Friday, November 29, 2013

November 27th Program Summary - "Heirloom Discovery Day" with Georgie Stillman

The 8th annual "Heirloom Discovery Day" of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society was Wednesday, 27 November 2013.  Once again, Georgie Stillman, ASA, provided historical background, discussed the manufacturing process, and the approximate value of family heirlooms brought in for appraisal by 12 CVGS members and guests.

Georgie noted that she continues to do appraisal work for victims of the 2007 San Diego wildfires, and has worked quite a bit on the 2012 Sandy hurricane claims in the New York City area.  

She reminded us that the value of artifacts and heirlooms depends on what the market, in terms of collectors at auctions, will pay for them, and that perceived "status" items sought by wealthy persons have the highest value.  Background knowledge for the heirlooms - the family story - is important in establishing a value.  

The heirlooms brought and evaluated included:

*  Carole S. had a beautiful long, thin, cloth sash, made in about 1870 and worn by her grandfather in parades and lodge events.  

*  Diane V. brought a "business speller" book from England from about 1930.  Georgie explained that it was intended to help standardize spelling in business circles.

*  Ralph and Debbie M. displayed a two-foot tall statue that Debbie's uncle, who was a well-known artist, handed down to Debbie's father.  Georgie said that it was cast with a metal alloy, and was of a Victorian, romantic and sentimental genre. 

*  Virginia T. showed an orange art glass bowl, which was her mother's catch-all.  Georgie indicated that it was 1930s carnival glass designed for the middle class.

*  Gerry M. brought a small scale with weights that had been her grandmother's and was used in their store from 1875 to the 1920s.  

*  Fran C. brought a large yellow bowl that the wedding cakes of her grandmother and mother had been mixed in.  Georgie said this hand-turned and glazed terra cotta "yellow ware" was a luxury item, probably made in the 1860s in Pennsylvania or Ohio.

*  Mary A. had a World War II dagger handed down in her husband's family.  Georgie noted that it is now illegal to own and sell items with ivory made before 1971, but the handle was plastic not ivory. She doesn't evaluate edge weapons - some other appraisers do.

*  Joanna W. had several items - a pencil holder from 1930s Germany, a small Depression era glass piece, and a small porcelain sailing ship salt and pepper set from Japan.

*  Barbara I. brought a low-fired porcelain painted vase that her grandmother gave to her mother.  Georgie said it was made in England, but looks Japanese, and was made to appeal to Americans.

*  Susan Z. brought a 2' x 5' carpet runner from the late 19th century from her friend's parents.  Georgie said it was machine made, but not valuable, and that museums and historic houses would love to have every day items like this.

*  Susi P. received her mother's box of items after her death - including grandfather's ephemera (notes, cards, letters); a 19th century photo album; a single English late 19th century decorated plate.

*  Jim H. showed a sterling silver shell-shaped serving dish from the Benbough House in San Diego.  Georgie said it was a Gorham plate from the 1920s, weighed about 20 ounces, and was not a collectors item, but was worth the price of silver.  Jim also displayed a heavy glass bowl obtained from a relative married to a countess.  Georgie said it was a beautiful hand-made American cut clear glass from the 19th century, but was not sought now by collectors.

As always, Georgie dazzled the audience of 35 with her knowledge, stories, appraisals and her sense of humor.  

Sunday, November 24, 2013

CVGS Program on Wednesday, 27 November 2013: Georgie Stillman's "Heirloom Discovery Day"

The annual "show and tell" meeting for the Chula Vista Genealogical Society (CVGS) is Wednesday, 27 November 2013, at 12 noon in the Auditorium at the Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library (365 F Street). 

The program will be presented by Georgie Stillman, ASA and is called an “Heirloom Discovery Day”

Georgie will evaluate, provide some historical background and estimate a value of family heirlooms brought in by CVGS members.  Her expertise is in evaluating and appraising silver, china, glass ware, furniture, artworks, quilts and samplers.

Georgie Stillman ( has worked as a professional appraiser in London, England, Phoenix, and San Diego since 1971.  She has served as president of the American Society of Appraisers (ASA), vice president of the San Diego chapter, and was founding director of the International Society of Appraisers. Georgie  has received numerous awards for her outstanding service, including Appraiser of the Year. Besides being a professional instructor at various colleges, she has made many radio/TV guest appearances and written articles for many publications, teaching audiences about antiques and art.

If you would like your item evaluated by Georgie, please contact Ralph Munoz (619-421-7251, or email to get on the evaluation list -- there are a limited number of spaces on the list.  Ralph has a form for you to complete and return by November 20th.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Visiting the New San Diego Central Library, by CVGS Member Karen Yarger

Adventure awaits!  You’ve seen it, you’ve heard about it. You know you want to see it for yourself. 

Our new downtown library is truly a wonder, from its stunning three story lobby to its iconic dome. Taking a full city block, it is an architectural marvel that contains over 1,250,500 volumes, 400 computing devices, a 350 seat auditorium and a two-story charter school. All the latest green and energy saving technologies have been employed.  About one third of its $196.7 million budget came from private donations, the rest from government funds, grants and leases. It is one of 36 branches in the San Diego Public Library system.   But most of all, it’s beautiful.   If you haven’t already visited the spectacular new downtown library (at 330 Park Blvd, between  J and K Streets), here are some things to assist you on your first visit. Be sure to pick up a library map as you enter.   
First, The basics:

You’ll notice the Garden Courtyard, with one of the library’s two entrances. By the end of the year, a café will open there. The eye-popping lobby has a used book store (closed on Wednesdays and second Tuesdays) and a great gift shop with an array of library-themed goodies. Walk through the first floor area  to the best sellers  -  and be sure to see the unintentionally humorous  “Suffragist” display in the CD/DVD area.  The 9,000 square foot  Childrens’ Library is a gem, with its Dr. Seuss murals, a bank of munchkin-size computer desks, and charming displays of vintage books, like Where the Wild Things Are and The Wizard of Oz.

The second floor contains business and social science collections, a health and wellness center, and a beach-themed teen center and homework area.  The third floor holds periodicals, newspapers and is a regional repository for 1.6 million government documents.

Floor four is the Qualcomm Technology Floor, with a TV and media studio, a state-of-the-art computer lab, and a 3D printer;  but it also houses the literature collection. The fifth floor is home to History, Geography, Biographies,  and Travel, with special areas devoted to WWII and the Holocaust.

Floors six and seven contain the  e3 Civic High charter school. There is no public access to the school which now has 250 students and will double by next year.

The eighth floor is home to the spectacular 4,096 square foot Helen Price Reading Room, with its 64 foot tall glass walls that look out on the city and bay. Sun-dappled light streams through the massive dome overhead onto comfy loveseats, desks and wicker armchairs.  In fact, there are little nooks and niches throughout the library where you can settle in and lose yourself in a good book and enjoy the vast array of public art. The eighth floor also holds the Art, Music, Sports, and Entertainment collections. Here you’ll also find the Sullivan Family Baseball Research Center – with the largest baseball archive outside of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

Rising above the ninth (and top) floor is the magnificent latticework dome, already an iconic landmark on San Diego’s skyline.  It is made of eight steel mesh ‘sails’ that hold solar panels, and is 143 feet in diameter – larger than that of the U.S. Capitol Building!  And, if the wind is just right, the openwork dome ‘hums’.

But the ninth floor is where you’ll want to be.  Here you’ll find three rooftop terraces, various meeting venues, an art gallery, an ivied sculpture garden (with whimsical furniture), and the Hervey Rare Book Room (which isn’t open yet, but will house treasures like a cuneiform tablet dating from 2300 B.C.).    AND (drum roll, please), this is where you’ll find the California Room with its San Diego Heritage Center and genealogical resources. Thanks to the San Diego Genealogical Society’s addition of their large collection, this is now the largest genealogical collection in the region.  Since this is probably your ultimate destination, maybe this will help:

Some tips:

a) Plan your first visit for a Tuesday, Thursday or Friday when the library opens at 9:30am. Hours are:  Mon & Wed – Noon to 8pm;  Tues, Thurs, Fri – 9:30am to 5:30pm;  Sat – 9:30 to 2:30;  Sun – 1 to 5pm.

b) Take the Trolley.  Even though the 250 spaces in the two story underground parking are free now, soon they’ll be “two hours free with validation”.   You genealogists know two hours is never enough.  Take the Blue Line trolley from the Chula Vista H Street station to the Park & Market stop. Then just walk a block south to the library and spend all day. A Senior One Way fare is only $1.25.

c) Pack a lunch.  The café in the garden court will open in about a month. You can walk a block toward Petco Park to Lolita’s or other eateries, but why waste time and energy that you could be spending in the stacks?  Enjoy your picnic on the ninth floor patio with its sweeping views of the city and the bay.

d) Take some one dollar bills.  Use them for the trolley, to get a library card ($2), and especially to get a copy card, which you’ll load like a cash card. The card machines are in the Copy Centers on the 2nd,, 4th and 8th floors. You don’t need a library card to get a copy card.

e) Have a plan. My first visit consisted of just wandering around, agog at all there was to see.  Before you go, enjoy a video tour at   And see the library’s website for general info and their catalog

f) Restrooms are behind the elevator banks on each floor.  None on the ground floor, however.  Notice the book-shaped sinks!

For the Genealogist -  The ninth floor:

The Genealogy collection is, of course, all cataloged under the Dewey Decimal System -  by state (i.e.,  Pennsylvania is under 974.8), country (Ireland is 941.5), and general category (Civil War is 973.7). The front desk has the complete list. 

A bank of eight computers offers free access to, and there are tables with plenty of plugins for your laptop. I suggest you wander around the room a bit, to see where everything is.  Reference books (RGY) are toward the front, periodicals (PER) beyond that, and there is a bank of file cabinets in the back right with pamphlets, miscellaneous papers and self-published brochures (treasures there!)  –   all under the Dewey Decimal System. 

There are also two microfilm readers (with printers that take nickels at 15 cents per copy – come prepared) and two microfiche readers. The copy machine is in the very back (ask someone to show you how it works, it’s not as simple as it looks). Copies there are 20 cents each. Don’t forget to load money on your copy card. Digital photography is allowed, but please use no flash.

Know what you’ll focus on first by looking in the library’s catalog (see above).  I just typed in “genealogy Civil War” and got a good idea of where I wanted to look.  Everything here is for Reference, but the fifth floor has some history categories that can be checked out.  If you have other questions for the Special Collections/Genealogy Room, you can call the library at (619) 236-5800 and ask for the California Room.

Enjoy our amazing new Central Library.  Just don’t do what I did… I was so mesmerized and distracted that I tried to walk through a glass wall.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Computer Group Meeting is Wednesday, 20 November

 The Computer Group has expanded in order to accommodate two more hours of instruction and usage. At 10:30 a.m., there is a one-hour class in the Library Computer Lab on “Basic Windows Computer Usage” with Gary Brock.   Bring your laptops in order to practice.

 After a break for lunch (bring your own, or go out), the group will reconvene at about 12:30 p.m. in the Computer Lab for Internet work, led by Shirley Becker. This meeting features hands-on use of the library's Windows computers, or your own laptop (but the library wi-fi doesn't work well in that room).

 For more information, please contact Shirley ( or Gary ( 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

CVGS Research Group Meeting Summary - 13 November 2013

There were 15 attendees at the CVGS Research Group meeting on Wednesday, 13 November 2013.

In the first hour, Randy described a recent research problem and used it as a challenge for attendees to suggest research tips and techniques.  His friend, John, asked Randy to find a death date for his grandfather, John Louis Burr Powell of Oklahoma, who may have died after 1941, perhaps having been attacked.  Randy found a 1930 US census record for Louis Powell with his wife and three children (including John's mother), and a 1920 U.S. census record with Louis Powell and his mother and siblings, and a potential death date in a Find A Grave record.  The group suggested requesting a death record, looking for an obituary or a cemetery record, etc.  Randy described the help he got from his blog readers, including newspaper articles of the attack and an obituary that mentioned the wife and children of Louis Powell.

His second challenge was to figure out how to find the maiden name and ancestry of Louis Powell's wife, named Ethel (born in about 1899 in Indiana).  John mentioned that his grandmother had married again and lived in Illinois.  The group suggested requesting a marriage record or a death record.  Randy used the 1920 U.S. census in Creek County, Oklahoma to identify Ethels born in about 1899 in Indiana.  He found three candidates.  A blog reader helped Randy find Oklahoma marriages online in a state database, which gave her name as Ethel Hall, who was the most likely candidate from the census record.

The third challenge was to identify John's other grandmother, identified only as R.A. Collins (born 1899 in Illinois) in the 1920 U.S. census in Jasper county, Illinois, with one child born in 1918. Apparently she died before 1930 because John's grandfather was married to a Mamie then.  They were too young to be married in 1910.  The group suggested searching the 1910 census records for the county with an R female name, using given names like Ruth, Rachel, Rose, Rebecca, Ruby, Rita, Rhonda.   Randy solved this problem by looking in Find A Grave for persons named Collins who died in the county between 1920 and 1930.  There was a Ruby A. Collins who died in 1922, and there was an Illinois death index entry for her that provided her parents names, birth date and death date.

In the second hour, attendees discussed their research challenges and successes, including:

*  Diane G. manages a 23andMe DNA account for a young friend and found that the friend's husband's uncle was related to her, and that another friend was also a 4th cousin to her husband.  This was suspected before, but the family had not told them.

*  Diane D.'s cousin went to Sicily on vacation and found church records and took gravestone photographs for the great-grandparents on both sides of the family.

*  Bobbie's niece went to Bavaria on vacation and met a cousin, found records and a house address, then went to the neighborhood and interviewed neighbors.  Three of the neighbors had Boehner ancestry in photo albums.  The niece took pictures of the area, but the house in the records was no longer there.

*  Bethel found a naturalization record for an ancestor that said he was renouncing his allegiance to the Emperor of Germany.  She also wrote to the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis to obtain her grandfather's World War I military records.

*  Karen Y. went on the CVGS research trip to Carlsbad last weekend, and found entries in Baltimore City Directories for 1857 to 1923 on (free at the library).  She made a table for names, occupations and addresses to sort out different families.

*  Karen S. also went to Carlsbad, noted that they had two paid staff just for the genealogy floor, and used the library guides for how to research using their resources.  She asked the group how she could find other resources.  The attendees suggested the FamilySearch Wiki for country, state and county resources, Cyndi's List for research topics, and the USGenWeb for user-contributed information for states and counties.

*  Virginia searched for her grandfather's name and found a family Bible page in an submitted by cousins.  The Bible had more family information about her grandfather's siblings.

*  Joanna also went to Carlsbad and found a record for her ancestor John Ward in a census record as a child residing in an orphanage.  She asked how she should research that person to find his parents.  The group suggested birth, marriage and death records, a newspaper obituary, or perhaps a probate record that names a guardian.

There will be no Research Group meeting in December - the annual Holiday Luncheon will be held at the Chula Vista South Branch Library on Wednesday, 11 December starting at 11 a.m.

The next Research Group meeting will be Wednesday, 15 January 2014 in the Conference Room at the Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

CVGS Newsletter for November 2013 is Available

The November 2013 issue of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society (CVGS) Newsletter was published last week.  You can read it online, in a PDF format - use the Newsletter link at

The Table of Contents lists: 

page 1 - November 27th Program Meeting 
page 2 - President’s Message  
page 2 - Library Assistance Every Wednesday 
page 3 - October 23rd Program Review
page 4 - Research Group News 
page 5 - Visiting the New Downtown San Diego Library 
page 6 - Holiday Luncheon Plans
page 7 - 2014 Membership Renewal 
page 7 - Computer Group Meeting 

page 7 - Lemon Grove Research Group News  
page 7 - December 7th Computer Help Workshop 
page 7 - Spring Seminar News 
page 8 - Genealogy Field Trips 
page 8 - FamilySearch Center Research Trip Summary 
page 8 - Genealogy News for October 
page 9 - CVGS Society Information 
page 9 - San Diego Genealogy Events 
page 10 - Genealogy Days in Chula Vista 

Monday, November 4, 2013

CVGS Research Trip to FamilySearch Center - Learned About FamilySearch Family Tree

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society research trip on Wednesday, 30 October, to the FamilySearch Center in Mission Valley (4195 Camino del Rio South in San Diego) was educational for 12 attendees.  This event was planned and led by CVGS Member John Finch.

The focus was on learning about FamilySearch Family Tree, the relatively new "universal" family tree - everyone can be in it, and the goal is to have each historical person have a profile with vital records, life events, a biography, photos, stories, sources, etc.

The morning started with a greeting from Donna Jones, one of the center directors in the Media Room.  The Media Room has a presentation setup and about 20 Windows 8 computers for learners to use.  Here is Donna making her presentation:

And some of the learners trying to follow along with Donna:

FamilySearch Family tree was new for most of the attendees, and they had to register on FamilySearch (, and click on Sign In and then Register).  That requires a Validation sent to your email to be clicked on, and then the user can start working in FamilySearch Family Tree.

Donna encouraged everyone to add their own name, noting that all information about living persons is seen only by that registered person.  Then their parents and earlier generations if known.  Users should see if there are matching persons already in the Family Tree - and link to those persons rather than create a new person.

After the two hours learning about the Family Tree, the attendees took a guided tour of the FamilySearch Center seeing the classroom, the oral history video room, the microfilm collection and machines, book collection, and the computers available for free searching of many commercial databases.

Most of the attendees headed back to Chula Vista and met at the Marie Callender's for lunch and pie.

There will be another Research Trip to the FamilySearch Center in January.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Genealogy Days in Chula Vista - November 2013

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society events for November 2013 include:

**  Saturday, 2 November, 12 noon to 3p.m., Bonita-Sunnyside Library (4375 Bonita Road) -- CVGS Workshop:"Polish Research" by Susi Pentico.  

** Saturday, 9 November, 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. CVGS Research Trip to Carlsbad Library in Carlsbad (1250 Carlsbad Village Drive, San Diego).  Contact John Finch ( to reserve your space in the carpool.

** Wednesday 13 November, 12 noon to 2 p.m., Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library (365 F Street) -- CVGS Research Group meets in the 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 November, 10:30 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 Gary Brock and Shirley Becker. Bring your laptops to sharpen your computer skills and investigate online genealogy resources.

** Wednesday, 27 November, 12 noon to 2 p.m., Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library (365 F Street) -- CVGS Program Meeting in the Auditorium.  Georgie Stillman will present "Heirloom Discovery Day."  Refreshments before and after the meeting.

**  Wednesdays, 6, 13, 20 and 27 November, 10 a.m. to 12 noon, Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library (365 F Street) -- Research Assistance in the Family Research area.  John Finch will help you with your research problems.  Bring your laptop if you want to do online research.

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-Sunnyside (County) Library is located at 4375 Bonita Road in Bonita - turn north on Billy Casper Way, 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.  All CVGS events are FREE to attend, except for some seminars and picnics.