Viewing Family Names for First Time

SGS member Mary Gill’s interest in family research has spanned more than 40 years.  She recalls the ‘early years’ when she and her husband spent evenings after a dinner out, with a stop at the Morman Church library or genealogy society to research their respective families.  Today, a cabinet in her home displays a total of 14 comprehensive binders of their research. Their children and grandchildren also possess a keen interest in their family history records.

Recently, Mary was surprised to learn her neighbor Cassandra knew very little of her father other than his name on her birth certificate. Having grown up in Shreveport Louisiana, she knew the maiden names of her mother and grandmother, but little else. When she was 6 years old, her grandmother died, then at 19 her mother died. Despite this limited amount of information, Mary began her research utilizing and Family Tree to discovery Cassandra’s heritage.  Census records were particularly helpful with identifying race for family members. With determination, Mary traced Cassandra’s lineage back to the 1830’s, discovering her great-great-great-great-grandparents and used Family Tree to create a pedigree chart.

Cassandra was overcome with emotion when viewing the chart with names of family members she was seeing for the first time.

Stay tuned as we follow Mary’s path into her continuing research to reveal more of Cassandra’s family history.

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FamilySearch Digitizes Billions of Church Records

FamilySearch reports completing a project which digitized more than 2.4 million rolls of family history records onto microfilm.  The records include 11.5 billion people from over 200 countries.  Though the indexing and publishing of all of the digital images is on-going, the records and a “large percentage” of the images are accessible within the FamilySearch archive.  Read the full article HERE.

My Heritage Used to Locate Family of Rescued Sisters

CNN recently featured an incredible story written by a great-granddaughter describing her great-grandfather‘s courageous rescue of 2 sisters from the Nazis in Poland.  He safely hid them in his home for 2 years. After learning of the story, the great-granddaughter used My Heritage to connect with the granddaughter of the rescued women. View the remarkable story HERE.

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A Discarded Box Becomes a Rescued Treasure

Discarded with the day’s trash and placed at the curb was a wooden box containing old photographs and letters. By chance, passer-by and Pioneer Museum volunteer Annie Schmidt recognized the items might perhaps be of special value to someone, and inquired about the box. Receiving permission, the box was taken to the museum where volunteers quickly realized some photos appeared to date as far back as 1880. SGS member and museum volunteers Pat Rongey and Sharon Waite began doing research in hopes of contacting a family member who would welcome the items. After a full day of inspecting the numerous pictures and documents, several names and birth dates were revealed. With that information and utilizing her research experience, Pat located a family tree on Emails were sent to several family members, but it seemed no one had an interest in the photos or letters.

Two weeks passed and with their hopes dwindling, an email arrived from an excited Laura in California who was elated to learn of the box and yes, anxious to take possession of its contents. By week’s end, she received the items. Recognizing family members in the photos, she concluded the items were probably from her grandmother’s sister’s family, then passed down to a family member. Laura reported she “spent hours going through” the items . . . “good stuff I can share”.


Congratulations to Pioneer Museum volunteers for their efforts in returning the family items home.

A treasure comes in many forms – recognizing it, is what makes it a gift.

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SGS Meeting Thursday, Sept. 23, at 3 p.m.

Adoptions and Illegitimacies: Using DNA to Solve the Adoption Mystery

The meeting will feature a webinar which could very well help solve a family mystery! Adoptees are increasingly turning to DNA in the search for their biological families and many of us have encountered an adoption or perhaps illegitimacy in our family trees. Using real-life examples, the presentation will explore how different DNA tests can help resolve adoption mysteries through several generations. Topics, tools and tips to increase the chances of a successful search outcome will be discussed. Join us for an enlightening look at a possible clue to your family research. The public is invited. Webinar followed by SGS member meeting.

Siuslaw Genealogical Society Monthly Meeting

Thursday, September 23, 2021

3:00 P.M.

The Mustard Seed
509 Kingwood Street

Please follow appropriate covid mask protocols.

A video of last month’s meeting (33 minutes) presentation by Rick Norwood can be viewed HERE.

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SGS Meeting July 15, and Other News


Why Are We All So Obsessed with Genealogy?

A recent post on the Literary Hub website used that title for Libby Copeland’s book The Lost Family. While the phrase ‘obsessed’ may be a bit strong, the author looks at “lineage consciousness” with both a historical and modern perspective. She claims the availability of home DNA test results has played a significant role in changing our lives. The article is well worth the read, whether you agree to being obsessed or not.  Read an excerpt from the book HERE.

Occupations from the Past

Dick Eastman’s recent genealogy newsletter includes an interesting (and mostly humorous) link to The ABCs of Old Time Occupations (by Jenny Ashcraft), a post from Fishwrap, ‘the official blog of Newspapers’. The list of ancestral jobs includes:

Hokey-Pokey man (sold ice cream from a push cart, 1800-1900’s), Knocker-Upper (tapped on windows to wake up morning workers in British mill towns), and Uptwister (textile yarn worker). More occupations are described HERE.

Ink Cartridge Recycle Update

Since its inception, SGS has received $1,267.06 from the collection and recycling of ink cartridges. Thank you Pat Rongey for your continued efforts and initiative!

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Remembering the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR)

SGS member Sally Daugherty shares a Memorial Day tribute to her great grandfather, Charles L. Robinson, Sr. (1845 – 1943).

For once our official Memorial Day is on the 31st, like the original day of celebration back in my great grandfather’s day. He (Charles L Robinson, Sr.) was a leader in the GAR (Grand Army of the Republic, our first national vet organization) and the last surviving member of his”Post” as the local groups were called. It was named The U S Grant GAR post 004 of Melrose, MA. When he died it ceased to exist, as every GAR post eventually did. So that great groundbreaking veterans organization ceased to exist in my lifetime. But their good works live on today, in Oregon: veterans pensions, housing, homes for aging vets and their wives, counseling  services and most of all that first national holiday to honor veterans, the memory and sacrifice, with a day of remembrance. 

When the first Memorial Day celebrations began there were no national US veterans cemeteries. So the dead were buried in each hometown cemetery. The purpose of Memorial Day was to locate and at least visit every civil war grave, clear away the weeds and lay a memorial wreath showing gratitude for their sacrifice. In Melrose there was also a big parade, speeches and of course, visits to each veteran grave. Wreaths were made in advance by school children in order to learn the history and about patriotism. 

My GGR Robinson was the leader of at least one parade during the 1930’s. He was followed in turn by visiting GAR members, their wives plus widows, and then organizations of the sons, daughters of Civil War vets. Then came the vets of other wars, the American Legion, etc. It was an important community event. (I have copies of the newspaper clippings, saved during the depression by the WPA) in my files if you would like a copy

After WWII was declared, civil defense restrictions put a damper on time spent absent from work and public displays. And after my GGR passed on (1943) there was no longer a local GAR post to organize such things. Younger folks carried on the tradition in Melrose but it evolved as a matter of course.

Nationally the WWI Vets secured a separate day of remembrance, Nov 11, and in recent years steadfastly refused to give it up. Not so for the Memorial Day of May 31st, our first national day of remembrance. Soon overshadowed by generations of younger vets, it has been converted to just another floating Monday holiday; time enough for a short road trip or a spendy shopping spree. Who remembers the civil war dead anyway? Well, this year we might be in for a change. Lessons long overdue as the recent Jan 6th insurrection warns us. Could a civil war happen again?”

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1950 Census Preview

Genealogy Gems presents a Preview of the 1950 Census on the questions as well as differences from previous census years. The actual 1950 census responses will not be released until April, 2022 (to be followed by the digital version). This video by Lisa Louise Cooke provides a glimpse into what we can expect. View the 18 minute preview HERE.

What questions were asked?

A total of just 20 questions were asked, as compared to the 1940 census of 34. Look for new codes for the marriage question (Mar, Wid, Sep, D, Nev), and new employment questions.

The Agricultural Census. More information may be available to you should you be researching someone who lived on a farm. The 1950 population Census will include a reference number which can be used to locate a person in the agricultural questionnaire.

Additionally, like the 1940 Census, 5% of the population were asked supplemental questions. (i.e. if a female never married, how many children has ever been born not including stillborn). Stay tuned.

Merilee Mulvey shares a link to an incredible story of Civil War drawings (soldier’s sketches) discovered beneath  layers of wall covering. It was only when the home went through historic preservation, was the century old graffiti revealed. View the remarkable story HERE.

Jacquie Beveridge shares a link to Gray Eagles, a wonderful documentary (28 minutes)of a WWII pilot who is miraculously reunited with his P-51 Mustang war plane after 60 years.  He re-lives his war-time stories for the first time with his grandchildren.

Merilee Mulvey discovered a great article called The Postcard That Came Home After 60 Years. As the title implies, the story tells the journey of a woman who stumbles upon a thrift store find of a 1942 postcard and her determination to research and locate the soldier who wrote it. Read the story HERE.

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