Monday, February 26, 2018

Webinars: a virtual gold mine

Around this time of year I start looking for webinars that would increase my knowledge about the projects I will be working on during the year.  You know I love webinars because many are free and you don't have to leave home.  (Note: If a link doesn't work for you, try Control Click.)  (Note:  this info is also posted under the Webinars tab at the top of our blog.)

One of my favorites is Legacy Family Tree Webinars  at   Free webinars every Wednesday plus some Tuesdays and Fridays.  You register for the free live webinar and whether you watch it live or not, you will have free access for a week.  They will send you a link if you register.

Click here to see the 2018 and to register:  Click here to register.

While you are there sign up to receive info about webinars added during the year. 

Or, you can become a member. Members pay around $50 a year for access to all the webinars all the time in the archives, access to the syllabus, and other perks.  That is access to over 600 webinars covering all types of genealogical subjects – Basic to advanced including research techniques, US & foreign research, DNA, etc.-- and have access to thousands of pages of handouts.    

Family Search has oodles of free webinars you can access here: 
You will see Upcoming Webinars.  Some have the handouts already available.  Then Past Webinars.  Some Past Webinars just have handouts, no video.

Webinar Series - SCGS is there for you, no matter where you live. Join our twice-monthly webcasts with knowledgeable genealogists to help grow what you know.  The SCGS webinars are free but archived videos are for members only.  They would love to have you join.  has changed from paid videos to FREE.  Check out the calendar tab for a wide variety of webinars.

I don’t know if YouTube qualifies as a webinar, but there are thousands of genealogy videos there.  Family Search,, and Lisa Louise Cooke are among many you could search for.  Or search for a specific topic.

Lastly, if you are looking for something particular, try Cyndi’s List.  Cyndi is a Washington genealogist who categorizes genealogy websites and has hundreds of thousands of links on her site.  For webinars, try this:

Best of all, google “free genealogy webinar” with your topic. 

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Many educational opportunities coming up! Plan now!

Many opportunities coming up.  In no particular order.  Listen up!  Free live streaming from Rootstech, nineteen sessions starting this Wed through Saturday.  March 10 in Burlington, professional genealogist speaks on Irish roadblocks and brick walls.   Seattle March 12, Intro to DNA. Says programs are free and everyone welcome with registration.  At 2 hours it will be more comprehensive than I will give on March 19.  March 15 is the early bird deadline for the best closest 3 ½ day conference in Arlington.  Mar 19 is next Genies meeting on DNA.  Details and links below and in Events tab on

RootsTech:  Carol S. and I are headed to Salt Lake City for the largest family history conference of them all.  But you don’t have to get plane tickets and hotel rooms to share in some of the events.  Live streaming is the answer.  Nineteen sessions from Feb 28-March 3.  The schedule is here:  No registration.  You just tune into

And the mother of Northwest conferences is sponsored by the Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society in Arlington, WA.  August 15 is a half-day free beginning genealogy class.  A different instructor every year so I keep going and am never bored.  August 16-18 is three full days packed with different nationally-known headline speakers and your choice of smaller classes.  Before the Early Bird deadline of March 15 non-members pay $155 and after the Early Bird deadline $175.  Non-members are people who don’t belong to the Stillaguamish group.  Ask Elizabeth, Sandy, Peggy or me about the conference.  And don’t think you aren’t far enough along to benefit.  Info at

A one overnight conference that you drive to is in Tacoma on April 27 and 28.  Details here: 

When:  2nd Sat, 1pm – 3pm
Where:  Burlington Senior Citizen Center, 1011 Greenleaf Ave, Burlington, WA 98233, USA (map)

Sat., Mar. 10 Detours Abound: Irish Roadblocks and Brick Walls - Steven Morrison Steven Morrison is a professional genealogist specializing in research in Ireland. Learn how to avoid the many pitfalls of Irish research. This is an introductory level program to prepare you for overcoming the many challenges unique to Irish research.


On Monday, March 12, from 2:00 – 4:00 PM, John LaMont, Genealogy Librarian at Seattle Public Library – Central Branch, will present an “Introduction to DNA”.  The description says, “You will learn about DNA testing for genealogy including types of tests, major DNA testing companies, and tools and techniques for analyzing the results.”  This event is free and everyone is welcome, but registration is required and space is limited, so register early. Registration closes on March 9.  For all the particulars and to sign up for this event, go to the Seattle Public Library Website and find it on the Calendar of Events for the month of March. Start here:

Request #4 Professional Genealogist or British experience

Nancy T.  needs information about using a professional genealogist.  Also has anyone used a professional genealogist?  Is anyone experienced with British history or research?  Do not have to be coming to tomorrow's meeting. 

Brick Wall #3 Christof Barg or Berg of Germany and Wisconsin?

Linda B. has provided us with a detailed research plan for her research question about Christof Berg.  Looking for one or two people to go over her plan with her.

Research Plan for Christof Berg (or Barg?)

Research Question: Is Christof Barg the same person as Christof Berg, my great grandfather?

Hypothesis: The two could be the same person, as the marriage dates and name of spouse are similar, allowing for different spellings. My father mentioned that cousins from Lower Michigan (the Lower Peninsula) came to visit his family when he was young. The last name was Barg, and he didn’t understand why the last name was different. Adults refused to answer his question. He assumed one of our ancestors had been, in his words “a horse thief, or something.”

What I Know:
My grandfather, Frank Berg, was married on October 19. 1907 to Emma Ehlert. The marriage record information listed on, derived from Wisconsin County Marriages, 1836 to 1911 indicates that his parents’ names were Christ Berg and Cath Kenney and Emma’s parents were August Elert and Fredricke Oldenburg. Other records show Christ Berg’s wife’s name as Catherine Hennig. My guess is the original record, not shown on the website, is hard to read.
The birth record information for Frank Berg, also found on, Wisconsin Births and Christenings, 1826-1926 lists his birthdate as 05 Jun 1885 and his parents as Christof Berg and Katherine Hennig.

US Census records show several different spellings of both Christof and Katherine’s names:
1870: Christof Berg listed as a 16-year-old laborer living with Ernst and Caroline Miller, farmers in Oak Creek, WI.

1880: Christian and Catherine Berg, with one son, George
1890: Many records destroyed, not found in 1890 US Census record fragment
1900: Crist and Caterine Berg, now with 5 sons, one of them is my grandfather, Frank, age 14. Crist and Caterine have been married 23 years (1877). Record indicates they have been naturalized citizens for 20 years (1880). Interesting note: Crist was born in Mecklenburg, Germany, and Caterine was born in Wisconsin. Neither speaks English. Living at 623 15th Avenue, Milwaukee, WI.
1910: Christ and Catherine Berg, two sons at home. Frank, who was married in 1907, is not in this household, but his younger brothers, Fred and Alfred still live there. She indicates she gave birth to 12 children, only 4 living. Year of immigration listed as 1869. They own a farm in the Town of Greenfield, WI.

Also 1905 Wisconsin State Census: Christ and Kate Berg, with two sons, Fred and Alfred. Now farmers in Greenfield, WI.
So far, I’ve found entries for (various name variations of Christof) Berg in the City of Milwaukee Directories, his identity confirmed by the listed address, which is the same as the 1900 US Census record (623 15th Avenue.)
These are:
1893: Christopher
1894: Christophus
1897: Christ
1900: Christopher

Finally, U.S. Find-A-Grave listing in Good Hope Cemetery, Greenfield, WI, a Christoph Berg: b. 28 Sep 1854, d. 22 Jan 1916. Assumed relationship: Katherine Hennig Berg, b. 1854, d. 1920. This memorial was added to the entry, no source indicated:
Birth Name: Christian Wilhelm Johann Barg His parents were Carl Joachim Friedrich and Maria Sophia Dorothea Barg. He married Katherine "Kate" Hennig on January 23, 1877 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

So…Huh. He was a Barg? Who wrote this? Where does the information come from? The spouse name, year of marriage, location, all add up.
Then this: Wisconsin Historical Society,Wisconsin Pre-1907 Vital Records Collection, marriage record for Catherine Henig and Christoph Barg, Milwaukee County, 23 Jan 1877. I have ordered a copy of this.

Looking for hints and more possible records for Christoph Barg, another researcher found on Hamburg Passenger Lists 1850-1957, Hamburg to New York on Borussia departing 31 Oct 1868 , these names:
Carl Berg age 57, Sophia Berg age 56, with ”kinder” Christian age 15, Mina age 7, Caroline age 3 and Ernst, baby.

And similarly, on New York Passenger lists, 1820-1957, arr. In NY from Hamburg on Borussia on 27 Nov 1868, the same names and ages. This researcher found several marriage records and baptismal records that connect Carl Barg to the births of the children listed and would suggest that two of his wives died and he married again. I do not have the international membership so I cannot view those records directly. The information I can see, which is Ancestry’s listing of the information on the record, shows the family name as Barg, Berg and Borg

Next steps:
How to verify that this is my ancestor?
Find Carl Berg or Barg in the US after he arrives in 1868, Wisconsin the likely location.
1870 US Census
Wisconsin Census
City Directories
Naturalization record?

Locate Mina Berg or Barg, Caroline (Lena) Berg or Barg, and Ernst. (US and Wisconsin Census, marriage records, death records.

To further confuse the issue, a researcher on Familysearch has Christoph Barg in her tree, cites the same marriage record to Katherina Hennig, but has connected him to a different Carl Berg, and several siblings, none of which match those on the 1868 passenger lists. Since she has fewer sources, I am inclined to think her research is incorrect…..but is it?

Brick Wall #2 Sweden and Minnesota

There will be a flurry of blogposts today in preparation for tomorrow's Brick Wall meeting.  Please join me in thinking about how we can help.  

Rich L. asks:

Here is my brick wall.  My grandmother, Elsie Stella Nilson Olson, was adopted.  We don't know exactly who her biological father is.  Elsie's mother was Margreta (Maggie) Frisk, b. 9 Apr 1859 in Sladaborg, Orsa, Dalama, Sweden and d. 26 May 1929 in Cass, Minnesota.  We think she married Austrian born Peter "Nils" Nilson or Nillson or Nielson on 22 Sept 1882? in Minnesota.  Elsie was born 24 Apr 1882 in Isanti, Isanti County, Minnesota and died 21 Aug 1957 in Puyallup, Pierce County, WA.

 The story I remember is that Maggie Fisk married Peter Nils Nilson.  He went off on a job and never returned with no word what happened to Nils.  When Elsie was about 4 years old her mother Maggie married Peter E. Olson, born Jan 1859 in Sweden.  Peter adopted Elsie and gave his name Olson.  Peter was a super nice Dad and treated Elsie as his own child.  I met most of Elsie's step brothers and sisters from Minnesota when I was a kid. 

Rich tested his DNA so this may help.

Friday, February 23, 2018

The Brick Wall of Azariah Culver

Brick Wall Monday is coming up in 3 days.  Having not received any from you, I will share my own.  Azariah is the 3rd great-grandfather of my husband David.  He is a mystery to us.  We can work on this and whatever you bring on Monday the 26th.

Question:  Who are the parents of Azariah (Ezariah, Zeruiah) Culver (1780-1851)?  The 1850 US census from Tompkins County, NY says he was born in NY but other hints point to Connecticut.  I have found no documentation of birth, parentage or siblings.  His Culver descendants are well-documented down to David Culver.

David's Y-DNA is certified a Johnson/Johnston/Jansen by the administrator of that surname group and definitely not a Culver. He did not inherit his Y-DNA from a Culver man but there is evidence he is descended from a Culver woman.  

Some DNA matches point to Zebulon Culver (Colver) b 1716, a Revolutionary War Lieutenant from Litchfield, CT, as an ancestor, perhaps grandfather.  Zebulon has a son Azariah Culver (1751-1790) of Litchfield, CT who is the age of father or an uncle to our Azariah born 1780.  Some genealogists pick him for the father but David is not from the Culver male line.

Our favorite theory is that during the Revolutionary War a unit from NJ was posted in Litchfield, Ct and one of these soldiers is Azariah's father.  I have a list of Johnsons in this unit but there is no way to narrow them down.  Our theory is that one of Zebulon Culver's 4 or 5 single daughters is Azariah's mother.  So we think they sent the pregnant daughter off to Tompkins County, NY and Azariah was born there.  

Bring your brick walls and we'll give 'em a try!

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Tackle Brick Walls at Genies Meeting on Feb 26th

February 26, 2018 at the Ferndale Library 1:00-3:30. 

At this meeting we will help each other with building trees and breaking down the brick walls around our ancestors.  We’ll need people who are working on their trees and people to help.

First, we’ll work on one case as a group.  Before the meeting write down everything you know about your problem situation.  If you want, email it to me and we’ll make some copies. 

Include alternate names and spellings and nicknames.  For example, if a name is mis-spelled or mis-transcribed in a census, it could have the same mistake in other documents.  Try searching for the spouse, children, parents or siblings.  Some people just always used their nickname which also could have multiple spellings.

We also need to do “collateral research” which includes anyone who is not your direct ancestor, such as siblings, nieces, and nephews of your direct ancestor. Say you don’t know your great-grandparent and can’t find him by searching for your grandparents.  Search for your grandparent’s siblings to lead you to their parents. 

There is also “place research”.  Places are important in searching the many unindexed records.  Estimates are that only 10% of Ancestry records are indexed and 30% of Family Search records are indexed.  To search the unindexed records, we will need to learn to search by place.

During the work time there will be a RootsMagic corner.

Hoping to make some big leaps,
Ferndalegenies at gmail dot com

Sunday, February 11, 2018

All DNA Tests, Ancestry Subscriptions, RootsMagic On Sale

All DNA tests are on sale for Valentine’s Day.  Links here:         I am still recommending AncestryDNA unless you have a special circumstance like adoption or frail elderly.  Good time to purchase extra kits for relatives or summer reunions.

Ancestry Subscriptions:  for new subscriptions here’s an offer from Genealogy Bargains.  The best thing you can do to get ready for your AncestryDNA results is to build a tree there.

Save 50% or more on 6-month subscriptions at Ancestry! This offer is for NEW MEMBERS only, but you can save 50% on the US and World 6-month subscriptions!
  • US Discovery 6-month subscription, regularly $99, you pay just $49
    Click HERE to get started!
  • World Explorer 6-month subscription, regularly $209, you pay just $99
    Click HERE to get started!

We’ve talked about this before.  If you are renewing, call Ancestry and ask for the discount.

Desktop Family Tree Software:  I have changed my recommendation for first-time buyers, dropping Legacy software.  Legacy has been purchased by MyHeritage and its future support is uncertain.  We’ve seen this problem before. 

All editions of Family Tree Maker are still fine. 

I prefer RootsMagic for first-timers due to the lower price (regular $30 compared to $80 for Family Tree Maker) and growing partnerships with the various family tree websites.   Several of us have purchased RootsMagic and are learning to use it now. 

RootsMagic 7 Special running now:   The special is RootsMagic software and E-book for $20.  There are other combinations too.  You don’t need a CD due to their Download Anytime Guarantee.   

Don’t buy software on the retail market, go to the publisher.  As just one example, Amazon is selling used books and earlier versions for higher prices.  The RootsMagic book is $14.95 retail and they are selling used for $29.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

More "Don't Miss Meetings"

Of course, I always think it’s a “don’t miss” meeting but the WGS meeting this Monday really is.  We can all use “research planning and execution”.  Especially me.  It may be too much to ask for this talk to change my life but I have high hopes.  See you at the WGS for a topic that is always timely.  (More details about upcoming events on our at the Events tab on the top.)

Whatcom Genealogical Society (WGS):    

Monday, Feb. 12 at 2 pm, at the Bellingham Elks Lodge, 710 Samish Way.

Speaker is Cyndi Ingle “Back to Basics:  Research Planning and Execution Online.”  Cyndi is a Professional Genealogist, and owner, webmaster of Cyndi’s List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet.

Park around back and enter on the lower level (unless you have a big truck or an RV).  Visitors welcome! Contact: 360-733-8300

Ferndale Genies Monthly Meeting:  Next meeting: February 26 1:00-3:30 at the Ferndale Library.   There is always time for hands-on work.  Come prepared with questions and passwords.  Bring a computing device or plan to borrow a library laptop.

February: Brick Wall Problems: lots of ideas and help
March:  DNA:  let me know as you receive your new results
April:  Writing Stories: stories put the meat on your genealogy bones

Skagit Valley Genealogical Society, Burlington

When:  2nd Sat, 1pm – 3pm
Where:  Burlington Senior Citizen Center, 1011 Greenleaf Ave, Burlington, WA 98233, USA (map)

Coming in March.  Saturday, Mar. 10 Irish Research

Thursday, February 1, 2018

February Events, Don't Miss Feb 9 Hands On Work Session

Great events coming up!  For everyone ready to make progress on their goals we have:
Friday, Feb 9: Genies work session for building family trees. If you want help, RSVP ASAP.
Monday, Feb 12:  special speaker at WGS on Research Planning (just what we need)
Monday, February 26: regular monthly Genies meeting

Read all about it below and additional events in Burlington and Arlington on our blog Events page at

Ferndale Genies
Friday, February 9 12:30-4:  Special meeting.  Help by Reservation.  The reservation is for individual help hands-on “Building Family Trees”.  To prepare look over the Getting Started page on our blog and work down the left sidebar from there.  Others are welcome to come for a dedicated afternoon for working on genealogy.  Email ferndalegenies at gmail dot com or comment if you are interested.

Monday, February 26 1-3:30 Genies Regular Meeting: Topic to be announced

Whatcom Genealogical Society (WGS):    
Next meeting will be Monday, Feb. 12 at 2 pm, at the Bellingham Elks Lodge, 710 Samish Way.

We are fortunate that our Program Chair, Cindy Harris, has arranged for Cyndi Ingle to speak on “Back to Basics:  Research Planning and Execution Online.”  Cyndi is a Professional Genealogist, and owner, webmaster of Cyndi’s List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet.

Whatcom Genealogical Society is always 2nd Monday at 2:00 pm at the Bellingham Elks Lodge, 710 Samish Way, Bellingham WA. Park around back and enter on the lower level (unless you have a big truck or an RV).  Visitors welcome! Contact: 360-733-8300