Wednesday, June 27, 2007

CVGS Research Group today

Our CVGS monthly Research Group meetings are always lively affairs, with members hoping to get help to solve their research problems, and some brimming with enthusiasm over research successes. Today's meeting had 10 researchers in attendance.

After introductions (we had two visitors and a new member), the meeting started with my presentation of the Genealogy News for June. We then moved onto the research problems and successes.

Martha is having trouble finding Hampshire County VA (now WV) records from the 1790 time frame. We suggested that, if she knows the town(s) where her ancestor lived, she figure out the progression of counties that the town(s) were in over the time frame 1750 to 1900. Then look for records for her ancestor in those counties for the time period that the town was in the county. The county USGenWeb site may have the information, and the LDS Family History Library Catalog may have records on microfilm available for rent.

Next up was new member Shirley, who came well-prepared and provided a two-page handout describing her research problem. She, and other family members, have done years of work trying to identify the parents of Evan Harer (born ca 1790 in VA (?), died 1873 in CA) and his siblings - family stories say they were John and Sarah (Watkins) Harer. They have exhaustively searched records in the places where the Harer children lived, but have been unable to find more information on their parentage. We suggested that she read some of the available books (e.g., here) and online articles (e.g., here and here) about "Cluster Genealogy" and review articles in the NGS Quarterly for examples. By identifying and following the people the Harer's associated with, she may find clues that identify the parents.

Dick regaled us with stories about his Uncle Jim, who was a postal thief and safecracker in the 1920's. He has received information about his uncle from newspaper articles and prison records through the National Archives in Kansas City MO, Laguna Niguel CA and Seattle WA. He submitted a request to the "Get Grandpa's FBI File" web site and got a response, but thinks most of it will duplicate the 400 pages he already has received. He passed the fascinating newspaper article around the group - Uncle Jim was quite a guy, and Dick remembers him from his childhood.

Bobbie described their trip to the Seattle area, where they found a gold mine of info on the Gottlieb Wolter family, who emigrated from Baden to North Dakota to Sultan in Washington state (northeast of Seattle). They found his grave, a history booklet with a plat map, an aerial picture of the farm, and visited the farmstead. In the process, they met the town mayor, the current farm resident, and the museum director, all of whom helped them immensely. Bobbie passed around the pictures, the map, and told stories of the serendipitous events on the trip - for instance, the museum was open only two days a month, and they were there on one of the days!

I really appreciate the sharing of research problems by our attendees, and the helpful suggestions made by the group. This is one of the monthly meetings that sets CVGS apart from other San Diego area societies.

1 comment:

Alecia Merłowicz Morris said...


I'm wondering if you could tell me who Bobbie is that was researching Gottlieb M. Wolter who died in Sultan? I'm sad they didn't mention meeting the rest of the Wolter family that lives there. Gottlieb "Gus" had a brother John who also settled there and many of his posterity still reside in that town. I'd love to exchange email addresses.