Wednesday, November 28, 2007

CVGS Research Group summary

The November meeting of the Research Group for the Chula Vista Genealogical society had 11 attendees today.

The first order of business was to talk about the "genealogy news of the month" which is summarized here. As part of that, I passed several US passport applications around and several of the township maps from the Ancestry collection. I also passed the great "Finding local history buried in the past" article from the Union-Tribune around.

Shirley H. presented the first "research problem" discussed. She has an ancestor named Sarah/Sally Pearce born ca 1787 in RI, who married Peter Hazelton, and they resided in Genesee and Orleans Counties in NY, and then in Berry County MI. They were in the 1850 census in Michigan. A Pierce/Pearce book lists a Sarah/Sally born in 1787 to James and Phoebe (Wood) Pearce in Little Compton RI, but James' will in Cayuga County NY gives her married name as Jayne, not Hazelton. Shirley wanted ideas on how to find Sarah's parents. We suggested that she follow a cluster research approach - find out who the associates of Sarah's family were (the witnesses to deeds and wills, the neighbors on plat maps, deeds or census records, etc.), and find out where they were from (look in surname books, county history books, land deeds, probates, message boards, etc.). Then search Pearce (and other spellings) families in those places, especially looking for vital records, probate records and land records.

Shirley B. shared her success in finding information about her Daniel Miller in NY. A correspondent of hers found a number of obituaries in the Utica NY newspaper for descendants of Daniel Miller in collateral lines, and passed them on to Shirley. She now knows a lot more about the family, and in particular Daniel's birthplace, which will help narrow her search.

Phyllis told us about her serendipity experience - she has been unable to find James Regnol in the immigration records on Ancestry, but she knew the year and ship he came on to New York. She input "james" "ontario" and "1855" into the database and found the complete James "Regwell" family - her missing folks!

Cynthia asked how she could find information about the "American Ammunition Company" in New York City that her grandfather founded in the early 1900's. We suggested a Google search with her grandfather's name, a Wikipedia search for the company, NYC City Directories (on Ancestry, FHC microfilm, NYC library), NYC newspapers online, and NYC library vertical files.

Finally, I discussed finding living people in public records, obtaining death certificates at the County Clerk's office, and finding an unmarked grave using a cemetery map showing "neighbors" of the deceased.

This meeting was helpful and productive - the attendees openly shared their problems, successes, knowledge and experiences to help others.

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