Thursday, February 27, 2014

Topic of March Meeting Will Focus on Researching Our Immigrant Ancestors

Meredith Hoffman, our March speaker, will be discussing the basics of researching 19th and early 20th century immigrant ancestors to get to the point of "crossing the pond." Although she will be using her own Jewish ancestors as examples, the presentation is geared to anyone doing ethnic immigration in US records. She has been told, following this presentation, that it has been beneficial for both the novice and the experienced researcher.
Meredith will be sharing both online and local resources, giving many examples of the US records you need to find your immigrant ancestor, as well as the repositories and websites where you can access these records. She will also explain how to use that information to begin to get back to the "old country."
Meredith Hoffman, recipient of a certificate from the Boston University Genealogical Research Program, has been researching her own ancestors for the past 20 years and has been a professional genealogist for the last 5 years. Although her specialty is Jewish immigrant ancestors, her focus has been on general research of 19th and early 20th centuries, including immigrant records. A popular lecturer, she has been a speaker at regional and national conferences, genealogical societies, and other local venues, including New England Historic Genealogical Society and National Archives, Waltham facility.
We hope that you will join us, Wednesday, March 19, 2014, at the Brewster Ladies Library, at 10 AM, to get some tips on researching your ethnic immigrant ancestors.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Received at the Library

Many of us have our own memberships to NEHGS, which includes American ancestors.  But for those who don't here's a rundown of the Oct. 2013 issue:

The theme of the issue is "Domestic perspectives."  In "Researching Irish domestic servants" we learn that among female domestics, the Irish numbered second only to African-Americans nationwide, and that the typical female Irish immigrant was 21 and single, and likely to go into domestic service.  A related article, "Your ever grateful, Birdie" contains a series of letters from an Irish servant to her American employers after she returns to Ireland.

The lead article highlights three collections at NEHGS containing recipes and family papers.  Other articles treat the founding of an orphanage called the Boston Female Asylum,1800-1866, the records for which are available at the UMass Archives (including some online); locating the final home of the first accused witch hanged at Salem; and identifying an accomplished preacher and former slave ancestor.  Henry Hoff discusses "Developing acceptable alternatives for first names in colonial New York," and Gary Boyd Roberts finds new American relatives for Prince William and his wife and son.

You can read this issue at the CCGS Library on Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday during our open hours.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Received at the Library

The NGS magazine for Oct.-Dec. 2013 is full of interesting articles, some of which are described below:

  • "The Catholic Church in the American Southwest" reminds us that the first US settlement was not Roanoke VA but Saint Augustine FL in 1565, and that New Spain once covered most of continental US west of the Mississippi.  The article discusses the role the Catholic Church in Spanish settlements, and its "excellent records" which benefit genealogists.
  • Cyndi Ingle, creator of, cautions us to lower our expectations when doing research in "'I've looked everywhere.' No, you haven't."  When you are realistic about what you actually know, more opportunities for discovery can arise.  She gives good tips for scaling those brick walls.
  • "Using Mitochondrial DNA for Genealogy" explains how MtDNA traces descent in the maternal line, and what the findings really mean.
  • "Estate Law and Family Complications" discusses grounds on which wills can be contested, and suggests questions to pose when examining probate records.
  • "Native Americans on the Trail of Tears" is part 2 of a description of the relocation of Native Americans in the 19th century and associated records, both for those who migrated and those who stayed behind.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Received at the Library

The following journal issues just added may be of interest to members:

The December 2013 National Genealogical Society Quarterly leads off with an editorial about the lack of standards for DNA testing.  "[Pioneering genealogists] had the opportunity and responsibility to set standards... for acceptable linkages to individuals: documentation, ethics, and interpretation.  It was an opportunity missed."  Other articles address interesting genealogical challenges: the first person of color to own property in Atlanta, a freeborn female who swapped her land to buy her husband out of slavery; two couples in which the males and females respectively had the same common surnames in Glossop parish, Derbyshire (one of my ancestral locales!); and the difficulties of tracking settlers who migrate, in this case from Alabama to Georgia to Louisiana.  A short article describes using Sippenb├╝cher for 18th century German research.  These are town histories, which may furnish information when church records are lacking.  Several recent books are reviewed in the issue, including one based on a daily diary kept by a shipwright in colonial New London CT (For Adam's Sake, by Allegra di Bonaventura).

The Society has recently established a Facebook page, and the Feb./March issue of Internet Genealogy tells individuals how to "Widen your research with social media," including blogging and Facebook.  Nine genealogy programs for the Mac are reviewed, as well as Clooz, a genealogy organizing program for Windows.  An informative comparison of 4 death records for the same person (obituary, funeral home record, death certificate, and tombstone application) explores discrepancies and genealogical nuggets.  In "Net Notes" a new newspaper search engine is noted called -- love the name, and I found several references to my ancestors that I'd never seen before.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Free Workshop on Using


Time: 10 a.m.
Place: Dennis Public Library, 5 Hall St., Dennisport, MA
Date: Thursday, February 20, 2014
Learn how to navigate the website to find your ancestors. A demonstration on using the website, along with handouts will be presented. You are welcome to bring your laptop or tablet, but a laptop is not necessary to participate in this session.
Contact: Sue Benoit at to sign up.


Monday, February 3, 2014

Conference Sessions to Be Broadcast Online

Later this week, Thursday through Saturday, February 6-8, 2014, the annual RootsTech conference will be held in Salt Lake City. 
What is RootsTech?   RootsTech is an annual conference where people of all ages, from all over the world come together to learn how to discover and share their family stories, through the use of  technology. An important aspect of this conference is that it is geared to all ages, and to all levels and skills of technology use -- That means that there is something for everyone, even if you are not too familiar with technology. Last year, there were close to 7,000 people in attendance at the event, from a total of 25 countries worldwide, which includes 49 states of the US and 6 Canadian provinces. At last count, registration for the conference in 2014 is over 10,000 participants.
Why should I be interested, since I will not be able to attend? In the tradition of their technology subject, a few years ago, the conference added a free online broadcast of a selection of their sessions. Last year, there were over 13,600 viewers and this number is expected to reach more than 20,000 viewers this year.  In 2014, there will be 15 sessions livestreamed over the 3 days of the conference.These sessions will also be taped and available for viewing at later dates throughout the year. Live sessions include a wide range of topics -- including using the Family Search and Ancestry websites, an introduction to DNA, storytelling, photo restoration, and many more. The list of presenters include popular and well known genealogists, including Michael LeClerc, Josh Taylor, and Lisa Alzo (who is scheduled to speak at our June luncheon).
 A list of sessions being broadcast is available at the  Genea-Musings blog. Take a look at what is being offered online and consider taking advantage of this opportunity to learn more about a familiar subject or to explore a topic that is new to you. (Just keep in mind that the times listed are Mountain Standard Time and not Eastern Standard Time!)
To learn more about the RootsTech conference, you can go to their website, About RootsTech

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Family files at the CCGS Library : Featured library resource for February 2014

This month we are featuring a category of materials at the Library rather than an individual publication.  This collection is "Families", located in a drawer of the filing cabinet within the Genealogy Room.

A new "page" has been added to our website to let everyone know about these materials.  See the list of family files here, or click on the right hand side of the CCGS website on "Family files at the CCGS Library", just above the library catalog.  Perhaps some of your family names are represented.

What's in the Family folders?  Typically they are notes, genealogy charts, and/or newspaper articles.  Generally they are unpublished or "scrapbook" type materials, not in a format that works well on library shelves, but worth keeping in our collection.

The impetus for giving more visibility to this group of materials is the addition of a paper donated by  CCGS President David Martin, about the genealogy of the Pease family.  It lists the descendents of Thomas Pease and Betsey Wright Pease of Massachusetts and Maine.

If some of your ancestral names are on this list, please come explore the relevant folder(s) in the Genealogy Room with the assistance of your friendly library volunteer.