Berrien County Genealogical Society
~ Upcoming Events~
þMark Your 2014 Calendar
(Note: When the St. Joseph Public Schools are closed due to inclement weather, the Library will be closed & our meeting will be cancelled or rescheduled.)
May 13 Tuesday Workshop: Attaching Stories and Histories and your memories in Family Tree
May 21 Wednesday Meeting at 7:00 p.m. Speaker: Barbara Cook will speak on the Palatine Indians
June 10 Tuesday Workshop: Scanning and Attaching Photos and Tagging those photos and attaching PDF files and instructions in Journaling
June 18 Wednesday Meeting at 7:00 p.m. Land Records – Lori Jarvis the Berrien County Register of Deeds will discuss what records are available in her office. We will follow this up with an evening lock-in at the Register of Deeds – date to be determined.
July 18 Tuesday Workshop: Printing Charts
July 16 Wednesday Meeting at 7:00 p.m. Scanning Records – A hands-on review of different scanners. We will discuss the Scanning Wand, Flip-Pal, and Flatbed scanners. The benefits and drawbacks of each and the cost. We will have several set-up for you to test.
August 12 Tuesday Workshop: Using Google to research your ancestors
August 20 Wednesday Meeting at 7:00 p.m. Coming to America: Research with Ship Passenger Lists – Kris Rzepczynski the Senior Archivist at the Archives of Michigan will explore the available U.S. passenger lists and indexes, the genealogical information typically found in them and strategies for finding arrival records of your immigrant ancestors.
September 9 Tuesday Workshop: Bring the Family History joys to your family
September 17 Wednesday Meeting at 7:00 p.m. Michigan Boys In Blue – John Urschel will discuss his book series “Michigan Boys In Blue” which document Civil War Servicemen from the Berrien County area.
October 14 Tuesday Workshop: Family History Month: Show what you know to a friend. Bring a friend to the meeting for a review and help them get started on their Family History
October 15 Wednesday Meeting at 6:00 p.m. Location to be Determined Pioneer Certificate Potluck – Christina Arseneau of the Heritage Museum and Cultural Center will present “Three Michigan Women in the Civil War”. We will also issue Pioneer Certificates to anyone who has completed their Pioneer Kit. Bring a dish to pass.
November 11 Tuesday Workshop: Family History Christmas Gifts
November 19 Wednesday Meeting at 7:00 p.m. Elections – Quick-Start Documenting Your Family History – Sarah Kirby will tell us how to record our family history for future generations to enjoy.
December: NO WORKSHOP
December 17 Wednesday Meeting at 6:00 p.m. at The Cooley’s (3871 Meadow Lane, St. Joseph) Christmas Potluck and Toys for Tots. Bring a dish to pass along with an unwrapped toy to donate.
Become a member of the Berrien County Genealogical Society by visiting our web site bcgensoc.com - emailing firstname.lastname@example.org - mailing a request to P.O. Box 8808, Benton Harbor, MI 49023; or attending any meeting.
Single membership $18; Family membership $28. You’ll receive monthly Past Finder newsletters, discounts on BCGS publications, books, and seminars; post free queries in Past Finder and on our web site.
Meetings held in 2014:
January 15, Wednesday Meeting at 7:00 p.m.Local Resources – We will discuss what information local repositories hold and lesser known sources for genealogical information.
February 11, Tuesday Workshop: Introduction to Family Search/Family Tree. Learn to log in and add information on your current family
February 19, Wednesday Meeting at 7:00 p.m. Genealogy Software – What software is available to keep track of your family tree? We will discuss the most popular software including Family Tree Maker, Legacy, and Roots Magic. Come test drive these titles to see the features of each.
March 11 Tuesday Workshop: Doing searches in FamilySearch and adding them to your Source Box and linking the sources to your family
March 19 Wednesday Meeting at 7:00 p.m.Online Databases – Using online resources to search for genealogical information. What is available on the internet, the cost, what they contain, etc.
April 8 Tuesday Workshop: Adding references to your Family Tree from sources outside of FamilySearch.
April 16 Wednesday Meeting at 7:00 p.m.Organizing Records – A discussion on how to organize your genealogical information. Different filing systems will be discussed.
Meetings Held in 2013
January 16, 2013 Meeting –Open to Public: Dr. Stuart Boekeloo will be our guest speaker discussing Michigan’s participation in the Civil War and the War of 1812. Annual memberships begin in January during this meeting you may purchase memberships at a discount. $15 for a single membership and $25 for a family membership. (Reg. $18 & $28) Renewal notices have been mailed.
January, 26, 2013 Workshop – Community Genealogy Fair:You and your entire family are invited to spend an afternoon of education, fun, & demos at the LDS Family History Center "Finding The Roots of Your Family Tree" It’s FREE!! This will take the place of the January workshop - It will be held at 3711 Niles Rd in St. Joseph MI
February 12, 2013 Workshop – Great Class for Beginners held at the Family History Center (LDS Church) 3711 Niles Rd in St. Joseph MI. This workshop is designed to get you started in your research. If you are an experienced researcher, please invite a friend who would like to get started. Intro to forms, research methods, etc.
February 20, 2013 Meeting – Open to Public:Learn how you can research your Civil War Ancestor.
March 12, 2013 – Workshop 3711 Niles Rd in St. Joseph MIDescendancy Research
March 20, 2013 Meeting – Open to Public:Marnie Heyn will entertain us with the origin of surnames. Please give a list of your family surnames to a Board member or email them to email@example.com; if you would like Marnie to research your surnames. You might be surprised at their meanings and origins.
June 11 (Tuesday) at 7:00 p.m. “They Can’t Put it on the Internet if it isn’t True!” Learn how to verify information that you have researched on the internet. Learn the difference between Primary and Secondary Sources.
June 19 (Wednesday) at 7:00 p.m. Using a Timeline in your Genealogy Research. We will discuss how keeping a timeline can help you in year research and tracking your ancestors.
.July 9 (Tuesday) at 7:00 p.m. “Hide & Seek – Here I Come, Ready or Not!” In this workshop you will learn why it is hard to find your ancestors and hints of their hiding places.
July 17 (Wednesday) at 7:00 p.m. Coming from Germany. John Bettig will share his story of immigrating from Germany.
August 13 (Tuesday) at 7:00 p.m. “Is it Genealogy or Name Gathering?” In this workshop you will find out the difference between a Genealogist who researches or a Gatherer with no sources.
August 21 (Wednesday) at 7:00 p.m. Tracy Gierada, Curator of the North Berrien Historical Society and Museum will entertain us.
September 10 (Tuesday) at 7:00 p.m. “From Indexes to Records” In this workshop you will learn about indexes and how you use them in your research.
September 18 (Wednesday) at 7:00 p.m. "Family Tree on Family Search" Aloma Custer will update us on the new Family Trees application on Family Search.
October 8 (Tuesday) at 7:00 p.m. “Why Can’t I Find My Ancestor’s Name?” This workshop will discuss name variations and why names change.
October 16 (Wednesday) at 6:00 p.m. at the Historic Tryon School (corner of John Beers and Scottdale Roads) Pioneer Certificate Potluck. Karen Krugman will present “So your female ancestor has no surname.” We will also issue Pioneer Certificates to anyone who has completed their Pioneer Kit. Bring a dish to pass.
November 12 (Tuesday) at 7:00 p.m. “Now What Did I Do With That Record?” This workshop will help you find a way to Organize your research and records.
November 20 (Wednesday) at 7:00 p.m. Election, 2013 Meeting Wrap-up, Members Pictures, Year in Review, Show & Tell, Brickwall Forum. Bring an item to show/discuss or a brick wall you need help with.
December 10 (Tuesday) at 7:00 p.m. “What’s Next?”
December 18 (Wednesday) at 6:00 p.m. at The Cooley’s (3871 Meadow Lane, St. Joseph) Christmas Potluck and Toys for Tots. Bring a dish to pass along with an unwrapped toy to donate.
Meetings Held in 2012:
April 10, 7:00 p.m. – Workshop: Your opportunity for instruction and hands on help:
April 19 – BCGS Meeting – Open to Public: Family Reunions. Instructor: Charlene Randall. Be sure to bring your experiences with organizing or attending a family reunion. Share the good things that happened and the things that could have been done better.
(May 8, 7:00 p.m. – Regular Scheduled Workshop: Information listed below the Make-Up Workshop)
May 8, 6:00 p.m. – Make Up Workshop for those who missed the first workshop in April:
If you have a laptop please bring it with you for your research. There will be a few computers available if you do not have a laptop.
Videos for first meeting:
5 Minute Genealogy Video: Find a Record in Five Minutes
You may have asked yourself: “What is family history and genealogy?” “Why would I do genealogy?” “Is genealogy difficult?” An increasing number of technological advances has made genealogy simple to do. In this video episode, Jesse (in the video) will show you examples of how to find an ancestor’s record in just five minutes. You will learn how to search for a record using FamilySearch.org.
5 Minute Genealogy Video: The Circle of Success
When you want to start your genealogy but don’t know where to start, it can make beginning family history intimidating and confusing. In this video episode, Jesse and Tom (in the video) will show you some steps and helpful hints that will make starting your family history easier. You will learn some principles of the “circle of success” and how to use it as a guide to choose what to do next. These videos can also serve as guides that will help you choose what you want to learn and then help you learn it.
5 Minute Genealogy Video: Record What You Know
You may have asked yourself: “Where do I begin?” Organizing what you already know about your family is the easiest way to start you family history. In this video, Jesse will show you what you already know so you can organize your future research effors. You will learn how to find and use pedigree charts, family group records, and computer software programs to easily record names, events, dates, and places.
5 Minute Genealogy Video: Learn from a Record
You may have asked yourself: “I’m searching for an ancestor, but there are a few names that look identical. How can I know which one belongs to the ancestor I am looking for?” Sometimes it can be difficult to tell the difference between two identical-looking names. In this episode, Jesse and Tom will show you what you can do to figure out which name belongs to your ancestor. You will learn how to identify your ancestor’s unique characteristics through names, dates, relationships, and locations.
5 Minute Genealogy Video: Evaluate the Information
You may have asked yourself: “I have a lot of records. How do I know the information I’ve gathered is right?” Some records are created years after an event occurs making it difficult to know if the information is correct. In this video, Jesse and Tom will show you the importance of making sure your information is accurate as well as some simple steps you can use to evaluate the information you’ve gathered. You will learn how to use specific records and resources that will help you evaluate the information you’ve found.
May 8, 7:00 p.m. – Workshop: Your opportunity for instruction and hands on help
5 Minute Genealogy Video : Learn from Family
You may have asked yourself: “How can my family members help me?” “What questions should I ask them?” “Who should I talk to first?” Communicating with family members can connect living relatives and help families learn their ancestors’ stories and experiences. In this episode, Jesse will show you how talking with family members can help you update your pedigree, learn more about a specific ancestor’s life, and lead you on a journey through memories and stories you can record for future generations. You will learn how to ask questions that will reveal dates, events, locations, names, and other pieces of valuable information.
5 Minute Genealogy Video: Choose an Ancestor and Question
You may have asked yourself: “Which ancestor do I begin with?” Knowing where to start once you have your pedigree ready can seem like a mystery. In this episode, Jesse and Tom will show you the principles of choosing the best ancestor to focus on—the one whom you can successfully find in records. You will learn how to choose a specific ancestor and locate missing information about that person, eventually connecting entire family lines!
May 17 – BCGS Meeting – Open to Public: Famous Local Women. Presenter: Denise Pilato, who has recently written an article on Clarissa Brittan.
June 12, 7:00 p.m. – Workshop: Your opportunity for instruction and hands on help
5 Minute Genealogy Video: Find Help from Others Online
You may have asked yourself: “I’ve been trying to stay excited, but I just feel discouraged. How can I enjoy my genealogy and find more success?” Researching alone can be tedious and discouraging. In this episode, Jesse and Tom will show you how working with others online and in person can recharge your family history research and help you discover more information about your family. You will learn how to use collaborative websites like wikis, forums, and online community family trees to connect with other people who may be searching the same
June 21 - BCGS Meeting – Open to Public: Internet Resources and using your IPhone, tablets for your genealogical research. Also includes Instruction on Facebook – Twitter – Clouds etc. Instructor: Paul Fletcher.
July 10, 7:00 p.m. – Workshop: Your opportunity for instruction and hands on help
5 Minute Genealogy Video: Locating Your Ancestor
You may have asked yourself: “If I know an ancestor’s name, what should I look for next to find the person’s records?” Pinpointing locations can help you know where to look for your ancestor’s records. In this episode, Jesse and Tom will show you how maps, atlases, and gazetteers can help you locate your ancestors. You will learn the difference between the three tools and how to use them effectively to improve your search results.
5 Minute Genealogy Video: Get Help With Locations
You may have asked yourself: “My ancestors are from a different country. Do I have to go there to find their records?” “What resources are on FamilySearch.org to help me?” “I’m at home. What resources do you have that can help me from here?” You don’t have to travel far to access your family history records. In this episode, Jesse and Tom will show you how to use the courses, wikis, and other great tools on FamilySearch.org to find your ancestors and get answers to your questions—right from home.
July 19 – BCGS Meeting – Open to Public: Genealogy Christmas Gift Ideas (Christmas in July) Presenter: Betty Renbarger (Verify with Joyce Hudak)
August 3 (Friday) – BCGS Meeting – Open to Public: Kids Day Camp – Maud Preston Library – 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Registration required. Call the Library to register.
August 16 – BCGS Meeting – Open to Public: Making Genealogy Christmas Gifts using the ideas presented in the July 19th meeting.
August 14, 7:00 p.m. – Workshop: Your opportunity for instruction and hands on help
September 11, 7:00 p.m. – Workshop: Your opportunity for instruction and hands on help
September 20– BCGS Meeting – Open to Public: Census Records and the software “Magic Key” Presenter: (get name from Patsy)
October 9, 7:00 p.m. – Workshop: Your opportunity for instruction and hands on help
October 18 – BCGS Meeting – Open to Public: Pioneer Certificate Meeting – Presentation of Certificates. Speaker to be determined.
October (Date to be determined) – BCGS Meeting" (Possible Lock-In with subject on researching Military Records.)
November 13, 7:00 p.m. – Workshop: Your opportunity for instruction and hands on help
November 22 No General Meeting
December 11, 7:00 p.m. – Workshop: Your opportunity for instruction and hands on help
December Annual Pot Luck at the Cooley’s home. Bring a Toys for Tots unwrapped gift.
MEETINGS THAT WE'VE HELD in 2010:
December 15, 2010 – Christmas Potluck and Toys for Tots Donation at the Cooley’s for BCGS members and their guests.
November 17, 2010 – Guest Speaker: Sue Irvine, member of the Michigan Genealogical Society , "Branches - Do They Snap or Bend?"
October 20, 2010 – Guest Speaker: Karen Krugman, "Researching There While You're Here". Karen will give us tips for researching locations you cannot visit. These tips will be useful to locate records when you are unable to physically travel to the site of the records. This presentation will teach you the methods and resources for filling out your family tree when its roots are far flung. It will also offer hints and ideas for using the Internet to track down relatives that always throw a monkey wrench into your family research.
September 15, 2010 - Guest Speaker: Caryn Adler , "So Many Ancestors, So Little Time" – We will learn how to organize and prioritize our research to make the most of our time. This topic is one that is often requested and we have the opportunity of having Caryn speak to us on this topic.
Cancelled: September 15,
Speaker: Shirley Hodges (Unexpected Emergency Surgery - hope she recovers soon!)
August 25, 2010 – Pioneer Ice Cream Social (Rescheduled from June) – location, time and Guest Speaker to be determined. This event is to recognize those who have completed the requirements for Pioneer Certificates and a ceremony to present the certificates. One of the fun things that we are planning on doing this year is to get everyone to participate in the Ice Cream Social. All that you need to do is bring with you a 5 Generation Pedigree Chart filled out as best you can. If you have your information on the chart completed you will receive a dish and spoon. If you have your parents information filled out on the chart you will receive Ice Cream. If you have your Grandparents filled out on the chart you will receive toppings. If you have your Great Grand Parents filled out you will receive Whipped Cream and if you have your Great Great Grandparents filled out you will receive a banana and a cherry to put on it. Because we will need to know ahead of time how many people to plan for, we will request an RSVP with a report of how many generations are completed on your chart. The Pedigree charts will be on display for everyone to view - and perhaps discover a common ancestor! Be sure to make plans to come and join us for this fun event.
July 21, 2010 – Guest Speaker: Harold Henderson, "Hortense vs. the rest of the world – or, What to do when you don’t have Perry Mason on your team". – Based on some research Harold is just finishing up, from Kane County, Illinois in the 1840’s. Many of us will recall how every episode of the old TV show "Perry Mason" ended with a dramatic tearful confession that explained the whole mystery. Even as a kid Harold began to suspect the world didn't always work that way! What do we do when we as researchers don't find a record that provides all that -- or worse yet, we find conflicting "confessions"? The case of Hortense Goodrich illustrates an approach using indirect evidence. Bonus: Within Hortense's tragic story there's an extra 169-year-old mystery of a new kind that Harold has not been able to solve, and audience members may have some ideas about possible explanations.
June 2010 meeting cancelled because of tornado warning.
May 22, 2010 – Morton Hill Cemetery Clean-up. This is our annual cleanup of the cemetery. We meet in the morning about 9:00 and prepare the cemetery for Memorial Day. Morton Hill is one of the original Cemeteries in the area with many of the founding fathers of Benton Harbor buried there. Bring your rakes, leaf blowers, edge trimmers, gloves etc and help us clean and manicure this historical site. For those interested there will be instruction on how to clean headstones. Invite your friends and neighbors to help with this community service. The cemetery is located in downtown Benton Harbor.
April 21, 2010 – Guest Speaker: Caryn Adler – "So Many Ancestors, So Little Time" – We will learn how to organize and prioritize our research to make the most of our time. This topic is one that is often requested and we have the opportunity of having Caryn speak to us on this topic.
March 17, 2010 – Guest Speaker: Paul Fletcher, "Navigating through the BCGS Members Only website and Blog". We will also discuss using Facebook, Twitter, Mailing Lists, and Message Boards. Paul has been instrumental in upgrading this website with the PayPal capabilities and is responsible for creating the "Members Only" page on our website.
January 20, 2010 – Guest Speaker: Carol Bainbridge – "Early Berrien County Settlers: Where did they come from? What did they do?" This program will present information on the men and women who first settled Berrien County, Michigan and were responsible for its agricultural, industrial and commercial development. Over the years hundreds of people from many foreign lands and other parts of this country have settled in this area. We will examine where they came from, what the factors were that influenced them to come to this area, and what their occupations were once they got here.
MEETINGS THAT WE'VE HELD in 2009:
December 16, 2009
~ Wednesday ~
Bring your favorite food and
join us for our Annual Potluck and "Toys for Tots". Those attending
will be requested to bring an
November 7, 2009 ~ Saturday ~
Time: 9:00 a.m.
Save the date!!! We are excited to bring Shirley Hodges to the area for this special Saturday seminar. Shirley will discuss “Preserving Heirlooms and Why” plus “How to Preserve Heirlooms”. The seminar will be held at the Park Inn, 4290 Red Arrow Hwy, Stevensville (Exit 23 on I-94); more details will be available as the date nears. Check our web site often.
October 21, 2009 ~ Wednesday ~
Time: 7:00 p.m. (Location Change)
Following that theme the Berrien
County Genealogical Society has an historical display set-up at the Maud Preston
Palenske Memorial Library, 500 Market St., St. Joseph. It is on display all
September 16, 2009 ~ Wednesday ~
Time: 7:00 p.m.
We welcome back speaker, Brian Hancock who will tell stories of those who came through Ellis Island. He will cover some of the hardships and events involved those who came to America through this national landmark. In 2007 we were honored to have Brian speak on Immigration to America. Now we welcome him back to tell us stories of those who came through Ellis Island. Come and join us for a wonderful evening.
meeting in August - Enjoy
the Youth Fair
July 15, 2009 ~ Wednesday ~ “How to Organize Your Family Data”
Time: 7:00 p.m.
panel discussion on Organizing your Genealogy will be held at Berrien
Springs Community Library at 7:00 p.m. Bring your ideas and tell us how you
keep your family genealogy records in order. We’ll have ideas to share too.
June 23, 2009 ~ Tuesday ~ Pioneer Certificate Presentation & Potluck
MAY 23,2009 9:00 a.m. - Noon (Saturday Morning)
Location: Morton Hill Cemetery - Benton Harbor Michigan
~ “Clean up & Restoration” day at Morton Hill Cemetery in Benton Harbor, Michigan. Spend a day working side-by-side with other club members, neighbors, and other clubs. Be sure to bring your yard tools, rakes, leaf blowers, edge trimmers, etc.
A few of the members of the "Friends of Morton House" will portray some of the early settlers of Benton Harbor who are buried there and tell us a little about their lives. There will be flags to place on the veterans graves and a brief history of Benton Harbor will be told as we enjoy snacks. Everyone is encouraged to come and help with the cleanup. All ages are welcome!
Click here for photos of last years cleanup. Morton Hill 2008
APRIL 15, 2009 7:00 P.M.
Peggy Brughman will speak on
“Deciphering Old Handwriting”.
This should be very enlightening if you’ve ever struggled to read beautiful old
handwriting. Bring along some handwriting you’re deciphering and maybe you’ll
discover just what it says.
Peggy is a member of the Genealogical Speakers Guild and has been giving presentations at genealogical meetings and seminars since 2006. Her most popular talk is "Deciphering Old Handwriting." She has been involved in family research for over 30 years with her personal work focusing on colonial Virginia, New York State, Ohio, and Chicago, IL. Peggy is presently working on a Bachelors Degree in Public History at Western Michigan University. When she is not studying or out gardening she is (still) writing her family history book.