Sunday, May 30, 2021

VGS News & Events: May 30 through June 5, 2021


Monday, May 31
Italian SIG
Zoom Meeting – 1:00pm
Coordinator: Mary Frances Gerace


Southern California Genealogical Society: GENETIC GENEALOGY 2021

VIRTUAL CONFERENCE  – Friday & Saturday, June 4th & 5th

A world-class DNA conference! Get in on the latest discoveries through sessions from 20 genetic genealogy experts including keynote speaker Roberta Estes, MBA. Other notable presenters include Maurice J. Gleeson (MD of Genetic Genealogy, Ireland), Leah La Perle Larkin, PhD (creator of WATO), and DNA authors Emily Aulicino, MEd, and Richard Hill, MBA. Complete details and registration links can be found on the SCGS Jamboree website.


Solving Family Mysteries with mtDNA Projects

Wednesday, June 2 @ 2:00pm (EDT)
Presenter:  Mags Gaulden

Working your mother's mother's mother's line. We will work a case study of how adoption was disproven in this family from the dark recesses of Appalachia. We will follow the maternal line of a family from the mountains of South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee, to solve this family mystery. This is a free webinar – advance registration is required – click HERE.

African Americans in the U.S. Revolutionary War

Fridayday, June 4 @ 2:00pm (EDT)

Presenter:  Janice Lovelace

Nearly 10,000 people (mostly men) of African ancestry fought in the Revolutionary War on both sides of the conflict – hoping that freedom from slavery would come with the end of the eight year war. What records exist and how can genealogists discover them? This is a free webinar – advance registration is required – click HERE.


How to Install Windows 10’s May 2021 Update (21H1)

Windows 10’s May 2021 Update was released on May 18, 2021. As always, Microsoft is slowly rolling this update out to Windows 10 PCs, bit by bit. Windows Update should automatically install the 21H1 update on your PC, but it may take a few weeks. Here’s how to get it right now … continue reading


New English and Welsh Parish Records Are Ready to Search

Another Findmypast Friday, another fresh batch of family history records and newspaper pages for you to enjoy. Take a look at what’s new … continue reading 

Transcribing History

The Citizen Archivist Program

There can be no better time than the Memorial Day weekend to join the ranks of the transcription warriors. No better time than this to add the brainpower of the genealogical community to the Citizen Archivist program of the U.S. National Archives (NARA).

The program offers all of us — The Legal Genealogist included — a chance to add to the findability and usefulness of records held by NARA. All it takes is a little bit of time, a little bit of effort and an interest in history.

History like, for example, one set of records particularly apt for this Memorial Day Weekend: the Escape and Evasion Reports from World War II, now featured as a Citizen Archivist Mission. This is a project where any of us can transcribe “reports that typically include typed or handwritten narrative …” continue reading

It’s time to say good-bye to the VGS Blog.

Due to low subscriber and readership levels, and the discontinuation of the free email subscription service provided through Blogger,

this edition of the Blog will be our last.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

VGS News & Events: May 23 through May 29, 2021


Wednesday, May 26

General Monthly Meeting:  10:00am – 12:445pm

Live Zoom Meeting

Guest Speaker:  Thomas MacEntee

Session 1:  10:00 to 11:15am

Topic:  Genealogy Do-Over: A Year of Learning from Mistakes

Session 2:  11:30 to 12:45pm

Topic:  The Coded Census – Deciphering US Census Codes

You must register for each session you want to attend. Please see complete details & registration links on the “Coming Events” page on our website.


Monday, May 24

Italian SIG

Zoom Meeting – 1:00pm

Coordinator:  Mary Frances Gerace

Tuesday, May 25

Midwest SIG

Zoom Meeting:  2:00pm – 3:50pm

Topic:  Researching Your Midwestern Civil War Ancestors

Coordinators:  Dona Black & Lynn Hall


National Archives Foundation

Live Webinar  – Wednesday, May 26 @ 5:00 p.m. (ET)

Black Wall Street: The Hidden Economy

After Reconstruction, the Black community built its own financial engine to give each other much-needed economic support and opportunity. This effort faced political and legal intimidation as well as violent and deadly attacks, like the Tulsa Race Massacre in 1921. Join us as we explore the development of Black wall streets, how Black businesses found success and struggled throughout the 1900s, and what inequality looks like for Black entrepreneurs today. This is a free event but you must register to attend – click HERE

National Archives Foundation

Live Webinar  – Thursday, May 27 @ 12:00 p.m. (ET)

Brainstorms and Mindfarts: The Best and Brightest, Dumbest and Dimmest Inventions in American History

Innovation and entrepreneurism appear inextricably woven into the American DNA. Throughout American history, the great inventors and innovators gazed into the future and saw the products and services that would transform the world. As of 2018, the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office had granted its 10 millionth patent. In Brainstorms and Mindfarts, author Jim Downey presents a collection of the brightest and most innovative American inventions along with the frivolous and utterly useless ones lost to history. This is a free event but you must register to attend – click HERE.

Florida State Genealogical Society:  Poolside Chats

Live Webinar  – Thursday, May 27 @ 8:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. (ET)

Probate Records:  Wills and a Whole Lot More

Presenter:  Annette Burke-Lyttle

Registration is required; visit the FSGS website for details and registration link.


Advanced DNA Features on MyHeritage

Tuesday, May 25 @ 2:00pm (EDT)
Presenter:  Ofer Karp

MyHeritage offers an impressive suite of features to help you trace your relationship to your DNA Matches. In this webinar, Ofer Karp will give an overview of the different tools including the Chromosome Browser and AutoClusters, tips for using them, and walk you through recommended next steps when reviewing a Theory of Family Relativity. This is a free webinar – advance registration is required – click HERE.

How Testing Multiple Relatives Can Turbocharge Your DNA Research

Wednesday, May 26 @ 2:00pm (EDT)

Presenter:  Michelle Leonard

Testing yourself is a great first step into DNA testing waters but how could testing other relatives help you? Testing multiple relatives can massively boost your success with DNA research and this webinar will talk you through the whole process. This is a free webinar – advance registration is required – click HERE.


How to Change the Owner of a File in Google Drive

By default, you’re the owner of any file you upload or create on Google Drive. However, if you want to transfer ownership of a file to someone else, it’s an easy process. Here’s how. Continue reading


Birth Certificates: A Closer Look

Birth records are some of the first types of records you may look for when beginning your genealogy research. After all, most people in the western world have had some sort of documentation of their birth for the past thousand years. Modern birth certificates began being …continue reading

Saturday, May 15, 2021

VGS News & Events: May 16 through May 22, 2021



Monday, May 17

Italian SIG

Zoom Meeting – 1:00pm

Coordinator:  Mary Frances Gerace

Monday, May 17

Best Practices SIG

Zoom Meeting – 1:00pm

Topic:  Research Planning

Coordinators:  Annette Burke-Lyttle & Pat Adams


12 Tips on Finding and Using Templates for Family Stories

Whether you’re working on adding stories to your scrapbooking layouts or wanting to dress up your narratives, finding templates for family stories or family histories can be a chore. This came to mind as a … continue reading


Marriage Banns: A Closer Look at Marriage Records

Marriage banns were the way marriages were legalized for centuries in most of the western world. There are records of the Roman Catholic church requiring them as early as eight hundred years ago in England. This is what marriage banns are, why they were used, and what information you might find there. Continue reading …

11 tips for finding out someone’s military history

Almost every family has a military connection. Here’s how to find yours. Did your grandfather or great-grandfather serve in the military? Would you like to find out more about a family hero? If their military records survive, you can use them to find out so much detail about their lives. Continue reading . . .


Six Things You Should Never Share on Facebook and Social Media

Social media can be a force for good, but only if you use it responsibly. Sharing too much information or the wrong things can leave you exposed to harassment, real-world attacks, and … continue reading


The Paternal Ten: Searching for Missing Heirs

Tuesday, May 18 @ 8:00pm (EDT)

Presenter:  Claire Ammon, CD

After 12 years in the missing heir field, Claire’s seen it all, experiencing both the high highs and the very low lows. This webinar will introduce you to the roller-coaster world of missing heir research; detailing a contentious case, the problems with making assumptions and how to get to the truth. This is a free webinar – advance registration is required – click HERE.

Notion for Genealogists

Wednesday, May 19 @ 2:00pm (EDT)

Presenter:  Lisa A. Alzo

Part database, part note-taking/writing space, part Kanban board, Notion is a FREE all-in-one workspace perfect for managing genealogy research and writing projects. Whether you work on your own or collaborate with a team, learn how Notion can help you customize your workflow to write, plan, and get organized. This is a free webinar – advance registration is required – click HERE.

Researching Canadian Nurses, Pilots and Sailors in the First World War

Friday, May 21 @ 2:00pm (EDT)

Presenter:  Kathryn Lake Hogan

Presentations about Canadians in the First World War usually focus on the Canadian Expeditionary Force, but what about the nurses, pilots, and sailors who served? Discover what was involved in serving with the Royal Naval Air Service, the Royal Canadian Navy or the Nursing Sisters in the Canadian Army Medical Corps. This is a free webinar – advance registration is required – click HERE.

Friday, May 7, 2021

VGS News & Events: May 9 through May 15, 2021


Monday, May 10
"Researching Graphically – Expanding Your Research with Timelines, Charts, Spreadsheets and Diagrams"
Live Zoom Webinar – 7:00 to 8:00 pm (EDT)
Guest Speaker: Ari Wilkins
Registration is required; visit the Coming Events page on our website for the registration link.


Monday, May 10

Italian SIG

Zoom Meeting – 1:00pm

Coordinator:  Mary Frances Gerace

Tuesday, May 11

Preserving Family History SIG

Zoom Meeting – 2:30pm - 4:20pm

Presenter:  Nancy Schultz

Coordinators:  Nancy Schultz & Sharol Lewis

Wednesday, May 12

Irish Genealogy SIG

Meeting Time:  10:00am – 11:50am

Meeting Location:  Osceola Room @ Chula Vista Rec Center

Coordinator:  Tom Voyles

Wednesday, May 12

New to Genealogy SIG

Meeting Time:  2:30pm – 4:20pm

Meeting Location:  Neptune Room @ Seabreeze Rec Center

Coordinator:  Carol LaSalle

Thursday, May 13

German Genealogy SIG

Zoom Meeting – 9:30am

Coordinators:  Dianne Fedderson & Steve Buhrow

Friday, May 14

Genetic Genealogy SIG

Zoom Meeting – 10:00am – 11:50am

Coordinators:  Sherry Bean & Diann LaRosa


National Archives Foundation

Live Webinar  – Monday, May 10 @ 5:00 p.m. (ET)

Blood and Treasure: Daniel Boone and the Fight for America’s First Frontier

It is the mid-18th century, and in the 13 colonies founded by Great Britain, anxious colonists desperate to conquer and settle North America’s “First Frontier” beyond the Appalachian Mountains commence a series of bloody battles. These violent conflicts are wages against the Native American tribes whose lands they covet, the French, and finally against the mother country itself in an American Revolution. In their book Blood and Treasure, best-selling authors Bob Drury and Tom Clavin tell the true saga of the legendary figure Daniel Boone and the bloody struggle for America’s frontier, as told through the eyes of those who witnessed it. This is a free event but you must register to attend – click HERE.


Latest Updates to MyHeritage Genetic Groups

Tuesday, May 11 @ 10:00pm (EDT)

Presenter:  Daniel Horowitz

Genetic Groups provide exceptional depth and resolution to MyHeritage DNA ethnicity results by pinpointing your origins across 2100+ regions. Join Daniel Horowitz as he presents the latest updates to this fascinating feature and shows you the genealogical insights you can gain from your results. This is a free webinar – advance registration is required – click HERE.

DNA Downer: Strategies for Dealing with DNA Fatigue

Wednesday, May 12 @ 8:00pm (EDT)

Presenter:  Blaine Bettinger, PhD

Many genealogists have been working with their DNA results for several years, and it is natural to feel some fatigue. This is especially true since new matches are coming in at a slower rate. In this presentation we will explore some strategies to fight the fatigue and attach DNA results. This is a free webinar – advance registration is required – click HERE.


Why You Should Check Your Theories of Family Relativity™ Regularly

The Theory of Family Relativity™ is a revolutionary MyHeritage feature that takes all the effort out of working out how you’re related to your DNA Matches. Simply visit your DNA Matches page, and any theories about how you might be related to a given match … continue reading

Ancestry® Launches “Questions and Ancestors™: Black Family History”

On April 21, 2021, launched “Questions and Ancestors™: Black Family History,” an ongoing video content series hosted by Nicka Sewell-Smith, an expert in Black genealogy. Throughout the series, Nicka will help everyday individuals and leaders within the Black community explore their own roots, uncovering the untold stories of their ancestors. Now available on the @Ancestry IGTV, the first … continue reading


Delve into 9.5 million new travel records

At Findmypast, May has begun how April ended - with more exciting new releases. Get all the details on our latest record and newspaper editions ... continue reading

Saturday, May 1, 2021

VGS News & Events: May 2 through May 8, 2021


Monday, May 3
Jewish Genealogy SIG
10:00am – 11:50am
Coordinator:  Herb Siegel
Programs:  Phil Goldsmith

Monday, May 3
Italian SIG
Zoom Meeting – 1:00pm

Coordinator:  Mary Frances Gerace

Monday, May 3
RootsMagic SIG
Meeting Time:  2:30pm – 4:20pm
Meeting Location:  New Smyrna Beach Room @ Seabreeze Rec Center

Coordinator:  George Zitterell

Tuesday, May 4
Adoption & Missing Kin SIG
Zoom Meeting – 9:30am

Coordinators:  Anne Berg & Marcella Zorn

Wednesday, May 5
French Canadian Genealogy SIG
Meeting Time:  10:00am – 12:00pm
Meeting Location:  La Hacienda – Carmen Miranda Room + Zoom

Coordinator:  Jean Coleman

Thursday, May 6
Eastern European Genealogy SIG
Zoom Meeting – 1:00pm – 2:50pm

Coordinators:  Carol Myers & Marie Musialek

Friday, May 7
British Genealogy SIG
Zoom Meeting – 9:30am – 11:20am

Coordinators:  Pay Adams & Phyllis Sample

Saturday, May 8
African American Genealogy SIG
Zoom Meeting – 2:30pm – 4:20pm

Coordinator:  Carol LaSalle


Enter the #MomsInMyFamily Challenge for a Chance to Win!

With Mother’s Day around the corner, it’s time to celebrate our matriarchs with a new challenge! We want to see photos of the moms in your family, going as far back through the generations as you can. The winners will receive a free MyHeritage Complete plan! Continue reading …

Comparing Australian Content on the Giant Genealogy Websites
Tuesday, May 4 @ 10:00pm (EDT)
Presenter:  Sunny Morton
What Australian records are available on different genealogy websites? See a comparative analysis of Australian historical record content and educational tools at MyHeritage, FamilySearch, Ancestry and Findmypast. This is a free FamilyTree webinar –– advance registration required –– click HERE.

Solving a Brick Wall with DNA – A Case Study
Wednesday, May 5 @ 2:00pm (EDT)
Presenter:  Larry W. Thomas
How I used both Mitochondrial and Autosomal DNA to prove a great grandmother’s maternal line. This is a free FamilyTree webinar –– advance registration required –– click HERE.

Researching the Descendants and Ancestors of the Weeping Time People
Friday, May 7 @ 2:00pm (EDT)
Presenter:  Brian Shelley
1859 bore witness to the largest single sale of human beings in the United States’ history. 440 people were sold over a 3 day period by Pierce Mease Butler to settle his enormous debts. This presentation covers the process in researching the descendants of the 400 souls who were sold, as well as the descendants of the 400+ enslaved people Pierce Mease Butler did not sell. This is a free FamilyTree webinar –– advance registration required –– click HERE.


Upstairs, Downstairs

Would you like to explore the history of the real Downton Abbey? Or perhaps Princess Diana’s childhood home? Choose a historical house to step back in time.

Downton Abbey (Highclere Castle)

Princess Diana’s Home (Althorp House)


Is Accuracy Important in Genealogical Research?

You may wonder why I have to ask whether or not accuracy is important in genealogical research? The simple answer is that apparently there are a lot of people who simply ignore the fact that the information they enter into online family trees is not only inaccurate but entirely unsupported by a valid genealogical source document. Every item of information asserted in a family tree should be adequately supported by the historical record. In the case of almost all genealogy … continue reading