San Mateo County Genealogical Society's Blog featuring society events, projects, meeting notes and other items of relevance to genealogists.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Announcing The National Emergency Library

Logo Design Contributed by Yiying Lu
Announcing The National
Emergency Library
During this unprecedented time in history, access to printed books is becoming difficult or impossible. COVID-19 is forcing students, educators, and everyday readers to rely on digital books more than ever before. That’s why the Internet Archive has temporarily suspended all waitlists, allowing you to immediately check out any of the 1.4 million books currently in our lending library. Until June 30th or the end of the US national emergency (whichever comes later), every borrowable book will be immediately accessible by anyone—creating, in effect, a National Emergency Library.
READ THE ANNOUNCEMENT
As of March 19th, almost a billion students around the world have been affected by school closures, obstructing their access to educational materials. Thousands of community and academic libraries have been forced to close their physical locations as well, further complicating the lives of readers. We hope that this new policy will provide everybody with the resources to keep reading—whether you need classic literaturescience textbooksgenre fiction, or even just bedtime story material. We have also doubled the number of books you can check out at a time from 5 to 10, so borrow away!
START BROWSING
All these materials can also be found on Open Library—our online catalogue of published books. And not only can you find books in Open Library, but you can also curate and share reading lists, browse by genre to find new discoveries, and easily share what you're reading on social media. If we don't have the book in our collection, then the Sponsor A Book feature lets you decide what we digitize next!
VISIT THE LIBRARY
If you have questions about the new policy, you can browse our FAQ here. And if you want some tips and tricks for using our interface to read online, you can visit our help center!
GET HELP
Here at the Internet Archive, we believe that access to knowledge is a fundamental human right—and in a time of quarantines and school closures, providing that access is more important than ever. We hope that this change in our lending policy helps you find solutions during this period of uncertainty.

Thanks for being one of our patrons.


-The Internet Archive Team

Monday, March 23, 2020

Stay active and connected online

This is a great time to stay home in your bunny slippers and do some genealogy online.  Many  societies have webinars and tutorials available for free to the public.  Check out some of the offerings below:


FREE SCGS WEBINAR   http://www.scgsgenealogy.com
Saturday, April 4 at 10am (PST)

Foundations to Researching in Europe
by Julie Goucher

In this presentation we consider the broad elements of researching a European surname and then expand outwards to include other important factors such as culture, geography, borders and links with other areas outside of Europe, including the influence of European Empires. We too explore religion, history, languages including alphabet and dialects. We further address naming patterns across Europe.

Julie Goucher has been a keen genealogist since the late 1980s, and has a special interest in Italian and European family history. She is a published author and writes regularly for a number of genealogical magazines and journals. She is also the tutor for the Pharos course, Introduction to One-Name Studies.

WEBINARS   https://www.americanancestors.org/education/online-classes
Free and open to the public

Treasures of New England Historic Genealogical SocietyPresented by Curt DiCamillo, FRSA
Thursday, April 30 3:00 - 4:00 PM EDT
The New England Historic Genealogical Society has been collecting family treasures for 175 years. From exceptionally rare 17th-century Boston portraits to beautiful early American furniture to art and relics associated with John Hancock, our fine art collection spans three centuries of American history. Join Curator of Special Collections Curt DiCamillo, FRSA to hear the stories behind some of the "hidden-gems" in our collection and learn how to start researching the story of your own family treasures. Register today!
WHAT'S NEW AT AMERICANANCESTORS.ORG WEBINAR SERIES

AmericanAncestors.org is the award-winning website of New England Historic Genealogical Society and home to hundreds of databases with 1.4 billion searchable names, our robust online library catalog, digital manuscript collections, educational resources, and online periodicals with more being added each week. Stay up to date with what’s new at AmericanAncestors.org with this quarterly webinar series! Hear about new databases, search features, and resources only available at AmericanAncestors.org. Register below!

Thursday, April 9, 2020 3:00 - 4:00 PM EST
Thursday, July 9, 2020 3:00 - 4:00 PM EDT


NEHGS  Chat with a genealogist

SERVICE AVAILABLE TUESDAY–SATURDAY AFTERNOONS 3:00–4:00 PM EST
Do you have a quick genealogy or local history question? One that might be answered in five minutes or less? Enter it in the chat box provided below, and one of our genealogists will respond. NEHGS members can also send us questions through our Ask a Genealogist service. 
Florida State Genealogical Society  https://flsgs.org
16 Apr 2020 – Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG
Give Me---Your Huddled Masses Yearning to Breathe Free: Immigration and Naturalization
  • Webinar Abstract: Learn how our ancestors were naturalized; when, where, and what records were created; and the information that might be found in these records.
  • Presenter: Jeanne Larzalere Bloom specializes in Illinois problem solving and compilation, particularly Cook County.
Family History Library Class Calendar
To find the class webinar links visit https://familysearch.org/wiki/en/Family_History_Library and go to Classes and Online Webinars.










2020 RootsTech Sessions
https://www.rootstech.org/category/2020-rootstech-sessions



















And 2019 London RootsTech Sessions!  With accents!
https://www.rootstech.org/category/2019-london-rootstech-sessions


Thursday, March 19, 2020

The Virtual Genealogist March 19th

Here's a query which has VG stumped.  Our loyal readers offer some suggestions:

I am looking for a baptism record for my grandmother, Olive McCormack. Her parents were John Henry Arthur James (!)McCormack and Mary Jane Kelley. Her obituary (Powell, Wyoming Tribune of 17 Jan 1929) says she was born 17 Aug 1905 at Buncombe, Illinois. “When eight years old, she was baptised a member of the Latter Day Saints.” They were living in Independence, Missouri at the time. My assumption is that the family was part of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, RLDS, since the family did not move to Salt Lake City with Brigham Young. I found no record of her or her family in the LDS records in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Can anyone give me clues where to look?
_____________________________________________________________________
Sara Hayden responds:


1. Explore Jackson County (where Independence is located) on the Family Search Wiki: https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/Jackson_County,_Missouri_Genealogy.

2. Explore Jackson County Genealogical Society's website: http://www.jcgs.org/.

3. Explore Jackson County Historical Society's website: https://www.jchs.org/.

4. Explore Jackson County Clerk of the County's website: https://www.jacksongov.org/clerk. This is a large county, so I'd also suggest ...

5. Explore Independence, MO's, City Clerk website: https://www.ci.independence.mo.us/CityClerk/. Independence is the county seat and a suburb of Kansas City, KS.

6. From Wikipedia: "The Temple Lot, located in IndependenceJackson CountyMissouri, is the first site to be dedicated for the construction of a temple in the Latter Day Saint movement." LDS a big deal (may still be) in Independence. For full Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_Lot#Museum.

7. The Midwest Genealogy Center, a part of the Mid-Continent Public Library, is also located in Independence. Explore their site: https://www.mymcpl.org/genealogy. See especially Frequently Asked Questions on their "about" page for assistance: https://www.mymcpl.org/genealogy/mgc-information/about-mgc.

8. If our inquirer is local, I'd suggest visiting the Family History Center in Oakland (temporarily closed). The people who volunteer there are very helpful.
_________________________________________________________________
The VG responds:


http://www.latterdaytruth.org/pdf/101055.pdf

=================================================================
My very Southern g-g-gf left California during the Civil War for Mexico and wound up in Texas with a second wife, a widow that he’d married in Mississippi. In Texas he claimed his first wife had died, but she in fact outlived him and all but one of their children. I found no record of a divorce in the California counties where they had lived. Are there other places where one can look for a divorce record in the 1860s?  He was a lawyer, postmaster, mayor, and state senator in California so one might assume he had some knowledge of the legal system. 
__________________________________________________________________
The VG responds: Given that he held such prominent jobs, you have a good chance of finding out some of this story.  Here are some places you could look:
  • California census for the wife's marital status in the following years (1880 shows this, not all do).  Who is she living with?  Children?  Other family?  Does she own or rent?  
  • Are there any property records for her residence?  And for husband?
  • Military records for husband.  Who is listed as next of kin?
  • Newspapers for California.  Especially the social and legal pages.
  • Street directories for California.  Do they mention the wife?
  • Court records for that county.  Look for property or financial disputes.
  • Death records for wife and children.
  • County historical or genealogical societies for biographies or newspaper clippings.
  • Records and newsletters of fraternal, professional, or other organizations he belonged to.
  • Professional licensing organizations (bar association, etc.)
  • Religion! Is divorce not allowed?  Would she not give one?  You need a complete social history to make a reasonable assumption of what happened here.
It's possible there was no divorce, and that's why he left the area.  








Tuesday, March 17, 2020

The Virtual Genealogist March 18th

Here are some answers to yesterday's queries.  Want to play along?  Submit your queries and answers to publications@smcgs.org.

My grandparents, with all of their family of 10, immigrated from England (Croyden, south of London) to San Mateo County between 1907 and 1910, finding work on wealthy estates. 
They came “directly” to San Mateo as their intended destination, but I don’t know of the the stops along the way, or where they first entered the US.
Initial cursory attempts to search for immigration records have come up empty.

So, I have three questions:

1. Where/how do I focus my search to find their travel path and dates (e.g. ship records, immigration records)?

2. What would be common transport paths from England to San Mateo? Somewhere I heard to Canada, then to US at Detroit, the presumably by train to San Francisco. Others have said, Canada, cross Canada by train, then to SF via ship from BC, Canada. Were there a small number of most common paths for English immigrants during those years?

3. Any surmises in why in that era (1907-1910) a family of 10 would leave England and end up in San Mateo, apparently the intended destination from the get-go? They were lower working class, so I assume they saw a grim future in England. And perhaps they heard about the 1906 earthquake and the huge need for labor to rebuild, so they chose SF as their destination. Make sense? Any other thoughts?

__________________________________________________________________________
The VG responds:  If I wanted to leave Croyden in the 1906 (the date on the census page) I would probably hop a ship from Southampton to New York or Boston.  The Croyden aerodrome didn't open until 1920, and the Panama Canal wasn't completed until 1914.  Here are some places to look for ship lists.  Remember that there is a difference between manifests, ship lists, and arrival lists.

Not just from Norway:  Passenger lists and emigrant ships from Norway Heritage http://www.norwayheritage.com

Immigrant Ship Transcribers Guild   https://www.immigrantships.net
The Ships List http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/passengerlists/
Specifically for Southampton
https://www.gjenvick.com/Passengers/Ports/Southampton-PassengerLists.html


It's possible that they came through Canada.  As British citizens, this may have been easier.  The US did keep track of border crossings, so you could look here:
Border Crossings from Canada to U.S., 1895-1960  https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/1075/
And don't forget Ellis Island 1892 to 1924https://www.libertyellisfoundation.org

The transcontinental railway was opened in 1869.  This was a likely means of transport.  I haven't seen any passenger lists for the railway.  

Why would they want to leave Croyden?  Have you BEEN to Croyden?  OK, it's nicer now, but wasn't a hotbed of industry in 1906.
It looks like you might have some chain migration here.  A brother is in San Mateo.  Other things to consider:
Who did they come with?  Check the census and directories for possible friends and relatives.
Was religion a factor?
What was their occupation in England?  In the US?
What was going on in San Mateo in the 1910s?  Lumber?  Mining?  Construction?
Any financial incentives to come here?  Newspaper ads?  Employment?


Check the California Digital Newspaper Collection.  There are some articles about the estates you mentioned around that time period.  https://cdnc.ucr.edu

I always think there's a reason families moved to a particular place at a particular time.
- VG

=========================================================================
My family name gets spelled many different ways once you get back to the 17th and 18th C. What is the best way to decide on how you enter a name in Ancestry or your software of choice? Birth record? Death?  Also, how best to enter the names people went by when those bore no relation to their formal name.
____________________________________________________________________
The VG responds: The purpose of posting online for any site is for people to find you.  In this case, you're better off using the most common recent spelling for the name of the tree.  I've seen some names using variations with a slash "Smith/Smythe tree".  And I've seen come cases where it gets unmanageable, with every possible variation in the name in every single entry.

For your own records, you may find that the name changes over generations.  On my tree, I use the older spelling for those generations, switching to the recent one later.  Try to be consistent within the records for an individual, so that you don't end up with three different names for the same person.
Which to use when the records can't agree?  Birth records are usually reliable, death records less so, census not at all.  But I try to find the way my ancestor signed him/her self and use that.

When the name they used is not their legal/formal name?  The standard is usually to record the name as on documents, with the common name in brackets.  "John Percival (Bud) Smith".  Remember you want people to find them when they may not be aware of the common usage name.

And of course if you use too many spelling variations, it plays havoc with your index!
-VG




Sunday, March 15, 2020

The Virtual Genealogist March 16th

Can you help with this query?  Please send your suggestions to publications@smcgs.org.  Answers will be posted March 17th.

My grandparents, with all of their family of 10, immigrated from England (Croyden, south of London) to San Mateo County between 1907 and 1910, finding work on wealthy estates. Some census records conflict on exact years, but they are all 1907-1910. And I believe they came in at least two separate groups.

They came “directly” to San Mateo as their intended destination, but I don’t know of the the stops along the way, or where they first entered the US.

Initial cursory attempts to search for immigration records have come up empty.

So, I have three questions:

1. Where/how do I focus my search to find their travel path and dates (e.g. ship records, immigration records)?

2. What would be common transport paths from England to San Mateo? Somewhere I heard to Canada, then to US at Detroit, the presumably by train to San Francisco. Others have said, Canada, cross Canada by train, then to SF via ship from BC, Canada. Were there a small number of most common paths for English immigrants during those years?

3. Any surmises in why in that era (1907-1910) a family of 10 would leave England and end up in San Mateo, apparently the intended destination from the get-go? They were lower working class, so I assume they saw a grim future in England. And perhaps they heard about the 1906 earthquake and the huge need for labor to rebuild, so they chose SF as their destination. Make sense? Any other thoughts?


_______________________________________________________________

And another.  Try this one??

I am looking for a baptism record for my grandmother, Olive McCormack. Her parents were John Henry Arthur James (!)McCormack and Mary Jane Kelley. Her obituary (Powell, Wyoming Tribune of 17 Jan 1929) says she was born 17 Aug 1905 at Buncombe, Illinois. “When eight years old, she was baptised a member of the Latter Day Saints.” They were living in Independence, Missouri at the time. My assumption is that the family was part of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, RLDS, since the family did not move to Salt Lake City with Brigham Young. I found no record of her or her family in the LDS records in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Can anyone give me clues where to look?
_________________________________________________________
You can answer as many as you want!

My family name gets spelled many different ways once you get back to the 17th and 18th C. What is the best way to decide on how you enter a name in Ancestry or your software of choice? Birth record? Death?  Also, how best to enter the names people went by when those bore no relation to their formal name. 

____________________________________________________________________

Scandal in the family!

My very Southern g-g-gf left California during the Civil War for Mexico and wound up in Texas with a second wife, a widow that he’d married in Mississippi. In Texas he claimed his first wife had died, but she in fact outlived him and all but one of their children. I found no record of a divorce in the California counties where they had lived. Are there other places where one can look for a divorce record in the 1860s?  He was a lawyer, postmaster, mayor, and state senator in California so one might assume he had some knowledge of the legal system. 


Saturday, March 14, 2020

The Virtual Genealogist is Online!

Breaking news:  With the closure of many genealogy classes, schools, and libraries, the Virtual Genealogist has automatically been activated.  And it happened here on the SMCGS blog!
Here's what I know:
She (and it is a she) doesn't seem to know all the answers, but is able to field questions and send them out to the community to be answered.
She requires input from genealogy students and teachers in order to operate.  No batteries required.
It's sort of like the Emergency Medical Hologram from StarTrek.
How to work it:  Submit questions to publications@smcgs.org.  These will be published on the blog and opened to community suggestions/answers.
Examples:
What is the best publishing company to use for my family history?
Why did my great grandfather abandoned his family and move to Nova Scotia?
How can I find records from Poland in the 1800s?

Don't fall behind with your family research.  This is a great opportunity to catch up on your writing and fill in those missing sources.
The VG does not clean houses however.  This is also a great time....


Wednesday, March 11, 2020

GERMAN GROUP IS ON!

I've just heard that the German interest group WILL meet this Thursday, March 12, at the usual time and place.  
Sorry for the wrong information.

Maggie

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

SMCGS updates

March 2020 meeting postponed,
We hope to have Carolyn speaking on Preserving Family Photos in November.
March 2020 workshop cancelled

In the meantime...Interest groups:
  • DNA is cancelled for March
  • German group is going ahead this Thursday!
  • But like mad dogs and Englishmen, the British/Irish Group will meet as usual as long as the Redwood City Library is open.  Library closed as of 3/13.  See you next month.
Cañada College Genealogical desk will remain staffed as available.  You may contact them at (650) 306-3423 and leaving a message.
Board meeting will happen as usual on March 23rd.  As usual, all members are invited to attend.

Please check our website for the most up-to-date information. The board is keeping track of the information from the San Mateo County Health Department. (https://www.smchealth.org/coronavirus) and will make decisions based on the county recommendations.  April decisions will be made toward the end of March.  Stay well.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

March workshop cancelled

As you're all aware, we're dealing with a highly infectious outbreak of the Covid 19 virus in the area.  
SMCGS is cancelling some events on a case by case basis. Other societies are also curtailing meetings for now.

Cancelled so far:

  • March 12 SMCGS Workshop with Rachel Kellerman 
  • Most meetings of the Santa Clara County Historical & Genealogical Society through May.
  • March meeting of the Silicon Valley Computer Genealogy Group
  • The California Genealogical Society Library in Oakland will be closed through March.


Please check with the particular society for updates on closures.  I'll send another announcement when I know more about the March general meeting.

Maggie

February meeting photos

Our monthly meeting in February featured Sheryl Rinkol discussing the history of the Titanic.  Her book features photos and information on the departure points in Ireland and the UK.  Here are some highlights:
      

  


Tuesday, March 3, 2020

What to do this March

We have a plethora of genealogical events coming up in March.  


Thurs. Mar. 12, 2020 – Workshop: Deep Dive into the Internet Archive & Optional Swim in Other Digital Book Collections
2:00–4:00 pm, Members $5, Non-Members $10; Cañada College Library Computer Lab, 4200 Farm Hill Blvd, Redwood City


Presenter: Rachel Kellerman
What treasures can you find in the Internet Archive and other digital book collections to further your genealogical research? The Internet Archive not only includes freely available books published prior to 1923 (public domain), but also books currently in copyright that you can check out from allied libraries and hold in your free account for a limited time. In this workshop we’ll explore the Archive’s assets, practice some search strategies, and learn how to save books into our accounts. An interactive worksheet will be provided.


Sat, Mar 28, 2020 – Preserving Family Photos, Stories, & Documents
10:30 am–12:00 pm, Free. Grace Lutheran Church, 2825 Alameda de las Pulgas, San Mateo, entrance in back.
A person smiling for the camera

Description automatically generated

Presenter: Carolyn Williams
This presentation provides organizational tips and procedures for capturing the story behind a photo or document, scanning the image, and then preserving both the physical and digital photos and documents for the next generation.
Carolyn Williams is a family genealogist and recent SMCGS board member. She holds a certificate from the Boston University Genealogical Research program and is a former Silicon Valley technology marketing professional.

And from around the SF Bay Area:

The Greater Sacramento
African American Genealogy Society

Registration is now open ONLINE at aafhs.com for the 15th Annual African American Genealogy Seminar. Saturday, March 14, 2020.

SEMINAR POSTPONED.  PLEASE CONTACT AAFHS

Silicon Valley Computer Genealogy Group  March 14, 2020, 9am-11:30am


Join us to learn how to “translate” the records and map the land, 

and get some hints about finding the land today.
With Martha Wallace
http://www.svcgg.org/meetings.html
Meeting location: 875 Quince Ave, Santa Clara, CA




Courthouse Docket: Notable Women

The Museum Auxiliary presents Notable Women in San Mateo County History.  The reenactment will focus on local women involved with arts and education.
Sponsored by Cypress Lawn Heritage Foundation.
Date: Saturday, March 14, 2020 - 1:00pm to 2:00pm
Location: Courtroom A, History Museum

Cost: Free with museum admission
https://historysmc.org/events/courthouse-docket-notable-women-0



Santa Clara County Historical & Genealogical Society

General Meeting: “Eco‐History of the Santa Clara Valley: How People Have Shaped the Landscape”

Tuesday, March 17, 6:45 - 8:30 pm
Where: Santa Clara Central Park Library RedwoodRoom
Cristina Siegel
Free and open to all. https://www.scchgs.org/index.html

From the Valley of Hearts Delight to the high‐tech capital of the world, the Santa Clara Valley has gone through tremendous ecological as well as cultural changes. These changes have been shaped by the rich diversity of settlers, people who brought with them their industry, cultures and habits. How did a booming agricultural era, followed by a shift to urbanization affect the landscape, flora and fauna and what are the ecological changes and resulting issues?


Palo Alto Historical Association's photo.

Alpine Inn: The Fascinating History of a Local Landmark
· Hosted by Palo Alto Historical Association and Menlo Park Historical Associatio

Sunday, March 8, 2020 at 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Palo Alto Historian Steve Staiger will be presenting a history of the Alpine Inn, aka Rossotti’s. Steve will be providing images and stories of the colorful and sometimes contentious past of the historic roadhouse in Portola Valley.

Palo Alto Art Center 1313 Newell Rd, Palo Alto,