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).