January 2013 eNews

Classes and Events*

PUBLIC PROGRAMS:  Free Genealogy Programs for the Public are held at Jackson County Genealogy Library, 3405 S. Pacific Highway and begin at 1:30 PM.  Each program is followed by refreshments and a brief business meeting of the Rogue Valley Genealogical Society. Visitors welcome.

JANUARY 15, 2013: Kevin Airrington, certified genealogist, will conduct a march through the Civil War beginning with the first shot at Fort Sumter to the surrender at Appomattox.

FEBRUARY 19, 2013: Photo Contest winners. Meet the winners of the RVGS Annual Photo Contest and see their photos.

MARCH 19, 2013:  Doug Devine will offer a presentation on the  Confederate submarine, H. L. Hunley, which was sunk in 1864 during the Civil War.  The tiny sub had a crew of 8 was sunk during the war, and was found in 1995 off the coast of Charleston, SC under several feet of silt.


Please call (541)512-2340 to reserve a space in these classes or drop by the library and sign up there.

JANUARY 19, 2013 – 10:30AM – 12:00PM (Saturday)   NO FEE  Beginning Genealogy – INSTRUCTOR:  Charleen Brown. Learn the basics to begin your family tree.

JANUARY 24, 2013 – 10:30AM-12:30PM (Thursday)   $10.00 Members;  $20.00 Non-members  Finding the Hidden Treasures in the JCGL Collection  –  INSTRUCTOR:   Anne Billeter. Library Director Anne Billeter will show you  what’s where and how to use the library’s online catalog.

FEBRUARY 2, 2013 – 10:30AM-12:30PM (Saturday)    $10.00 Members;  $20.00 Non-members. 50 Do’s and Don’t’s of Genealogy  –  INSTRUCTOR: Betty Miller.  Learn the things you wish that someone had told you at the beginning of your research.  You will hear a total of 50 points to start you off and keep you on track.

FEBRUARY 23, 2013 – 10:30AM-12:30PM  (Saturday).  Donation Requested. Brick Wall Roundtable  –  FACILITATOR:   Charleen Brown. Do you have an elusive ancestor you have searched for?  Or ancestors you can trace just so far and have hit the “brick wall”.   Charleen Brown will offer suggestions for researching and locating some of that missing information.

Special Event Sponsored by Grants Pass Genealogical Society

Bus Trip to Oregon State Archives

We’re going to the Oregon State Archives…..but let’s leave the driving to someone else!When: Tuesday – Feb. 12, 2013 Cost:$35.00 lunch is extra Time: Leave Grants Pass at 7 AM via Raindance Bus Tours – Bring a lunch or plan to eat lunch at Home Town Buffet in Salem –Depart from the Grants Pass Walmart Parking lot -NE F St. – on the east side of Walmart – plenty of parking at this location

Space is limited to 40 passengers and subject to cancellation.  First come, first served  deadline to make a reservation is  Jan. 20th.  Call (541) 471-1944 or click on the following to download a print a registration form: http://www.rvgsociety.org/pdf/ArchivesResForm.pdf

RVGS Bus Trip to Salt Lake City’s Family History LibraryFHL


April 8-15, 2013

HAVE you ever …dreamed of having access to a free library filled with answers regarding your family tree? …fantasized about researching genealogy all day long if you wanted to?…wished you could consult free with world and regional experts?…longed to take free classes in genealogical research? …wondered what it would be like to share your research efforts with like-minded people? …thought about combining a relaxing trip/vacation with your favorite pastime? …considered visiting Salt Lake City and its surroundings?

If you have, then you need to join us in April of 2013!  Plans are underway for the annual trip to Salt Lake City to the Family History Library.  We travel by bus with Raindance, a professional tour bus operator with new and comfortable buses that have plenty of room to spread out. We pass through beautiful eastern Oregon and the Sheldon National Wildlife Preserve in Nevada, and often see wildlife along on the way—wild horses, wild donkeys, antelope, and sandhill cranes.

Our Itinerary

  •  Leave Medford a.m. Monday, April 8th. Overnight in Winnemucca
  • Arrive in SLC around 4 or 5 p.m. on Tuesday April 9th.
  • Library is open till 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday evening for research nuts!
  •  Research Wednesday April 10th. through Saturday April 13th
  •  4 days to do as you please—research, take tours, enjoy city shopping and dining!
  •  Leave SLC Sunday April 14th. Overnight in Winnemucca.
  •  Arrive in Medford evening of  Monday April 15th.

We stay at the Plaza Hotel, next door to the Family History Library and the free downtown metro rail line stops in front of the hotel.  There are beautiful views from the rooms and a restaurant on site. This year the cost will be $820 per person double occupancy.  (Single occupancy is usually $300 or more – check with Raindance.)  More information will be provided later but if you are interested, please get your name on the list now by contacting us at 541-512-2340 or by dropping by the library! We must have 20 people to make this trip possible.

*You can visit the RVGS Events Calendar by clicking on the Calendar link on the RVGSociety.org website.  Here’s the direct link to the calendar, http://rvgsociety.org/Calendar.html.

dividerNews of the Jackson County Genealogy Library


The Website Menu (shown above) provided on patron computers has recently been changed.  The following articles describe recent additions to the list of subscription sites that can be accessed directly from that menu.  Helpful tip: To return to the Website Menu after  you have navigated away from it, just click on the Home icon.


Ancestry.com at JCGL                                                                                                               JCGL now provides access to the Library Edition of Ancestry.com on all patron computers and the reception computer.  From the Website Menu click on Ancestry.com (Library Edition) in the left-hand column. If you have a personal subscription to Ancestry.com use the link in the right-hand column. Login with your username and password.   Personal subscriptions include access to Public Family Trees and a few other resources, that the Library Edition does not.

Ancestry.com  recently provided a brief one page (two-sided) handout providing search tips.  We recommend you download and print these tips to make your searches more successful, here’s the link to download that file: http://www.rvgsociety.org/pdf/DecAMUGuide.pdf


A donation to JCGL made by Andrea Patterson, RVGS Secretary funded access to the Genealogy Today (GT) subscription website.  As mentioned in the article about the Railroad Club later in this post,  GT provides access to information about railroad lines and railroad employees.   Provided below is  information taken from their blog about the kinds of information available on Genealogy Today:

How is Genealogy Today different from other Data Providers?  There are plenty of excellent companies, including Ancestry.com, GenealogyBank.com, Footnote.com and FamilySearch.org, that specialize in very large collections often with a strong focus on vital records. We focus primarily on SMALL documents, often from obscure sources, with a focus on the social history of our ancestors. The books and documents in our collection can reveal activities in your ancestors’ lives. Where did they go to school? Where did they work? Did they belong to a lodge? Or a local woman’s club? And while many of these resources are social or service oriented, many contain vital records as well. Since our focus is on smaller documents (most with fewer than a thousand names), we’re able to release several a week (typically on Sunday). We always try to include a thumbnail image of the document cover, and non-subscribers may search the name indexes free of charge. We purchase original copies of the resources used as source material for Genealogy Today Subscription Data from a variety of places, including estate sales, regional book, paper and ephemera sales, used book stores, several used books sellers that we’ve worked with over the years, and, of course, eBay! Some materials are also donated to us from libraries and visitors to our web site. The information in our database is transcribed by hand, and verified for accuracy, from these original documents mostly published between 1830 and 1930 — including Masonic rosters, rural school and college catalogues, vintage telephone directories, insurance claims, tax records, church catalogues, railroad seniority rosters, fraternal group and business association memberships, farm directories and all sorts of clubs and societies! The amount of information available for each individual varies from document to document, with some documents listing just the person’s name. Photographs of individuals included in these documents are made available online for subscribers upon request.

Genealogy Today can be accessed either from the Website Menu on the patron computers or from notebook computers used at JCGL.  Submit your target in the search box; ignore the request for login information.  dividerFind My Past Websitefindmypast-logo

Barb Basden, 2012 RVGS Electronic Publications Director, donated funds to enable JCGL to offer the website, FindMyPast.com. Listed below are some of the resources available on that website:

  • The most complete England, Wales and  Scotland census collection, including the official England and Wales 1911 census
  • Millions of British parish records (baptisms, marriages and burials) dating back as far as 1538 which we add to every      month
  • Migration records, including exclusive passenger lists leaving the UK 1890-1960
  • Australia/New Zealand records, Irish  records
  • US Records:  Census records from 1790-1940, Military Records,  Vital Records from KY and TX

Other Features of the FindMyPast.com website:

  • Access to episodes of Find My Past, the British TV series:  Learn how three people’s lives can be traced back to ancestors involved in a single major historical event.
  • Build your family tree on the FindMyPast.com website
  • Coming soon: Access digitized records from genealogical societies throughout the US

You can access FindMyPast.com from the Website Menu on all patron computers at JCGL.

dividerLooking for New Books  Added to the JCGL Collection?

At the request of Library Director, Anne Billeter, lists of new additions to the JCGL Collection are now located on the JCGL website (rvgslibrary.org).  The most recent additions were catalogued as of Mid-December 2012. Look under the About Us link on the library website; here’s the url: http://www.rvgslibrary.org/Library_Resources.html. You can download and print a copy of the additions.

News of the Rogue Valley Genealogical Society

HAVE YOU JOINED THE RVGS 5/60 CLUB?                                                             Story Submitted by Barbara MacMillen, RVGS Financial Director

By now you have heard about, read about, seen a picture of, or visited the exciting new location of our Jackson County Genealogy Library at 3405 South Pacific Hwy., Medford, OR.  We are all very pleased with the new building and the expanded services we are able to provide in this larger facility.


Expanded services include the following:

  • More patron computers
  • A large reading room
  • Laptop usage areas
  • A mentoring service area
  • Larger classroom, more classes
  • Expanded meeting area
  • Events in our own building
  • And last but not least, plenty of parking

Member contributions to the Annual and Building Fund Drives have made this move possible and we thank each and every one who donated so generously.  However, this is just the beginning.  We still need the support to pay off the mortgage.  Our other building is for sale and we have had some interest, but, as you know, the real estate market is slow so selling it may take some time.  In the meantime, we are faced with mortgage payments on the new building.  We can do this, but we need your help.

That is why we are inviting members and non-members to join our annual “5/60 Club.”   What is that?  It is very simple!  If each person who reads this  would contribute as little as an additional $5 per month or $60 per year, the funds would reduce the mortgage considerably.  For example, 500 members (we have over 500) each donating $5 monthly or $60 annually would generate $30,000.  This would easily make the mortgage payments ($1,600 per month) as well as reduce the principal by approximately $10,000.

So, we are asking each member and non-member, even if you have already donated, to join our club.  It will make a big difference in paying off the mortgage.

Thank you for your support,   RVGS Board of Directors


My Visit to the New York City Genealogy Library

Submitted by Charleen Brown, RVGS President

Charleen in Gen. Lib. NYC

Last July, I had the opportunity to spend a week in New York City when I attended an International Conference of Women Educators.  While there, I had the once-in-a-lifetime chance to visit all the usual places we only hear about or see on TV.   We visited the following places:  Times Square, Wall Street, the Empire State Building, the new World Trade Center construction site, Grand Central Station, Central Park, The Statue of Liberty, and Ellis Island.  We attended a couple of Broadway shows, ate in delis and even took a short ride on the subway.

   My friend was a retired public librarian so we chose to visit the New York City Public Library and while there, I went up to the 2nd floor to visit the New York City Genealogy Library.  I was very surprised.  As we entered, there was a small librarian’s station on the right with two librarians seated at desks.  There was no sign-in book and neither librarian looked up, greeted us, or even acknowledged that we were there during our entire visit.

In the picture you can see tables on the right showing numbers four through six.  That’s right, there were only six tables.  I saw no patron computers but they may provide WiFi because the lady at Table 4 has a laptop.  I am leaning on the end of a stack located a little past the middle of the room so I estimate there were about 12 stacks.  These double-sided stacks were about 8’ high and 12’ or so long.  The bookcase on the back wall is empty.  Books seemed to be the only available resources and no offices or volunteer work areas were visible.





                                          RVGS Annual Christmas Party                                      

Submitted by Charleen Brown, RVGS President

The RVGS annual Installation of Officers and Volunteer Recognition Christmas Luncheon, was held December 15, 2012 at 3405 S. Pacific Hwy., Medford.  This was the first Christmas Party held in our new building with more than 75 members and guests attending.  As in the past, this annual event was supported by the Genealogy Gift Basket Raffle.  Sue Dunford and Vern Arnold each won a basket and a gift card was won by Marlene Herinckx .

The following Officers for 2013 were installed by Installing Officer, Jean Maack:Board SwearingSm

President ————— Charleen Brown (far right)

Vice President———-Connie Miller (second from left)

Secretary—————–Andrea Patterson(second from right)

Treasurer—————–Colista Bailey(center)

Trustee——————–Marie Fulbright(far left)





locomotiveRailroad Show

Story Submitted by Andrea Patterson, RVGS Secretary

The RVGS Board would like to thank RVGS Member Bruce McGarvey, for his leadership in paving the way for RVGS to have a booth at the Railroad Show Thanksgiving weekend. It was our first year of participation and we felt it was good publicity for the Jackson County Genealogy Library. There was a lot of interest in participants seeking out information regarding their railroad employee ancestor.

The 35th Rogue Valley Railroad Show published a newsletter stating they had 3,800 visitors this year with 21 exhibitors, highlighting everything from operating model railroads of all scales, historical railroad artifacts, to full size railroad equipment. In the newsletter was the following:

Our newest exhibitor this year was the Rogue Valley Genealogy Library. The RVGS exhibit addressed the migration of early settlers across the nation and methods to find our railroad employees’ retirement records through the Railroad Retirement Board and other resources. Family history stories were common topics for all. (Bruce McGarvey, author)”

Next year’s Annual Railroad Show is November 30-Dec. 1, 2013.

Our library at 3405 S. Pacific Hwy. has subscribed to a new website, GENEALOGY TODAY (see more details later), with links to many specific railroad lines among other new items offered for genealogists.  Again, thank you Bruce for all your help.

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