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