Trevetta Wunderlin, chair of the Genealogy Interest Group – Ancestor Trackers, opened the October 21, 2011 meeting and thanked Beth Wagner for recording last month’s minutes. We were given information about the John F. Germany Library’s program about the 1940 census which will be released next year, featuring Shane Bell of the National Archives & Records Administration, and received a written description of our Interest Group.

Trev led the discussion “Tackling a Research Question: How to Analyze and Research a Question.” She posed two research questions. The first had to do with finding the death dates for an aunt and uncle who were living in Illinois in 1963. The second question dealt with verifying a family story that a cousin, who lived in California, had been killed by her daughter. Trev supplied us with detailed descriptions and facts of both scenarios and told us how she was able to arrive at the answers. We talked about visiting county court houses, libraries, historical societies and cemeteries, and consulting the Social Security Death Index, local directories, newspapers and censuses and we discussed the value of draft registrations and obituaries. We were warned about the possibility that the spelling of names may change. The dates of death for the aunt and uncle were found with the help of the Logan County Genealogical & Historical Society in Lincoln, Illinois and the cousin was killed, stabbed with a kitchen knife, by her 15 year old daughter – found via a newspaper article.

We ended the meeting with conversations about the shutdown of the Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness database, the value of Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter, tips on searching Ancestry, and the value of using Newsbank, available to us at home through the public library.

Respectfully submitted,

Rosalyn Davenport Gibbs