Monday, September 9, 2019

September, 2019, Meeting: The USA and the Holocaust: Finding Family in the Sources

The first meeting of the 2019 - 2020 season will be held on Tuesday, September 17, at the Brewster Ladies Library.

Our speaker, Norah Schneider, will trace changes to immigration in the United States and Germany during the 1930s and 1940s with the Third Reich's rise to power and the outbreak of the Second World War. Using her own family's experiences, she will show how the history influenced the sources available to trace Jewish genealogy during this time.

Norah recently received a Ph.D. from Salve Regina University, where she wrote her doctoral dissertation on the Third Reich and the Holocaust. A member of Falmouth Genealogical Society, she is currently the collections manager at Falmouth Museums on the Green and Falmouth Historical Society. In addition, she is also a contract historian. 

Our meeting will take place in the auditorium of the Brewster Ladies Library, Rte 6A, Brewster. As in the past, the public is always welcome to join us for our monthly meetings. Members, and guests, are invited to arrive at 9:30 AM, for socializing and refreshments. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 10 AM. We hope to see you there! 

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Received at the Library

Lots of useful information can be found in Internet Genealogy for June/July 2019.  Do you regularly read genealogy blogs? Sue Lisk details six which might be of interest, and many of them provide things like topic guides or digests of others' blog posts.  Seven expert genealogists predict what will dominate the field in the coming year, and in the next 5-10 years.  All New York arrival passenger lists are freely available both at Family Search and at for the period 1820-1957.  An up-to-date list of databases covering enslaved ancestors is offered, and another article covers mapping tools for Hispanic research.  The Veterans Administration Master Index, 1917-1940 covers anyone who served in US World War I forces and applied for benefits.

The April/June 2019 issue of NGS magazine is all about lineage societies: their history, different types, the application process, how DNA is fitting into the picture, and relevant books, articles and online resources.  There are also articles on city directories, resolving  conflicts in direct evidence, and Civil War Confederate slave payroll records.

The Essex Genealogist for August 2019 carries transcripts of presentations on "Dissecting Documents" and one on "Demystifying Ahnentafels" (which are a German-originated numbering system for family charts).

Saturday, June 29, 2019

New books at the Library

Two updated Mayflower "silver books" have cone out this year, and were hand-delivered by Brenda Hayes straight from the General Society of Mayflower Descendants in Plymouth (thank you, Brenda!)  They are:

  • The Descendants of Elder William Brewster through his son Jonathan, Generations 5 & 6 (v. 24, pt.2)
  • The Descendants of Thomas Rogers through his grandchildren Thomas Rogers and Elizabeth Rogers, Generation 6 (v.19, pt.2)
With the 200th anniversary of the Mayflower's voyage coming next year, we are keeping this collection updated.

At the recent NERGC meeting I purchased another "hot off the press" item, the second edition of Genealogy standards issued by the Board for Certification of Genealogists, based in Washington DC. This is the organization responsible for certifying individuals as Certified Genealogist (CG) or Certified Genealogical Lecturer (CGL).  Since the first edition of this standard was issued in 2013, developments in DNA have required a number of new standards.  Sections of the book are:
  1. The Genealogical Proof standard
  2. Standards for Documenting
  3. Standards for Researching
  4. Standards for Writing
  5. Standards for Genealogical Educators
  6. Standards for Continuing Education
Appendices include a Code of Ethics, glossary, and resources list, plus information about the Board's certification and other activities.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Received at the Library

If you have Scottish ancestry, check out the lead article in Internet genealogy (Apr.-May 2019), which lists resources that can flesh out your understanding of Scottish life.  In a list of new internet resources I find 1771 Massachusetts tax inventory (check it out, free!)  There are reviews of Heredis 2019, and Photopea, a free and versatile image editing tool.  War of 1812 pensions are discussed, in process and free on Fold3.  Other articles cover tips for searching for ancestors who have vanished, theft from archives and recovery efforts, Canadian World War II records, and "ferry tales"(records regarding ferries, which historically provided critical transportation in many locales).

Your genealogy today (May-June 2019) has several articles revolving around themes of summer travel and family memories.  The lead article looks at roadside attractions, the artifacts from travels such as snapshots, postcards and ticket stubs, and the websites that can help with identification and further information about places your ancestors may have visited.  Other articles cover tips for "turning on the memory tap," using "mind maps," crafting family stories, and finding inspiration in stamp collecting. Case studies cover researching family origins with changing spelling of the surname, and one man's tale of getting his documents organized. Two sisters take a genealogy trip to the Czech village of their ancestors.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

CCGS Genealogy Room granted FamilySearch Affiliate Library status

Our librarian, Carol Magenau, announced at a recent board meeting that her application to FamilySearch requesting affiliate status for the Cape Cod Genealogical Library has been granted. This new status gives us the privilege of being able to share additional record collections through the FamilySearch site.

As a FamilySearch Affiliate Library, we are able to grant access to digital records that are not available outside of family history centers or other affiliate libraries. These records include both images and names indexes... currently, that amounts to 400 million original records, according to the FamilySearch website.    

So, how does this work?  Up until now, when doing a search on the FamilySearch site, in the right hand column of your search results, there is an icon, which describes the availability of that particular record. The following explanation from the FamilySearch blog describes the icons and their meanings. 

 The FamilySearch catalog uses icons to quickly tell the patron the accessibility of the records they are seeking.

A document icon.A document icon means that the resource is only an indexed record or transcription of the document.                                                                                                                                                                            

A camera icon.
  A camera icon means you can view the image of the original document from any web-enabled portable device.

A camera with a key on top icon.
A camera with a key icon indicates that access to an image is restricted, such as an image that can be seen only at an affiliate library or a family history center. 
Now when using one of the two computers in the CCGS Room, at the Dennis Public Library, you will no longer see the camera with a key icon. Instead, you should  be able to directly access that record immediately.

It is important to note here that all access to records is dependent on FamilySearch receiving permission to publish the record from the original record custodian (usually, but not always, a government agency). For this reason, there are some specific records that may only be accessed at a Family History Center and are not available elsewhere.

Our CCGS Library, located in the Dennis Public Library, on Hall Ave, Dennisport,  is open on Tuesdays, 1 PM - 4PM; Thursdays, 10 AM - 4 PM; and Saturdays, 10 AM - 12 noon.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Received at the Library

Essex Genealogist for Feb. 2019 contains the transcript of a talk by Marian Pierre-Louis entitled "Breaking down brick walls with collateral research."  She is an entertaining speaker, and her case study of identifying the parents with a common surname using naming patterns and thorough research into siblings and in-laws reveals a wealth of knowledge about New England genealogy.

In the lead article in Your genealogy today (Mar.-Apr.2019) we are cautioned to look at family stories with a healthy dose of skepticism.  A column provides tips on hiring a professional genealogist.  Another on the power of DNA to solve mysteries flatly states, "if you haven't found illegitimacy in your family tree, you haven't tried hard enough." Fans of Mark Twain will enjoy an article about his boyhood friend Laura Hawkins Frazer, the model for Tom Sawyer's Becky Thatcher.  Gardeners may find inspiration in a piece encouraging the creation of a memory garden to commemorate departed relatives.  A very thorough article covers the many strategies for avoiding "surname stumbles," such as deciphering old scripts, identifying similar sounds, transcription errors and more.  There are tales of genealogy tourism on Virginia's Eastern shore, and the stirring recovery of an abducted child from Stalin's Russia.

Mass-Pocha (Feb. 2019) contains articles on researching in Ukraine, as well as Poland and Czechia.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Mining Genealogical Gold in Federal Records

Often we think that the census records are the only federal records that hold useful information on our ancestors, but that is not the case! You have not done a "reasonably exhaustive search" unless you include more than the usual federal records. It is a myth that our families were not important enough to be in records preserved at the National Archives.

Our May speaker, Linda MacIver,  recipient of the Richard S. Lackey Scholarship for 2018, was awarded tuition and coverage for other expenses to attend the week-long seminar, the Genealogical Institute on Federal Records, held at  NARA, in Washington, DC, during July each year.  She will be sharing with us some of her discoveries regarding the wealth of federal records useful for genealogical research, as well as some breakthroughs in her own family history.

Linda MacIver is hardly a newcomer to government records. After several years as a school, college, and corporate librarian, she joined the Government Documents Department of the Boston Public Library. Over the course of 27 years, and as the Documents and Social Sciences departments merged, Linda attacked the considerable volume of patron genealogy reference requests with her comprehensive knowledge of records -- federal, state, and local. When the internet era changed everything, she developed a variety of computer-based genealogy classes and lecture series, all free to patrons and satisfying a growing public interest in family history.
Linda is currently the New England Agent for the Essex (England) Record Office.

 Join us on Tuesday, May 21, 2019, as Linda shares what to look for and how to access this valuable gold mine! Our meeting is scheduled to begin at 10 AM, at the Brewster Ladies Library, Rte 6A, in Brewster, MA. You are welcome to join us at 9:30 for coffee, donuts, and an opportunity to socialize with others who are researching their family genealogy.

Out of consideration for the Library's regular patrons, we ask that you use the adjoining parking lot behind the Baptist Church, unless you are disabled and need to park close to the building. 

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Letters To and From a Young WWII Soldier

Every genealogist longs to find stories of their ancestors' lives -- those intimate details of the day-to-day life that will tell us about those who came before us. This month, at our April meeting, Seema Kenney will share a family discovery -- over 300 letters found in her uncle's attic that reveal the experiences of a young soldier and his family during the years, 1943-1945.  Join us as we take this opportunity to travel through time.

Seema Kenney has visited us in the past and many of you will remember her.  She has balanced her life as a wife and mother with that of an experienced software instructor and professional genealogist. She has researched her own family's history, from their deep New England roots to their origins in England, Sweden, and Germany. Seema has received a certificate in Genealogical Research from Boston University and completed the ProGen Study.  She is an active member of a number of genealogical societies, as well as a member of the NERGC planning committee.  In addition, she is a certified Guided Autobiography Consultant and Legacy Planner.

Join us on Tuesday, April 16, at the Brewster Ladies Library, in the auditorium. Our meeting is scheduled to begin at 10 AM, but we invite you to join us at 9:30, for coffee and donuts and an opportunity to socialize with others who are researching their family's past.

In consideration of the library's regular patrons, you are requested to park behind the Baptist Church, which adjoins the library parking lot, unless you are disabled and require a handicapped space.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Received at the Library

Essex Genealogist (Aug. 2018) contains the transcript of a very chatty but informative presentation on Land Use Records, by the Register of Deeds for Middlesex North.  I learned from it that several of the counties in Massachusetts do not have their own Registry of Deeds, but rather are covered by the Secretary of State's office.  (The southeastern counties, including Barnstable, were more financially stable and have retained their own Registries.)  I also learned that Registries are based on names, not addresses -- names are what are indexed, and the deeds are just recorded in the order they come in.  And do you know what a "straw" is?  Before 1970 you couldn't transfer property to yourself and someone else, so if you wanted to add for example your new spouse to your deed, you had to go through a third party to avoid transferring the property to yourself.

Essex Genealogist for Nov. 2018 contains a very interesting presentation on "Researching Rural Slavery in Eighteenth-Century Essex County, Massachusetts."  I don't think many of us Yankees are aware of the extent of slave-holding in colonial New England.  This article explores how the author compiled information on two enslaved couples and their children.  There's also an article with extensive commentary on genealogy subscription services (Ancestry etc.)

The lead story in Your genealogy today for Jan./Feb. 2019 explores the role of children's literature in the lives of the author's mother, and her mother and grandmother, through the books they left behind.  Ir made me think about the books I inherited from my mother's cousin (old enough to function as a grandmother to me), the Little Colonel series by Annie Fellows Johnston, set in the Reconstruction-era South -- did anyone else devour those books like I did?  If you are lucky enough to find a printed family history about your ancestors, another article cautions your to carefully evaluate the content and check the sources, not accepting the research at face value just because it is in print.  In "Financing Wars" we learn that the very first Federal taxes began in 1791 with distilled liquor.  The government added other items and used the proceeds finance the War of 1812 and later on, the Civil War; records of these taxes often appear in newspapers.  Other article topics include: slang and slang dictionaries; how to cope with research paralysis; bookplates, book rhymes, and inscriptions; and how to write a successful proposal for a genealogy talk.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Trails West: Crossing the Continent 1840-1869

Our next general meeting, on Tuesday, March 19, 2019, will feature a webinar about westward migration in the United States during the mid-19th century. Before the transcontinental railroad was completed, Easterners and Mid-Westerners began to settle the West.
How did they get there and what was the journey like?  The presentation, given by Mary Kircher Roddy, will cover overland and water migration routes along with description of the journey, and tips on using clues to discover how and when your ancestor traveled.

Mary Kircher Roddy grew up in San Rafael, California. She earned a Bachelor's degree in Liberal Studies from the University of California, Riverside, and a Master in Professional Accounting from the University of Texas. She completed her certificate in Genealogy and Family History at the University of Washington in 2005. Mary frequently lectures around the Seattle area, and is an active member of Seattle Genealogical Society. She is a member of the Genealogical Speakers Guild, the Association of Professional Genealogists, and the National Genealogical Society. Mary has published articles in Family Chronicle and Internet Genealogy. You can visit her website at

Join us on Tuesday, March 19, 2019, in the auditorium of Brewster Ladies Library  Our meeting will begin at 10 AM, but please plan to join us at 9:30 for coffee and donuts and an opportunity to socialize with others who are researching their family history.
Out of consideration for the Library's regular patrons, we ask that you use the adjoining parking lot behind the Baptist Church, unless you are disabled and need park closer to the building.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Learn How to Use Gedmatch at Our February Meeting

The next CCGS general meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 19, 2019, at the Brewster Ladies Library. We will be welcoming back Thomas Greve as our featured speaker. Thomas will be discussing the use of Gedmatch for your DNA results.

Anyone who has purchased an autosomal DNA test from any company (Ancestry, FTDNA, 23 and Me, My Heritage) can upload their data to GEDmatch, a third-party database. By doing this, you will be able to access a larger pool of matches, increasing your chances of finding significant matches.

In addition to a basic overview of genetic inheritance, find out how to create an account on Gedmatch and take advantage of free tools including DNA matching and comparison, a chromosome browser, and more. Premium features of the site, such as matching segment and triangulation tools and their uses, will also be discussed. If you are unsure how to get the most from your DNA results, you will find this presentation valuable.

After pursuing the history of his own family for more than ten years, Thomas began researching professionally in 2016. He holds a Certificate in Genealogical Research from Boston University and currently serves as the president of Falmouth Genealogical Society.

Join us on Tuesday, February 19,  in the auditorium of Brewster Ladies Library. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 10 AM; but plan to join us at 9:30 for coffee and donuts and an opportunity to socialize with others who are researching their family history.

Out of consideration for the Library's regular patrons, we ask that you use the adjoining parking lot behind the Baptist church, unless you are disabled and need to park close to the building.

September, 2019, Meeting: The USA and the Holocaust: Finding Family in the Sources

The first meeting of the 2019 - 2020 season will be held on Tuesday, September 17, at the  Brewster Ladies Librar y. Our speaker, Norah ...