Wednesday, September 26, 2007

CVGS Research Group today

Our monthly Research Group of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society was today at the Library. At this meeting, we discuss the Genealogy News of the Month (prepared by me), talk about the research problems and questions brought to the table, and hear success stories and research experiences. We had 12 in attendance today, and it was pretty lively.

Joan received her husband's father's SS-5 application from Social Security recently, and it verified what she knew about his birth date, birthplace and parents names. Now she wants to know what else she might be able to find with his SS number. Can she request death information, employment and wage information, etc. from Social Security? The group suggested that she write the SSA to find out what else might be available, while we search the Internet for answers. Her problem is that she doesn't yet know his death date or place and would like to find that information.

Bob is researching his wife's great-grandfather who immigrated in about 1880 to Boston from Scotland. However, he thinks that this man was born in Denmark. He asked how he could find the man's birth date, birth place, parents names, etc. He has found him in the 1900 to 1930 census records. We suggested looking for a marriage record in the MA VRs on the NEHGS web site, check newspapers for an obituary, and try to find out if he was naturalized, and if so to obtain a naturalization record.

Dave, a new member today, told about having to get a delayed birth certificate to join the Navy years ago. He has a problem using Ancestry to find ancestors with his surname because of his last name - he is a McC***** person, and finds his name McC*****, MacC*****, C*****, etc. The same thing happens with "O'***", "de la ****" and "Van " people (like O'Leary, de la Torre and Van Buren) - the "O' " or "de la" or "Van" sometimes is left off, or the person is indexed with and without it.

Bobbie has a conflict among three records for an ancestor's birth date - a baptism record from October 1885, the WW1 draft registration which says October 1886, and the cemetery tombstone which says October 1886. She asked which one should she trust? The group suggested that the one closest to the event, and the one provided by persons who were present for the event, was the one to believe. In this case, it would be the year from the baptism record, and the day of the month from the other records.

Bobbie told about her trip to Illinois and finding the gravestone for her great-grandmother, Cunigunda Titus hiding in plain site right between her husband and her daughter. The cemetery book doesn't list her for some reason, and the limestone is very worn and almost unreadable. The dates on the stone match well with her probate record, and now Bobbie wants to get her in the cemetery book.

The really fun part of this meeting is to pass papers around so that everyone can see good examples. Today we passed an SS-5 report, military enlistment and discharge papers, pictures of Cunigunda's gravestone, etc.

Dearl offered a bit of parting advice to everyone - to review all of your information every so often - sometimes you find things that you've forgotten, and sometimes you are able to connect the dots with data you found recently.

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