Saturday, January 30, 2010

Meet new CCGS member Bill O'Brien

"I've got RootsMagic and a subscription to, and now I'm ready to get serious," said new CCGS member Bill O'Brien while taking notes on his laptop in the CCGS Library recently.

Bill comes from New Britain, CT with his wife, the former Arlene Draizen. He became interested in his family history back in 1989, taking notes in a cemetery in Stoughton, MA. It's only been recently, however, when Bill and Arlene, also a CCGS member, bought their second home in Dennis, MA, that they feel they now have the time and the local resources to take up family  research once again.

So far Bill has been able to get the name of the ancestor who immigrated from Ireland, his great-grandfather Michael O'Brien from County Cork. He knows he was in Providence, RI, where Bill's grandfather, William O'Brien, was born in 1863, but he'd really like to find out when and where he arrived in America.

"I got Pat Concannon's name from the Web site, and she suggested I come to one of the meetings." Bill came to his first meeting in September, 2009 and decided to join the Society in November. Now a member of the Irish Special Interest Group, Bill is sure to "get serious" tracing his great-great grandfather back to Ireland.

If you have any Michael O'Briens in Providence, let Bill know by adding a comment below.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Cape Cod part-time Census positions still available

Openings are still available for part-time work tallying the 2010 US Census for the Cape and Islands. According to the January 24, 2009 Cape Cod Times, Census manager for the Cape and Islands Barry Applebaum says, "We need all the help we can get."

Census jobs can include general office work, supervisory positions, inputting and verifying data, and visiting an estimated 100,000 homes across the Cape and the Islands.  Census takers (enumerators) can earn $16 an hour, plus mileage, with up to 40 hours a week. Census work begins in March and can extend through Sept 8, 2010.

For more details on the census taking process and local census positions available, view the complete Cape Cod Times article on line. Or you can call 866-861-2010 about specific job descriptions, how to apply, and to contact the Federal Census office in Hyannis. The official US Census 2010 jobs site is

Former CCGS co-president David Martin offers more information and some suggestions why genealogists might want to help with the 2010 Census.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Tips for Federal Census Searches Online

Looking to become more successful at finding your ancestors while searching the U.S Census online? Here are 15 tips from my presentation, The Federal Census, Secrets for Searching the Census Online, which I gave at the Society’s monthly meeting on January 13, 2010.

1. Since county (and city) boundaries changed over time, use Ani-Map (available on computers in the CCGS Genealogy Room at the Dennis Public Library) to see how they have changed. Also, read Thorndale & Dollarhide Map Guide to the US Federal Censuses in our library or visit Family History 101. If you know locations you can always browse online census pages to find elusive individuals.

2. Download and have available blank census forms so you can easily see column headings of online census pages. Blank forms for census and mortality records are available from and has free downloadable Excel and PDF census forms you can fill out for all state and federal censuses.

3. Make a folder for each of your surnames on your computer to store downloaded copies of each census by family.

4. List all information you have on each person: Date and place of birth; date and place of death; spouse; children and keep it handy while you search for search parameters or verification of material found.

5. Make a Census Checklist for each family and indicate each year in which you find a census record to avoid duplication.

6. Write down all possible spelling permutations of each surname you are researching or download the Surname Suggestion List Program which is free at It will suggest both excellent and

Saturday, January 16, 2010

CCGS Library – New Books -- January 2010

CCGS Librarian Betsy Ferris has announced the following new additions to the CCGS Library:

Erin’s Sons: Irish Arrivals in Atlantic Canada 1751-1858, Volume 3, by Terrence M. Punch, is the third in a series of volumes with various passenger lists, cemetery records, a few vital records, newspaper notices, etc. concerning Irish settlers in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, and Prince Edward Island, Canada.  Unlike the two earlier volumes in our collection, which concentrate on Nova Scotia, this new one does include some information on the other three provinces.  (929.3 PUN)

A History of Taunton Massachusetts, 2nd ed., by William F. Hanna, was published in 2008 by the Old Colony Historical Society in Taunton and covers the period from 1637 to the present, 2006.  (974.44 TAUNTON)

Google Your Family Tree: Unlock the Hidden Power of Google, by Daniel M. Lynch has tips on how to use the powerful search engine, Google, for family history research.  Using examples drawn directly from genealogy, Lynch explains how to narrow a search to a manageable number of hits, how to use special features, such as Google books, Google earth, Google alerts, and more.  (929.1 LYN)

Family Chronicle’s Dating Old Photographs 1840-1929, and More Dating Old Photographs 1840-1929 are drawn from columns published in Family Chronicle magazine with the expertise of Maureen Taylor.  Included in each volume are many examples of different types of photos picturing people in the clothing and hairstyles of their time, making it easy for anyone with an old undated photo to make a comparison for identifying when the picture was taken.  (929.1 FAM)

The Peckham Family, by Charles Wesley. Peckham, Sr., was a gift to our CCGS Reading Room from the author.  The book traces the family from its roots in England to Rhode Island and Bristol County, Massachusetts in the 1600’s.  (92 PECKHAM)

See other recent additions.

Nominating Committee Approved

At the regular membership meeting on January 13, 2010, members voted to approve the Nominating Committee for 2010, who will nominate the Officers of the Society for 2010-2011. Nominating Committee members are: Barbara Lewis, Chair (; Peg Spellman (; and David Martin (

CCGS bylaws require the Nominating Committee to bring their slate of officers to the April regular membership meeting, which this year is Wednesday, April 14, 2010. Your suggestions for next year's officers are welcome, and you are encouraged to send them directly to any of the members of the Committee at the email addresses above.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Surnames listings return online

Members can once again share their surnames on the Internet as part of the CCGS Web site. Surnames coordinator Nancy Daniels introduced the new site to the membership at the January 2009 monthly meeting.

In addition to the typical listings of surnames in alphabetical order, visitors can now search the site directly to see if the name they're seeking is on the list.  And by sorting on the Submitter column, visitors can see the other families a member may be researching and find a possible new connection to their own line.

Nancy encouraged members to submit their surnames for listing on the site by sending an email to her at Include SURNAME, First name, location they were living, dates they were living, and your full name and current e-mail address for researchers to locate you.

People can access the new Surnames site directly at or by a link on the CCGS main site at

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Barnstable County Probate Records

On Cape Cod we are fortunate to have a most cooperative Office of Probate in the Barnstable County complex in Barnstable Village.  Anastasia Welsh Perrino, elected last year as our new Register of Probate for the entire County, welcomes those who are researching past probates for genealogical information.  Records can be reviewed dating from 1637 onward, and all records are public except if there is a specific Court Order to impound a particular record.

A series of red index books in the Registry of Probate Office contain case numbers for probates by alphabetical order from 1637 to 1980. Card catalogs in the office have information on probates from 1980 to 1991, and records are computerized from 1991 to the present.

The general website for the Barnstable County Probate and Family Court is Other records of possible interest to genealogists in addition to probates are also available there. These include divorce records from 1922 to the present; guardianship; conservatorship; paternity (out-of-wedlock births); grandparent visitations; abuse prevention; changes of name; and matters involving the division of property (known as equities). Except for financial statements filed by the involved parties, all matters are public other than out-of-wedlock births prior to 1998.

Family researchers are encouraged to take advantage of these excellent resources; hours are 8:30am to 4:30pm, Monday through Friday, and the location is in the Barnstable County Office complex at 3195 Main Street, Barnstable Village, Route 6A.

Also within the same complex is the Barnstable County Registry of Deeds, which has land records dating from 1740. Visit for hours of operation and to access Barnstable County land records online.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Census-Takers needed for Cape Cod

April 1, 2010 is the time for taking the 2010 Federal Census throughout the country.

An urgent call has just arrived from the Federal Census Office Manager for Cape Cod, for recruits to come forward for involvement in the enumeration of the 2010 Census. The Hyannis office, serving Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket, needs over 1500 applicants for conducting interviews with community residents who do not return their mailed census questionnaires that will appear in mailboxes on April 1 this year.

Schedules are flexible, and individuals can work weekends and evenings near their homes. Pay averages $15 per hour, and any driving mileage can be reimbursed. Interested persons are asked to call 866-861-2010 to schedule an appointment to take the required employment test. The federal government is trying very hard to have a complete 100% count of the population this year.

Why would genealogists be interested in this work? This role could be highly interesting to genealogists in terms of gaining insight into the process and possible errors that can occur in all census-taking. This work in turn will help genealogists to further understand how to interpret and judge the credibility of the earlier censuses that they are using in their own family research.

Visit for more information about 2010 US Census jobs.

Annual Luncheon rescheduled to June 16, 2010

The Society’s Annual Meeting and Luncheon, originally set for June 9, 2010, has been rescheduled to one week later - Wednesday, June 16, 2010.

Scheduled to begin at 11:30 am, the Luncheon will be held at the Olde Yarmouth Inn on Route 6A, Yarmouth Port, MA. The guest speaker will be the same as originally listed - author and expert genealogist Marcia Melnyk, whose topic will be "Research on Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Immigrants, with a Special Emphasis on Italian Research."

Further information regarding Luncheon pricing and reservations will be available to members as it becomes available.

See the complete 2009-2010 Monthly Program Schedule.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

DC Genealogy Research Trip Planned for October 2010

[Note: Important change in transportation below.]

After two years in a row of research trips to the Salt Lake City Family History Library, the Society is now planning a different research trip - to the several wonderful genealogical repositories located in Washington, DC.  Proposed for the week of Sunday October 17 through Friday October 22, 2010, the trip would provide opportunities for research at:
  1. The Library of Congress - best collection in the world of American city directories, among  many other items such as surname genealogies
  2. Daughters of the American Revolution Library (DAR) - excellent collection of surname genealogies and resources on different USA regions, as well as "period rooms" furnished like homes in different era's of American history,located in the DAR Museum within the Library
  3. National Archives--central collection of census, military pension applications, immigration records, passenger lists, and much more (this collection is the central one; regional Archives repositories such as the one in Waltham, Mass. have some but not all of the same collections).
Participants will spend one day of research at each of these outstanding resources, with an additional day, plus evenings, to also enjoy the many fascinating visitor sites in Washington. Among those options would be the Lincoln Memorial, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, Smithsonian Museums, National Art Gallery, the Newseum, Gallaudet University for the Deaf where Dave Martin previously worked, and considerably more--participants may elect choices from a list, and go in either groups or individually to these sites, traveling mostly by the outstanding subway system in Washington that is known as the Metro System (clean, fast, and efficient).

Transportation will be by Southwest Airlines from Providence to Baltimore, with a van into DC; departure will be the morning of Sunday October 17, with a return to Providence airport in early afternoon on Friday October 22.  Total transportation costs, including the van, will be approximately $350.

The hotel will be the State Plaza, on East St. Northwest, in DC (, an all-suites hotel with kitchens; a restaurant is in the hotel. Hotel rate is $175 per night for a single room or half that if sharing a room.  Meals will be a separate cost.

The tour will be led by Dave Martin, who lived and worked in Washington for 21 years and did much of his original genealogical research there in earlier years.

A deposit of $100 by March 15 is needed in order to hold a place, and the deposit will be refundable until August 15. Checks would be made out to CCGS, and sent to Dave at 10 Colonial Farm Circle, Marstons Mills, Mass. 02648.  Participation will be limited to 15 members.  For questions, contact him at 508-527-0460 or at

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Monthly meetings to feature member Q&A

Got a problem?  Got an idea?  Need help?

Starting with the January 13, 2010 meeting, members will have a chance to ask questions, relate recent research experiences, and help one another with their genealogical research.

Looking for naturalization records? Help with census research? Can't find a record online? Want to meet a scrapbooking expert?  Need advice on computer software?

Each meeting, between the business section and the speaking program, members can ask the audience for help and advice on any aspect of their family history or genealogical work. Here's a monthly opportunity to find out who else is doing your ethnic lines, who the experts are in your areas of interest, and also offer your own help and experience.

Bring your questions - and answers - to the CCGS monthly meetings and share your challenges and your knowledge with your colleagues.

Please add your comments below -