From the Spring Seminar of the SMCGS

The Spring Seminar of the San Mateo County Genealogical Society was held on Saturday, March 29, 2008. Approximately 100 people were in attendance.

The theme of the seminar was “Your Immigrant Ancestors By Land and Sea”. The program included two plenary sessions in the morning and six lectures in two tracks in the afternoon.

The first lecture of the day was “One Step Webpages – A Potpourri of Genealogical Tools” by featured speaker Stephen P. Morse, Ph.D.

Steve Morse’s One-Step website began as a finding aid for the Ellis Island database. It has grown over the years to include more than 100 tools grouped into 14 categories:

  1. Ellis Island Search Forms and Ship Arrival
  2. Castle Garden years (1855-1891) plus other New York Arrivals
  3. Other Ports of Immigration
  4. US Census and Soundex (1790-1940)
  5. Canadian and British Census
  6. New York Census
  7. Births, Deaths, and other Vital Records
  8. Calendar, Sunrise/Sunset, Maps
  9. Dealing with Characters in Foreign Alphabets
  10. Holocaust and Eastern Europe
  11. Genetic Genealogy (DNA)
  12. Creating your own Search Applications
  13. Publications, Awards, and Interviews
  14. Miscellaneous

I have used Steve’s web tools in the past, mostly for finding Ellis Island passenger lists and for finding enumeration districts in the US Federal Census. I have to admit that I was largely ignorant of many of the other tools on his site.

In his seminar, Steve reviewed many of the One-Step web tools using real-life examples. Perhaps I should say that Steve used larger-than-life examples, because he showed how to use the One-Step tools to find Albert Einstein, Fiorello LaGuardia, and Nikola Tesla in the New York passenger lists and to find Franklin Roosevelt, Alfred E. Smith, John D. Rockefeller, John D. Rockefeller Jr, and Nelson Rockefeller in the US Federal Census.

But that was just the beginning.

Steve showed us how to find changed street names in US cities, how to use a soundex converter that provides both American Soundex and Daitch-Motokoff Soundex codes, how to find Canadian and British census records, New York census records, birthdays, and information in the Social Security Death Index (including information on when and where the Social Security Number was issued).

Other tools include a zip code map, a tool to find the latitude and longitude of places, and area codes. There are also tools to transliterate names between English and Hebrew and between English and Russian.

Steve concluded by discussing several other tools, including one that enables users to create their own search applications.

Tomorrow: More from the seminar.

Copyright © 2008 by Stephen J. Danko

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