Saturday, February 3, 2007

Research Trip to the FHC Today

They say that every day doing research is a good genealogy day...

CVGS sponsored a research trip to the San Diego Family History Center today. We car pool from Chula Vista so that our elderly members don't have to drive - it's only 12 miles each way, but it's almost all freeway. Today, 3 of us car pooled, and 4 others came separately, plus two spouses came. The German Research Association had their monthly meeting at the FHC today and two of our members sat in on that.

The highlight for me was getting four more sets of South Kingstown (Rhode Island) probate records for my ancestors Elizabeth Tefft/1740, Mary Greenman/1743, Solomon Carpenter/1750 and Jonathan Oatley/1755. The FHC has some South Kingstown Probate and Town Council records on microfilm on permanent loan (plus probate records for many other RI towns), so I am working my way through them.

We can no longer make paper copies directly from the microfilm at the FHC - the machines are out of order. The new setup is pretty cool - you put the microfilm into a reader/scanner hooked up to a computer. Software on the computer scans the images of the pages you want (one at a time), and you can modify the brightness and contrast of each image. You then have a choice - you can print them off on the printer, save them on a CDROM, or save them on your flash drive. The images are fairly large TIF files - about 7 to 10 mb each, so my 512 mb flash drive can take about 50 of them. However, I only copied 16 pages today.

Later, I was helping one of my colleagues find an immigration record on, and a lady at the next computer asked me if I could help her when I was done, thinking that I was on the FHC staff.

I asked her to explain her problem - she has a Carl Klingner born in 1854 in Germany, she knows his parents names from his death record, his wife's name and marriage date, his immigration date in 1882, his family resided in St. Paul MN, but she doesn't know his birthplace. We found 1900 and 1910 census images of the "Charles" Klingner family in St. Paul, Minnesota (the wife's name and 5 children's names were correct), but they just said "Germany" for his birthplace.

We also looked for a naturalization record for him, since that will most likely have his birthplace and confirm his parents names. We found an entry for Carl Klingner in the Ramsey County MN court records index on, and noted the volume and page of the actual court record. However, when we checked the FHL Catalog for the actual court records, we couldn't match the index record (Volume I) with a record volume (they went A to H, but no I and on). We don't know if it should be a "1" or an "I". Frustrating! She needs to contact someone in St. Paul to try to figure out how to obtain the naturalization record and solve her problem.

When I got home, I copied my 16 pages of probate records onto my hard drive, then renamed them to reflect the subject and source, and printed them off one by one. I will try to transcribe or abstract them and put them in my genealogy database in the coming weeks. There are a lot more of these probate records to find, image, capture, copy and transcribe - over 100 potential ancestors - it's my main research task this year.

All in all, it was a decent genealogy day - and it was fun to help several researchers a bit and be able to do my own research. I even made a new genealogy friend.

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