Researching Genealogy in Silicon Valley

Junel Davidsen gave a really interesting talk during our November 2016 monthly meeting about researching in Santa Clara County, CA, also known as Silicon Valley, and historically known as The Valley of The Heart’s Delight!

We have here the handout containing resources and instructions that Junel provided at the meeting. It includes a map of the area showing where to go. The file is a PDF with “live” links. Download and enjoy.

Researching Santa Clara County

December 1, 2016 – Annual Joint Christmas Potluck with the Family History Center

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Monterey County Genealogy Society

Come join The Monterey County Genealogy Society and The Family History Center volunteers, as we celebrate this Christmas Season. We will be giving thanks for a wonderful year learning about the world of Genealogy, as well as thanking you for your participation. Please join us for this annual potluck event. This is a time for stories, games, and good cheer – so bring a dish to share. Join in the fun and merriment while we get to know others who are also interested in learning about their family histories. There will be lots of fun and good cheer, playing chimes to our favorite Christmas Carols, and our favorite Genealogy Crossword puzzles.

Doors open at 5:30 pm, the party starts at 6:00pm in the Fireside Room. Enter through the FHC doors.

We’ll see you at the Family History Center, 1024 Noche Buena, Seaside, CA., left rear of building. For Information: (831) 915-9465.
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Come join us for our Annual Christmas Celebration and Potluck.
This is a time to give thanks for a wonderful year.

21 January 2017 — Genealogical Seminar in Seaside, CA


The local Daughters of the American Revolution chapter is holding its 36th annual Ancestor Roundup Genealogical Seminar again in January.

Many of you know this is the best genealogical meeting on the central California coast! As always, it will be held in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints here in Seaside, CA. If you are working on your genealogy, you really need to come to this seminar. I know I’ll be there.

The seminar will be held all day Saturday, January 21, 2017 from 8:00 am to 3:30 pm. Lunch is provided.

There will be over 25 classes during the day. You can pick and choose from the calendar and actually attend up to 5 classes during the day, including the Keynote. The keynote speaker will be announced soon!

There are 2 ticket options, both include lunch! $20 gives you a downloadable syllabus, $30 gives you a printed syllabus. Get a copy of the flyer with signup form by clicking below. Print the signup form to mail in.

for Signup Form Click Here

Class Schedule

Class Schedule

“Start with what you know.”

Witches in Scotland and Elsewhere

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This morning, the Ancestry.com Blog had information about a new collection they have added that contains the names of witches in Scotland! You can read the full article here.

Witches in Scotland 1658

When you click the link to the Names of Witches in Scotland, 1658 collection, you end up in the UK side of Ancestry. If you just wait a couple of seconds, it will switch to the US side.

I was interested in searching the list for two reasons. First, my paternal line has been traced into Scotland in the 1600’s. And more importantly, I have a documented witch in my family tree!

I was surprised when I discovered someone who might be related to me. A woman named Margaret Lornner was married to Thomas Robison. She was “accused” of witchery in 1658 in Ardrossan, Scotland. I have to be fair, I have not proved a relationship to me, yet. My line of Robeson’s seems to be from the Kelso, Scotland area. But, witchery has been found in my family.

My 8th great grandfather George Martin’s 2nd wife was Susanna Martin. Susanna became involved in the insanity known as the Salem Witch Trial. She was among the five women who were tried for witchcraft June 30, 1692. Although the court tried to wring confessions from the accused, none would do so. All were condemned to death by hanging. The executions took place July 19, 1692. Susanna was 66 years old at the time of her death.

So, if you have Scottish interests, you should give a quick peek at this collection. Perhaps you too have a witch in your history!

You do need an account at Ancestry to get all the way in. If you don’t have one, come to the FHC and use the Ancestry account there.

Why you should visit your local FHC

I saw this blog posting about “why you should visit your local Family History Center” on Dick Eastman’s Blog today (21 Oct 2016) and thought it was important enough to share here. Remember, MOCOGENSO is associated with the Monterey Family History Center!

Are You Missing Most of the Available Genealogy Information?

I received a message a while ago from a newsletter reader that disturbed me a bit. He wrote, “I have been doing genealogy research for 10-15 years but only through the Internet.” He then went on to describe some of the frustrations he has encountered trying to find information. In short, he was disappointed at how little information he has found online.

I read the entire message, but my eyes kept jumping back to the words in his first sentence: “… but only through the Internet.

Doesn’t he realize that perhaps 90% of the information of interest to genealogists is not yet available on the Internet?

To be sure, many of the biggest and most valuable resources are now available online, including national census records, the Social Security Death Index, military pension applications, draft cards, many passenger lists, land patent databases, and more.

The national databases were the “low hanging fruit” a few years ago as the providers of online information rushed to place large genealogy databases online. These huge collections benefited a lot of genealogists; these databases were the first to become indexed, digitized, and placed online. We all should be thankful that these databases are available today and are in common use.

As the national databases became available to all, the online providers moved on to digitize regional and statewide information. State censuses, birth records, marriage records, death records, naturalization records (which originally were recorded in many local and state courts), county histories, and much, much more are still being placed online.

Of course, this is great news for genealogists who cannot easily travel to the locations where the original records are kept. For many of us, this is even better than having information on microfilm. Most of us don’t have microfilm readers at home, but we do have computers.

Yet, I am guessing that perhaps 90% of the information of interest to genealogists has not yet been digitized. Why would anyone want to look for genealogy information “… only through the Internet?”

State censuses, birth records, marriage records, death records, naturalization records, county histories, and more are all “work in progress” projects. That is, they are not yet complete. In fact, I doubt if all of them will be available online for at least another decade or two! If you only look online, you are missing a lot.

In many cases, church parish records, local tax lists, school records, land records (other than Federal land grants), state census records, and many more records are not yet available online and probably won’t be available for years. If you are limiting yourself to “… only through the Internet,” you are missing 90% of the available information.

If you have the luxury of living near the places where your ancestors lived, I’d suggest you jump in an automobile and drive to the repositories where those records are kept. There is nothing that matches the feeling of holding original records in your hand. Scan them or make photocopies or take pictures of them or do whatever is possible to collect images of the original records.

If you do not enjoy the luxury of short distances, use microfilm. Luckily, that is easy to do although you will have to leave your home. Many (but not all) of these records have been microfilmed, and those films may be viewed at various libraries, archives, or at a local Family History Center near you. There are more than 4,600 of those local centers, so you probably can find one within a short distance of your home. The Family History Centers are free to use although you do have to pay a modest fee for postage when you rent a microfilm by mail. See https://goo.gl/7Jzbzh for details. You can also find your nearest Family History Center by starting at: https://familysearch.org/locations/.

If you do not know where to start, I would suggest reading “Begin your genealogy quest” at https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Begin_Your_Genealogy_Quest for some great “getting started” information.

Which option would you prefer: accessing 10% of the available records or 100% of the available records?


The above article is from and is copyrighted by the Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter at www.eogn.com. Many thanks go to Dick Eastman for his continued support of the genealogy world.