29 January 2010

"Faces of America" - Genealogy Program on PBS

Time to set those TiVos and VCRs. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., is back with another in his extraordinary series of family history programs. Using genealogy techniques and DNA, Dr. Gates presents the history of twelve diverse individuals, including Meryl Streep, Yo-Yo Ma, Kristi Yamaguchi, Dr. Oz, Stephen Colbert and Queen Noor of Egypt.

"Faces of America" airs nationwide on Wednesdays February 10 to March 3 at 9:00, 8:00 Central time.

Here's a taste of what you will see: 

28 January 2010

We're Number 1,433,977! We're Number 1,433,997!

According to ant.com, SCGSGenealogy.com is the 1,433,977th most visited website of the internet. That’s up from 1,770,013th. No where to go but up!


Sneak Peek at "Who Do You Think You Are?"

Genealogists from Hawaii to Maine are anxiously awaiting the debut of the NBC program, "Who Do You Think You Are?" Modeled after the successful UK series, the NBC version starts on Friday, March 5, at 8:00 p.m.

Watch the trailer to get a sneak peek at the series:

27 January 2010

Genealogy Bargain Alert!

Today's Bargains - Family Tree Maker 2010 and Footnote.com

We'll bring you notices of discounts as we hear about them. Please note that discounts will typically be for a short period, so keep checking the website or blog to keep in touch.

Note: Bargain alerts do not indicate endorsement of any product or service by the Southern California Genealogical Society.

Family Tree Maker 2010 is on sale through January 31, 2010. The offer is a 25% discount. The usual $39.95 price is reduced to $29.96. Family Tree Maker is a product for Windows systems. All of the details can be found here - check it out.

If you're a member of NEHGS (New England Historic Genealogical Society) you can take advantage of a great deal on Footnote.com. As noted in the NEHGS eNews: "Until February 28, 2010, all current NEHGS members can purchase an annual subscription to Footnote for only $29.95 (a significant reduction in the regular price of $79.95). This is a one-of-a-kind offer to the complete Footnote collection that Footnote hopes will signify their deep appreciation of NEHGS as an organization. To learn more about this offer, please visit www.newenglandancestors.org/database_search/9224.asp." Current Footnote.com subscribers can take advantage of this bargain, too, to extend their subscription another 12 months.

Source: NEHGS eNews Vol. 13, No. 3, Whole #462, January 20, 2010.

26 January 2010

Keep Your Family Tree on Your iPhone

SCGS member Heidi Ziegler sent the following note about a new offering from Ancestry.com.  "Tree to Go" allows Ancestry customers to view the trees that they have posted online.
When I'm running around doing genealogy research, I've often wished for a great iPhone app that will allow me to access my family tree. Now Ancestry.com has just come out with "Tree To Go"! Heidi reports, "I can now access all my trees, modify vital information and events, and add photos for each of my relatives no matter where I am."

The only function not available in the current release is the capability to search Ancestry.com's vast record collection. I look forward to that in the next release! (hint hint Ancestry.com)

If you'd like to become more Ancestry.com-savvy, visit the SCGS Library. The Ancestry.com Library Edition is installed on our computers and SCGS members may use any of the SCGS online databases as a benefit of  membership.  Our SCGS volunteers will help guide your search. 

HEZiegler - SCGS Board member
To use this new technology, you must have: 
  1. An Ancestry.com account
  2. At least one family tree must be uploaded to Ancestry.com (this is an Ancestry online tree application, not a Family Tree Maker app).
  3. An iPhone® or iPod® Touch (2nd generation or higher, with software version 3.0 or higher)
Links to other comments about the Ancestry iPhone app:
  1. Ancestry Tree-To-Go
  2. Kevin Lett's Virginia Family Tree Genealogy blog
  3. Is that a Family Tree in your Pocket?

Revision to SCGS By-Laws

At its meeting on Thursday, January 21, the Board of Directors amended ARTICLE III: Members of the By-Laws of the Southern California Genealogical Society. The revision clarifies the definition of an "annual" member (renamed "individual" member) and also refines the definition of a "family" membership (renamed "joint" membership).

To read the updated By-Laws, visit the SCGS Website.

21 January 2010

SCGS Officers Elected for 2010

Congratulations and a big thank-you to the following SCGS members for their willingness to serve as an officer for 2010.

President - Pam Wiedenbeck
First Vice President - Paula Hinkel
Second Vice President - Joan Phillips
Recording Secretary - Alice Fairhurst
Corresponding Secretary - Fran Bumann
Treasurer - Louise Calaway
Financial Secretary - Peggy Schulz

Marilyn Heck was also appointed to serve a one-year term as Board member at large.

18 January 2010

Who's Visiting the SCGS Website?

Have you noticed the small map at the lower right hand corner of the SCGS main page? It lets us know the countries in which our website visitors live. The 2009 map has been archived and the little red dots showing on the current map are from visits in 2010.

Here are the counts from 2009:

23,565 - United States
    360 - Canada
    194 - United Kingdom
     97 - Germany
     74 - Australia
     44 - Ireland
     42 - Netherlands
     37 - New Zealand
     31 - India
     28 - France
     27 - Israel
     18 - Mexico
     15 - Italy
     14 - China
     13 - Norway
     11 - Switzerland
     11 - Philippines
     10 - Sweden
     10 - Brazil
     10 - Spain

Countries with fewer than 10 visits:

Czech Republic, Denmark, Poland, Virgin Islands US, Argentina, Romania, Singapore,  Malaysia, Russian Federation, Japan, Ukraine, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, French Polynesia, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, Greece, Nigeria, Paraguay, Bulgaria, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, Slovakia, Austria, Luxembourg, Kenya, Uruguay, Finland, Croatia, Serbia, Belgium, Hungary, Chile, Iceland, Portugal, Federated States of Micronesia, American Samoa, Taiwan, Pakistan, Myanmar, Guatemala, Peru,  Venezuela, Nicaragua, Thailand, Bahamas, Jordan, Algeria, Costa Rica, Turkey, Georgia, Indonesia, Cyprus, Egypt, Bermuda, Lebanon, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

17 January 2010

Tell Us About Your Genealogy Success

As we start out a new decade of exploring our family history, let's take a few minutes to tell everyone about a recent discovery or research success.

Did you find a box of birth, marriage and death records under the Christmas tree? It happened to me once and I have never forgotten the thrill of opening that stuffed envelope.

Did you stretch your research legs by looking for a new type of record or document? If so, what surprises did you find?

Help encourage your fellow genealogists and share the good news.  Send your successes to us by email at phinkel@scgsgenealogy.com or by posting a comment to this blog. 

15 January 2010

New Los Angeles County Marriage Index Published

Los Angeles County, California Marriages: Volumes 11 - 15
Published by the Southern California Genealogical Society

The most recent volume of California Marriage Index, published by the Southern California Genealogical Society, contains a transcription of the information included on each of the 2,538 marriages listed. The index presented is an every name index that includes all of the grooms, brides, wedding officials, witnesses, and alternative names. This comprehensive transcription approach yielded an index of almost 14,000 entries.

The period covered by the transcription is approximately from September 1885 through July 1888. There are, however, a few certificates outside that range: one in 1878, one in 1879, one in 1881, two in 1883, two in 1884 and six between May 1885 and August 1885.

Approximately 50 percent of the records contain comments made by the recorder. The comments pertained to many different things, including past marriages and marital status of the bride and groom (widowed, divorced, single), names of parents, and nativity of parents. Any remarks made on a document are listed as “Clerk’s remark(s) written on document.” If our transcriber had a special observation or comment, it is added to the transcription as “Inputter’s Comment.”

Many of the entries in the volumes were difficult to read so we have made every effort to give alternative spellings which are identified as “Alternative Bride’s Name” or “Alternative Groom’s Name.” The name on the license often differed from the name on the actual marriage entry. If that is the case, both names are listed.

Appendix A gives every combination of name and identifying information for the Marriage Official listed in the certificates. This may allow the researcher to determine the religion and/or exact physical location where the marriage took place.

The following presentation format is used:

Groom’s surname, given name - age, birthplace, residence, marriage date, marriage official & and identifying information (if given) TO: Bride’s given name and surname - age, birthplace, residence. Marriage location, if given. Witness names followed by their residence when given.

We have made every effort to minimize the errors in our transcription. We sincerely apologize for those errors which were not caught.

The original marriage records reside in the basement of the Los Angeles County Clerk/Recorder’s Office in Norwalk, California.

The Publication Committee, together with Southern California Genealogical Society’s Board of Directors, extends a special “Thank you” to Dr. William Tully and our panel of proofreaders. These individuals are primarily responsible for completing this publication.

The Marriage Index costs $35 and can be ordered from the SCGS website.

Genographic Project Newsletter Features SCGS DNA Interest Group

The activities of the SCGS DNA Interest Group reached the eyes and ears of The National Geographic. The group's activities were featured in the Volume 4, Issue 4, of the Genographic Project newsletter.

Read the newsletter article here.

According to Alice Fairhurst, DNA Interest Group chair, "We got the idea for the experiment from the latest Spencer Wells show ... We knew that many people could name their haplogroups, but didn't have a real sense of their importance nor where the haplogroups were first found. The demonstration made it much more real..."

Congratulations to Alice Fairhurst, Bonnie Cook and the other DNA Interest Group members.

Photos courtesy Alan Cook

Ancestry Magazine to Cease Publication

As an avid reader of Ancestry Magazine, I was sad to read the following notice that was posted on the Ancestry Magazine website:

For 25 years, Ancestry magazine has been a valuable, timely resource for family history professionals, hobbyists, and novices alike. For a variety of reasons, the time has come for us to discontinue publication. Over the last few years, we have found that with the expanded accessibility of terrific family history content published online at Ancestry.com we can reach a larger and broader audience than the limited distribution of a print publication.

The March/April 2010 issue will be the final issue of Ancestry magazine. Subscribers to Ancestry magazine with current subscriptions that will not be completed by the mailing of the March/April 2010 magazine will receive prorated refunds. Subscribers will find a letter enclosed with their final issue informing them of these details. We are also no longer selling new magazine subscriptions nor renewing those that have expired. Single copies of past issues, including the upcoming March/April issue, will be available for purchase in our online store.

With Ancestry magazine we have loved the opportunity we’ve had to write about the best of what we found in the world of family history. We thank our readers and contributors for sharing our enthusiasm for all things genealogy.


The Ancestry Magazine Staff

Periodicals Survey - Please Participate

If you have not yet shared your opinions in the SCGS Periodicals Survey, please do so at your earliest opportunity. We need to have your input in order to be able to provide the periodicals you want.

We are asking for feedback about our two quarterly periodicals, The Searcher and The News & Notes. The Board is facing financial and editorial decisions on these publications, and the decisions will affect every SCGS member. We need to hear your opinions now.

The survey should take no more than 10 to 15 minutes of your time, depending on your answers. If you would like, you may temporarily pause the interview and finish it later.

Your comments will remain confidential and your responses will be reported to the Strategic Planning committee only in summary form, combined with other respondents' answers. Click on the following link to take the survey:


Thank you in advance for your participation.

14 January 2010

US version of "Who Do You Think You Are" on NBC's Schedule

The long-awaited US version of the popular British television program, "Who Do You Think You Are" is now slated to premier on Friday, March 5 at 8pm, 7pm Central. According to NBC's announcement, the show will run through April 30.

We hope this program will spur a renewed interest in genealogy, like what occurred following "Roots." It's a wonderful time for all of us to bring new members to the SCGS Library and into the Society. The newcomers will be grateful for the information and the Society will continue to thrive and grow.

San Francisco Four Days before the Quake

Thanks to Kathryn Doyle of the California Genealogical Society for tweeting about this fascinating film footage. It's film shot from a cable car traveling down Market Street in San Francisco, just four days before the quake and fire. Whether or not you have San Francisco ancestors, you'll find this film worth your time.

The caption on Flixxy explains: "This film, originally thought to be from 1905 until David Kiehn with the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum figured out exactly when it was shot. From New York trade papers announcing the film showing to the wet streets from recent heavy rainfall & shadows indicating time of year & actual weather and conditions on historical record, even when the cars were registered (he even knows who owned them and when the plates were issued!).. It was filmed only four days before the quake and shipped by train to NY for processing..."

13 January 2010

Board Members: Good-Bye and Hello

As the calendar page turns to 2010, we have seen a change in the composition of the Officers and Board members.

Retiring is long-time Treasurer, Betty C. Jones (top photo). It's not quite true that she started the job using an abacus, but she has fulfilled that important responsibility since July 2001. In recognition of her contribution to the Society, the Board awarded Betty with a lifetime membership in SCGS.

Also leaving the Board after three years of duty is Jim Fryman, who was responsible for the Jamboree raffle drawing. Jim and his wife Pat also organized the silent auction for the annual meeting.

Returning to the Board are Charlotte Bocage, Jay Holladay, and Louise Calaway, who served as Assistant Treasurer for the past couple of years. These volunteers, as well as our newest Board member, Heidi Ziegler (bottom photo), were elected for three-year terms in the recent election.

Up to three additional Board members may be appointed as Directors at Large when the Board meets on Thursday, January 21.

Thank you to all of these devoted SCGS supporters for their willingness to lead the organization.

12 January 2010

The German Collection Starts 2010 Organized

The German Collection is one of the special collections held at the SCGS Family Research Library. Thanks to a dedicated team of volunteers, the German collection is now organized by SCGS’s modified Dewey order.

All books that have been cataloged by SCGS are now shelved in order and ready to join the normal shelf reading review to keep them that way. We are also excited to join this coming year’s general collection inventory.

All books not in the SCGS catalog have been segregated together … a whopping four bookcases!

What does this mean to researchers? If it’s in the catalog, you should be able to find it. This “sprucing-up” project may cause some short-term frustrations as some researchers may expect to find uncatalogued works on a certain shelf. This brings us to the next phase of this project – a concentrated effort to catalog those four bookcases of uncatalogued works.

Join the effort!

Help us ready books for cataloging. It’s easy! Join us any Thursday (Germanic Research Team), the third Saturday of the month (German Interest Group – next meeting January 16th), and now, the first Tuesday evenings of the month (4pm to 9pm). Our first work group was Tuesday, January 5th. No German language skills are necessary. Even one hour will make a big difference.

We’d like to thank Lin LaRochelle for helping us ready the space, Maureen Schoenky for dedicating hours to sorting the old GGSA materials, and Lois Burlo for her enthusiasm. And a very special thank you to Joel Fritsche and Denny Ertsman for providing the muscle and donating 6 hours on a beautiful “I’d rather be outside” Saturday.

With Best Wishes for the New Year,

Heidi Ziegler (member SCGS Board & Librarian first Tuesday evening of the month)
Lynne Parmenter (member Long Range Planning Committee & German Interest Group)

Introducing the SCGSGenealogy Blog

In our continuing efforts to make it easy for our members and potential members to stay in touch with the Southern California Genealogical Society, we have launched an SCGS Society web log, referred to as a "blog."

Through the magic of technology, blog posts will be displayed both on the blog and on the main page of the SCGS website. The blog posts will replace the former "Breaking News" section.

All of the posts that appear on the CA-SCGS email list will also be sent through the blog.

In addition to SCGS news, we will also post general news from the genealogical community bloggers. The posts will help keep you updated on new publications, research tools and events in areas outside of Southern California that may be of interest to you.

We hope that you will enjoy reading the SCGS blog. If you have any comments or suggestions for material that you would like to see on the blog, please leave a comment or send an email to phinkel@scgsgenealogy.com