Photo Research Tools to Discover

Ancestry.com’s New Photo Feature

SGS member Debby Wright shares a link to viewAncestry.com’s new photo feature. The feature allows you to scan, crop and import images directly into your Ancestry media gallery account using a smartphone. Scan multiple images, as well.  Available on IOS and Android devices. Check out the video for more details.

Determine Age of a Photo

Member Pat Rongey recently discovered Lisa Lisson’s (lisalisson.com) article from the Are You My Cousin? website which provides a step by step method to help you narrow down a possible date for old photographs from the 1800’s to early 1900’s. The article walks you through clues from hair style, type of photograph (tintype, ambrotype, etc.), fashion and more. Ms. Lisson is a passionate genealogist eager to share her knowledge and experience.

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SGS Meeting Thursday, 5/19 Bromley Room

This month’s program will feature an American Ancestors (NEHGS) webinar titled Out to sea: Researching Mariner Ancestors in New England by genealogist Susan Donnelly. The webinar will focus on colonial times through the twentieth century. This was a time when ocean navigation was the only method of intercontinental travel and played a significant historical role for anyone researching ancestors who migrated by boat. Learn about the importance of New England settlement, port towns, sources of industry, and a chance to discover more about records and repositories.

SGS Meeting
May 19, 2022
3:00 p.m.
Siuslaw Public Library, Bromley Room
Public is invited!

The video will be followed by a short break, then a member meeting.

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1950 Census Release Anticipation

With the release of the 1950 Census on April 1, Robert Santos, U.S. Census Bureau Director and the National Archives and Records Administration will host a virtual event that same morning at 7 am PST. Join the April 1 event HERE.

In preparation, a pre-recorded webinar providing an overview of the Census Records – what to expect, 1950 statistics, historical context and more can be viewed HERE (about 34 minutes).

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Of Genealogical News

The Search Party Hands-On Workshop (TSPM)
March 28 – April 1, 2022

This workshop promises to make your genealogy research more productive, and easier by focusing on an organized and step-by-step approach to your research. Workshop includes five1-hour daily coaching sessions, featuring Crista Cowan (The Barefoot Genealogist), Diahan Southard (YourDNAGuide), and Janet Hovorka (FamilyChartmasters), with a live Q & A. Cost is $20. Recordings of each session will also be available for several days if you miss a session or need a refresher. For complete details and registration information click HERE.

New York City Releases 9.3 Million Vital Records (Free)

The city’s Department of Records & Information Services has launched a new online vital records project allowing visitor access to records of birth (1866-1909), death (1862-1948), and marriage (1866-1949). High-quality copies can be dowloaded and printed from the site at no charge. View the records HERE.

Who’s the Grandest of them All?

The largest family tree (nearly 27 million ancestors) has been created by the University of Oxford’s Big Data Institute. The result is said to model the history that generated all the genetic variations found in humans today. Read the article HERE.

SGS Library Researchers Pat Rongey and Debby Wright will resume genealogy assistance in the library’s Siuslaw Room starting April 2nd. Days are Tuesday (1-3) and Saturday (noon – 2 p.m.).

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A Brother Discovered

While viewing the evening news on television, a California man looked up to see someone being interviewed who not only had a strong resemblance to himself, but also shared the same last name. In all his years, he never knew much about his father, only recognizing his name as the name on his own birth certificate. His daughter also noticed the strong resemblance between her father and the man on tv. She immediately went to her computer to further research the coincidence. It didn’t take long for her to make a connection and discover the brother her father never knew he had.  Read the full story HERE


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A Box of Ashes Becomes a Cold Case

While the death of a son brings heartbreak to a mother, the theft of his ashes makes for a heart twice-broken. Thankfully, this story doesn’t end there, but it took years before its conclusion came to light.

My husband Harry and I moved to Florence in 1995 from Burbank, California.  In November of that same year, my 32-year-old son Jim, passed away in California.

In 2000, Harry and I returned to California for an employment opportunity. Knowing the move would be a temporary one, we placed some of our possessions (crab pots, household items and a box with my son’s ashes) into a locked storage unit adjacent to my dad’s carport on Woahink Drive in Dunes City. In time, my dad came to live with us in California and his Woahink home was placed with a property management company as a rental. Sadly, dad passed away in 2002.

Harry and I retired in 2005 and permanently moved back to Florence. We found my father’s house to be in a horrible state – the tenants had been evicted, the copper wiring stripped out, many fixtures were missing from the interior, and the storage unit with my son’s ashes was ransacked and emptied. Needless to say, we were upset, shocked and devastated, but knew there was nothing we could do about it at that point.

A number of years passed when I received a phone call from the Florence Police Department. Sergeant Harry Johnson inquired as to whether I knew someone named Pinto. I replied Pinto had been my name from a prior marriage, and that my deceased son who died in 1995, was named Jim Pinto. The officer then politely informed me that years ago, a box of ashes labelled with my son’s name had been found and turned over to the Police Department. Sergeant Johnson explained the police had made many attempts to locate the family of Jim Pinto, but were unsuccessful. He revealed the box had been stored in the police evidence room for all of those years.

The Sergeant went on to say that in 2014, he contacted Pat Rongey to provide assistance on this case. Pat was training with the Florence Police Citizen’s Academy and was a volunteer at the Police Department, as well as a member of the Siuslaw Genealogical Society for many years. Utilizing her research experience in genealogy, she was able to establish a path to me and has allowed me to reconnect with my son. I am forever grateful to the Florence Police Department and Pat Rongey.”

Sandy Zinn

In 2014 SGS member Pat Rongey was given a slip of paper by Sergeant Johnson. On it was written a name, “California” and a set of numbers. Pat discovered the numbers to be the crematorium’s ID number assigned to the ashes. She began calling California crematoriums and with that ID number, learned the name of the original mortuary. She discovered it had since been closed, and despite further efforts, was unable to locate their records. Using Ancestry and Family Search she was unable to confidently verify an exact identification for the decedent without a birthdate or date of death. Pat reached out to Search Angels and the Troy Dunn organization, which had produced such television programs as The Locator, APB with Troy Dunn and Last Hope with Troy Dunn. From both organizations, she received matching responses of a birth date. With this information, Pat was able to verify the decedent’s family information and conclude her research with confidence. She presented her findings of the name and location of Jim Pinto’s mother, to Sergeant Johnson – all within two days of receiving that slip of paper.

Pat Rongey has been doing genealogy research for most of her adult life and has been a member of the Siuslaw Genealogical Society for over 20 years. In the past 2 ½ years, Pat has helped reconnect 57 adoptees with their biological families.

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Place Name and Boundary Changes; Territorial Records

This month’s SGS meeting presentation will be a pre-recorded webinar, Understanding Boundaries and Jurisdictions. The featured speaker is genealogist Hallie Borstel who will show how to research boundary changes and help us understand jurisdictions using maps, sources and other vital records for family research. Being aware of geographic name changes can greatly affect being able to locate the sources of where your ancestors lived.


The SGS monthly meeting for members will follow the presentation. View meeting agenda HERE.


On a similar topic to next week’s SGS meeting is another free webinar titled ‘It Goes with the Territory! Find your Ancestors in Pre-Statehood Records. This will take place on Tuesday, February 15 at 5 pm, and is sponsored by the Board for Certification of Genealogist and Legacy Family Tree.

The presenter will be Alice Hoyt Veen, a Board-certified genealogist, researcher and educator. She will discuss territorial settlement timelines and strategies for locating and using territorial records. Real case-study examples will be utilized. For those researching pioneer ancestors in pre-statehood territories, their records are an important source to understanding their lives.

Register for the webinar HERE.

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