Thursday, May 05, 2016

Telling the Story of Mrs. E.G. Stetson on Saturday

Mrs. E.G. Stetson
Have you ever felt passionate about your research? Some researchers admit to "falling in love" with the subjects they research/write about who they've never met and are long dead. For me, I'm endlessly curious. I want to know more about my research subjects, what motivated them, and what their lives were like. I can't stop at names and dates, nor do I want to.

One day I went to an antique store and bought some letters thinking that I would use them for articles on some social history topic. But then I read those letters.

Join me this Saturday (May 7th) for my FREE webinar presentation for the Southern California Genealogical Society titled: Once Upon a Time at an Antique Store: Telling the Story of Mrs. E.G. Stetson.

The description for this webinar is:

Have you ever found photos or old documents at an antique store? The story behind some love letters I found in an antique store led me on a path I would have never imagined. Come learn more about finding and uncovering a story involving mistresses, divorce, art, the 1893 World’s Fair, and accusations of disloyalty to a nation during World War I. Fact is so much more fascinating than fiction.

This webinar is free but you must pre-register. For more information see the Southern California Genealogical Society blog.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Learn How To Find Your California Ancestors

I'm very excited to announce my latest webinars available from Legacy Family Tree. I'm proud to partner with Legacy to make available this series on researching in California. Legacy has a great library of webinars and really is a wonderful addition to your education plan. See the announcement below. 


Got ancestors in The Golden State? We'll help you find them! Announcing the first two classes in our California Research series:
We're working hard to give our webinar subscribers the educational classes they need to maximize their genealogical research! Both of these new classes are bonus webinars in the webinar library. The webinar previews are always free.

Researching in California - Libraries, Archives and Online
Have California ancestors? Where do you start looking? Trying to figure out what is available can be intimidating and time consuming. In this webinar we look at what you need to know to start your California research. We’ll explore repositories for research starting with archives, libraries, and museums and then cover genealogical and historical societies. We will continue our discussion by looking at what California collections are online. Knowing what is available will help you better understand where to look for that must-have record.



To Live and Die in California: Researching Vital Records
Birth, marriage, death, and a final resting place. These are all important events in documenting our ancestor’s life. California officially started recording BMD events in 1905 but what counties started the process earlier? What alternative sources exist for vital records when a government issued certificate is not available? Once you have documented the death of an ancestor, where do you find their final resting place? We will explore vital record recording in California and alternatives prior to official state recording. We will also explore other places to find information about your ancestor’s BMD event. Finally we will look at what types of cemeteries exist in California and where to find burial information.


 Not a member yet?

Legacy Family Tree Webinars provides genealogy education where-you-are through live and recorded online webinars and videos. Learn from the best instructors in genealogy including Thomas MacEntee, Judy Russell, J. Mark Lowe, Lisa Louise Cooke, Megan Smolenyak, Tom Jones, and many more. Learn at your convenience. On-demand classes are available 24 hours a day! All you need is a computer or mobile device with an Internet connection.
Subscribe today and get access to this BONUS members-only webinar AND all of this:
  • All 344 classes in the library (494 hours of quality genealogy education)
  • 1,476 pages of instructors' handouts
  • Chat logs from the live webinars
  • Additional 5% off anything at
  • Chance for a bonus subscribers-only door prize during each live webinar
  • Additional members-only webinars
It's just $49.95/year or $9.95/month.


Look at our lineup of speakers for 2016! All live webinars are free to watch.


Friday, April 15, 2016

Remembering the Women of Titanic

All photos from Flickr the Commons. Madeleine Astor and Charlotte Collyer from Library of Congress. Titanic picture from State Library of Queensland

Interested in the history of the RMS Titanic? Today’s  the 104th anniversary of the Titanic disaster so it’s appropriate to honor those on board by researching their lives.

So what resources could we use to research the women of Titanic? Resources to consider include newspapers, books, manuscript collections, cemeteries, government inquirers, coroner’s records, images, interviews, and specific Titanic websites. For today’s tip let’s concentrate on newspapers and books.

Newspapers almost immediately proclaimed the disaster but like any kind of breaking news, the facts were not entirely correct. Newspapers published on Monday, April 15, 1912 reported optimistically that all the passengers had been transferred to the ship, Carpathia. This factual error is a good reminder that whenever you are reading newspaper accounts of anything, searching the days after the event can be beneficial. Days after an event, updated figures and facts may appear and eye witness accounts may help clarify the story.

Disasters result in a large paper trail. Even in the case of the Titanic where focus was placed on the wealthy who were aboard, the stories of other passengers and even crew were eventually told. Second class passengers told their dramatic survival stories to newspaper which could garner them a full page.

It’s also important to research the days before the voyage as well as the months after. Even though it would be easiest to conduct a search on just the days after the sinking there were inquiries and other newspaper articles months and years later.

Where do you find newspapers? Digitized newspaper websites include GenealogyBank, , and Chronicling America. Many states also have digitized newspaper websites. In some cases you may need to seek out microfilmed newspapers from a local library. I recommend using website finding aids like The Ancestor Hunt and Online Historical Newspapers to find newspapers for the places you are interested in.

Obviously, Titanic is a widely written about topic. A search on library catalog website WorldCat reveals over 30,000 book titles. Books have been published continuously since the sinking. Books focusing on the women of Titanic include    Women of the Titanic Disaster by Mrs. A. F.  Caldwell (1912); Titanic. Women and Children First by Judith B. Geller (1998); Titanic Survivor: The Newly Discovered Memoirs of  Violet Jessop who Survived the Titanic and Britannica Disasters. Introduced, Edited and Annotated by John Maxtone-Graham (1997).

To find books, check Worldcat and digitized book websites like Google Books,  Internet Archive,  and HathiTrust.

Anytime you are researching a disaster, think about the different types of documents that would be left behind including those created by the government, historians, and even the survivors themselves. Many more resources could be used to research the women of Titanic than just newspapers and books but these two resources provide a glimpse at  what is available when researching an ancestor who lived through or perished during a disaster.