Monday, August 31, 2009

Central Coast Genealogy Calendar: September 2009

Thursday, September 3
Monterey County Genealogical Society
7:00 PM (Doors open at 6:00 PM)
Jim Robeson - "Googling Around, Genealogically Speaking"

Saturday, September 5
San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society
12:30 - 1:00 PM
Research Class: "Maps and Genealogy" – Janet Thatcher
1:00 PM - Business Meeting
1:15 - 1:45 PM - Social time; book & drawing sales, snacks, coffee & tea
1:45 - 3:00 PM - "Embracing Your Feminine Side: A Case Study Using the Paper Trail and DNA" – Cheryl Storton

Tuesday, September 8
Conejo Valley Genealogical Society
7:00 - 9:00 PM
Computer Interest Group Meeting
Delores Pedersen - "Some of My Favorite Web Sites"

Friday, September 11
San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society
10:30 AM - Noon
Hands-On Computer Genealogy - "Where’s Grandpa? Genealogy on the Internet"

Monday, September 14
Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society
9:00 AM - Noon
Library Research for Genealogists
(In association with Santa Barbara City College Adult Education)
Class runs for 4 weeks

Tuesday, September 15
Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society
5:15 - 7:15 PM
Family History Research: Beginning to Intermediate
(In association with Santa Barbara City College Adult Education)
Class runs for 10 weeks

Tuesday, September 15
Conejo Valley Genealogical Society
5:30 - 6:30 PM - Genealogy Tools
6:00 - 8:45 PM - General Meeting
Rev. Gary Allen Dickey - "Cemeteries and Clues to Research"

Wednesday, September 16
Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society
10:00 AM - Noon
Family History Research: Intermediate/Advanced
(In association with Santa Barbara City College Adult Education)
Class runs for 10 weeks

Friday, September 18
San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society
1:00 - 2:30 PM
Internet Genealogy Skills - "Find That Obituary"

Saturday, September 19
Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society
9:30 AM - Special Interest Groups
10:30 AM - General Meeting
Richard Oglesby - "A Legacy Set in Stone: Santa Barbara Stone Architecture, 1870-1940"

Saturday, September 19
Ventura County Genealogical Society
1:00 – 4:00 PM
Topic TBA

Please send me an email if you would like to have your event included in this monthly calendar series.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Sunday, August 30, 2009

California Genealogists: Time is Running Out!

I don't usually discuss politics here on "Little Bytes of Life," unless the issue is specifically related to genealogy... which this one potentially is.

California Genealogists: it's your last chance to voice your opposition to AB 130, which is going to the full Senate for the 3rd and final reading TOMORROW, Monday, August 31, 2009, before heading to Governor Schwarzenegger's desk. It's set for item #214 tomorrow.

Why should you oppose AB 130? Because it will make your genealogical research in California miserable (read: more difficult than it is now). In a nutshell, AB 130 would treat marriage records just like birth and death records.

Quoted from the IAJGS web site's "Action Alert" page:

AB 130 adds marriage records to the restrictions on non-comprehensive indices. The information contained in these indices would be the names of the parties and the date of the marriage and specifically prohibits inclusion of the mothers' maiden name in data files (i.e. indices). These restrictions are already in place for birth and death non-comprehensive data files i.e. indices due to a law enacted in 2002. Therefore, if this bill is enacted, the public, including genealogists, would lose the opportunity to know mothers’ maiden names which might effect determining the correct marriage record-especially for those with common names. Law enforcement may obtain records with the mothers’ maiden name.

The data files are not permitted to be posted on the Internet, with some specified exceptions. An additional $1 fee will be levied for those requesting a certified marriage record as of January 2010. The bill provides that the State Registrar, local registrar or county recorder may provide a certified copy of a marriage record to any person who swears under penalty of perjury that they are an authorized person, as defined in the bill. For non-authorized persons as listed in the bill, the certified copy is required to contain the statement "INFORMATIONAL, NOT A VALID DOCUMENT TO ESTABLISH IDENTITY."
What can you do - even at this late date? Email or call your California legislator NOW, and ask him/her to vote NO on this bill. You can find your state legislator's contact information at You can search by entering your zip code on the bottom right.


Visit the IAJGS web site for their excellent write-up (including a sample letter) of how this pending legislation may affect genealogists doing research in California. Scroll down to Public Records Access, and click on Latest Alerts. Genealogists in Orange County will also want to read the section on SB 40.

If you haven't already done so, you should read Randy Seaver's posts on this issue at Genea-Musings here and here.

Read AB 130 for yourself here.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Friday, August 28, 2009

"The Human Family Tree" Airs August 30

On Sunday, August 30th, at 9:00 PM, the National Geographic Channel (which we don't get, I might add) will air a 2-hour documentary called "The Human Family Tree." The show outlines some of the findings from the Genographic Project, as told through the migratory histories of four strangers that the Genographic Project team met on the street in Queens, New York.

From the show's web site:

On a single day on a single street, with the DNA of just a couple of hundred random people, National Geographic Channel sets out to trace the ancestral footsteps of all humanity. Narrated by Kevin Bacon, The Human Family Tree travels to one of the most diverse corners of the world -- Queens, N.Y. -- to demonstrate how we all share common ancestors who embarked on very different journeys. Regardless of race, nationality or religion, all of us can trace our ancient origin back to the cradle of humanity, East Africa. What did our collective journey look like, and where did it take your specific ancestors? At what point in our past did we first cross paths with the supposed strangers living in our neighborhood? Now, in The Human Family Tree, the people of this quintessential American melting pot find out that their connections go much deeper than a common ZIP code.

Click below to watch the show's trailer.

Interested yet? I know I am. I'll be making a call to our cable company tomorrow to see how we can get the NatGeo Channel in time for Sunday's show!

For more information, visit "The Human Family Tree" web site.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Thursday, August 20, 2009 Adds Maps to its Family History Suite

I received the following announcement from this morning. Please note that I am in no way affiliated with I am simply passing on the information.


New version 4.0 of’s Family Tree Builder visualizes family history in colorful maps, and offers Family Chat™ in a new family toolbar.

London, England & Tel Aviv, Israel – August 13, 2009 –, a leading family and genealogy Website, today announced the release of Family Tree Builder 4.0. With more than 5 million downloads so far, Family Tree Builder is the world’s most popular free genealogy software, allowing seasoned pros and beginners alike to build family trees, research their family history, add photos and videos, and obtain unique Smart Matches™ with other family trees worldwide. The key improvements of the new version include a map module, a family toolbar with Family Chat™ and extensive support for albums to organize a family's photos, videos and documents.

"In recent years we've seen a growing number of people who want to learn more about their ancestors and where they came from," said Gilad Japhet, Founder and CEO of "With the new map module, people can get an appealing visual representation of their family's life journeys. They can also map the addresses of family members, quickly find all events and photos associated with a particular place and even standardize place names using smart suggestions. This provides a fascinating new perspective for millions of people interested in their family history."

The new family toolbar provides direct access to family sites on, adds powerful genealogy search and featuresFamily Chat – a text, audio and video chat system built specifically for family use. Members also receive useful birthday reminders on the family toolbar without leaving the Web page they are on.

The Family Tree Builder software – free to download at – is already well respected by family history enthusiasts for its ease of use and excellent handling of photos and other digital media. The addition of albums for organizing photos, videos and documents makes it an even more useful tool. Family Tree Builder 4.0 also adds slideshows for showcasing family photos in appealing ways; and a new screen saver that displays family photos based on tagging and face recognition technology.

Click to enlarge. is a leading online destination for families, where people can find relatives, research family history, and stay connected with family members across the globe. In addition, offers automatic photo tagging technology that makes it easier to label, organize and search for digital photos, giving families another fun way to stay in touch.

About was founded by a team of people who combine a passion for family history with the development of innovative technology. It is now one of the world's leading online networks for families, and the second largest family history website. is available in 34 languages, is home to more than 33 million family members and hosts profiles of 360 million people.

For more information, visit or

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Budding Nature Photographer

"Budding Nature Photographer 1 & 2" (Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, Santa Barbara Co., California). Digital Image. Photographed by Elizabeth O'Neal, August 18, 2009.

About Wordless Wednesday.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Happy Anniversary to My Sweetie

Six years ago today, I married my sweetie.

We were married among a small gathering of family on the porch of a lovely, private plantation house in Hana, Maui.

We won't be together on our anniversary this year, but Sweetie, I want you to know that I still love you as much as I did the day I married you. Probably more.

We'll celebrate when you get home.

E hoomau maua kealoha.


Wedding Party (Hana, Maui, Hawai'i). August 16, 2003. Digital Image. Privately held by Elizabeth O'Neal, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Santa Barbara, California, 2009.

E hoomau maua kealoha = May our love last forever.

Copyright © Elizabeth O'Neal

Saturday, August 15, 2009


For tonight's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun (SNGF), Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings asks these hard-hitting questions about our Ultimate Genealogy Goal (UGG):

What is your UGG - your "Ultimate Genealogy Goal" - for the genealogy research that you wish to leave to your heirs, descendants, and the genealogy community?

How long do you think you have have left to fulfill this ultimate goal?

Are you prioritizing your time adequately in order to achieve this goal?

If not, what should you do to achieve the goal?

Will you do what you need to do?

My absolute, #1, Ultimate Genealogy Goal is to brainwash my daughter to the point that she thinks genealogy is SO COOL (her newest expression) that she wants to learn everything she can about it, memorize at least 12 generations of her pedigree chart, and pass what she knows on to her her children and grandchildren and so on and so on and so on. She will not only transfer her C.A.R. membership to DAR, but will also file supplementals on all known Patriots of both her father and I, plus whatever new ones she finds herself. She will assume my place as the family archivist and historian, until such time as her children are ready to take over, and our family history will never be lost.

But... on the off chance that that doesn't happen...

My other goal is to write and publish a detailed family history of my surname, my paternal and maternal families, and possibly my husband's families. I dream big.

I'm 40- [mumble, mumble] something now, and I think I've still got most of my marbles. If all goes well, I should have another good 30-35 (maaaaaaybe 40) years left on the clock. I hope.

Prioritizing? Hardly. I've got a 3-year old. The short dictator decides what will get done each day, and sometimes I feel like I don't get a vote. My to-do list seems carry over, day after day, with hardly anything getting crossed off. I think it breeds at night, while I'm asleep.

I hope that once my daughter gets a little older, I'll have a bit more time to work. But it could be a good 15 years (possibly half of my "time left") before that happens, especially if we decide to stick with homeschooling. Maybe once she's in college I'll finally have the time I need. Nah.

Will I do what I need to do? Yeah, maybe. Sure. I think so. It might take a while, but hopefully I'll get 'er done.

In the meantime... let the brainwashing continue!

Copyright © Elizabeth O'Neal

Cowgirl Judy Ann

I've always loved this photo of my mother, and I know she did, too. I don't know for certain why she is sitting on a pony dressed as a cowgirl, but if I remember correctly, she once told me that a man was walking through the neighborhood with his pony one day, taking photos of children as they sat on it.

My mother looks to be about 6 or 7 years old, and a front tooth is missing. It could have been taken in Sioux City, Iowa, or Tacoma, Washington. Nothing is written on the back of the photo (of course), but on the front she has written, "With Love, Judy Ann." To whom it was given, I don't know; I found the photo in my grandmother's collection after she passed away.

What I do know is that this is a snapshot of a moment in time when my mother was a happy, carefree child. What child wouldn't be thrilled to sit on a pony, even for just a few minutes?

I hope that she had wonderful memories of that day.


Written for the 78th Edition, Carnival of Genealogy: Pony Pictures!

Copyright © Elizabeth O'Neal

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

3 Days Only - Offers Free Public Access!

NOTE: This offer has been extended until August 18, 2009.

The following announcement is from Opens Site Allowing for Free Public Access to More Than One Billion Family History Records

With the addition of the largest number of records to be released in a single day since the site launched in 2006

PROVO, UT, August 11, 2009 –, an online family history resource, today announced the addition of the largest number of records to be released in a single day since the site launched in 2006. To commemorate this milestone, for the first time WorldVitalRecords is offering free public access to its entire online collection of historical and genealogical records beginning August 11 and continuing through August 13, 2009. The public will have unlimited access to more than one billion records in over 11,000 databases from around the world including newspapers, census, birth, marriage, death, immigration and military records; family trees; stories and publications; and yearbooks

"As a genealogy enthusiast, I'm thrilled that people can go to one place like, try family history research for free and find their parents or grandparents, and see how simple it is to start tracing back and discovering stories that bring family history to life," said Jim Ericson, Vice-President of Marketing for Family Link. “This is a rare opportunity to delve into the records and discover information about your family and ancestors you may have never known."

Featured records in this release include:

Historical Newspapers

Through a partnership with Newspaper Archive, WorldVitalRecords is adding access to pages from a variety of newspapers from all over the United States, dating from 1759 through 1923. This collection features images of entire newspapers from the western frontier, the Midwest at the turn of the century, and the long-time standard of our nation’s news, “The New York Times” which includes over 7 million names. Newspaper Archive produces the largest historical newspaper database online, and the collection is fully searchable by keyword and date, and individual pages can be saved or printed.

According to Gena Philibert Ortega, Genealogy Community Director for FamilyLink, "Part of the fun of family history is uncovering details about our ancestors’ daily lives — the events of the day, the goods and the services they bought. Newspapers allow us to better understand our ancestors."

Immigration Records

Living in a country of immigrants, ship passenger lists and other records documenting immigration can be an essential part in learning more about your family history. It is a thrilling experience to see their names transcribed on paper the day they entered this country through the Port of New York. Browsing and searching these passenger lists is a perfect way for someone to start researching their family history.

This record collection provides documentation of over 150,000 passengers who arrived on nearly 8,000 ships at one of the busiest ports in the United States, New York, from 1820-1832.


In partnership with the website, WorldVitalRecords is doubling its collection of digitized yearbooks. This collection features university yearbooks from the late 1800 to mid 1950's. houses the largest collection of old college yearbooks on the Internet. Universities featured this week include Duke University, University of Oklahoma, Iowa State and the College of William and Mary.

Vital Records, Military Records and Tax Lists

Other records being released on the site include birth, marriage, tax lists, military records, and death records from Maine, North Carolina, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

Focused on helping users discover and share their family history, WorldVitalRecords adds new records to their online collection everyday.

About is simplifying family history research by providing many easy-to-use tools and resources to discover and connect with others interested in family history. WorldVitalRecords provides access to more than one billion international and U.S. records provides affordable access to genealogy databases and family history tools used by more than 258,000 monthly visitors. The site registers 3.6 million monthly pages views and serves tens of thousands of paying subscribers. With thousands of databases—including birth, death, military, census, and parish records— makes it easy to fill in missing information in your family tree.

WorldVitalRecords is part of the, Inc. network of family-focused interactive properties including, GenealogyWise, WebTree, WorldHistory, and the We're Related and My Family applications on Facebook.

For more information, visit

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

"Images of America; Arroyo Grande" Available August 29th

I received the following press release this afternoon:

History of Arroyo Grande Revealed: Images of America; Arroyo Grande, to be available August 29th!

New from Arcadia Publishing's Images of America series is Arroyo Grande. In over 200 vintage photographs, local authors Jean Hubbard and Gary Hoving, along with the South County Historical Society, share the history of Arroyo Grande.

Located midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, the Arroyo Grande Valley was founded during the period of the Mexican land grants. In 1837, the San Manuela Rancho was granted to Francis and Manuela Branch. The rich soils and mild coastal climate created a wonderful location to build a home, grow crops and raise livestock.

While livestock production has diminished, it has been replaced by a growing wine industry and field crops continue to flourish. Arroyo Grande remains one of the most pleasant and safest environments to live and work and maintains much of its historic village commercial area with little change over the past 100 years.

All proceeds from the book are being donated by the authors to the South County Historical Society.

Highlights of Arroyo Grande:

  • Contains many images that have never been published before from the South County Historical Society archives.

  • Includes a tribute to a local community hero; a fallen police officer.

  • Delivers the first book of its kind that is dedicated solely to the community of Arroyo Grande.
Gary and Jean will be available to sign copies of Arroyo Grande; Images of America on August 29th from 2pm to 5pm at the South County Historical Society IOOF Hall on Bridge Street, Arroyo Grande.

For more information visit:

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Central Coast Lineage Groups Calendar: August 2009

The majority of lineage groups do not meet during August. However, I invite you to visit the links below, and contact these groups for more information, if you are interested in joining.

By joining a lineage group, your heritage is forever preserved in their lineage books for your descendants to find in the years to come. You also will meet some great people who enjoy genealogy, historic preservation, and serving the community in a variety of ways!

Children of the American Revolution (C.A.R.)

Colonial Dames of the XVII Century

Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR)

Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War (DUVCW)

Jamestowne Society

Society of Mayflower Descendants

Sons of the American Revolution (SAR)

Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV)

Sons of the Revolution (S.R.)

Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW)

United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC)
United States Daughters of 1812

* Holding a meeting in August

NOTE: This is by no means a complete list of hereditary/lineage societies. For a complete list, please visit The Hereditary Society Community of the USA.

If you would like to have your group's information included in this monthly calendar, please contact me. Thanks!

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Central Coast Genealogy Calendar: August 2009

Thursday, August 6
Monterey County Genealogical Society
7:00 PM (Doors open at 6:00 PM)
Jim Conway - "Women in History"

Tuesday, August 11
Conejo Valley Genealogical Society
7:00 - 9:00 PM
Computer Interest Group Meeting
Delores Pederson - The Hows and Whys of Gedcom

Tuesday, August 18
Conejo Valley Genealogical Society
6:15 - 8:45 PM - General Meeting
Ice Cream Social & Round Table Sharing

Saturday, August 22
Ventura County Genealogical Society
1:00 – 4:00 PM
A panel of VCGS members, hosted by Gwenda Tucker, will help you tackle the genealogy-related questions you've always wanted to ask.

NO MEETING in August:
Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society
San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society

Please send me an email if you would like to have your event included in this monthly calendar series.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal