Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Upcoming Field Trips

We have scheduled two visits to the local Family History Center for our members. The first trip is Wednesday, February 6 and the second is Wednesday, February 13. There is still room for several people on February 6, and we could add one person to the February 13 list.

If you decide to join us, you can expect to use the computers available at the center: all have many subscription sites that you may not have access to at home. It is also possible to read film and/or books that are on the FamilySearch website but only available at a Family History Center. Our local center also has an extensive genealogy library and volunteers who will help with your research.

See or contact Nancy Archibald if you would like to be added to the field trip list.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Pinal County Genealogy Workshop

Over 200 people attended the 16th annual genealogy workshop. It was gratifying to see so many of our members in attendance. Registration began at 8 AM and classes started at 9.

Several of our members won door prizes.

Can you recognize some familiar faces in the crowd?

Welcome Back Party

We had a successful day at the welcome back event. Volunteers reported many enthusiastic visitors to our table. Thanks to Diane, Susan, Maureen, Annie, Whitey and Dale for volunteering Friday. Note Whitey's shirt: "Genealogy Volunteer: Life in the Past Lane." Perhaps we should consider shirts for our club!

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Genealogy Club - January 22

Melanie Sturgeon, who was the State Archivist and Director of the Arizona State Archives spoke to our group last night. Her topic was "Finding Women in Public Records." After 16 years at the archives, Melanie had plenty of suggestions regarding both well known and obscure types of records that genealogists should consult.

She stressed that we need to be aware of county boundary changes as well as the social geography of the area where our ancestors lived. Melanie stated that land records and probate records would be extremely useful in helping to learn a woman's maiden name, as the witnesses and other people named might be members of her family.

Archives exist in every state and can also be found in provinces and foreign countries. They should be an important resource to consider as we research our families.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Names in the British Isles

We read about another website called "Named" claiming to map places where a particular surname has an unusually high local population in the United Kingdom. The site was labeled "not secure;" so I didn't spend much time exploring.

Here's the explanation from the website:

"Maps produced by named could indicate your family history, migration patterns, or just be a quirk. We are mapping where surnames are unusually prevalent, compared with the local general population (hence why rural areas often show up in the map - as it doesn't take many people with your surname to lead to a strong result there.) Very rare names are not mapped to preserve privacy."

I tried the surnames in our ancestry that were supposedly from Great Britain. Several were concentrated where we expected, some were too common, and a few were not included in the database.

Give it a try at

Monday, January 21, 2019

New York Newspapers

During the past summer the volunteers at the Potsdam Public Museum in New York suggested several websites for newspaper research in their state. In the past I had used the Fulton Postcard site to locate an item about a suicide of family connection: we had found the death date but did not know the circumstances. If you have New York ancestors, you might find one of the following sites helpful.

When I was reviewing the site addresses, the first one listed stated the website was too busy to show results and I should try again later.

New York Historic Newspapers: 

New York Heritage Digital Collections:

Old Fulton Postcards:

Friday, January 18, 2019

January 15 Workshop

The focus of Tuesday's mini topic was the Family Tree section of Family Search. We took a look at each tab on a person's page and learned how to add and edit information. It is a good idea to use the "tree view" for a person to locate more suggested sources for several people at one time.

It is also possible to search four different websites from your ancestor's details page: FamilySearch, Ancestry, FindMyPast and MyHeritage. Even if you do not have a subscription to the other three websites, it is possible to see whether information exists. You can access subscription sites if you are at a Family History Center, or you could sign up for a 14-day free trial.

Annie demonstrated how to add a spouse and a child. She also showed how to create a marriage event including the source from Family Tree Maker.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Virtual Conference - Scottish Genealogy

Below is a link to an upcoming virtual genealogy conference. If your ancestors trace to Scotland, you might want to take advantage of this opportunity. The conference is scheduled for Saturday, January 26, and registration is $99 cad.

Visit for more information about the speakers and topics.

The virtual conference starts at 8:00 am  (Eastern) with presentations being delivered in pre-recorded webinar format. Presentations are made available on a scheduled basis, just like talks at an in-person conference. After one presentation ends, another becomes available. Immediately following each presentation, the presenters will be available in the closed Facebook group for the ViC for a live Q&A.

If you are not comfortable with Facebook, no problem. Simply email your questions in. They will still be answered.

The presentations will be available to you until midnight (eastern) on January 31st. This allows people in different time zones to be able to watch the presentations during normal waking hours. The handouts are all fully downloadable and yours to keep.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Genealogy Club Folders

We try to provide several useful items in everyone's folder, beginning with the schedule for the coming year. Every other week we have a presentation on some facet of genealogy research. The opposite weeks are workshops used for mini-topics, group work, library use and internet research.

You can use the two pedigree charts to help show where the "holes" in your family knowledge exist and give you ideas for future research.

We have a list of suggested websites for you to try. We usually demonstrate how each of them can be used sometime during the year. Some require a free account, others can be used at any time and two are subscription sites.

The beginner checklist is a brief outline of the most efficient way to research. In other words, start with yourself, find ancestors in the census, then work on their birth, marriage and death records, etc.

We have an extensive research library of purchased and donated books. You can use the books during club meetings, or they can be checked out for two weeks at a time. We also have a collections of folders, binders and magazines that will help you learn more about genealogy.

There is a records checklist that suggests all kinds of possible sources for family information.

The final item is a chart that will help you focus on what records to use for specific goals. For example, in looking for a birth date you would first try vital records, church records or bible records. If you aren't successful with those records, then move on to cemeteries, obituaries or census records.

Good Luck!

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

January 8 Genealogy Club

We had a wonderfully large group at the first meeting of 2019. Next week we'll have enough tables for everyone to be able to use a computer! We will cross our fingers that the internet will be more readily available.

Fellow genealogists

Vanessa Spahan talked about the free website FindAGrave. ( You'll also find a link to the website in the menu at the right. FindAGrave is useful to a beginning genealogist because it is easily searched if you know a name, possible dates and location. Many people have posted obituaries and other information that will help you find related ancestors.

Vanessa showed different features of the website, such as adding memorials (photos of gravestones), requesting photos, editing information and adding virtual flowers. She also explained virtual cemeteries where you can group relatives who might be buried in different parts of the country. This would be particularly helpful for possible connections with distant family members.

Vanessa Spahan

Craft Fair Table

It seemed that we had a successful day at the craft fair. The first hour was slow, but volunteers for the rest of the morning reported lots of interest. Again, thanks to the following for making time to help.

Delrene, Annie, Susan, Diane, Deenie, Ann, Maureen and Nancy.

Deenie and Ann

Susan and Diane

Friday, January 4, 2019

January Plans

We have some interesting topics for our January meetings.

We will begin our regular meetings January 8 with a guest speaker on FindAGrave, as this free website is one that everyone can and should use. A few of us heard Vanessa Spahan speak at the April genealogy forum at the Vista Grande Library, and she is quite knowledgeable on the topic.

During the January 15 workshop we will spend more time looking at the Family Tree area of FamilySearch. We will demonstrate how to add names and sources to the tree and show where to get questions answered on the site.

January 22 we'll be listening to Melanie Sturgeon talk about how to locate women in public records. Many times our female lines are the most difficult to follow. Melanie recently retired as the State Archivist and Director of the Archives and Records branch of the Arizona State Library.

Maureen will talk about WikiTree during the January 29 workshop. She has been working on her family information on this website.

There will be two opportunities for helping our club with our genealogy table: the January 8 craft fair and the January 25 Welcome Back party. There is still time to volunteer!

Don't forget about the Pinal County Genealogy Workshop planned for Saturday, January 26. This is an all-day workshop with opportunities for taking five classes. Registrations must be postmarked by January 12 in order to take advantage of the $20 fee, which includes all classes and lunch. Visit to find more information.