort out a McKnew family. An 1860 Census Mortality Schedule (now on was helpful. He passed around the book New Englanders in the 1600s, which lists persons in books and articles published between 1980 and 2005.

* Susi received a lead for parents of her Susan Mattison (in Petersburg NY in 1830-1850 time frame) in response to one of her blog posts. Blogs work!

* Kevin obtained a death certificate from Alameda County for his grandfather's sister, which listed her parents (i.e., Kevin's great-grandparents). He wanted help reading the handwriting. The group suggested Bay Area city directories and newspapers at libraries or on Footnote, and the site to find more information about the family.

* Dick found Madison WI City Directories for the 1930s on that listed family. He ordered his brother's Korean War service records from NPRC (free!) and will pass a copy to his nephew.

* Evelyn tried to obtain 100 year old funeral home records in New Brunswick, but couldn't obtain them due to privacy issues. She found insane asylum records in Sacramento (California State Archives) for her Caleb Burbank in the 1880 time frame.

* Virginia found some records of her 3rd great-grandfather's Civil War service. She's reorganizing her genealogy files and has two of eleven drawers done.

* Cheryl is returning to genealogy after 30 years away, and has information on typed paper files. We recommended the free versions of RootsMagic or Legacy Family Tree to start getting the data organized. She wants to find if anyone else is descended from the Leinbach-Frye family that emigrated to PA in the 1700s, and had 17 children. We advised looking at and posting to the Rootsweb and GenForum message boards, and looking at the free Rootsweb WorldConnect family tree system.

* Gary's mention of Solomon Roff in an earlier Research Group posting on the blog resulted in a cousin contact who provided a will of Timothy Roff (brother of Solomon) that identified parents and grandparents. Blogs work!

* Phyllis inquired about how to use Facebook for genealogy. The group thought it was a good way to network with other researchers and family members, but not for pursuing actual research. The group mentioned and as sites to place genealogy queries, in additon to Rootsweb mailing lists and Rootsweb/GenForum message boards.

* Dolores found that a Wisconsin county's records had burned, but that the Wisconsin Historical Society had copies she needed of her great-great-grandparents. She saw an advertisement for Dakota Territory land in the 1880s and wondered where she might find the ads online. We suggested the free New York Times archive, NewspaperARCHIVE ($$), GenealogyBank ($$), etc. She asked about keeping paper organized - we recommended Elyse's blog posts at

* Ruth has been looking for information and news about towns in Texas in the 1850s and 1860s. She's heard lots of family stories and wants to back them up. She's planning a Texas and Oklahoma research/family trip.

* Marta is starting research of her Southern California and Baja California families. She has found records in family papers, local Catholic churches, and cemeteries but needs to find earlier records. The group suggested contacting David Pena who teaches at the San Diego FHC once a month and is with the Tijuana FHC, and looking for microfilmed records of the churches in Mexico in the FHL Catalog. Marta found several helpful books on the shelves of the library's Family Research section.

It was a spirited discussion with many interesting stories and helpful resources mentioned.

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