Saturday, February 25, 2017

March 4th Saturday Workshop is "Search and Research"

The March 4th Saturday Workshop will be from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Community Room at the Bonita-Sunnyside Library (4375 Bonita Road).  

The subject will be “Search and Research” presented by Randy Seaver. 

Please bring information about one of your brick wall problems to discuss with the group.  This event is free for all to attend. 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

CVGS Annual Meeting and Sharing on Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Wednesday, 22 February 2017, 12 noon To 2 p.m.
General Meeting
Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library 
(365 F Street, Chula Vista, CA 91910)

      The February general meeting on 22 February will be our Annual Meeting. At this time, the 2017 budget will be presented to the membership for a vote of approval. The membership will also receive a synopsis of the activities for the last year. 

     Gary Brock will present a slide show of many of our activities in 2016, courtesy of photos by Patricia Diane Godinez. Come and see yourself on the big screen.

     At the end of the formal meeting we will share our 5-generation pedigree charts with each other. See how many people you can find who share your surnames and had ancestors in the same areas as yours. The sharing will be while we enjoy refreshments.  I wonder how many new cousins we can find? 

     Be sure you bring a copy of your 5-generation pedigree chart so you can leave it with a board member to be included in a notebook which will be kept in the library for future reference.   There will be extra copies of the chart at the meeting (or email Randy Seaver for one at  

This meeting is free for all persons to attend.  CVGS welcomes enquirers and is very happy to help persons interested in finding their ancestors and learning their family history.  

Monday, February 6, 2017

January 25th Program Review on "Digital Microfilm"

     The Jauary 25th General Meeting program was CVGS member Randy Seaver presenting “Using FamilySearch Digital Microfilm to Find Genealogical Records.”

     Randy said that “digital microfilm” is the record collections that have been digitized but are not indexed.  FamilySearch has indexed only about 50% of the available digital collelctions on their website (  You can use the “Filter by collection name” to find records for a specific subject – some examples are “new york,” “probate,” “land,” “church,” “Mexico,” “Italy,” etc.  

     There are many collections that have to be browsed at this time – especially vital, church, probate, land, town, tax and other record types.  Many of these are “golden” sources – original souces with primary information and direct evidence.  There are over one billion “hidden” records waiting to be found.

     FamilySearch has organized these “digital microfilm” collections into convenient groups – for example, surname letters, locality (state, county, town), volume numbers, and record topic (usually alphabetical).  These groupings are called “waypoints” and mark the pathway to specific image groups. 

     Randy then provided four case studies from his own research.  The four cases were:

1) Find James Vaux (died 1839) probate records in Erie County, New York.  From the “New York Probate Records, 1629-1971” record collection, which has over 14 million images, he selected Erie from the county Waypoint list, then found a probate index on the list of county probate volumes.  There may be hundreds of volumes, and each volume may have hundreds or thousands of images in each volume.  Using a “guess and estimate” process, he found that James Vaux's records were in Estate File 23181.  Back to the list of probate volumes, he found the correct volume and found that the Estate File 23181 had 26 images and started on image 304 of 1536.

2) Find James Vaux (died 1839) land records in Erie County, New York.  From the “New York Land Records, 1630-1975” record collection, which has over 8 million images, he reviewed the grantor and grantee deed indexes for the time period on the list of county deed records, and found that there were several deeds in the indexes.  He wrote down the deed volumes and page numbers and other information from the indexes, and then reviewed every deed volume on the list to find the deed records.  In the example, James Vaux had a deed in Liber 13, page 318 of the deed records and he used the “guess and estimate” system to find the deed on image 433 of 525.
3) Find 1823 birth record of Isaac Seaver in Westminster, Worcester County, Massachusetts town records.  For this example, Randy selected the “Massachusetts, Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records, 1627-2001” record collection on FamilySearch, which has over 1.7 million images.  He selected “Worcester” in the list of county waypoints, and “Westminster” in the list of towns in Worcester County.  There were 15 record volumes, and he found the birth record in one of them. Many of these town records have an index within the volume, but some don't.  An index listed the family on page 312 in the original record book, but he found it on page 246 of the copied record book.

4) Find the 8 July 1896 birth record of Maria Angeli in Bagni di Lucca, Italy.  He selected the “Italy, Lucca, Lucca, Civil Registration (Tribunale), 1866-1929” record collection on FamilySearch, which had over 1.3 million images, all in Italian.  The first waypoint was the town names, so he selected “Bagni di Lucca” and then found a volume that had 1896 births in it, which had 3,003 images.  Before searching, Randy used Google Translate ( to list the Italian words for years, months, days, key words, etc. so that he could review the records.  He found that there was a yearly index after the records for each year.  He narrowed the search down to 1896, and found the birth record for Maria Angeli.  A bonus was that the date of her marriage to Leone Morandi was provided in the margin of the birth record.  He found that too.

     Randy ended the presentation by providing some wisdom on the perils of trying to find original town, vital and church records, some lessons learned and some final thoughts.  Many research problems can be solved using records on digital microfilm without going to the local FamilySearch Center or Salt Lake city.  It is faster to use digital microfilm than analog microfilm, and it is easier and cheaper to capture digital images using digital microfilm than a camera at home.  Users need to practice using digital microfilm so that they can do effective research.  FamilySearch has tremendous resources in these browse-only collections, with much more to come.  

     CVGS members can download the four page handout from the CVGS website (, log in with your username and password, click on the “Members” tab, and then the “Handouts” tab and then the “Program Handouts” and the handout for January 25, 2017.