Fun Genealogy Workshop; Myths and Misconceptions Article

The March 16th meeting will feature a workshop/demonstration known as Relatives Around Me. This hands-on exercise will be hosted by Jacquie Beveridge, who was recently introduced to this app. We’ll be using a FamilyTree app on your phone (either IOS or Android), and you may actually discover a common ancestor among those in attendance! Be prepared to participate and join in by first reading and following the simple details HERE, to get setup.

Genealogy Myths and Misconceptions

Merilee recommends reading 13 Genealogy Myths and Misconceptions, an article from the editors of Family Tree Magazine and written by Julie Cahill Tarr. Could that family story or something you’ve come across regarding a surname, passenger list, online family tree, date, etc. actually fall into one of those categories? Ms. Cahill Tarr points out what to question and watch to out for. Read her article HERE.

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Feature Story – The Thrift Store Bible Adventure

Like many people, there is a local community member who loves to peruse thrift stores! Susan especially enjoys looking for old books. One day she found an old, but interesting family bible in a thrift store in Oregon that belonged to a person who was born in 1792! His signature was in the front of the bible along with a few notes. Some pages were torn out. The bible was old looking, musty, and had a well-worn leather cover. It was about 5 inches by 8 inches and would have fit into a saddlebag or large coat pocket.

The adventure begins…
Susan did some preliminary investigation into the ancestry of the signer, a Mr. Joseph Abbott. She prepared an outline of his family tree. Life became busy and she wasn’t able to continue the search for the owner of the bible. So, one day she decided to contact the local genealogical society to see if there was anyone interested in delving further into this mystery of Mr. Joseph Abbott. She emailed the organization (Siuslaw Genealogical Society) and one of the members took up the request. Susan dropped off the bible at the local library, to be picked up by Merilee, who would continue the research.

Merilee took the bible home and began the process of building a detailed family tree from the research done by Susan. She created a story of Joseph Abbott’s life and the descendants of his children. Mr. Joseph Abbott turned out to have been born in 1792 in Butler County, Ohio. In 1813 Joseph enlisted in the Ohio Militia; a private in Captain Hamilton’s Company, 3rd Militia of Ohio. He served for six months and was discharged. Joseph made his home in Butler County and was probably a farmer.

In January 1825, Joseph married Nancy Jane “Agnes” Bell. Reverend Benjamin Lawrence married the couple in Butler County. The couple had four children in the ensuing six years. Joseph passed away on 4 July 1832 in Morgan Twp, Butler County, Ohio. Cause of death is unknown at this time. However, there was a cholera epidemic spreading around the area during the early 1830s and that may have caused his death. His wife Agnes died just two years later in 1834. What became of their children ages 3, 5, 7, and 9 years? Who took them in to raise them?

Descendants were tracked forward, from those four children of Joseph’s, to the current era. A couple of descendants had family trees on the popular website and they were contacted to see if they wanted the bible. Sadly, no response. Susan and Merilee finally met in person and shared thoughts about what to do with the bible. They decided to contact the Butler County Ohio Historical Society to see if they wanted the bible and family history story compiled to go with it. They happily said “YES!” Soon, this interesting artifact and the story about its owner will finally find its way home to where it began… Butler County, Ohio.

Ironically, both Merilee and Susan had ancestors who lived in Butler County during the same general time period. Coincidence or destiny! You decide…

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SGS News

SGS Fundraising Efforts

Help our fundraising efforts by linking your Fred Meyer Rewards card with Siuslaw Genealogical Society! Doing so will enable Fred Meyers to make a donation to SGS each time you shop at the store. There is no additional cost to you, and it’s easy to sign up – click HERE for details and scroll down the page to sign up!

13 Genealogy Myths and Misconceptions

Truth, folklore or a family tale? Merilee shares an article from Family Tree Magazine which may help you determine whether that family story is myth or likely to have occurred. View the article HERE.

Next SGS Meeting: March 16th, 3 p.m. in the Bromley Room; Presentation topic to be announced.

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SGS February 16th Meeting

Identifying Types of Old Photographs

The February 16th genealogy meeting will feature a presentation with a “hands-on” workshop to identify a variety of vintage  photographs. Pat Rongey will have samples of Daguerreotype, Ambrotype, Tintypes, and Cabinet Cards. These images range from the early 1840’s through the early 1900’s. Knowing the photograph type may help you identify the approximate year range of when the image was taken. This meeting will provide a chance for you to examine each sample with a magnifying glass and clues to help you make your own best guess. We’ll then determine which one of us has ended up being the top detective!

If you’re lucky enough to possess one of these photographic types or “think” you may have one, have it on hand and we’ll try to determine its time period. Bring your best spectacles and magnifying glass! 

Special Note: We will be examining the photos in a group setting, and you may wish to wear a mask.

Member Jacquie Beveridge announces upcoming family history conferences:

RootsTech – March 2-4 (Salt Lake City) In-Person $98; Virtual Viewing $Free$
Featured Speakers include: Judy G. Russell (The Legal Genealogist); Jonny Perl (creator of DNA Painter); Lisa Louise Cooke (GenealogyGems Podcast); Diahan Southard (DNA author and Speaker); David Allen Lambert (NEHGS Genealogist), and many more.

I4GG March 11-12; (San Diego) $169 In-Person and Live-Stream $69. CeCe Moore (Genetic Genealogist) will be the main speaker and moderator.  Other featured speakers include: Margaret Press (DNA Doe Project); Bonnie Bossert (Solved the 87-year old mystery of Hatbox Baby); and more.

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Genealogy Journal

A leather bound Our Family Keepsake Journal is for sale. 67 pages for family names, special events, genealogical resources and much more. This is a new, boxed journal. The perfect gift or working repository for any genealogy enthusiast. On sale for $25. For more information, contact Karen Childs through our Contact Us page.

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Interviewing Relatives Webinar

The January 19th SGS meeting features an American Ancestors webinar on Tips for Interviewing Relatives. The webinar features Stephanie Call of the Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center. Join us for this valuable presentation.

Raffle Volunteer for Meetings

After many years of managing the monthly meeting raffle with great success, SGS member Karen Childs will be stepping down from this fun, and worthwhile project. Are you interested? Please see Karen at the Thursday SGS meeting or contact her through our Contact Us page.

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A Look at the Family Research of Rick Norwood

A Feature Story

We all come to genealogy from different paths and starting places, whether to create a family tree, or perhaps from a story passed down of days gone by. Richard (Rick) Norwood was introduced to family history in the late1960’s by his maternal grandmother (Ruth Edwards). She was a visionary who saw and understood the importance of family relationships. She and a cousin worked on portions of lineage connections from memory. She spoke to Rick of stories and lists of family members going as far back as the 1700’s. Originating from New England with 11 siblings, including half-brothers and sisters, Ruth provided a broad genealogical path for Rick to research, with many twists and turns.

Although he found the family lineage of interest, Rick did not immediately pursue the research any further. While attending college he began studies in geology. During his junior year it was fortuitous that he was invited on an archaeological dig. He discovered his first arrowhead that day, and prompted him to change his college major to archaeology. Despite the change in his educational path, his interest in rocks remains today, and he continues to collect and enjoy gem cutting for jewelry. After all, according to Rick, “every rock is special”.

Many years later, in about 2000 Rick renewed his interest in family history and actively began researching. He became a member of the New England Genealogical Society, and utilized the Master Genealogist program (now obsolete) for his research data. However, in 2003, with the demands of a successful career in archaeology, his genealogy pursuits were set aside. By 2019, things began to settle down, and Rick resumed his family history research. He found his geology interest and archaeology experience to be closely aligned with genealogy and historical research.

He currently uses as his primary research application, and maintains hard copy records in cabinet file drawers. His DNA test results are from both Ancestry and Family Tree Y-DNA.


Through his research, Rick discovered a family branch in the Philippines, allowing him to establish a connection with family members there. He learned that in 1903, his grandmother’s brother (Irving Edwards), was a member of the Philippine Constabulary (U.S. armed police force distinct from the regular Army and predecessor to today’s Philippine National Police). As was with all Americans there, Irving was captured by the Japanese in 1943 during WWII. He was held in a prison camp despite being married to an indigenous Tiruray tribal Philippine woman and raising their family there. He was detained for 2 years, and survived by food sneaked in to him by his son. In 1945 when the war ended, Irving was liberated and continued to live in the Philippines with his family for the remainder of his life.

Rick attributes learning a great deal of history through his family research, particularly with respect to past wars. He became aware of the 14-month King Phillip’s war (1675-1676), in which many of his ancestors had participated in, but tragically did not survive. Rick’s goal is to trace his ancestors back to the 1400’s and estimates he is currently about 75% closer to reaching that target. His research focuses on 4 family lines – Edwards, Norwood, Cook, and Cornwall. He has established his Cornwall lineage was from Wales and dates back to the1600’s. Additionally, he has learned his ancestor William Cornwall had been involved in the Pequot tribal war with the colonists in 1637.


For a number of years, Rick had been unable to determine why his grandmother (Taylor) had not relocated to Ohio with the rest of the Taylor family. With much persistence, determination and a bit of luck, he came upon the History of Middletown CT, a late 19th century history of the town. The breakthrough was with the discovery of a reference to the Taylor family in Gilford, Connecticut. He was able to verify when the family moved to Ohio, Rick’s grandmother remained in Gilford with a relative. Years later, she married and continued to live in Gilford.

Current Brick Wall

A current brick wall for Rick is within his maternal Clark line, which he states “just disappears”. He continues to ‘chase down’ information on a female family member from Middleboro, MA who passed away in 1875.

Rick Norwood is the current President of the Siuslaw Genealogy Society and lives in Florence, OR with his wife Darlene.

As in Rick Norwood’s experience, family research is a project which can be put aside, picked up again, and with persistence and sometimes luck, can bring rich and fulfilling rewards. There are many family stories we all have yet to discover.

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