Category Archives: FHC

Subscription Sites

When you are doing genealogical research at home and run into a “pay-wall”, perhaps the Monterey FHC can help. All of these excellent websites are available at the Monterey FHC for free! If you like saving money, then use these sites at the FHC.  If you find that you must have a personal login, you can always subscribe at home later. (Yes, I have an Ancestry signon, world edition.) Just another reason to come to the Monterey Family History Center – look here for directions.

Provided by the Monterey FHC Directors

  • Genealogybank Discover your family story in Newspapers 1690-today. 7 day free trial, then $20 per month or $70 per year.

Provided by Monterey County Genealogical Society

  • Vitalsearch-CA Search official records in California, birth, death, marriage certificates. $10 per month or $70 per year.
  • New England Historic Genealogy Society NEHGS is a highly respected research site with emphasis in the New England area. $7.50 per month to $90 per year.

Provided by Salt Lake City Family History Library

  • 19th Century British Library Newspaper Digital Archive Over 2 million newspaper pages. Fully searchable but spotting in some distant locals
  • Alexander Street Press The site for the American Civil War. 4 million soldiers and thousand of battles. 15000 photos, 100,000 indexed pages of diaries and letters.
  • American Ancestors New England Historic Genealogy Society-NEHGS is a highly respected research site with emphasis in the New England area. $7.50 per month to $90 per year.
  • Ancestry – instituion version. The largest for profit genealogy company in the world. Immigration and naturalizations records, Census and voter rosters, Photos, newspaper and a collection of public family trees.
  • Arkivdata These are Swedish records that have been re-photographed and digitalized. Were you to go to Sweden and ask for original records you would be sent to a computer with these very same records.
  • FamNet Online network for New Zealand roots
  • Find My Past – institution version. This is a family history and genealogy website that is primarily for British and Irish records. Includes PERSI.
  • Fold3 This site is named from a traditional flag folding ceremony in which the third fold is made in honor and remembrance of veterans who served in defense of their country. From the Revolutionary war to current and recent wars, including Mexican/American wars/ Indian war/ Spanish American/Vietnam/ Korean
  • Geneanet Family tree search and site.
  • Kinpoint – Premium take family names to the temple.
  • MyHeritage – Library Edition 5 billion historical records. Helps you research your family history, build your family tree and add photos, and historical records. Includes a private family site for your family only
  • Newspaper Archives This is best collection of newspapers anywhere. Largest collection of US papers followed by Canada and then UK. Some collections back to the 1600’s though majority is the 20th century.
  • Paper Trail This site is dedicated to research of pioneers. It has journals, histories, of pioneers headed west from 1800 to 1899. It is very useful if you have ancestors who crossed the plains whether they were Mormon Pioneers or not
  • ProQuest Obituary Listings This site is primarily for US research. This site more than 10 million obituaries and death notices published in newspapers from 1800 onward. It is very useful in finding death dates of your ancestors.
  • Puzzila Descendant Viewer view critical data for your descendants in FamilySearch Tree

“Always borrow money from a pessimist. He won’t expect it back.” – Oscar Wilde


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Fridays at FHC


Fridays at the Monterey Family History Center are interesting and fun! Part of the reason Fridays are great is because that is when I volunteer. I usually open the doors, take care of the computers, and give the others a hard time. I use RootsMagic, and have my tree at Ancestry and FamilySearch. You can find my DNA most everywhere.

Another reason Friday is “expert” day is Dayna Jacobs. Dayna works the first Friday of the month. She is an accredited genealogist, serves as a Commissioner on the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists, is a blogger, a public speaker, and an expert in family history. She really can sense where elusive ancestors may be hiding. Her expertise is Western States, using FamilySearch, and Ancestry.com.

The other Fridays of the month brings in Barbara Rae-Venter. She is our DNA Sig leader. She is a retired lawyer, biologist, and college professor. When she is on site, we laughing call it “DNA discussion time”. The thing is,Barbara is a really good genealogical researcher too and loves to help others. She also volunteers at DNAAdoption.com where she is a Search Angel plus she help teach the online atDNA classes there.

Our other Friday guy is Charlie Biller. He comes in often to work on his own Hungarian ancestors, but he is also a substitute for the rest of us. So you will see him most Fridays. He is has a degree in Industrial Technology and is a whiz kid around the microfilm readers. He also is “into” DNA testing, his data can be found at Gedcom and he has recently done the Big-Y test at FTDNA. He loves to help beginners. As an ex Naval Aviator, he will get you going fast!

I feel intimidated and honored to work with these experts. You should read their full biographies elsewhere in this site.

If you have Friday mornings open, and need help with your genealogy or DNA testing, do drop in! 🙂

We are open 9:00 am to 1:00 pm.

The FHC 3rd Shift


Are you having trouble doing genealogy because you have a day job?
Are you having trouble doing genealogy because your spouse runs the T-V all evening?

I am retired now, but I used to work “8 to 5”! The only time I had for genealogy was nights or weekends. And weekends was for chores and outdoor activities. So I began to come to the Monterey Family History Center on Tuesday evening on the way home from work. I came almost every Tuesday for a while and pretty soon, my tree began to blossom. You can see some of it in the halls of the FHC now.

Then my wife got jealous, and she began to come with me. She soon had her ancestors into the 1600’s in Croatia!

We had computers at home. The reason we came to the FHC was for personal help, for ideas, for films, books, and to use subscription web sites that we couldn’t afford at home.

The FHC “third shift” is for working people! 🙂

Open Tuesday and Wednesday 4:00 pm to 7:30 pm.

Genealogical Standouts


Do you want to be the one who stands out at your next family reunion? You can be by finding the most sources to prove that Uncle Jack really was a scoundrel. You could be the one with the only “printed” family tree. You could be the only one who knows the difference between autosomal and mitochondrial DNA. Just imagine the look on your cousins face when you name the family ancestors who fought in the American Revolutionary War, or when you announce that there was a witch in the family! (and can prove it.)

If you need help finding your ancestors, your local Monterey Family History Center is one place to start. There are resources, books, films, computers, free web sites, and people just waiting to help you get you ahead of the pack.

The only thing is…. you have to come to them, they don’t do webinars.

Hours:

  • Tuesday and Wednesday. 9:00 am to 7:30 pm
  • Friday. 9:00 am to 1:00 pm
  • 2nd Saturday of month. 11:00 am to 3:00 pm
  • DNA Sig, 2nd Saturday of month. 10:00 am
  • Write your history group. 3rd Wednesday 2:00 pm

FHC has new hours

The Monterey FHC has made a minor change in it’s hours.

On Tuesdays and Wednesdays the FHC is now open from 9:00 am to 7:30 pm. You can come straight from work to the FHC, do some research and still get home for dinner! Hours on other days remain the same as before.

Remember, they have 11 free subscription sites available. These are accounts that would cost you money at home are free inside the FHC.

See FHC Page for more information and location.

FamilySearch will Discontinue Microfilm Distribution, Soon

On Monday of this week, FamilySearch in Salt Lake City announced that they will soon stop distributing microfilms and fiche. We all knew this would happen eventually, but I for sure didn’t expect it to happen this soon. The last day to order microfilm will be August 31, 2017.

FamilySearch has made significant progress in the digitization of its vast collection of microfilm, making access to records easier than ever. This progress, coupled with changes in the microfilm industry, have made it possible and necessary to discontinue microfilm distribution services.

FamilySearch has now digitally reproduced the bulk of its microfilm collection, with over 1.5 billion images available online. The digitization of remaining microfilms is expected to be completed by 2020. The most requested collections are already available digitally, and all new records are being preserved using digital camera equipment.

Brass tacks:
• you can order films for the next 2 months, until Sept 1
• you can view recently ordered films for 90 days, last day Dec 1
• dinner party to celebrate Dec 7
• the locally stored films will remain here, for now.

This is not the end of the world. Most of the films are already digitized and online. Viewing a digitized “film” online is just like viewing a film, except you don’t turn a crank, you click a mouse button. It is true, scanning through an online film isn’t that fun, but truthfully, neither was hunching over a film reader.

What is good about the online versions is that they are slowly being indexed too! Indexing takes longer than simply copying the film to disk. And spelling errors in the indexes will require that you “crank” the “film” anyway.

There is a gap -> new records are being digitized now using cameras. They estimate the last films won’t be online until 2020. That means some old, not-so-popular films won’t be viewable anywhere for 2+ years. I assume FamilySearch has figured out the order to process films that will have the smallest impact on the fewest people. But if you are concerned, and are reading this now, don’t delay any longer. Order that film soon!

Different History Centers will have different return schedules. Local leaders will manage their collections on loan from FamilySearch and determine when to return films that are already published online. Since we have facilities here to handle storage, it is thought that we will be keeping our rather large library here locally for some time. But that time is unknown.

There are some films here in Seaside on long term storage that are “smoking guns” for my research. I will be making a plan to copy those important images to personal flash drive! And perhaps I might have to do more advertising for folks to index records!

(The one thing I worry about is viewing fiche online. I don’t see how….)


“Time changes everything except something within us which is always surprised by change.” – Thomas Hardy


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.