Saturday, October 30, 2010

Chula Vista Centennial is in 2011

The city of Chula Vista will be 100 years old in 2011.  The city was incorporated in 1911, and is now the second largest city in San Diego County.

There will be a Chula Vista Centennial Expo on Sunday, 16 October 2011 in Memorial Park, featuring live music throughout the day, local companies and groups will showcase the roles they played in creating modern Chula Vista, and schools and other organizations are encouraged to re-enact key events in city history. Food booths and exhibits will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. around the park and along Park Way, between Third Avenue and Garrett Avenue.

Vintage cars will be on display throughout the day, and to add to the historic feel of the event, attendees are encouraged to dress in clothing from their favorite decade. The Expo will also feature winning entries from Centennial contests held throughout the year.

A Centennial book, titled  Chula Vista: A Century of People and Progress, 1911-2011 will be published. 
Chula Vista has the good fortune of being home to noted historian and retired USD professor Dr. Steven Schoenherr, who has volunteered his time to research and write the hundred year history of Chula Vista.  Supported by a Committee of 100 research team, the Chula Vista Library, and generous sponsors, Schoenherr's legacy will be a gift you'll want to keep and give.  Holiday gift certificates for pre-purchased signed copies will be available starting in November.

More information can be found on the Centennial Chula Vista web page at  Readers can subscribe to receive email notices about the centennial events on the web page.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

CVGS Program Review - Alfredo Pena's "Exodus"

The October 27th program meeting of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society featured Alfredo I. Pena's talk on "Exodus:  The Reasons for the Massive Immigration from Mexico to the U.S.”  Mr. Pena's CV was posted here.

This presentation was more about Mexican history since the 1910 Revolution against the Porfirio Diaz dictatorship than about genealogy.  Alfredo's theme was that there were a series of events in Mexico that encouraged migration of Mexican citizens to the United States.  He described the leaders of the 1910 Revolution (Zapata, Madero, Villa) and some of the ensuing Presidents of Mexico.  The Cristero War between 1926 and 1929 was caused by enforcement of the anti-clerical laws imposed by the 1917 Constitution and resulted in persecution of Catholic priests and adherents.  Some of his relatives were involved in the Cristero War and came to El Paso, Texas.

Mexican farm labor was welcomed in the U.S. until the Great Depression, which started in 1929.  A wave of anti-immigration sentiment arose as jobs became scarce, and legal immigration fell sharply and hundreds of thousands of Mexicans were repatriated.  As World War II started, American farms needed laborers and the Bracero program was started for Mexican farm laborers and railroad workers to work under contract, receive housing and minimum wages.  The Bracero program ended in about 1960.  During the later years of the Bracero program, and afterwards, Mexican citizens came across the border legally with visas, although the numbers were restricted.  Others migrated illegally to work and live in the U.S. because there were  employment opportunities.

Mr. Pena noted that finding records of Mexican migrants in this time period is difficult.  The most promising source is family records in your home or the homes of your family - he showed several immigration cards and passes provided by the U.S. Department of Labor in the 1920s.  There may be online databases on and (e.g., the 1930 Mexico census) that can provide more information about migrants.

He also noted that Mexican citizens usually married twice after 1867 - once civilly, then in a religious ceremony.  The civil records can be accessed, but access to church records in the parishes can be difficult. 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

27 October CVGS Program - Alfredo Pena on "Exodus"

The October general program meeting of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society will be on Wednesday, 27 October at 12 Noon at the Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library (365 F Street, Chula Vista) Auditorium.

The speaker will be Alfredo I. Pena on “Exodus: The Reasons for the Massive Immigration from Mexico to the U.S.”  He has given two earlier talks about Spanish and Mexican genealogy research in the last two months - this is the third talk in the series.

In this program, Mr. Pena will describe the effects of political events such as the Mexican Revolution and the religious war against the government (Cristeros) that fueled a massive migration from Mexico to the United States.

Alfredo Ignacio Peña was born in 1969 in Los Angeles. He has a degree in Graphic Design and has 25 years of experience with publications and advertising. He has worked with the Ahora-Now, Frontera San Diego, El Informador newspapers and with the PennySaver. Mr. Peña has experience designing publications, editorial design and advertising, and is a member of the San Diego County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Mr. Peña has studied his genealogy following a family tradition passed down for several generations and has been able to trace his ancestry all the way back to Charlemagne. In 2003, he joined CorGoMiUri, the family’s group of genealogists. He is a member of the National Genealogical Society, Genealogical Society of the Valley of Mexico, Genealogical Society of Northern Mexico, Society of Hispanic Historical & Ancestral Research, the Association of Professional Genealogists; is moderator for three of those associations; and is working on his lineage papers to join several lineage and hereditary societies. His biography was recently featured in the June issue of the Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly.

Mr. Peña is the director and founder of Ancestros, Investigaciones Genealógicas (Ancestral and Genealogical Investigations). He was invited by the San Diego Family History Center to collaborate with them and is now helping with the Hispanic/Mexican research and history section the first and fourth Thursday of every month. He is a new member of CVGS.

Guests and visitors are welcome at all CVGS events, which are free to attend at the library.  Please enter the Auditorium through the Conference Room door so as to register your attendance, pick up a handout and a program, and have a snack.  For more information about this program, or any CVGS program, please contact Barbara at or 619-477-4140. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

CVGS Weekender Talk - "Why Have a Will?" on Sunday, 24 October

The next Chula Vista Genealogical Society October Weekender Talk will be on Sunday, October 24th, at 1 p.m. in the Chula Vista Civic Center Library Auditorium (365 F Street). 

The presenter will be CVGS Member Shirley Becker on “Why Have a Will? And What Happens if You Don’t?”

In this talk, Shirley will show examples of wills from her collection, and describe the uses of a will to help in your family history research.  She will also discuss the need for genealogists to have their own will, and steps that should be taken to pass on their genealogical research.

For more information about this program, or any CVGS program, please contact Barbara at or 619-477-4140. 

All CVGS programs at the library are free and open to the public, and we welcome guests and visitors.

Friday, October 15, 2010

New or Updated Databases on - October 2010

The new and updated databases on the FamilySearch Record Search Pilot website include (from early September through early October):

o  California, San Francisco Area Funeral Home Records, 1835-1931 (last updated 15 September 2010)

o Civil War Pension Cards (90% complete, last updated 18 September 2010)

o New York, King's County Estate Files, 1866-1923 (last updated 10 September 2010)

o Rhode Island State Census, 1925 (last updated 10 September 2010)

o South Carolina, Civil War Confederate Service Records, 1861-1865 (last updated 16 September 2010)

o United States Census, 1910 (61% complete, last updated 12 September 2010)

o United States, Navy Widow's Certificates, 1861-1910 (last updated 16 September 2010)

o United States, Revolutionary War Compiled Service Records, 1775-1783 (last updated 16 September 2010)

o Czech Republic, Northern Moravia, Opava Archive Record Books, 1571-1905 (browse images only)

o Czech Republic, Southern Bohemia, Trebon Archive Church Books, 1650-1900 (browse images only)

o Germany, Baden, Church Book Duplicates, 1810-1869 (2% complete, last updated 16 September 2010)

o Spain, Municipal Records (browse images only)

See all Volunteer-indexed databases on the Pilot Record Search site at

These databases are free for any researcher to access and use.  These records are also on the FamilySearch Beta website with a somewhat different search capability.  Some images on the FamilySearch Beta site require users to register for a FamilySearch account.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

New or Updated Databases on - October

The new and updated databases on since the last listing include (from early September to early October):

o  Ohio Deaths, 1908-1932, 1938-1944, 1958-2007

o U.S., Canada, U.K. and Ireland, Australian and New Zealand, Caribbean Obituary Collections

o Bavaria, Germany, WW1 Personnel Rosters, 1914-1918

o Canada, Germany and Austria, Italy, Sweden, U.K. and Ireland Historical Postcards

o London, England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1921

o London, England Deaths and Burials, 1813-1980

o London, England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1906

o London, England Poor Law Records, 1834-1940

o Alabama State Census, 1820-1866

o Chalmers’ General Biographical Dictionary

o Lubeck, Germany 1845 Census

o U.K. Prison Hulk Registers, 1802-1849

o U.K. Female Parole Licences, 1853-1887

o Canada, Selected Soldiers Service Records WW1

o Canada, Selected War Dead Records, WW2

o California State Census, 1852

o McNeil Island WA U.S. Penitentiary, Records of Prisoners Received, 1887-1939

See New and Updated Ancestry databases at

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

CVGS Research Group Summary - 13 October 2010

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society Research Group meeting was very lively, with several beginners and new members among the 12 in attendance. 

After introductions around the table, Randy noted the full plate of CVGS activities scheduled over the next four weeks.  He also noted that the FamilySearch Beta website had been given a new look, that the SDGS seminar on Saturday was excellent, and wondered if anybody had a research problem to discuss in depth.

*  Shirley found six newspaper articles in late 19th century New York newspapers on the Fulton County Postcard site that related to the death of Johnson Wright, a brother to her ancestor, Alpheus Wright of Otsego and Delaware Counties.  Each article, published over about two weeks time, had somewhat different information, and from it she was able to glean the death date, the circumstances of death, his burial site, his current and past residences, his age, a son's name and an uncle's name.  Those items may all lead to more records, and perhaps one will identify Johnson's parents.  The group suggested looking for the uncle in the census and other records, and checking for a county map that might show where the known family members resided.

*  Karyn was cleaning out a closet, and found the three boxes of her grandmother's papers - which included several photo albums with captions and lists of family sheets dating back into the 1700s.  She's looking forward to getting it sorted out and put together.

*  Sidnie asked about naming patterns for children, and if there was any significance to three generations of children named George Washington Helton.  The father of the first one settled in Washington County, Georgia in the early 1800s.  The group reviewed some of the naming patterns, mentioned naming locations after people, and using ancestral maiden names as middle names, but thought that the G.W. trail was due to admiration of the father of the country.

*  JoAnn is just starting her research, and needed family group sheets and a pedigree chart to get going.  Susi obtained some from the file cabinet, and helped her understand how to fill them in.

*  Sylvia asked about the wrong birthplace on a death certificate, and the group explained that birth information on a death record is secondary information and should be verified with other documents.  She thinks that her 3rd-great-grandfather adopted his step-father's surname, and is starting to research the birth father's name.

*  Jaye was grinning ear to ear as Ruth handed her a folder with the newspaper clippings found in Hutchinson, Kansas about Jaye's grandfather's death by a street cleaning truck in 1939.  The accident was the result of teenage joy-riding.  Ruth found several articles about the driver, including previous run-ins with the police, and his enlistment, service, capture and death in World War II.  Ruth also found the obituary for Jaye's grandfather, which provided family information and a burial place.

*  Ruth took her father "Wild Bill" to Kansas, Tennessee and Missouri on a three-week family history and father-daughter trip.  She found many interesting records, and passed some of them around the group.  They visited several family homes in Hutchinson and in Tennessee.  A great time was had, but Ruth is tired out and has a 6-inch stack of paper to sort through.

*  Helen has her new computer up and running, and her genealogy database and family photo collection were backed up and installed. 

*  Susi had a call from a distant New York cousin who is a town historian.  She found three boxes of papers in her files that were salvaged after a 1950s courthouse fire.  There was information relating to Susi's Jones and Mattison families.  The town historian will copy the papers of interest.

*  Karen was new to the group, and has the good fortune to have a file cabinet of her father's family papers on Norwegian ancestry and her mother's siblings Maryland Eastern Shore family research on English, Irish and Scottish ancestors.  She asked about places to search for records.  The group suggested the FHLC microfilms for family records, getting local library cards for access to online databases, using and other databases at local libraries, checking,, Rootsweb message boards and Maryland State Archives.

*  Randy reviewed the local library online databases available, then described his Whittle research in online English, Australian, and American records.  He is off to the Family History Library next week to obtain original source record images for the English parish records, and whatever else he can find in the FHL resources.

The next meeting of the CVGS Research Group will be on Wednesday, 10 November at 12 noon in the Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library Conference Room. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

CVGS Newsletter for October 2010

The October 2010 issue of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society Newsletter is available on the CVGS website - here.

The Table of Contents for this issue includes:

page 1 -- October 27th Program Meeting

page 2 -- President’s Message
page 2 -- September 29th Program Review
page 3 -- September 11th Saturday Workshop Review
page 3 -- October 24th Weekenders Meeting

page 3 -- November 6th Workshop at Bonita Library
page 4 -- Research Group News
page 4 -- Lemon Grove Research Group News
page 4 -- Computer Group News
page 4 -- Sunshine Corner

page 5 -- General Meeting Minutes – September 29th

page 5 -- Board Meeting Minutes – October 6th
page 6 -- Board Meeting Committee Reports
page 6 -- Program and Member Surveys
page 7 -- Computer-Related Genealogy News

page 8 -- October 2nd Fall Seminar Review
page 9 -- CVGS Society Information
page 9 -- San Diego Genealogy Events
page 10 -- Genealogy Days in Chula Vista

Thursday, October 7, 2010

CVGS Workshop on Saturday - 9 October 2010

The next Chula Vista Genelaogical Society workshop meeting will be Saturday, October 9th at 1 p.m. in the Community Room at the Bonita Library (4375 Bonita Road).

\The workshop topic is "Probates and what you should know for use in Genealogical Research" moderated by CVGS member Susi Pentico. 

No other information about this program was submitted by the speaker. 

Saturday, October 2, 2010

CVGS Fall Seminar featured Jean wilcox Hibben and Alfredo I. Pena

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society Fall Seminar titled "Where Do We Go From Here?" (a sequel to "Who Do You Think You Are?") was today at Norman Park Senior Center in Chula Vista. There were about 50 in attendance. See CVGS Seminar -- Where Do We Go From Here? for the program schedule.

The speakers, the titles and brief summaries of their talks are in Jean Wilcox Hibben is Featured Speaker at CVGS Fall Seminar on 2 October and Alfredo Pena to Speak at CVGS Fall Seminar on 2 October.

Jean's first presentation was "Graveyard Gumshoe: Lessons Written in Stone" which had the audience in stitches as she regaled us with examples of her taphophilia. Did you know that on her honeymoon they visited graveyards from the California Gold Country to Tombstone, Arizona (fitting, eh?). She managed to show us many ancestral gravestones and the stories that went with them, plus provide advice on searching for them. At the end, she sang an original song of hers about gravestones of young children in one of her families.

CVGS President Gary Brock provided a short summary of what the Chula Vista Genealogical Society offers to members - monthly Wednesday programs, monthly weekend programs, a research group, a computer group, a newsletter, website and blog, plus a group of enthusiastic and helpful genealogists.

Jean's second talk was "This is Not Your Grandma's Genealogy: Making the Move from Paper to Electronic Record Keeping." This presentation covered decisions to be made, equipment to consider, and approximate cost estimates. A list of pros and cons about using a computer to organize your genealogical records was provided. Equipment discussed included computer systems (desktop, laptop or netbook) with pros and cons, Printers (inkjet or laser), Scanners (flatbed, handheld, or all-in-one), Storage media (external drive, USB drive), GPS systems, Digital Cameras and Mobile devices (PDAs, Camera phone, smart phone, etc.).

Lunch was provided by Jimmy's by the Park, a local restaurant, which served club sandwiches, Mexican pizza, spicy meatballs and cheesy bread, with a peach cobbler dessert.

Jean's third presentation was "Deliveries in the Rear! Getting Family History through the Back Door." She explained that her grandfather always said that "The best things come through the back door." She described searching for information to fill missing events in the lives of five ancestors - and finding data in newspaper articles, in military pension records, on eBay, in family letters, in wills and probate records, in local history books, in census records, in cemetery records, and many more. Often, the key to finding the records was the siblings, neighbors or associates of her ancestors. Jean sang an original song about the lives of some of these ancestors.

After a break, Alfredo I. Pena presented "Coming to the New World After the Conquest, 1600-1900" about Spanish and Mexican genealogical resources. Resources discussed included the Gary Felix Genealogy Page (, the websites for databases and microfilm access, and the Portal de Archivos Espanoles (PARES, website for Spanish records.

Throughout the day, there were opportunity drawings for research services, books and genealogical supplies. The Door Prize was a one-year subscription to

Jean Hibben's music CDs, CVGS books, genealogical forms, Chula Vista library information, and a computer table for research consultations were available at breaks throughout the day in an adjacent room. Several students from Chula Vista High School helped with the sales and information tables.

It was a major effort by CVGS to produce this seminar - the first held offsite in about ten years. The efforts of many CVGS volunteers were coordinated by Susi Pentico, the Seminar chairperson.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Genealogy Days in Chula Vista - October 2010

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society events for October 2010 include:

** Saturday, 9 October, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., Bonita Library (4375 Bonita Road) -- CVGS Genealogy Workshop meets in the Community Room to hear Susi Pentico speak on "Probates and What You Should Know for Use in Genealogical Research."

** Wednesday 13 October, 12 noon to 2 p.m., Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library (365 F Street) -- CVGS Research Group meets in the Library Conference Room, led by Randy Seaver. 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, 20 October, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library (365 F Street) -- CVGS Computer Group meets in the Library Computer Lab, led by Shirley Becker. 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.

**  Sunday, 24 October, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library (365 F Street) -- CVGS Sunday Talk in the Auditorium by CVGS member Shirley Becker on "Why Have a Will ... and What Happens if You Don't?"

** Wednesday, 27 October, 12 noon to 2 p.m., Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library (365 F Street) in the Auditorium. After a brief business meeting, the speaker will be Alfredo I. Pena on "Exodus: The Reasons for Massive Immigration From Mexico to the United States."

** Monday mornings (11 a.m. to 1 PM) - October 4, 11, 18, 25 - Genealogy Table Talk with Dearl Glenn in the Family Research section of the Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library. He is ready and willing to help people with their research, discuss a research problem or success, or just tell stories.

** Wednesday mornings (11 a.m. to 1 PM) - October 6, 13, 20, 27 - Genealogy Table Talk with John Finch in the Family Research section of the Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library. He is ready and willing to help people with their research, discuss a research problem or success, or just tell stories.
** Wednesday evenings (6 p.m. to 8 p.m.) - October 6, 13, 20, 27 - Genealogy Help with CVGS members in the Family Research section of the Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library. They are ready and willing to help people just starting on their genealogy research, discuss a research problem or a success.

** Sunday afternoons (2 p.m. to 4 p.m.) - October 3, 10, 17, 24, 31 - Genealogy Help with CVGS members in the Family Research section of the Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library. They are ready and willing to help people just starting on their genealogy research, discuss a research problem or a success.

The Chula Vista Civic Center Branch 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). The Bonita Library is located at 4375 Bonita Road in Bonita - just west of the Otay Lakes Road intersection with Bonita Road, on the north side of Bonita Road.

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.

Please contact Barbara (email baribai, phone 619-477-4140) for more information.