Thursday, September 27, 2012

CVGS Program Review - "The Civil War and the Onslaught of Modern Warfare"

CVGS Member John Finch presented "The Civil War and the Onslaught of Modern Warfare"  for the regular Program Meeting of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society on Wednesday, 26 September at the Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library.

John started his presentation with a definition of the Civil War (called the "War of Northern Aggression" in the southern states), and said it was a defining moment in American history.  He reviewed some of his reference materials, including the Civil War PBS Series by Ken Burns, the book Killer Angels by Michael Schaara, and the book Prisoners of the Civil War by Douglas Westfall.

The statistics on casualties of the Civil War are horrific:

*  3.2 million persons served (2.21 million for the North, 1.05 million for the South)
*  524,000 died (364,000 for the North, 160,000 for the South)
*  The population of the USA in 1860 was 32 million, so about 1 in 10 persons served.
*  17% of those that served died, and many more were wounded.

John noted that habeas corpus was suspended in 1862 by President Lincoln in order to prevent the Maryland and Delaware legislatures from meeting to secede from the Union, and thereby isolating Washington, D.C.  The legislators spent the war in Fort Warren, a prison camp near Boston, as did the Governor of Kentucky.

He discussed the Battle of Gettysburg in some detail, using an excellent map showing the movements and battle lines with the Union troops on Cemetery Ridge and the Confederates in the valley to the west.  He also described Joshua Chamberlain's heroics on Round Top on 2 July 1863 and on Cemetery Ridge on 3 July 1863.

To demonstrate the horror of typical battles, John showed about 10 minutes from the movie "Gettysburg." - beginning at the start of Pickett's charge up Cemetery Ridge.  He also discussed the weapons and ammunition used in this war.

The military service record of John's relative, Charles H. Finch of the Pennsylvania 143rd Infantry Regiment, was presented  - he was wounded at Gettysburg, sent to a hospital, furloughed home, and went back into the service.  John obtained the papers from the National Archives.

The interesting service and subsequent lives of two different men were summarized:

1)  William H.H. Clayton on the Union Iowa 19th Infantry Regiment, who served up and down the Mississippi River, was a prisoner of war after Vicksburg, sent to a Texas prison, furloughed back to Iowa, married, moved his family to Orange county, California, and founded the Sunkist company. 

2)  William T. Glassell was from Orange County, Virginia, but was serving in the U.S. Navy on the USS Hancock on the California coast when the war broke out. After a 7 month journey to Baltimore, he resigned from the US Navy, but was arrested and sent to Fort Warren.  He was furloughed, went back to Virginia, enlisted in the Confederate Navy in an ironclad, boat.  He was captured again, and sent to a prison camp in New York.  After the surrender, he was furloughed, went back to his home in Virginia, but his brother had migrated to California, so Glassell went there, was granted a large tract of land in Orange County, and died there in 1879.

John briefly described the information that can be found online on the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors system (, on FamilySearch (, on Ancestry ( on the United States GenWeb (, and on Fold3 (  Original military records can be ordered, for a fee, from the National Archives on their website (

Monday, September 24, 2012

CVGS Fall Seminar Summary - "Show Me Your Roots"

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society Fall Seminar was held on Saturday, 22 September 2012, at the bonita-Sunnyside Library.  The title of this event was "Show Me Your Roots."  There were two sessions with essentially the same planned events - one in the morning (10 AM to 12 noon) and one in the afternoon (1 PM to 3 PM).

The morning session had about 20 CVGS members and 12 non-members in attendance.  The non-members ranged from beginners with a pedigree chart to intermediate researchers with some research background.  

After CVGS President Gary Brock welcomed the attendees, CVGS member Sam Seat made a 30 minute presentation about how to begin and progress in your genealogical and family history research.  His points included:
  • Buy a computer program for your family tree – Family Tree Maker (Win and Mac), RootsMagic (Win), Legacy Family Tree (Win), Reunion (Mac), MyHeritage (Win).
  • There are many online video courses for Beginners and others – check out the FamilySearch courses/videos
  • Fill out your pedigree chart – a skeleton of 5 generations of ancestors – with names, dates, and places
  • Fill in the blanks on the chart – find records, family, local, repositories, online search
  • Use free online searches and record collections such as Google, FamilySearch, USGenWeb, Rootsweb, Find-A-Grave
  • Use online commercial subscription sites with record collections such as Ancestry, Archives, Fold3, GenealogyBank, etc.
  • Be careful – don't believe everything you see, use “official” records to make sure data indexes and online trees are correct.
  • What can you find – birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates, census records, city directories, wills/probate records, land records, military records, immigration records, SSDI, cemetery records, etc.
Sam provided some examples from his own research - images of vital record certificates, census records, wills, city directory pages, gravestones, draft registration, website story, etc.

Bonita-Sunnyside Librarian Hielde Kraus provided a short overview of the library genealogy holdings, including Ancestry Library Edition on the Catalog computers, access to local university libraries with a library card, and the use of Inter-Library Loan to obtain books from other libraries.

At this point, the CVGS Mentors were introduced - Bernice (French-Canada), Shirley (New York, Reunion), Sam, Randy (New England, RootsMagic), Susi (Mid-Atlantic, New England), Karen (Norway, Maryland), Bobbie (French Canada, Bavaria), Ken (Family Tree Maker), and Kevin (MyHeritage).

The plan was to have the mentors help the attendees to fill out their pedigree chart, but all of them had one already started, so the session quickly moved to helping the attendees with their software briefings and research questions.  

Shirley, Randy and Ken discussed and demonstrated the programs to several persons.  Other attendees had questions concerning genealogical resources and how to attack their research problems, and the CVGS members provided advice and went online using their laptops and mobile devices to find records that might help the attendee.

After lunch, the afternoon session had the same CVGS attendees, and five more C VGS members came to ask questions, see software demonstrations, and for help with their research problems.

Drawings were held after both sessions, with CVGS memberships and donations from local restaurants and attractions as door prizes.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Civil War Program on Wednesday, 26 September

from 12 Noon to 2 p.m.

at Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library (365 F Street) in the Auditorium

John Finch: “The Civil War and the Onslaught of Modern Warfare”

This month's Chula Vista Genealogical Society program presentation will be “The Civil War; and the Onslaught of Modern Warfare" presented by CVGS member John Finch.

However, the title covers only a portion of the material. John will present statistics of the casualties of loss in the Civil War as compared to other wars. We will see how this destruction was carried out, how new weapons were introduced, and strategies developed to cope. We will examine the service of both a Union enlisted soldier and a Confederate Officer and how the War impacted their lives and their respective families lives. We will look at the plight of the women left behind. John will demonstrate how he researched Civil War Veterans in his family and he will offer some recommendations for your own research.

John has been a member of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society since 1999 and has served in several offices to include Membership Chair and Society President (2005 -2006). Currently, John is assisting with the Library Committee and the By-Laws Revision Committee. An admitted Family Research “junkie” he pursues some form of genealogy research almost every day.

Before retirement from the County of San Diego and a career as a Probation Officer, John had retired from the Navy with 20 years of service. He credits troubleshooting techniques performed on Navy countermeasures equipment and the criminal investigative practices, learned as a Probation Officer, as a background for successful methods in Family Research. John is married, with three sons and eight grandchildren. Life is good.

Please enter the Auditorium through the auditorium entry on the south library entryway.  There will be refreshments before and after the meeting.  There will be a short business meeting before the presentation.

Monday, September 17, 2012

CVGS Computer Group meeting is Thursday, 20 September this month

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society Computer Group meeting has been moved from the usual third Wednesday date to Thursday, 20 September 2012, at 12 noon (until 2 p.m.) at the Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library in the Computer Lab.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

FREE "Show Me My Roots" Seminar on Saturday, 22 September

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society Fall Seminar will be held Saturday, September 22 at Bonita-Sunnyside Library (4375 Bonita Road; take Billy Casper Way turnoff). 

The seminar theme is "Show Me My Roots." This seminar will be geared to beginners but we will be glad to help anyone who feels they need it. There will be two sessions. The morning session is 10 a.m. to 12 noon and the afternoon session will be from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Attendees are asked to bring whatever information they have on their parents, grandparents, etc. The attendees will be able to receive help filling out their pedigree chart.

The attendees will then be introduced to the three most popular genealogy programs to give them some idea which one they would like to use. We will be demonstrating Family Tree Maker, RootsMagic, and Reunion. We will also have two computers dedicated to going online to show the attendees how to do research on line, concentrating on the free websites they can use. 

Between the charts and the computers the attendees can have a short tour of the library to show them where they can find genealogy information and to let them know that they can order books through inter-library loan from any of the county libraries and have them delivered to Bonita.

This is a free seminar. Please contact Virginia Taylor (, 619-425-7922) to register so that we can plan refreshments, handouts and volunteers. Attendees should provide their own lunch.

For this seminar to be a success, we need members of our society to volunteer to help either with the charts or demonstrating the programs. You can work either session or all day. Contact Virginia Taylor to volunteer. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

CVGS Research Group Summary - 12 September 2012

The September 12th meeting of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society Research Group had 17 attendees.

In the first hour, Randy showed and discussed Michele Lewis's blog article "Starting at the Very Beginning" ( concerning how to start doing genealogy research.  Each point brought spirited discussion from the group with examples from their experiences.

In the second hour, we discussed questions and research problems posed by the attendees, including:

1)  Ralph asked how to find genealogy blogs of interest and how to follow them, and Randy showed how to find topic-specific blogs using Google, and how to set up and use a Google Reader account.

2)  Kitty has a memory book that provides information about the birth and marriage of her ancestor Frederick W. Giesecke that lists his father's name as Otto.  She has found the 1940 U.S. census with him as a brother to Elizabeth Collins, but could find little else about him.  A search on revealed "Fritz" and "Lizzie" with their mother in the 1900 US Census, so the father may have died.  She wondered how to proceed.  The group suggested looking for a marriage record for the parents, marriage records for the children, death records for the father, and death records for the known children that might list parents. and have several Texas vital records indexes available.

3)  Connie has an older brother who was adopted in 1941 as an infant in San Diego.  The California birth Index has his adopted name, not his birth name.  The adoption record, obtained from court records, lists two potential birth parent surnames and the mother's given name.  A search on Ancestry in the 1940 US Census revealed the probable family of the birth mother in Los Angeles County.  Further searching on Ancestry provided an Ancestry Member Tree for the family.  The group suggested that the brother send a carefully worded message to the AMT submitter asking for information about the mother.

4) Karen inquired about the 1940 US Census entry for her ancestor, Harry Linde.  His wife apparently provided the information about the family.  However, there were other households on the page without the indicator for the information provider.  She wondered if that was an error.  The group thought that it was - not every enumerator followed the instructions!

5)  Jaye has an aunt buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery in Los Angeles, who married a Forrest Morrow, but divorced.  Morrow apparently married again to a Dolly.  She wondered how to find information about the second marriage.  California marriage and death records on or ( may have this information.

6)  Gary continues to track down his Solomon Roff family in western New York.  He has been tracking Roff families in the 1790 to 1840 US Census records to try to sort it all out.  He continues to learn from the will of the bachelor Philip Roff who named his siblings, including Solomon.

The next CVGS Research Group meeting will be Wednesday, 10 October at 12 noon in the Conference Room at the Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library (365 F Street).

Monday, September 10, 2012

September 2012 CVGS Newsletter Published

The September 2012 issue of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society Newsletter was published earlier this week.  You can read it online, in a PDF format, at

The Table of Contents lists:

page 1 - September 26th Program
page 2 - President’s Message
page 3 - Fall Seminar on 22 September 2012
page 3 - Lemon Grove Research Group News 
page 3 - Education Committee News

page 4 - Research Group News
page 4 - Computer Group News
page 5 - Sunday, October 7th Workshop on DNA
page 5 - August 20th Picnic Review
page 5 - Rest In Peace, Reuben Bingham

page 5 - No Family Tree Maker 2013 Version
page 6 - Travel: Missouri and Indiana, by Susan Walter 
page 7 - CVGS Book Donations to Library
page 8 - Important Notice from the President 
page 8 - 1940 U.S. Census Update

page 8 - August 2012 Genealogy News
page 9 - CVGS Society Information
page 9 - San Diego Genealogy Events
page 10 - Genealogy Days in Chula Vista