All Aboard! Leaving the Station Saturday, October 20, 2018

By Tichnor Brothers, Publisher [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Our annual special event this year is a trip down memory lane, a train trip that is. The day starts off at 10:30 am with a ride on the Black Trolley Limousine to visit the Southern Arizona Transportation Museum, located at the old Southern Pacific Railroad Depot on Toole Avenue in downtown Tucson. We will have lunch at Maynard’s Market & Kitchen across the street from the Museum, then return to hear from our guest speaker Kim S. Harrison on Railroad Pension Records: Their Value for Genealogical Answer and Business of Railroads Impact People’s Lives (Created Other /Sources).

The Trolley will make trips every 15 minutes between the parking lot of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1540 E. Linden Street and the Southern Arizona Transportation Museum, 414 N. Toole Avenue. The last Trolley leaves the Museum for the Church at 12:15 pm.

Black Trolley Limousine by Limoport Transportation, LLC

The Trolley ride is $5.00*
Lunch is Dutch (on your own)
Kim’s lectures are FREE

*Visit the PCGS Marketplace to order and pay online or print and mail in your check.



OCTOBER 20, 2018

10:30am-12:15pm $5.00 Trolley makes trips between parking lot of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1540 E. Linden St. and Southern Arizona Transportation Museum, 414 N. Toole Ave. every 15 minutes. The last Trolley leaves the museum for the church at 12:15pm.
Finish by 12:15pm Dutch Treat Lunch at Maynard’s Market & Kitchen, 400 N. Toole Ave. or at a location of your choice.
1:00pm-3:00pm FREE Presentations by Kim S. Harrison in the Cultural Hall at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1540 E. Linden St. Cupcakes will be served for dessert.

The presentations by our special guest speaker Kim S. Harrison will be interesting and relevant to most people even if your ancestor never worked for the railroads. Her topics will cover:

Railroad Pension Records: Their Value for Genealogical Answer

  • Review of a pension records and the value of the information to tell the person’s story
  • A must have for railroad workers after the 1930’s

Business of Railroads Impact People’s Lives (Created Other Sources)

  • Review of different types of records and information about railroads and your ancestor’s story
  • Many of these records are at our fingertips as well as hiding in archives and libraries
  • Reminder that many records exist concerning your ancestors that never was employed by railroads

Kim S. Harrison has been doing genealogy since 1974 and in 1998 was fortunate to turn her passion into her vocation.  She had the privilege of working in the library community by representing some of the big online providers of information (Gale,, ProQuest, NewsBank and Ancestry) before relocating her consultant business to AZ.  Her genealogy memberships since 1970s  have been  National Genealogical Society and Ohio Genealogical Society, as well as being past President of the Michigan Genealogical Council. She currently serves as Vice President of AzGAB.

During the 1980s Kim lobbied the National Archives to stop the destruction of the Railroad Pension Application files.  Later she wrote a grant for the preservation of the investigation into the Sultana Disaster, which is now available (free) on Fold3.  Her most interesting ancestor was Lot Little and being able to join the DAR under his service.  Lot was a freed slave from NH.  Continuing education resume includes Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research, Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy and the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh, plus having attended way too many national, state and local genealogy conferences to enhance her genealogical and/or historical knowledge.

Non-members are welcome to attend our general meetings as guests. All attendees are eligible for door prizes. Handouts for the presentation are available to PCGS members only on our website in the Secure Download area. Remember to select Members Only to login, then navigate to Secure Download on the left navigation panel.

Saturday, October 20, 2018
10:30am – 12:15pm (Museum and Lunch)
1:00pm – 3:00pm (Presentation)
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Cultural Hall
1540 East Linden Street
Tucson, AZ


Map to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1540 E. Linden Street
relative to Banner-UMC.

Tips on Hiring a Professional and Ethics – Saturday, September 15, 2018

Have you ever wondered if it’s time to hire a professional genealogist? What can a professional do that you can’t? You might be surprised to find the answer at our next meeting on Saturday, September 15, 2018. Diana Elder, AG, will be speaking to us from Utah on When to Hire a Professional Genealogist. She spent a few minutes with us sharing a little bit about herself and her talk. You can listen in below.

Diana Elder is a professional genealogist, author, and speaker. She is accredited in the Gulf South region of the United States through the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists (ICAPGen). She graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Elementary Education and has turned her passion for teaching to educating teens and adults in proven genealogy techniques. Diana is the author of Research Like a Pro: A Genealogists Guide and creator of the Research Like a Pro study group. She writes regular articles for, the genealogy website created by her daughter (and PCGS member), Nicole Dyer. She presents regularly at genealogy conferences, sharing the methods she uses every day to solve challenging genealogical problems.

Following Diana’s presentation, we will hear from Sherri Hessick on Ethics in Genealogy: What is it and Why Do I Care? We can all understand and appreciate why a professional genealogist needs to conduct himself ethically when dealing with clients, but why should we care about it when we are only hobbyists? Sherri will give you some examples of potential consequences that unethical behavior could have and hopes to give us all some food for thought.

Sherri Hessick has over 20 years of experience as a genealogy lecturer, writer, and researcher. She volunteers at the Tucson Family History Center, teaches several classes at the annual Tucson Family History Fair, and has been a guest speaker at several local genealogy clubs. Sherri serves on the Board for the Pima County Genealogy Society and is the society’s Web Manager and Blogger. She holds a Certificate in Genealogical Research from Boston University, is a graduate of the inaugural Research Like a Pro study group, and is a member of the Tucson chapter of the DAR. She is currently a chat co-leader for ProGen 37 and is studying with the National Institute of Genealogical Studies. In her spare time, Sherri is also pursuing genealogy accreditation in the new Great Lakes region of the United States.

The handouts are available to PCGS members only on our website in the Secure Download area. Remember to select Members Only to sign in, then navigate to Secure Download on the left navigation panel.


Saturday, September 15, 2018
1:00pm – 3:00pm
Banner-University Medical Center
Duval Auditorium (Room 2600)
1501 N. Campbell Rd.
Tucson, AZ


PCGS and PCL Family History Month 2018

Experienced genealogists from the Pima County Genealogy Society will be leading beginner level family history classes at various locations of the Pima County Library system during the month of October. Learn how to start your family tree using resources at home, online, and in the library. No registration is required. Email for more information, or call the library info line at 520-791-4010. To view the PCGS website, go to

Murphy-Wilmot Library
530 N Wilmot Rd
Saturday, October 6, 10-11:30am
Instructor: Denni Ann Gershaw-Smith

Eckstrom-Columbus Library
4350 E 22nd St
Friday, October 12, 2-3:30pm
Instructor: Kathi Gardner

Kirk-Bear Canyon Library
8959 E Tanque Verde Rd
Saturday, October 13, 2-3:30pm
Instructor: Denni Ann Gershaw-Smith

Himmel Park Library
1035 N Treat Ave
Monday, October 22, 5:30-7pm
Instructor: Lisa Elvin-Staltari

Nanini Library
7300 N Shannon Rd
Saturday, October 27, 1-2:30pm
Instructor: Joey Caccarozzo

Sahuarita Library
725 W Via Rancho Sahuarita
Saturday, October 27, 2-3:30pm
Instructor: Ken Castle

Announcing the Genetic Genealogy in Practice Study Group

PCGS is proud to announce the debut of our Genetic Genealogy in Practice Study Group. This is a members-only group established to study the Genetic Genealogy in Practice workbook by Blaine T. Bettinger and Debbie Parker Wayne. Our facilitators will guide us through the workbook in seven monthly lessons. Participants will have homework assignments that will be reviewed and discussed the following month. It will be necessary to complete all assignments in order to receive the completion certificate which will be awarded at the end of the program.

All participants must own a personal copy of the workbook. The workbook may be purchased from the PCGS Marketplace (members must be signed in) or from the NGS or Amazon websites. (If you choose to purchase through Amazon, please access it via our portal at the bottom of our homepage and Amazon will donate 0.5% of your eligible purchases to PCGS at no additional cost to you!)

Attendance in the study group is limited to 25 members. As such, pre-registration is required with a nominal fee of $5 to cover expenses. Meetings will be held on Saturday mornings from 10am to 12 noon at Banner-UMC Dining Rooms E&F (or C&D), generally on the first Saturday with a few exceptions. Students must attend all sessions, or complete all homework before coming to the next class if they miss a session. The tentative course schedule follows (subject to change):

27 October 2018 – Chapters 1 & 2 – Basic Genetics, Genetic Genealogy, Standards and Ethics (Room C&D)

3 November 2018 – Chapter 3 – Y-DNA (Room E&F)

1 December 2018 – Chapter 4 – mtDNA (Room E&F)

5 January 2019 – Chapter 5 – First half atDNA

26 January 2019 – Chapter 5 – Second half atDNA

2 March 2019 – Chapter 5 & 6 – More atDNA and X-DNA

6 April 2019 – Chapters 7, 8 & 9 – DNA in a Family Study, DNA in a Written Conclusion, Conclusions & Wrap-up

20 April 2019 – Graduation and recognition at the PCGS General Meeting (Banner-UMC Duval Auditorium)

To register, go to our home page, sign in to the Members Only section of the website, and follow the link to the registration form. If you are not yet a PCGS member, click here to join online, then you may register for the study group.

A Private Tour of the Tucson Family History Center

PCGS Members are invited to take a private tour of the Tucson Family History Center on Monday, October 15, 2018. There is no charge for the tour but it is limited to 20 attendees. There will be two tour times: the first is from 1-3 pm and the second from 6-8 pm.

The Tucson Family History Center is located at 500 S. Langley Ave. It holds a wealth of family history and genealogy books, microfilm, microfiche, maps, and access to online records free for patron use.

Pre-registration is required. Visit our website at for details and to register. If you are not yet a PCGS member, it is easy to join online by clicking here.

Brick Walls are Crashing Down on Saturday, August 18, 2018

Brick remains near the foot of the trail from the Great Highway/

Photo ©BrokenSphere / Wikimedia Commons. Used with permission.

We all have those pesky brick walls. You know, those lines that you just can’t get any further. The ones you could swear were dropped on the planet by aliens (the extraterrestrial kind). There is a rock-solid brick wall at the end of your pedigree right at that spot.

That is exactly the situation our three panelists were in until recently. They broke through their brick walls and on Saturday, August 18, they are going to tell us how they did it. Our panel moderator spoke to me for a few minutes today about what to expect. You can hear what she had to say in the short video below.

 Introducing our three panelists:


Kathi Gardner is a PCGS member who has been searching for her biological family for several years. She is a member of the PCGS Steering Committee and is the coordinator of the DNA Special Interest Group.

Denni Ann Gershaw-Smith has had her own calligraphy business since 1971 and been the family genealogist since 1981. She started doing genealogy for others in 1989. She belongs to Genealogy societies in Colorado, Wisconsin and Arizona, and just completed the Boston University Genealogical Research Certificate Program. She specialize in Wisconsin (and now Arizona) as well as Belarus and Judaic genealogy. She is happy to be back home in Tucson with the saguaros again!

Rondie Yancey is a PCGS member and has been researching her family for over 25 years. Over that period of time, she has seen the internet resources grow exponentially, and has learned to make Google her BFF. With a special interest in writing genealogical histories of ancestors, she has completed several small “booklets” to distribute to family members.  She recently completed the Research Like a Pro Study Group and used the methodology to solve a longstanding family mystery.

Following the panel discussion, we will hear from Jodi Lynn Strait on State Censuses—Which ones exist, where can you find them, and what clues do they provide? Many states took censuses in between the federal census, and they were taken for different reasons so their questions would be different and often unique. They could provide you with the information you need to break through that brick wall caused by the ten year gap between the federal census, or the twenty year gap caused by the loss of the 1890 census. Jodi Lynn will help you determine if they exist for your state and help you find them.

STRAIT-Jodi-Lynn-2014Jodi Lynn Strait has been doing genealogical research for over 20 years. She is a member of the National Genealogical Society (NGS) and the Chinkchewunska, New Jersey, chapter of the DAR. She completed the NGS home study course and is a certificate holder of Boston University’s Genealogical Research Program. Jodi was the third person to join PCGS. She has served on the Steering Committee since its inception, has been the newsletter editor since 2014, and has been the Treasurer since January 2018. She also serves on the Program Committee and on the Publicity Committee as our Facebook administrator.

Our general meetings are free and open to members and non-members alike. Members will have access to the handouts via the Members Only section of our website ( or click the HOME button at the top of this page), one of the many perks of becoming a member.


Saturday, August 18, 2018
1:00pm – 3:00pm
Banner-University Medical Center
Duval Auditorium (Room 2600)
1501 N. Campbell Rd.
Tucson, AZ


A Summer of DNA eConference August 4, 2018

We received the following news from the Family History Fanatics:

If any members of the Pima County Genealogy Society are looking for an opportunity to learn more about using your DNA testing for genealogy research, Family History Fanatics will be producing “A Summer of DNA” eConference on August 4th. Speakers and topics will include:

Diahan SouthardYour Tree is Full, There is Still Room for DNA
Sam WilliamsAncestry DNA Tools
Michelle LeonardAdoption and Unknown Parentage
Kitty CooperSegment Triangulation

The online sessions will begin at 9am Central Time [that’s 7am in Arizona] on August 4th. A final panel discussion will end the day. All registrants will be able to view the conference for 30 days. Register and get your questions answered by some of the most popular genetic genealogy educators! Presentations are live, not pre-recorded, and you can ask questions throughout.

Price is only $19.99 until July 21st and then it will be $24.99. Also, we will be having DNA kits and other stuff as door prizes that will be given away. You don’t have to be present to win, but you do have to register.

More information is available on the website:

Feel free to let any friends, family, or genealogy society members (or anyone else who may be interested) know about this great opportunity.

This sounds like an excellent way to stay cool during some of our hottest days this summer. And you don’t have to view it live—you can watch the recordings for 30 days after the event!

The Vikings Are Coming! – Saturday, June 16, 2018

Vikings Heading for Land by Frank Dicksee, 1873, [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Well, not exactly. The Ingermansons are coming to talk about researching in Scandinavian records. Len Ingermanson’s ancestry is from Finland and Sweden and his genealogy research has been exclusively in those countries. Pam’s Scandinavian roots are in Sweden and Norway. She says that you the Swedish and Norwegian records are “miles ahead of the U.S.” and that “you can’t write fast enough” when researching the Swedish records, especially.

You can listen to a short interview we had with them below.

Len and Pam will cover Finland, Sweden, and Norway in their talk. Although they will not cover Denmark, their handout contains resources for researching in Denmark. The handout is available to PCGS members only on our website in the Secure Download area. Remember to select Members Only to login, then navigate to Secure Download on the left navigation panel.

We forgot to break out our mobile devices last month during the break to see who was related to whom. Don’t worry, we won’t forget this month. If you want to play, be sure to bring your smart phone or tablet with the FamilySearch Family Tree app installed and we will see if we are related!

Saturday, April 21, 2018
1:00pm – 3:00pm
Banner-University Medical Center
Duval Auditorium (Room 2600)
1501 N. Campbell Rd.
Tucson, AZ



New Photo and Flatbed Scanners at the Family History Center

The following was written by Bob Black, Director of Tucson Family History Center and PCGS Steering Committee Member.

The Family History Center (500 S. Langley, southwest of Broadway and Kolb by Palo Verde Park) recently purchased a Kodak PS80 Scanning System. The system includes a high-speed photo scanner (85 pages per minute at 300 dpi) and a flatbed scanner that can separate sheets of photos, such as scrapbook or photo album pages, into individual scanned pictures. Scanned pictures can then be saved to a USB drive, uploaded to your FamilySearch memories gallery, or printed. There is no charge to scan and save the pictures but there is a per page printing fee of $.10 for black and white and $.25 for color. This is a great tool to digitize those boxes of photos and photo albums that keep you up at night whispering “digitize me – you know you should and I’m slowly deteriorating!”

The system is available on a first come – first serve basis. If demand becomes too great, we may go to reserved time slots, which is what other Family History Centers have implemented.

The Family History Center opens at 10:00 am Tuesday thru Saturday and is open until 8:00 pm on Tuesday and Thursday nights (if there are patrons working at the Center at 8:00 pm, we will remain open until 9:00 pm on those evenings). We close at 2:00 pm on Wednesday and 5:00 pm on Friday and Saturday.

Summer closures:

  • We will be closed the morning of Saturday, June 9, 2018, for a special youth activity, opening at noon until 5:00 pm.
  • We will be closed on Wednesday, July 4, 2018.
  • We will be closed for vacations from Tuesday, August 7 through Monday, August 20, 2018, reopening on Tuesday, August 21, 2018.

Join the Tucson Family History Center Facebook Group for the latest Center news.

Tracing Your Jewish Genealogy


The Wedding (Die Trauung) by Moritz Daniel Oppenheim, 1866, [Public Domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The following article is written by guest blogger Moreen Ferdie, professional genealogist and moderator of the Jewish Genealogy SIG.

The Jewish Genealogy Special Interest Group is a free group that meets the first Wednesday of the month from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm at the Family History Center, 500 S. Langley Ave., Tucson, Arizona. All are welcome to attend.

The first part of the meeting is in the back room where we share, discuss and learn. We share new findings, as well as success stories. We discuss and learn how to search different databases, and which ways lead to better searches for Jewish ancestors. We also learn from each other ways to improve our genealogy research through members sharing.

The second part of the meeting is hand-on work in the front room with the computers. We apply some of the techniques we learned during the first part of the meeting. Members are also free to search and use the other databases available at the center.

For more information, please contact Moreen at and/or feel free to just show up for one of our meetings. No reservation is needed and there is no cost to attend.