Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Stephen Morse's One-Step Webpages

When we first heard about Stephen Morse, he had devised a complicated search process that was to be used to help find persons in the immigration and passenger list databases. If you simply could not locate your ancestor via the usual websites: Ellis Island, U. S. Passenger lists, etc., you could try different pieces of your information in one of Morse's search fields.

He has now expanded the categories in his one-step webpages site. Besides passenger lists, he includes the U. S. census, Soundex/phonetic matching, a few Canadian and British censuses, New York census records, vital records, calendar calculations, and foreign alphabets--to name just a few! The site also contains reprints of articles and interviews with Steve.

I used the English to Russian section foreign alphabet database, typed in my grandfather's name in English and the Russian characters appeared as I typed. His Lithuanian records would be in Russian; this would be helpful if I could ever find the right microfilm!

If you have an hour (or more) to spare, you might try the one-step webpage for some of your ancestors who seem to be hiding. Find Stephen Morse at Read about the site first, of course.

Monday, January 27, 2014

January 28 Workshop

Let's Get Organized! 

If you've been putting off sorting papers, etc., bring them along Tuesday night. We will have a short presentation about organizing your research--both paper and paperless. Those who bring a box of "stuff" can use one of the tables to sort.

We will also have the beginner table with assistance available, and the writing table will be back this year.

The router will be attached, so that anyone who wishes to do online research can also practice or receive help. Bring your computers if you'd like to search or work in your family history software.

The new Family Chronicle magazine included a My Heritage CD, "Family Tree Builder"; we’ll give this family history software to a club member this week. If more than one person is interested, we’ll do a drawing. This software is the basic version that is the "free download" from the My Heritage site.

"Ten Reasons Your Ancestor Was in Canada"

Kathryn Lake Hogan, who specializes in Canadian and British research, will be presenting this week's webinar for Legacy. She will be discussing "Ten Reasons Your Ancestor Was in Canada" on Wednesday, January 29.

Here's the blurb from the website:
"When you hit a brick wall in your research it's time to consider Canada. Even if you think your American or immigrant ancestors were never in Canada, discover ten reasons why they actually may have been there. Learn how and where to find the Canadian or provincial records that will help you fill in the missing pieces of your ancestors' lives."  

This week's presentation would apply to both Canadian and U. S. researchers. More info and registration at

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Pinal County Workshop

It was great to see so many of our members at Saturday's workshop. I hope everyone came away with some new information to help in their research. Listed below are a few bits and pieces that I found interesting from classes I attended.

*Family Search has a link to WorldCat on the catalog page. "WorldCat is the world's largest network of library content and services. WorldCat libraries are dedicated to providing access to their resources on the Web, where most people start their search for information." This would be another way to search for family histories, county histories, etc.

*If you have "lost" a family in the census (you know they lived in the same place in 1860 and 1880), you might try looking for just the first names of all family members in 1870. Census takers might have just used "Smith" if the surname was difficult to spell or pronounce! You would need to read the census page by page in your specific area to find them this way.

*The Family Search Wiki has hyperlinks to sites with searchable information. You might find this when looking up a state or country.

*One suggestion for more efficient searches on Ancestry: use the card catalog first to determine if any records exist on Ancestry for the location you need.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Success Story

Congratulations to Ann Snyder, who was able to locate the passenger list for her grandmother after two years of searching!

What Ann did right: when she took a few of the "freebies" home to discard for me, she decided to read through the Everton's Helper magazine before tossing it. The article by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack on researching your Italian ancestors was the key to Ann's success. One of the tips was to try the maiden name of your ancestor (even though she was married), as many European women used that name to be "official." That's when the right passenger list appeared, showing Ann's grandmother, aunt and mother.

The moral of this story: read articles (even in out-of-date magazines) that may help in your research, be willing to try new suggestions, and don't give up!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Selecting Genealogy Software

We had a large crowd at last night's genealogy meeting to hear member Grant Villetard discuss ideas to help us choose a genealogy software program. What type of device you use, what type of researcher you are (it was confirmed that I'm a hunter/detective!), plus how and where you will use the software are some of the ideas to consider before selecting a product. Grant also provided a list of the more popular choices for both Windows and Mac users, and he showed us examples of what some of the different programs look like.

The presentation also included programs to assist in organization and research, such as Clooz, GenSmarts, Evernote, etc. Whether we already have a program in place or are in the process of choosing one, Grant's presentation gave us plenty to think about!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

State Research Guides on Ancestry

Ancestry has begun producing state research guides, and Ken Doane suggested that we print and file them in our club information folders.

Ancestry says, "The guides offer a crash course on state history, records particular to the state, record repositories, collections on, and other state resources to help you bring your research closer to home. If you haven’t seen your state yet, it’s coming."

We have printed the guide for New York, which contains a summary of early New York history, available census information, vital record dates, Ancestry's New York collections and also lists other record repositories. The guide ends with a timeline through 1960 that includes items such as wars, major epidemics, and other events that might explain actions of your ancestors.

Other states that are already available include Alaska, California, Georgia, Indiana, Texas and Virginia. We will get these guides printed and into the appropriate folders as soon as possible. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Genealogy Club Meeting

Tuesday, January 21, will be a regular meeting with a speaker. Grant Villetard, a member of the club for several years, has volunteered to speak to us about "How to Choose a Computer Software Program." And of course we mean a program for organizing and maintaining your family research. Grant has tried many of the software programs available and will tell us his experiences with them. I'm sure he is planning to answer questions from the group as part of the presentation.

If you haven't yet chosen the software for your genealogy program, his class should help you make your decision.

Irish Research 101

The Legacy webinar scheduled for January 22 is listed as appropriate for beginning and intermediate researchers. The presenter, who works at the Family History Library in Salt Lake, specializes in Irish research.

Here is Legacy's description of the class:

"Irish Research 101: Learning the Research Process

Follow along as Irish expert Judith Eccles Wight shows you what she does to resolve an Irish research problem or two. The solution involves records in both the country of settlement and the place of origin in Ireland. This class will also ask for audience participation--what do you suggest be done in the research process?"

Visit for more information and/or to register for the free presentation.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Arizona Genealogical Advisory Board

The chairman of the Pinal County workshop committee forwarded me a note from the AzGAB asking if we would like our club listed on their website: I visited the site to find out more about the organization and have copied their mission statement below.

AzGAB is where you would find information about all the societies/clubs, etc. in Arizona with a connection to family research. If you click on the link to "Societies" you may find an organization of interest to you, with contact information or a link to their website. It was surprising to me how many exist in this state.

AzGAB is a statewide non-profit organization

Our mission is to facilitate education and communication among organizations and individuals who are dedicated to the promotion of genealogy and history.
Our goal is to:
  • improve communications among genealogical societies, libraries with genealogical collections, professionals, and the general public.
  • express its concern regarding records preservation and public access to records.
  • promote such special projects as the organization approves.
 Membership is open to all genealogical societies, groups, libraries, professionals or individuals sharing these goals without taking autonomy from any organization or individual or acting in any supervisory capacity.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Family History Center Trip

Twelve club members visited the local Family History Center this morning. Wendy Carlson gave us an overview of their facility: the classroom, the computer room, the library and the room with the microfilm readers. Yes, you can still read microfilm; everything is not yet online!

It seemed that everyone who attended came home with something--whether it was a printout from one of the subscription sites available or just new knowledge about researching ancestors.

The Family History Center on Colorado Street is open Thursdays from 9-1 and 6-9 and Saturdays from 9-1.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Club Volunteers

Volunteers who helped to staff our table at the craft fair encouraged visitors to join the genealogy club. Tuesday night's meeting showed good results, as we gained several new members. On the other hand, interest in having lookups done to contribute to the park's cancer awareness drive is not as high as in previous years.

Thanks to the members who volunteered this past Tuesday, as well as those who helped at the Welcome Home Party.

Jean, Ray, Sandy, Jean & Ann were among the volunteers Tuesday.

Monday, January 13, 2014

January 15 Legacy Webinar

Legacy's webinar on Wednesday will be presented by Karen Clifford, who will address the subject of determining which person of the same name might belong in your family tree. They list this presentation as best for the intermediate or advanced researcher.

Here is Legacy's title and description of the topic:

Too Many with the Same Name
"How can one know that the John Smith who is listed on a pedigree chart, is the same John Smith who was listed in the will of George Smith as his son John? What is to be done when there are too many people with the same surname and given names in the same locality? Learn approaches for bringing these two research problems to rest."

Visit for more information or to register to watch in real time.


January 14 Workshop

Tuesday's workshop will begin with a roundtable for sharing successes, brick wall problems and/or goals for this season. This will assist in planning for future workshops.

If there's an interest we can provide some practice with Ancestry in preparation for Friday's field trip to the local family history center.

Don't forget that our club has an extensive library. Books, magazines, informational folders and CDs (all genealogy-related topics) are available to be checked out for two weeks at a time. Take advantage while you're in the park!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Welcome Home Party

Our table at the Welcome Home party was very successful; we hope that everyone who picked up one of our reminder cards will attend the next meeting.


Annie and Chris encouraging one of our residents to join the genealogy club.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Mocavo Fireside Chats

Mocavo has been offering "Fireside Chats" for their "Mocavo Plus" members, but according to the latest newsletter they will be opening these web chats to everyone. Here's the blurb from Mocavo:

"Over the last few months, we've received overwhelmingly positive feedback surrounding our Mocavo Gold Fireside Chat series. As we start the New Year, we want to thank you for your continued support of our Free Forever mission. Today, in appreciation, we are excited to offer our Fireside Chats to the entire genealogy community for free, forever!

Every other week Chief Genealogist Michael J. Leclerc interviews leading genealogists to discuss all aspects of family history. Tune in to get free advice and helpful research tips that will take your research to the next level. You will also have the opportunity to get your very own family history questions answered by these expert genealogists during the chat."

Several past "chats" are available for viewing on the website. The next scheduled presentation is January 15, 1:00 EST, when Michael will interview Thomas MacEntee from for the first Mocavo Fireside Chat of 2014. Thomas MacEntee is a genealogy professional specializing in the use of technology and social media to improve genealogy research.

Michael and Thomas will discuss what the future may hold for technology and genealogy as well as how to start your own genealogy blog.

It seems that these broadcasts are in conflict with the Legacy webinars, but both sites allow viewing following the presentations. will take you to the chat site.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Field Trip Planned

The club has scheduled a visit to the local Family History Center. The center will be open for us on Friday, January 17, from 9-12 AM. We will be given a tour of the facility and have time for research on their computers or in their library. We need to limit the number of attendees; if there are enough people interested, we will schedule a second visit. The sign-up sheet will be available again at next week's workshop if you missed Tuesday's meeting.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Meeting Report

At our first meeting of 2014 Wendy Carlson, director of the local family history center, spoke to us about "What I Learned at the Genealogy School of Hard Knocks." A few of the main ideas she illustrated include:

*Write down what you know
*Trust but verify
*Spelling doesn't count (where have we heard that before!)
*Look for more than your direct line
*Keep an open mind
*Don't give up!

If you missed the meeting, the comprehensive handouts will be available at next week's workshop.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Legacy Webinar

Wednesday, January 8, Legacy will be presenting "Are You a GOON? What is a One-Name Study and Why Do One?" Kirsty Gray, the speaker, is a researcher from England who belongs to the "Guild of One-Name Studies."

Here is Legacy's description of this week's webinar:

"A one-name study is a project researching all occurrences of a surname, as opposed to a particular pedigree (ancestors of one person) or descendancy (descendants of one person or couple). Some 'one-namers' restrict their research geographically, perhaps to one country, but true one-namers collect all occurrences worldwide. A charitable organisation, the Guild of One-Name Studies (GOONS) is dedicated to promoting the public understanding of one-name studies and the preservation and accessibility of the resultant information. Kirsty will guide you through the 'Seven Pillars of Wisdom' - the Art of a One-Name Study."

Register for free at:, and check on the exact time for your location. Or you can plan to watch during the 7-day period following the live presentation.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Genealogy Club Meeting

Tuesday, January 7: our first meeting of the season! Wendy Carlson, Director of the Casa Grande Family History Center, will be telling us about "What I Learned at the Genealogy School of Hard Knocks." She will also give us an overview of what's available at our local family history center, including the subscription websites on their computers. They also have an extensive library, and I'm sure we'll hear about that, too. 

If you're planning to pay dues this week, you are welcome to arrive a bit early for our 7 PM meeting. Dues are still only $5 per site per year. Best bargain in town...

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Volunteer Opportunities

The genealogy club has two upcoming events. Saturday, January 11, we will have a table at the Welcome Home function where we talk about the club and solicit new members. Tuesday, January 14, is the next Craft Fair where we staff a table to sign up clients for our ancestor lookups (to raise funds for Cancer Awareness) and also to encourage membership.

If you have an hour to spare either of those two days, let us know at the Jan. 7 meeting, or call 6166. Thanks in advance!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Social Security Records Access

The budget bill that was signed into law last week provides for the partial closure of the Social Security Death Index. The law states that deaths cannot be reported on the SSDI until 3 years after their occurrence. The bloggers writing about this believe that current records on FamilySearch, Ancestry, etc. will still be available.

Do read Judy Russell's blog at to find out details of the law and its consequences. The comments below her posting also add valuable information for anyone who has used the SSDI or who had plans to access that information in the future. Included in the comments is a link to another post explaining in detail the process for ordering social security information about your ancestors.