Monday, November 2, 2015

D. Joshua Taylor appearing in Green Valley February 19-20, 2016

Registration is now open for the Green Valley Genealogical Society annual seminar and workshop. Both are featuring D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS.

Taylor has appeared on several episodes of Who do You Think You Are? and is a host of the PBS series Genealogy Roadshow. He is the former Director of Education and Programs at the New England Historic Genealogical Society, the current President for the Federation of Genealogical Societies, and the Business Development Manager for findmypast.

The interactive workshop on Friday, February 19, 2016, is titled The History in your family history. Participants will learn how to use history to provide a deeper context to their personal genealogical research. Visit the GVGS Workshop webpage for details and a printable reservation form.

The seminar will be held the following day on Saturday, February 20. Joshua will speak on four topics that will spark every genealogist's interest. Details and a printable reservation form can be found on the GVGS Seminar webpage.

Both events will be held at the Valley Presbyterian Church, 2800 S. Camino del Sol, Green Valley, Arizona. Seating is limited to 30 participants for the workshop and to the first 100 registrants for the seminar.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Happy Family History Month!

In 2001, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved legislation to designate October as "Family History Month." The bill, sponsored by Utah Senators Orrin Hatch and Robert Bennett, encouraged President Bush to "issue a proclamation calling upon Americans to observe it with appropriate ceremonies and activities." 1 Genealogists across the country have hearkened to our president's proclamation ever since. Social media has been inundated with Family History Month articles, tips, conferences, and suggestions for family activities since Thursday.

There are several events happening in and around Tucson in celebration of Family History Month 2015. Visit the Pima County Genealogy Society website for some of them. Check out yesterday's blog post Bringing Genealogy Education into Your Home for some others. Whatever you choose to do this month, celebrate Family History Month by finding out a little bit more about where you came from.

1. Lee Davidson, "Family history accorded its own month," The Deseret News, Sep. 27, 2001, p. B4; digital images, Google News ( : accessed 4 Oct 2015), Archives Search.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Bringing Genealogy Education into Your Home

Every year around this time, we start thinking about furthering our education. And every year we are given many opportunities to increase our knowledge and research skills for free, or nearly so. Here are some ways you can bring the classroom into your own home. Most of these webinars have a chat box available during the live broadcast for attendees to ask questions, making it seem almost like being in the room with the presenter.

Note: Times given below are in the hosting organization's time zone. To determine local time, visit the Time Zone Converter, enter the date and time of the broadcast, select the From Time Zone (for example, US/Central), select the To Time Zone (for example, US/Arizona), and click on the green "Convert Time Now" button.

Family History Library Webinars
Each month, the Family History Library hosts a number of free online family history webinars. The list of upcoming webinars are on the Family History Library Classes and Webinars wiki page. I counted 23 webinars scheduled for October and 6 for November. Topics range from researching in US church, cemetery and vital records to improving skills in citing sources, organizing your research, and solving tough research problems to international research techniques in England, Germany, Italy, and Portugal and much, much more. Most of the Latin America webinars are taught in Spanish. And that is only in the months of October and November!  Registration for these webinars is not necessary—simply go to the webinars wiki page 15 minutes before the webinar begins and click on the link next to the group teaching the webinar (US/Canada, British Isles, International/Scandinavian, or Latin America). You can also find recordings of past webinars on pretty much every country that same wiki page. Handouts for all upcoming and past webinars are at the Family History Library Class Handouts wiki page.

Legacy Family Tree Webinars
Every Wednesday is Webinar Wednesday at Legacy Family Tree Webinars. Prominent Genealogists give a free hour-long presentation every Wednesday at 12pm Mountain, except the second Wednesday which is at 7pm Mountain time. Once a month an additional webinar is offered on Friday, also at 12pm Mountain. The webinars are free, but pre-registration is required to attend the live session. Following the live webinar, the recording will be available to view for free for about a week. After that, you must be a paid member to view the recording. You also must be a member to download the handouts. Visit their website to see the schedule for the rest of this year and to register for webinars you wish to attend live.

Illinois State Genealogical Society (ISGS) Webinars
ISGS offers a webinar on the 2nd Tuesday of each month at 8pm Central time. These webinars cover topics on a wide range of research methodology and strategies relevant to all genealogists, not just Illinois and the Midwest. And the presenters are some of the best-known genealogy speakers. The live broadcasts are free and open to the public. After the live broadcast, the recording is available to ISGS members only. Visit their Upcoming Webinars page for the schedule for the rest of this year and to register for the live broadcast.

Southern California Genealogical Society (SCGS) Webinars
Live SCGS webinars are broadcast the first Saturday and third Wednesday of each month. Saturday sessions are held at 10am Pacific time and Wednesday sessions are held at 6pm Pacific time. The webinars are presented by professional genealogists and lecturers. The live broadcasts are free to the general public; the recordings are available only to SCGS members. To view the schedule for the rest of this year and to register for the webinars, visit the SCGS Webinar Series website.

BCG Webinars
The Board for Certification of Genealogists present occasional free webinars. There doesn't appear to be a schedule of those webinars, but they announce the a few days in advance on their blog SpringBoard News and Notes. To receive email notification of upcoming webinars, visit their blog and scroll down to the Email Notification area, enter your email address where indicated and click the Subscribe button. Pre-registration is required to attend the live viewing. BCG offers recordings of some of their past webinars, some are free but most are available for a fee. Previews and links to all videos are available on the BCG Webinars page.

New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) Online Classes
NEHGS offers online educational programs in the form of webinars, videos, and online classes. Most webinars are available for NEHGS members and Guests. Registration is required. Visit their Online Classes webpage for the schedule and to register. Archived webinars are available from their Learning Resources webpage and from the AmericanAncestors YouTube channel. Most of the webinars are about using the resources available at NEHGS and, but also give instruction on how to do research in the New England states and Canada. AmericanAncestors databases are free to patrons of the Tucson Family History Center.

As you can see, there are many options for furthering our education in genealogy. Take a look at what is offered between now and the end of the year and go for it! I promise that you won't be disappointed.

Do you know of any other options? Tell us about them in the comments below.


Image: Written by Meg, ePortfolio (Megan E. Ford) / CC BY-NC-ND 3.0

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Learn to Find Your Women Ancestors and Enjoy Lunch, Too!

PCGS is hosting a Special Luncheon Event on Saturday, October 17 from 1:00pm-3:00pm at the Donna R. Liggins Recreation Center, 2160 N. 6th Ave., Tucson. 
Dr. Melanie Sturgeon, State Archivist and Director of History and Archives Division for Arizona, will present a program on Finding Women In Public Records.
In addition to lunch, this event includes a silent auction, a raffle and door prizes! 
This special luncheon event is open to members and non-members. Members pay $5.50 for lunch; non-members pay $12.00.

Pre-registration is required and must be received no later than October 12. You can download the Registration Form at this link and mail it OR you can pay on-line through the PCGS Marketplace. PCGS members must be logged in before making purchase to ensure the special member pricing.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Meet our Write-On! Competition Winners

The winners of our 2015 Write-On! Competition were announced at our June General Meeting and on our blog post Write-On! Competition Winners. We are now introducing our winners to you.

1st Place
Margaret Ward
The Long Journey of Mabel Ida Lewis Smith 

 I was born in Central India to Canadian missionary parents. My mother’s family had been in India for generations, many holding positions that kept the British Raj running – post office and railway, for example. My schooling was varied. I attended a private school in New York, a one-room school in rural Ontario, and boarding schools in India and Canada. Following my undergraduate years, I married a psychiatrist. After three biological children, we adopted eight others, aged from infancy to thirteen. Once I was widowed, I wintered in Arizona, and eventually married an Arizonan. I have degrees in English, and Child and Lifespan Development and taught in high school and college. For many years, my interest in family traditions had no focus. As part of my graduate studies, I undertook a personal development project in which I collected and shared family stories. That was the spark that lit focused genealogical research.

2nd Place
Debra Kabinier
The Tale of the Traveling China

 Debra Fowler Kabinier started working on genealogy with her two great aunts when she was a young teenager.  The three of them would conduct research at the old county library and local historical society.  Her quest for family history continued in small spurts but took a back-seat to raising a family and growing a career.  Now that she is retired, genealogy is her full-time hobby.  She hones her skills by attending conferences, webinars, and taking classes.

3rd Place
Doris Briscoe-Lyon
An Incident at the Well
 I grew up on a dairy farm in Oregon and spent the summers driving a tractor on a hay farm. Working outdoors made my spirit soar and I felt free and close to God and nature. I was born to be left-handed, but in school I was forced to write with my right hand which was a trial for me, but my left hand is still the strongest. In high school I received good grades for public speaking and writing. After raising six children, I began writing poetry which seems to come quite easily to me. So now I am writing poetry and my memoirs, which releases my creativity. When I need a change, I go for a walk or play the piano which has been a special gift to me. I had only eighteen months of lessons when I was ten years old, and I was told I'd never be a piano player. But I am! I feel so blessed!

Be sure to read the winning stories in the September 2015 issue of The PCGS Researcher (available now in the Members Only section of our website). And let our winners know how much you enjoyed reading them.

Friday, September 4, 2015

NEHGS Offers Free Access on for Labor Day Weekend

The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) made the following announcement on their website:

Labor Day—the American Way: Working on Your Family History

Your ancestors worked hard to give you this extra day of rest—so spend it in tribute to them, uncovering more of your family history. In commemoration of Labor Day, American Ancestors and NEHGS offer a week to work FREE on your past, with FREE access to some of our most popular American Ancestors databases. In these resources containing census, tax, and voter list information, you might just find your ancestors diligently at work. Register as a FREE Guest User on and enjoy making new discoveries about your family history—where, unfortunately, the work is never done. Open now through Wednesday, September 9.

About Census, Tax, and Voter Lists

Census, Tax, and Voter Lists contains a range of resources to provide information about the families who resided in the New England states between the 18th and 20th centuries. Broader collections help to trace families as they moved to other areas of the United States. And a handful of European databases can assist researchers attempting to further document their family’s heritage.
Visit to access these records through September 9.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

ISFHWE Announces Winners of the 2015 Excellence-in-Writing Competition

Members of the Pima County Genealogy Society are among the winners of the ISFHWE Excellence-in-Writing Competition for the third year running!


Press Release – September 4, 2015
The International Society of Family History Writers and Editors is proud to announce the winners of the Excellence-in-Writing Competition. All entries were exceptional this year. Submission details for 2016 will be announced soon. For any questions on the competition, email Tina Sansone at

ISFHWE’s Excellence in Writing Competition

Category 1 - Columns

1st: Ernest Thode – Ask Ernie
2nd: James M. Beidler – Roots & Branches: Painful, poignant visit to mentor’s grave
3rd: Maureen Wlodarczyk – Genealogy: It’s not a tree or a chart…it’s a story!
HM: Michael McKeag – Where to Finish? 1 - My Family History
HM: Carolyn Leonard – When the Cheering Stopped – the last years of Woodrow Wilson

Category 2 – Articles

1st: Barbara J Starmans, PLCGSMarried to the Army
2nd: Maureen Wlodarczyk – Grazia Fucci Lipari
3rd: George G. Morgan – Managing Your Speaking Engagements
HM: Sherri Hessick – MayDay! MayDay! Lost Behind Enemy Lines
HM: Vi Parsons – Root Cellar Preserves

Category 3 – Newsletters

1st: Michelle D. Novak – The Archivist
2nd: Stephen Gauss – Harriman Family Newsletter
3rd: Kathryn Manz – Penn in Hand
HM: Linda Vixie – Pike Peak Genealogical Society Newsletter
HM: James M. Beidler – Der Kurier

Category 4 – Unpublished Authors

1st: Elyse Hill – History Lessons Learned From a Birth Certificate
2nd: Wendy Wilson Spooner – Civil Registration and Census Development in Great Britain & America
3rd: Catherine Smith – In a Flash
HM: Louise A. Eckhardt – A Mystery within a Mystery
HM: Diane Buescher – Finding Elusive Ancestors in Early German Church Records

Category 5 – Unpublished Material/Published Authors

1st: David Harper – Corresponding Hearts
2nd: Robyn Smith, of "Reclaiming Kin" Genealogy Blog – Minty’s Legacy: A Black Family in Slavery and Freedom
3rd: Dave Strausfeld – Hudie Streisfeld and her life in the Austro-Hungarian Empire
HM: Ruth Randall, CGEvidence of the Parentage of a Buffalo Solder: John Martin Daniels, Company I, 125th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry
HM: Carolyn Leonard – Dutch Letters

Category 6 – Poetry

1st: Luanne Griffin – Going Home
2nd: Casey Lin Brown – If I’d Met You
3rd: Lisa Brahin Weinblatt – Great-Grandmother
HM: Phyllis Matthews Ziller, MLISFinding Sarah 
HM: Kenneth R. Castle, PhDThey are Calling to You