Category Archives: Meetings

New Basic Genealogy Support Group Starting Up

Come join us, and learn to be a better family genealogist. Bring your questions or problems about your family tree, specific software or websites. We will solve it together.

Some people have very specific reasons for tracing their family tree. Others jump into family history research without giving it much thought, some want to include their family & children in the process. Knowing why people research their ancestors can be a source of inspiration and support for genealogists. This can be particularly important when the inevitable roadblocks and brick walls become a factor. What motivates the broader genealogy community is also helpful in understanding the future direction of ancestral research.


“Success is where preparation met opportunity.” – Neil Armstrong


DNA Discusssions – Feb 5, 2020

23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki (pronounced “Woh-JIS-key”) announced last week that the company is laying off 14% of its staff amid an industry-wide decline in sales of consumer DNA tests that has driven several companies in the industry toward other endeavors.

23andMe, like FTDNA, do not charge an annual “maintenance” fee. Ancestry and MyHeritage do charge big annuals fees. Given that the Pentagon has come out against at-home DNA testing (could it be that people in high places have something to hide?) and given that ethnicity reports haven’t been all that accurate, what does the future hold for those of us who have already tested? Tune in next week for the rest of the story. 🙂

Meanwhile, our very own DNA Discussion group had already decided to concentrate on 23andMe during the next session. Join us Wednesday, February 5th as Terry Jackson shares some of his experiences at 23andMe.

If you have tested with 23andMe or are considering it, we meet at 12 noon at the FHC in the Library. We would like to hear from you, too.


” The Internet is making smart people smarter and dumb people dumber.” – Kevin Drum


Monthly Meeting – February 6, 2020 – “History of Lands and Houses” by Kathy Nielsen

Ever wondered about the history the houses and the land where your ancestor lived? Curious about the history of you own home? Every place where you and your ancestors lived, loved, cried, and may have died has a story to tell. Every person or family has left their mark on their homes; just as these homes have left their mark on those who lived there. The census, directories, maps, deeds, wills, newspapers, photos, and local histories help us discover insights into our family histories. Join Kathy Nielsen as she guides you on a journey into your past, to where your family and ancestors lived. She will show you how she searched for information about the homes of some of her ancestors and for information about her own home, connecting the past with the present.

Kathy Nielsen is a Reference Librarian in the California History Room at Monterey Public Library. She earned a BA in History at Univ. of CA, Berkeley, and a MA in History at Hunter College, City Univ. of NY. After teaching history in high school and middle School, she returned to U.C.Berkeley and obtained a Masters in Library Science. She has shared her adventures with Monterey Public Library, Carmel Public Library, MoCoGenSo, Santa Cruz Genealogical Society, Gentrain, OLLI, and DAR Ancestor Round-Up. Kathy combines her skills as an historian, a storyteller, and a librarian with her love for travel and her search for her family’s history.

Doors open at 6:15 pm, the meeting starts at 7:00 pm. We’ll see you at the Family History Center, 1024 Noche Buena, Seaside, CA., left rear of building.


” I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.” – Jorge Luis Borges


Monthly Meeting – January 2, 2020 – “Sources for Tracing Pre-Mid-19th Century Ancestors” by Nancy Runyon

This meeting will start with a short, but required annual business meeting for election of Officers. Then we will have a presentation by Nancy Runyon, who attended the British Institute 5 day course in Salt Lake City, titled: “Sources for Tracing Pre-Mid-19th Century Ancestors” this past October. With morning lectures from Paul Blake, English research expert and author, and afternoons to spend researching in the world-renowned Family History Library, this was a great introduction to beautiful Salt Lake City & the best genealogy research facilities. Paul Blake is a Fellow of the Society of Genealogists & President of the East Surrey Family History Society. Nancy will share about tips & resources she received from his course & evening presentations at the Family History Library.

Nancy Runyon grew up in the Sacramento Delta where her father’s family grew pears since the Gold Rush. As a volunteer historic preservation advocate, she served on the Board of Palo Alto Stanford Heritage from 1988-1998. She volunteered for and coordinated many of the Statewide California Preservation Foundation Conferences since 2000 (Monterey), and is a Founding Member of the Alliance of Monterey Area Preservation, serving as president for the last 3 years. To preserve a historic building, you often need to research the people who built or lived in it. Nancy has collected information on her family tree over the years. Nancy is a member of MoCoGenSo, and enjoys the never ending puzzle of ancestry research.

Doors open at 6:15 pm, the meeting starts at 7:00 pm. We’ll see you at the Family History Center, 1024 Noche Buena, Seaside, CA., left rear of building.


“By the way, if you find that your DNA matches mine, watch out, as I have millions of ancestors” – Jim Robeson


December 5, 2019 – Annual Christmas Potluck with the Family History Center

Come join The Monterey County Genealogy Society and The Family History Center volunteers, as we celebrate this Christmas Season. We will be giving thanks for a wonderful year learning about the world of Genealogy, as well as thanking you for your participation. Please join us for this annual potluck event. All are welcome. This is a time for stories, games, and good cheer – so bring a dish to share. Join in the fun and merriment while we get to know others who are also interested in learning about their family histories. There will be lots of fun and good cheer, and the food is great! 🙂

Doors open at 5:30 pm, the party starts at 6:00pm in the Fireside Room. Enter through the FHC doors.

We’ll see you at the Family History Center, 1024 Noche Buena, Seaside, CA., left rear of building. For Information: (831) 915-9465.
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Come join us for our Annual Christmas Celebration and Potluck.
This is a time to give thanks for a wonderful year.

Monthly Meeting – Nov 7, 2019 – “Native American DNA and Ethnicity” by Junel Davidsen

This session will review the various definitions of ‘Native American’ applicable the DNA testing with an explanation of blood quantum, basics of tribal eligibility and the importance of reference populations in estimating ethnicity. Examples from various testing companies will examine differences in test results and the need for documentation and genealogical research.

Junel Davidsen is a professional genealogist specializing in courthouse and forensic research. She routinely assists estate administrators in finding missing heirs and families looking for missing relatives, including adoptees. Recently she has been helping to solve unknown identities using genetic genealogy. Her work experience includes 17 yrs in San Benito Co. Clerk/Recorder’s office and 10 yrs as Assistant Registrar of Voters of Monterey Co. She has obtained an AA degree in Family Research studies , and has been a Board-certified genealogist for 10 yrs. Junel has attended many genealogy conferences and training workshops, most recently the 2019 Salt Lake Institute for Genealogy and earned a certificate in Native American Research. She is a member of the Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe in Washington state and completed a descendant project for the tribal enrollment office in 2014. She has held various positions on the MoCoGenSo board including President. She is a member of the ‘Off The Charts’ writing group, DNA special interest group and volunteered at the Family History Center. Junel currently volunteers at the Monterey and San Benito County Historical Societies and organizes tours to local archives and repositories.

Doors open at 6:15 pm, the meeting starts at 7:00 pm. We’ll see you at the Family History Center, 1024 Noche Buena, Seaside, CA., left rear of building.


“When all the trees have been cut down, when all the animals have been hunted, when all the waters are polluted, when all the air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover you cannot eat money.” – Cree Prophecy


Genealogy with DNA Discussion Group to Meet on 1st Wednesdays

MoCoGenSo, in cooperation with the FHC, is going to form a new “discussion” group to explore genealogy and the use of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) therein.

We are going to have our meetings discussion oriented, talking about using DNA to enhance our genealogical efforts. Our goal is to help each other learn.

The big deal about this restructuring is the scheduling: we are going to meet on the ”1st Wednesday of the month at 12 noon.


We will hold our first meeting November 6th in the Film room at the FHC. We will provide the large display monitor for computer screens when needed to enhance discussions. I will bring my laptop, you can bring yours. iPads work if you have the right adapter.

I have decided to monitor this group because I myself really do want to learn more. If we provide the forum, perhaps others will share too. We will open the door and see who comes in!


” Fix your eyes forward on what you can do, not back on what you cannot change.” – Tom Clancy