Saturday, December 29, 2018

Received at the Library

The Dec./Jan. 2019 issue of Internet genealogy leads with Railroad Retirement Board benefits.  If you have come up empty in the Social Security Death Index, you might be able to find an ancestor in this database maintained by the Midwest Genealogy Center.  An article on data security reminds us that we would do well to have a plan to keep our hard-won genealogy information safe from loss or tampering.  New York State genealogical resources are reviewed.  Mariner ancestors are common on the Cape, and US Customs Records can be a fruitful place to look for records about them, both at the National Archives and in private collections such as university archives; newspapers, business ledgers, and insurance records can also yield relevant information.  If you have an ancestor who was institutionalized you may find "Asylums and Family History Research" useful.  I always learn something new reviewing each magazine issue we receive, and this time it is "M├ętis", a people of mixed native American and European ancestry originating in Canada; research resources are suggested.  Lisa Alzo reviews Airtable as a flexible spreadsheet application to organize things like your family archive, timelines, research logs and more.

Catching up with the April-June 2018 issue of NGS magazine, it gathers a number of interesting articles under the general theme of nationality.  Topics covered:

  • Enemy alien registrations during World War I
  • Resources for tracing impressed American seamen
  • Gold Star Mother pilgrimages of the 1930s (mothers and widows of deceased servicemen)
  • Discover German families in CompGen's free databases [German SIG members should review the many resources in this article!]
  • Overcoming the language barrier: the genealogical translation process
  • Records of Irish dissenting churches (part 3)
Another article is a case study of success using broader search parameters.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Received at the Library

Do you need inspiration for finding the elusive grave of an ancestor?  "Researching abandoned cemeteries" is featured in the Nov./Dec. 2018 issue of Your genealogy today.  It chronicles the methods and adventures of a pair of friends who comb the Midwest finding abandoned grave sites in farmers' fields and other remote locales.  Another article provides a step-by-step guide to connecting with a recent relatives classmates.  Advice is offered on the tricky situation of illegitimate birth, which can block the way to the past in your family tree.   Other topics include military pensions at the state level, the Louisiana State Archives, and a succinct explanation of the significance of cM or centimorgan in DNA research.

The July-Sept. 2018 issue of NGS magazine has an overall theme of family secrets, and provides case studies of some of the most disturbing things you can find when doing ancestral research: desertion and court martial, divorce, mental illness, prostitution, and criminal activity.  This issue also has an article about data security, from the point of view of a genealogist's responsibility to safeguard data that could injure others.  German Interest Group members might also be interested in "Researching Eighteenth-Century German Immigrants."

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Received at the Library

In Your genealogy today (Sept./Oct. 2018) Robbie Gorr makes a good case for genealogy research being akin to "Opening Pnadora's box" -- you may uncover secrets that you or others are reluctant to hear, especially with the addition of DNA to your toolkit.  In "Shades of Gray" Sue Lisk suggests ways of thinking about where best to put your efforts in dealing with the uncertainties of family research.  An article on tools explains how possessing a tool shed belonging to your ancestor, or an inventory of an estate sale, can shed light on your forebear's life. Did you have ancestors involved in vaudeville or the circus?  If so take a look at Richard Goms' article in this issue for useful sources.  A case study on manumission (freeing of slaves) reveals that it sometimes took years to take effect.

Sue Lisk is also a contributor to Internet genealogy (Aug./Sept.2018), suggesting using historical cartoons to understand the social and political climate of your ancestors' lives.  Two articles focus on the virtues of newspaper research.  In April 2018 the Virtual Genealogical Society was founded.  At $20 annual membership, it offers frequent webinars (listed in the article), discounts on genealogical tools, social media opportunities, state chapters, and topical interest groups; a virtual conference will be held in Nov. 2019. A brief article also describes the online genealogical society Quebec Genealogical eSociety -- is this the future of genealogy?  A collection at North Dakota State University on Germans from Russia highlights the migrations that took place into and then out of Russia during the 18th ad 19th centuries by German immigrants. Merriam-Webster has a new service that sets words and expressions in context.  You can search Time Traveler by year or by a word or term to find the first use -- what fun!  (A small selection from my birth year of 1948: chili dog, linguine, oddball, scaredy-cat and transistor!)

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

November Joint Meeting of CCGS and Falmouth GS to Feature Two Presentations by Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL

Mark your calendar to join us for the annual joint meeting of the Cape Cod Genealogical Society (CCGS) and the Falmouth Genealogical Society (FGS) on Saturday, November 10, 2018, at St. Peter's Episcopal Church, 421 Wianno Ave in Osterville. The featured speaker at this year's meeting will be The Legal Genealogist Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL.

Ms. Russell will be giving two presentations; the first is entitled "Finding the Law". Genealogists need to look at the law at the time and in the place where a record was created. Misunderstanding the legal context may make us miss records critical to our research or miss clues hidden in the records. But with 50 states and the federal government all passing laws, finding the law is easier said than done! The tips presented in this lecture will help us understand the legal system and then find the right law for the record we're working with. The second lecture is entitled "Facts, Photos, and Fair Use: Copyright Law for Genealogists". Materials and records created by others are the bread-and-butter of genealogy. But whether copyright law allows use of old photographs, reports and articles can be murky at best. Staying out of trouble requires understanding what's copyrighted and what isn't, when and how copyrighted materials can be used, and how to handle issues that arise.

Judy G. Russell
Judy Russell is a noted genealogist with a law degree and her objective as The Legal Genealogist is, in part, to help folks understand the often arcane and even impenetrable legal concepts and terminology that are so very important to those of us studying family history. Ms. Russell holds credentials as a Certified Genealogist and Certified Genealogical Lecturer from the Board of Certification of Genealogists where she currently serves as a member of the Board of Trustees. She is a member of the National Genealogical Society, the Association of Professional Genealogists, and several state genealogical societies.

Optional Lunch: Lobster roll lunch with chips, brownie and beverage - $15, or chicken salad roll with chips, brownie and beverage - $9. Please make lunch reservations absolutely no later than Nov 3 by contacting Judy Fenner at or at 508-776-9401 (leave message if no answer), and please specify lunch choice.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Digitization of Cape Cod Newspapers Subject of October Meeting

Researching Newspapers: Cape Cod and Beyond

Electronic Access to Historic Cape Cod Daily Newspapers 

Newspapers of the past can be highly useful to genealogical researchers, and many are already indexed or are now in the process of being digitized. Births, marriages, deaths, as well as baptisms, funerals, and social events can sometimes be discovered. 
On Cape Cod, historic editions of  The Barnstable Patriot have been digitized for the years, 1830 -1930, and have been available through the Sturgis Library website  In 2017, a digitization project began to digitize another, equally important, newspaper, The Register, which started publication in 1836. The current project, funded by a Community Preservation Grant is scheduled to be completed in early 2019.
On Tuesday, October 16, at our monthly CCGS meeting, Lucy Loomis, director of Sturgis Library, Barnstable, Thersa Carter, an independent researcher and writer, and the project coordinator, Dave Martin of CCGS, will present a special preview of the project underway. During their presentation, they will demonstrate how to conduct a search for genealogical information, which will include sample questions from the audience. Please bring examples of an ancestor or event that you would like this team to search. 
The combination of the Patriot and the Register will be a powerful source for all who are doing research on Cape Cod ancestors, from the early 19th century forward.

Please join us
                                               Tuesday, October 16, 2018, at 10 AM
                                                         Brewster Ladies Library
                                                         Rte 6A, Brewster, MA. 

Socializing and refreshments will be available at 9:30 AM. 
Due to Fire Department room occupancy regulations, only the first 100 people to join us will be admitted to this event. 

Due to limited parking spaces behind the Library, and out of respect to their regular patrons, we request that attendees of our meetings, please park in the parking lot extension behind the Baptist Church.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

This Week at Cape Cod Genealogy


23 - 29,  2018

Monday,  24th  --   The Irish Special Interest Group will NOT be meeting this month, as 
                            scheduled.  Our regular schedule will resume the 4th Tuesday of October. 
Tuesday, 25th  --    Cape Cod Families Special Interest Group  -- 1 PM
                                         At the Sturgis Library, Rte 6A, West Barnstable
                                  This group is open to members only. 
                                  If you are a member with Cape Cod ancestors, 
                                   come join us for assistance with your research!

Our Genealogy Room will be open for the use of members and non-members, for its regular hours: 
                                Location:  Dennis Public Library,  Hall Avenue, Dennisport 

                                Tuesdays --       1 PM - 4 PM
                                Thursdays --  10 AM - 4 PM
                                Saturdays --   10 AM - 12 Noon 

This room is staffed by our dedicated volunteers, who are able to assist you if you need help with your research. 

Here you are able to access a wide assortment of publications, from books to the latest magazines and journals. We also have subscriptions to several online resources:
                        American Ancestors (website of New England Historic Genealogical Society)
                        Find My Past 
                        Family Search 

We hope that you are able to take advantage of one or more of these opportunities to join us and learn how to connect with your ancestors. 

For more information about becoming a member of the Cape Cod Genealogy Society, visit the  Cape Cod Genealogical Society website  or ask for a brochure when you visit the Genealogy Room, Dennis Public Library, during the above hours. 


Tuesday, September 4, 2018

September, 2018, Meeting: Unlocking the Cemetery Gate

Mark your calendar to join us for the first general meeting of the 2018 -2019 program year of the Cape Cod Genealogical Society 

Our speaker, Ms. Brenda Sullivan of  The Gravestone Girls  will be presenting "Unlocking the Cemetery Gate: The Cemetery as a Genealogical Resource."  This presentation is targeted to genealogists interested in learning to "read" the cemetery for clues and information. Using both direct observation and deductive reasoning from objects such as writing art, geology, and the cemetery landscape, much new insight can be revealed.  That insight can answer questions, create new inquiries, and open doors for further detective work. Brenda promises to get you looking at these spaces, both old and new, as a valuable resource for your data collection activities.

Brenda Sullivan is from Central Massachusetts and has been exploring cemeteries most of her life. To become better acquainted with our speaker, you can read more about her here.  She should be an entertaining and informative speaker.

The meeting will take place in our usual location, the auditorium of the  Brewster Ladies Library, Rte 6A, Brewster.  As in the past, the public is welcome to join us. All members and guests are invited to arrive at 9:30 AM for socializing and refreshments. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 10AM.
Hope to see you there !