Tracy Area Geneology Service - TAGS | Locating Census Records

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June 12, 2012

1141 Adam Street Tracy
California 95376
(209) 832-1106
Email: [email protected]


Summer has almost arrived, so I believe a few reminders may be in order.

On Sunday, July 1st, Marie Patterson with support and help from me and hopefully Jan James will lead a Round Table Study and Discussion on “Getting Started” at the TAGS library, that will be from 1 to 4pm. All newcomers and others who'd like a refresher are encouraged to attend.

Nothing is scheduled for July, as many of our members are pursuing their genealogical interests out of the Tracy area. But we resume our schedule of events in August by having a Picnic/Potluck at the Ronneberg’s home, which is located at 1035 Wood Thrush Lane, Tracy. This picnic/potluck will commence at 6pm. Of course, all of our members are welcome, and we look forward to having a good social time along with good food. Please mark your calendars now, so you won’t forget.

Our next General Membership meeting will feature a program on “Ancestry Sharing”

So, this will be an acceptable time to tell some good stories. You’re invited to share a brief story about a favorite or infamous ancestor. You may want to mark your calendars a bit early so you won’t miss it. We’ve all got good stories to tell. This General Membership meeting will be held on October 24th in the TAGS library at 7pm after a brief business meeting.

Recently one of our members asked if there was enough interest to make a TAGS sponsored trip to Salt Lake City, Utah to visit the Genealogical Library of the LDS church. If you have a serious desire to make this Salt Lake visit, please let us know at our email address ([email protected]) and we’ll determine if it is possible.

We recently had a fundraiser event at Rubio's in Tracy. We were successful in raising $62.52. A couple of our members made a $20 contribution in lieu of the fundraiser, because for various reasons they were unable to attend. A big thank you for all who either attended the Rubio's fundraiser or who made an in lieu contribution. It sure helps pay our bills.

Have a great summer!

Terry Ronneberg


A big welcome to our newest members Dale Johnson, Cheryl Vosicka and Donna Wallis!


Your TAGS library continues to grow! Here are several more books that were acquired through Doug Jojo and the Oakland Mayflower Society:

Come by and spend some time checking out all of our recent additions. You will be surprised at the wealth of information we have besides our computers and many subscriptions available to you.


Current update on Sutro Library (taken from their website)

The Sutro Library is in the process of moving to a new location and is temporarily closed. We anticipate re-opening in late June or early July, 2012. Upon re-opening, genealogists, historians, and other researchers will discover that Sutro’s rich collections and resources are newly housed in a spacious, well-lit reading room designed specifically for our patrons. Here is what you need to know: Our new location: 1630 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco 94132.

Sutro will be located on the 5th and 6th Floors of the newly renovated J. Paul Leonard-Sutro Library on the San Francisco State University campus. Please visit for a detailed map.

For more information about the Sutro Library, contact us at our new telephone number: (415) 469-6100 or send us an e-mail: [email protected].


More than Half of the 1940 U.S. Census Records Indexed in Just Two Months Thanks to Thousands of Volunteers Across the U.S.

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH (June 7, 2012) – The 1940 U.S. Census Community Project announced today that its searchable index of 1940 U.S. census records has reached – and surpassed – the halfway mark toward completion. Thanks to the efforts of more than 125,000 volunteers, more than 75 million names from the 1940 U.S. census have been indexed with 18 state records already available to the public on all Project partner websites, including the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), and The records will also be made available in more than 7,000 public libraries nationwide in the coming months byProQuest. The national service project, the first and largest of its kind, aims to establish a comprehensive searchable database and make the 1940 U.S. census records available for free.

Following just two months of volunteer indexing, records for the following 18 U.S. states are currently available and searchable by name, location and family relation:

“We believe that all people deserve free access to the 1940 U.S. census records so they can learn more about their family history, ancestors and the past. With the help of the Community Project partners, and especially volunteer indexers across the nation, we’re halfway to our goal,” said Megan Smolenyak, spokesperson for the 1940 U.S. Census Community Project. “We didn’t expect to make this much progress only two months after the 1940 census records were released, so we’re excited and thankful to all of the enthusiastic volunteers.”

Since April 2, Community Project volunteers have indexed more than 75 million records and this number continues to grow quickly as more than 7,000 volunteers sign up each week. The timely progression of making the census records freely searchable online is a direct result of the growing numbers of volunteers. Those interested in lending a hand can learn more and sign up to be an official 1940 U.S. census volunteer indexer at the1940 census website ( The project will release free searchable records for individual states as they are completed. 

The 1940 U.S. Census Community Project is a joint initiative between the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA),findmypast.comProQuest and other leading genealogy organizations. Thanks to advancements in technology, online volunteers worldwide can lend a voice to countless untold stories of their ancestors living, working and persevering as the “Greatest Generation.”

“Volunteer indexers have the unique opportunity to step into the past and read through hand-written records captured by census enumerators as they walked from house to house,” said Joshua Taylor, spokesperson for the 1940 U.S. Census Community Project. “Through indexing, volunteers are essentially reliving history and helping provide others with the access they need to gain greater insights into the life and times of their own ancestors more than 72 years ago.” 

To learn more about the 1940 U.S. Census Community Project, track real-time progress of volunteer indexing efforts or become a volunteer, visit  

About the 1940 U.S. Census Community Project

The 1940 U.S. Census Community Project is a web-based, national service project with the goal of creating as soon as possible a free, high quality online index linked to the complete set of census images. The index will allow the public to easily search every person found in the census and view digital images of the original census pages. The collection will be available online for free to the general public, , through public libraries. All of these organizations are respective website sponsors of the community project.,, and ProQuest will make substantial financial contributions to make the 1940 U.S. census online name index possible and will work with the nonprofit organization FamilySearch to bring additional new historic records collections online—making even more highly valued family history resources available to the entire genealogical community.

Ancestral Name Changes
by Lynn Betlock, Editor of The Weekly Genealogist

Last week’s survey question, about whether readers had stories of ancestral names changed by immigration officials, was formulated because I wanted to find out what people believed about family name changes, particularly in regard to the widely-held perception that immigration officials rather arbitrarily changed names at ports of entry.

I discovered that that perception is perhaps not so widely held among readers of the Weekly Genealogist, as a number of readers wrote in to say that the assumption that names were changed by immigration officials was probably not valid and that the survey question was perpetuating a myth. Glenn Sampson of Windsor, Connecticut, pointed out that a better question would have listed the number of ways in which names might have been changed (e.g., "changed by my ancestors themselves," "changed by town officials or census takers," "changed by immigration officials," or, "I don't know how it got changed").

Since my own surname is one that was changed, probably during the lifetime of my immigrant great-great-grandfather, I’ve long been interested in surname changes. When I discovered as a middle schooler that Betlock had once been Betlach, I was fascinated, and that discovery probably helped fuel my interest in family history. My ancestor Josef Betlach emigrated from Bohemia in the 1870s, and settled in Steele County, Minnesota. At some point he, or perhaps only his sons, adopted Betlock, presumably because that spelling reflected how the name sounded to English-speaking Americans. As far as I know, only our particular branch of the family adopted Betlock. For me as a genealogist, the difference in spelling has been a handy way to separate descendants of my great-great-grandfather from more distant kinfolk.

A number of readers shared stories of their family surnames having been changed by the immigrants themselves, usually to sound more “American” or, as with my case, to have the spelling better match the name’s pronunciation. No one wrote in with a family story of how a name was changed at a port of entry, documented or undocumented. Last week’s survey asked whether readers had a family story of how an ancestor’s name was changed by an immigration official. The results show that, among the respondents, 12% have documented proof of an ancestral name change and 12% have an unverified family legend of an ancestral name change.

Two interesting articles explore the myths and realities of ancestral name changes: “American Names: Declaring Independence” by Marian L. Smith; and “They Changed our Name at Ellis Island” by Donna Przecha.

The Weekly Genealogist

Vol. 15, No. 11
Whole #574
March 14, 2012
Edited by Lynn Betlock, Jean Powers, and Valerie Beaudrault
[email protected]

Coincidentally, some interesting postings about surname changes have also been taking place recently on two genealogy blogs. You can visit Marian Pierre-Louis’s blog, Marian’s Roots and Rambles, on the topic, “Ellis Island: Did They or Didn’t They?” and Judy Russell’s blog, The Legal Genealogist, under “What’s in a Name?

The Weekly Genealogist

Vol. 15, No. 12
Whole #575
March 21, 2012
Edited by Lynn Betlock, Jean Powers, and Valerie Beaudrault
[email protected]


Home page of the Castle Garden site. Castle Garden was the New York immigrant arrival station in the period from 1820 to the opening of Ellis Island.

Home page of the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation. Allows searching for New York passenger arrival records during the period 1892-1924. If you find someone, in most cases, you may also display the original ship’s manifest and/or a photo of the ship they arrived on. The site may ask you to sign in with a user name and password. Make these up and remember them for future use. There is no charge.

Home page of Stephen P. Morse’s many helpful web pages, far too numerous to list.

Illustrated Family Records from National Archive Pension Files
The New England Historic Genealogical Society puts out a weekly e-newsletter, and this very interesting item was in a recent edition by Lynn Betlock, Editor:

Weekly Genealogist reader Jacob Sievers of Somerville, Massachusetts, emailed me with a link to a remarkable collection of 220 illustrated family records that are part of the National Archives’ Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land-Warrant Application files. Beginning last July, the National Archives began to contribute tens of thousands of files to Wikimedia Commons, and these images are among them. These family records were submitted as part of the documentation required for a veteran or a veteran’s family member to receive a pension, and then became permanently attached to the veteran’s file.,_compiled_ca._1800_-_ca._1912,_documenting_the_period_ca._1775_-_ca._1900

I was fascinated by the beauty and variety of these records. I saw illustrated family records, birth, baptismal, and memorial certificates—in English and German, hand-drawn and pre-printed. I looked at examples from Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. And I thought about the people whose names were listed so carefully on the certificates and I wondered if they understood when they mailed them away that they weren’t going to be getting them back. Perhaps for years afterward people thought wistfully about the family papers they’d sent to Washington. But sending them to Washington also had the positive effect of preserving them and making them widely available today.


National Archives (San Bruno) Upcoming Workshops. All workshops are $15, payable in advance and are held at the National Archives, 1000 Commodore Drive, San Bruno. All classes conducted by Rose Mary Kennedy, genealogy specialists.

To reserve a space contact Rose Mary Kennedy at 650-238-3485:

June 8 - 9 am to 1 pm, Military-Part 1, Revolutionary War to Civil War

July 20 - 9 am to 1 pm, Military-Part II, Spanish-American War to Vietnam War

August 17 - 9 am to 1 pm, Federal Land Records

October 13 - Family History Day at the California State Archives, 1020 “O” St. Sacramento. 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. Admission is free. For more information go to


SATURDAY OCTOBER 6, 2012 Speaker: Linda Serna, APG, GSG

The Fresno County Genealogical Society will sponsor their 9th Annual Genealogy Seminar at Woodward Park Regional Library, 944 E. Perrin (at Champlain), Fresno, CA 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Advance Registration, Everyone welcome.

Seminar is Free. Syllabus: Members $10.00; Non-members $15.00. Option for non-members: join FCGS when registering to get membership & syllabus for $30. Flyer and Registration form will be on the website soon.

Fresno County Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 1429, Fresno, CA 93716-1429


July 1st: Round Table Study: 1:00 – 4:00pm @ TAGS Library (“Getting Started” with Marie Patterson)

July 11th: Board Meeting (tentative): 6:30pm @ TAGS Library

August 8th: Board Meeting: 6:30pm @ TAGS Library

August 29th: Picnic/Potluck: Ronneberg’s home @ 6:00pm

September 12th: Board meeting: 6:30pm @ TAGS Library

October 10th: Board meeting: 6:30pm @ TAGS Library

October 24th: Membership Meeting: 7:00pm @ TAGS Library (Present budget; audit report, Ancestry Sharing on favorite or infamous ancestor)

November 14th: Board Meeting: 6:30pm @ TAGS Library

December 5th: Board Meeting: 6:30pm @ TAGS Library

December 12th: Holiday Social: 6:00pm @ TAGS Library


Donations given in memory of a loved one to TAGS may include personal genealogical records and materials. Monetary donations will be welcomed as well to acquire books and materials for the Society’s genealogy library.

Your donation will be a lasting gift honoring a special person in your life.

For more information, please contact:

Tracy Area Genealogical Society
1141 Adam Street
Tracy, CA 95376
Attention: Jan James
Email: [email protected]

TAGS Newsletter is published bi-monthly

(Feb., Apr., Jun., Aug., Oct., Dec.)

Office hours:

Tues. and Fri. 9:00 am – 1:00 pm and the 2nd Sunday of the month from 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm.

Membership Dues (annually):

Individual $ 20.00

Family $ 27.00

Editor: Jan James