Click Here to Receive New Posts
in Your Inbox

This form does not yet contain any fields.

    In every family, someone ends up with “the stuff.” It is the goal of The Family Curator to inspire, enlighten, and encourage other family curators in their efforts to preserve and share their own family treasures.

    Now Available

    Follow Me

    Entries in SCGS (14)


    Well Done APG: New Youth Membership Level

    Student Grant Award

    The Association of Professional Genealogists is to be commended for adding a new Youth Member level to encourage participation by young genealogists. Well done! The change was announced this spring by Kimberly Powell, APG President and is only one part of the overall restructuring of dues designed to create consistency for North American and International memberships.

    The new Youth Member category expressly promotes the involvement of young genealogists, many who are students or recent college graduates and might find it a hardship to join a professional organization at the full rate.

    When we considered founding the Suzanne Winsor Freeman Student Genealogy Grant in 2010, very few genealogy conferences, societies, or organizations offered a student or youth rate for membership or participation, although "the future of genealogy" was a popular and much-discussed topic.

    The Southern California Genealogy Society Genealogy Jamboree has offered a student scholarship for several years and has partnered with the Freeman Student Grant cash award since 2011. 

    In 2013, the National Genealogical Society offered for the first time a youth conference registration rate for the 2013 Las Vegas Convention, setting a new standard for the national conference.

    The Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference makes a discounted student rate available to current students of all ages attending elementary to graduate school.

    I am especially excited by APG's commitment to young professional genealogists and hope that more organizations will take a cue from APG's membership rates to add a Youth Member policy.

    APG continues to offer a wealth of services to its members including professional development programs, a monthly e-newsleter, website, APG Quarterly Journal, and online webinars. Membership most worthwhile for any professional genealogist of any age.

    Kudos APG!

    Do you know of other genealogy organizations or conferences offering a Youth or Student rate? Please give them a shout-out in the comments!


    Student Genealogy Grant Recipients: Checking in with Anthony Ray

    Palmdale college sophomore Anthony Ray was the first recipient of the fledgling Suzanne Winsor Freeman Student Genealogy Grant program in 2011. At the time, Anthony had never attended a regional genealogy conference, although he had been a featured presenter and volunteer at the Antelope Valley Genealogical Society and headed the society's cemetery indexing project.

    Anthony attended the 2011 SCGS Genealogy Jamboree and went on to use the grant funds for research expenses. He graduated in May 2013 from West Coast Baptist College with a degree in religious education, emphasis in music. He's now pursuing further studies at Antelope Valley College and plans to continue his music studies at California State University Northridge.

    Ray family

    Anthony Ray researching with his family in Sonora, Mexico, Summer 2013.
     Left to right is Judy Jones (Anthony's grandfather's cousin), Maria Magdalena (Maruca) Medina (Anthony's grandfather's mom's cousin), Grandparents Arthur Ray and Cristina Ray, Anthony Ray.

    In 2013 Anthony realized a long-held goal of researching his family history in the small Mexican pueblo of Santa Cruz, and was joined on the trip by his grandparents. Anthony writes:

    As soon as we crossed the border, I saw the church where my grandmother was baptized, her siblings, and where my great grandparents were married. My dreams were finally starting to unfold. An hour and a half later, and only about twenty miles away from Nogales, we reached the small pueblo of Santa Cruz. We had to travel by dirt roads, crossing rancho after rancho. The desert was so beautiful and the skies so clear!

    We finally reached the town. It was very emotional for me to be there, where so many generations of my family were born, married, had children, died, and were buried. I’ve always imagined what the town would look like, what the cemetery might be like, the church, the municipio (town hall). The first stop we made was at a tiny adobe structure just outside of town. That small, little building is said to be where my 3rd great grandparents once lived. It was humbling. From there we drove by the cemetery and then to the municipio. The church was just right across the street. The total area of the town would probably equal to less than a square mile.

    When we walked into the municipio, I found that nearly everyone we encountered was related to me. The secretary was very accommodating, and she pulled out all of the records that they had for my cousin, Homer, and I to look through. In Mexico, privacy laws are not nearly as strict as they are here in the states. I looked at birth records all the way up to about 1950. It was amazing the access that we were granted! For one, everyone knew my cousin, Homer, and everyone was happy to see him. That helped to facilitate that access.

    Anthony spent hours searching local cemeteries and reading records at the mortuary that had served his family for generations. In Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, he met with the city historian and searched newspapers in the archives; he then visited the local church and convinced reluctant officials to allow him to peruse the official records.

    Anthony ray

    When the Student Genealogy Grant program was founded in 2010, we weren't sure if young genealogists would be interested in attending a genealogy conference and spending time talking about records, repositories, and sources. Students like Anthony Ray, Elyse Doerflinger, A.C. Ivory, and Mike Savoca showed us that the future of genealogy is already here, and young family historians are searching for answers and ready to learn more about genealogy today.

    Grant applications are now being accepted for the 2014 Student Genealogy Grant to be presented at the 45th Annual Southern California Genealogy Jamboree. Visit the Suzanne Winsor Freeman Grant Webpage for information and application materials. Applications close March 31, 2014,


    Meet the 2013 Student Genealogy Grant Recipient Michael Savoca

    Michael Savoca Head Shot web

    I am pleased to introduce student genealogist Michael Savoca, a junior at Kean University in Union, New Jersey, as the 2013 Suzanne Winsor Freeman Memorial Grant recipient. Michael will receive a $500 cash award and full conference registration to the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree in Burbank, California June 7-9.

    Michael has been researching his family history for over a decade, and participating in online genealogy forums and message boards for nearly as many years. His expertise in Italian and Croatian research have made him a popular volunteer online and at his local Family History Center. He has been able to travel with family to their ancestral village in Croatia and complete research in original records provided by the parish. He has also worked extensively with Italian records and assisted with the records of the Gente di Mare genealogy website. 

    In addition to researching his Italian, Croatian, Irish, German, and Hungarian roots, Michael is interested in learning more about using DNA for genealogical research and about professional archival management. He is a history major at Kean University and would like to become a Certified Genealogist.

    Michael will attend the SCGS Jamboree in Burbank June 7-9 where he will receive the award Sunday, June 9 at the SCGS Scholarship Breakfast.

    “We are so pleased to be able to partner with the Freeman Student Genealogy Grant Program to support this outstanding future genealogist,” said Paula Hinkel, Jamboree co-chair and SCGS vice president. This is the third year that SCGS has provided a conference scholarship to the recipient of the grant award.

    Past recipients of the memorial grant include Elyse Doerflinger, A.C. Ivory, and Anthony Ray. 

    Funding for the 2013 Memorial Student Grant was provided by proceeds from the sale of my new book How to Archive Family Keepsakes during the Blog Book Tour in January 2013. A big THANK YOU to everyone who purchased a book during the book tour to help fund this project supporting student genealogists. For information about donating to the grant fund, please see the SWF Grant page.

    About the Grant Program: The Suzanne Winsor Freeman Memorial Student Genealogy Grant Program was established in 2011 to help young family historians pursue their genealogy research and educational goals. In recognition of Suzanne Freeman’s enthusiasm for the nationally recognized Jamboree, the award is directed toward a student attending the SCGS Jamboree. Suzanne Winsor Freeman was the mother of genealogy blogger Denise Levenick,

    About SCGS: The Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree has partnered with the grant program each year to offer complimentary conference registration to the award recipient. The annual Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree is a premiere regional genealogy conference offering national speakers, workshops, and demonstrations.


    Break Down Brick Walls with Home Sources: Free Genealogy Webinar

    SCGS Jamboree Webinar Series -- Saturday 6 April 2013

    Register now for the next webinar sponsored by the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree Extension Program, and join me for Break Down Brick Walls with Home Sources on Saturday, 6 April 2013 at 10:00 AM - Pacific, 11:00 AM - Mountain, 12:00 PM - Central, 1:00 PM - Eastern.

    Whether you’ve inherited a house full of keepsakes or only wish you had more family treasures, home sources may hold the clues you need to break through brick walls and solve family history problems. And you don’t have to own home sources to use them as research resources. 

    We've all got them -- brick walls, obstacles, road blocks to progress in our genealogical reseach. Home Sources are one of the most underused resources in solving family history puzzles. Photographs, letters, documents and artifacts can provide direct answers to research problems, or clues to new research opportunities. 

    I am honored to be part of the SCGS Jamboree Extension Webinar Series and look forward to sharing a few items from my own family collections that have helped push my research over the wall. From clippings tucked between the pages of books, to cryptic captions on the back of old photos, family keepsakes often hide great stories in plain sight.

    Break Down Brick Walls with Home Sources --

    • Why use home sources?
    • Common and uncommon home sources and where to find them
    • Locating potential sources in public repositories
    • Strategies for working with material family collections
    • What to look for in documents, letters, photos, and artifacts
    • Case study examples

    Register Here prior to Saturday, 6 April to attend the free webinar, Break Down Brick Walls with Home Sources. After the live webinar on April 6, the webinar will be available to SCGS members in the Members Only area of the website.

    View the complete SCGS Jamboree Extension Series schedule for more great educational webinars available in the series..






    Student Genealogist Uses Grant Funds to Recover Family History Treasures

    2013 Student Genealogy Grant Application Deadline March 18, 2013

    Details and application materials for the 2013 Suzanne Winsor Freeman Student Genealogy Grant are available at The Family Curator Student Grant Page.

    Anthony ray

    Lancaster student Anthony Ray, recipient of the 2011 Suzanne Winsor Freeman Student Genealogy Grant, used the grant funds to further his genealogical research and education. Anthony is presently teaching elementary school music and will receive his diploma from West Coast Baptist College in May.

    He is an active member of the Antelope Valley Genealogical Society and researches his Hispanic, English, Scottish, German and African American roots in repositories throughout California, Arizona and Mexico. He is particularly interested in Catholic church records and is experienced in diocesan and parish repositories.

    Anthony's research helped restore a stolen headstone to the Agua Mansa Pioneer Cemetery in San Bernardino last summer, a story he tells in L.A. Beat "Serendipity and the Headstone That Wouldn't Stay Put." In March, Anthony will be traveling to Mexico with his cousins following his ancestors' footsteps to visit family and research.

    After receiving the student grant in June 2011, Anthony organized an extensive summer research plan. He wrote to me in the fall to share the results of his research; here are some highlights from that letter --

    Hi there!

    I just wanted to take a minute to write and give you an update on my summer...

    The biggest project this summer was, by far, renovating my great grandfather's place. I think I'd told you already that he had passed away last June at the age of ninety-eight. He was only a couple months away from his ninety-ninth birthday! He lived on a two and a half acre lot next to my grandparents and uncle and aunt. The yard and house both needed so much done to them… That was some of the dirtiest work I've ever had to do (and that's saying something) since most of the stuff had not been touched since they'd moved in the house about twenty-five years ago. Plus mice had gotten into the sheds and the extreme heat just intensified all that. So you can imagine what that must have been like!

    In the midst of all the filth were some real gems. As we were cleaning out one shed, there were some old papers on the floor that looked like trash. As my grandpa was about to throw them out, he decided to unroll them and see what they were. Lo and behold they turned out to be my great grandpa's school certificates from 1920 to 1923! It was an amazing find! They were just lying there on the floor in all the dust and other stuff... they could have been stepped on, chewed up by the mice, or destroyed through by a plethora of different ways. And what's most amazing is that they were in fairly decent shape! I'm using some of the grant money to have them restored by one of the paper conservationists at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. I have my initial meeting with her in a couple of weeks.

    Not only did I find the school certificates, but there were many boxes of old papers that I was able to go through. My great grandpa was an early Antelope Valley real estate agent, so he had tons of paperwork from that. He owned a lot of property in other cities, counties, states, and even countries, so you can imagine the paper trail that left!

    As for research I've made tremendous breakthroughs, uncovered deep dark family secrets, and added so much to my family tree as a result of the grant money. Most of the money went toward ordering microfilm from the Family History Center and toward copies. I’d say nearly fifty percent of the grant money went toward copies. Here are some of the more interesting things I’ve found:

    1) My second great grandmother, Delfina Rubio, had a very colorful love life. She married about five times. I can’t say for sure how many times as I think there may be more, but I found one of her marriages that I had been speculating about for a while now. I also found some of her siblings and other family members in the Santa Cruz Co., Arizona marriage records.

    2) I made a tremendous breakthrough on my African-American side of the family with one single marriage record...

    3) I found many interesting births, marriages, and deaths in Mexico. 

    4) I subscribed to GenealogyBank and was able to find dozens of interesting articles on my family. Some helped solve mysteries that I've been trying to uncover for a long time!

    5) I've made countless trips down to Riverside this year to do research. The past two times I've looked up probates and court cases.

    6) Since I usually don't pay for research or look-ups, I was able to do so this time. I contacted the Coronado-Quivira Museum in Rice Co., Kansas to have them look up some school records that corresponded to the school certificates that I had found on my great grandpa. They even sent school photos from the time he would have been in school (but no one is identified in them, unfortunately)… And up in Colusa Co., in northern California, I was able to get copies of coroner's records that helped me understand the circumstances of three of my ancestors' deaths. 

    I know I'm probably forgetting some things, but this is the bulk of what I used the grant money towards. I truly cannot thank you enough for giving me such a wonderful summer of research. I really don't know how my research would have gone if it wasn't for this financial jump-start! Through this, you've given me maybe the most important thing which is memories that I will cherish! As you and your mother did your research together, I was able to do the same with my mother when I made my trips down to Riverside - granted she would head off to the antique shops while I did my research. lol! But we spent most of our time together down there. Whenever I think of my research trips down there, I think of how we would both go and have lunch at a little sandwich shop near the Mission Inn called The Upper Crust (you should go there if you ever get a chance!) And once again, I feel so honored to have been the first recipient of the memorial grant! Thank you!


    If you know a young genealogist between the ages of 18 and 25 who could benefit from a cash grant to assist their genealogy education and research, please tell them about the Suzanne Winsor Freeman Student Genealogy Grant. The deadline for completed application materials is Monday, 18 March 2013. See the SWF Grant page for more details.

    Find us on Google+