Thursday, April 23, 2020

April is Volunteer Appreciation Month

All non-profits are dependent on their volunteers in order to function. Cape Cod Genealogical Society
is appreciative of all the assistance our volunteers provide. Our volunteers serve on committees, assist patrons of our Genealogy Room at the Dennis Public Library, lead and/or provide programming for our Special Interest Groups, provide refreshments at meetings, and help out behind the scenes in many other ways.  Without them, our Society would not exist! 

Although April is Volunteer Appreciation month, the week of April 19 - 25, 2020, has been designated as National Volunteer Week to help celebrate the service of all volunteers. Ordinarily, CCGS would have celebrated at our April meeting on Saturday; however, with "stay-at-home" orders during the current pandemic, that had to be cancelled. Be assured that we have not forgotten the men and women who have assisted us throughout the past months and years. Once we are able to meet again, be assured we will celebrate with you. 

Stay Safe!!  

Friday, April 17, 2020

Patriot's Day Weekend!!

In normal times, this would be a long weekend in Massachusetts... Patriot's Day, marking the beginning of the Revolutionary War, would be a holiday on Monday, April 20, 2020. But these are not normal times! For that reason, there will be no Boston Marathon on Monday; neither will there be a Red Sox home game; and the Commemoration of the Battles of Lexington and Concord will be virtual.

Do you have any patriots in your own family history?  How can you find them? If you have ancestors living in this country prior to the 1850s, you may benefit from a recent webinar presented by Josh Taylor, "Genealogical Resources of the Daughters of the American Revolution," which is scheduled to be rebroadcast on Thursday, April 23, at 7 PM (EDT). Thanks to the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society who are providing free webinars to the public throughout this period of isolation due to the coronavirus. For more information on upcoming webinars, visit the NTG&B website.

Since my ancestor's are all Irish and my first immigrant arrived in the mid-1860's, these records would not ordinarily be of value to me. However, my sons have ancestry going back to the Mayflower -- how many patriot's might I uncover in their line?  I knew of one -- Marshall Walker from Massachusetts -- could there be others? So far, using resources Josh recommended on the DAR site, I have found two additional Revolutionary War soldiers... James Dunbar, father-in-law to Marshall Walker and also from Massachusetts, and John C. Keator from New York. 

Locating these names by using DAR records does not mean you do not have to confirm the relationships within your own line. Everything has to be proven! However, what you find on the DAR site will start you off. In my case, I was ultimately able to discover three generations in the Keator family, using digitized records on Ancestry...including the entire pension applications for John Keator and the widow's application of his wife, Rebecca Elmore.

Take advantage of your unanticipated free time to take a look at records you have never explore before. Also, take advantage of the many free webinars that are being offered during this time, in addition to those from NYG&B, there are others on Legacy Family Tree.

Good luck! and let us know what you have discovered!

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

How Are You Doing?

Well, it has been three weeks since our Board of Directors cancelled all public activities for the Society...followed by libraries and other businesses closing. These are historic times!  This is not the first time that most everything has shut down and people told to stay home and not go out in public. -- think of the Flu of 1918, when many of our ancestors, or their family members and friends, died.  We have also seen other episodes of quarantine during our lifetimes -- polio, scarlet fever, etc. ..I remember going to school one day in the fifties and being told one of my classmates was not in school because a family member had been diagnosed with scarlet fever and the entire family had been quarantined.

Yesterday, we in Massachusetts, learned that we are to stay in our homes until May 4! -- and, depending on how things develop, it could continue even longer.  It is important during this time that we take care of ourselves, both physically and mentally.  A very long article that was shared by someone on Facebook and originally written by a psychologist included a list of 25 tips for us all to be aware of during a period of quarantine.

He recommended that we set up a daily routine for ourselves, which should include a variety of
"Borrowed from a Facebook post this morning!"
activities, making sure to include outdoor activities -- walking in your yard or in a nearby less-traveled area or just sitting on your deck will help lift your spirits.  Keep in touch with family and friends; speaking to them on the phone occasionally or using FaceTime, Skype, whatever.  Pay attention to your own health -- get exercise (there are videos on YouTube of exercise classes or even just put on some music and dance -- don't forget, you are quarantined, no one will see you, so no need to get embarrassed); eat healthy (this is the time to try some new recipes!); keep hydrated -- drink plenty of water.  Consider those projects that you have been avoiding -- clean out a closet; organize your genealogical research or your photographs, take an online course on a subject you know little about (Google and YouTube can find all sorts of things).  Most importantly, limit checking for coronavirus updates to once per day!! -- we do not need too many negative thoughts coming our way; although you will want to stay updated with the public health authority's latest report.

 We always mention that the mission of our Society is to "educate", but within that mission is the statement: "To maintain, develop, and make available to members and the general public a collection of materials relating to genealogy, with the emphasis on Cape Cod and New England, and including both published and unpublished material."   This morning the New England Historic Genealogical Society shared an article titled "Survivng a Pandemic, in 1918 " This article shared the experiences of Catholic nuns in Philadelphia who cared for the sick during the Flu pandemic.  With all this in mind, we have an opportunity to share our own experiences now in the 2020 pandemic...
How are you doing?  What activities, whether genealogical related or otherwise, are you doing to keep your spirits up?  Do you have suggestions for others? Anything you would like to share about your experience is welcome. 

You can comment on this blog below.... or on our Facebook page ... or by emailing  or.

Hope to hear from everyone soon!!  In the meantime, stay healthy and safe!

Friday, March 20, 2020

Reliving the Past

We are currently living in a world dealing with a health crisis very similar to the one our ancestors experienced one hundred years ago. Today, however, we are fortunate to have the technology to help us get through this... our ancestors did not have the resources we have to assist us, as we make our way through "social distancing" recommendations. .. TV, internet, Facebook, FaceTime, Skype -- only a few of the tools we can use to keep in touch with the "outside world."  However, we are the proof that life WILL return to normal one day and this crisis will be behind us, just as it did in 1919.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
Here at Cape Cod Genealogical Society, we are working to keep you updated with what is happening within our own society, as well as the genealogical world around us.  All our public programs, meetings, events, etc, have been cancelled, until further notice -- this means that through the month of April, we will not be seeing you in person. What happens in May will be determined at a much later date and will be dependent on guidelines that are passed along to us. This is true of all other societies and events throughout the U.S. and the world. We will, however, be sharing information here in our blog, on our  CCGS website and on our Facebook page  This will include links to resources and webinars that are being offered in response to the current situation.

In the meantime:

  •  follow the recommendations of public health authorities and please stay home.  
  •  It is a good idea to stay in daily contact, by phone, email, or even Facebook, with a couple of family members or friends, so that someone will always know that you are safe and healthy... This is especially important for those who live alone! 
  • Follow us on Facebook, or on this blog or our website, to learn about any news of interest, suggestions of resources or educational articles and videos related to genealogy
  • If you have questions or content to share with CCGS, email us at
  • Stay healthy!! and we look forward to seeing you all, when our public activities resume.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Annual "Our Members Share" Meeting

It is time, once again, to make plans for our December meeting, which will be held on Tuesday, December 17, 2019. In celebration of the December holidays, we set aside this meeting each year to focus on our members.  It is a time for you to share stories, memorabilia, photos, from your family's past or from your family history research.

If you have --
                -- a story to tell
                -- an artifact or photo(s) passed down from an                               ancestor
                -- a recent discovery, using your DNA testing
                -- anything else you would like to share, related                            to your genealogical journey

Please consider sharing with your fellow members during this traditional holiday program. To make sure you are included in the program, please contact Brian O'Donnell

At our December meeting, it is also our practice to eliminate the Dunkin' Munchkins in favor of more traditional "home-baked" goodies. Please consider baking/providing holiday treats that we all can share during out social time prior to the meeting. If you are sharing a family recipe, perhaps a small sign stating what it is and why it is significant to you. 

In order to ensure that we will have enough treats to share with all attendees, please let us know in advance that you intend to donate food for this event.

As a reminder,  our December meeting will be held on Tuesday, December 17, 2019, at the Brewster Ladies Library, Rte 6A, Brewster.  The meeting will begin at 10 AM, following a social time beginning at 9:30 AM.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Received at the Library

The Aug./Sept. 2019 issue of Internet Genealogy highlights "Five Go-To Sites for Research." Author George C. Morgan's faves are: Cyndi's list, the FamilySearch research wiki, David Rumsey Map Collection, Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System, and Google Books.  The journal is collecting readers' favorites for a future article -- what are your top five?  An informative article about non-conformists in England (anyone other than Church of England) explains that while marriages and deaths were required to be recorded in C of E parish registers, births and baptisms were not and may be tracked down elsewhere.  Several organizing methods and advisors are suggested in "The Joys of Clutter."  Other articles cover old-time picnics, seals (on documents, not the kind the sharks like), publishing a family history ebook, the Enslaved Project, and more.

The NGS Magazine for Jan.-March 2019 focuses on the Missouri region.  Article topics include the orphan train, Early French citizens in the upper Mississippi Valley, German settlement in Louisiana Purchase Lands, and using Homestead Files.

Your genealogy today for July/Aug. 2019 leads off with "Ghost town genealogy", which enumerates the reasons towns failed (erosion, exhaustion of mineral or natural resources, etc.) and suggests ways of tracking down records for them.  "Compiling a cemetery guide" details how a community group can leave a legacy.  Other topics ocvered: tips for heritage travel, Civil was nurses, "passive genealogy" the Kodak Brownie camera, and preserving old family letters.

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.

April is Volunteer Appreciation Month

All non-profits are dependent on their volunteers in order to function. Cape Cod Genealogical Society is appreciative of all the assist...