Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Learn About Local Resources for Genealogical Research

Come join us when Mary LaBombard, Archivist at the Nickerson Archives at the Cape Cod Community College and Paula Grundberg, Genealogist at the Eledredge Public Library in Chatham tell us about local resources for genealogy and research in our own backyard. You don't have to travel far or even cross the bridge to take advantage of these excellent resources.

"Unique Genealogical Resources Available in the Nickerson Archives at Cape Cod Community College" with Mary LaBombard, Archivist.

"Genealogical Resources Available at Chatham's Eldredge Public Library" with Paula Grundberg, Genealogist.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016 at 10:00 AM at the Brewster Ladies Library, Route 6A, Brewster, MA.  Come a little early to socialize and have coffee and donuts.  Don't forget to please park next door at the Brewster Baptist Church parking lot.  There is a short path to the library from the parking lot.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Members' Annual Holiday Celebration - Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Members will show us how they have shared their family stories, memorabilia and artifacts with their families.  It may inspire you to find a way to create and share your own stories and artifacts. From a Christmas Past slide show to a treasured heirloom found online to a funny Gold Rush letter, you will find our program interesting, entertaining and inspiring.

The meeting starts a 10:00AM at the Brewster Ladies Library, Route 6A, Brewster. Please come earlier to socialize and partake of the coffee and homemade holiday goodies prepared by some of our members.

If you can bake some holiday cookies, cakes, or quickbreads to bring to the meeting, please let Sue Benoit know at If you have old Christmas photos for the Christmas slide show, please email them to

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Pilgrims: American Experience

Just in time for Thanksgiving, American Experience is presenting The Pilgrims, a Ric Burns film that explores the converging forces, circumstances, personalities, and events that propelled a group of English men and women to journey across the Atlantic in 1620. Known for the quality of his films and his unique and detailed takes on familiar history, Ric Burns promises to "strip away myth" and bring the pilgrims to life, revealing individuals far different from those imagined in our national memory.
With distinct and often riveting personal histories, passionate religious beliefs, and the will to survive --  even through violent means -- this Pilgrims narrative reveals the real history of our nation's beginnings.
The Pilgrims: American Experience will be aired on PBS, Tuesday, November 24, 2015, at 8 PM. 

Friday, November 6, 2015

Falmouth and Cape Cod Genealogical Societies Annual Joint Meeting

Double Presentation by Dr. John Colletta:
Understanding Archives: What They Are And How To Use Them 
Breaking Through Brick Walls: Use Your Head!

Please join us on Saturday, November 14, 2015 to hear Dr. John Colletta, nationally recognized genealogical expert give a double presentation on how to use archives and breaking down your brick walls.  Knowledgeable, entertaining and experienced, Dr. Colletta, is a popular lecturer on topics of family history research and writing.  He lectures nationally, teaches at local schools, and conducts programs for the Smithsonian Institution's Resident Associate Program.  He is a faculty member at the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research at Samford University (Birmingham, Alabama), the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, and Boston University's Certificate in Family History Program. His numerous publications include They Came in Ships: A Guide to Finding Your Immigrant Ancestor's Arrival Record and Finding Italian Roots: The Complete Guide for Americans.  Dr. Colletta has received many professional awards and honors and appears frequently on podcasts and local and national radio and television.  

DATE:  Saturday, November 14, 2015
TIME:  10:30AM to 1:00PM, followed by optional purchase of 
              Lobster Roll Lunch and informal discussion
PLACE: St. Peter's Church, Wianno Avenue, Osterville
PARKING: Behind and on side of church, and on Wianno Avenue
Optional:  Lobster Roll Lunch with beverage--$12.00; reserve by message to Judy Fenner at or (508-776-9401) by Nov. 7th

Questions? Contact Mary Barry at or David Martin at

Friday, September 25, 2015

Learn About Descendancy Research At Our October Meeting

We are all familiar with the traditional methods of learning about our family history by researching our ancestors. In the words of our next speaker, "Researching the living descendants of your ancestors can give your family history new life and excitement."
Michael Brophy will discuss reasons for doing Descendancy Research and advise us as to how to go about it, when he joins us at our next meeting, Tuesday, October 20, 2015. This is the program that had to be postponed from last winter, due to the everpresent snowstorms.
Michael is a professional genealogist, whose genealogical education includes seven certificates from Institute of Genealogy and Historic Research (IGHR), as well as certificates in Private Investigation and Forensic Genealogy from Boston University. He has been a board member of Massachusetts Genealogical Council and treasurer of  The New England Association of Professional Genealogists.
He lectures on a wide variety of genealogical topics, including his specialties of New England and Irish research, at national and regional seminars, as well as at local societies
Hope that you will be able to join us on Tuesday, October 20, 2015, at the Brewster Ladies Library, at 10 AM.  Come a little early for tea, coffee, and donuts, starting at 9:30.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Don't Forget -- Monthly Meetings Are Now on the Third Tuesday!!

A reminder that our meeting this month will be on Tuesday, September 15, 2015!  The only change is the day -- same time: 10 AM; same place: Brewster Ladies Library.

Our speaker this month will be Fred Wexler, from the Cape Cod Civil War Roundtable, and his topic will be "Civil War and Genealogy: Research Clues Are Everywhere".

We will be doing something a bit different this year ... there will be a Sales Table available, which will include a variety of new items for you to check out.  This is your chance to pick up a copy of  one of our own publications -- to include Cape Cod Resources for Genealogists, and Stauffer Miller's book on Civil War Soldiers and Draftees.  Also, back issues of the Journal will be available, if there any that you never received or have misplaced, as well as a few CCGS related items of interest.

Come a little early to peruse our sales items and socialize over a cup of coffee with other members. Coffee and donuts will be available beginning at 9:30.

Hope to see you then,

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Received at the Library

Members may be interested in the following magazine issues received at the Genealogy Room:

Your genealogy (July/August 2015) leads off with an article about amusement parks, a popular family entertainment option in the late 19th and early 20th century.  I was tickled that the author's park was also mine, Savin Rock, located in West Haven CT.  Before it closed in 1966 it delighted generations of local families as well as rowdy Yale students.  The author cites a website that can locate now defunct parks in the US and Canada, which numbered 2,000 in their heyday.
Diahan Southard explains why mtDNA (from the maternal line) is still an important tool.  Speaking of the maternal line, "What the widow got" is a tutorial on the history of property laws affecting US women.  A case study illustrates "Beginning your World War II Research" with offline resources (companion piece to the online resources covered in an article in June/July 2015 Internet Genealogy).  The same author's WWII-related books "The Tiger's Widow" and "Stories from the Battlefield: a beginning guide to WWII research" are reviewed.  Other articles cover: a relative's work on the Panama canal; managing those pesky diacritics (foreign characters); "Research Trip 101" from staffers at the Allen County (IN) Public Library; the controversy over Ben Affleck's slave-holding ancestors; and more.

NGS magazine (Jul-Sept. 2015) offers a primer on curating heirloom objects in your possession.  Other articles cover:

  • mining industry records
  • research in Latin America
  • pension payment cards, 1907-1933
  • analyzing the path of a census taker to provide insights about where people were located
  • DNA match lists
Two of the more thought-provoking articles concern "A genealogist's approach to privacy," and "Wearables" which speculates about how wireless wearable devices may enhance our genealogy endeavors in the future.  Glasses that can scan documents, anyone?

Received at the Library

These journal issues have recently been added to the Genealogy Room:

Internet Genealogy (Aug/Sept.2015) covers a diverse range of topics, leading off with an article highlighting state archives' online resources.  Next we learn that although most WWII records are offline, many military units have reunion groups that often have websites, and possess both on- and off-line records.  In the late 1930s some 50,000 Irish schoolchildren collected local stories, which are now being digitized and are freely available at under "Schools' Collection," arranged by county.  There are articles covering a Korean War project, a family black sheep in Australia, and the story behind a gravestone in Dubuque.  Historical societies are an often untapped resource for genealogists.  States with important Revolutionary War resources are highlighted.  The important points about backups to safeguard your research are outlined.

Family tree magazine for Sept/ 2015 has an interesting one-page listing of the biggest things in genealogy.  I'm tempted to make you guess, but here are the answers:

  • family tree                               Confucius (551-479BC)
  • genealogy library                    Family History Library, Salt Lake City UT
  • family tree database      
  • US heritage group                   German
  • US genealogical society          NEHGS
  • genealogy conference             RootsTech
  • genetic genealogy database    23andMe
The featured article gives brief descriptions of the 101 best genealogy sites (the 16th time for this annual feature).  Helpful tutorials cover French family research, naturalization records, and optimizing searches on  Maureen Taylor lays out the options for publishing your family history book.  A panel of experts responds to questions about how to list some of the modern complications of today's families in family trees (step-families, same-sex marriages, etc.)  There are lots more short articles in this informative issue.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Change in Genealogy Room hours

As members are aware, the CCGS program meetings will now generally be on the third Tuesday of each month.  To prevent a regularly scheduled conflict with the hours of the CCGS Library, also known as the Genealogy Room, it has been decided to make a slight adjustment in our regular library hours.  As of September 15, the new Genealogy Room hours will be:

Tuesdays    1-4
Thursdays 10-4
Saturdays  10-noon

Carol Magenau
CCGS Librarian

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Dennis, Cape Cod : featured library resource for September 2015

Are you aware that our Genealogy Room has dozens of volumes of histories and records for Cape Cod towns?  In honor of one of our newest library volunteers, Katharine Reid Peace, this month we feature one of those treasures.  Dennis, Cape Cod : from firstcomers to newcomers, 1639-1993, was written by Katharine's mother, Nancy Thacher Reid.

This hefty volume, weighing in at almost a thousand pages, was published in 1996 by the Dennis Historical Society.  The history of Dennis is presented in seven chronological periods:
  • The Firstcomers, 1638-1691
  • Wars and whales, 1691-1763
  • New country, new town, 1763-1815
  • Citizens of the world, 1815-1865
  • Steam, wind and fire, 1865-1900
  • Wars, wind and more fire, 1900-1945
  • The Newcomers, 1945-1993
Each of these sections consists of between 9 and 17 chapters.

Although I did not read the complete volume for the purposes of this review, it makes delightful, informative, and compelling reading.  Here are some of the passages that caught my attention: agricultural and marriage practices of the native Indian populations, the arrival of the Quakers, the life of minister Josiah Dennis after whom the town is named, local son Reuben Hall being captain of one of the vessels raided in the Boston Tea Party, the development of the salt-making business after the Revolutionary War, and the fire of May 1900 that destroyed several homes and threatened the entire village.  The degree to which the history of the town is caught up in wars (with the Indians, the French, the British, the South, and Europe) is striking.

This impressive work of scholarship is worthy of study by anyone interested in the history of the town of Dennis and of the Cape generally.  It is rounded out by appendices covering colonial documents and lists, Dennis citizens in military services, and a number of post-colonial town documents.  Extensive notes cover the text and illustrations.  A select bibliography and an index covering both names and subjects enhance the usefulness of the volume. We hope you will come enjoy this and other resources at the Society's Genealogy Room in Dennisport.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

September Meeting to Address Researching Your Civil War Ancestors

September will start our new Cape Cod Genealogical Society monthly programs.  Reminder that most of our regular meetings will now be held on the 3rd Tuesday of the month! 

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Civil War in our nation's history. Many genealogists have been focusing their attention on those ancestors who lived and fought during that time. In his presentation, "Civil War and Genealogy: Research Clues are Everywhere," our September speaker, Mr Fred Wexler, will make suggestions for little known sources of information that you may not have been aware of  for your research.

Fred Wexler, past president of the Cape Cod Civil War Roundtable, has given over 100 presentations on a variety of aspects of the Civil War, including as a guest speaker at the Bistoe Station Battlefield 150th Anniversary Celebration in Virginia. Originally from New York, he retired to the Cape Cod area after spending 30 years in corporate America. Although he was educated as a scientist and attorney, since his retirement, he has pursued an interest in Civil War history through membership in the Cape Cod Civil War Roundtable. In  2004, Mr Wexler was instrumental in the creation of the Dorchester Kneeling Soldier Civil War Memorial.

Our meeting is scheduled at the Brewster Ladies Library on Tuesday, September 15, 2015, at 10 AM.
You are invited to come a little earlier for socializing and coffee and donuts at 9:30.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Have you got a brick wall you need help solving?

Genealogy Roadshow, a PBS series focuses on assisting individuals connect to their past, using genealogical techniques and methodologies, will be taping in Boston in the fall. They are looking for people in our area of New England, who would like help solving a family history dilemma.  This is your opportunity to get another opinion on that brick wall you have been staring at all this time.
Genealogy Roadshow
Their staff of experienced genealogists is especially interested in your unsolved genealogical  mysteries and unanswered family questions. They will follow both genealogical and historical ties in order to come up with the answers you are looking for.
Each week, Kenyatta Berry, Josh Taylor, and Mary Tedesco use participant's family stories, documents, and heirlooms to discover information about their ancestry. If you have never seen this program, there are videos available from previous seasons at Genealogy Roadshow.
In order to have your brick wall considered as one of this season's adventures, you should complete this application.
Good luck!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Received at the Library

Family Tree Magazine for Jul/Aug 2015 contains several useful items.   Have you gotten your autosomal DNA analyzed and been baffled by the results?  "Lost in the shuffle" will help to decipher the information, contrasting the results from different companies and explaining the science behind unexpected outcomes.  The 12 best sites for Irish genealogical research are identified in "Irish sites are smiling." "Hot D.A.M." describes how a digital asset management system can help you organize and control your photographs and other images.  "Genealogy myth busters" treats common misconceptions about our ancestors' height and weight, life expectancy, literacy and more,  The top ten living history sites in the US are named in "Living in the past" (one is our nearby Plimoth Plantation.)  An interesting column "Let's get physical!" details the origins of physical fitness movements in history and the modern period.  Other columns cover: picture postcards, draft records (includes a worksheet), how to overlay maps on Google Earth, and family storytelling websites.  This issue shows how diverse and exciting genealogy is for today's researcher,  So many cool things to do, so little time!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Received at the Library

NGS Magazine (Apr.-June 2015) announces the May 2016 National Genealogical Society conference in Ft. Lauderdale FL.  For folks interested in German genealogy, Jim Beidler describes the characteristics of the two great waves of German migration.  Sources for locating Washington DC ancestors are reviewed. Two articles deal with researching family stories.  Case studies discuss female name changes; and finding a wealth of genealogical information with very little starting information.  A column announces the availability of new Genetic Genealogy Standards.  Another advises on Cyber Security.

Your Genealogy Today (May/June 2015) features "Organizing and caring for old family photographs", plus a column on photographic calling cards which were popular around the turn of the last century.  An extensive article treats heirloom timepieces.  The Writing SIG may be interested in "Writing your family history in five steps."  World War II rationing may be a first-hand memory for some, but you'll probably learn something from "Sacrifice for victory."  Other articles treat a visit to a Croation island, Austrian birth records, and time management.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Received at the Library

Internet Genealogy for April/May 2015 leads off with tips for finding Danish ancestors.  There follows an extensive treatment of the Appleyard family of Tasmania making rich use of an Australian newspaper site.  A thorough article by Tony Bandy reviews cloud storage options for genealogists.  The interesting situation of being born at sea is treated by David Norris, who also writes about identifying clergy found in your family records and how this can be useful.  Other articles treat software, engaging children in genealogy, and African-American research.

Received at the Library

The June/July 2015 issue of Internet Genealogy has several articles focusing on military records: the poignant story of a Civil War Colonel; the Confederacy's "Treasury girls," clerks employed to sign Treasury notes while males were in the service; and World War II online resources.  A fervent plea from a researcher provides the lead story, "How do you put out a genealogical wildfire?"  Years ago Robbie Gorr published a speculative article in an obscure newsletter about the maiden name of a female ancestor, and now he finds that it is being accepted as fact -- genealogists need to cite their sources!!  Those interested in providing illustrations for genealogy or history related presentations should be aware of the Internet Archive Picture Collection provided at Flickr Commons.  "Bagging a live one" describes the process of tracing your ancestors forward to identify living relatives.  Other articles cover: webhosting basics; genealogy apps for iPhone or Android; online safety; and Family Tree Builder for Mac.

The Essex Genealogist does a nice job of publishing the transcripts of talks that are given for their society members.  The May 2015 issue carries one of these, "Locating historic newspapers and maps" by  Sharon Sergeant.  The issue also carries an interesting article about a Boston ship wrecked off  the Oregon coast in 1850.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Last chance to Respond to Annual Luncheon Invitation

If you have not as yet sent in your RSVP for the annual luncheon, to be held at the Old Yarmouth Inn on Wednesday, June 17, 2015, you are rapidly running out of time.  Your reservation needs to be received before Tuesday, June 8, if you are planning to join us.
There will be a short meet and greet beginning at 11:30, with the annual election of officers and new directors-at-large to follow at 12 noon. After lunch, we will have a presentation given by Barbara Mathews, a board-certified, professional genealogist, who will speak on "Recognizing and Resolving Errors in Genealogy".
My PhotoBarbara has served on many genealogy related boards, including the Connecticut Society of Genealogists, the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG), the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG), and has served as President of the Massachusetts Genealogical Council (MGC). Currently, she is serving as the BCG representative to the Records Preservation and Access Committee (RPAC), as well as MCG's Civil Records Co-Director for Federal Issues, the state-wide Massachusetts Liaison to RPAC.
 She has contributed to several blogs, including the BCG's Springboard and the MGC's Sentinel, and also has her own blog, The Demanding Genealogist, which explores issues of quality in genealogical work. In addition, she has published and edited extensively and has had articles appearing in a number of genealogical journals and magazines.
However, her favorite activity is to teach! She lectures at national, regional, and local conferences and has acted as a mentor for both ProGen and GenProof Studies Programs. She is currently a substitute instructor in Boston University's genealogical certificate program, teaching topics as diverse as technology, methodology, analysis, writing, and professional conduct.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Index to the 1800 Massachusetts Federal census for the county of... -- Featured library resource for June 2015

The library has been gifted with a printed index covering the 1800 Federal Census in Massachusetts.  The 9-volume set covers all the counties that existed in 1800 (Franklin and Hampden were established later, and their towns are presumably included in the volume for Hampshire County).  The volumes were delivered to the Library personally by the compilers, Rebecca Sullivan and Deborah Larsson.

Each volume lists the towns of the county in alphabetical order in the first half of the volume.  In the second half, the entries are resorted by name to facilitate finding names of interest.  Each entry carries the same information: Town, Head of Household (named), and enumeration of "free white males," "free white females," "all other," and "slaves," plus a "Total" column.  ("All other" might include free non-whites or indentured servants?)  Flipping through the volumes I noticed that there were few "slaves" or "others" but they did exist.  In the Bristol volume there is apparently confusion between the "slaves" and "total" column.

The compilers caution that the condition of the original documents is sometimes compromised, so the entries may not be entirely accurate.  While nothing beats a look at the original, we hope that you may find this a helpful tool in seeing a snapshot of your ancestors' town in 1800 Massachusetts.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Focus of May Meeting: Where Does the Census Lead?

We are all familiar with the US Census, but what do you do next? Census reports are only a starting point. Once you have found your ancestors in the Federal Population Schedule, do you know where to research next?

At our next monthly meeting, Seema-Jayne Kenney will show you some sources to go to after locating your ancestors in the Federal Population Census Reports. Her presentation will talk about the many crossroads your research might take after finding a family in the census and will connect clues from the census to data in more than twenty other sources.

Seem is a wife, mother, and entrepreneur. She started exploring her family history when she was still in high school. Her roots go deep into Colonial New England, especially in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Maine.
In 2010, Seema received her Certificate in Genealogical Research from Boston University. She is currently a member of the Massachusetts Society of Genealogists and the New England Chapter of the
Association of Professional Genealogists.
Those of you who attended the recent NERGC conference in April may recognize her, as she had a very active role in making the conference successful.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Genealogist's Google toolbox : featured library resource for May 2015

Our April program meeting talk by Lisa Louise Cooke was both interesting and inspiring, displaying some of the many possibilities for using Google Earth as a genealogy tool.  We have acquired for the Library her 2015 revised 2d edition of The Genealogist's Google toolbox: a genealogist's guide to Google.  It is a treasure trove of ideas for making the most of what is not only the most popular search engine, but a family of other databases and software that can enhance our genealogy lives.

The first six chapters coach us to get the most out of searching, including ways to narrow your search, recover cached information, locate images, and succeed with common surnames.  Further chapters are devoted to:

  • Google alert
  • Gmail
  • Google Books
  • Google News Archive
  • Google Scholar
  • Google Patents
  • Google Translate
  • YouTube

Finally, there are seven chapters covering Google Earth, the subject of our April presentation  We are shown how to overlay historical maps, photos and more to create a "family history tour," sure to entice family members young and old.  A handy listing of "how to" sections completes the volume. We hope you'll come and spend some time mining Cooke's tips and creative ideas in this volume at the CCGS Library.

Monday, April 20, 2015

NERGC 2015 Conference Ends

Saturday evening, April  18, marked the end of  this year's very successful NERGC conference.  The  number of attendees surpassed previous years for both the conference, itself, and also for our membership!  We had more than 20 members attending this year, two of whom traveled to Providence from Illinois!  Cape Cod was very well represented, as there were also a number of attendees from Falmouth Genealogical Society!
Of course, there were lots of wonderful speakers, from all over the country, including the keynote speakers, Lisa Lousie Cooke (Genealogy Gems)and Judy Russell (The Legal Genealogist), and the "resident rockstar genealogist" (as he was often introduced), Josh Taylor, of  Who Do You Think You Are and Genealogy Roadshow.

The Society Fair, held on Thursday evening, was an opportunity for participating societies to set up displays to advertise  the benefits of membership and upcoming events. CCGS, FGS, and the Mayflower Society were all represented. Many familiar faces were seen there throughout the evening, both working in the booths, as well as stopping in to see what was available.

But, for those of us in the "know", the highlight of the week occurred Saturday evening at the final dinner... the announcement of the Donna Holt Siemiatkoski Volunteer of the Year Award... This year's winner was our own David Martin! The award is given to an individual who has performed outstanding volunteer service to NERGC and its member societies (including CCGS).

David receiving the award from Richard Roberts, one of the tri-chairs of NERGC 2015.

Congratulations, David!!

Those of you who missed this exciting event will have another opportunity in two years, April, 2017, in Springfield, MA.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Time Travel with Google Earth at Our April Meeting!

We all have them -- the non-genealogists in our families who just roll their eyes when we talk about our family history discoveries. At our April meeting, Tuesday, April 14, we will learn one way we can get those family members to appreciate what we already know. Using the free Google Earth program online, our speaker will show us how to create time travel experiences that will attract everyone's interest.

Lisa Louise Cooke, our April speaker invites us to "get ready to experience old historic maps, genealogical records, images, and videos, coming together to create stunning time travel experiences...we'll incorporate  automated changing boundaries, and uncover historic maps that are built right into Google Earth. Tell time travel stories that will truly excite your non-genealogist relatives! You have never seen anything like this class."

Lisa Louise is the owner of  Genealogy Gems, a genealogy and family history multi-media company. Through this company, Lisa Louise produces her very popular Genealogy Gems podcast, an online audio genealogy show that is heard in 75 countries around the world. She is also the author of the Genealogy Gems website and blog, 4 books ( Turn Your iPad into a Genealogy Powerhouse, How to Find Your Family History in Newspapers, The Genealogist's Google Toolbox, and Genealogy Gems: Ultimate Research Strategy), and a video series, Google Earth for Genealogists. When she is not online, she is a very dynamic and popular speaker at conferences, seminars, and genealogical societies, worldwide. While she is achieving all this, she is proud of her loving role as a wife, mother, and grandmother! 

Lisa Louise will be joining us prior to her appearance at the NERGC conference in Providence, RI, which is scheduled to begin the day after our meeting. 

If you have never heard, nor seen, Lisa Louise, you will not want to miss this wonderful opportunity. Join us at the Brewster Ladies Library, Tuesday, April 14, at 10 AM.

She will also have available for purchase copies of some of her publications.

Please note the day change for this month only!! -- It will be on TUESDAY! - APRIL 14,  to avoid a conflict with the NERGC conference.  

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Received at the Library

Catching up... with the last issue published under the title Family Chronicle (Jan./Feb. 2015).  "Music in the family" suggests ways to uncover the music enjoyed by your forebears.  Did you know that keyboard instruments were taxed to help finance the War of 1812 and the Civil War?  An article entitled "Historical Records Survey" recalls a 1930s WPA depression-era project that made accessible much information still used by genealogists today.  "A Primer on the Russian language and names" might prove very useful to those with Russian ancestors, providing tables of numerals, common names, months, genealogy words, and other research tips.  Was your ancestor a blacksmith? You'll want to read Claire Gebben's first-hand exploration of her German-born ancestor's profession. Other topics covered: finding pre-1866 African-American ancestors, family fortune myths, heirlooms, handling sensitive family stories (black sheep), and "Your DNA autobiography."

Friday, March 27, 2015

Received at the Library

Do you need some inspiration to rev up your research?  Family tree magazine (Jan./Feb. 2015) offers 101 top tips from 15 years of publishing in "Best of the Best."  These tips are arranged in categories:

  • beating brick walls
  • uncovering American ancestors
  • finding Canadian kin
  • solving immigration puzzles
  • tracing British Isles branches
  • discovering Eastern European and Jewish ancestors
  • researching Western European roots
  • getting genetic clues
  • investigating military mysteries
  • discovering American Indian heritage
  • organizing your search
  • finding clues in old photographs
  • preserving family memories
  • researching at repositories
  • tracking sources and resources

"Heirloom wisdom" offers practical suggestions on taking care of your family artifacts.  An 8-page article on obituaries includes a worksheet, lists websites, and covers types of remembrances, the history of obituaries, how to find them, and a discussion of the content.  "Invisible ancestors" suggests ideas for tracing slave ancestors in your tree.  Other articles treat online court records, preserving watches and clocks, and more.

The lead story in Internet genealogy (Feb./Mar. 2015) gives 5 suggestions of "Hidden immigration resources."  A new type of family tree called Treelines is reviewed -- in addition to traditional info, you can add photos, memories, historical context.  Are you a clutterbug, even digitally?  Check out "Reduce your digital clutter."  Other articles cover: yesterday's weather; using iBooks to author family history publications; top 50 online sites for 2015; black sheep in the UK; online photo fixing services; and Ancestry's Associated Press collection.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Received at the Library

Anyone with Danish heritage will be pleased to hear that MyHeritage will be digitizing millions of records from the Danish National Archives.  For those with British heritage,  over 41 million wills from England and Wales are now online at  These news items are found in NGS Magazine (Jan.-Mar. 2015).  A 2-part article on "Educational opportunities in Genealogy" continues with a description of various forms of online education and collaboration.  Get the most out of FamilySearch with 15 tips for productive searching.  A case study of a shootout in Virginia in 1929 shows how to research life-changing events in newspapers and court records.  Other articles describe researching Civil War court-martial records, locating free African-Americans, the role of the book mark in military service records, and the practice of name changing (contrary to popular myth, it didn't usually happen at Ellis Island).  Lastly, the process of logging and analyzing autosomal DNA matches is described..

The Essex Genealogist (Feb. 2015) has transcriptions of presentations on "Adding DNA to your entire family tree," and on "Using Zotero... for electronic research logs."

Mass-Pocha (Feb. 2015) summarizes presentations on:

  • Wandering Jews: Peddlers and the discovery of new worlds
  • DNA Haplogroups
  • Finding your ancestors in Polish records
  • Resources in Ukrainian Archives for Jewish Genealogical Research

There are also articles about cemeteries in Vienna, and Chelsea MA.

Received at the Library

Family Chronicle has undergone a title change to Your genealogy today; new numbering begins with the issue for March/April 2015.  While not planning any radical new direction, the publisher announces three new columns: Advice from the pros; Genealogy tourism; and DNA & genealogy.  In the first column, an expert genealogist reminds us of the many sources that are not online, including family treasures that may be in the possession of relatives you haven't yet found.  In the second, Lisa Alzo addresses preparing for a trip to the ancestral homeland.  The DNA column introduces the basics, the three kinds of DNA and why you may want to pursue them. The featured article discusses records of the British Department of State.  Another gives a good feel for genealogy travel to the island of Guernsey, a possession of the British Crown.  Informative articles treat the various types of cards with genealogical information (visiting, business, membership, etc.), and the declining practice of using middle name and initial.  A cemetery transcription volunteer shares the joys of "The Old Dead Folks Club."

"Tricks of the trade" for 10 genealogy websites is the cover story for Family tree magazine (March/April 2015).  Another article covers "A world of good websites" for ethnic and immigrant groups.  "Working your map muscles" provides strategies for using maps in genealogy and lists lots of helpful online resources.  Anyone looking for a tool to organize their research could benefit from a six-step strategy to make the most of Evernote, a free tool which can help you document your research, clip images from the internet, and share your findings with others.  "Social studies" gives sketches of 32 free social history sites that can add flavor to your family stories and enhance your understanding of their times.  I had never heard the term "crowdsource",  but it's the idea of finding like-minded online communities (e.g. Facebook) where you can ask for help or contribute to volunteer projects like indexing.  This issue is chockful of useful information!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Coach Trip to Boston

You and your friends are invited to celebrate Spring with a CCGS coach trip to Boston on Wednesday, April 29.

Although many passengers will be doing genealogical research, our destination of the New England Historic Genealogical Society on Newbury Street is also near the Boston Public Library, Copley Square, Prudential Shopping Mall, Boston Public Garden and Boston Common.

We will leave Patriot Square (Rt 134, South Dennis) promptly at 8AM.  Pick up will also occur at Burger King at Exit 6 and the Sagamore Park and Ride.  

We will leave 101 Newbury Street promptly at 3:30PM.

To reserve space, please call Nancy DeNise at 508-432-6072 and mail a check for $35 ($40 for Non-members) made out to CCGS to Nancy DeNise, 14 Harold Street, Apt. 2F, Harwichport, Ma 02646.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Boston Public Library will be the highlight of March meeting

Despite the wintery weather we are experiencing, spring will be here in just a few short weeks. As it comes closer, plans will be made for our Spring Research Trip to Boston - New England Historic Genealogical Society and the Boston Public Library. If you have not taken advantage of this opportunity to visit the Library because you don't know what is there, nor how to find it, our March meeting will be just what you need!

Alice KaneOn Wednesday, March 18, at our regular monthly meeting, Alice Kane will be  our guest speaker and will tell us about "Exploring the Boston Public Library." She will give us the information we need to help us use this facility for our research.

Alice currently works at NEHGS in the microtext and digital collections on the 4th floor, so you may recognize her. Before working there, she was a librarian at Boston Public Library for 19 years and still uses the facility for research purposes. -- a perfect person to share her knowledge of the Library. Since the library has been undergoing renovations, she will be able to give us up-to-the-minute information for navigating collections of interest.

Alice has a Bachelors degree in history from Harvard University. She has extensive experience in researching French-Canadian, Irish, and German family history, so should be able to answer questions about collections available to help you in these areas.

You have the day, Wednesday, March 18, the time will be 10 AM, and the place will be the Brewster Ladies Library... all we need now is for the weather to cooperate!!

Important Message to Anyone Planning to Attend NERGC 2015

Are you planning to attend the NERGC Conference in April, 2015?  If so, we need to hear from you!
We are planning a very short, but very important meeting, to follow our March monthly meeting next week, March 18, at Brewster Ladies Library, in order to discuss what you need to know about this year's conference and to answer any questions you may have.

Even if you have not registered, but still plan to attend at least one day of the conference, it is important that we know you will be there, so we can coordinate carpooling, volunteering, and any Society social events ... David Martin has already announced a wine and cheese get-together you will want to know about!!

If you will not be at next week's meeting, but intend to be a NERGC participant, please let us know ASAP, so we can forward information to you and include you in our plans.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Free Access to FindMyPast

Explore Findmypast for FREE this weekend

This weekend, from 7 AM (EST) Friday until 7 AM (EST... which by then would be 8 AM EDT) Monday, FindMyPast  will be available for no charge.

If you have never researched on this site before, this is the perfect opportunity to discover all that they have available... there are millions of US records, military records, including the American Revolution, and a newspaper archive that dates from the 1700's.

Sunday, March 8, is International Women's Day and there is a special program for that, also. For those "early birds" amongst us, on Sunday at 7 AM (EST, actually 8AM EDT, since this is the weekend we change our clocks!), there will be a webinar on searching for your female family members.

Take advantage of this opportunity to see what you might discover!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Three Centuries of the Cape Cod County : featured library resource for March 2015

We are adding to the collection a gift volume published in 1985 to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the establishment of Barnstable County.  Entitled Three Centuries of the Cape Cod county : Barnstable County, 1685-1985, it includes a short section on the historical roots of Barnstable County, but also writes about its present day institutions from a historical perspective.  Each article is by a different contributor, presumably an authority in the area being discussed.

The book covers county services, socio-economic activities (agriculture, politics, transportation, tourism, etc.), and intellectual and cultural activity. There is a speculative essay about the future, interesting to review nearly 30 years on.

There are four appendices:

  1. County officials
  2. Organizations (yes, we are listed)
  3. Chronology of Cape Cod Libraries (begins with Brewster Ladies Library, 1853)
  4. Profiles of Cape Cod Towns
Old and recent photographs are included in a section in the middle of the book, and there is an index (in which I find no mention of oysters!)

If you are interested in background information on Cape Cod institutions, this book would make a good starting point. Come to the Genealogy Room and have a look-see!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

February, 2015 Meeting Cancelled

Due to the snowy and icy conditions we are encountering this month, it has been decided to cancel the program scheduled for tomorrow, Wednesday, February 18, at the Brewster Ladies Library.
Although the library and town of Brewster have been diligent about clearing the parking lot, parking lots can become treacherous with the snow and ice. We feel that for your safety, the scheduled program should be postponed to a later date. Arrangements are being made to reschedule our speaker, Michael Brophy -- hopefully in nicer weather!
We regret that we have had to make this last minute change, but the welfare of our members, and guests, are important to us. Hopefully the weather will be improving soon and we will see you next month at our March meeting.

Friday, February 6, 2015

A Genealogist's Guide to Discovering your Female Ancestors : featured library resource for February 2015

Thanks to an anonymous gift we are adding a third "genealogist's guide" by Sharon Carmack to our Library collection. This one, A genealogist's guide to discovering your female ancestors, was published in 1998. Subtitled "special strategies for uncovering hard-to-find information about your female lineage," it could motivate you to extend your search for that elusive woman in your family tree.

The chapters are as follows:

  • Sources created by women
  • Sources created about women
  • Additional sources for ethnic women
  • Methods for determining maiden names and parents
  • Writing about female ancestors
  • Case studies
In addition, there is a glossary (did you know that relict means a widow?), a bibliography, an index, and these appendices, all of which take up about a third of the volume:
  • An overview of women's legal rights in America
  • Matrilineal research and genetics
  • Source checklist for researching female ancestors
The book got mixed reviews from readers, some of whom were incensed by Cormack's use of social history to embroider the facts in her case studies.  But if this is an area that interests you, there is value to be gleaned from her compilation of the many different sources that can be used to track down information about women's lives in America.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Learn About Descendancy Research at our October Meeting

We are all familiar with the traditional methods of learning  about our family history by researching our ancestors.  But, in the words of our next speaker, "Researching the living descendants of your ancestors can give your family history new life and excitement."
In his presentation to us, at our October 20, 2015 meeting, Michael Brophy will discuss the reasons for doing Descendancy Research, as well as give us advice on how to go about it.
Michael Brophy is a nationally known, professional genealogical researcher, heir search specialist, and lecturer, from the Boston area.He has been a board member of  Massachusetts Genealogical Council and treasurer of the New England Association of Professional Genealogists.
Mike earned his MBA from Suffolk University and BBA from UMASS-Amherst. His genealogical education includes seven certificates from the Institute of  Genealogy and Historic Research (IGHR), as well as certificates in Private Investigation and Advanced Forensic Genealogy from Boston University.
He was featured on the Irish TV series, Dead Money, a genealogy television show about heir searches. He was also hired to conduct research for the NBC television program Who Do You Think You Are?, on an episode dedicated to the family history of actress, Gwyneth Paltrow.
He has lectured on a wide variety of topics, including his specialties of New England and Irish research, at National Genealogical Society conferences and will be among the presenters at the New England Genealogical Consortium conference.
This meeting should prove to be a very interesting one. Hope that you will be able to join us on Tuesday, October 20, 2015, at 10 AM, Brewster Ladies Library, on Rte 6A, Brewster. Come early for our "Meet and Greet" with tea, coffee, and donuts.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Received at the Library

Lisa Alzo describes her pilgrimages to Slovakia, and makes suggestions for planning your own "immersion genealogy" travel experience, in the latest issue of Family Chronicle (Nov./Dec. 2014).  There's a complementary article on traveling to Belarus.  Newspaper research is highlighted in the remarkable story of a man scalded in a railroad accident in 1908 in California, who received skin grafts from over 200 friends and relations.  (He married and lived into his late 40s.)  World War I is featured in two articles, both involving letters and other artifacts.  Other subjects covered are vintage home movies, "Ten hidden sources you might be missing", and posters as a means of sharing genealogical information.

Two feature articles in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly (December 2014) deal with solving mysteries: teasing out which is the ancestor among identical names in Greenwich CT, and investigating the origins of a New Hampshire individual not listed in any primary sources.  A third article comprehensively covers the abundant genealogical resources found in Iowa.  In addition to the location and characteristics of the various repositories for documents by type, it details special topics like ethnic records, transportation and women of Iowa.

Received at the Library

These periodicals have recently been added to the Library's collection:

Mass-Pocha (Oct. 2014) contrasts Jewish emigration from Lithuania to the US and to South Africa, and reports on genealogy trips to Lithuania and to Belarus.  The Jewish community in Malden is profiled, and a family in Lowell is traced.

If you are having trouble identifying your emigrant's town of origin, The Essex genealogist (Nov. 2014) records a nice presentation that systematically lists numerous sources where you might find that important information.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Special Drawing to be Held at our January Meeting

We will be holding a special drawing, open to  ALL CCGS members, during our January 21st meeting. In response to many members comments that the expense is a reason for their not attending the NERGC Conference , the board of directors has approved giving away three vouchers to cover the costs of registration for a single day. Each voucher, with a value of $90, is to be used toward the cost of NERGC registration, by February 28, 2015. This is a rare opportunity to experience a genealogical conference at a greatly reduced rate.

Members who attend the meeting on January 21st, at the Brewster Ladies Library, may register for this drawing when they sign in on that day. Anyone who is unable to attend the January meeting, and would like to be included in the drawing, is asked to email no later than Sunday, January 18, 2015, to make sure that your name is included in the drawing.

NERGC 2015The New England Regional Genealogical Consortium conference is held every two years, somewhere in New England. This year it is scheduled for April 15-18, in Providence, RI. This makes it possible for Cape Codders to plan to attend for one day, rather than the entire four days, but still be able to experience the conference.  Each voucher will cover the cost of one day's registration or may be used toward the cost of a full registration.

The conference gives us a great opportunity to meet other genealogists from all over New England, and beyond,, as well  as to gain valuable skills to aid in the search for your ancestors. With a theme of "Navigating the Past: Sailing Into the Future", this year's conference will focus on research methodologies and strategies,including technology and online resources.

Also at the January - April meetings, Suzanne Walton, our society's NERGC representative, will be available to answer any questions you may have about the conference or about NERGC, itself. There will also be sign up sheets for anyone planning to attend the conference and for those interested in carpooling.  Conference brochures will be available for anyone who needs one.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Sharing Our Research With Others to be Topic of January Meeting

The holidays are behind us... A new year is here and it is time to refocus on our genealogical discoveries. Did you make any resolutions relating to your research this year?  Did you give any thought to how you will share your findings with family members and others? If so, you are going to be excited about our January meeting topic. If you have not given thought to sharing your findings, this meeting will give you lots to think about!

In the words of Ralph Wadleigh, "One of the hardest things we genealogists have to accomplish is to find a way to share our findings. One way is writing about certain ancestors and sharing the results with current family members."
Combining  timelines and  historical events that affected his ancestors lives, with the family events he had discovered, as well as the family stories that have been passed down, he was able to build a biographical sketch to share with his family.

At our January meeting, Ralph will present the process he used and will encourage us to share our own findings with our family members by using his suggestions.

Many of you may recognize Ralph Wadleigh, as the former president of the Falmouth Genealogical Society, a position he held for a number of years. He is a retired banker and has been an amateur genealogist for the past 20 years. He is the author of a number of published articles in NEHGRegister (journal of the New England Historic Genealogical Society) and the CT Nutmegger (journal of the Connecticut Genealogical Society). He has also been active with NERGC (New England Regional Genealogical Consortium), serving as a board member for that organization.

We hope that you will join us on Wednesday, January 21, 2015, at the Brewster Ladies Library, Rte 6A, Brewster, at 10am.
As always, coffee, tea, and donuts will be available before the meeting, so plan to come 15 or 20 minutes early and socialize with our members.