Sunday, June 30, 2013

Military Monday - No Forwarding Address

Editor's note: Today's post was written by Sandra Gardner-Benward

No Forwarding Address presented by Jim Monteton at the June General Meeting of          Root Cellar Sacramento Genealogical Society.  Thank You Jim, very informative presentation.

Jim Monteton ' a boy in blue' 

From 1861 to 1865, over 650,000 Americans lost their lives in the American Civil War. Because soldier's did not have 'Dog Tags' or other formal marking on their uniforms, many were missing in action and presumed dead. This plus the migration west after the war produced many missing Americans that families lost track of.

Following family lines in search of relations usually had a break in the linage for those missing.  Many soldiers -- both North and South -- moved away at wars end and for the next 20 year became part of the growing population in Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Idaho, Oregon and California.

With the help of Civil War on-line data bases, many missing family members have been located. In fact, after moving west, many started new families that now hacve second, third and fourth generations part of the western landscape.

Jim says that there are Civil War Veterans buried all through California. They are in search of all of them in California as others are doing in all the other 49 states. If you find a Civil War Gravesite, check with the websites below to see if they have been listed, if not listed - make sure to report the information.

A National Data Base for Civil War Graves has been established and is growing day by day.

Sons of Union Veterans for Civil War Graves

            - scroll down and click on National Graves Registration Data Base
            - click search entries
            - insert last name and first name if known and Search
            - if name is found - click on it

Local Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW)
The SUVCW is a patriotic and educational organization, carrying on the legacy of the Grand Army of the Republic. It was founded on November 12, 1881, and incorporated by Act of Congress August 20, 1954. The purpose of the SUVCW is to perpetuate the memory of the 'boys in blue' who fought for the Union in the Civil War (1860-1865).

If you click on 'Members' and then click on 'SVR info' you will see Company 8, 8th Regt, California Volunteer Infantry, Sons of the Veterans Reserve -  find  Jim here.

  SVR Badge

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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Society Saturday - July Events at Root Cellar Sacramento Genealogical Society

Editor's note: Today's post was written by Denise Hibsch Richmond.

Mark your calendar for all the happenings in July 2013 at Root Cellar Sacramento Genealogical Society.  I hope you can take advantage of all these terrific educational opportunities.

Board Meeting
Date: Thursday, July 11 (2nd Thursday due to July 4th holiday)
Time:  10am to 12:00pm
Location: Sylvan Community Center, 7521 Community Drive, Citrus Heights, CA
Members welcome

Membership Meetings resume in September.

Date: Wednesday, July 17
Time: 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
Location: Sylvan Community Center, 7521 Community Drive, Citrus Heights
Roundtable: Your successes or brickwalls
Mini-presentation: Documentation using the RootsMagic software program by Lynne Roberts.  This is the first of four monthly workshop presentations about documentation in a genealogy program.
Visitors welcome!

Special Interest Group (SIG): Reunion for the Mac
Date: Wednesday, July 24
Time: 10:30 am to 12:30 pm
Location: Family History Center, 2745 Eastern Avenue, Sacramento
Roundtable: Brainstorm solutions to users' problems, questions and explore ins/outs of the best Mac genealogy program. Contact Ron Setzer ( to be added to the email list. Welcome to all!

NOTE: The membership meetings will be on hiatus during July and August, resuming in September.  The other meetings continue year-round.

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Those Places Thursday – Kentucky Mine Museum

Editor's note: Today's post was written by Richard Hanson.

We genealogists will go anywhere for records and information about how our ancestors lived their lives. We will strain our arms turning the handles of old microfilm readers. We spend endless hours staring at a glaring computer screen. We trudge through old cemeteries hoping not to fall through into an upward migrating casket hollow. We open a dusty old tome in search of information risking catching a hundred-year-old cold from spores on the seldom-opened pages. But if challenging sleeping bats for the sake of genealogy and history is your thing, I have a place for your to visit this summer.

Heading north on Highway 49 eventually sends you to Sierra County, a high Sierra location packed with Gold Rush history. And along Highway 49 a ways east of Downieville can be found the Kentucky Historic Park and Museum.
The front of the Kentucky Mine Museum. Photo provided by Richard Hanson.
Run by a local historical society, the property consists of a museum, front part of a mine and a completely restored ore crushing facility. The museum contains mining artifacts, way-of-life exhibits, photographs, historical documents and useful books. They also sell books. But be sure to go on the tour of the mine and the ore crushing facility. Inside the ore crushing building the tour group will encounter some local residents – bats sleeping while suspended from the ceiling. They are used to groups of people and apparently take no notice. And their fur is not even ruffled when the guide turns on the hugely noisy ore crusher.

If you go, be sure to first call or email the museum to confirm open days and hours. There is a charge for the museum and the tour unless you are a member of the historical society.

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Tuesday's Tip – A Tool to Organize Your Evidence (Evidentia)

Editor's note: Today's post was written by Richard Hanson.

As we genealogists become better educated and more proficient in this hobby (or obsession), the importance of conclusions being based upon real evidence becomes obvious. We also discover that this is not as simple as it seems. We encounter conflicting or incomplete evidence. We have to evaluate the validity of each fact. We frequently must treat the available facts as clues leading us down a path that will, hopefully, lead to a conclusion. Or sometimes, multiple possible conclusions.

Evidentia software
I recently discovered a software app, Evidentia, that may help in this process. It allows you to enter and organize your evidence, link evidence to conclusions and then generate reports documenting your effort. The goal is to help you be in compliance with the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS). Evidentia is not a replacement for your existing genealogical database software. Consider it a supplement for use in complex situations, with generated reports that can be pasted into your database's notes section.

The software is available for Windows, Macintosh and Linux. Its first version was released December 2012. Cost is $25 (download) or $29 (CD). There is also a free 30-day downloadable demo available.

I plan to download and try out the demo version on some of my more complex problems, then report my conclusions in a future blog.

If you have used Evidentia,
please post a comment about whether or not you found it useful.

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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Is doing genealogy on your computer making you go blind?

Editor's note: Today's post was written by Richard Hanson.

If you purchased a new smart phone, smart tablet, laptop or desktop computer within the the last few years, chances are that it comes with an LED-backlit screen. Various technical support forums contain complaints about LED-backlit displays causing eye strain in susceptible people. Unlike the older liquid crystal display (LCD) technology, screen brightness cannot be controlled by varying the voltage. LEDs are basically on or off. Changing voltage to an LED changes its color. So dimming an LED-backlit screen is accomplished by rapidly turning the LED pixels on and off in a snow-like pattern faster than the human eye can detect. This is known as PWM (Pulse Width Modulation).

Apparently, some people can detect a flicker in such screens. Prolonged exposure for such people reportedly causes many of the symptoms of eye strain. Complaints seem to be more about the newer energy-efficient screens that have appeared during and since 2011. A number of solutions were suggested and each had its advocates.

  • Set screen resolution to maximum. Smaller pixels mean the flicker is less apparent.
  • Turn screen brightness up to maximum. That reportedly eliminates the flicker but creates a second problem – glare. Increased lighting behind the screen can help with glare.
  • Attach an external monitor which has an LCD display.
  • Some people also say that given time, their eyes adjust.

An interesting and a very very long thread on this subject:

A description of the PWM versus analog dimming technologies:

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Saturday, June 22, 2013

Society Saturday - Documentation Demo Series

Editor's note: Today's post was written by Denise Hibsch Richmond.

"Where did I squirrel
away that record?.
Genealogy without documentation is mythology.

This phrase appears frequently in articles, lectures and on tote bags.  It would be nice to know who to credit for this insight but it's a mystery to me.  But true it is.  We look everywhere for evidence of an ancestor's date or place of birth, marriage, immigration, etc.  We record when, where, how, and from whom the information came, even if it wasn't found.  (Just say yes to this.)  Where and how your information is recorded will make your continued research much easier and more efficient.  This is where your genealogy software program comes in handy.  Oh, you don't use a program?  Let this series help you select a program that suits your needs.

Beginning in July 2013, Root Cellar Sacramento Genealogical Society (RCSGS) will begin a series on Documentation - How to Enter information into a Genealogy Software Program.  During the regular monthly Workshop over the next four months, RCSGS members will demonstrate how documentation is entered into the genealogy software programs by RootsMagic, Legacy Family Tree, Family Tree Maker and Reunion for the Mac.  Other software programs exist but the programs slated for demonstration tend to be the most commonly used.

Please join us for this informative series.  There's something to be learned about documentation from each program.  As usual, your successful finds or brickwalls will be discussed at the beginning of each workshop.  Visitors are welcome at each session.

The workshops are from 1:00pm to 3:00pm at the Sylvan Community Center, 7521 Community Drive, Citrus Heights.  Email any comments or questions to  See you there!
  • Wednesday, July 17 - Documentation using the RootsMagic software program by Lynne Roberts
  • Wednesday, August 21 - Documentation using the Legacy Family Tree software program by Glenda Lloyd and Marsha Wise
  • Wednesday, September 18 - Documentation using the Family Tree Maker software program by Jack Banks
  • Wednesday, October 16 - Documentation using the Reunion for Mac software program by Ron Setzer and Rick Hansen
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Friday, June 21, 2013

Mark Your Calendar!

Editor's note: Today's post was written by Denise Hibsch Richmond.

In addition to the active calendar on the Root Cellar Sacramento Genealogical Society (RCSGS website, check out these genealogy events being offered in northern California that have come to our attention.  Make a note to follow-up - many are free

Sunday, June 23, 2013
Beginning Genealogy: How to Trace Your Family History
Karen Burney, speaker
1:00 pm.  Sacramento Public Library - Central, 828 I Street,  West Meeting Room
Sacramento, CA. Registration:  Ph: (916) 264-2979 or email Beth Daugherty  If you don’t get around to registering, please come anyway!  Parking: street parking near the Central Library is free on Sundays.  Free parking is also available on weekends in the Sacramento County Jury parking lot, between 8th and 9th and F and G Streets.  There is no ticket to take – just park in this open lot and walk two blocks to the library.  The entrance to the Jury parking lot is off of 8th Street.

Saturday, August 24, 2013
Nevada County Genealogical Society Genealogy Seminar
Doors open at 8:00 a.m.  Peace Lutheran Church, 828 West Main Street, Grass Valley, CA.  Pre-register: $17.50 members, $20.00 non-members.  Schedule at

Saturday, October 5, 2013
Sacramento Archives Crawl - A Passion to Preserve
10:00 am to 4:00 pm
RCSGS will have an exhibit at the California State Archives in celebration of National Archives Month.  Multiple host locations in Sacramento will display archival collections.  Free. Details at

Saturday, October 12, 2013
Family History Day
California State Archives, 1020 O Street, Sacramento, CA.  RCSGS will have an exhibit in celebration of National Family History Month.  Updates at

Saturday, November 9, 2013
Ancestry Day - San Francisco 2013

8:00am – 3:30pm.  Hyatt Regency San Francisco, 5 Embarcadero Center, San Francisco, CA.  Presented by the California Genealogical Society and  Registration details to come at

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday - Not California Records?

Editor's note: Today's post was written by Denise Hibsch Richmond.


The Legal Genealogist, Judy G. Russell, wrote an article about access to California government information that may be in danger.  Read her article explaining the effect the budget trailer bill could have on genealogists requesting information from cities and counties.

NBC Bay Area posted an updated article that said the threat to public records access may have been averted.  Read about it here.

Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. issued the following statement today [June 19, 2013] on California's Public Records Act:

“We all agree that Californians have a right to know and should continue to have prompt access to public records and I support enshrining these protections in California's constitution.”

The bill has been "enrolled" which means that it has passed both legislative houses and has been sent to the Governor for a sign or veto. You can read the complete bill text or just Section 4:

SEC 4. Section 6252.8 is added to the Government Code, to read:
6252.8.(a) Commencing on the effective date of the act adding this section, notwithstanding any other law, any mandates set forth in the following provisions shall not apply to a local agency. Compliance with these provisions shall be at the discretion of the local agency. For local agencies, these provisions represent best practices which they are encouraged, but are not required, to follow:
(1) The requirement in subdivision (c) of Section 6253 that:
(A) Within 10 days from receipt of a request for a copy of records, provide to the person making the request verbal or written notice of the disclosure determination and the reasons for the determination. This activity includes, where applicable:
(i) Drafting, editing, and reviewing a written notice to the person making the request, setting forth the reasons for the determination.
(ii) Obtaining agency head, or his or her designee, approval and signature of a written notice of determination.
(iii) Sending or transmitting the notice to the requestor.
(B) If the 10-day time limit to notify the person making the records request of the disclosure determination is extended due to “unusual circumstances,” as defined by paragraphs (1)through (4), inclusive, of subdivision (c) of Section 6253 of the Government Code, the agency head, or his or her designee, shall provide written notice to the person making the request, setting forth the reasons of the extension and the date on which a determination is expected to be dispatched. This activity includes, where applicable:
(i) Drafting, editing, and reviewing a written notice to the person making the request, setting forth the reasons for the extension of time.
(ii) Obtaining agency head, or his or her designee, approval and signature of the notice of determination or notice of extension.
(iii) Sending or transmitting the notice to the requestor.
(2) Section 6253.1.
(3) Section 6253.9. As on this requirement, the local agency may determine the format of electronic data to be provided in response to a request for information.
(4) Section 6254.3.
(5) Subdivision (b) of Section 6255.
(b) Beginning on January 1, 2014, a local agency that determines that it will not follow these best practices, shall so announce orally at its next regularly scheduled public meeting and annually thereafter at a regularly scheduled public meeting.
Even if the Governor vetoes this bill, consider writing a letter to Governor Brown anyway with a copy to the state legislator in your district to drive home the need to maintain public access to records.  Click here to find your legislator.

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Photo-op with Geoff Rasmussen at Jamboree 2013

Editor's note: Today's photo is courtesy of Denise Hibsch Richmond.

Denise Hibsch Richmond with Geoff Rasmussen
who will be the Featured Speaker at the Spring Seminar
April 5, 2014
Root Cellar Sacramento Genealogical Society

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Monday, June 17, 2013

Jamboree Postscript - Library Visit

Editor's note: Today's post was written by Denise Hibsch Richmond.  Sharing my adventures at the Southern California Genealogical Society (SCGS) Jamboree 2013 may be somewhat late but what the hay...  

One of the advantages of attending a genealogy conference in your own state is that you can drive there, arrive early and do some research at the host society's library.  Such were my plans before attending the Jamboree.  The SCGS Family Research Library is in Burbank just a couple miles from the host hotel.  Other hotels are in the area since the Burbank airport is nearby.  There's even a  hotel right down the street from the library.

I settled in to research on June 4th and 5th in the library's extensive California section.  My primary focus was on my Kendall ancestors who I first found in the California Great Register of 1890.  Several researchers were already at work when I arrived.  The library boasts several aisles of near-ceiling high shelves categorized by state with a microfilm reader area in back.  Of course there's much more there than California.  Take a look at the catalog of holdings  on the society's website under 'Library Services'.

I made some progress in my search for the history of Los Nietos, now Whittier.  The Kendalls arrived there about 1892.  Can you imagine Whittier as a barley field? (Click photos to enlarge.)  I used my iPhone to photograph the pertinent pages from the book. Source: Ranchos Become Cities by W.W. Robinson. 1939.

I had to scurry to do some lookups for my Huebsch/Hibsch line who also arrived in southern California about 1890.  Why scurry?  The library closed early that day - I hadn't paid attention to its hours!  How exciting it was to find my great-great grandfather Ernest Hibsch and his son, my great-grandfather, William C Hibsch in the index.  They were apparently using the spelling 'Hibsch' by 1895.  A clue!  (Source: Superior Court Los Angeles County Naturalization Index, Vol. 2, 1852-1915.)

During my time at the library I was able to meet Jane Van Tour.  She served as Volunteer Coordinator for Jamboree 2013.  Having been to Jamboree now I don't know how she pulled together 100+ volunteers since she worked just up to the beginning of the pre-conference activities.  I volunteered as a room monitor for several sessions so I was able to get last minute instructions for my job.

The most surprising find while at the library wasn't even at the library.  A laundromat was two doors down from the library.  I had been on the road awhile and needed to do laundry - how convenient to wash and research at the same time.  So there I am, loading the washer, then closing the lid and what do I find in large bold letters but my family name before it was Americanized!  Huebsch.  Talk about an Aha! moment.  The name was also on the dryers.  Come to find out the Huebsch Commercial Laundry Company is a 100+ year old firm located in Ripon, Wisconsin.  A simple Google map search showed that Ripon is just over 50 miles from Calumet County Wisconsin where my Huebsch/Hibsch ancestors lived prior to migrating to California.  Well, well, am I related?

Needless to say, my time at the library was informative but way too short. The lesson learned is that clues come from the most curious of places!

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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Society Saturday – The May 22nd Reunion SIG Meeting

Editor's note: Today's post was written by Richard Hanson.

Left: exterior entrance to the meeting room. Right: Reunion software displayed.

Last month's May 22nd meeting of the Reunion SIG addressed the following topics:

  • Reunion 10.0.6 release
  • Julian to Gregorian calendar conversion – options for Reunion
  • Storing family files on Cloud services (e.g., Dropbox)
  • Deleting unused family files (Any side effects?)
  • Handling multiple surnames and aliases
  • Reunion "Match & Merge Sources" command.

We had a bit of trouble with the last one. It seems to work in a rather inconsistent way. Discussion and experimentation with it will continue as part of the June 26 meeting.

Background: In 2011, a special interest group (SIG) was established by the Root Cellar Sacramento Genealogical Society for users of the genealogy database software package called Reunion. It meets 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. every fourth Wednesday at the Sacramento FamilySearch Library. Group leader is Ron Setzer. Email Ron if you'd like to be added to the group's email distribution list. Reunion runs on the Macintosh, iPad and iPhone.

The next meeting is scheduled for June 26.

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Friday, June 14, 2013

Friday's Faces from the Past – Swiss Mysteries

Editor's note: Today's post was written by Richard Hanson.
Images provided by my cousin, Robert Rutishauser.
My cousin recently found some old photos without any identification, an unfortutately all too common situation. He suspects they were probably either Rutishauser relatives or family friends from Switzerland (vicinity of Amriswil in the Canton of Thurgau). The name of the person in the U.S. was August Rutishauser, my cousin's grandfather.

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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tuesday's Tip – Buildings Move

Editor's note: Today's post was written by Richard Hanson.

All of us seek out photos of the old family homelands – scenery, buildings, people. Historical images are the goal, but contemporary is better than nothing. In recent times, the Google satellite and street-view images have provided the distance-handicapped genealogist with a convenient tool for contemporary images of historic buildings.

But you may instead find a completely different structure at the target location or an empty lot. But it is too soon to give up, especially if the building is small and has some sort of historical significance. The building could have been moved.

Some years ago I traveled to Kanabec County, Minnesota, to visit ancestral locations and attend an extended family reunion. I linked up with a cousin who lived in that same state, though in a different county. We traveled to the location of our ancestors' old schoolhouse in the town of Coin. We saw an empty lot. Our next stop was the nearby county historical society in Mora. When we asked about the schoolhouse, they pointed it out to us. It was just next door. The building was moved there and restored. And it was open for pubic tour.

The old Coin schoolhouse. Photo provided by Richard Hanson.
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Monday, June 10, 2013

Monday Madness - "Final Day of Jamboree"

Editor's note: Today's post was written by Sandra Gardner-Benward

I cannot believe that this is the last day of Jamoboree. It has been alot of fun, alot of socializing, and alot of learning and growing. I have so many newer ideas to help me break through some brick walls and extend the generations and my research. When is that happening? Soooon, I always say soon.

"Records of the Poor in England" with Kathy Warburton......  it would seem that there were more poor in England than we want to know about. It seems that it was a norm in the 16th - 18th centuries. Very sad circumstances. Records of the poor of England, created by church and government institutions, can reveal fascinating details about the lives of our ancestors. AND believe it or not, the poor and paupers created quite a numbers of documents. You really need to know your history, do the research and read up on the period of time you are interested. The records are in Parish Chest Records, depostied at county record offices, try . search Family History Library Catalog, try

"Elizabeth: The Story of a German Immigrant" with Jean Wilcox Hibben PhD, MA, CG
This first person narrative is followed by an explanation of how the inforamtion was located. Elizabeth, in 1864, left Germany (Prussia) and her husband and her 5 children. We learned why she left, how she left, and what happened when she got to American at the end of the Civil War. During the narration of Elizabeth Huberta Thenee Mueller Wolbert (1828-1895) by her great-great granddaughter, Jean Wilcox Hibben, slides of how the story was peiced together.

This was awesome. Jean was dressed in the part, and period of time, language period and told the story as if she was Elizabeth. And the informaiton that followed the story showed all the research she did, showing documents and proof of all points in the story. Good Job Jean!

"Aye, it's a well known fact Sonny Jim":  Getting the most out of  given by Dan Poffenberger AG. Dan works for FamilySearch and you may run into him on the International Floor - specializing in Scotland. This website is a government website managed by the General Register Office of Scotland. There are a number of other excellent sites and current projects that are making Scottish research easier. It is a paid site - paid in credits. At this moment in time 30 credits costs 7pounds (about $10-$11 US dollars). This covers a 1year period of time. When the credits run out of course you will need to purchase more if you want to continue. If your year runs out before your credits, you will need to purchase more credits (and you will still have the remaining ones too) which will give you another year to research.  Your searches are free, it costs credits to look at pages and of course it costs a little more to order whatever the document is. However, whatever searches you do and have paid for are always there to view at later dates. So search wisely, think about how you can narrow down your choices before you feel you need to view the page and pay one credit. When I do return to Salt Lake City for research at the Family History Center I will be looking up Dan Poffenberger for assistants.

"Future Family Historians: Engaging Younger Generations with Josh Taylor, MA, MLS (current President of FGS) The future of family history depends largely upon encouraging yournge genreations to particiapte. It is a matter of leveraging technology tools such as Facebook, Twitter, and blogging and traditional methods to develop and foster interest among future family historians. Other ways of engaging the younger people (sometime referred too as 21sters) are through games, through Google hangout, through technology.........  do things differently at meetings or special events. A first step might be to create a special taskforce of leaders, members and volunteers to launch an initiative that examines way to interact with and engage 21sters. Now who are these 21sters......  according to Josh, who is definetely a 21ster himself but not a typical is difficult to put an exact age on this new generation. Many are younger than a sterotypical genealogist, usually under 45 years of age, and overly capable of using technology. He says "genealogy without technology is as foreign to the majoirty of 21sters as the idear of genealogy without printed books is to many traditional genealogical society members or library visitors." We need to rethink Genealogy 101, have a one on one interaction, involve the community, mentor - create a mentoring program  drawing on the strength of long time genealogists. The age of digital resources can fully entice 21sters to become engaged, far more than printed publications. The key is to achieve a balance that will work for both audiences. Always great information from Josh. We all need a Josh in our own organizations.

 Denise and Scott Richmond and myself got our table set up for Sunday Society Day. Each day 3-4 different societies were able to show and shine with their own materials, resources etc. Sunday was our day.........  We collected all we needed and the Richmonds carried it down in their car. Denise made some great purchases while traveling for our table - table runner with leaves on it, business card holder also with leaves hanging from it, and flyer holders. (great choices Denise) We set up the table early Sunday morning and between the three of us tried to man/woman it throughout the day. We did have alot of traffic inbetween classes and at the lunch break. It was a good experience.

Final Day......  it was a good conference. Weather was really great (I hear that we missed 104 & 108 degree temps in Sacramento over the weekend - thank goodness). The special DNA day brought 352 participants and speakers. The Jamboree attracted just under 1200 participants. The numbers were down (probably due to NGS Conference in Las Vegas less than a couple of weeks before) but it sure didn't feel like it. The rooms were comfortable and you didn't have to fit for a seat in any class. That was a good thing. Denise volunteered some of her time as a room monitor for several classes througout the weekend. I volunteered some of my time helping with the California State Genealogical Alliance table in the exhibit hall.

A big thank you to the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree Committee also Paula Hinkle and Leo Myers, chairs of the Southern California Jamboree. (sorry that I did not get a close up picture of Leo - the woman in blue is standing in front of Leo - sorry Leo)

Looking forward - mark your calendars for June 6-8, 2014 for the 45th Annual Jamboree 2014 at the Mariott Burbank Hotel. I will be there since my conference fees are paid for. Thank You!!

                                                ..........the end for another year..........

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Sunday, June 9, 2013

Black Sheep Sunday – Illegitimate or Widowed?

Editor's note: Today's post was written by Richard Hanson.
Johanna Hilda Anderson (left) and her daughter Hilda (right).
Photo was taken in the U.S. Provided by Richard Hanson.

Hilda Charlotte Anderson was born as an illegitimate child in Sweden, according to the family rumor. Easy to confirm? Maybe yes or maybe no. The obituary says yes. But that is just echoing the family rumor. Sometimes you may get lucky by finding specific records (e.g., a birth record) or a note written by a contemporary. In my situation, I have not yet found either. But sometimes a tiny detail in an existing record may answer the question.

Johanna Hilda Andreasdotter had a daughter named Hilda while in Sweden. She and her daughter continued to live with her her parental family as indicated by a 1856-72 Swedish parish register.

The Johanna and Hilda lines of the parish register containing the Larsson/Andersdotter family.
Photo provided by Richard Hanson.
If you look closely at Hilda's name the above parish register excerpt, you will see "Hilda Charlotte __". That underline means her last name is the same as above person, in this case her mother. In Sweden, the last name of the mother does not change when she is married. So looking at the mother's name does not tell anything about her current or prior martial status. But her daughter's name being the same as hers appears to answer the question. In Sweden, a child's surname is taken from the father's first name. If the first name is Olof, then sons will have a surname of Olofsson, daughters Olofsdotter. Family rumor confirmed.

Johanna, daughter Hilda and some of Johanna's siblings emigrated to the United States where the past is unimportant or easily hidden. Once in the U.S., both started using using the surname of Anderson. They are my direct ancestors.

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Saturday, June 8, 2013

Just Another Day at Jamboree

Editor's note: Today's post was written by Sandra Gardner-Benward

 Yes another day at Jamboree. It is a good day and only one more day to go and it is over for another year. But I have learned a lot of different things this year and am ready to try them out in my own research.

Today was another early day. I signed up for a breakfast. It sounded good six months ago and it still sounds good but not at this early hour. the special guest was Joe Mozingo - Travel the Path to the Mozingo Family Past - The Fiddler on Run: An African Warrior, His White Descendents, A Search for Family. Mr Mozingo has written a book detailing his journey to find his ancestors. The story and all the twists were really good

Six (6) classes today..........

"The Library of Congress:  and An Introduction and Overview",  with John Colletta PhD, FUGA....I am sure some of you remember Colletta  he has been in Sacramento many times. I really enjoyed both classes I took from him today. He says that the LOC is one of the country's greatest repositories for genealogical research. You may be aware that the LOC is a very huge facility and appears to be mysterious and scary. So he took us reading room to reading room- starting at the LOC, over to the Thomas Jefferson Building, and to the Madison Building. Going to all 20 reading rooms. Did you know that the buildings are connected through an  underground tunnel. Interesting! Orientation before you go.........  check out the online catalog, check the online digital collections, click on "Research Centers" for specific reading rooms, click on "ask a librarian" to ask a question. The Research Library has closed stacks. You use call slips to request materials, user ID Card is required, lots of security, there are coat checks available, lockers available, photocopying, cameras are encouraged but without flash, laptops are permitted, There is a cafeteria, snack bar, and food vending machines.  The Specialized Collections are open shelves and Specialized Catalogs. Ask the Librarian.  Syllabus gives lots of great information.

"Your Immigrants: How to Discover Their True Stories" with John Colletta PhD, FUGA ....  Each immigrant's story is unique. Colletta used three 19th century case studies. He discussed how to evaluate those facts and assemble them into a story that conveys both the drama and individuality of the emigration/immigration experience. Very interesting.


"Researching Your Germanic Ancestors Using Online Resources" with Leland Meitzler (I know the name must sound familiar to some of you........  he was at our Spring Seminar2013- think books)  .
Leland gave some great examples of where to find pictures, images, and websites for your ancestral German home (and it probably works for anywhere) We discussed translating online German websites. Don't be afraid to go to a website that is in another language.....  even though the translators aren't really accurate they would be good enough to translate a webpage.......  you would get the 'jist' of the what was being said. and both have huge German databases. Ancestry World Version has a great maps. And two others that are free - Geogen Surname Mapping, and German Surname Maps. The syllabus is full of  hot links for German research.

Today during the lunch hour I manned (womaned) the California State Genealogical AllianceCalifornia  table in the exhibit hall. Yes Root Cellar SGS is a member and  I am an individual member and  board member. Hey, it keeps me off the streets.

"Organizing, Researching, Mapping, Sourcing and Sharing with Legacy Family Tree" with Geoff Rasmussen. As many of you know Geoff will be our speaker for Root Cellar Sacramento Genealogical Society Spring Seminar2014.  Check it out on our website. Legacy Family Tree version 8 will be out in a couple of months but by the end of the year, and he is demoing differences. We went over the Research Log and the To Do List, Research by Repository, Research On-The-Go, Research Guidance. It was a laid back session with audience offering suggestions and things they would like to see. Legacy and Geoff are really serious about making the program the best it can be and with your help. . are the one using the program so they do want to hear from you with your suggestions. Don't be shy.  Send in those suggestions to Geoff  AND another win-win situation, Geoff always has door prizes and today (along with yesterday) was my lucky day - I WON! What did I win? ....... Legacy 8.0 Family Tree manual and Legacy 8.0 upgrade when it is ready.  YEA!!  Thanks Geoff. See you in 2014 in Sacramento.

"No Vitals? No Problem! Building a Family Through Circumstantial Evidence" with Judy Russell, JD,CG...........  This was my first class with Judy Russell and I really enjoyed her presentation. She knows her stuff. She is very frank and straight forward but good and a great sense of humor. t When there is not birth, marriage, or death record for an ancestor, circumstantial evidence may help find his or her family of birth. We all have lots of women in our databases that we cannot  identify, we hit a brickwall with an ancestor and it is very frustrating. It is not easy and will take time and brain power but it is possible to ID some of these unknowns through circumstantial evidence. You need to go through the five steps in applying the Genealogical Proof Standards.

"What was Great Grandpa Really Like? (handwriting analysis) with Paula Sassi, CMG..... This just sounded interesting and it was but really so much more to it than you can ever imagine. Sassi says that from colonial times to the present, you can learn how to discern personality and behavior from the strokes of writing no matter what the time period or heritage of the person. She gave us lots of examples and what means what. But she has gone to school for this type of thing and has been certified and she has 30plus years of experience. She has traveled the world using her talents, uses it to help in employment and for fun. She says there are only 4 S's and one P that lets her interrupt English writing or any language including Chinese.

And that was my day...............  I need to start packing and getting ready to tomorrow. I will need to check out before classes start........  hotel has a secure room to hold luggage till after the conference (about 4p) Wish my luck for the grand prize................

One more day to go and it will be another good one. Looking forward to the classes I have picked out and anxious to learn ............  NITE!!

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Editor's note: Today's post was written by Sandra Gardner-Benward  (photos contributed by Sandra Gardner-Benward and Denise Richmond)

Good Day to everyone.......   this was a great day and turned into an exciting evening. WIN WIN!

The morning sessions I choose were all "Genealogy Society Development Workshops"

My favorite one was of course the first one which I am still waking up for. It was titled "DIY: WDYTYA" Who Do You Think You Are?  Yes, you are right. It was a take off on the TV show Who
Do Think You Are?  Connie Moretti and Lisa Schmacher put together this program for the genealogy community and especially for the non-genealogy community. As a contribution to the City of Torrance Centennial Celebration, the South Bay Cities Genealogical Society presented a program based on the popular WDYTYA" with permission. They showed a slideshow of the completed program. They choose 3 leaders in their community, researched their ancestry, put together a scrapbook and DVD for each person. You can see some of the production through the pictures below. It was a formal event, held in a downtown community theater, reception before and after. A lot of work and it paid off for them.

The second society session was with Daniel Horowitz (MyHeritage) "Crowdsourcing: when the power of many benefits all. " By definition, crowdsourcing is a process that involves outsourcing tasks to an undefined group of people. This process can occur both online and offline. The idea is to not only to split the work among various people, but to also take advantage of the knowledge and expertise of each of the individuals for the benefit of the entire group.  Example: Wikipedia- group of individuals started to place their information on a common place accessible to the entire world. Another example: FamilySearch with the 1940 U.S. Census indexing project and other indexing projects.


AND the third Society offering "Double Your Membership, Double Your Fun: the UGA Case Study
with Janet Hovorka (owner of Family Chart Masters) outgoing President of the Utah Genealogical Society. A lot of great suggestions and super discussions between society leaders. the exhibit hall........  shopping!!!

Friday Night Special Event - Alexandra Orton, members of the WDYTYA team. Behind the Scenes at "Who Do You Think You Are? Q&A session; Moderator Lisa Louise Cooke. The room was full for this event. People are curious about the behind the scenes activities, how they pick the characters, their research activity, how were the celebs to work with, were they coaxed, was their a script and much more. It was just an evening of two women on the stage being interviewed by Lisa Louise Cook and with lots of questions from the audience.

Tune in for the new season of Who Do You Think You Are? July 23, 2013 on TLC channel. Spread the word,

AND then came the big drawing of the night. "Genealogy Jamboree 2014 Gift Certificate - full weekend registration to the 45th Annual Southern California Genealogy Jamboree" June 6,7,8, 2014........ and you will never guess who's name was called, you got it ME!!


              Nite  ZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

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Friday, June 7, 2013

Denise's DNA Day at SCGS Jamboree

Editor's note: This post was written by Denise Hibsch Richmond. 

Dateline:  Burbank, California, 80 deg.
Today was DNA Thursday, a pre-Jamboree day-long event.  Its official title was "FAMILY HISTORY AND DNA: GENETIC GENEALOGY IN 2013".  The Southern California Genealogical Society (SCGS) and the International Society for Genetic Genealogy (ISOGG) jointly sponsored this conference dedicated to exploring the use of DNA as a tool in tracing our families.

My husband Scott and I attended this conference because I was ready to dip my toes into the DNA waters.  (As many of you know, Scott is a good sport, attending many conferences with me as my aide de camp.)  As it turned out, the waters were deep. 

Watch Your Phraseology Girlie Girl
I thought of this line said by the Mayor of River City as he admonished his daughter in The Music Man.  Not that DNA terms are 'fresh', just that terminology is key to understanding DNA, from what test to select to understanding your results.  Autosomal, mitochondria, centimorgan, haplotype, subclade, phasing, switching errors, bootstrapping, and the list goes on.  Then there's the alphabet soup of DNA.  Just as well, these are 'sciencey', sometimes multisyllabic words that call out for an acronym, such as SNP, STR, IBD, IBS and more.  The syllabus included a lengthy vocabulary list, definitely driving home the importance of knowing what the DNA experts are talking about.

These were the classes we attended today. 

Chromosome Mapping for Genealogical Purposes by Tim Janzen MD. This presentation described techniques of doing chromosome mapping and triangulation using autosomal DNA results from 23andMe's test and Family Tree DNA's Family Finder.

DNA and Family History: Getting the Most out of 23andMe’s Genealogical Features by Joanna Mountain PhD.  23andMe is one of three genetic testing services.  The others are FamilyTree DNA and AncestryDNA.  This class provided step-by-step examples that revealed how DNA can be used to solve family mysteries.

Genetic Genealogy: Beginner Basics by Emily Aulicino.  Ah, this was for me - basic, terminology.

An Inside Look at AncestryDNA by Ken Chahine PhD, JD.  New capabilities of DNA coupled with may lead to new discoveries about your family story.  I learned that I am too new DNA to be trying to understand emerging technology.

So, what DNA service will I select?  Don't know...yet.

Guess I'll sleep on it. 

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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Fridays Face From the Past - Jamboree

)Editor's note: Today's post was written by Sandra Gardner-Benward

              Family History & DNA: Genetic Genealogy 2013
                            Southern California Genealogical Society - Burbank, California

Things really started early today. Up at 5:45am (YES a.m.) shower, dress, down for breakfast, Pick up registration material and bag after 7am, Opening session started at 8am. (have to say I am already dragging and I haven't done anything yet-oh boy!)

Opening Session: "The Genographic Project and the Rise of Citizen Science" with Stephen Wells Ph.D - a leading population  geneticist. The scientist, author, and documentary filmmaker has dedicated much of his career to studying humankind's family tree and closing the gaps in our knowledge of human migration. He authored "The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey, an award winning book and documentary that aired on PBS in the United States and the National Geographic Channel internationally.

Wells says, "The Genographic Project has used the latest genetic tools technology to expand our knowledge of the human story, and its pioneering use of DNA testing to engage and involve the public in the research effort has helped to create a new breed of "citizen scientist." [Citizen Scientists are educated informed citizens that participate in the DNA process and offer help]

First Session for me: "Genetic Tools: What They Are and When to Use Them" with Bennett Greenspan -  he founded FamilyTreeDNA in 2000, an entrepreneur and life-long genealogy euthusiast.

There are 3 ways that DNA can be used to solve a family puzzle. Each tool is on who is available in the family for testing and what you are trying to achieve. The choices are Y-DNA which is only for men and goes from father to father to father,  mtDNA which everyone gets from their mothers, and last Autosomal DNAm which man and women can take. It is a good test for adoptees. It is a short term look.

Next was LUNCH with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Ph.D............ you may remember him from "Finding Your Roots" on TV.  And he announced that it has been picked up for another season, so keep your eyes out for it... probably in the fall. He is a professor, director, author.  He has authored 16 books and is the recipient of fifty-one honorary degrees and numerous awards.
It was a typical chicken luncheon, desert was great. Mr. Gates told us about his life, his love of genealogy and all the experiences he has had. He has a great sense of humor. We watched a quick video of clippings from the last couple of years of Finding Your Roots.

                           I was sure it was time for a nap but can't take time now, maybe later.
Next session: "Using Third-Party Tools to Analyze Your Autosomal DNA Results" with Blaine Bettinger, Ph,D.  During the daytime he is an intellectual property attorney that helps pay for his genealogical addiction.
DNA testing companies provide an analysis of test results, there are many third-party tools that allow test-takers to use those results to learn even more about their genomic heritage. We identified several third party sites for your raw DNA data - GEDmatch, Promethease, David Pike's DNA comparison utilities, Interpretome to name a few. Bettinger gave us the step by step instructions on how to download your raw DNA data from your testing company (FamilyTreeDNA, AncestryDNA, 23 and me). We talked about uploading the raw DNA data to a third party site, and he talked about using third party tools for your DNA. Lots to think about.
Next session: "Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) Tools and Techniques to Go Beyond Basics" with Debbie Parker Wayne CG, CGL is a full time genealogist experienced using laws and DNA analysis.
Wayne used case studies to demonstrate databases and analysis methods using mtDNA for genealogy. She reminds us that you wouldn't use just DNA without the follow up paper work and research. Again, what is it you want to learn? What is the goal? Who is alive to provide a DNA sample in the line of interest?
I think I am going to talk to FamilyTreeDNA and AncestryDNA over this conference time. I would like to get myself tested. Now I know the difference between the different mtDNA tests and I want to only consider the FULL mtDNA test.  

Last session of the day: "An inside Look at AncestryDNA" with Dr Ken Chahine. He has served as Senior Vice President and General Manager for AncestryDNA, LLC since 2011. AncestryDNA has integrated some of the latest DNA technology to the family history resources on A lot of discussion but didn't really understand much of it, I am trying, but it didn't work this time. Sorry.
The very last session of the day was called a Resource Hour. In the Pavilion Tent (large tent outside) there were 22 round 10-seat tables. Each table was assigned a specific topic and an expert. They were there to answer questions on the topics if possible.  
What a great idea. I headed for the General Help with DNA tests table. Talked with a gal about my brothers Y-DNA test results. I got my answers and I feel more comfortable about it now. I tried another table Advanced Y-DNA SNPS. I wanted to discuss what SNPS are. Somehow I don't really remember this term from other DNA sessions in the past. But the leader was too busy.
Caught up with Denise and Scott Richmond for dinner. A lot of comparing of notes about sessions that we took today. After dinner we walked back to the convention center to pick up our JAMBOREE material and new bag. So now we are looking through our syllabus and schedule. Picking classes for the next couple of days, updating the Jamboree App. I love this app, just has everything you would need, except for the syllabus.
Hey, just curious, anyone watch any of the pay-per-view sessions today? I like to know which ones and what you thought of them. Contact Me. 
I think I am ready for tomorrow, so off to bed - I am so tired  NITE!!

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