Monday, October 23, 2017

November Joint Meeting of CCGS and Falmouth Genealogical Society to Feature Presentation from Mary Tedesco of Genealogy Roadshow

Mark your calendar to join us for the annual joint meeting of the Cape Cod Genealogical Society (CCGS) and the Falmouth Genealogical Society (FGS) on Saturday, November 11, 2017, at St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Osterville. The featured speaker at this year's meeting will be Mary M. Tedesco, co-host/genealogist on "Genealogy Roadshow" (PBS TV series).

Ms. Tedesco's presentation, entitled "Social Media for Genealogists", will provide effective tips for using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and other social networks to foster connections with fellow genealogists; boost blog readership; generate business leads; and more.

Mary M. Tedesco
Mary Tedesco is a professional genealogist, speaker, and author. She is a Co-Host / Genealogist on the PBS television series "Genealogy Roadshow" (season 2 and season 3) as well as the Founder of ORIGINS ITALY. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from Boston University and a Certificate of Genealogical Research from Boston University's Center for Professional Education. In addition to her Italian ancestry on her father's side (Calabria, Trentino-Alto Adige, and Tuscany), she also has deep American roots on her mother's side (German, Irish, Danish & English). Mary is a proud member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and is the Second Vice Regent of the Paul Revere Chapter NSDAR. She is a member of a number of local and national genealogical societies and is on the Council of New England Historic Genealogical Society. Mary can be contacted at

Optional Lunch: Lobster roll lunch with fixings and beverage - $15, or chicken salad with fixings and beverage - $10. Please make lunch reservations no later than Nov 8 by contacting Judy Fenner at or at 508-776-9401, and please specify lunch choice.

Date:    Saturday, November 11, 2017
Time:   10:30 a.m to noon, followed by optional purchase of Lunch and informal discussions
Place:   St. Peter's Episcopal Church, 421 Wianno Ave., Osterville, MA
Parking:  Behind and on side of Church, and on Wianno Ave.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Received at the Library

Are  you avoiding doing research in court records?  You might be inspired to begin by the lead article in Your Genealogy Today (Sept./Oct. 2017) which traces a neer-do-well family's appearances in 19th-century court records in the Carolinas.  It makes a good read and gives you a flavor for the kinds of things you might come across.  For fans of Genealogy Roadshow, there's an interview with co-host Mary Tedesco, including her tips. (Mary will be our speaker at the November 11 joint meeting with Falmouth Genealogical Society.) If you had 19th-century ancestors in Ireland, you might want to read the description of a typical school.  A couple of obscure record types are explained: apprentice records (for learning trades), and road overseers (did you know they used to conscript local citizens and sometimes their animals to work on roads and bridges?)  State-based WWI records are covered in some depth, and probate records other than wills are the subject of a column.

The current issue of NGS magazine (July-Sept. 2017) is all about storytelling.  The lead article discusses how stories affect us neurochemically, and includes this information: "knowing the family's story is the number one predictor of a child's belief that she or he could affect the world in good and positive ways." What an incentive to do genealogy!  Related articles deal with the role of conflict in story-telling, the role of artifacts and of recordings, and ethical issues that arise with family stories.   Other topics in this issue include World War I records (statement of service cards, for instance), and the 1929 Census of Manufacturers.  A 2-page article goes into detail about the digital access to Family Search's microfilm records, which President Frederici announced at our last monthly meeting.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

October Meeting to Feature Presentation on Census Records

"Finding Someone Who Eluded Census Records" will be the feature presentation by Carol Prescott McCoy, Ph.D., at our October 17th Meeting.

Census records are a cornerstone of genealogical research. What if you can't find your person in the census? Did they elude the census taker or are they just eluding you? This lecture will help you learn a flexible approach to finding people in census records and in census substitute records so you can place them in a location for a specific time period. Dr. Carol P. McCoy specializes in New England research and enjoys giving fun, informative, and stimulating presentations to help people find lost ancestors and learn about their lives.

Carol Prescott McCoy
Dr. Carol Prescott McCoy, owner of has been tracing her family history for over 30 years. She has been helping others discover their roots since 2000. A popular speaker on genealogy and family history throughout Maine and New England, she specializes in New England (especially Maine), New York, and West Virginia (ancestral home of the McCoy family) research.

Dr. McCoy received her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in psychology from Rutgers University, and her A.B. degree from Connecticut College. She is president-elect of the Maine Genealogical Society (2018-2019), having served as a director of MGS for three years, and as president of the Greater Portland Chapter of the MGS for two years, when she headed a project to index the early deeds of Maine's Cumberland County. She is a member of the National Genealogical Society and a graduate of their core program.

The CCGS meeting will take place at the Brewster Ladies' Library, Rte. 6A, Brewster, on Tuesday, October 17, 2017 at 10 a.m. All are invited to come early for socializing and refreshments at 9:30 a.m.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Received at the Library

"Pre-vital records" is a new term to this writer, headlining the May-June 2017 issue of Your genealogy today.  The article points out the many possible sources for birth, death, marriage and divorce records beyond the obvious.  These records are the states' responsibility and many, especially in the South, did not get organized until the 20th century -- North Carolina is used as an example.   A thorough article on identifying waterways led me to the Geographic Names Information System, where I discovered that in addition to the one in Wellfleet that I live near, there are Blackfish Creeks in Tasmania, Ontario, and Kentucky (presumably the latter at least is not named for the small whales that occasionally come to Wellfleet).

Internet genealogy for Aug./Sept. 2017 leads off with an experienced genealogist's tips for taking advantage of free resources (think trial subscriptions or free but time-limited access to webinars at and best research practices.  The Irish Newspaper Archive, a subscription database, is reviewed, as are a couple of tools for creating family histories.  Articles on state encyclopedias and on yearbooks expand on resources you might not have thought to explore.  A thorough review of online sources related to Freemasons explains the organization and history of this secretive but historically significant network.  As always, new databases and tools are briefly reviewed.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

September Meeting to Feature Presentations from Two CCGS Members

September 19 meeting will open the 2017 - 2018 monthly program sessions of the Cape Cod Genealogical Society.

Mark your calendar to join us for the first general meeting of the Cape Cod Genealogical Society (CCGS) of the 2017 - 2018 program year. Two of our own members, John Schoenfelder and David Martin, will be giving presentations on their genealogy research efforts.

John Schoenfelder's presentation on "You Can Publish Too" will summarize his journey, with all the steps, problems, and decisions to finally arrive in the publication of his great-grandfather's history. John will cover retrieval efforts, the organization and formatting, copy layout, and "on-demand" publishing that resulted in the book, "From His Toil and The Soil".

David Martin, in his presentation "Will the Real John C. Fowler Please Stand Up", will recount his efforts in getting around a brick wall with a confusing ancestor. As part of the presentation, David will share the methodologies learned from a highly challenging 30-year odyssey to find the parentage of a great-great-grandfather.

Both John and David are members of the Cape Cod Genealogical Society. John Schoenfelder, who's been conducting his genealogical research for a number of years, usually spends winters in Florida but is on Cape during the warmer months. David Martin is Professor/Dean Emeritus at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. He has been doing genealogy research for about 40 years; he is Past President of CCGS, Chair of the Society's Education Committee and Co-Chair of the Publications Committee, as well as leader of the CCGS Computer SIG.

The CCGS meeting will take place at the Brewster Ladies' Library, Rte. 6A, Brewster, on Tuesday, September 19, 2017 at 10 a.m. All are invited to come earlier for socializing and refreshments at 9:30 a.m.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Received at the Library

"Road trip for roadblocks" is the featured article in Your genealogy today for July/Aug. 2017.  The author suggests onsite visits to the local court house, registry office, cemetery, library and more to add depth to your knowledge of an ancestor.  An interesting account of an Irish immigrant who chose loyalty to the British crown and removed to Canada from South Carolina shows another side to the American revolution.  Other articles cover baby and funeral books, organizing DNA results, information found in lost & found ads, and tips for investigating black sheep in your family.  A poignant description of using information gleaned from genealogy research to stir memories in an Alzheimer's victim rounds out the issue.

Several articles in NGS magazine for April-June 2017 deal with World War I research.  Two of those articles deal with foreign populations: internment of enemy aliens, and treatment of "hyphenated Americans."  The latter is a new term to me, but references for example German-Americans, who were treated with hysteria on the homefront.  (My father was named Otto at birth in 1907, but it was dropped in favor of his middle name William due to anti-German sentiment during WWI.)  In addition, there is a cluster of religion-themed articles (using religious periodicals, Irish dissenting churches, and church-related organizations, like the Knights of Columbus).

Friday, July 14, 2017

DNA Discussion Group

At the June annual meeting, there were a significant number of people who indicated an interest in forming a DNA discussion group. Two of our members, Everett Johnson and Mike Carroll, have volunteered to organize these discussion group meetings.

The initial meeting is planned for Tuesday, July 18, 2017, from 10AM to 12noon, at the Dennis Public Library, 5 Hall St, Dennisport. At this meeting, time will be devoted to discussing the group's experience and interests.

If you would like to participate in this group, please contact  or CCGS --DNA, PO Box 1394, Harwich, MA 02645, expressing your interest, and including the following general information:
Level of experience with DNA:
        1 -- Have some understanding, but not yet tested
        2 -- Tested, but not sure what to do with my results
        3 -- Have done some work on my results, but need some help to progress further
        4 --Have used tools like a chromosome browser, GEDmatch, triangulation, DNA Adoption Methodology, etc.

If you are unable to attend the first meeting, but are interested in future meetings, please let us know, so that we will be sure to include you on any notifications related to this group.
By sending us information on your experience level, we will be able to plan future meetings with your needs in mind.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Received at the Library

As the US marks the 100th anniversary of our entry into World War I, Internet genealogy (June/July 2017) gives a thorough review of sources of information on WWI military personnel.  The armed forces grew from about 200,000 to over 4 million in the short time we were in the war!  Lisa Alzo describes using Pinterest for genealogy research, creating a visual timeline for an ancestor.  She also reports on a new free scanning app for iPhones called JoyFLIPS, created with sharing family history in mind. Pic Scanner Gold, another iOS scanning app, is also reviewed.  Ed Storey describes how he gets help with his research from others (think online forums and, family trees), and Sue Lisk offers tips for better online communications with fellow researchers.

The Essex Genealogist for May 2017 includes the transcript of a talk on old English records, specifically parish registers and wills, by Linda MacIver, New England Agent for Essex Record Office (UK).

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Identifying Early Family Photographs

Cape Cod Genealogical Society's Annual Luncheon Meeting - Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Mark A. Wentling
Join other CCGS members at our annual luncheon meeting at the Old Yarmouth Inn. There will be a brief social gathering beginning at 11:30 a.m., with the annual election of Society officers and directors-at-large to follow at noon. Following lunch there will be a presentation by invited speaker Mark A. Wentling on "Identifying Early Family Photographs".

From Mark's presentation, attendees will learn how to distinguish between 19th-century forms of photography and read physical and internal clues to establish when a picture was taken. Attendees will also discover how to discern the identity and relationships of individuals using provenance, personal characteristics, genealogical research and modern technology.

Mark A. Wentling, M.L.S., is a professional genealogist with more than 20 years of experience. He is the owner of Ancestor Introductions genealogy research service. Mark holds a Master of Library Science degree from the University of Maryland and a certificate in genealogical research from Boston University. Besides early photograph identification, his specialties include 17th-century-to-present New England and New York state ancestry, researching lighthouses and lighthouse keepers, and publication indexing. Mark has deep colonial roots on Cape Cod on both sides of his family stretching back to the Pilgrims.

A reminder that the reservation deadline for the annual luncheon is June 5 (please refer to the Annual Meeting Invitation for details). The luncheon will be held at the Old Yarmouth Inn located at 223 Route 6A, Yarmouth Port, MA.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

May Meeting to Feature Presentation on Lineage Societies

The May 16 meeting of CCGS will feature a presentation from Lilly Cleveland entitled "Lineage Societies - Taking the Mystery Out of the Magic". Have you joined a lineage society, or are you interested in doing so? Lilly has joined 8 societies and has worked for 3 including the Alden Kindred of America, New England Women, and Colonial Dames. She will discuss the overall process and the evidence required to join a lineage society. Learn how implementation of genealogical research standards can lead to the emergence of interesting stories about your ancestors.
Lilly Cleveland

Ms. Cleveland studied at Boston University where she majored in American History and genealogy. She enjoys object research, ancestor character development and correlating evidence from a variety of source materials. She most recently published an article on the website describing a child's sampler and how she researched the ancestor who created it. Lilly is a member of the Mayflower Society, New England Women, Alden Kindred of America, DAR, Colonial Dames XVII Century, and John Howland Society. She most recently joined the Associated Daughters of Early American Witches, proving her line back to John Proctor who was accused and hung for witchcraft in 1692 at Salem.

The meeting will be held at the Brewster Ladies' Library, Rt 6A, Brewster, on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 at 10 a.m. As usual, all are invited to come early for socializing and to enjoy refreshments starting at 9:30.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Received at the Library

Two articles in the NGS magazine for Jan.-March 2017 anticipate the annual conference of the National Genealogical Society, to be held in May in Raleigh NC.
  • Scots-Irish migration to the Colonial Carolinas
  • genealogy materials at Duke and UNC libraries
Another emphasis in this issue is church records.  An article on Quaker records gives strategies to overcome poor indexing in Ancestry.  Another elucidates Irish church registers, both Roman Catholic and Church of Ireland, plus there's a column about Roman Catholic records generally.  Yet another article shows the information to be gleaned from church records for the African-American community.  And lastly the Federal Records column deals with religion-related federal records.

Your genealogy today (March/April 2017) takes us to Tahiti for South Seas research.  If you have ancestors who succumbed to tuberculosis, you will want to check out "Family in the time of plague," an interesting account of a young man's death in 1917. Robbie Gorr uncovers a naming tradition for females carrying their mother's first name, with the addition of "Ann" as middle name.  (For males, the equivalent would be "junior.")  David Norris looks at the role of the radio (or wireless) in family life, and Sue Lisk looks at gardening, which might turn up in family letters or an agricultural census.  Articles treat veteran's stories from both World Wars.  Lisa Alzo urges us to have a plan for the disposition of our genealogical treasures to future generations.

Monday, March 27, 2017

April Meeting Presentation to Highlight Autosomal DNA in Genealogy

Our invited speaker at the CCGS meeting on April 18 will be Pamela Guye Holland who will be giving a lecture entitled "Finding Cousins Using Autosomal DNA". Pam's presentation will show how to explore your DNA matches and how to use the tools made available at FamilyTreeDNA, AncestryDNA, and 23andMe. It will focus on practical ways to discover how you are related to your autosomal DNA cousins. This talk assumes you are considering or have already tested at one of the three DNA testing companies.
Pamela Holland

Pam Holland has been researching family roots found in MA, NY, Ohio, England, Germany, and Ireland since 2001. She is a certificate holder from the Boston University Genealogical Research Certificate program. In 2013 she became a professional genealogist and currently takes private clients and works for Research Services at the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS). She also serves on the board of The Irish Ancestral Research Association (TIARA). Her website is

Our meeting will be held at the Brewster Ladies' Library, Rt 6A, Brewster, on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 at 10 a.m. As usual, all are invited to come early for socializing and to enjoy refreshments starting at 9:30.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Received at the library

The Feb./March 2017 issue of Internet genealogy features an article on organizing your family photos.  The author suggests that photo management software is very worthwhile, allowing images to be tagged according to their many different aspects, and therefore findable no matter how you choose to organize the collection.  Examples discussed are:Adobe Photoshop Elements, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, Apple photos, and Google photos.  Numerous other topics are addressed in this issue:
  • Google My Maps (free, customizeable)
  • Civil War damage claims
  • resources for researching circus performers
  • maximizing clues from the records you find, and from city directories
  • Northeastern Pennsylvania genealogical resources
  • the Italian Ancestors Project on FamilySearch
  • (a service to help your research survive you!)
Members of the German Interest Group may wish to take a look at the featured article in Your Genealogy (Jan.-Feb. 2017), which discusses calendars and religious feast days   Were you aware that in Germany there were competing calendars in use in the late 1500s and through the 1600s? and that the old names for months established by Charlemagne prevailed until the 1700s in some parts of Germany?  Another article explains how names like Gottlieb were expressions of the German Pietistic tradition which was important among Lutherans in the 17th and 18 centuries, and came to America along with many German immigrants.  If you are looking for ways to involve your grandchildren in genealogy, Cindy Thompson offers some ideas in "Uncovering ancestral mysteries."  David Norris reviews the history of unisex naming practices.  The restoration of a cemetery in Iowa is described by Constance Cherba.  The United States Federal Mortality Census was taken in many counties and states in 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880 and 1885, and gives "A wealth of information" on those who died in the year leading up to the Federal Census.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Received at the Library

New records are being added to genealogy databases on a continuous basis.  The cover story for Internet genealogy (Dec./Jan. 2017) highlights the release last September of 2.5 million images (of more than 12,5 million individual records) of Irish birth, death and marriage records, freely accessible at   Of particular Cape Cod interest is an article on shellfish and fishery licenses.  There's an interview with the founder of Cyndi's list, which now boasts over 33,000 links. Other highlights:
  • Twile, a new online tool for timelines
  • genealogyDOTcoach, a new way of hiring professional help
  • pre-1870 African-American research tools
  • uncommon sources
  • Picture Keeper Connect, a specialized flash drive for managing images
Images are not always a good substitute for viewing the original records, is the lesson from a tale of mislabelled microfilm of burial records from Kentucky, in the latest NGS magazine (Oct.-Dec. 2016). In "Mapping personal spaces", Stefani Evans gives examples of how important drawings can be to understanding neighborhoods and memories of homes and other special places.  Another article showcases how a "non-paternity event" (a break in the male surname line) can lead to surprising results from DNA testing.  Think you might have a female pirate in your lineage?  Diane Gravel gives examples and suggests ways of researching them.  Cluster research (also known as the FAN Principle, investigating Family, Associates and Neighbors) is explicated with a case study.  Lastly, if you are a Pokemon Go fan, read how it could change genealogy.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

March 21st Meeting to Feature French-Canadian Genealogy

The March 21 meeting of CCGS will feature a presentation from Margaret R. Fortier on "French-Canadian Genealogy". Margaret will introduce listeners to the tools and strategies one needs to trace French-Canadian ancestors. Learn how they lived in Quebec, how they differed from European immigrants, where they settled in the U.S., and how to deal with name changes and "dit names" (an alias given to a family name). Margaret will outline, step-by-step, how to track individuals when you know their Quebec location and when you don't.

Margaret R. Fortier
Our invited speaker, Margaret Rose Fortier, is a professional genealogical researcher, writer, and lecturer. She specializes in French-Canadian and Italian-American research. A graduate of Boston College and Bentley University, she holds a Certificate in Genealogical Research from Boston University. She serves on the board of the Massachusetts Society of Genealogists, and she is registered as an Independent Researcher with the National Archives.

The meeting will take place at the Brewster Ladies' Library, Rt. 6A, Brewster on Tuesday, March 21, 2017 at 10 a.m. As usual, all are invited to come early for socializing and to enjoy refreshments starting at 9:30.

Friday, February 24, 2017

comparing online genealogy services

For anyone trying to decide which online genealogy service(s) to invest in, or whether you are using the best one(s) for your needs, here's a link to a recent presentation at RootsTech 2017 that will help:

In just over an hour, Sunny Morton compares Ancestry, FamilySearch, FindMyPast, and MyHeritage.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Family Tree guide to DNA testing and genetic genealogy : featured library resource for February 2017

The CCGS Library has acquired our first book on DNA, The Family Tree guide to DNA testing and genetic genealogy, published in 2016.  The author, Blaine T. Bettinger, is an intellectual property attorney and a frequent presenter on genetic genealogy, as well as the founder of the popular blog  The book is intended for all experience levels.

In the introduction, Bettinger contrasts the imprecision of genealogical records with the scientific exactitude of DNA information.  But he then points out that interpretation of DNA results is still very much in its infancy, and therefore can introduce errors and inconsistencies.  Genealogists need to use both tools together to build the best picture available.

The book is organized into three sections:
  • Getting started
  • Selecting a test (mitochondrial, Y-chromosomal, autosomal, or x-chromosomal)
  • Analyzing and applying test results
Additional information includes a glossary, and appendices:
  • A Comparison Guide (flowchart and tables to help you decide which test and service to use)
  • Research forms
  • More resources (books, blogs, websites)
The book includes helpful features like summaries of the salient points of each chapter. The writing is clear, and the layout is colorful and pleasing.  I especially liked the chapters on common misconceptions, and on analyzing complex problems with DNA.  Case studies are used to illustrate uses of the different types of tests.

Bettinger reminds us that the first publicly available DNA testing was in this century (2000), though it was famously used before that in forensic tests on the remains of Tsar Nicholas's family, and in proving that Thomas Jefferson fathered children with his slave-mistress Sally Hemings.  It was only in 2005 that both Ancestry's and 23 and me's databases reached the one-million mark.  So DNA testing is very young and will continue to evolve.  This book will be useful in getting you started on your DNA journey.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

RootsTech 2017

The annual RootsTech, the world's largest genealogy conference, takes place in Salt Lake City this coming week.  Several sessions per day are available for free live streaming Wed. through Saturday.  Click here for the schedule:

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

February CCGS Meeting to Feature Live Webinar on Researching WWI and WWII Service Veterans

The February 21st meeting of CCGS will feature a live webinar, entitled "Researching World War I and World War II Veteran Ancestors", presented by David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist at the New England Historic Genealogical Society. Genealogical research on many of these service veterans presents some unique challenges. On July 12, 1973 a fire at the National Records Center in Overland, Missouri destroyed 16 to 18 million personnel records for the U.S. Army (service years 1912 to 1960) and the U.S. Air Force (service years 1947 to 1964). The webinar will provide guidance on how you can reconstruct your ancestor's service using draft registration cards and enlistments, the U.S. census, discharge papers, unit histories, and more.

Our meeting will take place at the Brewster Ladies' Library, Rt 6A, Brewster, on Tuesday, February 21, 2017 at 10 a.m. All are invited to come early for socializing and refreshments at 9:30.

For those CCGS members who are unable to attend the meeting on February 21, you may use the following link to register and view the webinar at a remote location.


Once you register through this link, an email confirmation will be sent to you with a full set of instructions on how to access the webinar.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Cape and South Shore Blue Book - featured library resource for January 2017

Thanks to a generous gift from library volunteer Kate Reid, we have added four volumes to our collection that list local and part-time residents in Cape Cod and South shore towns in the 1920s and 30s.  Three are entitled Cape and South Shore blue book and social register (1924, 1928-1929, 1930-1931).  The fourth volume is South Shore social register and who's who on Cape Cod (1939).

These volumes contain a lot of advertising that gives a local flavor of businesses that your Cape ancestors probably patronized.  Directory entries are arranged by town or village.  (My grandmother Amy Stubbs is under South Wellfleet, for example.)  There are indexes to names, as well as to advertisers, both by name and by topic.

The directories list adult members of a household, sometimes the street or neighborhood of residence, and often the alternate address (or at least town) for part-time residents.  Sometimes children are mentioned.  Additional information like local post office hours and staff, or country club officers, is sometimes tossed in.

We hope you will come to the library and enjoy perusing these volumes for a fascinating look at life on the Cape nearly a hundred years ago.