Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Mesa Family History Conference UPDATE

The following message arrived in my mailbox yesterday. Note the difference: you can register now for the February conference, but March registrations will not be available until mid-February.

By the way, Rick has inquired and verified that this workshop is free. 

The Mesa AZ FamilySearch Library is pleased to announce two Family History Conferences coming up in February and March, 2016.  The first conference will be held on Saturday, February 20, at the Red Mountain Institute building on the Maricopa Community College Red Mountain campus.  This facility is located near the 202 and McKellips Road, at 7126 E McKellips Road, Mesa.  The second conference will be held on Saturday, March 12, at the Peoria North LDS Stake Center on 22034 North 83rd Avenue in Peoria.  Both conferences will offer classes from morning through late afternoon.  Lunches may be purchased.  Register online now for the February 20th conference at  Registration for the March 12th conference will be available in mid-February.  Please join us.

Craft Fair Genealogy Table

During the months of November, December and January we staff a table at the monthly craft fairs to generate interest in genealogy and encourage residents to join our club. Volunteers are asked to contribute an hour of time if they can.

Club Mascot: Does he need a name?

Rosemary and Anne talk genealogy during their shift.

We appreciate all the club members who volunteered their time for this project: Susan Mavor, Maureen Salter, Maureen Edwards, Ray Kocher, Trish Kelly, Rick Wood, Deenie Stewart, Rosemary Reese, Anne Scheible, Ann Snyder, Jean Nolan and Annie Rietz.

And also thanks to Maureen Salter for the photos!

Friday, January 22, 2016

DNA Demystified

During Tuesday's meeting Trish Kelly gave an extremely interesting talk on DNA. She truly "demystified" the subject for many of our members. She initially explained the principles behind DNA testing and defined many of the scientific terms used. Trish went on to talk about the three common DNA tests: autosome, mitochondrial and Y-DNA.

If you were unable to attend Tuesday's meeting, you missed an enlightening presentation.

                       Image result for DNA strand  

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Free Weekend on FindMyPast

FindMyPast is providing free access to their records this coming weekend. Visit to start searching. Following is their announcement:

"This weekend we're making Findmypast free, opening billions of records for everyone to explore their family history. You’ll be able to start exploring and learning the incredible things you can discover for free."

The "weekend" begins at 7 AM (EST) Friday, January 22 and ends at 7 AM (EST) Monday, January 25.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Another Success Story

Mike Hatcher now has a copy of his 3rd great grandfather's will as a result of trying to prove a family story: a note from his grandmother that said an ancestor in England was "disinherited gentry."

Here's Mike's story:

I set three goals. One, to make sure the ancestor was actually in my family tree. Two, to establish if the family at the time was landed gentry. And three, was my ancestor actually disinherited, and if so, why?

I followed my mother's side back to James Robert Cracknell, the fellow involved, so that was O.K. He is my great-great-great grandfather. His father is shown in the 1851 census as a farmer with 539 acres, and 16 farmhands. In 1861 the land increased to 636 acres, with 8 hands. This was a large farm at that time, so he was clearly a prosperous farmer, and appears in the records of the village church, so maybe he could be called gentry.

To determine if his son James was disinherited I needed to see his will. I was not sure how to do this so asked Annie for advice, and she directed me to the website, and showed me how to search by location. By searching the village name it brought up a menu of all different types of records, including probate records. From this I found an index entry that his will was proven in 1871.

The entry identified that the will was filed with the "Principal Registry of Norfolk County". I did some regular internet searching to find out where the 1871 records are filed now, and learned that they are kept at the county seat at Norwich, that they are microfilmed, and can be ordered online.
So I paid Her Majesty's government 10 pounds Sterling on my Visa, and in ten days received an email with the Will attached.

The Will was written in 1858, when young James was only 13 yrs old. Basically his Dad passed the farming business to his two brothers to continue, and when it was sold off the proceeds were divided equally between his wife and 13 children.

So, James was not disinherited, it was just that dividing the estate by 14 did not leave much for each person.
Mystery solved!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Mesa Family History Conferences

Maureen Salter passed along the following information recently. If you are unable to attend the January 23 genealogy workshop, perhaps one of the upcoming conferences would be of interest. Note that registration is now open for both events.

Mesa Family History Conferences

The Mesa AZ FamilySearch Library has announced two Family History Conferences coming up in February and March, 2016.  

The first conference will be held on Saturday, February 20, at the Red Mountain Institute building on the Maricopa Community College Red Mountain campus.  This facility is located near the 202 and McKellips Road, at 7126 E McKellips Road, Mesa.  

The second conference will be held on Saturday, March 12, at the Peoria LDS Stake Center on 12951 North 83rd Avenue in Peoria.  

Both conferences will offer classes from morning through late afternoon.  Lunches may be purchased.  

Registration for both conferences will begin on Friday, January 15, 2016, at

The link to the Mesa Family Search Library doesn't seem to work. Just Google Mesa Family Search Library, where I only find reference to the first conference. The post will continue to be updated.

Genealogy Club Field Trip

About 17 members of our club spent last Friday morning at the local Family History Center. We used the subscription websites that are available and the center's library. It was gratifying to hear some "Eureka" moments from those using the computers, and we had time to help several members further their research.

The center is open Wednesday evenings from 6:30-8:30 and Thursdays and Saturdays from 9-1. Take advantage of this local facility while you're in Casa Grande.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Why We Do Genealogy

Sandi Branz sent this paragraph along this week--one of those anonymous internet posts. Most of us will identify with all or part of the message.    Thanks, Sandi.

We Are The Chosen

We are the chosen. In each family there is one who seems called to find the ancestors. To put flesh on their bones and make them live again, to tell the family story and to feel that somehow they know and approve. Doing genealogy is not a cold gathering of facts but, instead, breathing life into all who have gone before. We are the storytellers of the tribe. All tribes have one. We have been called, as it were, by our genes. Those who have gone before cry out to us, "Tell our story!" So, we do. In finding them, we somehow find ourselves. How many graves have I stood before now and cried? I have lost count. How many times have I told the ancestors, "You have a wonderful family; you would be proud of us." How many times have I walked up to a grave and felt somehow there was love there for me? I cannot say. It goes beyond just documenting facts. It goes to who am I and why do I do the things I do. It goes to seeing a cemetery about to be lost forever to weeds and indifference and saying, "I can't let this happen." The bones here are bones of my bone and flesh of my flesh. It goes to doing something about it. It goes to pride in what our ancestors were able to accomplish, how they contributed to what we are today. It goes to respecting their hardships and losses, their never giving in or giving up, their resoluteness to go on and build a life for their family. It goes to deep pride that the fathers fought and some died to make and keep us a Nation. It goes to a deep and immense understanding that they were doing it for us. It is of equal pride and love that our mothers struggled to give us birth. Without them we could not exist, and so we love each one, as far back as we can reach. That we might be born who we are. That we might remember them. So we do. With love and caring and scribing each fact of their existence, because we are they and they are the sum of who we are. So, as a scribe called, I tell the story of my family. It is up to that one called in the next generation to answer the call and take my place in the long line of family storytellers. That is why I do my family genealogy, and that is what calls those young and old to step up and restore the memory or greet those whom we had never known before.

Monday, January 11, 2016

January Workshops

We are planning to provide some guidance for using Legacy Family Tree software this month. Of course, most software programs have similar features. We had planned to do the same for Family Tree Maker, but since Ancestry has stopped selling that program and will stop supporting it at the end of 2016, we will concentrate on Legacy.

During the January 12 workshop, Rick will talk about many of the unique features of this software. There will be time for questions after this presentation. Then on January 26 Rick will demonstrate the process of adding names to your family tree with more questions to follow.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

January 5 Genealogy Meeting

We had 48 in attendance for our first meeting of 2016! A great start to the year... Wendy Carlson, director of our local Family History Center, gave examples of records that you might be able to find for your ancestors "From Cradle to Grave." She showed birth records, school records, military ideas, marriage registrations, passenger lists, newspaper articles, obituaries and probate papers.

So many attended that we ran out of handouts and club folders! Anyone who missed either will be able to pick them up at next week's workshop.

Wendy reminded us of the upcoming Pinal County Genealogy Workshop scheduled for January 23. Find the registration form and all information about speakers, topics and handouts at One of the activities always suggested for genealogists is to attend workshops or conferences. This is a chance to attend classes and meet others who have an interest in family research.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Palm Creek Genealogy Club 2016

Our season starts this week with our first speaker, Wendy Carlson, director of the local Family History Center. Her presentation is titled "From Cradle to Grave," and she will give us many examples of the records generated by a person from birth to death.

Wendy will also provide a brief overview of the resources available at our Casa Grande Family History Center. Since the Mesa facility is many months from reopening, we should all take advantage of our local center.

We are planning a field trip to the Family History Center January 15. Plan to join us if you can; you will be surprised at the many subscription websites that you can access on their computers and the number of family history books in the library.

During the January workshops (Jan. 12 & Jan. 26) we'll be providing help with the Legacy software program. Whether you are already using this program or are considering a purchase, the presentations should be useful. We will continue to help beginners during these workshops and also assist in any way we can with internet research and/or brick wall problems.

Our second speaker this month (January 19) is Trish Kelly with her "DNA Revisited" topic. Trish gave us a brief talk on DNA at a workshop in February 2014, and she has refined and added to that presentation.