Adieu to Dianne Carlton


Message from new SGS President Jacquie Beveridge:

Thank you to Dianne Carlton for her service as president!  Circumstances prevented her from helping our society accomplish all she hoped for, yet she persevered.  As she and Greg move to a warmer climate, we wish them all the best!  And, look forward to them returning to visit.
Wouldn’t it be great if it’s when we’re able to have a picnic again?

As I try to fill her shoes for a short period of time it is with the hope that we’ll soon be able to meet in person.  Hopefully,  we’ll all have stories to share about our pandemic discoveries! 

According to our bylaws, The President shall appoint a nominating committee for new officers at the April meeting to present a slate at the May meeting and the election is to be held at the June meeting.

So, please put your thinking caps on and let’s look forward to reenergizing our society!  As we know more about meeting guidelines and library availability, you’ll be kept informed.  We hope to see you soon! 

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Spotlight on SGS Library Research Assistants

Among the primary goals of the Siuslaw Genealogical Society (SGS) is to provide an educational resource for those interested in family research. The SGS Library Researchers have always been among the major contributors in this effort. The Siuslaw Library is temporarily closed to the public (due to Covid-19 restrictions) however, during an otherwise typical week the researchers volunteer to assist those not only interested in getting started in family research, but inquiring about DNA testing, and seeking guidance to research questions.

SGS Library Researchers Debby Wright and Pat Rongey enjoy helping others in family research and have a number of memorable experiences to share.

ebby Wright is usually kept busy welcoming walk-ins or ‘regulars’ with appointments. Most often, she encounters individuals requesting assistance in searching for biological family members who have become estranged due to any number of circumstances. One unusual request however, came from an individual interested in researching the family who were previous owners of the home she purchased. Debby soon discovered that despite her research efforts, she was unable to locate any information. Undeterred, she pursued resources at the Pioneer Museum. It was there she began to unravel the mystery – a neighbor woman recalled the previous owners had legally changed their name shortly after moving into the house. A quick review of the museum’s records set Debby on the path to BLM records, the Siuslaw News and census records. In the end, Debby located information on the previous owners and their son and was able to share the research results with the present owner of the home.
Pat Rongey reports having received the following note of thanks:

“Today marks one year since the first time I saw a picture and the name of my father (name omitted) and I never would have found him without your help. I’m forever grateful for you Pat and appreciate what you do to bring families together it’s truly amazing— you’re amazing!”

Pat recalls assisting another gentleman at the library who was seeking to find his birth father. As an experienced researcher, this was not a particularly unusual request for her. As Pat inquired a bit more regarding his request, she learned that although he had used his stepfather’s name for many years, it became apparent that the need for him to know his original surname was of great importance. In time, Pat located his birth family’s information and revealed it to him. He was thankful and in the following weeks would often stop by the library’s Siuslaw Room to again express his gratitude. Pat learned shortly thereafter, the gentleman had passed away from cancer.

As a reminder, the Siuslaw Public Library is currently closed to the public until further notice due to Covid restrictions.  Therefore, SGS Library Researchers are not on-site to assist in family research until the library re-opens.

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Items of Interest

Merilee Mulvey shares an article from Family Tree Magazine of a very handy tip (three short steps) which just may help you in locating those ancestors ‘impossible to find’.  The article is Trick for Hard to Find Ancestors.

The Science On Being an Early (in the morning) or Late Riser
A recent Oxford University Study suggests 46% of your sleep pattern is associated with your DNA.  Read the DNA and Sleep Pattern Study HERE.

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Of Genealogy Interest

Census Bureau Update

By Executive Order, the Census Bureau has reported it is “suspending efforts to create neighborhood-level statistics on the citizenship and age of residents using 2020 census data”, an initiative recently established for possible re-apportionment of congressional seats.

Curious About President Joe Biden’s Ancestry?
Here are two sources: From Wikipedia – View HERE.
From Rich Hall of– View HERE for a more detailed history (going back 10 generations)

RootsTech Connect 2021: A Free Global Virtual Event
The RootsTech Connect (formerly called RootsTech Conference), will be  held on  February 25-27 2021.   This will be a free online virtual conference. Register HERE.

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Southern CA Genealogical Society Online Jamboree 2021

Jacquie Beveridge announces Southern CA Genealogical Society’s Jamboree 2021. This year, the Jamboree consists of two live conferences – Genealogy Jamboree (June 4, 5) and Genetic Genealogy (June 11, 12). According to SCGS, “Each conference consists of six presentations you can join live or access later in the library of recorded presentations. In addition to the 6 live presentations, there will be 20 Genetic Genealogy and 50 Genealogy Jamboree recorded sessions. Both the live and recorded presentations are easily accessed by clicking a link from our website or through an email we send you.”
Registration begins January 11th. View the details HERE.
View What’s Different About Jamboree 2021 HERE.

Upcoming Free SCGS Webinars:

Writing About the Stars in Your Family With Ease” – Devon Nel Lee
Saturday, January 9, 2021; 10 00 AM (PST)

Searching from Home” – Tyra Shymanski
Saturday, January 9, 2021; 1:00 – 3:30 p.m. Register HERE.

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Of Genealogy Interest

Merilee Mulvey shares a link to a Family Tree Magazine article on How to Trace Your Ancestors in Voter Records. “Voter records (registration lists, registration certificates and voter registration cards) can provide valuable information for your genealogical research. Not only can they help you track your ancestor as they moved, but voter records can also help you verify the residence of a person in lieu of the lost 1980 census.” View it HERE.

Pat Rongey discovered a site called the Arolsen Archives. The Archives are a collection of documents with information on victims of the Holocaust and concentration camp prisoners, and more.  View the site HERE.

Jacquie Beveridge sends out a warning on bereavement scams. Be aware of cybercrooks who utilize information from obituaries to obtain loans, credit card, etc. for financial gain. Read the AARP article HERE.

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Feature Story – A Census Enumerator

The U.S. Constitution mandates a census of the population every 10 years (Title 13 of the U.S. Code). As such, the goal of the 2020 Census was to count everyone who lived in the U.S. on April 1, 2020.  Households were requested to respond to the census online, by phone or by mail. The data is critical to the future of communities, and used to distribute $1.5 trillion a year in federal funds for health care, housing programs, lunch programs, disaster recovery initiatives, roads, education, etc.  Additionally, the census data is used to determine congressional district representation (apportionment) for the next 10 years.  While several million questionnaires are returned by mail, several million are not.  Therefore, the U.S. Census Bureau (“Bureau”) attempts to account for every household address that has not responded to the questionnaire.

According to the Bureau, as of October 15th, over 99.9% of addresses nationwide were accounted for in the 2020 census. 66.9% responded online, by phone, or mail.  33% of the addresses were accounted for through the Nonresponse Follow-up operation (census enumerators, proxy respondents and administrative records). 


2020 Census Enumerator Jim Wolak

I recently met Jim Wolak who, first became a census enumerator for a 1985 Arizona special census.  The experience must have been a good one, because he took on the role as an enumerator again for the 2020 Census, assigned to visit addresses in Eugene, Springfield and Florence.  I asked Jim to share his experience for our SGS blog.

In August, Jim completed training in Eugene, with an additional 12 of hours online.  Unlike his previous census work in Arizona when the paper form questionnaire was used, he was issued an IPhone this time around. Utilizing the device, workday assignments were downloaded to him, census form questions displayed on the phone, and household responses were entered directly into the IPhone. For each interview, upon completion of the last question, the data is uploaded automatically to the Bureau.  Jim stated residents are asked the same questions that appear on the census form sent to all households. He added that the enumerator only collects data for the assigned address. Therefore, his initial question to whoever answers the door is to confirm the address is a match to his daily assignment.  If the address is not a match, or if the address ”appears vacant” he enters a designated code into the IPhone and does not pursue the interview. If there is no answer, a form is left with an 800 number for the resident to reply.  The address is then coded into his phone, and returns to the ‘pool’ of non-response addresses. Jim stated he does not revisit an address unless it again appears on his work assignment.

I inquired as to who is included in the count, and he explained everyone in a household is counted who lived at that address on April 1, 2020 – family, friends, and anyone who rents space in the home.  According to Jim, the length of stay of a ‘guest’ is irrelevant – the criteria is simply, if they were present on April 1.

Another role of the enumerator is to explain to the person being interviewed that the response information is kept confidential. The Census Bureau is bound by federal law to protect the information, and use the data only for statistical purposes.  In addition to protecting the data, the answers cannot be used against the respondent by any government agency or court. (Title 13, U.S. Code).

Jim explained a proxy is sought when the enumerator is unable to obtain a response directly from a household.  In that situation, he would attempt to obtain a proxy response for the address, such as a neighbor, landlord or apartment manager.   According to the Bureau, as of October 15th, approximately 24.1% of occupied households for the Nonresponse Follow-up addresses were accounted for by proxy response.  Jim Wolak stated he recorded less than 10% of proxy interview responses for the 2020 census.

After 72 years have passed, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is responsible for making the records available for public viewing. (Title 44, U.S. Code).  Therefore, records from the 1950 census will be released in April, 2022.

For the most part, Jim found respondents to be familiar with the importance of the census and how the data impacts funding for the community.  Many expressed appreciation for his collection efforts.  For those unclear as to the purpose of his visit, he took the time to provide an explanation.  The duration of each interview was about 10 minutes maximum, which he felt to be sufficient.  While he admits to having the door “slammed in his face” on one occasion, and did encounter some who refused to participate in the census (less than 10%), he does not recall anyone expressing a fear or suspicion of responding.  One person began the interview, but refused to proceed when prompted with census question #4  (phone number request).

The closing date for the 2020 census responses was not without its controversy, and even made its way to the Supreme Court.  In the end, October 15th marked the end of self-response and field data collection operations.  According to the Bureau, paper responses postmarked by October 15th and received at the processing center no later than October 22 would be counted.  Jim stated all addresses in our area were accounted for by the October 15th deadline.

Census records are a key genealogical source for those of us researching family history, and enumerators play a vital role in allowing us to pursue this passion.  We are grateful for their diligence and efforts in taking on this job.

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