Whittier Area Genealogical Society
Whittier Area Genealogical Society

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October 28, 2018 By: Christine Cohen
November 2018
WAGS had the pleasure to welcome for the first time, Bill Cole M.A., a passionate genealogist who has vigorously pursued his family history since 1980. He delighted our members with his basic elements of a good family history story. His grandfather, with whom he shared a birthday, provided the impetus for his love of story. He suggests recording conversations with older relative now, don’t delay.
We need to learn to expand the rich elements of our ancestor’s lives with historical detail. This will generate an interesting story to engage your readers. Find and study county histories; thousands were published in 1876 as part of United States Centennial celebrations. A good source is https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/United_States_History.  Learn about why your ancestor settled in a particular place such as a booming textile industry, working the mineral mines, the opportunity to obtain land, or a new railroad stop providing income as a town merchant.   Think about subscribing to https://historylines.com/  to import a GEDCOM and obtain a time line of historical events of every ancestor on your tree.
Since we live in California, we don’t often get to visit our ancestor’s residences in other US States or countries.  To get a visual on the scenery of where they lived, download for free https://www.google.com/earth/  and type in an address. It was so fascinating to walk the streets of the tiny town of Waterford, Erie, PA, current population 1,517, where on January 27th, 1850 my ancestors Samuel B. Owen and Priscilla Lunger were married. I looked up the weather for that day in the Erie County newspaper where it was reported to be “very cold and disagreeable”.  These are interesting details to add texture to your story.
In the afternoon, we also welcomed for the first time Diane Henriks. She gave WAGS members details on publishing your family history once you have written it. You need to first choose a subject or a focus such as family recipes, rags to riches stories, memoirs, or immigration tales to America. 
She suggested the website https://www.lulu.com/ as the easiest, most user friendly, and one with a variety of pricing options. Keep in mind a budget since you want many family members to purchase your printed book. Even consider giving it as a gift to relatives.  Color and hard back will cost more that black and white and soft cover. Creating an e-book is a good choice for younger relations who relish the digital version.
Consider placing the table of contents or index in the front of the book for easier searching.  Also consider placing the page number of any details of the ancestor’s lives under any pictures. Remember to have lots of white space to make your words and pictures stand out.
She reminded us of legal guidelines such as professional photographs are copyrighted for 75 years. To use those you would need written consent of the photographer. Most magazines and newspapers are not copyrighted as a whole but Federal Government documents are copyright protected. Do you have your grandmother’s diary? If you want to publish it in your family history book, note that it is copyrighted through the life of the author plus 50 years.  Perhaps think about donating the book to a local library or genealogical society.
Christine Cohen
WAGS President

July 22, 2018 By: Christine Cohen
August 2018
WAGS July Show & Tell meeting was filled with family stories and ice cream sundaes. Show & Tell had five WAGS members present a wonderful variety of tales of their research and heirlooms.
We started with Rick Frohling sharing a fun genealogy cartoon at http://geneapalooza.blogspot.com/ to get a laugh about our obsession with finding another generation back in time. We then learned about finding Rick’s Murphy line. He thought his ancestors were Irish and immigrated during the potato famine based on family lore. In 2002, he took a road trip with Uncle Jim Murphy to Illinois to investigate this brick wall line.  He broke it down when he learned these Murphy relatives were Scottish and immigrated after the potato famine, which is much easier to find than Irish Murphy ancestors. If you want to learn more about surnames, try https://www.mynamestats.com/   . Two grave stones photos and vital records of Scotland helped him find the town in Scotland where they lived. He located interesting and informative obituaries in Iowa newspapers on https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/
Darlene Campbell reminded all of us to reach out to family members, NOW. Don’t wait until it is too late, as she learned with the recent loss of four first cousins.  The internet provides us with a wonderful resource to locate and stay in touch with family members of all ages.  So perhaps think about researching forward in time and find living descendants of cousins.  You never know what stories, photos, information or experiences they have to share.  Perhaps the “Black Sheep” of the family wants to reconnect with relatives. Take the time to make phone calls, write letters, send emails or even create a cousin only www.Facebook.com group.
Kristina Newcomer and Donna Morton displayed miniature sewing machines. The “Little Comfort”, version made by Smith and Egge was made of cast iron and still works. They originally sold for $ 2.00 and now are valued for $ 850 - $1000. Kristina used it to sew clothes for her dolls as a child. Donna presented a Casige sewing machine that had a carrying case and accessories. They produced these for over 70 years.  If you want to learn more about these cute turn of the century items check out http://www.sewalot.com/sewalot_index.htm .
We learned about http://www.blurb.com/ from Roger Mount.  He has published memories that he began way back in 1994. He and his wife then attended the WAGS writer’s group and that inspired him to get his stories on paper to share with his family. The class used the topic of “Turning points of life” as a basis for stories.  He utilized this self-publishing website to create a 72 page 6 x 9 hard back book on acid free glossy paper. This title of the book is “My life, it’s not just about me, it’s also about you”. You can also create an e-book to share with your younger family members. If you need help getting started attend the WAGS Life Story Writing Group.  Meetings are held every 2nd & 4th Wednesday of the month at the Uptown Whittier Senior Center on Walnut from 1:00 – 3:00 pm.
Have you wanted to join a lineage society? In 2016, I completed the verifiable documentation to join the https://www.hollanddames.org/.  To join, a woman must be lineally descended from a person, male or female, who was born, prior to the Treaty of Westminster, 1674, either in the Netherlands or in New Netherland of Dutch parentage. I shared the documents of my 14 page 11 generation application that took me 6 months of intensive research to complete.  I would be happy to assist any WAGS member in completing the documentation to join a society!
Christine Cohen
WAGS President

December 21, 2017 By: Christine Cohen
January 2018
WAGS had a wonderful Pot Luck and Show & Tell at our December 2017 meeting. Members brought delicious salads and desserts, plus there were yummy meatballs for all! Then, we had interesting and varied presentations by five WAGS members.
Bonnie Morris was very excited about receiving a February 2017 magazine, some of which was in Swedish, about customizing cars entitled “Gasoline”. It contained stories of the lives of her still living relatives Forey (age 104) and Glen (age 100) Wall who owned a car lot on Firestone Blvd. in South Gate. The magazine had many photos of the cars that they have customized.  If you like custom cars, as well as genealogy, check out http://gasolinemagazine.se/
LeRae Phillips gave us a lesson in DNA research as she “thinks” she has located her birth father. She used DNA tests and the website https://www.gedmatch.com/ to triangulate a likely match. She then used genealogy research to go back in time to locate a likely grandfather and then go forward in time to find living descendants. She has located a likely half-sister and is just waiting for the DNA tests to confirm her conclusions. Her persistence has hopefully paid off after many years of searching. If you have questions about DNA testing, perhaps ask LeRae since she has immersed herself in this great genealogy resource that we all should be using.
I showed WAGS members a letter sent to my Grandfather Rufus Cline in South Dakota from Freeman Loomis of New York City, NY in 1917. Mr. Loomis appears to have been an avid genealogist who provided two pedigree charts of my Bloodgood and Freeman ancestors. This gave me a great head start in my genealogy research when I began in 1977, after watching Alex Haley’s miniseries “Roots” on television.  All of his research has proven to be accurate. These were both prolific families who had many descendants in New York and New Jersey. I used his research to help me obtain acceptance in the Society of Daughters of Holland Dames http://www.hollanddames.org/ in 2015,  as a descendant of Frans Bloodgood, a resident of New Netherlands prior to 1674.
Tracy Winkler used the resources on the genealogy website https://www.myheritage.com to find information about Edward Tracy Bemis and his wife Nina Baer who had married in 1908. She located, to her great surprise, based on a newspaper story that Nina was divorced and Edward was her 2nd husband. “The Billings Gazette” in 1907 had a story that “Mrs. Halpin wants to be Free and Says so, that’s All”. She had married Thomas Halpin in 1906 and wanted a divorce by 1907.
Our last presentation was by Roger Mount about publishing his memoirs, which he wrote in 1984. He plans to use www.Blurb.com . If you are ready to publish your memoirs and photos in book form consider using this website.  He said it is easy to download the software and then choose a size, paper quality and cover type.  They have plenty of choices for pricing for any budget.  WAGS is looking forward to seeing the finished product at the next “Show & Tell”.
Christine Cohen
WAGS President