Genealogy Seminar 2015 Hosted by GSSCC and CSGA

GSLOGO-300x290The Genealogical Society of Santa Cruz County will host the October board meeting of the California State Genealogical Alliance. The meeting is open, and all are invited to attend.

When: Saturday, October 17, 2015
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Where: Santa Cruz Main Library, 224 Church Street, Santa Cruz, upstairs meeting room

In addition to the board meeting, a seminar featuring three popular CSGA speakers will offer a full day of presentations for anyone with an interest in family history.

  • Cath Trindle – “Grandma, Who Are You?”
  • Wendy Elliott – “Finding Wives’ & Daughters’ Names” **
  • Mary Ann Vincent – “Mapping Our Ancestors; They Went Where? Why?” 
  • Janice Sellers – “Read All About It! Using Online Newspapers for Genealogical Research”

**UDPATE: Wendy Elliott has unfortunately had to cancel for personal reasons. She has been replaced by Cath Trindle.

This seminar is free and open to the public. For more information, please download the flyer, or visit the GSSCC website.

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Family History Month at SBCGS

Sahyun Library, SBCGS

October is Family History Month, and the Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society is celebrating with an open house and a month-long list of events and classes!

The annual Open House will be held on Saturday, September 26, 2015, from 1:00 to 4:00 pm, at the Sahyun Genealogical Library, 316 Castillo Street, Santa Barbara. Visitors can tour the library, meet SBCGS’s expert genealogists, connect with Special Interest Groups (SIGs), and find out how they can jump-start their family research. The SIGs include DNA genealogy, Jewish Genealogy, Italian Genealogy, Writing Support, German Genealogy, Nikkei Genealogy, Technology and Genealogy, French CanadianGen, and World War I Genealogy.

In addition to the Family History Month Open House, many other classes and events are available to the public. Classes are free for SBCGS members, but registration is required, and seating is limited. Non-members: $10/class, please pay at the door.

For full details and descriptions, please visit the Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society’s website.

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San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society Presents “Researching Your Litvak Roots”

JudyAcceptingAwardSunday, September 20, 2015
1:30–3:00 p.m.

Rhoda Goldman Plaza
2180 Post Street
San Francisco, CA 94115
(parking information available at

Numerous sources exist online and in various repositories for researching your Litvak heritage. Judy Baston will offer an overview of these sources and will detail the best ways to use key Litvak databases and websites to enhance your knowledge and expand your family tree. The presentation will include how to find out what records are available, how to read and understand search results, where the records are, and how best to access the information in them. The presentation will cover LitvakSIG and its All Lithuania Database, as well as numerous resources from JewishGen, Yad Vashem, and other sources.

About the speaker: Judy Baston, Vice President of LitvakSIG and recent honoree for lifetime achievement in genealogy by the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies, has been researching her family history from Lithuania and Poland for more than 25 years. She has visited her ancestral shtetlach in Lithuania, Poland, and Belarus and was involved in the filming of There Once Was a Town, about her father’s town of Eishishok (now Eisiskes in Lithuania). She moderates the discussion groups of LitvakSIG, JRI-Poland, BialyGen, and the Lodz Area Research Group and serves on the Board of Directors of JRI-Poland and of LitvakSIG, for which she coordinates the Lida District Research Group. She has been involved with the Jewish Community Library in San Francisco for 22 years and coordinates the monthly Brainstorming with the Mavens Genealogy Clinic at the Library.

The San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the development, preservation, and distribution of Jewish genealogical knowledge and material, and the sharing of techniques and tools with others who may be researching their Jewish roots.  Meetings are free, and everyone interested is welcome to attend. Coffee and tea will be served.

For more information, visit our Web site or contact

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August is the Right Time to Tell Your Senators About Your Record Access Concerns

Most of you are aware of the concerns the genealogical community has regarding the loss of access to the full Death Master File, commercially known as the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) and the impediments –financial and logistical—to them imposed by the Section 203 of the 2013 Bipartisan Budget Act, which went into effect 29 March 2014. 

For this to be changed we need YOUR help.

In late July, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approved SB 1073, Stopping Improper Payments to Deceased People Act. We—the genealogical community as represented by the Records Preservation and Access Committee (RPAC)–of which the IAJGS is a sponsoring member, want to have an amendment added to the bill. Our desire would amend Section 203 of the 2013 Bipartisan Budget Act so the information in the Death Master File can be released to the public except for the Social Security Number. For this we need you to write/visit your Senator to ask them to support such an amendment and perhaps co-sponsor it.  For more information and for a one-page talking point paper to assist you in understanding the issues and for talking with your US Senator see  and see the posts on 1 April 2015, “DMF—Comment Period on Proposed Final Rule Closed 30 March,” and under the Publications tab, “SSDI Timeline, 19 January 2015.”. Congress is currently recessed until 7 September 2015. Now is a good time to contact your Senators, either in person or by writing a letter.

Thank you for your support.

Jan Meisels Allen

Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

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You May Have To Limit Your Request for California and Other States’ Vital Records

document_blurIf you are ordering birth, marriage, or death records from some states in the U.S., including California, you may have to limit the number of copies requested due to a security paper shortage. The last printing firm in the United States that uses the special method known as intaglio has gone out of business.

California law requires birth, marriage, and death certificates be printed in a method known as intaglio—a security paper. California’s Department of Public Health and the 58 Counties use the security paper to produce requested copies of birth, marriage, and death certificates. All California counties purchased the paper from a printing company in Ohio, Sekuworks, which closed, resulting in at least several California counties having a reduced supply of secure paper on-hand to produce the vital records. There are limited printers who use that method — none in the U.S., but one in Canada. It may take legislative action to permit other types of secure paper to be used in California — 38 other states had to have a change in the type of security paper they used, as the intaglio process is no longer available from printers. As of the writing of this for Venturing Into Our Past, there are no bills introduced to the California Legislature that address this problem. The California Legislature is scheduled to adjourn on September 11th.

The Orange County Clerk- Recorder’s Office is now encouraging people to limit the number of copies they order while they try to find a new supplier of intaglio paper. Other California counties who get their security paper from the same source are also struggling, and Stanislaus County has limited the number of copies to only one. The state registrar has sufficient supplies for records into next year.

The State is working on a long-term solution, according to the Sacramento County Recorder, while that County has about 9 months’ supply of paper.

In the meantime, don’t be surprised if your requests for multiple copies of vital records may be limited.

Article contributed by CSGA Legislative Watch Chair, Jamie Mahew
Originally written by Jan Meisels Allen, President, JGSCV
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee
IAJGS Sponsoring Representative to RPAC

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