Monday, March 13, 2006

Volume 19, Issue 1, Spring 2006 - The President's Message

Hello everyone,

This year we have seen a bigger swing toward more virtual genealogy than ever before. This doesn't mean you can't do genealogy unless you have the use of a computer connected to the Internet (after all, it's been done without computers for centuries). However, it does mean you will probably miss out on a great deal of new and valuable research material and help from other researchers if you don't.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints have supported the portion of their organization quite well. The changes we see are clearly toward providing digital information rather than on microfilm as in the past. This includes the digitization of all the microfilms in their mountain vaults and the indexing of major databases of genealogical information, to the scanning, indexing and making available on the Internet a large number of family history books.

If you add their efforts to provide interactive collaboration online for genealogists working on the same family ancestors, it is quite a large bite for them to take. Wish them success because we will be the beneficiaries. This effort will significantly reduce the "poor", "undocumented" and just plain "incorrect" data on the web. While much of this data will still be out there, it will start being ignored except by the uneducated.

All of this is coming very fast. We may be faced with information over dose instead of brick walls. So which would you rather have, too much data or be slaving away sifting through huge books and other manuscripts hoping of a little piece of information which might tie one ancestor to another? I believe I'd rather be overwhelmed than data starved.

If you are looking to kick your online research up another notch, please let us know. Many of us can help. After all, the major goal of our society is education and all it takes is a little learning to access that which is already there, not to mention the wealth of what is to come.

Happy hunting to all of you.....

Peter Bradish, President

A friend noticed this before I did and I thought I'd pass it on to all of you. As we tend to do more and more of our research on-line, this is probably a timely magazine. You can download a 24 page preview issue in PDF format for free to see if you like it. The PDF file is about 1MB in size.
Have fun with it... Peter Bradish

From Ancestry Daily News of 15 February 2006

INTERNET GENEALOGY -- Download a FREE Preview Issue!” Internet Genealogy" is a new magazine from the publishers of "Family Chronicle" and "History Magazine." The first issue will be on newsstands at the end of February and will carry a cover date of April/May 2006. For a limited time, you can download a FREE preview issue of "Internet Genealogy." You can also take advantage of a limited time introductory subscription offer of $20 (U.S.) or $23 (Cdn) for one year. Visit.....


Evergreen Cemetery Photographed

Saturday, 18 February, was a warm, sunny day when eighteen energetic BGS members gathered to document the tombstones in Evergreen Cemetery in Cocoa. Although the cemetery is small, many graves were overgrown or sunken and required much preparation before being photographed. Three buried stones were found by probing and were uncovered.

Two people stopped by while we were there. One was just curious. The other, Ada Lawrence, knew most of the people buried there and led us to find a buried baby stone which was of one of her cousins. For many years, Ada has cared for both Evergreen Cemetery and Pinecrest Cemetery where her family is buried. Pinecrest is across Clearlake Drive from Evergreen and will be a future project.

Participants were: Janet Boyd, Connie Bradish, Pete Bradish, Dianna Brown, Joan Bullard, Doug Burnett, Polly Carman, JoAnne Chambers, Betty Eichhorn, Patrice Green, Elaine Harvey, Pat Jorgensen, David Larson, Mary Jane Law, Barbara Maloney, Jackie Palmer, Dee Swink and Jodelle Wilson.

We could have used a half dozen more workers which would have reduced the time necessary to finish the project. It is important to document these stones before they deteriorate further or are vandalized. The project also demonstrates ways to safely clean and photograph stones. Resolve now to join us on the next photography project to learn valuable techniques that you can use on your own family's stones.

In 2003, the Board decided to photograph the tombstones in the pioneer cemeteries of central Brevard. With the blessing of the City of Cocoa which maintains these two cemeteries, we photographed stones in the Cocoa Cemetery on Halloween 2003 and in Hilltop Cemetery on Valentine's Day 2004. This turned out to be a very educational event as we all learned the techniques to get good photos while not harming the stones in any way.

The hurricanes in the summer of 2004 waylaided our plans to continue the project. However last spring, our president, Peter Bradish, did photograph four tiny cemeteries on the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. Those photographs and some of the Cocoa Cemetery photographs may be seen at: Click on the cemetery names that have photos.

Betty Eichhorn, Chairperson


The hottest topic in genealogy these days is "genetealogy", a word coined by Megan Smolenyak to combine "genetics" and "genealogy". Already, tens of thousands of people have paid to have their DNA analyzed to determine their lineage or their relationship to others.

Megan Smolenyak is the author with Ann Turner of Trace your Roots with DNA, a copy of which is in our library. She also has a website which has links to many online articles on this subject. Anyone wishing to learn more about DNA analyses should explore this site. Just click on "Genetealogy Articles" at the top of the page.

I found one article particularly interesting. The Feb. 6, 2006 issue of Newsweek has an article entitled DNA Testing: In our Blood, an overview of what is being done. You can read the article online or the magazine at your library. It describes some results which overturned family history or beliefs. Like any research that you do, you must be prepared for what you might find. It might be good, it might be bad, or maybe just amazing.

Betty Eichhorn


Winter 2006 Beginning Genealogy Class


There were 46 students in the January 12 to February 16 Beginning Genealogy Class. Students come from all parts of the county and include complete beginners and experienced genealogy researchers. Betty Eichhorn and I have handled most of the teaching duties with Frank Bryan, Joan Bullard and Patrice Green teaching segments.

The students have been enthusiastic and I feel like I have learned a lot. There is no better way of learning a subject than having to distill it into digestible portions for students.

Many old members of BGS are taking the class and there are many new researchers as well. We welcome them to BGS.

Once again Anthropology and Genealogy intersect. In a recent Central Florida Anthropological Society newsletter I read an item that might be of interest to anyone having Swedish ancestors who arrived in Illinois about 1846. Eric Jansson was born in Sweden in 1808. Around 1830 he decided that he was the Second Messiah and gathered a following of believers. In 1846 Jansson and about 1200 followers moved from Sweden to Illinois and set up a Utopian community at Bishop Hill. In May 1850 Eric Jansson was murdered. After four days his followers buried him and the community slipped into oblivion. Today Bishop Hill is a small village of about 110 residents but it has five museums. Since 1970 the State of Illinois, anthropologists, archaeologists and history professors have been rebuilding the village of the Wheat Flour Messiah.


Louisiana Information

Currently, Louisiana VITAL RECORDS REGISTRY is undertaking a new project to ELECTRONICALLY PROCESS all La. birth certificates. Due to Hurricane Katrina, we are using microfilm copies of documents to update the electronic files. Please carefully review our document for accuracy. If spelling errors are noted or if you had a recent correction to your document and the document does not reflect the change, please return your document with a letter stating what the errors are and mail to;

PO BOX 60630

received by Barbara Maloney 2/15/2006

(19-1) Bios

BGS Past President

Vera was born into a Louisiana family that loved photography. Her paternal grandfather built his own camera in about 1900 and passed down a love of taking photos as well as lots of old family photos. She got her first camera, a Kodak Brownie type, over 50 years ago and her first 35mm camera as a high school graduation present. She took photography classes at Newcomb College of Tulane University while working on a degree in Fine Arts.

Her maternal grandmother passed on a love of sewing and Vera remembers sitting under her grandmother's old Singer sewing machine and "helping" operate the foot treadle as her grandmother sewed. Vera got a hand-cranked toy sewing machine and made her own doll clothes. She began sewing her own clothes and designing Mardi Gras costumes while in high school and designed costumes for several Carnival Balls. She has done extensive research on period clothing styles.

Vera studied Art and Anthropology and received her Bachelor's degree from University of Houston. She has been involved in archaeological and historical projects in Brevard for over 25 years. She was photo editor for the two volume History of Brevard County by Dr. Jerrell Shofner published by the Brevard Historical Commission and Editor and writer for Volume 3 History of Brevard County: Photographic Memories.

Her program for the March meeting looks at the datable elements in old photographs from photographic and printing methods to clothing styles and she hopes it will help some of you solve a few of those mysteries in your family photo collection.

Secretary of Fl. State Genealogy Society.

Ann is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, current Secretary and incoming Vice President for the Florida State Genealogical Society and a member of their Speakers Guild. She has served as managing instructor for genealogy programs at the Disney Institute in Orlando, Fl

Editor NBGS

Registrar of the Indian River Chapter of the Daughters of the Republic, Editor of the newspaper of the Genealogical Society of North Brevard. She also volunteers each Tuesday at the Titusville Library and each Wednesday at the Family History Center in Rockledge.

Editor Indian River Genealogical Society’s Newsletter:

Pam has been the supervisor of the Florida History and Genealogy Department for the Indian River County Main Library in Vero Beach, Florida since 1986. She built the collection from 250 titles to over 30,000 titles. Currently, she is in charge of developing the new Archive Center of Florida and Local History which has become a rich resource for Floridians.

She is the founder of the first "Genealogy and Local History Caucus" of the Florida Library Association in May of 1990. She received the 1991 Distinguished Service Award from the Florida State Genealogical Society for her work with the Caucus.

She served as a Director of the Federation of Genealogical Societies in 1995-1998; Director of the Florida Historical Society in 1997-1999, President of the Florida State Genealogical Society 1999-2003 and with her husband, served as National Conference Co-chair of the Federation of Genealogical Societies 2003 National Conference, which was held in Orlando.

Since 1986, she has served as President, Editor, and Program Chair of the Indian River Genealogical Society and as Trustee, Vice-president, and several committee chairs of the Florida State Genealogical Society. In 1994, she established the East Central Florida Genealogical Society Co-op. The Co-op has successfully provided a database of family histories that are located in nine county libraries.

At the National Genealogical Society conference in May of 2000, she received the Filby Prize for Genealogical Librarianship and with her husband they received the Award of Merit from the Federation of Genealogical Societies in 2003.

Pam is a teacher and lecturer on genealogy at local, state and national levels and currently is the Editor of the Indian River Genealogical Society’s Newsletter. Working together with her mother, she published her first family history in 1993, Descendants of John W. Clark and Francis Hoff of Lincolnshire, England. She assisted in publishing the book World War II at the Vero Beach Naval Air Station, which became available January 2003. In 2005, she wrote the Florida chapter in the Red Book: American, State

Genealogy Librarian, CBL

Michael currently serves as genealogy librarian for the Central Brevard Library in Cocoa. Michael has been involved with genealogy since the age of 15and has a Masters Degree in Humanities with an additional specialty in History. Michael specializes in New England research and has had his research published in journals such as the New England Historical and Genealogical Register. He is a Mayflower descendant on both his maternal grandfather’s and grandmother’s side and holds the office of historian of the John Howland Colony of Mayflower Descendants in Winter Park, Florida.

(19-1) Finding Living Persons ---- success!!! by Carmen Finley

On Monday evening I put out a call for help to find a person who had posted valuable Armstrong family information on GenForum. On Wednesday evening, I talked with her on the phone (unlisted) and made arrangements to swap data.

For those of you who are interested in the general approach, here is what happened.

A key document turned out to be a fairly recent obit for her mother found on's obituary collection (several of the 16 persons who contacted me privately, found this item). The obit gave the name of her husband, siblings, and father and their whereabouts. It also included the name of the mortuary. One person suggested I contact the mortuary and actually that would probably have worked.

Yes, she was also on the U.S. Public Records Index (as several persons suggested), and was the first one I tried to call. Number no longer in service.

It was Christina Humphreys who went on to "prove" the obituary correctly identified the right person and to locate her current whereabouts by accessing online property assessors databases and recorded documents which showed the move, and her current address (no phone number). In addition, the obituary gave California as the birthplace of the person I was trying to locate. The California birth index gave further confirmation we were on the right track.

How did I get her phone number? Not from any of the online phone information databases. However, her father was listed. I called him, explained my mission, and he gave me her number.

As Christina said to me in a private message, "the same research principles apply to finding living people as they do to our genealogical research: use original sources when possible, be alert to the fact that there may be multiple people with the same name living in the same area, and look for information that can be used to differentiate these people from one another, such as a birth date, middle name, or spouse's name."

So here is one happy camper-----and I certainly learned a lot.

Reprinted with the kind Permission of Carman Finley and Christina Humphries


Jim and Bonnie Garmon

For the past two years we have been creating indexes of local newspaper obituaries. In that time, we have come to realize just how importance these records are and how much information they have about our ancestors. Just think, where else can you find a source, all in one place, of :

1) A persons full name, date and place of birth

2) Their occupation

3) The names of brothers and sisters, with the married names of the sisters, and the present location of these relatives

4) The names of the children of the deceased, along with their present home

5) The name of the Funeral Home providing the service. They may be able to give you more information from their files.

Not all obituaries have this much information, but many do and some have even more.

Along with several other members of the BGS, Bonnie and Jim are now working on an index of the obituaries published by the TODAY newspaper. This paper began publishing in Cocoa in 1966, carrying the obituaries that had been carried by the Cocoa Tribune since 1917. The TODAY newspaper became the FLORIDA TODAY in 1985. We have finished 1966 and 1967 and are halfway through 1968. And...

Here is your chance to join the team. We would welcome your help in this important project. Here is an opportunity to repay the genealogical world for all the databases and indexes you have used creating your own family tree.

We are printing copies of the obituaries from the microfilm stored in the Genealogy Department of the Central Brevard Library and Reference Center in Cocoa. We take these home and enter the information in a database. The time consuming part of this project is making these copies at the library. You can help. If you are able to volunteer a few hours a week printing copies of the obituaries, please contact Jim or Bonnie at or talk to us at a meeting.




The Central Brevard Library has been given a large collection of genealogy books. The books cover many states and many are county histories. This is a wonderful addition to the genealogy library.

We have also ordered the rest of the series of the Sacramental Records from the Archdiocesan Historical Archives of New Orleans. These records cover the years 1718-1831.

Come by and see our many new additions to the library.



PHMC, through the Pennsylvania Heritage Society, has received a grant of $375,000 from the national Save America’s Treasured (SAT) grant program to support the conservation of original Civil War Muster Rolls at the Pa. State Archives. This is the largest amount ever awarded for a paper conservation project by SAT. Additional funding from the Pa. State Legislature is expected to provide a total of over $1,000,000 over three years.

The project will stabilize a deteriorating group of documents detailing the 215 regiments, battalions, Colored Troops, and others.