Saturday, January 31, 2015

Down at the Depot Historic Speaker Series

We spoke with the director of the Museum of Casa Grande at the Welcome Home Party this month and heard about the presentations the museum is sponsoring each month. One program is scheduled for the second Saturday of the month at the museum and the other is the third Wednesday of the month at the Senior Center. All programs are free to the public. February's topics follow:
  • Saturday February 14th @ The Museum 2pm:
By the Time They Came to Phoenix: African American Cotton Pickers.   Dr. Akua Duku Anokye explores the lives of migrant cotton-pickers from Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma in Arizona.
  • Wednesday February 18th  @ The Dorothy Powell Senior Center 2pm:
Arizona Kicks on Route 66! This multi-media presentation features music, video clips, still photos and the storytelling of Marshall Shore, Arizona's Hip Historian!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Beginning Genealogy at Vista Grande Library

Vista Grande Library is offering a beginning genealogy course on Friday, February 6, 2015. If you think you might benefit from another session of how-tos, all you have to do is show up at 10:00 AM.
The pedigree chart that you began filling out at our workshops would be enough information for the class if you have none of the other items mentioned below.
Beginning Genealogy

Come down to Vista Grande Library to get an intro to that genealogy
project you have wanted to start. Learn how to use Casa Grande Library’s

Ancestry. com with your library card for free along with other resources. It is

helpful for attendees to bring items such as vital statistics for known family

members before 1940, news clippings, photographs of gravestones, military

service information before 1942, public offices or other famous information,

photocopies of certificates, etc. (copies recommended, not originals in case

of loss).  No more than a dozen items please.

18+       Fri 2/6        10:00-11:30 am      Vista Grande Library

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Tuesday's Workshop

We had a great workshop Tuesday night, starting with a few hints for beginners. Following the presentation, members were asked to share one thing they would do differently if they were starting over with their genealogy research. The responses are listed below, and we will write up a more detailed compilation as a handout for all members.

1. Keep track of sources!  (Mentioned by six members and probably echoed by the rest.)
2. Talk to older family members while you can.
3. Keep a research log.
4. Get and stay organized!
5. Identify photographs.
6. Use a software program.
7. Be wary of online family trees.
8. Start with yourself (shared by a beginner who started off with the wrong grandmother).

We then broke up into groups formed from the mentoring sign-up sheet we've had available the past two weeks. When folks were still working at 9 PM, I would say we were making excellent progress as a group.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

January 28 Legacy Webinar

Are you a scrapbooker or do you have some interest in starting? Legacy's webinar this week will show you how. The presenter indicates that it is appropriate for beginners. You can register for tomorrow's real time viewing at or find it on that site to view for free for the next week. Description follows:

Getting Started in Scrapbooking
"Learn how to scrap your past and present quickly and easily. Scrapbooking is a wonderful way to preserve your heritage and those precious family memories, and in this Introduction to Scrapbooking webinar, we will show you how to use designer templates from Kiwi Lane Designs to create beautiful layouts that your whole family will love to look at!"

Monday, January 26, 2015

January 27 Workshop

Tuesday's workshop will begin with a few tips for getting started with your genealogy. We have a large number of new members--many of them beginners. Following the presentation we are asking members to help our beginners by answering the question "If you were starting over with your genealogy, what would you do differently?"

During the past two meetings we've asked club members to sign a sheet indicating that they needed some extra help OR that they were willing to work with beginners. We'll be breaking up into small groups based on areas of research after the presentation. If you didn't sign the mentoring sheet we can assign you to a group based on where your ancestors originated.

As usual, bring computers to take advantage of the internet during the workshop. It was great to see more folders and magazines being checked out last week.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Pinal County Genealogy Workshop

We had a grand time today at the annual workshop. Over 200 people took advantage of the class selection and delicious lunch. It was gratifying to see at least 15 of our club members in attendance. I took something new from each class, as I am sure everyone else did.

Using the Internet from Home gave me some ideas about revising the list of websites for our club folders. We'll be thinking about that for next year.

The class on Finding Women in Genealogical Records reminded me that much of our needed research should be done on site rather than on the Internet! The same speaker, Melanie Sturgeon, suggested that the various court records available would be a useful area of research after you have gleaned what you can from vital records.

After attending the land records class I now have a better understanding of the difference between land grants and patents. I also did not realize that you could search the General Land Office records by land description to locate neighbors (and possible relatives).

Denise Crawford provided a useful list of websites for historical newspapers online. One good tip from the class was to use, which is an obituary site that is a collaboration between newspapers and funeral homes.

It would be wonderful to see even more of our members in attendance at next year's workshop!

Lunch break at the workshop


Friday, January 23, 2015

Prairie Locator

 We heard from Rick Wood this week with a tip for our Canadian researchers. He found this question and answer on Lisa Louise Cooke's site. Rick says: "For our members doing research in Western Canada, this is a good (free) site to pinpoint where your ancestors owned farmland."
The question and answer from Lisa's site follows:
Question: “I live in Canada and a lot of the Google Earth articles involving land plats can’t be applied in Canada. The prairie provinces do have a similar land survey system, with townships, ranges and meridians. I found a website where these can be converted to coordinates that Google Earth will recognize.  However, this particular website would like to be paid for providing this information ( Do you know of any way these numbers can be converted without paying?”

Answer: “I have some good news!  My very smart son found a free website,, which will give you the coordinates of Section, Township, Range and Meridian for the Canadian prairie provinces. It doesn’t cover quarter sections, but that’s okay if you know which one your ancestor was on. Please pass this along to your Canadian fans or Americans who have Canadian ancestors (there are many, I know).”


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Top Websites from Genealogy In Time

I mentioned the GenealogyInTime web magazine last year when they produced their top 100 genealogy websites for 2014. Last Saturday's issue contained the list for 2015.

Genealogy In Time ranks its websites based on how many people visit, how much time they spend and how much content is used, rather than just the number of visitors.

It is not surprising to note that Ancestry, Find A Grave and Family Search are the top three, as they were last year. The list gives last year's ranking, tells whether the site is free or pay and provides the web address.

Visit to find a link for the 2015 list. You may find a new website that fits your area of research.

Monday, January 19, 2015

January 20 Genealogy Club

The club enjoyed listening to Sandi and Bill Wilson last year when they spoke about Kentucky at the time of the Revolutionary War. This week Sandi's presentation is more genealogy-related, as she will be discussing "Census Research and the Genealogy of Counties."

Many researchers have found ancestors in two different counties during different census years, even though the family never moved at all. The changing boundaries of counties makes research just a bit more difficult, and Sandi will be explaining how this happens.

Wednesday's Webinar

Legacy's January 21 webinar is being presented by Thomas MacEntee, a very entertaining speaker. He has decided to try a DO-Over, tossing most of his research and starting from the beginning. If this sounds intriguing to you, visit and read more. You can sign up to listen in real time or watch the webinar for a week following the presentation. Description follows:

My Genealogy DO-Over - A Year of Learning from Research Mistakes
"It isn’t often that we get a “do-over” when it comes to stuff that matters in life. When you first got started researching your family history, did you do some things that now are just plain “embarrassing” such as name collecting, not citing sources and more? Well now there’s hope since genealogists from beginner to advanced are employing new research methodologies and documentation practices. Follow genealogist Thomas MacEntee as he basically starts his genealogy research from scratch but includes sound research practices and methodologies as well as new templates, tools and the latest technology to create a better body of family history research."

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Friday Legacy Webinar

The Legacy software company has been producing free webinars available for watching in real time for several years. You must register ahead of time to watch during the presentation, but each webinar is available to view at your leisure for about one week following its appearance. There are advantages to watching at the scheduled time: you can download a handout at the time of the class, and you are invited to ask questions of the speaker afterward. Just be sure to check the time of the presentation in your area. The webinars last about 90 minutes.

Occasionally the Legacy website offers two webinars in one week, and there is an interesting topic on the schedule for tomorrow, Friday, January 16. Marie Pierre-Louis will be talking about "Expanding Your Research from a Single Fact." Her description of the topic follows, and she suggests that it is an "intermediate" level class. This doesn't necessarily mean you shouldn't watch if you are a beginner; you would certainly gain some new information from listening.

Expanding Your Research from a Single Fact
"We all have some ancestors for whom we have very little information. Perhaps we have a death date or a marriage date and nothing else. In this webinar Marian Pierre-Louis shows you how to expand your research from as little as one single fact. She will use multiple examples to show how even the slightest information can lead to new clues and new resources for your research."

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Legacy Webinar

It has been a busy week! We missed posting the weekly Legacy webinar. Fortunately, you can watch at your leisure at any time during the next 7 days at I've just noticed that there has been a time change; the webinar is scheduled for 7 PM Mountain Time today.

The webinar is suggested for beginners and discusses the record types that we use most for gathering information about our ancestors. Mary Hill is the presenter, and her description of the webinar's content follows:

 Tracking Migration Using the Big 4 U.S. Record Sources
"Tracking migration in the United States involves using census, vital, land, and probate records, the bread and butter of American research. Get an overview of each of these types of records; learn where to find them, and how to use them effectively to track migration."

Irish Workshop

Nancy Archibald also forwarded an announcement about another Irish workshop to be held at the McClelland Irish Library in Phoenix. It happens to be scheduled for the same day as the Pinal County Genealogy Workshop, but if you aren't already committed to the Pinal County event and have Irish ancestors, you might think about spending a day in Phoenix. The first session listed below is geared to beginners and the second for intermediate level researchers. Thanks, Nancy!

For more information or to register, visit
Two Irish Genealogy Workshops, presented by Miles Davenport
January 24th, 10am-12pm and 1pm-3pm

Join us on Saturday, January 24th for a day of Irish Genealogical Workshops at the McClelland Irish Library. The morning session, titled “Getting Started with Irish Genealogy Research,” will take place from 10am-12pm. The afternoon workshop titled “19th Century Irish Genealogy Research: What’s Available and How to Use It,” will begin at 1pm and conclude at 3pm. The workshops can be attended individually or together for a discount. Both workshops will be held in the Irish Cultural Center’s Great Hall.
  • Each workshop costs $15 for Library/ICC Members and $20 for the General Public.
  • You can register for both workshops at a discount of $25 for Library/ICC Members and $35 for the General Public.
  • Please make sure if you are registering for both workshops that you select the combined registration in order to get the discounted rate.

Genealogy Club News

We had a great workshop Tuesday night with several new members (and beginners to genealogy) joining us. The beginning presentation dealt with tips for making your internet searches more efficient and we had a brief demonstration of some of the new features of Family Search and Ancestry.

Today's field trip to the local Family History Center was also productive. A group of 12 researchers plus Maureen and Annie for assistance had a chance to use the center's access to several subscription websites, learn more about the Family Search website, and browse the large collection of genealogy books. It seemed as if everyone went home with new information. Wendy Carlson, the center's director, was also very helpful to our researchers. Remember, you can visit the center Wednesday evenings from 6:30-8:30, Thursdays from 9-1 and Saturdays from 9-1. Wendy mentioned that Thursdays are quite busy; visit one of the other two days if possible.

Trish Kelly shared part of a newsletter from Ancestry with a tip for Swedish research. "When searching Swedish records on Ancestry, don't forget about the 'husforhorslangd,' or the household examinations. They assessed a person's knowledge of Lutheran Catechism and created a census-like document that showed family relationships and sometimes included dates and places of vital events."
Thanks, Trish.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Welcome Home Party

We talked with many residents at the Welcome Home Party Saturday. Our table was quite near the center of the park walkways, so we visited with everyone who had an interest in genealogy. The volunteers expect a large group at Tuesday's workshop.

Karen, Susan and Carolyn were three of our volunteers.
Ann and Nancy greeted folks later--before the raindrops arrived.

Our club mascot attracted lots of attention.


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Brickwall Genealogist Blog

Family Tree Magazine's weekly newsletter offered another challenge for those of us who might need a small push to get back to our genealogy research. This comes from a blog called the "Brickwall Genealogist," written by Susan Bankhead. I have copied part of her plan from her website so you can see what she will be covering during the year.

Brick Wall Genealogist blogger Susan Bankhead will issue a genealogy organization challenge to herself and to you each Monday morning in 2015. Each challenge post will include instructions and suggest tools to help with the task. ("Organize your desk and computer" is the theme for January).

Here's what Susan said:

 "I’m going to issue a weekly challenge. These challenges will go out each Monday morning with specific assignments for you to complete. I’ll give you instructions and show you tools to help complete each weekly task."

Here’s a monthly list of the line up:
  • January: Organize your desk and computer
  • February: Choose a Research Project and Bring Old Research Up to Date
  • March: Analyze Background
  • April: Ask a Research Question and Determine Research Sources
  • May: Create a Research Plan
  • June: Execute the Research Plan and Record Path Taken
  • July: Analyze Research Evidence
  • August: Correlate Evidence
  • September: Resolve Conflicts
  • October: Record Findings
  • November: Write up Findings and Notes for Future Research
  • December: Publish Findings!
  • I’ll be doing these challenges right along with you. Please let me know how you’re doing!

If you visit you'll find a post with the January 5 instructions to get started on organizing your desk and computer. Use what works for you!

Friday, January 9, 2015

New Year's Writing Project

Genealogy Insider, Family Tree Magazine's online newsletter, has suggested an interesting idea for those of you thinking about getting some family history written. Make it your goal to write a sketch about one ancestor/relative each week during the coming year. (If that seems overwhelming, try one every two weeks!) At the end of the year, you will have a biographical collection. Family Tree Magazine says that Amy Johnson Crow originally posted this idea last year on her blog, "No Story Too Small."

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Reminder: PInal County Genealogy Workshop

Just a reminder that registrations for the Pinal County Genealogy Workshop need to be postmarked by January 15 to take advantage of the $20 fee. Walk-ins are welcome, but the charge at the door is $25 and lunch is not guaranteed.

At this time the syllabus (with handouts for all classes) has been posted on the website. It is available for download or you can order a printed copy with your registration for $5.

Here is a repeat of the original post:

The 2015 Pinal County Genealogy Workshop will be held on Saturday, January 24. This is the 12th year for the workshop, and it is a great bargain. You can choose from among 25 classes over five sessions, and lunch is included with the $20 registration fee.

The speakers, lecture descriptions and registration form have been posted on the website and lecture handouts will be added by January 1. Visit for all the details. There are two separate links: one to the speakers/lecture descriptions and the other to the registration form.

Many of our club members have attended in the past and we recommend this workshop to beginners and those who have been doing genealogy for many years. We can answer any questions about the workshop during our weekly meetings.

January 6 Genealogy Club Meeting

Wendy Carlson, director of the Casa Grande Family History Center, spoke to a group of about 30 members Tuesday night. She demonstrated the Family Search website, concentrating on the family tree section of the site.

Wendy Carlson
We learned about this fairly new feature of Family Search, where you can upload your family information and others can add to or change it! You can search the databases for additional information and add sources to your tree, along with photographs, documents, stories, etc. The ultimate goal is to create a world family tree that can be shared with anyone.
Part of Wendy's audience

Other parts of the Family Search website include the searchable records area, the genealogies, the catalog of microfilm available for rent, books and the Wiki (a genealogy-based internet encyclopedia).

We used all the available tables!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Genealogy Club News

Our 2015 season begins Tuesday, January 6. Our first speaker is Wendy Carlson, director of the local Family History Center. She will give an overview of what is available at the center and a tutorial of the Family Search website, where records from all over the world are free to access. We're inviting everyone to bring computers to participate in this hands-on presentation.

During next week's workshop we will present some tips and hints to make your searches more successful. Our field trip to the Casa Grande Family History center follows on Wednesday, January 14, from 9-12. Sign up at either of the next two meetings.

Legacy Webinar

Legacy's first webinar of the year will be presented by Lisa Louise Cooke on Wednesday, January 7. These webinars are free to view either in real time or at your leisure for about a week following the presentation. To learn more and/or to register, visit

The description of this week's webinar, which is recommended for both beginner and intermediate researchers, follows:

Genealogy on the Go with iPads and Tablets
"Technology has brought much more than the convenience of digitized genealogical records to our home computers. It has also delivered an incredible level of portability to family history research! iPads and tablets are built for hitting the road and are ideally suited for genealogy due to the sleek lightweight size, gorgeous graphics and myriad of apps and tools. In this class you will discover the top apps and best practices that will make your mobile device a genealogical powerhouse!"

Friday, January 2, 2015

Mesa FamilySearch Library News

The Mesa FamilySearch Library Newsletter arrived yesterday with an update regarding their remodeling process. It looks as if we will have to wait until at least late February for reopening.
Here's a clip from the January newsletter:

As you may know, we are in the process of a total remodeling of the first floor of the Library with some minor changes on the second floor. We closed the Library on the 24th of November with plans to reopen on the 5th of January, 2015. We have had some major complications that will delay our opening date. We are not certain at this time, but anticipate opening in late February. If you will call 480-964-1200, our Library phone number, we will include the new opening date in our message as soon as we have a firm date. We will also post it on the entry door of the Library as soon as we have the date.

We are excited for the changes that are being made. We are confident you will see them as a significant improvement. A great deal of time and effort has gone into the design of the new floor layout and other changes. The new changes include two new classrooms with computers, computer desks, projectors and screens. There will be a folding partition between the two classrooms that can be opened to create one very large classroom. We will add thirty new computers and new computer desks for all computers, and will have space for an additional twenty plus computers if needed in the future. We are also adding new carpet, paint and floor tile at the entry. The Library will have a new modern look and feel that we are sure will please you. Please stay in touch for the opening date.