Welcome to the CCCGS blog.

The purpose of this blog is to promote the Contra Costa County Genealogical Society by announcing upcoming events and reporting on past events. In doing so, I hope it will encourage all who are interested to attend any of our events and meetings, and share in our enthusiasm of genealogical research.

December 23, 2011

Follow Friday -- Genealogy Sites Pressured Into Removing SSDI

There has been a lot written about the removal of the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) from Rootsweb.com.  The index can be viewed behind the pay wall of Ancestry.com (the parent owner of Rootsweb.com) but the deaths in the last 10 years have the Social Security number removed.

Kimberly Powell of About.com has written a further update on the issue.  View it here to see her summary of the status of the SSDI.

It is a real shame to remove an index that was created to prevent fraud because of some incidences of fraud in tax returns.  Hopefully those in power will finally see that.

Lisa Gorrell
Copyright © 2011 by Contra Costa County Genealogical Society.

December 9, 2011

Follow Friday -- The Top 5 Reasons I Listen to Webinars

Marian Pierre-Louis is a genealogist researching primarily in the New England area.  She also enjoys researching the history of houses.  She has presented in her blog, Marian's Roots and Rambles, on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011, 5 great reasons to watch/listen to genealogy-related Webinars.

What is a Webinar?  It is basically a seminar presented over the Internet.  They are becoming very popular as a new medium to present genealogy topics.  You can view them live and participate, or view them as a download to watch when you want to.  You hear the speaker's voice, see their slide show, and often receive handouts.

I have watched/listened to some great Webinars produced by Legacy Family Tree including lecturers Marian Pierre-Louis, Thomas MacEntee, Maureen Taylor, Lisa Alzo, and Daniel Lynch, and by Michael John Neill.  Many are free and some have a nominal price.  It's a great way to hear the lecture from a well-known genealogist who seldom comes out West.  It's a great way to hear a lecture in your own time-frame.  You don't have to get dressed up to go to a seminar.  You can watch at your own leisure in your PJs if you want.

So give a Webinar a try!  I'm sure you're like them.

by Lisa Gorrell
Copyright © 2011 by Contra Costa County Genealogical Society.

November 7, 2011

ArkivDigital for free Nov 12-13 2011

 ArkivDigtal is free during the Swedish Archival Days Nov 12-13. The images in ArkivDigital is in color and photos of the original documents. Not a microfilm copy. ArkivDigital is my first choice when I read Swedish church books.

For more information see Arkiv Digital for free  .

Copyright © 2011 by Contra Costa County Genealogical Society.

November 4, 2011

General Meeting - Thursday, Nov 10, 2011 - Vera Boyles

Vera Boyles will give a presentation on "Tips to Make Your Research Easier."  This is sure to be a very interesting talk.  Everyone can use tips to make their research easier and faster.  The meeting begins at 7 P.M.  The location is the LDS Church at 1360 Alberta Way, Concord.  Guests are welcome!

Copyright © 2011 by Contra Costa County Genealogical Society.

Follow Friday -- Legacy Family Tree Webinar

Today, Mary Hill presented a webinar with the Legacy Family Tree.  Her webinar is available for free viewing until November 14.  Here is the writeup about the webinar:
FamilyRoots Organizer System.  Researchers need a simple way to organize genealogy records. The FamilyRoots Organizer System is easy to understand, simple to set up, and simple to use. Join us to learn the system and find out how using Legacy you can color-code your families to coordinate with your paper files.
This is a great seminar for someone who wants to become better organized.  She shows how, with supplies purchased at your neighborhood office supply store, to create a file system so you can file and find your research results.  It's a color coded system: blue for your father's father line, green for your father's mother line, red for your mother's father line, and yellow for your mother's mother line.  Give the webinar a try!


Copyright © 2011 by Contra Costa County Genealogical Society.

October 28, 2011

Follow Friday -- 4 Easy Tips for Preserving Digital Photos

The Library of Congress has several blogs on their website and one, The Signal, is about digital preservation.  Each post is written by different employees.  This post, written by Butch Lazorchak, about the 4 easy tips to preserve digital photos is very informative.
"We’ve come up with four simple steps to start you on the digital preservation path: Identify, Decide, Organize, and Make copies (I.D.O.M. anybody?).
Click on the link "four simple steps" and it will take you to the Library of Congress Digital Photographs page with a nice tidy article on how to save your digital photos.

I found the four steps simple to follow and I hope you do, too.

Copyright © 2011 by Contra Costa County Genealogical Society.

October 14, 2011

"Where's the Proof" by Corey Oiesen

Corey Oiesen
Last night, Oct. 13, 2011, Corey Oiesen spoke to us about how to evaluate sources.  She showed some wonderful resources for reading up on evaluating sources, writing source citations, and following the Genealogical Proof Standard. (See below for a list of books).

She started with defining the difference between Original or Derivative Sources, whether the information in a source is primary or secondary information, and whether the information answers the research question (direct evidence) or can be paired with other information to answer the question (indirect evidence).  She showed wonder images that helped explain the concepts.

She also talked about the informant and that sources can have more than on informant.  For example, the death certificate has the doctor as the informant about the illness and cause of death, while the genealogical information is usually given by a family member.  (For more information on this subject, go here).

She spoke about conflicting evidence and how it is important to keep track of all of the evidence that you find and to write about why you think the evidence is conflicting.  This is for yourself as well as for future researchers.

Lastly she spoke about source citations.  These help show your research path and will enable a future researcher to find the sources you used.

Corey's informative presentation, with the many examples she used, made what could be a very dry subject, very entertaining.  She was a wonderful speaker.

Good reference books she showed were:

Professional Genealogy: a Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers, and Librarians edited by Elizabeth Shown Mills.  Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2001.

The BCG Genealogical Stands Manual.  Board for Certification of Genealogists, Prove, Utah: Ancestry Publishing, 2000.

Evidence Explained, Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace, by Elizabeth Shown Mills.  Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2009.

October 7, 2011

Follow Friday -- NARAtions: The Blog of the National Archives

I really enjoy reading the NARAtions (blog of the National Archives) because I learn something about the National Archives.  I think a lot of people think the National Archives is kind of mysterious.  What kinds of records do they have besides census, military, and land records?  So I'm always ready to learn of new records.

However, this blog post is about the 1940 census which will be released to the public April 2012.  "Family Tree Friday: Were You at Work?  The 1940 Census employment status (Part I)" at NARAtions.  It is written by Diane Petro, who is an Archives Technician in the Archives I Research Support Branch (RD-DC), Research Services, Archival Operations – Washington, DC.

She writes about columns 21 through 24 which addresses employment status. It's a nice write-up and there are images of the census forms, too. Take a look at the article and see for yourself.

General Meeting -- October 13, 2011

Last month, Lisa Louise Cooke gave a wonderful lecture on using Google.com as genealogical research strategies.  She talked about:

  • Basic Google searches
  • Advanced Search Operators, such as the tilde (~), asterisk (*), and numrange search
  • Advanced search strategies such as Google's advance search, related searches, and site searches
  • Google Books searches
  • Google News Timeline
She has a wonderful book which explains this and much more.  The Genealogist's Google Toolbox.  Check it out at http://www.genealogygems.tv/GoogleforGenealogy.htm.

This month our speaker, Corey Oiesen will speak about “Identifying and Citing Genealogy Sources."  This is always a good topic.  Citing our sources is very important.  I'm looking forward to this lecture.

August 23, 2011

General Meeting -- September 8, 2011 -- Lisa Louise Cooke

We have a special treat this month. Lisa Louise Cooke will speak about how to make better searches using Google.com. The meeting starts at 7:00 P.M. and is located in the LDS Church, 1360 Alberta Way, Concord, CA.  See below for details of our speaker:

Ultimate Google Search Strategies

Frustrated by thousands of irrelevant search results when you search for your family using Google? Do you want to achieve better results in a shorter amount of time? Learn the art of online search with Genealogy Podcaster and Google Expert Lisa Louise Cooke, author of the book The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox. In this class you will expand your Google search repertoire and learn techniques, tricks and tips to achieve better genealogical search results.

Lisa Louise Cooke is the Producer and Host of the Genealogy Gems Podcast, a free online genealogy audio show at www.GenealogyGems.com and in iTunes. She is the author of the books Genealogy Gems: Ultimate Research Strategies and The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox, and the Google Earth for Genealogy DVD series, an international conference speaker, and writer for Family Tree Magazine in the U.S.

August 9, 2011

Blogiversary -- Aug 9, 2011

On August 9, 2010 this blog was born.  Members of the Board of Directors of the Contra Costa County Genealogical Society here in Concord, California thought that forming a blog would help us get our message out to the world (or at least the surrounding area), acquire more members (we could always use more), and share the love of genealogy (who doesn't love it?).  We got off to a good start, but then "life got in the way" and blog posts were infrequent.

Now we're have picked up the frequency of posts by writing about upcoming speakers, the meetings themselves, and other events we have participated in.  Other genealogical topics will be written about in the future.  Stay tuned for our next year of blogging!

August 7, 2011

Genealogy at the Peddler's Faire

Membership Drive at the Peddler's Faire
Saturday, August 6, 2011 found several members staffing a booth at the Peddler's Faire in downtown Martinez.  They had a fun day, talking to hundreds of passerby's about genealogy in general and our society in specific.

Many people said they didn't even know we existed.  That is why we are now making an effort to publicize our society and happenings.  Talking face-to-face with people is always a great way to let people know who you are and what you do.

We handed out our brochure and the flyer for the October 15th Digging for Your Roots.  We also had a signup sheet for 3 months of our online newsletter, Diablo Descendants.

Hopefully we will see some new faces at our next meeting, Thursday, September 8, 2011 at the LDS Church,  1360 Alberta Way, Concord.

© 2011 Contra Costa County Genealogical Society

June 20, 2011

General Meeting -- Jun 9, 2011 -- Richard Finn on Tri-Valley Civil War Veterans

23 members in were in attendance to hear Richarad Finn speak about Civil War Veterans who lived in the greater Tri-Valley area (from Alamo down to Sunol and from Dublin/Pleasanton to Altamont).  He is very active with genealogical and historical societies in the Tri-Valley area.  One fact he mentioned was that Danville was a hotbed of the Confederacy. He recommended using “Footnote.com”. Other sites recommended were “Find a Grave”, “Interment.net”, ”CA Pre-1905 Records at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~cabf1905/, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War at  http://suvcw.org/,  National Park Service website on the Civil War at http://witd.nps.gov/cwss/index.html, Alexander Street Press at http://alexanderstreet.com/, and Cyndi's List http://www.cyndislist.com/.

This was also our first meeting with a new time and format.  We began the general meeting promply at 7 PM with some announcements:
  • The society is soliciting old family photos (copies) to be used for display purposes, including the PH Library display case.
  • FHC wants to start the Christmas party at 6:00 or 6:30, as they feel eating at 7:30 is too late. Feedback was not too positive. Members were asked to think about this suggestion for later decision.
  • The Fall FGS Conference will be Septermber 10-11 in Springfield, Illinois. Brochures are available.
  • Tech-Talk, a previous newsletter column, has been superseded by Tech-Tips, appearing on Family Search. Susan Swindell emailed information on this from Eastman’s newsletter.
  • A clipboard was passed seeking information about members areas of expertise. An attempt is being made to gather a resource/area of interest pool of information to help new members and outsiders with questions. Three members responded.
  • Jackie Hein, FHC Liason, announced a FHC Concord Open House in October, but at the Denkinger location.
  • 5) Research Trips - Lynne Gould announced a trip to CGS, Oakland, 18th June, car pool PH Library. $5 for non members
Following the announcements was the new "Teaching Moment."  
  • An example was shown of the improper way to take a photo of your document at a library by not including the book cover and frontispiece. Also the difficulty which would arise locating a name whose obituary mentioned that the individual’s name had been changed entirely.
  • Susan Swindell requested assistance with Arizona records. 
  • Discussed was where to find information on the seemingly never ending French/Indian Wars.
  • Sven-Ove shared printouts showing how Google Books could be used for the earliest naturalized citizen’s papers.
Refreshments served - general genealogy chat ensued, followed by the speaker.

General Meeting -- July 14, 2011 "Genealogy Records at Granite Mountain"

The Contra Costa County Genealogical Society will meet promptly at 7:00 PM, July 14, 2011 at the LDS Church, 1360 Alberta Way, Concord. Following a short business meeting and refreshments, a video will be shown on the underground storage of genealogy records in the Granite Mountain Facility in Utah.

The Granite Mountain facilities feature a dry, environment-controlled facility used for long-term record storage, as well as administrative offices, shipping and receiving docks, a processing facility and restoration laboratory for microfilm.[1]  Records stored include genealogical information contained in over 2.4 million rolls of microfilm and 1 million microfiche. This equals about 3 billion pages of family history records. The vault's library of microfilm increases by up to 40,000 rolls per year. Since 1999, the church has been digitizing the genealogical microfilms stored in the vault. The church makes the records publicly available through its Family History Centers, as well as online at its FamilySearch website.

[1] "Granite Mountain Records Vault", Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Granite_Mountain_(Utah): accessed 20 June 2011).