Monday, October 31, 2011

Cemetery Clean Up

Genealogists love cemeteries! We love to walk around them and read the inscriptions. We love to find our ancestors. We enjoy taking photos of markers for people out of town. We even like to clean up old cemeteries.
 Recently a couple of us spent several hours doing just that. We pulled weeds; we raked leaves and generally made a small, little known burial area clean and presentable.
 The burial ground is the Santa Barbara County Hospital Cemetery; sometimes know as Potter's Field. You can read more about it on our website and click on County Hospital Cemetery Register.
 There is also a book compiled by one of our society members, Michel Nellis, detailing the history and genealogy of the 100 or so souls buried there.  Visit the Sahyun Library to view the book.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Family History Month Open House at the Sahyun

The Sahyun Open House
Saturday and Sunday, October 22 and 23, the Sahyun Library was open to the public.  Several classes were held attracting non-members as well as members. There were beginner classes on Saturday and Sunday with Cari Thomas, and  a class on Sunday called, "The Road Less Traveled," taught by Bonnie Raskin, on finding those elusive ancestors.

The scanning booth was open for the public to bring their documents and photos to be scanned by Rosa Avolio and Dorothy Oksner. Flash drives were available for purchase to store those photos on to take home.

The next classes during the month of October will be conducted on:
1.  October 25, 10-12 noon.  Ancestry's MyCanvas. Learn how to produce a genealogy book using MyCanvas. Bring a laptop and try it. Instructor - Diane Sylvester. Prior registration is required to determine classroom set up.

2.  October 26 2-3 PM. Castle Garden: History and Research. Predecessor to Ellis Island. Learn about the history and how to research your family using the Castle Garden website. Instructor - Bob Lynn. Prior registration is required to determine classroom set up and handouts.

3. October 27, 1-3 PM. Introduction to the New Computer Lab with Emphasis on Ancestry Library Edition (no longer available at the Public Library). Learn to navigate the Library Edition where answers await everyone inside more than 7000 available databases like censuses, vital records, immigration records, military records, court and legal documents, photos, maps, and much more. Instructor - Rosa Avolio.

Contact for more information on classes and events.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Lompoc Valley Historical Society to Digitize Old Newspapers

October 6, 2011 on Page A5:

The Lompoc Valley Historical Society wants to make sure future generations have access to newspapers of the city's past. The society is now trying to raise $7,200 to microfilm and digitize some 9,400 pages of century-old newspapers -- some published only 20 years after the city incorporated in 1888.
One newspaper was known as The Lompoc Journal, or People's Journal, and was published 1908-18, according to Karen Paaske, the society's president. The other paper is the Lompoc Review, published 1919-21.
Microfilming will make them available to patrons of the library before they disintegrate, Ms. Paaske said.
"They are the only ones in existence, so far as we know, and are deteriorating with use and age," said Myra Manfrina, a Lompoc historian. "If they were microfilmed, the public could be free to use them for research, while the original papers could be put aside to be preserved."
The microfilm cost is $4,500. The society would also like to raise $2,700 to digitize the volumes of papers.
Once that is done, the California Digital Newspaper Collection, based at the University of California at Riverside, will add the papers -- free of charge -- to its searchable online collection. That collection is searchable through the collection's website,, and the Library of Congress.
Donations are tax deductible and may be sent to the Lompoc Valley Historical Society, P.O. Box 88, Lompoc 93438. For more information, email or call 735-4626.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Back to School!

Summer’s Over – Back to School!

Labor Day traditionally marks the end of summer.  Now that Labor Day has passed, it’s time to think about the new “school year" – known to those whose schooldays have passed as the season we get back into genealogy classes and workshops.

Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society has put together over 25 workshops in October, to celebrate Family History Month and the completion of the renovated and expanded Sahyun Genealogical Research Library. 

Check out the sessions and register soon...class sizes are limited. 

Sample workshops beginning October 1 include:
  • Researching in New York City
  • Get more data from US and Canadian Census Records
  • Delving Deeper into Germanic Databases
  • Lineage Societies: Panel Group
  • Brick Wall Problem Solving
  • Locating Irish Records on the Internet,
and featuring: The Road Less Traveled, a different approach for finding European ancestors

Free to SBCGS members; non-members pay a nominal $10 fee. 
Registration is necessary as class sizes are limited.

Visit or download below PDF:

Also Santa Barbara City College Continuing Education (also known as SBCC Adult Ed) classes begin next week.  This session is rumoured to be the last chance to take these popular and very educational genealogical workshops at no tuition cost (i.e., "free").

Family History Research: Beginning/Intermediate 
Tuesdays (10 weeks), starting  9/13, 5:15 - 7:15 p.m. 
Instructor: Louise Matz

Family History Research: Intermediate/Advanced (Problem Solving)  
Wednesdays (10 weeks), starting  9/14, 10:00 a.m. - noon 
Instructor: Janice Cloud

Both classes are highly recommended and each has something for everyone.

Louise Matz takes the Beginning/Intermediate class  through the basics of genealogical research techniques and, also, uses the latest databases and resources to help those who have been doing genealogy for awhile, but maybe not recently. 

Jan Cloud deploys not only her extensive skills and experience in genealogy research, but also those of the class to help with methodology and brick wall problem solving.  Jan Cloud is legendary for her breadth of genealogical knowledge and experience-based storytelling.  You never know what you'll learn from  Jan and "the Wednesday class" and who might have a hint for solving a longstanding family history mystery.

Don't miss what could be your last chance to take these classes at a real bargain price: $0!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Members go to Salt Lake City

Ready for dinner at the Olive Garden
 In May 2011, 12 society members traveled to Salt Lake City's Family History Library to spend a week researching family history.  The arrangements were made by Jim and Marj, which they do every year in May.  Here we are gathered to walk to dinner at Olive Garden, a few blocks away,  in the rain. Luckily, the Salt Lake Plaza Hotel's van offered a ride back after dinner as by then it was raining harder than before.

Here Edie is finding films that she has located on the library's catalog.

Patsy browses the Internet for sites relating to her current research project. They are probably Swedish record sites, don't you think?

Edie gets help from the expert at the desk. 
Gretchen looking for those elusive ancestors

Edie getting help again.

B Jo joins us this year again from N.C.

B Jo gets help

Marj is cranking away at the film reader

Diane is enjoying the hunt

Rosa loves this place!

Dorothy posing in front of a dark screen, it appears

Jim still searching for Marj's ancestors

Kathie cranking away too.

View showing how large this floor is

Phyllis browsing the Web

Saturday, April 9, 2011

April 9, 2011: One Incredible Genealogy Seminar

One Incredible Seminar was planned and co-chaired by Diane and Cari. They along with many volunteer helpers are to be commended for a successful event attended by over 210 genealogists eagerly looking to further their research options and education. They were not disappointed. Two highly acclaimed speakers, Lloyd deWitt Bockstruck and Dr. Roger P. Minert presented a full day of lectures on Saturday.  


On the evening before, Lloyd Bockstruck answered many questions about U.S. and German research.  Dr. Minert's flight was delayed in San Francisco, so he was not able to participate in the Q & A. Forum.

Pizza  and salad were served to registered attendees and volunteers Friday night

On Friday night Cari spoke about Saturday's seminar with three Utah travelers, Terry, Susan and Marilyn. They drove over 11 hours, four of that though snow in Utah, in order to arrive Friday night.

Dr. Minert's four lectures were given in the sanctuary of the Goleta Presbyterian Church. Topics were German church records in the U.S., marriage and courtship in Germany 1500 to 1800, church records in Germany and conducting family research in Europe.

German church records are very difficult to read if you are not familiar with German script.  Fortunately, most church records have the surname underlined.  Cari Thomas teaches a lesson on writing and reading German script in her Adult Ed Germanic Genealogy class, which begins at the Wake Center on on Wednesday, April 13, 2011 at 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Lloyd Bockstruck gave his lectures in the conference room of the church. They included the Revolutionary War--Patriots and Tories, early U.S. migrations from Trans-Appalachia to the west bank of the Mississippi - 1763 to 1850, probate records and deeds, and Huguenots and Quakers in America.

It was a long day but well worth the time spent.

 Dr. Minert gave the keynote address on the Top 12 Self-Defeating Behaviors in Germanic Family History Research (from the perspective of a professional researcher). These behaviors can be applied to most any other research areas besides Germanic.  Here are a couple:  Relying principally on the work of other researchers, clinging tenaciously to family legends,  and disregarding possible changes in religious affiliation.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

March 19, 2011 General Meeting

 In spite of impending rain, the March general meeting is well attended as the program by military researcher William Beigel is of great interest to members.

Mr. Beigel conducts professional and personalized WWII historical research.  See his website at:
He can be contacted at

 Before the program begins, members attend the single interest groups.  Above is the Computer SIG led by Merna.

On the right, Arlene leads the Beginning Genealogy Help SIG, while members behind are stocking up on treats and beverages. Every month refreshments are furnished by different members. A $1 donation is appreciated by the society on behalf of their efforts.
 Mr. Beigel is listening to Gwen's research problem while others are awaiting their turn to ask him their military research questions.

Bill Beigel describes the various record groups that can be searched such as the '201' files, the '293' file, Veteran Administration Claim files, Missing Air Crew Reports (MACR), Aircraft Accident Reports, and records held by the 36 state archives where the state made bonus payments to its servicemen and women.

 Kristin manages the sales table. She also serves on the board as Secretary of the Society.
 Rosa helps Kristin at the sales table at monthly meetings.
 Kathy has set up the pre-seminar (on April 9) raffle display.  She sold a lot of tickets at the meeting today. Prizes include a 12-marker DNA test kit from Family Tree DNA, a $20 gift certificate from a local deli, several new genealogy computer programs, and  one hour of genealogy research consultation from several of our members.
 President Mary makes an announcement about the April 9  ONE INCREDIBLE GENEALOGY SEMINAR, featuring Lloyd D. Bockstruck and Roger P. Minert.  See the program and schedule here. You can register by mail at that site, or you can register and pay online here.

Bockstruck will be lecturing on U.S. records and topics, while Minert will lecture on German sources and records.

New and used book sales, raffle prizes, and pre-reserved lunch at the Ratskeller am Shirrell will be available at the ONE INCREDIBLE GENEALOGY SEMINAR.

President Mary and Vice President Marie Sue are conferring before the meeting begins.

A lot of time goes into the preparation of every meeting. A PowerPoint program is used by each portion of the business meeting, whether it is for new books at the Sales Table by Kristin in the  "Book Nook"; the Half-and-Half book buy announcement by Louise, and the building construction updates by Jim.  

 Merna is trying to choose a prize bag to put her tickets in.

 Members are putting their names on their tickets before putting them in the various prize bags.

We are all getting settled down for a great program.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Society Meeting February 19, 2011

Wow, what a great meeting today, excellent turnout in spite of the weather.

Check out the new look of the "Book Nook." Kristin has been very busy finding new and interesting books and items for the sales table. She's branched out into little items, and they were a hit.
Travel coffee mugs, key chains, mouse pads and other fun little genealogical items, and, of course, our society logo tote bags-- great for carrying your books and notes to the library. Many thanks to all our members who generously support the "Book Nook."
 Today's special interest groups included the Germanic Genealogy study group led by Cari Thomas. This is always a full group of at least 8 members. There was also a DNA study group led by Paul Cochet. Sorry, no photo of this active group. We'll get one next time.

Merna's Computer Group learned about indexing on  Click on "Give Back" at the top of its page to begin indexing to "pay it forward." 

Our speaker, Terry Marks, a recently retired public school teacher at Adams Elementary and now a volunteer at the local Family History Center, presented the hour-long program introducing the redesigned website and all the new features, including our own society-sponsored WIKI at Santa Barbara's Family Search Wiki where you can add pages of information about Santa Barbara.