Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Ancestry Dots, ThruLines, and an Organized Plan by Kelli Bergheimer, MSM Wednesday, February 15 – 6 PM PST

  In the past, our organization has helped with the promotion of webinars that the SCGS' Genealogy Group puts on for the general public. Even though we are a Hispanic genealogy group, we promote the education and knowledge that one may obtain from these presentations. Who knows if your ancestors may have some connection to these areas. Since they are free online via their GoToMeeting, we are letting our members know that these courses are available to you if you sign in and register in advance by hitting here.

Webinars offer Jamboree-style seminars for up to 500 attendees per session, at no charge.  While the original webcasts are available to all genealogists, SCGS members will be able to review archived sessions at any time by accessing the SCGS members-only section of this website. Archived sessions will be available approximately three days following the webinar. To view the webinar, you will need a computer with audio speakers or a headset. Those persons with a fast Internet connection (either broadband or DSL) will have the most satisfactory experience. 

Friday, February 3, 2023

Lunch & Learn Saturday, Feb 11, 2023 1:00pm PDT

  In the past, our organization has helped with the promotion of webinars that the SCGS' Genealogy Lunch and Learn puts on for the general public. Even though we are a Hispanic genealogy group, we promote the education and knowledge that one may obtain from these presentations. Who knows if your ancestors may have some connection to these areas. Since they our free online via GoToMeeting, we are letting our members know that these courses are available to you if you register in advance.  

To register for February 11, click on the link below: 

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Thursday, February 2, 2023

 Are you looking for Social Security Applications (SS-5 forms), Death Records, or Claim Records? They are available for free online via a NARA database, There are over 150 million records that can be searched online for free! We are not affiliated or promote. We just present what is online.

Check out the details by hitting here

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Creating a Family History of Lasting Value Free zoom presentation Tuesday, February 7, 2023 6:00pm

 To registered for the event, hit here

Most genealogists want to prepare family histories that future generations will cherish. Not all succeed. We begin to create worthwhile and accurate family histories by collecting and sharing family stories and DNA test results—information that might soon disappear. Our research progresses from that starting point toward the goal of a printed, computerized, or online family history. If we pay attention to four factors—biography, accuracy, documentation, and explanation—our history will be irreplaceable.

The speaker, Thomas Jones, has been pursuing his ancestry since 1963. For the first twenty-five years he was clueless about what he was trying to accomplish and how to do it. When he started climbing the genealogy learning curve he repeatedly experienced the challenges, joys, and rewards of tracing ancestors reliably and of fully understanding their lives. Tom eventually became an award-winning writer, board-certified genealogist, editor of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, recipient of honors from genealogical organizations, and author of the popular textbooks Mastering Genealogical Documentation and Mastering Genealogical Proof. Using his nearly lifelong education career as a springboard, he enjoys teaching at weeklong genealogy institutes, weekend seminars, and local, national, and international genealogy conferences.

Friday, January 27, 2023

RootsTech Keynote Speakers and Conference information • MARCH 2–4 2023 In Person and Online (free) COnference

For more information on the conference, please hit here

Rootstech is delighted to announce their Virtual Exclusive Keynote speakers that will be joining them in March!

Tuti Furlán is a psychologist, specializing in positive psychology and the science of happiness. She is a writer, international speaker, actress, and business owner. With her 20+ year career, she is considered to be one of the most influential and recognized public figures in Guatemala.

H. H. Sheikh Salem bin Sultan bin Saqr Al-Qasimi is from Ras al Khaimah.

H. H. has been a major contributor to achieving sustainability and food security in the UAE and was awarded the Medal of Excellence for being an important figure in sustainable investment. He received the Inspirational Leader Award of 2021, the Social Development Leadership Medal, and the Leadership/ Responsibility/ Innovation International Certificate as one of the best social leaders in the world. H. H. also has a great love for bees and the importance of beekeeping. He is a global ambassador in the project to save bees from extinction.

Intro to Genealogy Free Zoom presentation Thursday, February 2, 2023 4pm PST (7pm EST)

In the genealogy world online there are free presentation to enter and gather information. Our organization likes to helped our members with the promotion of these free webinars for the general public. Even though we are a Hispanic genealogy group, we promote the education and knowledge that one may obtain from these presentations. Who knows  what information you can glean from these presentation. Since they our free online via Zoom, we are letting our members know that these courses are available to you. 

 Brewer, Maine City Councilor Michele Daniels will showcase some Brewer Public Library resources and give participants an introduction to Genealogy.

Attend this program on Zoom by visiting https://networkmaine.zoom.us/j/86388696587 on February 2nd at 4:00 pm PST. (7pm EST)

Thursday, January 26, 2023

5 Strategies for Deciphering Old Handwriting on Documents

 To read the article in full, hit here Written by Danny Arsenault for Familytree Magazine

The state archives finally got back to you. At last, the copies are in your hands. Or maybe you were rifling around in the attic and uncovered a box of letters nobody knew about. It’s the document that could blast through that fortresslike brick wall you’ve been banging your head against. You’d feel like you just won the genealogical lottery, except for one minor detail: You can’t read a word of it.

Fortunately, it’s possible to decipher old, illegible and oddly spelled documents. By employing a few tools, a little knowledge and these five tricks, you can read almost any document.

1. Make a Photocopy

The first thing you’ll need to do is get cozy with modern technology. Don’t try to decipher the handwriting directly from the original document, especially if you’re looking at it in an archive or courthouse. You’ll need to take plenty of time to examine the writing, so make photocopies, take digital pictures or — best of all — scan the document. If you’re viewing a microfilmed record, make a printout.

Even if you’re the owner of the original record, it’s a good idea to work from a copy. First, you can avoid repeatedly handling and possibly damaging the document. Second, it’s a lot easier to read photocopies, since the black letters stand out better against a white background than against the tan shade of old paper. Plus, you can write on photocopies — as you’ll see, making notes on the document is an essential part of the decoding process.

Best of all, photocopying and scanning give you “zoomability,” an essential for some deciphering jobs. A copy enlarged to 1,000 percent lets you inspect pen strokes closely enough to see where they overlap and change directions, giving you a better idea of the letters the writer intended to form.

If you’re looking at a scan on your computer, you can get ridiculously close — enough to tell if the quill pen tip had a tiny split. Years ago, I made a full-page photocopy of a single word in a letter from famous ringmaster P.T. Barnum, who was infamous for his horrible penmanship. I hung the copy at my desk and stared at it every once in a while. Eventually, the word revealed itself: Jumbo, Barnum’s famous elephant.

Not only can you use a photocopier to enlarge a document, but you also can play with the density controls to enhance the contrast and make the writing stand out more.

Photocopy a document on several settings, since different ones might work best for different parts of the document. You can get even more sophisticated if you scan your document, take a digital photo of it or download it from the Internet: Use a photo-editing program, such as Photoshop Elements, to adjust the contrast, brightness and color levels (look under Enhance > Adjust Lighting in Photoshop Elements).

Experiment to see which adjustments help the most — just be sure to work on a copy of the image so you don’t have to scan it again if you mess up.

2. Study Spelling and Abbreviation

Your ancestors’ unusual ways with words easily can trip you up. Spelling wasn’t standardized until relatively recently, and people often wrote words the way they sounded. The further back you go, the more phonetic spelling you’ll find.

To make matters worse for genealogists, if s quite common to see different spellings of someone’s name. Regional accents, limited education and simple errors all can produce dramatic spelling variations. If your ancestor spoke his name to a town clerk who wrote it down, letters such as c and k may have sounded alike, or the clerk may have omitted silent letters such as the k in Knight, or the c in Schmidt.

Some people even spelled their own names differently from one day to the next. So make a list of the potential mutations you might encounter. In my own case, I’ve come across Arsenault, Areseneault, Arseneau, Arsenaux, Arseneaux, Arsenalt, Arsenaul, Arsenaulte, Arsenauld, Arsenaud, Arceneaux and, if you include junk mail addressed to me, Arsenabavlt, Arsenaut and Earsneal.

Our ancestors not only spelled names and words in various ways, but they abbreviated liberally. Sometimes you’ll see just the first letter or two of a name, with a small last letter tacked on at the end. Or maybe the writer used lines or dots instead of groups of letters. See this page for a list of common abbreviations and short forms of names. See also our guides to male and female nicknames.

Lots of other abbreviations crop up in genealogical documents, too. With each kind of document, each era, and each geographical area, you’ll have to become familiar with a new batch of abbreviations. In British documents, for example, Lo means Lord, M means Majesty, and so on. You’ll find more of these in The Record Interpreter: A Collection of Abbreviations, Latin Words and Names Used in Historical Manuscripts and Records by C. Trice Martin (Phillimore & Co.).

3. Familiarize Yourself with Letters

When you read an old document, you’ll find yourself wrestling with the unfamiliar ways people formed letters way back when. Even these variations have variations: Handwriting experts make the distinction between class characteristics and individual characteristics. Everyone who learned, say, the Palmer Method, a common writing style in the early 1900s or the Elizabethan Secretary Hand, used during the 1500s and 1600s, shows certain class characteristics in his or her letter formation. But within this pool of pen wielders, each person exhibits his own variations, called individual characteristics.

First, as you research back in time, you’ll need to become familiar with the class characteristics of each era you work in. See English Handwriting Online for information on when various styles were common. For example, in documents from the 1700s and 1800s, an s may resemble a lower case, cursive f (in a double s, the second s may be written normally — Jesse looks like Jefse). The lowercase as, os and us often appear similar; as do the uppercase S, L and T. In very old texts, you may see an e that looks backward or a thorn — a character resembling a y, it represents th. A ye means “the.”

Say you’re looking at a handwritten document, and you’ve uncovered all the class characteristics you can. Now you’ll ferret out the writer’s individual characteristics. Look for familiar words first — names of months and days, the and and,and archaic phrases such as “Know all men by these presents …” (“Let all know …”), which is used in early American legal documents. By carefully examining these, you can identify idiosyncratic formations of specific letters.

For example, most writers have a characteristic way of forming the th letter combination. Once you find it in a familiar word, such as the, you can skim the document and pencil in a th wherever it occurs in a word you don’t know. Then move on, looking for another letter or letter combination you can positively ID. As you work with your document this way and become more familiar with the particularities of the handwriting, you’ll find reading it gets easier. Try the example on the opposite page to see how this works.

4. Create an Alphabet Key

For an especially difficult document, you may need to bring in the big guns and make an alphabet. Forensic examiners frequently use this technique. Simply make a key like the one at right by cutting and pasting (digitally using photo-editing software, or on paper with a photocopier) examples of identified letters. Add examples of every letter you know with a reasonable degree of certainty.

When you’re faced with a difficult word, compare each letter to those on your key. Write down all of the possible letters of the word in a sort of matrix, such as the one below. According to this matrix, the first letter of this name could be an M or a U, we’re sure the next one’s an a, the two after that could be ts or ls, there’s definitely an h after that, and so on. Then you can scan the possibilities and make educated guesses of the right words. When you’re confident you know the word, write it on your photocopy of the document and type it in a separate transcription.

To read more of the article, hit here