Thursday, December 29, 2011

Don't Miss the SLOCGS Seminar: Genealogy NOW! Growing Your Family Tree

"Genealogy NOW! Growing Your Family Tree"

February 4, 2012
8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Veterans Hall
801 Grand Avenue
San Luis Obispo, California

Mark your calendars for Genealogy NOW! Growing Your Family Tree, featuring nationally acclaimed author and speaker Dr. Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGL!

This full day of outstanding presentations is designed to enhance your genealogical sleuthing skills, and add a few branches to your family tree. Genealogy NOW! also features the always-entertaining Ron Arons, author of Wanted! U.S. Criminal Records and The Jews of Sing-Sing, as well as English research expert Apryl Cox, AG.

Included in the event will be vendors, project displays, refreshments, a freebie table, and drawings for dozens of genealogy prizes and gift certificates. For schedule, registration information, or more about this event, please visit

Copyright by © San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

January Meeting: Here Comes the 1940 Census!

Saturday, January 7, 2012
Research Class: 12:30 PM
Main Program: 1:45 PM

Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) Hall
520 Dana Street
San Luis Obispo, California

Here Comes the 1940 Census and We ARE Ready!! Don't miss this excellent talk by Joel Weintraub. Joel has been working on finder aids for the 1940 census since 2005, and has been giving talks on the soon-to-be released census for the past five years. Let him help you prepare to find your family in the 1940 census when it comes out on 2 April 2012. Joel also explains why the United States Censuses are not released for public view until 72 years have gone by. The reasons may surprise you!

Before the main meeting, be sure to come to the research class, What's in the 1940 Census? also presented by Joel Weintraub.

After the research class will be a brief business meeting at 1:00 PM, followed by some tasty snacks and time for chatting with other members. Don't miss the drawings for some excellent prizes!

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Joel Weintraub was born and raised in Manhattan. An emeritus Biology Professor at California State University, Fullerton, he has won awards for his science teaching. He volunteered for 9 years at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in southern California. He, David Kehs and Stephen Morse have produced a number of online census searching utilities for both the federal and the New York State censuses on the Morse One-Step Website.

Poster for 1940 Census courtesy of the United States Census Bureau.

Copyright by © San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society

Friday, December 2, 2011

SLOCGS to be Featured on FGS Radio!

The San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society will be featured in the "Society Spotlight" segment of this week's FGS Radio program, My Society!

The program will air at 11:00 AM PST. This week's topic is "Insider's Guide to Genealogy," and features special guest Kathryn Doyle, Communications Director for the California Genealogical Society and Library in Oakland, California.

The Society Spotlight segment will air towards the end of the show, around 11:45 AM. Be sure to tune in to hear the interview with our own Cafi Cohen!

You can read more about this upcoming program on the FGS Voice blog.

To listen to the show, click the link below, or visit My Society Online Radio.

Listen to internet radio with mysociety on Blog Talk Radio

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Don't forget to register for the SLOCGS 2012 Seminar - it's going to be great!

Copyright by © San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Volunteer Opportunity: SLO Cemeteries/Headstones Database

Help is needed with updating the SLO Cemeteries/Headstones Database for Arroyo Grande District Cemetery.

The cemetery has already been photographed, but the existing database needs to be updated with the information from the headstones. This process is extremely tedious and requires the ability to focus on both the images and the parameters within the database.

Step-by-step instructions will be given, and it is important to understand the reasons behind them.

Please note that you will need to have a computer with photo-editing software, Microsoft Excel spreadsheeting software, and a DVD drive.

To volunteer or for more information, please contact Martha Graham.

Copyright by © San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The SLOCGS Bulletin, November 2011

The November 2011 issue of the SLOCGS Bulletin, Vol. 44, No. 2, has arrived in members' mailboxes. It is another terrific issue, and kudos go to editor Tim Tryon.

Here is Tim's "From the Editor" message:
This issue of the SLOCGS Bulletin comes at at time of change for our society. We are losing our current president and longstanding member Julia George. She is moving to Texas to be nearer kids and grandkids. She will be greatly missed. Also leaving is Dave Dowell who has been our resident expert for genealogical DNA. Oddly, he is also moving to Texas to be near family. At the same time SLOCGS is moving forward into a whole new world of technology and social media. Elizabeth O'Neal has stepped up to offer her knowledge of the many new possibilities of Facebook, Twitter and a SLOCGS Blog. She and Cafi Cohen have done a lot of work toward moving SLOCGS into the 21st century. If you look to the page to the left at the bottom of the column on the right side you wll see not only the address for our website, but, also the addresses for our various social media pages. Take a few minutes to check them out if you haven't already.

In this issue I have finally managed to get a surname index completed. The index is for both issues of Volume 44 of the SLOCGS Bulletin. I intend to include an index for each volume in the November issue from now on.

Once again I am asking for submissions for our next Bulletin. I know each and every one of you have stories to tell, so get cracking and put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. Articles can be about some ancestor that you have researched or about your own quest of discovery and how you went about finding out about your family's story. Almost every article in every issue is written by you the members of our society. It doesn't take a professional writer to tell a good story. Just someone who cares about the story itself.

Thanks for reading.

Table of Contents

Ham and Eggs for Five Thousand by Ed Adler

The Hospital Bill by Janet Solverson Thatcher

Riding into Independence by Sharon G. Whitney

Finding Your Ancestor's Original Records Without Traveling by Janelle Pond Richardson

Rocco Manuto and Coming to America by John and Linda Shorb

J. M. Bonilla: An Early SLO County Resident transcribed by Martha A. Crosley Graham

SLO Civil Case Abstracting Project by Martha A. Crosley Graham

Surname Index for SLOCGS Bulletin Volume 44

Genealogy NOW! (information and registration form)

Upcoming SLOCGS General Meetings

SLOCGS Genealogy Classes

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The SLOCGS Bulletin is the magazine of the San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society, and is published twice a year. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the society. Please submit items for publication to Editor Tim Tryon. To join the SLOCGS, please see our membership page.

Copyright by © San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society

Monday, November 7, 2011

General Meeting 5 November "Family Skeletons" Program

Our main program on Saturday, November 5, 2011, consisted of members’ accounts of researching family skeletons. Thanks to Ginger Goodell for putting together the very-professional-looking Power Point and contributing the following recap of the individual presentations.   

John W. Davis
Cheryl Storton described how she discovered the truth about a family tradition claiming her grandfather, John W. Davis (see photo), went to prison for making moonshine, but walked away and never went back when he tired of being there.

Martha Crosley Graham read a family story her grandmother wrote, describing Martha’s Danish great-grandfather’s colorful background and death.  Martha’s research separated “truth from fiction.”

Greg PisaƱo described his discovery of a family skeleton while going through newspaper microfilm in Arizona’s Sedona/Prescott-area public libraries. His grandfather’s name appeared in headlines as having murdered his wife’s brother at the door of a local saloon.  Greg demonstrated how additional research led to more details about this family secret.

Jan Cannon told how she’d asked her grandmother about her great-grandmother, only to be told she’d died young and that her grandmother had no memory of her. After Jan enlisted the help of a professional researcher and another family member doing genealogical research, she learned her great-grandmother’s name and that she’d died in an “insane asylum,” having lived there the last 45 years of her life.  Jan described her visit to the institution where she was able to view her great-grandmother’s file, see the grave (a numbered brick), and arrange to have a proper grave marker installed.

Carole Ann Davis began seeking clues about when and how her grandfather came from Germany to the U.S. and eventually won medals for his Spanish-American War participation. Using both and the LDS Family History Center in Utah, she documented his military service, but was taken aback to discover him on the 1900 US census as an inmate at San Quentin. From there, she tracked down his offense--burglary--and even found his mug shots.

Julia George’s research into collateral ancestors led to a family skeleton who appeared to be an adulterer and a counterfeiter.  Looking at censuses and several cities’ newspapers fleshed out more information on this black sheep’s criminal activities.

Lynn Storrs stumbled across news of her father’s previous marriage when her aunt shared with her a prized possession, Lynn’s great-grandfather’s Bible. In it Lynn read a strange woman’s name, a name not found in the family Bible. After talking over her discovery with her mother, Lynn made peace with this upsetting bit of family history, as most of us have likely learned to do with the family skeletons we’ve stumbled across.  

Janet Grummit shared the booklet she recently ordered from the Mason City, Illinois Area and Family Historical Society.  In it she found a three-and-a-half-page article on a great-uncle charged as an accessory to armed robbery. This was the first she’d heard of this family skeleton.  She’s doing further research to learn what became of him.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

November Meeting: Family Skeletons - Things Your Mother Never Told You

Saturday, November 5, 2011
Research Class: 12:30 PM
Main Program: 1:45 PM

Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) Hall
520 Dana Street
San Luis Obispo, California

Family Skeletons: Every family has one - a skeleton in the closet that no one talked about. Come hear our society members describe the family secrets they've uncovered along the way!

Before the main meeting, be sure to come to the research class, Online Map Resources for Your Family History, presented by Cafi Cohen. Extend your family tree by finding your ancestors and their neighbors on historic land-ownership, military, and urban fire-insurance maps. This presentation will include a demonstration of creating an historic map overlay onto Google Earth.

After the research class will be a brief business meeting at 1:00 PM, followed by some tasty snacks and time for chatting with other members. Don't miss the drawings for some excellent prizes!

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Cafi Cohen is a professional genealogy researcher, as well as the current Seminar Chair and past Education Chair of the San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society. Since 1997, she has presented many sessions on research techniques both locally and at regional conferences. As co-owner of Bridge to Yesterday, she combines genealogy research services with book publication – "We do the research and we make it beautiful." She is a member of the National Genealogical Society and the Association of Professional Genealogists.

Copyright by © San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Volunteer Opportunity: California Digital Newspaper Collection

Here's another volunteer opportunity for those of you who like to work from home in your pajamas: the California Digital Newspaper Collection (CDNC) is looking for a bit of assistance. Please see the following notice to find out how you can help with this worthwhile project.

You just never know what you might find for your personal research while you're working!

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The California Digital Newspaper Collection (CDNC) is pleased to announce the implementation of User Text Correction in its archive.

The CDNC is the largest, freely-accessible archive of California newspapers. The collection contains nearly 475,000 pages - and growing - ranging from 1846 to the present. It is available for searching at The project is managed and hosted by the Center for Bibliographical Studies and Research (CBSR) at the University of California, Riverside.

User Text Correction (UTC) allows individual users of the CDNC to correct computer-generated text. When newspapers are processed from microfilm or paper originals, optical character recognition (OCR) software is used to generate searchable text. This OCR text, however, is often not perfect, particularly for older newspapers. By correcting this OCR text, users improve the CDNC by making more of the text searchable for other users. The CDNC is the first digital newspaper archive in the US that we are aware of to offer user text correction. To learn more, see the help section of the CDNC.

The CDNC is over six years old and has been supported in part both by the National Digital Newspaper Program, a joint effort by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress, and by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian. The CDNC has also worked with local institutions around the state to digitize their newspapers, and has started a project to collect current PDFs from California publishers. Please contact us at for more information on both projects.

The User Text Correction tool is part of the Veridian software used to host the CDNC. Veridian is developed by DL Consulting and is used by a number of prominent libraries around the world, including the National Library of New Zealand, the Singapore National Library, Princeton, and Cornell. The CDNC is the first archive to make UTC available and has worked closely with DL Consulting on its development, including beta testing by a number of CDNC users.

CDNC users have already corrected thousands of lines of text. Help us make the CDNC a better archive for all, and experience for yourself how fun - and addictive - correcting OCR text can be.

Copyright by © San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

October 2011 Meeting Rewind

If you missed our October meeting, you missed a couple of great presentations by Jean Wilcox Hibben, PhD, MA, CGsm!

First up, Jean lead the Research Class in Two Sides of Interviewing, which looked at interviewing from different angles: fields of speech communication (in which Jean holds a BA and MA) and folklore (in which she holds a doctorate). Besides learning oral history gathering techniques, members also learned how to be a good interviewee - it's not as easy as you might think!

After a short business meeting and some tasty snacks, it was time for the main program. This time, Jean focused on Using German Records and Applying Similar Techniques to Research of Other Locations. Many of us trace our roots to the first immigrants to this country... and then stop. Jean discussed how we can find those ancestors who came from Germany - and other locales - and continue the research with the applicable records. She also addressed the basics of what clues can be found in various locations, and the resources available at, and, among others.

Jean Wilcox Hibben is an engaging and entertaining speaker who has done family research for over 30 years. A member of many professional genealogical organizations, she also volunteers at the Riverside (California) location for the Pacific Region National Archives, and was recently named the new director of the Family History Center in Corona, California. She is a nationally-known speaker on family history and folklore.

To learn more about Jean, please visit her web site.

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Don't miss our November 5, 2011 meeting, featuring Family Skeletons: Things Your Mother Never Told You. Spooky!

Copyright by © San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Vital Records Class

Last Friday Cheryl Storton and Cafi Cohen presented a session on Vital Records on the Internet at the Paso Robles Historical Society building. We demonstrated navigation and insider's tricks for finding vital records at: 
  • FamilySearch
  • Linkpendium
  • USGenWeb

Remember the situation just 10 years ago? If you could not locate the record on LDS microfilm, getting a vital record out of many counties and states was either impossible or constrained by long waiting periods. That's still true in some cases. Fortunately, however, many counties and states are now making documnent images available instantly for free or nominal costs. Examples? Check out:

Friday, October 7, 2011

Stump Dr. D With Your DNA Questions!

Our resident genetic genealogy expert, Dave Dowell - also known as "Dr. D" - will be heading to Houston, Texas, next month for the 7th Genetic Genealogy Conference for Family Tree DNA Group Administrators, November 5-6, 2011.

If you have questions about genetic genealogy, or how to apply DNA results to your genealogical research, now is your chance to "Stump Dr. D!"

Dr. D will answer all the questions he can during the month of October. However, if you mange to "stump" him, he will take your question directly to the experts in Houston next month to get an official answer for you.

Please send your genetic genealogy questions to Dr. D at

Copyright by © San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Volunteer Opportunity: Civil Cases Project

The San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society is recruiting volunteers for the Civil Cases Project.

This very interesting project is one that can be done at home in your pajamas during your "spare time." There is no specific time frame for completion, but the abstracting process goes quickly, so it does not take a huge block of time to complete a roll of film.

How it Works:

Files for abstracting will be sent to you as PDFs via Dropbox. Use of Dropbox requires a quick download and installation of the free software.

Pertinent data is abstracted and put into either an Excel spreadsheet or a Microsoft Word table. You will use a split or tiled screen so that you are reading the pages and entering the data at the same time using two separate programs.

Please consider joining this group of dedicated folks who wish to help preserve local data for researchers world-wide!

For more information, or to volunteer, please contact Projects Chairman Martha Graham.

Copyright by © San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society

Monday, October 3, 2011

Introducing the SLOCoGenealogy Blog!

Welcome to the brand-new blog of the San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society!

In the weeks and months ahead, we plan to share information about our meetings, events, and other exciting projects. We hope you will become a regular visitor!

For more information about the society, please visit our web site, and perhaps consider joining or attending our meetings on the first Saturday of each month. We also offer skill-building classes and special interest groups for everyone from beginners to experienced researchers.

Many thanks to the members of the SLOCGS Board for their support, and to the SLOCGS Social Media Committee for stepping up to help with this endeavor!

We hope that you will enjoy reading the SLOCoGenealogy blog. If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave a comment below or send an email to

© San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society