General Meeting and Lecture: May 2, 2013

1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Santa Cruz Public Library, Central Location
(2nd floor meeting room)
224 Church Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Speaker: Christine Bell Green, PhD, PLCGS

Lecture Topic:
Researching Probate Records and Death Duties in the UK

As genealogists we are constantly challenged in determining family relationships with certainty. And the further back in time we go, the more complex the task. Our ancestors were surprisingly mobile, even in “the old country,” frequently making it difficult to find the parents of an adult child. Wills, when available, and, during the 19th century, “death duty” records can be instrumental in providing primary information about these family relationships. But where can these records be found and what information can one obtain from them?

When and where your ancestor died are the keys determining where to begin your search. England and Wales used one series of courts, Ireland another, and Scotland yet a third set. Prior to the middle of the 19th century, Ecclesiastical courts in England, Wales, and Ireland had jurisdiction. The wills might be found in the records of Prerogative Courts (the highest level), Diocesan courts, or “Peculiar” courts. Fortunately modern wills are a little easier to find. The inheritance laws in Scotland are different again. There’s a lot to learn! And yes, it can feel like one is wandering through a maze at times. But the rewards are frequently spectacular.

Chris Green is a professional genealogist who has been researching her British roots for over 10 years. She has a Professional Learning Certificate in Genealogical Studies (PLCGS) from Toronto University, Canada, where she specialized in English and American records and is an alumna of ProGen. She is a member of the National Genealogical Society (NGS), the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG), and numerous other genealogical societies in the US and UK.

Chris lives in Half Moon Bay, San Mateo County, and is current president of the San Mateo County Genealogy Society and a former SMCGS VP of Programs. Chris is passionate about genealogical education. She teaches and lectures on a variety of genealogical topics in the Bay Area and is a member of the SMCGS team that runs two highly-successful seminars a year with nationally-known speakers. When not immersed in genealogy, Chris likes to travel with her husband to visit their family who live in England, Germany, New Zealand, as well as in the US. In her other life, Chris runs a marketing research company.

 

 

General Meeting and Lecture: April 4, 2013

1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Santa Cruz Public Library, Central Location
(2nd floor meeting room)
224 Church Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Co-sponsored with Friends of the Santa Cruz Public Libraries!

Speaker: Christine Rose, CG, CGL, FASG

Lecture Topic:
Jumping to Erroneous Conclusions: What do the Records REALLY Say?

So often we look at a document and quickly determine what we think it means without giving further study to every part of the record and its interpretation. How often have we been led astray by not gleaning the correct clues? This lecture will take us back for another look. For example, are we interpreting the censuses right? The deeds? The dowers? The relationships? The estates? The tombstones? The newspapers? Are we misleading others? These topics are just a few of the many areas in which genealogists commonly jump to erroneous conclusions.

Come and see if YOU have been leaping to conclusions!

Christine Rose, CG, CGL, FASG is a Board-certified genealogist and a Fellow of the American Society of Genealogists with many years of experience in the field of genealogy. She has authored a number of genealogy-related books to assist others. Her books have received top reviews for their content, clarity, and ease of reading. (Note: Fortunately for us, these books will be available for purchase at the lecture!) Christine has delivered hundreds of lectures in a variety of locations including national, regional, and local conferences such as the National Genealogical Society, the Federation of Genealogical Societies, GenTech, the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, the New England Historic Genealogical Society, and the North Carolina, California, Southern California, San Diego, Sonoma County, Montana State, Kentucky, and Kansas State Genealogical Societies. She also was on the faculty of the National Institute of Genealogical Research in Washington, D.C. For many years she has been an instruction and coordinator for Alabama’s Samford University in its Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research.

Books written by Christine Rose which will be available for purchase at the meeting!

  • Nicknames: Past & Present, 5th ed.
  • The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Genealogy, 2 ed.
  • Genealogical Proof Standard, 3d ed.
  • Courthouse Research for Family Historians
  • Courthouse Indexes Illustrated
  • Military Bounty Land  (1776-1855)

 

General Meeting and Lecture: March 14, 2013

1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Santa Cruz Public Library, Scotts Valley branch
251 Kings Village Rd, Scotts Valley, CA 95066

Speaker: Warren C. Pratt, PhD

Lecture Topic:
Taking Down a Brick Wall, One Brick at a Time
– A Case Study 

For genealogists, brick walls are difficult problems for which sufficient evidence has not yet been found to reach a conclusion meeting the genealogical proof standard. Many, perhaps most, brick-wall problems can be successfully resolved. However, doing so usually requires a disciplined research process and the use of many sources of information. The conclusion many times comes from the use of correlated indirect evidence; after all, if there were direct records simply establishing the relationships, the problem would be less likely to have been classified as a brick wall.

This presentation focuses on some of the research principles, methodologies, and sourcing that can be applied to resolve brick walls. Illustrative examples are taken from a case study researched and written by the presenter and recently published in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly.

The problem solved in this case was the identification of the father of a child born in 1809 to an unwed mother. The father’s surname, his given name, and his location (Kentucky or Virginia) were not known at the outset of the search – even the child’s mother was in question. His mother left no records for the year the child was born and there only two records of his father’s entire life – the father’s birth and death dates in a family Bible and one tax record. The solution required genetic testing and back-tracking a young single woman across four counties in two states in the late seventeen hundreds and early eighteen hundreds.

Warren C. Pratt was born in southeastern Kentucky and spent his early years among relatives and friends in a small town of 800 residents. He holds B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Kentucky and a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois, all in electrical engineering. Dr. Pratt spent his career of about 30 years in the computer industry working in Colorado, Toronto, and California.

Dr. Pratt had a passing interest in genealogy while working; however, it was upon his 2006 retirement that it became a priority. The quest to spend a “little time” putting together a family history for his children developed into a thirst to resolve questions that others had abandoned as unsolvable. Warren has been very fortunate to receive excellent mentoring along the way and he enjoys attempting to repay that debt when he has the opportunity to help others.

 

General Meeting and Lecture: February 7, 2013

1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Santa Cruz Public Library, Central Location
(2nd floor meeting room)
224 Church Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Speaker: Stephen P. Morse, PhD

Lecture Topic:
One-Step Pages: A Potpourri of Genealogical Search Tools and a Hodgepodge of Lesser-Known Gems

A Potpourri of Genealogical Search Tools:

The One-Step website started out as an aid for finding passengers in the Ellis Island database.  Shortly afterwards it was expanded to help with searching in the 1930 census.  Over the years it has continued to evolve and today includes about 200 web-based tools divided into 16 separate categories ranging from genealogical searches to astronomical calculations to last-minute bidding on eBay.  This presentation will describe the range of tools available and give the highlights of each one.

A Hodgepodge of Lesser-Known Gems:

This is a sequel to the Potpourri talk.  There are too many utilities on the One-Step website to be covered in a single talk, so many of them found their way to the cutting room floor when the Potpourri talk was being edited. However several of those are quite useful. This talk describes those gems that you might not otherwise be aware of.  They range from problems with genealogical searches to problems with identity theft to problems with DNA.

Click on the following links to learn more about Steve P. Morse and his contributions to the fields of genealogy and technology:

Great information about our honored February speaker!

Steve Morse Leaves His Mark. Twice. (video) Garvin Thomas, NBC Nightly News, April 17, 2012

Steve Morse: A Genealogical Mensch, article by Megan Smolenyak, Genealogical Computing, April 2004

Morse’s Code, article by Barbara Krasner-Khait, Heritage Quest Magazine, June 2004

 

General Meeting and Lecture: January 3, 2013

1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Santa Cruz Public Library, Central Location
(2nd floor meeting room)
224 Church Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Speaker: Robert Jackson, PhD

Lecture Topic:
An Introduction to Researching the Great Wave of German Immigration: 1830-1900

Focusing on the great wave of German immigration from 1830 to 1900, this lecture will outline the numerous resources available that can help you narrow the search for your ancestors’ places of origin. We’ll also touch on the special challenges posed by the spelling of German surnames and place names and by the movable feast of German geography in the 19th century. Finally, we’ll glance ahead to the main issues involved in accessing archives and records in Germany.

Robert Jackson holds a PhD in history from Harvard University. After several years’ teaching at the college level, he pursued a professional career in banking and finance. Since retiring he has assisted several not-for-profit and community organizations and has enjoyed his hobbies of genealogy and tennis. He lives in Berkeley, is devoted to his wife, and is very proud of his daughter, now in her junior year at Bennington College in Vermont.

 

 

General Meeting and Lecture: November 1, 2012

1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Santa Cruz Public Library, Central Location
(2nd floor meeting room)
224 Church Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Speaker: Lisa Louise Cooke

Lecture Topic: How to Find Your Family History in Newspapers

Yearning to “read all about it?” Newspapers are a fantastic source of research leads, information and historical context for your family history. However, finding the exact newspaper you are looking for can seem daunting. Learn the specialized approach that is required to achieve success in locating the news on your ancestors.

Lisa Louise Cooke is the owner of Genealogy Gems, a genealogy and family history multi-media company. She is producer and host of the Genealogy Gems Podcast, the popular online genealogy audio show as well as the Family History: Genealogy Made Easy podcast, both available at www.GenealogyGems.com, in iTunes, and through the free Genealogy Gems Toolbar. Her podcasts bring genealogy news, research strategies, expert interviews and inspiration to genealogists in 75 countries around the world.

Lisa is the author of a variety of multi-media materials available to Genealogy Gems Premium members, and the books How to Find Your Family History in Newspapers, The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox, and Genealogy Gems (paperback and ebook), as well as producer of the DVD series Google Earth for Genealogy and over 50 videos at the Genealogy Gems YouTube Channel.

In addition to Genealogy Gems, Lisa produces and hosts The Family Tree Magazine Podcast, regularly writes for the magazine, and is an instructor and curriculum developer for Family Tree University.

Lisa’s offerings are not limited to online. She is a sought after international genealogy speaker and webinar presenter, and produces live presentations of The Genealogy Gems Podcast at top genealogy conferences.

Whether in person or online, Lisa strives to dig through the myriad of genealogy news, questions and resources and deliver the gems that can unlock your family history treasure trove!

Note: Lisa Louise Cooke’s books will be available to purchase before and after the meeting.
A portion of the cost of each book sold will go to the Friends of the Public Library! Cash, checks, or credit cards accepted!

 

 

 

General Meeting and Lecture: October 4, 2012

1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Santa Cruz Public Library, Central Location
(2nd floor meeting room)
224 Church Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

 

Speaker: Michel Nellis

Lecture Topic:
WWII Fallen Aviators: Bringing a Memorial to Life

A native Californian, Michel Nellis has a love for local and family history. She earned a BA degree in history from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a MA degree in public historical studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is a long-time member of the Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society serving as chair of the Budget & Finance Committee, the 2012 Seminar Chair, and as a volunteer librarian. Because of her dedication to WWII, Michel is now on the Board of Directors of the distinguished Pierre Claeyssens Veterans’ Museum and Library. Genealogy has taken Michel on many adventures from Kentucky, Virginia, and Missouri to Ireland, Germany, and the Canadian heartland.

Her most recent endeavor chronicles the lives of forty-nine World War II aviators whose names appear on a memorial dedicated to them at the Santa Barbara Airport. She will describe how the project grew out of simple curiosity about the fliers, what genealogical and historical resources she used to flesh out their stories, and how collaboration with another researcher immortalized the sacrifices these aviators made with the publication of their stories in With Their Eyes Turned Skyward: Santa Barbara’s Fallen Aviators of World War II.

 

General Meeting and Lecture: September 6, 2012

1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Santa Cruz Public Library, Central Location
(2nd floor meeting room)
224 Church Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Speaker: Susan Goss Johnston

Lecture Topic:
Fold3: If You’re Not Using It, You Should!

Fold3 launched in January 2007 as Footnote.com. Its emphasis then, as now, was on original documents, especially military records. The original site included the first complete and fully indexed set of Revolutionary War pensions available online and the easiest-to-use online version of the Pennsylvania Archives. From this start, the site has grown to include a long list of military records covering our country’s history from the Revolutionary War through the Vietnam War.

You might believe Fold3 is irrelevant because, “None of my ancestors ever served in the military.” If any of your ancestors lived in this country at any time from the Revolutionary War through the Vietnam War, it’s likely that if that relative doesn’t appear in one of Fold3’s records himself, some close relative or near neighbor does. That one appearance may solve your brick wall problem. Fold3 is a treasure trove of information that will improve your understanding of records and research methodology and increase your knowledge of the life your ancestor would have experienced.

Susan Goss Johnston was a member of Yale University’s first undergraduate class of women, earning a BA in physics. After graduation, she began working in medical research while studying voice at Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. The natural outgrowth of this experience, mixed with two children, led to genealogy – research that didn’t require grant writing! She has been involved in teaching and researching for thirty years.

In addition to frequent speaking engagements in the San Francisco Bay area, Sue teaches basic and advanced genealogy courses in the Community Education division of Las Positas College in Livermore, California. She is a member of the Livermore-Amador Genealogical Society, and is co-presenter at the group’s Tri-Valley TMG [The Master Genealogist] user group.

Sue is a 2011 ProGen study group alumna, a graduate of the National Institute on Genealogical Research, “Advanced Methodology and Evidence Analysis” at the Samford University’s Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research, and the National Archives’ course, “Going to the Source.” Her personal research focuses on families in the New England and Mid-Atlantic states, and she specializes in military records and federal land records.