Saturday, December 1, 2012

FOUND - SLO County Probate Abstracts!

While doing some cleaning at the San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Library, a set of hand written pages of probate abstracts was found. This set of pages contained abstracted information from Probate Packets - Miscellaneous Individuals stored in the San Luis Obispo County Superior Court.

Louise Radcliffe, a member of the San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society, was the person who originally went to the court and abstracted the information. She has since passed away, but we are grateful for her diligence in finding and recording historical and genealogical information in our county.

The following probate records were abstracted:

Name and Packet #
1 - Joaquin Blanco
2 - Trifon Garcia
3 - Thomas Oliver [Tomas Olivera]
4 - William Read [Reade, Reed]
5 - Henry Amos Tefft
6 - Thomas Park
7 - Joseph B Clemments [Clements], MD
8 - Jose M Villa
9 - Gabrael Salazar
10 - Victor Linares
11 - Juan Rios
12 - John Matlock
13 - Edward Eversfield
14 - Vincente Canet
15 - Francisca Garcia

The records recorded by Ms. Radcliffe have been typed as is, and no attempt has been made to correct spelling, language or data.

Additional Research can be undertaken by the San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society staff. We cannot, however, access the actual Probate Packets, as many of the very old records have been destroyed.

Please visit for more about these files. Contact Martha, SLOCGS Projects & Publications Chairman, if you have questions.

Copyright by © San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society

Friday, October 26, 2012

November Meeting: Professional Research Tips with Cafi Cohen

Saturday, November 3, 2012
Research Class: 12:15 PM
Main Program: 1:45 PM

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

The November research class, Best Internet Websites 2012, will be presented by genealogist and past SLOCGS Education Chairman Cafi Cohen. Well-known, as well as more obscure websites will be described and demonstrated during this research class. Everyone should go home with an expanded toolkit that includes several new online venues for research!

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

Ms. Cohen will then present the main program, Professional Research Tips: Getting Information Quickly and Cheaply. Have you been frustrated at not being able to travel to ancestral locations to research? Are you ready to move beyond what's on the Internet? Learn how professional genealogists quickly and inexpensively access documents available only in distant libraries, archives, and courthouses.

Don't miss these great presentations by Cafi Cohen!

*   *   *

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

Monday, October 22, 2012

Virtual Research Week Challenge: Results

Cruising for ancestors on the Information Superhighway!

On October 7, we posted information about our Virtual Research Week Challenge. Rules of the challenge were:
  • Find one person in your genealogy database for whom you have little or no information.
  • Formulate a research plan, which might include: 1) locating vital records, immigration records, biographies, etc.; 2) locate and record information from all available census years. Make your plan work for you based on the ancestor for whom you are looking.
  • Use only online resources - no trips to a "real" library, Family History Center, courthouse, or even your basement/attic to look for grandma's box of papers. This is a virtual trip, remember?
  • Add all the new data to your genealogy database. Be sure to cite your sources!
  • Post the results of your virtual research trip on your blog on Sunday, October 14, 2012, which is the day our members arrive home from Salt Lake City. Be sure to report if you broke through any major brick walls or found anything that surprised you!
While we didn't have a lot of takers, those who did participate found some interesting - and sometimes surprising - results:
Our Virtual Research Week Challenge has ended, but we will continue to update this post with links. If you would like to participate, please send a link to your post to or leave a comment in this post. This challenge is not limited to SLOCGS members - everyone is invited to ride along!

Copyright by © San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Member Virtual Research Trip: Discovering Mary Hinch

SLOCGS member Lynn Storrs shared the following Virtual Research Week Challenge story on our members-only email list, and has given permission to have her story published here. If you have questions about these ancestors or would like more information, please contact Lynn directly.

*   *   *

Some of our research leads us to find ancestors to brag about; but sometimes we run into others we might not want to claim and whom we wouldn't have liked much if we’d known them. Here’s my story.

I decided during this research challenge to find more information about my gggrandmother, Mary Hinch. To be honest, in 2005, I had identified her as being married to George W. Pottorff from their names on the death certificate of their son, John A. Pottorff and from their marriage record in Pike County, Illinois. On the death certificate, she was Mary Hinc; on the marriage record, he was Geo. W Bottorf. My only other information was on unsourced family trees posted on Ancestry. During these last years, I had concentrated my research on other family lines, which included being able to tie my Badtorff/Pottorff family to the 1709 Palentine Germans, finding them well documented by Hank Z. Jones. So, my goal this week was to prove through on-line sources who Mary Hinch’s ancestors were.

I started with the census information. In 1850, George and Mary, with 2 year old Sarah, were living in Pike Township, Illinois. Next to George’s farm was Andrew Pottorff, his brother. Also on the same page were Samuel Hinch and John M. Hinch and their families. Their ages seem right to be Mary’s brothers. I found another possible Hinch brother living in the next county in Illinois, and right across the Mississippi River from this group, in Missouri, was Uriah H. Hinch (aged 60), with his wife, Elizabeth, and 15 year old son, Robert G. When I found Uriah in the 1840 and 1830 census’, he was in the same area of Missouri. The sexes and ages of his children matched the Hinch’s found in the later census’. One other coincidence, I found my great grandfather, John A. Pottorff in the 1880 census, listed as a farm laborer in the household of Robert G.G. Hinch, just the right age to be the 15 year old son of Uriah Hinch in the 1850 census.

In "Missouri Marriages Before 1840," on pg. 107, I found Uriah Hinch married to Elizabeth Stephenson 23 Oct. 1810. On the Genweb site for Pike County, Ill., I found the following Hinch marriages:
  • Louisa Humble Hinch m. 10 Dec 1839 to Jefferson G. McClain
  • Samuel Hinch m. 24 Dec 1848 to Lucy Wallace
  • Charity Humble Hinch m. 29 Aug 1839 to James Pulliam
  • John Milton Hinch m. 14 Dec 1837 to Nancy McIntyre
  • Mary Hinch m. 24 June 1847 to George W. Botorf/Pottorff
  • Nancy Elizabeth Hinch m. 7 Nov 1858 to Richard M. Raffety
At this same Genweb site, I found several Hinches listed in the 1918 “Prairie Farmer’s Directory who seem to be the children of the Hinches that stayed in Illinois. One was Perry Hinch, and there was also an obituary for him from 1927, which named his parents as Samuel and Lucy Hinch, from an old pioneer family.

On Rootsweb and in the Missouri Supreme Court Historical Database, I found an exerpt of a will for Uriah Humble Hinch from the “Will Book of Audrain County, Mo.” (pgs 161-162) From this, I learned that Uriah died 27 Jan 1855, Audrain County, Mo., at the age of 65. His wife. Elizabeth, died 27 Sept 1870, aged 85, in Barry County, Ill. And, much to my delight, his children were listed, including his daughter, Mary Pottorf. This tied many of my bits of information together into one whole family.

On Family Search, I found Uriah H. Hinch listed in the War of 1812 records. He was in Capt. Ramsey’s “C” Missouri Rangers and his widow, Elizabeth, was the person who applied for the pension.

Then, I remembered the mysterious name in the household of George and Mary Pottorff in the 1860 census of Nevada, Vernon, Mo., where they would live the rest of their lives. The name is indexed as “Becy” Hinch. Indeed, the name is illegible, but definitely started with “Be” and her age was 65, just the right age to be Mary’s mother, possibly called Betty or Beth instead of Elizabeth.

But, happy as I am to prove Uriah to be Mary’s father, I found an upsetting article in Chicago: It’s History and Builders. On pg. 413, the author discusses fugitive slaves being protected by the citizens of Chicago. An example is given to show tis feeling. It seems that my Uriah H. Hinch, of Mo.,appeared in Chicago in pursuit of several fugitive slaves. He brought a trusted slave with him to assist in identifying and arresting them. Uriah showed handbills all over town with pictures of the runaways and openly searched for them. He was approached by several respected citizens and told that he was “employed in an enterprise full of personal risk.” They hinted that a coat of tar and feathers was being prepared for him. Uriah appealed to a Justice for protection, but was told nothing could be done. An anti-slavery lawyer recommended that the safest course was immediate flight. In the meantime, Uriah’s trusted slave had disappeared, being last seen on a steamer heading for Canada. The book’s author ended up pointing out that “Mr. Uriah Hinch, a name which reminds one of Dicken’s ‘Uriah Heep’, also a personage of unpopular traits.” Evidently, Uriah quickly left town, never to return to Chicago.

Some more rather disturbing discoveries were made when I Googled “Mary Hinch”, “George W Pottorff”. Up came two well-sourced articles by J.R. Baker about the Missouri Bushwackers from Vernon County, Mo. One article listed them in alphabetical order. There was: “George W. Pottorff, bond, $1,000, arrested for aiding enemy”. The other article was about Capt. William Henry Taylor, former sheriff of Vernon County, and leader of the Bushwackers in that part of Missouri. For 7 pages, he details,in chronological order, Taylor and his men’s attacks on Union soldiers, their forts, and Union sympathizers. It tells of their kidnappings, murders, and the burnings of homes and barns in southwestern Missouri and Kansas. At the end, telling of Taylor’s personal life, it said that, “In 1861, Miss Sarah E. Pottorff, of Barry, Ill., became his wife.” It goes on to say, “Sarah was the daughter of George W Pottorff, who had been a Bushwacker under Taylor in the War.”

And, sure enough, in the 1870 census for Nevada, Vernon, Mo., Wm. H. Taylor and his wife, Sarah, are living next to George Pottorff and his younger children. His wife, Mary, has disappeared and has probably died. Missouri has few death records on line and she is not in the “Find A Grave” nor in cemetery listings for that area.

My last find for the Pottorff’s was in the Missouri State Archives, Missouri Union Provost Marshall Papers, 1861-1866. There is the following: “Pottorff, Geo. W., Nevada, Vernon County. Bond of $1000, arrested for aiding the enemy. Released in the security of D.D. Burgess, not to go beyond the lines of U.S. forces. Oath of Allegiance” 06-08-1862

All of this information feels like a kick in the stomach, but it does tie in to some of thr family trees on line. So now, off to check into Uriah Hinch’s parents. They were said to be Samuel Hinch and Charity Humble. Looks like Uriah was given his mother’s maiden name as his middle name. Charity’s parents were Uriah Humble and Charity Kuster/Custer. (Yes, supposedly a connection to Gen. Custer, but I haven’t looked for it yet).

These families are taken back to the 1600’s in England, Ireland, and Germany, if their research is correct. But there is a great deal of confusion in the on-line family trees because there was this Uriah Humble, Jr., and his father, Uriah Humble, Sr., also married to a woman named Charity. Some combined the two couples and posted birth and death dates over 113 years apart!! And, amazingly, others just copied this without thinking!

In googling “Uriah Humble”, I found wonderful reseach on the Kuster/Custer families on Rootsweb. On Genforum, there is a detailed history of the Humbles and Custers in Bucks County, Pa., including their arrival there from Durham, England in 1733. On Ancestry, I also found an article about the earliest settlers in the Shenandoah Valley, and Uriah, Sr., is listed there as a landowner in 1742.

While I didn’t find the will of Uriah, Sr., I did find in Pa. court records that his will was challenged. It seems that he left part of his lands and all of his slaves to his widow, Charity, and his son, Uriah, Jr. When his widow died, his other children challenged Uriah, Jr’s. right to keep all the slaves. The judge ruled that only ½ of the slaves belonged to Uriah and that his mother’s share should be equally divided amongst his siblings. He even had to include in the division ½ of the money he received from slaves he’d sold.

At the GenWeb site for Westmoreland County, Pa., there is an extract of Uriah, Jr’s. will of 17 July 1773. His son, Michael, was named executor in 1774. Unfortunately, this extract doesn’t list children, so I will need to get the original. While I haven’t found much about his daughter, Charity, I did find amazing information on Uriah, Jr’s sons, Michael and Conrad.

I found a 10 page article titled, “Kentucky Longrifles, Kentucky’s Humble Gunsmiths”. The object of the article was to determine if the “Kentucky Longrifle” was indeed first made in Kentucky in the 18th century and whether Michael Humble was the earliest gunsmith in the region. This sourced article not only details the history of this rifle and the surviving examples made by Michael and Conrad Humble, but also the history of the Humble/Kuster families. Both families included gunsmiths and the area they lived in in Bucks County, Pa., was the center of a gunsmithing industry. That is where Michael and Conrad were first apprenticed, before migrating with their family to the Shenandoah Valley. In the 1770’s and 1780’s, there was a big migration of people from that area of Virginia into Kentucky.

Michael arrived in Bourbon County, Ky., as early as 1774. He was a Captain in Kentucky militia in 1777, listed on the rolls as under the command of Gen. George Rogers Clark. In 1779, he was on the muster roll of Capt. James Harrod’s company. His first gun shop, probably the first one in Kentucky, was opened in 1777, near Fort Nelson, which is now Louisville. He was an armorer for Gen. Clark. In addition to repairing guns, he made guns for the forts and frontier outposts. He moved to Mercer County, near modern-day Danville, about 1782, where he built his home, gun shop and track for horse racing. Michael was actively involved in petitions for Kentucky statehood and several constitutional conventions were held in Danville. He died there in 1818.

Conrad Humble arrived in Kentucky about 1780 and bought extensive lands between 1780-1784. The book, Virginia Heads of Households, Rockingham County, Va., I learned that Conrad served in the American Revolution in the Virginia Militia. He previously owned land in Brock’s Gap, Augusta County, Va., where he is included on a 1777 list of tithable landowners. Conrad Humble is identified as having 300 acres. A footnote says that he was a blacksmith and maker of the Ky. Rifle. His neighbor was Jacob Lincoln, grandfather of Abraham. When he died in 1791, Conrad’s estate was extensive and included many luxury items that showed he was a wealthy man.

What is wonderful in the article is that in a section entitled “Getting Acquainted”, the author writes that Michael and Conrad’s father was Uriah Humble, Jr., an immigrant who arrived in Philadelphia in 1733, with his father, Uriah, Sr., and that Uriah, Jr. was naturalized there 7 years later. It says that Uriah, Jr. married Charity Kuster in 1735, and were in Augusta County, Va., by 1751, some of the earliest settlers in that area. The writer points out that Uriah’s name appears in the records there many times, often as a witness to a legal document “including the estate of his father-in-law, Conrad Kustar”. Conrad Humble also was a witness to several deeds there in the 1760’s.

At the end of this research week, the resources I found will enable me to take part of Mary Hinch’s line back 4 generations and I have many more names to check out. I have a few films to order so I can see entire wills and inventories. What an amazing week it was. Although some findings upset me a lot, I am reassured that my Pottorff grandfather was a most tolerant, loving man who would have disagreed with his grandfathers’ attitudes to slavery and the actions of the Bushwackers and that this legacy of hatred has not survived in the family.

*   *   *

Did you take our Virtual Research Week Challenge? If so, leave us a note in the comments or send an email to and we will link to your post!

Copyright by © San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society

Volunteer Opportunity: Mortuary Project

Once upon a time... early members of SLOCGS began a "Mortuary Project." We would now like to update and complete this project.

The current format is odd, and not at all user-friendly, but with a little concentration and typing it could be reformatted into a decent database. Items in the project date from the late 1890's to early 1900's.

  • Time to devote to working on a few letters of the alphabet
  • Spreadsheet software
If enough volunteers participate, the work can be split up and will get finished quickly. This project will be done at home, and spreadsheets with the data already on it will be sent as attachments and returned in the same format.

To participate, please contact Martha Graham, SLOCGS Projects & Publications Chairman.

Copyright by © San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Marriages Index and Newspapers Index Completed!

We are pleased to announce the completion of two major projects:

The first is the result of diligent efforts on the part of volunteers Dianna Curtis, Tom Gorham, Rosemary Flamion, Edna and Ken Taylor, Phoebe Adams, Pat Bunyard, Kent Unsworth, and Martha Graham. The San Luis Obispo County 1850-1930 Marriage Index is finished - 10,267 marriages total!

The second project involved indexing all the names in a very old set of pages found when we moved from "the Tombs" at the Mission Medical Center. These typed pages were the work of Laura McAnallen many years ago, who abstracted data from local newspapers on microfilm. There are 5,562 names in the San Luis Obispo Newspapers index. Volunteers Dianna G Curtis and Kathy Nienhouse worked on this index.

Visit the San Luis Obispo County Marriages Index.

Visit the San Luis Obispo Newspapers Index.

Terrific job, SLOCGS volunteers!

Copyright by © San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society

Sunday, October 7, 2012

SLOCGS Virtual Research Week Challenge!

Several of our society members left today for a research trip to Salt Lake City, Utah. We wish them much success, and hope they find the ancestors for whom they are looking!

For those of us still at home, SLOCGS is sponsoring a Virtual Research Week Challenge, and we're hoping that members of the genealogy blogging community will join us.

Here are the rules:
  • Find one person in your genealogy database for whom you have little or no information.
  • Formulate a research plan, which might include: 1) locating vital records, immigration records, biographies, etc.; 2) locate and record information from all available census years. Make your plan work for you based on the ancestor for whom you are looking.
  • Use only online resources - no trips to a "real" library, Family History Center, courthouse, or even your basement/attic to look for grandma's box of papers. This is a virtual trip, remember?
  • Add all the new data to your genealogy database. Be sure to cite your sources!
Post the results of your virtual research trip on your blog on Sunday, October 14, 2012, which is the day our members arrive home from Salt Lake City. Be sure to report if you broke through any major brick walls or found anything that surprised you!

Leave a comment on this blog, or send an email to with your blog post link. We will post links to all participating blogs here on Friday, October 19, 2012.

Bon voyage and good luck!

Copyright by © San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society

Sunday, September 30, 2012

October Meeting: Finding Clues with Jean Wilcox Hibben

Photo by Pam McComb-Podmostko ©2009
Saturday, October 6, 2012
Research Class: 12:15 PM
Main Program: 1:45 PM

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

The October research class County Websites: An Overlooked Resource will be presented by genealogist Jean Wilcox Hibben, PhD and MA, CG.

Following 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!

Ms. Hibben will then present the main program, Clue to Clue: Tracking a Family Over Time and Miles. Clue to Clue uses various clues to show how to move from one piece of information to the next to piece together the life of an ancestral family. The steps used are illustrated so that they can be followed by the beginner as well as the seasoned genealogist. Use of census, probate, property, and personal records are explained.

Don't miss these great presentations by Jean Wilcox Hibben!

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Jean Wilcox Hibben, PhD and MA, CG 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.

Copyright by © San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society

Monday, September 10, 2012

September Meeting Rewind

Almost 100 attendees enjoyed the festivities, exhibits, and learning opportunities at our September meeting, where we celebrated the release of the 1940 US census. Thanks to Dianna Curtis and her team for providing  period food & hats! Another thanks to those who brought their memorabilia for display. Finally, a shout out to the wonderful swing dancers. It wouldn't have been the same without you.

Cafi Cohen presented the research class demonstrating Advanced Census Search tips. These included:

  • Browse rather than search  
  • Use multiple indexes
  • Use multiple search engines
  • Read search tips at each website
  • Use database-specific search screens
  • Massage the data input
  • Search without names 
  • Search the neighbors
  • Play with the names
  • Correlate with other records

Congratulations to Tim Tryon who won the census trivia contest, correctly answering 8 out of 8 census trivia questions. We will repost these questions on the genealogical society Facebook page for for those who want to see them again.

Janet Grummitt, Sharon Whitney, Tim Tryon, Joyce Bayless, Tom Gorham, Harry Schenck, and Cheryl Storton, presented their 1940 US census finds: they included . We especially enjoyed a photo of Tom Gorham's ancestor, George Sonnenberg, Sr., of San Miguel, who died in 1940. According to the 1940 census, he was the last surviving Civil War veteran in San Luis Obispo County.

Monday, August 20, 2012

September Meeting: 1940 U.S. Census Release Party!

Photo of Lindy Hoppers from

Saturday, September 1, 2012
Research Class: 12:15 PM
Main Program: 1:45 PM

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

The 1940 U.S. census has been indexed and released, and we're having a party to celebrate!
  • Bring your 1940s memorabilia to display. Items can be photos, appliances, clothing... anything characteristic of the period 1930-1950. Please email Cafi Cohen to reserve display space.
  • Wear clothing and/or hats from the 1940s!
  • 1940s food, music, and entertainment will be provided, including swing dancers!
The research class, Advanced Census Search Techniques, will be presented by Cafi Cohen. Think your ancestors were missed by the census taker? Think again. This class covers advanced search techniques that may ferret them out!

The main program will be 1940 US Census Finds. Come see what our society members have discovered in the 1940 U.S. census, and hear how they went about the hunt. You will be inspired!

(If you have a find you would like to talk about during the main program for 2-5 minutes, please contact Cafi Cohen so it can be added to the PowerPoint presentation.)

This will be the perfect day to invite your relatives, neighbors, and friends to the society meeting. See if you can infect them with your enthusiasm for family history!

Mark your calendars... you won't want to miss this fun, swingin' event!

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Copyright by © San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society

Monday, August 6, 2012

Missing Your Genealogy Society Meetings?

Are you missing the San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society meetings in July and August? Well, we miss you, too!

Until we meet again in September, consider attending Getting The Most Out of Family Search: Advanced Techniques, presented by Cafi Cohen, on Saturday, August 11, 2012, at 9:30 AM. We will only hold this class if there are sufficient pre-registrations received by Tuesday, August 7. For information and pre-registration, visit and scroll down to the Internet Genealogy Skills Series.

(UPDATED 8/8/12: Unfortunately, the Getting The Most Out of Family Search: Advanced Techniques class scheduled for August 11 has been cancelled due to insufficient pre-registrations. Sorry, folks.)

Also now enrolling is the 4-week October and November class, Creating Your Family History Book, at Cuesta College. For information and registration, visit and scroll down to the Cuesta College Emeritus Program information.

And don't forget: we're going to Salt Lake City to research in the Family History Library in October! We have a special hotel rate and the opportunity to share rooms that make the trip very affordable. At 10:00 AM on Saturday, Sept 1, we will hold a trip preparation class. Be sure to get in on the fun! Visit for more information.

Copyright by © San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society

Friday, August 3, 2012

Behind The Home Page - GRIP 2012

I recently returned from the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh, where I took a week-long course titled: "Behind The Home Page: Problem Solving With Online Repositories," taught by D. Joshua Taylor and Paula Stuart-Warren.

Much of the course was devoted to finding databases and document images -- digital collections at lesser-used archives and library websites. We learned that much of this information will never be found with a Google search because (a) it's buried too deeply at the website (Google indexes depth proportional to traffic) and (b) Google usually does not index material buried behind image logos and search screens.  

Here are a few course websites that you may want to check out today:

1. Visit the free Archive Grid beta at to search historical documents, personal papers, and family histories held in archives around the world.

2. Digital State Archives is a new but growing link farm covering 36 states:

We will discuss more of the course content -- including overlooked websites YOU should be searching -- at the August 2012 Professional Standards meeting. See for more information.

Cafi Cohen


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Arroyo Grande Cemetery is Finished!

The San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society is happy to announce the completion of the update to the Arroyo Grande Cemetery Project.

A great group of volunteers photographed and assisted with the indexing of this historic cemetery, one of the oldest in the county.

Here are some statistics:
  • 11,300 images were taken of headstones.
  • 14,730 names of people interred (original Barry Lewis index = 12,874)
  • 1,876 new interments
Indexes are being printed for both genealogical libraries, and one for the cemetery. A fully searchable pdf index and headstone images have been uploaded to our domain so that researchers worldwide can access them for their genealogical pursuits.

The Arroyo Grande District Cemetery website can be found here:

Many thanks to the SLOCGS volunteers who participated in this project - well done!

Copyright by © San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society

Thursday, June 21, 2012

SLOCGS Member Ginger Goodell Named Walter Lee Sheppard, Jr. Prize Recipient

Congratulations to SLOCGS member Ginger Goodell! Ginger joined the society in 2005 and has served as the Assistant Programs Chairman ever since. She is a facilitator for the Genealogical Writing Special Interest Groups, and a member of the "Implementing Professional Standards" group. SLOCGS is so proud of Ginger!

Elizabeth Shown Mills (left) with Ginger Goodell

Ginger Goodell of San Luis Obispo, California, has been named the 2012 recipient of the Walter Lee Sheppard Jr. Prize, bestowed annually upon genealogists who demonstrate sound practices and exceptional potential. Candidates for the award are drawn from the Advanced Research Methodology and Evidence Analysis track at Samford University's Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research. The stipend awarded to each recipient covers the preliminary and final application fees for pursuing certification by the Board for Certification of Genealogists.

Past recipients of the prize include Judy Russell, CG, of Avenel, New Jersey; David Ouimette, AG, CG, of Highland Utah; Phil Burnett Adderly, CG, of Shreveport, Louisiana; and Teri Tillman, CG, of Natchez, Mississippi.

The Samford University IGHR and the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) were both founded in 1964 by a cadre of genealogical educators seeking to advance quality and professionalism within the field. Across the decades, BCG has co-sponsored the IGHR; and a significant number of Board-certified genealogists have been its course coordinators and instructors.

The prize itself memorializes the late Walter Lee Sheppard Jr., one of the twentieth-century's leading genealogical scholars whose example strongly promoted sound reasoning and careful analysis in all genealogical specialties. As a mentor, his discerning eye could be counted upon to identify a missed source or clue in family reconstructions, thereby strengthening a colleague's conclusions. A founder and president of BCG, Lee was also a fellow and president of the American Society of Genealogists, the National Genealogical Society, the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania, and other bodies. In 2007, he was elected to the National Genealogy Hall of Fame.

The Sheppard Prize is privately funded by an IGHR Track 4 graduate, for whom Lee acted as mentor and patron. The prize has no affiliation with the Board for Certification of Genealogists itself.

Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG
Course Coordinator, Track 4
Advanced Research Methodology & Evidence Analysis
Samford University Institute of Genealogy & Historical Research

Members of the 2012 Course 4 Class at IGHR

Copyright by © San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Pine Mountain Cemetery Project Completed!

Martha Graham and Shanda Grunkemeyer-Gibbs get ready to start "shooting."

We are pleased to announce the completion of the Pine Mountain (Atascadero) Cemetery Project.

A few statistics:

5,232 interments were indexed, 573 of which were new burials.

A total of 4,171 images were shot, including headstones and sections for identification.

L to R: Martha Graham, Dianna Curtis, Barbara Baranek, Jan Canigiula, Ingrid Penman, 
and Janet Grummitt get their assignments.

The Photographers: 

Dianna G Curtis, Barbara Baranek, Jan Canigiula, Barbara Castillo, Janet Grummitt, Shanda Grunkemeyer-Gibbs, Martha A Crosley Graham, Ingrid Penman, and Don Woodward.

The Database Crew:

Lorrie Akley, Claudia Collier, Dianna G Curtis, Tom Gorham, Martha A Crosley Graham, and Rich Miller

These great SLOCGS volunteers did an outstanding job. In just 3 months, the photos were shot, the index updated, and the "back work" of renaming the images, proofing the database, and updating the website was accomplished. The headstone images are being uploaded as this is published. 

Here is the updated website:

At the same time that Pine Mountain was being done, the Paso Robles Cemetery database was updated and completed.

We have one more large cemetery to complete: Arroyo Grande District Cemetery. With over 12,000 burials recorded in 1999, this one is by far the largest in the county.

Cayucos-Morro Bay Cemetery was photographed last spring. Rich Miller and Martha Graham are working on the update to the database - a little over 4,000 burials there.

My deepest thanks to all of the great volunteers in our genealogical society. You are the best!

Martha A Crosley Graham
Projects & Publications Chairman

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For information about this project, please visit the Pine Mountain Cemetery web page, or contact Martha Graham directly. For a list of online resources provided by the SLOCGS, please visit our County Resources page.

Photos by Don Woodworth.

Copyright by © San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

June 2012 General Meeting Rewind


Our newly elected officers began their duties as of the June 2012 General Meeting.
President Leslyn Keith has a private practice occupational therapy clinic in San Luis Obispo. She has been researching since 2004; her surnames of interest include Robinson in Connecticut via Riga, Latvia; Kiefer in Michigan via Canada and Germany; and Hyslop in Scotland. Previous she has served the genealogicy society as Publicity Chair Assistant.

Vice President Barbara McCallum is a retired attorney who lives in San Luis Obispo. She has been researching 10 years, particularly in Tennessee, Iowa, and Maryland, focusing on military and land records and old legal documents. Following a successful term as Education Chair, Barbara, as VP, will be re-working our bylaws, a long-overdue task.
Recording Secretary Anne Brown lives in Avila Beach and previously resided in Shell Beach and San Luis Obispo. Her surnames of interest include McGovney, Brown, and Benedick. Anne previously has served as Publicity Chair Assistant. In honor of the 1940 census release year, Anne contributed the accompanying image of her high school ID card.

Thanks to all of our new officers for your commitment of time, talents, and energy.  

Tips from Linda Serna’s Presentation Linda Serna spoke on two topics. Here are a few gleanings from the first presentation, “Did You Know?: Clues in Census Records That Are Often Overlooked”
Check these US census years for bread crumbs leading to the additional records!·   1820: includes a column for number of persons not naturalized. This provides hints about when a family might have come to the US. Correlate with passenger lists. ·   1850: a column shows if a couple was wed in the previous year. Correlate with marriage records. ·   1870: a column indicates birth month for individuals born within the year. For many people, this may be the most specific birth record available.·   1900: a column shows number of years married. Follow up with a marriage record search.·   1910: a column shows if a person was a Civil War veteran or widow of a veteran. Check at Fold3 and NARA for those military service and military pension files.·   1940: residence in 1935 is noted for individuals over 4 years old. Search additional locality records when the family has moved between 1935 and 1940.
We had a record attendance for our June meeting -- about 25% higher than normal. Our next regular meeting will be our 1940 Census Release Party in September. Visit the webiste for details about special classes and interest groups this summer while our general meetings are on hiatus: .

Saturday, May 26, 2012

June Meeting: Detective Work with Linda Serna

Saturday, June 2, 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

The June research class How Do You Know That...? will be presented by genealogist Linda Serna. You may not have noticed all the great information in census records, especially the earliest ones. How Do You Know That...? describes how to find that information, and where to go from there.

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!

Ms. Serna will then present the main program, Genealogy as Detective Work. This presentation highlights the skills used by both detectives and genealogists to solve mysteries. It explores how to reason through a genealogical challenge by using a detective's tools and indirect evidence. Specific examples and case studies will illustrate how to find and analyze information that can solve your difficult family mysteries and brick walls.

Don't miss these great presentations by Linda Serna!

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Linda Serna is a professional genealogist who has been researching for 30 years. She is the Vice President of Programs for the Orange County California Genealogical Society (OCCGS), and also speaks regularly to her own group and others in Southern California and New Mexico. She is a member of Association of Professional Genealogists (APG), the Genealogical Speakers Guild (GSG), the Polish Genealogical Society (PGS-CA), and the Genealogical Society of Hispanic America (GSHA-CA).

Copyright by © San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society

Friday, May 25, 2012

The SLOCGS Bulletin, May 2012

The May 2012 issue of the SLOCGS Bulletin, Vol. 45, No. 1, has arrived in members' mailboxes. It is another awesome issue, and many thanks go to editor Tim Tryon.

Here is Tim's "From the Editor" message:
Welcome to the 1940's edition of The SLOCGS Bulletin. In honor of the release of the 1940 census images, most of the articles included are in some way related to the 1940's. I certainly enjoyed reading all the stories you will find here and I hope you do too. On a related note, our September regular meeting will be a 1940 Census release party. I hope you will consider joining us for the festivities. It should be a lot of fun, with folks in '40s attire and displays of photos and anything else from that era that anyone would like to show off. Keep an eye on the SLOCGS website for updated information about the meeting.

Once again I want to thank all the writers who submitted the stories for this edition of the Bulletin. You make my job both easy and interesting.


Going to War in a Troopship, December 1944 by Wes Conner

The 1930s to the 1940s - A Time of Immense Changes for Most Americans, Tony and Dovie Hoffman Included by Ginger Goodell

The Swinging '40s in San Luis Obispo by Mary Adler Hansen

A Historic Day Preserved submitted by Lynnette Lewarton Storrs

It Was Over - Remembrances of the End of WWII by Janelle Richardson

John Pinckney Andrews transcribed by Martha Crosley Graham

Your Guide to Finding Ancestors in 1940 Census Images from

Community & Conflict: The Impact of the Civil War in the Ozarks - A Website Review by Sharon G. Whitney (See Sharon's online review here)

P C How to... by Martha Crosley Graham

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

Thursday, May 24, 2012

May 2012 Meeting Rewind: Google Gems with Lisa Louise Cooke

If you missed our meeting earlier this month, you missed a couple of great presentations by Google expert Lisa Louise Cooke!

In Lisa's Research Class Google Earth for Genealogy, she discussed identifying old photos, plotting, and virtually visiting an ancestor's homestead, and incorporating historic maps and videos. Google Earth has the power to geographically document your ancestors' lives, and lends itself very well to collaboration with other researchers. And best of all, it's FREE!

Lisa Louise Cooke discusses the genealogy gems found in Google.

Lisa's main program was titled Google: A Goldmine of Genealogy Gems, in which she covered the basics of getting a free Google account, creating your own "Genealogy Dashboard" with iGoogle, adding gadgets, and the using the Tabs feature for better organization.

This blogger was already using iGoogle as her homepage, but learned so much from Lisa about how to make it more useful! Setting up tabs for special projects - even short-term projects - is a terrific idea, and one that I was not using. Also, there are so many genealogy gadgets out there; visit the Gadgets Directory and search "genealogy" to find them for your iGoogle homepage. And don't forget to add the San Luis Obispo County Genealogy Society Blog to iGoogle so you can keep up with the latest SLOCGS news!

More information about Lisa Louise Cooke can be found on her web site at You can also catch Lisa in person next month at the Southern California Genealogical Society's Jamboree in Burbank.

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Congratulations to the following officers who were elected at the May business meeting: President, Leslyn Keith; Vice President, Administration & Development, Barbara McCallum; Education Chairman, Sheila Davis; and Recording Secretary, Anne Brown. Many thanks to our outgoing officers for their exceptional service, particularly President Bob Christian, who was unexpectedly called on to "step up to the plate." Thanks to all of you for your commitment to SLOCGS!

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Copyright by © San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society

Friday, May 18, 2012

1940 US Census

San Luis Obispo County is finally downloading for the 1940 US census indexing volunteers. I've been watching the counties come up in roughly alphabetical order, and we finally made it through most of Los Angeles, Sacramento, and San Francisco (California is now roughly 55% indexed; the US about 40% indexed). Attached are images from an SLO batch (page) I indexed this morning. The lower part of the page includes two members of the Dallidet family (see line 37) - I wonder if they were associated with the Dallidet Adobe? Looks like they lived in the vicinity of Buchon and Pacific Streets.

If you want to join the San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society group indexing the 1940 US census, please visit to download the free software.

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Copyright by © San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society

Monday, May 7, 2012

Thank You, Outgoing Officers!

President Bob Christian and Recording Secretary Sharon Whitney

Outgoing San Luis Obispo County Genealogy Society officers, President Bob Christian and Recording Secretary Sharon Whitney, chairing the May, 2012, genealogy society board meeting.

Both have been active members of the society for several years. Bob has served as Bulletin Editor, First Vice President, and actively assists with several library projects. Sharon participates in the writing and intermediate genealogy special interest groups. We all join in thanking you for your commitment to the society.

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Copyright by © San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

May Meeting: Google with Lisa Louise Cooke

Lisa Louise Cooke
Saturday, May 5, 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

Lisa Louise Cooke will present this month's research class: Google Earth for Genealogy. Google Earth is a 360-degree, three-dimensional way to view your ancestor's world. In this class you will learn how to identify old photos, plot, and virtually visit your ancestor's homestead, and incorporate historic maps. Google Earth has the power to geographically document your ancestors' lives, and lends itself very well to collaboration with other researchers. It’s one of the best online genealogical tools available, and best of all, it’s FREE!

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!

Ms. Cooke will then present the main program, Google: A Goldmine of Genealogy Gems (Part I). This presentation covers getting a free Google account, creating your own "Genealogy Dashboard" with iGoogle, incorporating genealogy blog and podcast gadgets, desktop tools, and the Tabs feature,

You won't want to miss these terrific presentations by Lisa Louise Cooke!

*   *   *

Lisa Louise Cooke has been passionate about family history since she was a little girl sitting at her grandmother's knee looking at old family scrapbooks. It's a dream come true to have turned that passion into a career. She is the producer and host of the Genealogy Gems Podcast, an audio and video genealogy show available in iTunes. She also hosts the monthly Family Tree Magazine Podcast and videocasts for Family History Expos, as well as authoring the Genealogy Gems News Blog.

Copyright by © San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

April Meeting: U.S. Military Record Research

Saturday, April 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

This month's research class will be presented by Ruth Lang CGHow May I Help You? Getting the Answers You Need from Government Agencies, Archives and Libraries. Increase your chances of receiving prompt and complete replies to your queries from record clerks, archivists, and librarians. Ms. Lang worked for over ten years with the Fresno Historical Society, helping to answer researcher questions. Helpful tips and examples of successful queries included.

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!

Ms. Lang will also present the main program: U.S.Military Record Research. If at least one of your family lines has lived in the U.S. for several generations, most likely you had a male ancestor serve in the military. The main program lecture will discuss the types of records available and how to locate and obtain these records.

*   *   *

Ruth Lang has twelve years' experience with historical and genealogical research. For over ten years she worked for the Fresno City & County Historical Society as a researcher, oral historian, and archivist assistant. She is a board-certified genealogist who speaks regularly to genealogical and historical groups, and who does private research for clients.

Copyright by © San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Volunteer Opportunity: Pine Mountain Cemetery

SLOCGS has been given permission to photograph the headstones in the Pine Mountain Cemetery in Atascadero. Five people have already volunteered to work on this new project, but it would be nice to have a couple more.

Requirements: 1) a decent digital camera, 2) must live in north San Luis Obispo County or be willing to travel (with gas the way it is, it is preferable for volunteers to live over the Grade), 3) and time to do at least one section. 4) And be sure-footed; it is not called "Pine Mountain" because the land is flat!

Please note that the method of sending in images has changed. We will use the Dropbox system and a dual-pane file manager.

There will be a meeting on Tuesday April 3, 2012, in the San Luis Obispo Genealogical Library, 995 Palm Street in downtown San Luis Obispo, at 10:30 a.m. At that time, section assignments will be given out, and volunteers will view a demonstration on how to use the file manager.

Please consider joining this select group of volunteers. It is a great project, and the last large cemetery in the county to be photographed.

To volunteer, please contact Martha Graham, SLOCGS Projects & Publications Chairman.

Copyright by © San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society

Monday, March 5, 2012

Social Security and Original Records

Thanks to Barbara McCallum and Cheryl Storton for their presentations at the Genealogy Society General Meeting on Saturday, March 3.

Barbara talked about the Social Security Death Index and related records. If you’ve never gotten a copy of your parents’ or grandparents’ application for Social Security, perhaps you are now motivated to try. Here are a couple of good links:

Cheryl’s presentation entertainingly demonstrated the difference between original and derivative sources and the importance of obtaining the original record (or the earliest derivative, in the absence of the original), even when you have a reliable transcription. The image accompanying this article (from Cheryl's presentation) shows a California Mission original record, an 1897 baptism, with a "bonus" in the left column, a notation about the individual's marriage almost 50 years later in 1946.

It makes me wonder. Do we have all the original sources associated with our parents' and grandparents? Or are we relying on family tradition? Sometimes in our haste to get to that Mayflower ancestor, we casually skip over recent, important original documents which could change everything -- including the ease with which we eventually identify that Mayflower ancestor.   

Cool associated websites Cheryl recommended include:  

Sunday, February 26, 2012

March Meeting: Get Original!

Saturday, March 3, 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

This month's main program will be presented by Cheryl Storton, Get Original: Are Your Sources Solid and as Good as Possible? Cheryl learned long ago the value of finding original records and not relying on someone else's research or transcription of a record!

Before the main meeting, be sure to come to the research class on Social Security, presented by Barbara McCallum.

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!

*   *   *

Cheryl Storton is a long-time member of the San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society, past President and current Program Chair. She has been doing her own family research since 1980, and has been working as a professional researcher for three years. She is co-owner of Bridge to Yesterday, a company that combines genealogy research services with book publication – "We do the research and we make it beautiful." Cheryl is a member of the DAR, Association of Professional Genealogists, and the National Genealogical Society.

Copyright by © San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Great Feedback from "Genealogy NOW" Seminar Attendees!

Wonderful day -- the Genealogy NOW Seminar, February 4.

Comments from the evaluation forms:
  • "Great seminar -- staff did a super job."
  • "Good handouts; great refreshements."
  • "Love the projects displays.
  • "Thank you! This was a very valuable seminar."
  • "Everyone real friendly and helpful."
  • "Good job -- great choice of speakers; no dull topics." 
  • "Great organization."
  • "Learned a lot."
  • "This was my first SLOCGS experience --loved it!"
  • "Loved Pedigree Analysis and Finding European Ancestors because they got my brain going with strategies to solve some of my problems."
  • "Liked Tracing Common Surnames -- Jones rocks."
  • "Tom Jones is an excellent instructor. Some speakers are great genealogists who can't teach; he is an excellent genealogist who CAN teach. . . "
  • "Apryl Cox was brilliant and is a great teacher." 

Topics participants would like to see in the future:
  • Review of genealogy websites.
  • Scandavanian research
  • Putting together family books
  • Land records
  • California records, pre-statehood
  • Scottish research
  • German research
  • Eastern European research
  • Dating Photographs

Monday, January 30, 2012

It's Not Too Late for Genealogy NOW!

Just because you can't get to Salt Lake City for RootsTech this week doesn't mean you can't enjoy a fantastic genealogical learning experience!

Head over to San Luis Obispo on Saturday, February 4 for Genealogy NOW! Growing Your Family Tree, featuring nationally acclaimed author and speaker Dr. Thomas W. Jones!

This full day of presentations is designed to enhance your genealogical sleuthing skills, and add a few branches to your family tree. Included in the event will be vendors, project displays, refreshments, a freebie table, and drawings for some really fantastic genealogy prizes and gift certificates.

For the complete schedule, registration information, or more about this event, please visit

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Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG

Thomas Jones has co-edited the National Genealogical Society Quarterly since 2002. He serves the Board for Certification of Genealogists as trustee and is a past president. He is the 2011 recipient of the Association of Professional Genealogists' Professional Achievement Award, 2004 recipient of its Grahame T. Smallwood Jr. Award of Merit, and 1997 and 2002 winner of the National Genealogical Society Award for Excellence for articles in the NGS Quarterly. He has been certified since 1994. A professor emeritus at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., he is a genealogical educator who speaks and writes frequently on genealogical evidence, proof, and problem solving. Personal and professional genealogical research since 1964 has taken Jones to records of all states east of the Mississippi plus Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Texas.

His experience includes on-site research in courthouses, libraries, and archives in most of those states, the Family History Library, and other major genealogical repositories. He also has conducted research in records of France, Germany, and Ireland, and on-site research in Ireland. His specialties, however, are Georgia, Ireland, and Virginia.

Ron Arons

Ron worked for many years as a marketer at many high-tech companies, including Texas Instruments, Ashton-Tate, and Sybase, before deciding to work full time on The Jews of Sing Sing. Ron became interested in understanding his roots after he lost both his parents to cancer 16-18 years ago. In the process of researching his criminal ancestors' past, Ron has traced his roots to England, Poland, Romania, Ukraine, Belarus, and Lithuania. In 2005 Ron won a Hackman Research Residency Award from the New York State Archives to continue his research of New York Jewish criminals. In January, 2008, Ron appeared on the PBS television series, "The Jewish Americans," as the acknowledged expert on Jewish criminals of New York's Lower East Side. Arons tours the country giving educational and entertaining presentations on Jewish criminals and Jewish genealogy. Ron earned a B.S. in Engineering from Princeton University and an MBA from the University of Chicago.

Apryl Cox

Apryl Cox, BA, MBA, AG®, is a professional researcher and lecturer who has been researching and teaching family history for more than 20 years. She is an Accredited Genealogist® in English research through the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists, internationally recognized as ICAPGenSM. She is also a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists. Apryl currently conducts client research and consultation; teaches genealogy courses at Brigham Young University; and lectures at national, state and local conferences. She serves as an ICAPGen commissioner and as the co-chair of the ICAPGen Testing Committee. Her geographic areas of expertise include England and the United States. Subjects of particular interest for her include methodology, evidence analysis, probate research, and lesser-used records of England – topics on which she frequently lectures.

The ICAPGenSM service mark and the Accredited Genealogist® and AG® are registered marks of the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists.

Copyright by © San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

January 2012 Meeting Rewind

If you missed our first meeting of 2012, you missed a couple of great presentations by 1940 census expert Joel Weintraub!

Mr. Weintraub chats with members before the meeting begins.

First up, Mr. Weintraub led the Research Class in What's in the 1940 Census? which looked at what we can expect to find when the 1940 census is finally released in April 2012.

This blogger was thrilled to learn that one of the questions on the 1940 census was, "Where were you in 1935?" According to Mr. Weintraub, so many people were in transition in 1940 due to WWII and the "Dust Bowl" in the midwest, that many people had moved since the 1930 census. This question was to help track those migrations. Almost as good as having a 5-year census!

Be sure to get your tickets for some great drawing prizes!

After a short business meeting and some tasty snacks, it was time for the main program. Mr. Weintraub's talk was titled Here Comes the 1940 Census and We ARE Ready!! and he spoke to a packed house - over 100 people showed up to hear his talk!

The house was packed - over 100 people!

Some interesting tidbits about the 1940 census:
  • The 1940 census has 40 entry lines. 100% of respondents were asked all 40 questions; about 5% of respondents (about 2 people per page) were asked additional questions.
  • Infants born after 12:01 a.m. on 1 April 1940 were not to be counted.
  • Informants from outside the family were supposed to be noted. For example, "Information from John Brown, neighbor."
Mr. Weintraub discussed various search tools designed to help you navigate the unindexed 1940 census when it is released. You will definitely want to check these out at - scroll down to the folder "US Census and Soundex (1790-1940)."

You can find more information about Mr. Weintraub, his talks, and the 1940 census on his web site at Volunteer to help index, if you have some free time!

Note: If you missed this talk, you can catch Mr. Weintraub on Saturday, January 28, 2012 at the Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society.

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Have you registered for our seminar, Genealogy NOW! Growing Your Family Tree, featuring nationally acclaimed author and speaker Dr. Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGL yet? You will NOT want to miss this fabulous event - hurry and register, or you can register at the door!

Copyright by © San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Ozarks Research Website Recommendation

Community & Conflict: The Impact of the Civil War in the Ozarks

A Website Review by Sharon G. Whitney

The home page of this website aptly describes the focus:

“This collection offers a portrait of life in the Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas and Oklahoma between the years of 1850 and 1875. It includes photographs, letters, journals and other artifacts that relay the difficulty of conducting everyday matters amid the destruction of the American Civil War. The accounts in this collection offer first hand perspectives on this conflict from a variety of sources: soldiers and civilians, merchants and farmers, men and women.

Community and Conflict: the Impact of the Civil War in the Ozarks collects primary source documents from museums, libraries, archives and private individuals from across the Midwest. Together, these
contributing institutions offer their collections as an indispensable resource for researchers. This site examines not only the military history of the American Civil War, but demonstrates the lasting repercussions of the War for citizens, soldiers, slaves, women and children. This project is part of the Missouri Digital Heritage Initiative funded by a Federal Library Services and Technology Act grant administered by the Missouri State Library.”[1]

I found the site user-friendly. I love its homepage. Its audio-visual immediately immerses you into the feel of a live-action social history experience. It allows you to do an advanced “keyword” search or to browse by their collections. Their collections are by “County,” “Theme,” or “Battles.”

I started my browsing by “County.” Browsing by county takes you to a map of southwestern
Missouri, eastern Kansas, northern Arkansas, and Indian Territory. From there you can select any county within the map. My own county of interest is Barry, Missouri, just across the border from Benton and Carroll counties, Arkansas, and not far from “Indian Territory.”

Clicking on Barry County took me to a county map with wrap-around text giving the year it was formed (1835), its total population in 1860 (7,748), its slave population in 1860 (257), and Civil War battles (one notable skirmish at Keetsville now called Washburn, February 25, 1862).

Thereafter follows a brief narrative about its agriculture, early settlers, and impact of the Civil War. Such textual material helped me build historical context for my family of interest.

Of course historical context is important. Just as important are tidbits that lead to additional original sources. What I found most relevant for my own Confederate Hedrick ancestors in Barry County—particularly with respect to records that might have been kept at the county courthouse in Cassville—is the following information: “The Battle of Pea Ridge, in Benton County, Arkansas, in March of 1862 put Barry County in Union control. The Union army used the county courthouse as their headquarters, suspending county government for the duration of the war.”

The above paragraph helped me to explain why a marriage that occurred in 1862 could not be filed until 1868 because, as certified by the justice of the peace “the county court clerk’s office was vacant in 1862.” Indeed, during the Civil War, most businesses had shut down and over half of the population had fled the area. Eventually, the county sued the federal government for funds to repair damage the Union army had caused to the courthouse when it was used as Union headquarters; the federal government granted this reparation.

The Barry County page at the Community and Conflict site also provides a link to the resources for Barry County, including family collections of Civil War letters, lawsuits, and proceedings of the short-lived Confederate government in Missouri.

Theme Browsing covers: Agriculture, Economics, Guerilla Warfare, Home Front, Refugees, Medicine, Military Life, Minorities, Politics and Government, Reconstruction, Slavery and Urbanization. The “Home Front” theme gave me insight into what “Aunt Pliney” (my great grandfather’s surrogate mother after his mother died) went through while her husband soldiered for General Price to recapture Missouri for the Confederates.
Battle-Browsing features the following battles: Carthage (1861), Dug Springs (1861), Wilson’s Creek (1861), Zagonyi’s Charge (Springfield, 1861), Pea Ridge (1862), Newtonia (1862), Prairie Grove (1862), Springfield (1863), Hartville (1863), Mine Creek (1864), Newtonia (1864) and Price’s Missouri Expedition (1864).

For any family historian wanting an immediate sense of time and place and impact of the Civil War in the Ozarks, this website is a must. Browsing themes enables you to immerse yourself in the community and conflict. Better yet: the site offers images of original sources for genealogical research. Highly recommended and happy hunting!

[1] Springfield-Greene County (Missouri) Library District, “Community and Conflict,” article, Community & Conflict: The Impact of the Civil War in the Ozarks ( : accessed 30 December 2011).