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28 August 2009

Found in Fort Wayne

Ten members of the California Genealogical Society met at America's crossroads for the biennial CGS Research week at the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center in Fort Wayne, Indiana. This year's group included members Carole Brisson, Kathryn Doyle, Sandy Fryer, Jane Hufft, Mary Mettler, Frankie Rhodes, Jim Robinson, Pat Smith and Kate VanDemark, led by Jane Knowles Lindsey.

Sandy Fryer and Jane Hufft.

On Wednesday I wordlessly posted several photograph of our week in the library, including some of Curt Witcher, Genealogy Center Manager, who generously gave us a personal tour of the facility and an excellent private lecture on military resources.

Pat Smith, Jane Lindsey and Carol Brisson

All in all we were a pretty driven group - entering the library at 9:00 a.m. when it opened and staying until the last closing announcement at 9:00 p.m. (6:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.) The exception was mealtimes.

Jim Robinson and Mary Mettler.

Unfortunately, the concession that ran the in-house cafe on the main floor of the library (which served great soup and sandwiches two years ago) has been replaced by Dunkin' Donuts. That meant more time out at restaurants and less library time and consequently, a bit more fun (as you can see by this collection of photographs.)

Pat, Kathryn, Jim and Frankie Rhodes.

This year's group was a little smaller so we ate together as a group several times during the week. New friendships were formed and former connections were rekindled.

Frankie, Kate, Jim, Kathryn and Jane Hufft.

As always, a special dinner celebration was held on the last night and everyone shared some of their special finds. Here's a quick list of some of the week's highlights:

Pat Smith proved Thomsen Clark who was named in her sister-in-law's will. Pat found her in Indiana in the 1880 census.

Jane Knowles Lindsey and Pat Smith did some work on the Judge Project - the latest of the society's group research undertakings. Jane was tracking Alonzo Kelly of Iowa. She found his widow and four children in Arkansas in 1900.

Sandy Fryer made a wonderful discovery using PERSI – the PERiodical Source Index. She learned that her ggg-grandfather, Martin Burris, died instantly after being shot by "Mr. Frost" during a dispute over a cow in Wayne County, Kentucky.

Mary Mettler found the maiden name – Whitney – of Mary, seventeenth century wife of Ephraim Pierce of Groton, Middlesex County, Massachusetts.

Jane Hufft was thrilled to find Volumes 1 and 2 of Etched in Stone: Newburyport, Massachusetts Cemeteries by Noreen Cook Pramberg. For some reason the Family History Library in Salt Lake City has one volume and NEHGS in Boston has the other. Jane insists that "Both volumes are essential!" She also told me several times that she should could easily spend another week – she was finding so much.

Carole Brisson found "some good stuff" using two volumes on the New England RAWSON family.

Frankie Rhodes made progress tracking her great-grandfather, Ezra Nichols and his wife Margaret Downs. She found them on a passenger list and located information from 1886 in a Sacramento newspaper.

Jim Robinson got organized and worked with Jane on his JUDY (Tschudi) application to the National Society Sons of the American Revolution (SAR).

All of us on the last night.

If you have never been on a group research tour, it's something you should seriously consider. Lots of genealogy was discussed during these meals. When a group gets together like this ideas keep flowing even after the library has closed.

Photographs courtesy of Carol Webb Brisson, Jane Knowles Lindsey and Kathryn Doyle, August 2009, Fort Wayne, Indiana.