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President's Corner


September 2014

Hello to all of my fellow family historians.  This month brings the end of summer and the start of fall although the thermometer does not seem to agree.  It makes me wonder how our ancestors endured the weather and all it brings.  The drought we here in California are experiencing is merely inconvenient for most of us, but for our ancestors it could bring the ruination of crops and worry about how to survive the winter.  Worry about where the money for seeds would come from in the spring.  Worry about how they would feed their animals.  Worry about how they would feed their children.  I love to read about history and a few years ago read the journal of a farmer in the area of Ontario, Canada that my fathers family came from.  He was writing about a drought and how they were coping with it.  He had to decide if he should slaughter his milk cow or let her go hoping to retrieve her when the drought was over.  He decided to let her go.  He got frustrated because his dogs kept bringing her back to the same stand of trees.  After the fourth time he went to get the dogs to lock them up when he realized the cow was pawing frantically at the ground and one of the dogs was digging at the same spot.  He decided to dig and came upon an underground stream.  It was large enough for him to water his garden and his animals.  This discovery led to an underground river that fed the farms of that area thru the end of the journal.  I cannot imagine the pain and stress he went thru as he made the decision to release his milk cow, to sede defeat to the drought.  Have you studied the weather history where your ancestors were from?  Have you found the forces of nature that have caused them to make momentous decisions? 
Check it out, you might be surprised what you discover.

Last month I mentioned a couple of websites and I am going to carry through with that this month.  I like to use Genealogy Spot It is a lot smaller than Cyndi’s list ( but can lead you to a variety of websites you might not have tried.  You can look up sites by record types, by country or state, by religion or ethnicity.  Whenever I start researching in a new location I check this site first.    Another site I like is Digital State Archives Each state has a unique digital collection(s).  The images you find can add history and color to your family history.   Give one of these sites a try and see if you can enrich your search.  See you at this month’s meeting.

Carma-Lu Thompson