Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Seminar news

Last Saturday, the 24th, I attended my genealogy society's seminar. I am a member of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society and we have a pretty good record on speakers for our members monthly. About twice a year we plan a seminar and hope it is a success. Lots of work involved for the committee.

This past Saturday we answered some requests by our members who wanted to know more about Indians, American that is, and how the Irish and Scots-Irish immigrations affected them.

Our speakers were:
 Donna Bradley, a professional genealogist for 17 years. She specializes in Native American ancestry, but is competent in all areas of international genealogical research. She now has over 67,000 members in her database. She is of Native American ancestry and her family has been in the Northern California area for thousands of years.

Anne Bowman has lived and worked in the San Diego area for over 25 years, she was born and raised in Chicago where she obtained her dental degree and then went to LSU in New Orleans where she received a Specialty Certificate in Periodontics. She became interested in genealogy when her niece was born and what began as a casual hobby evolved into a new career. Her goal is to earn Certification from the Board of Genealogical Certification. Anne is a member of the National Genealogical Society, The Association of Professional Genealogists, The Polish Genealogical Society of America and The Southern California Genealogical Society

Our two speakers knew their topics and gave informative and interesting talks.

The first for the day was given by Donna Bradley, our keynote speaker and the topic was "Ways of Getting Over, Around or Under Your Brick Walls". She emphasised working with court records or as she called them 'Plaintiff vs Defendant' records. Many times the defendants whole family is listed and sometimes so is the plaintiffs. If at all possible the original records should be searched on site even though a trip may be necessary. Donna also covered checking books and magazines especially historical articles. she even found a person she was searching for in an architectural magazine. Donna emphasized that history books often enabled your research to progress because you had a better idea of what and why your ancestor did what he did.  As usual I picked up some new hints on where to search.

Anne Bowman was up next with an excellent talk on "Scots-Irish Research Clues". Anne cautioned that you should not expect to find success 'over the pond' until you were finished with every resource you could find here in the states. She gave us a list of websites and explained what you might find at those sites; she then started us in Ireland with a list she called "from the greatest to the smallest."
There was a list of all the different entities that must be dealt with including both civil and religious parishes, counties, and districts. I am glad I am not ready yet, because I intend to listen to more talks by Anne and get many more details on the search.

Donna  gave the third talk of the day titled "American Indian Research" which covered many of the reasons why finding your Indian ancestor is so difficult. Indians had no concept of owning land, therefore no land deeds, only that they were the caretakers of this gift on which they lived. Indians had been resident here thousands of years before the land was 'discovered' by the Europeans and so were unable to cope with the idea that the land was  personal property.
Since there were very few white women that traveled into the interior or down the mountain trails, indian women were taken as partners and thus many families have the legend that Grandma was an indian, usually the tale goes that she was an "Indian Princess'.
In the 1800's children were taken from their parents and placed in indian schools which did their best to eradicate any memories that the children had that they were Indian. The children were given anglicised or Spanish names depending on the area of the country they lived and their parents or tribes were moved back further and further from the area where the children had been born. This created a problem for the children when they were released from the school, usually in their 20's as most could not remember their Indian name, their language or their parents. Consequently this now causes you a problem in going back any further in your ancestry.
Your first step is to get a DNA test of your ethnicity, make sure there really is Indian in your ancestry and then be prepared to search diligently to find a clue.
Donna's talk was distinctive, informative and gave history, especially that of the American Indian an entirely unfamiliar perspective than what we were taught in school.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

General Comments

Perhaps I should have named it the once a month blog, that seems to be the average for posting for me.
I have been busy with family problems and not doing research, at least, hardly any.
I did buy a book "The Genealogist's Guide to researching Tax Records" by Carol Cooke Darrow CG and Susan Winchester, Ph.D, C.P.A. and if it had been any state except New York it would have been invaluable. It is well written and very informative on how to find tax records almost anywhere, it gives instruction on using the FHL catalog to look for areas in states and counties, but when you try New York areas there are no tax records listed, at least not in my counties.
That means that the individual Villages, Cities, Towns and Counties may have them, but you have to check each one individually. Of course, they are not online so that means going there or paying someone to look for them, rather difficult on a pension.
A few years ago I did manage a trip and was able to find the tax records for Unadilla, Otsego Co., in a book written by the late Shirley Goerlich at the Sidney library. This gave me the tax records for my Thomas Graves, unfortunately I could not find the tax records for Sidney itself which I need to prove my William Wright was there in the 1820's through the 1840's. and I was unable to get to Delhi to try to find them. Delhi is where the county records are kept for Delaware while Cooperstown is where the Otsego county records are kept. I happened to be there during the Baseball Hall of Fame event and couldn't get near the records building.
This seems to be a rather rambling narrative this month, but if I have given anyone information on research in New York I hope they can use it.
Just remember that the census for New York is not usually taken except by Town which is an area of perhaps 26 miles +, therefore you have to find out which Hamlet or village your ancestor lived in or around in order to make sure you have the correct ancestor or to find their records.
Enough rambling this month, I will try to get back to my research now that the family seems to be settling down.