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

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Mesa FamilySearch Conference - Registration opens September 9, 2015

The Mesa FamilySearch Library has been closed since last November and there is still no estimated date for reopening. However, that isn't stopping them from sponsoring the annual Family History Conference. Here is last week's official announcement:
ANNOUNCING THE 2015 Family History Conference sponsored by the Mesa AZ FamilySearch Library on Saturday, October 24, 2015, at the Tempe Institute of Religion on the ASU Campus in Tempe, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:10 p.m.  The Library may be closed, but family history work goes on!

This year’s conference will feature a keynote address by Todd Powell of FamilySearch.  Mr. Powell is a Senior Product Manager for the FamilyTree Department at  He graduated from BYU and has over 25 years working in technology and business leadership.  Todd is a native of Phoenix and the Gila Valley and enjoys visiting extended family in Arizona.

This year’s theme is “Putting It All Together” and provides a wide variety of over 50 class choices for all types of learners, from beginners to the most advanced genealogists.  Come and learn how to be more effective and efficient when doing your research.  Learn to trace your roots with DNA.  Learn to document your sources.  Get specific information on various ways to research in specific countries.  If you are new to family history, come learn the basics.  Some of the most popular classes are repeated in an effort to accommodate everyone.   Spend all day or come for a single class or two; you may attend a maximum of five classes.

Registration will begin online on Wednesday, September 9, 2015.  At the time of registration, registrants will be given the opportunity to purchase lunch from Jason’s Deli.  Otherwise, the conference is FREE.  See you in October!
Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti at

Did you see that? It's FREE! So, arrange your carpools and visit the Mesa FamilySearch Library website on September 9 to register. Last year, registration closed very early because they reached the maximum number of attendees allowed. If you want to ensure a seat this year, be sure to register as soon as possible after registration opens. And while you're on the website, visit the Annual Conference Archives for the handouts for the 2012-2014 conferences, also FREE.

FREE Access to Records this Labor Day Weekend

This announcement was made on the Ancestry Facebook page this morning:
Ancestry has launched the largest online collection of wills and probate records in the United States, with more than 170 million pages and searchable records included from all 50 states spread over 337 years (1668-2005). This unprecedented collection launches a new category of records for family history research never before available online at this scale the United States.

Search this new collection for your ancestors today thru September 7th FREE:
 Not only that, but they are including ALL U.S. birth, marriage, and death records FREE.

 UPDATE: Reader Rondie reported that she accessed the new Wills and Probate collection this morning and found a very short and incomplete probate record for the person she was seeking. She poked around a little and found that most of his probate papers were incorrectly indexed under another person's name—the person appearing right before him in the probate book. So, if you don't find the records you are hoping for, browse the images because they may be before or after your relative's indexed file.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

2016 Tucson Family History Fair is Coming (January 30, 2016)

for the 2016 Tucson Family History Fair to be held on Saturday, January 30, 2016. It is still in the planning stages; more information will follow closer to the event. A record 300 people attended the 2015 Fair. The planning committee is reviewing the feedback received from those attendees with the result that next year's Fair should be better than ever. And best of all, there is no charge for this event.

PCGS has partnered with the Tucson Family History Center on this event for the past few years and will again next year. Our members teach classes and provide great displays in the Cultural Hall.

Please check their wiki page periodically for information on the Fair and on the Tucson Family History Center. You can access the wiki page by clicking here or by entering "Tucson Family History Center" in your browser's search engine.