Greater Lowell Genealogy Club - Fall 2010 Newsletter

Fall 2010


Newsletter of the Greater Lowell Genealogy Club of Lowell, Massachusetts



Upcoming Events:


September Meeting:

September 18, 2010 at the Pollard Library, 401 Merrimack St., Lowell from 1pm to 3pm.  Marcia Melnyk will be speaking on “Getting the Most Out of On-line and CD Databases.”


October Meeting:

October 17, 2010 at Maureen’s house, 34 George Brown St., Billerica, MA from 1pm to 3pm.


November Meeting: 

November 20, 2010 from 1pm to 3pm at the Chelmsford Public Library.  We are planning to show a video.


December Meeting: No Meeting.  Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to ALL!


January Meeting:

Tentatively scheduled for January 15, 2011 from 1pm to 3pm at the Pollard Library, 401 Merrimack St., Lowell.  Our speaker, Leslie Albrecht Huber, will be speaking on “Telling the Stories of Your Distant Ancestors”.


September Meeting:

Our speaker, Marcia Melnyk will be lecturing on, “Getting the most Out of On-Line and CD Databases.”  The reason we decided on this topic was we felt many of our members could use a little help on both topics.  This includes the board.  We hope we can all come away from the meeting with new knowledge and inspiration to break down some walls.  Hopefully many of our members will attend the meeting.  We will also be putting up flyers in other libraries to open the meeting up.


October Meeting:   This month is our annual pot luck and elections.  The pot luck will be held at Maureen’s house, 34 George Brown St, Billerica, MA, 978-663-6491.  Please call or email Maureen if you are planning on attending, so a seating plan can be developed.  Also contact us for either a ride or to let us know what position you are running for on the board.  We would like to send out postcards to let our members know just who is running for office.  If you cannot attend the meeting, your vote can be mailed or emailed to a board member.  Some of the current board would like to retire for a while, if possible.  Please give this a lot of thought and get back to us soon.

In case you missed the main topic, ELECTIONS WILL BE HELD IN OCTOBER. 


November Meeting:

We are planning on showing a video and would also like to have everyone bring their laptops and/or genealogy problems.  We all seemed to enjoy this type of meeting, helping each other do research on-line.  So, we hope to see everyone at the meeting.


January Meeting:

We have a tentative date and place for this meeting.  The Pollard Library can only be booked 60 days in advance.  If we are unable to book the day or time, we will send out new information. 

We will be hosting Leslie Albrecht Huber.  Her topic for the day will be, “Telling the Stories of Your Distant Ancestors”.  Can you create an interesting story of your distant ancestors when all you have are a few bare-bones documents?  Yes!  Broaden your perspective and you can make your ancestors come to life.



President –- Maureen Famolare –

978-663-6491 –

Vice President  Laura Bedard –

603-598-0834 –

Secretary –  Barbara Poole –

978-454-8046 –

Treasurer – Karen Jeffers –

978-663-3664  -

Past Happenings:

February – April Meetings:

Basically all three months were the same format.  We brought laptops and looked up information for any member who was stuck or just didn’t know where to look.  Perhaps they didn’t have Ancestry or access to a computer.  What ever the reason, the meetings were enjoyed by all in attendance.  In fact the meetings were so enjoyed, we plan to do one or two this year.  The first will be our November meeting.  Hope to see you there.

Members in attendance: 

February:  Roland and Laura Bedard, Diane Shields, Don and Madeleine Pattershall, Mary

L. Meservey, Peg Leedberg, Diane Laferriere, Judi Clermont, John and Jane Pappas, Iona and Bob Henderson, Barbara Poole, Maureen Famolare, Karen Jeffers and Edna King.


March Meeting:

Ann S. Casey, Madeleine and Don Pattershall, Diane Shields, Karen Shields, Margaret Leedberg, Judi Clermont, Mary L. Meservey, Iona and Bob Henderson, Diane Laferriere, Karen Jeffers, and Edna King.


April Meeting: 

Maureen Famolare, Roland and Laura Bedard, Iona and Bob Henderson, Maureen O’Connor, Jane and John Pappas, Peg Leedberg, Judi Clermont, Diane Laferriere, Diane Shields, and Karen Jeffers.


June Meeting:  We had our semi-annual pot luck dinner at Laura and Roland’s house.  Though the weather wasn’t kind to us, Roland and Laura made the day shine.  They managed to squeeze us all into their lovely home for a great time.  We had some of the usual fare, including red hotdogs from Ed Miller  (We remember this as an item brought by Yvonne and Ed. None of us had ever tried or heard of them before.)

Members in Attendance:  Maureen Famolare, Bill Cheetham, Terry Masson, Ed Miller, Peg Leedberg, Judi Clermont, Karen Jeffers, Iona and Bob Henderson, Laura and Roland Bedard


Yvonne R. Miller


On March 4, 2010 our club lost one of our longest club members.  Yvonne, with her bright red hair, is truly missed. She was always ready to help with projects the club was working on, she loaned us her yard for yard sales, offered to help cross reference member interests, brought wonderful ethnic dishes to the pot lucks and made us laugh.


Yvonne, Ed (her husband) and Terry Masson (her mother) were always at our meetings.  She was very knowledgeable about French Canadian genealogy and was willing to share any information she had.  She went out of her way to help people researching local or French Canadian genealogy.


As her prayer card says, “Gone from our sight but never our memories.  Gone from our touch but never our hearts.”  I’m sure she will never be forgotten.


Interesting Articles for Members


From Dick Eastman’s newsletter:

Kirtas Offers Digitized Books

I have written about the Kirtas Technologies book scanner, which can scan up to 2400 pages per hour. Yes, that device scans one page every one and a third seconds. Place a book into the device, press a button or two, and then walk away. You can return a few minutes later to find the entire book has been scanned and the data stored on the attached Windows PC. You don't even need to cut the bindings of the book as the device turns the pages and makes images as needed. You can see my pictures of this $120,000 book scanner in operation at and at

Kirtas (pronounced KEER-tass) Technologies apparently isn't content to just make the scanners; the company also makes many out-of-print and out-of-copyright books available to customers, including a number of genealogy books. You can download a book to your computer's hard drive and read it there or even print pages from the book on your local printer. Another option is to have the entire book printed "on demand" and have it shipped to you.

Prices vary depending on the length of the book, but this is often the only method of obtaining a desired book without travel to a library that might be thousands of miles away.

I did a search for the word "genealogy" on the Kirtas Books web site and found many such books available, including A biographical history of the Eby family, being a history of their movements in Europe during the reformation, and of their early settlement in America; as also much other unpublished historical information belonging to the family (printed in 1899, 144 pages for $1.95), and A complete record of the John Olin family, the first of that name who came to America in the year A.D. 1678 (printed in 1893, 228 pages, for $1.95). These are but two examples of the many genealogy and family history books available. 

Kirtas has an interesting option called "Invest in Knowledge" that can offset the price of digitizing a book for the first time. The program allows anyone to subsidize the digitization of one book and then to receive 5% commission on all future sales of that book through You will receive a reprint of that book as well as the ongoing 5% commission.

Assuming that a book has not yet been digitized, you will need to find the book in one of the participating libraries. You can start your search on Kirtas Books' web site, which links to WorldCat, an online catalog of books held at libraries around the world. You then select the book that you want. Kirtas Books' employees or contractors will pull the book from the shelf, scan it, and then deliver it to you as a soft-cover, printed "book on demand." You pay the full price for that one book.

Kirtas Books then retains the electronic image of the book you selected. Kirtas will add it to the company's inventory, and you can (optionally) also promote the same book on your web site or by any other means available to you. Every time someone orders "your book" from Kirtas Books in the future, you receive a 5% commission. You can learn more about Kirtas Books' "Invest in Knowledge" program at

All in all, I'd suggest this is a good method of obtaining long out-of-print books. I would probably always start at Google Books, simply because it has hundreds of thousands of books available free of charge. However, if I was unable to find what I wanted on Google Books, I would move on to Kirtas Books and to other online catalogs of old books.

You can learn more about Kirtas Books at Frankly, I found the web site to be confusing but the information is there, if you want to hunt for it.


Also from Dick Eastman’s newsletter:

Free Genealogy Toolbar

The following announcement was written by the Manchester and Lancashire Family History Society:

Manchester, United Kingdom, September 15, 2009 -- Manchester and Lancashire Family History Society (MLFHS), based in the U.K. is pleased to announce the release of its genealogy toolbar which integrates seamlessly with the users browser (IE, Firefox, Safari) to provide instant access to family history sites including online BMD, Archives, Societies, Pay to View and many more.

The toolbar is completely free to download and use and has been developed by Family Historians for use by Family Historians.

Changes to the toolbar are made centrally and can be instantly reflected in each user's personal copy. MLFHS keep track of the links so that users do not have to. The range of links provided is especially strong for GB and Irish research. There are currently over 170 links and these will be expanded in response to user comments and suggestions.

Users can turn individual menus on and off and can also choose to add items from a selection of non genealogy links.

The toolbar can be downloaded via the MLFHS home page or from or from

Other meetings of interest:

If interested call Maureen

Chelmsford Genealogy Club will meet on Tuesday, Sept 7th. with a roundtable discussion of what everybody learned over the summer. And select topics for future meetings.


Family Research Day at the Lynnfield LDS Church on Sat. Sept 11th. Sponsored by LDS along with MSOG Middlesex Chapter and Essex Society of Genealogists. There will be several tracks of speakers for this day event. Please register early as there are limited seats.


Ancestry with NEGHS of Boston are sponsoring a Family History Day in Boston on Sat.  Oct, 16th. Includes speakers, scanning of your documents/pictures and private consultations with genealogists. Register early - last one sold out.


MSOG Annual Meeting and their 35th Anniversary will be held Sat. Nov. 6th in Marlborough. There will be several tracks of speakers, election of officers, auction and more. You do not have to be a member to attend.


Chelmsford Genealogy Club will have its meeting Tuesday, Nov. 16th at 7:00 pm. Well known lecturer Leslie Huber will speak about her new book The Journey Takers. Her book tracks three of her immigrant families from Europe to the U.S.



Backing up your computer:

Family Tree Maker Magazine

For the best results, use an archival gold-quality CD-R for long term storage. (Rewritable CDs, Labeled CD-RW, are less stable over time.)  Be sure to make multiple copies and if possible give one or more to family members that do not live in your house.  This insures the survival of the information or photos in case of fire or flood.  Label each CD near the center with a solvent-free felt-tip pen.  Store discs vertically in a translucent polypropylene case (without an acidic paper insert) in a cool, dry location.  (Discs should be stored at 77 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, with 20 to 50 percent relative humidity.  Heat accelerates aging, so keep discs out of hot cars and away from direct sunlight.  Recovery of discs damaged by heat is difficult, but may be possible.)


Backups can also be made to external hard drives.  We don’t suggest flash drives because they are more likely to fail.  External hard drives can be bought at any store that sells computers.  They just plug into your USB port and your computer will detect the hard drive.  Again store the hard drive in a cool dry place. (External hard drives usually have a greater capacity then your computer’s hard drive and really aren’t difficult to use.  If your computer becomes too full you can transfer seldom used files to the external drive and then erase them from the main drive to free up space.) 



Family Tree Maker Magazine has free cheat sheets that can be found on their web site at:  You will have to check out all the options offered, but there are some real good ones that include, maps, reference charts to record locations and coverage dates, quick how-to guides, and computer aids.  Most cheat sheets are PDF files - to view or print them, you’ll need the free Adobe Reader software (available for both Macs and PCs).


This “Why” is from a newsletter called “Sons of Norway.”  Posted to rootsweb by Helen of NSW in 2004.




“We are the chosen.  My feeling is that in each family there is one who seems called to find the ancestors.  To put flesh on their bones and make them live again.  To tell the family story and to feel that somehow those who went before know and approve.  To me, doing genealogy is not a cold gathering of facts but, instead, breathing life into all who have gone before.  We are the storytellers of the tribe.  All tribes have one.  We have been called as if it were in our genes.  Those who have gone before cry out to us:  Tell our story.  So, we do.

In finding them, we somehow find ourselves.  How many graves have I stood before now and cried?  I have lost count.  How many times have I told my ancestors, “You have a wonderful family; you would be proud of us.”?  How many times have I walked up to a grave and felt somehow there was love there for me?  I cannot say.

It goes beyond just documenting the facts.  It goes to who I am, and why I do the things I do.  It goes to seeing a cemetery about to be lost forever to weeds and indifference, and saying I can’t let this happen. The bones here are bones of my bone and flesh of my flesh.  It goes to doing something about it.  It goes to pride in what our ancestors were able to accomplish.  How they contributed to what we are today.  It goes to respecting their hardships and losses, their never giving in or giving up, their resoluteness to go on and build a life for their family.  It goes to deep pride that they fought to make and keep us a nation.  It goes to a deep and immense understanding that they were doing it for us, that we might be born who we are, that we might remember them.  So we do.

With love and caring and scribing each fact of their existence, because we are them and they are us, I tell the story of my family.  It is up to that one called in the next generation, to answer the call and take their place in the long line of family storytellers.  That is why I do my family genealogy, and that is what call those, young and old, to step up and put flesh on the bones.”




Survey Form


The officers decided to have a survey to determine what members want.  Please fill out the form and mail it to Karen at the address below OR email Maureen or Karen your input.  Thank you for your help.


Why are you a member of the club?   (Check all that apply)  ___ Social Gathering      ____ Lectures   ____ Research   ____ Other – please explain.  _______________________________________________


What do and don’t you like about the club?  __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


The club currently has $1100 in the bank.  Do you have any suggestions on how we can utilize this money for the benefit of the club?   __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Do you feel the club should be disbanded? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


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2010 DUES!!!!!!!!

(Remember, dues run January to December)


The membership rates are as follows:


 ___   $10.00 per Individual

 ___   $20.00 for a Family

 ___   $5.00 per Senior (age 62 and over)


Enclosed please find $_________ for 2010 dues.


Name    __________________________________________




Phone   __________________________________________

E-mail __________________________________________


Send form and check to:

Greater Lowell Genealogy Club

c/o Karen Jeffers

35 Franklin Street

N. Billerica, MA  01862-1441