One of the oldest genealogical societies in the US is the California Genealogical Society, established in 1898, 115 years ago!
CGS is located at 2201 Broadway, LL2, Oakland, California 94612, close to San Francisco. Jeffrey Vaillant, current CGS president, responded to MyHeritage's questions via email.
Names - surname and given - are essential to family history research.
A surname passes through many generations connecting family members with that common surname. Many people are also named after deceased relatives to honor those individuals.
Generally, names are given to us, but people are beginning to adopt new names, both given and surnames.
What does this mean for family history?
Will it be more difficult to trace name changes and links to ancestors, or will it make research more exciting?
What do you think? If you could change your name easily, would you?
By his own account, Norwood Wayne Newkirk says that reading and history were not his greatest passions as he grew up. Today that has changed, as he was the project manager for his family’s reunion held August 1-4, 2013, in New Jersey.
He holds a degree in electrical engineering and worked as a loss prevention consultant. Today he creates risk management systems as a senior account executive and computer application developer.
So what I have done over the past two years [since the 2011 reunion] in preparation for our 2013 reunion is not a far stretch from what I do vocationally. I see the issue and try to develop a solution.
However, as he went through life, he began to recognize that something was missing.
I found a church with teaching ministry that filled the void in my spiritual life and became very active in leading the Media Volunteer Ministry (it is in my genes). Yet there was an area still lacking.
I eventually recognized I had become distant from my family, not because I wanted to, but life situations and circumstances caused things to happen just that way. In fact, there was a time when I truly could not remember a large chunk of my past.
As life would have it, things changed and there was a rekindling of his family history. As family members grew older and died, it offered occasions for the family to come together more frequently than they would like.
It was on those occasions that I heard stories about family members including myself. Stories that made you laugh and stories that made you say, “Did that really happen?” At that point I began to understand what I was missing. It was family. Cousins that I grew up were now distant relatives.
At his grandmother’s funeral, a family pastor talked about thing his grandparents experienced over 92 years of their life and the legacy they left behind.
The Starling family could have written “Roots.” This revelation showed me the importance of family.
While some genealogists have been at it for only a few years, MyHeritage member Gary Fenton Kemp, 76, has been researching for decades.
Gary became interested in computers in the early 1970s. He also observed his parents, then in their 70s, trying to put together their genealogy by typing and writing everything out by hand. He knew that there had to be some way to use computers and began searching for a program that would be able to organize the data.
I found PAF and started using it. In 1987, I went to my parents’ home and spent three days entering data for 752 names.
Gary has many interests in addition to family history, such as surfing, fly fishing, geocaching, glider racing and lifting weights. He’s been an educator from kindergarten through university, and conducted teacher training programs in Fiji and elsewhere. Although now retired as a teacher, coach, high school principal and school district superintendent, he is still active, serves as a local school board member and as a Boy Scout merit badge counselor.
The San Tan Valley, Arizona resident has been married to Nancy for 54 years, has four children, 13 grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and four more on the way.
This week, Ty travels from Dublin, Ireland to Paris, France and recounts his continuing adventures and travel tips.
In this edition of my post for MyHeritage on my travels, I went from Dublin, Ireland to Paris, France for a few nights, and then moved on to Villedieu Poeles, about 2 hours west of Paris. The area is known for copper mining and craftsmanship, with roots to King Henry I (son of William the Conqueror), the Knights Hospitaller, Knights Templar and Knights of Malta.
On my first full day in Paris, I visited the Eiffel Tower twice, once in the early afternoon and again after sunset. Another travel writer had asked me for some photos of the Tower at night, so I decided to give it a shot (pardon the pun).
When traveling for ancestral reasons, remember that almost every location – particularly in large, historic cities like Paris – offers two sides for your interests. That which your ancestors knew: Their churches, houses or neighborhoods, places of work, and the culture of the city in general.
I've heard rumors that I might have some French ancestry, but have not yet been able to discover it. If I do, it would have been before the Eiffel Tower was built (1887-89). Yet, because my ancestors would never have seen the tower, I visited it because it's part of the city’s culture and history.
Labor Day weekend is here - a time to celebrate the contributions made by workers from the labor movement. It's also time for families to get together and enjoy the last bit of summer with barbecues, parades and reunions.
In honor of the holiday, we’re providing free access – from August 31 through September 2 – to all US Census records.
Congratulations to James Colina, winner of last week’s competition for the photo with the largest number of family members. This week, we're holding another photo competition, and asking you to send in your fun family photos. Read more below.
Over 220 family members were photographed in the winning entry taken at a family reunion organized by James in August 2011. He won a photo consultation with Maureen Taylor, the Photo Detective, to learn more about his old family photos. Watch the consultation here.
Thanks to those who submitted their largest family photos. It was lovely to receive so many images from family reunions, gatherings, weddings and other celebrations, both old and new. View all the entries on our Pinterest board here.
The competition continues:
Our chief genealogist Daniel Horowitz was recently in Boston, Massachusetts for the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies’ 33rd conference. While there, he visited the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS), at 101 Newbury St.
Daniel met with NEHGS chief genealogist David Allen Lambert, who provided a wonderful and complete tour of the building, including some backstage areas. Here's Daniel's report of his visit.
It was great to meet with another Chief Genealogist!
As visitors enter the building, its wonderful architecture is apparent. David explained that the original three-floor building (now eight floors) was a bank and that they kept the original design, including the vault, where some NEHGS records are stored.
This is the second genealogical society that I've seen housed in a bank facility. Two years ago, I visited the Genealogical Society of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia, where their facility is also a former bank.
The NEHGS, as a historical society, has a good collection of portraits and historical artifacts from Boston, the New England region and other US locations, including such objects as John Hancock’s chair.
A few years ago, my grandmother gave me a shoebox filled with some of her mother’s heirlooms and photos. I looked through it briefly, but had then forgotten about it until last month.
My grandmother had told me stories about her childhood, but these photo discoveries really brought my family history to life. I finally got to put faces to those stories I had heard over the past few years, and to see my family heritage displayed in front of me.
Last week I sat with my grandmother and together we looked through these family memories. As we viewed each photo and heirloom, she began to tell stories she hadn't mentioned before about the people and events in each picture.
Last week we asked you to send in your oldest family photos as part of a weekly competition to win a free photo consultation with Maureen Taylor, the Photo Detective. This week, we would like to see your photos with the largest number of family members.
We also want to thank everyone who submitted beautiful images showcasing their family history. We received hundreds of photos from around the world, dating back to the 1850s!
Congratulations to Janice Moerschel who sent in this photo of her relative Eunice Baldwin Whedon from Branford, New Haven, Connecticut. You can see her photo consultation with Maureen Taylor here.
It was difficult to choose a winner from the photos submitted. View all the entries on our Pinterest board here.