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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Naming Traditions, Verify with GPS

In keeping with this month’s meeting presentation featuring a video on breaking down brick walls, the following links provide helpful methods to utilize in your family research.

Naming Traditions

SGS member Merilee Mulvey shares a recent FamilyTree Magazine article on Naming Traditions Across Multiple Cultures. Author David Fryxell acknowledges that at one time family names were passed down from one generation to the next. He suggests “you often can use these patterns to make educated guesses about the brick walls in your past.”

Verify, Verify, Verify with GPS

It can sometimes seem as if we’re consumed with verifying that the information in our family research is indeed factual. Janet Maydem has written an article posted on the Family History Daily site warning that if diligence in doing so is neglected, it can result in “a family tree packed with inaccuracies and ancestors that aren’t even our own”. Her article provides a concise guide in the use of the Genealogical Proof Standard to ‘ensure your tree is as solid as possible’.  Well worth the read. View it HERE.

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SGS Dec 15 Meeting; From Numbers to Names

Siuslaw Genealogical Society Meeting

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Siuslaw Public Library, Bromley Room at 3 p.m.
(Public Invited)

Breaking Down Brick Walls

Genealogy Brick walb

This month’s meeting will feature a video on breaking down brick walls. Join us to discover possible tips and finally resolve a problem or two in your family research.

From Numbers to Names

Discover the incredible research website From Numbers to Names which provides free searchable links to collections of Holocaust photos. More than a photo gallery, this site uses artificial intelligence with the help of engineers, data scientists, researchers and others involved in a project to provide anyone with the opportunity to identify Holocaust faces in photos from the late 1800s to the post-war era. The photos are comprised from museum collections such as the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and other online sources. According to Daniel Patt, who established the site in April 2021, “anyone can upload a photo of a holocaust victim or survivor and it will compare the photo to its archives.” Visitors to the site will be surprised to discover this free, quick scan of 34,000 photos in the archives can be done in approximately five seconds.

Also, the Center for Jewish History is offering free DNA kits to survivors of the Holocaust through its DNA Reunion project. Learn more HERE.

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Determining Relationships; Adding Names To Tree

The November 17th SGS meeting features The History of Photography, a video on estimating the age of a photograph through clothing styles. Join us!

Siuslaw Genealogical Society Meeting
Thursday, November 17, 2022
3:00 P.M.
Siuslaw Public Library
Bromley Room

Family Tree recently published an article titled “How to Determine Relationships with Shared DNA Matches“. While testing companies provide an estimate of your relationship to a match based on the amount of DNA shared, the article displays a chart showing a numeric range of the shared centimorgans which may clarify and help you better understand the relationship. While a perplexing topic, seeing the range numbers next to the associated relationship may offer the explanation you’ve been trying to work through.

Patricia Hartley of the Family History Daily reminds us to scrutinize a name before including it in our family tree. In her article, Why You Need to Stop Adding Names to Your Family Tree, she recommends being certain to “really understand and grow at least a decent proportion of these relatives so that you gain a clearer view of your family’s past and avoid making unfortunate mistakes that can get you off track”. Certainly we’ve all experienced spending more research time than we care to admit, on names that in the end, were non-family members. Her short article is well worth the read.

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SGS October 20 Meeting

This month, SGS member and professional genealogist Cindy Webb will be the featured speaker on the topic: When Records Come Alive. She will be discussing types of death records, the information they contain, and sources to obtain them. Join us at 3 p.m. in the Bromley Room for the opportunity to gather new information on such valuable resources to your research.

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