About southingtongenealogicalsociety

Southington Genealogical Society Inc. PO Box 698 Plantsville CT 06479-0698

August 24 Meeting: Share Your Stories

Let’s get together at the Southington Historical Society on August 24 at 7pm and share stories of our ancestors.

We’ve just enjoyed two wonderful programs on making our family histories come alive – in June Marion Wood Burke’s in person “Bitesize Projects” and July’s live webinar “Adding Historical Context to Your Genealogy Research: A Hands-on Approach” by Kate Eakman. Syllabi for both are available in case you missed the presentations.

Now it’s time to put those lessons into practice! Using Marion and Kate’s ideas, prepare the story of one or more of your ancestors to present to our group. Each participant will have no more than 10 minutes to tell their stories. Pictures and props are encouraged. If time allows, attendees may be able to share a second story if they wish.

Remember – don’t just recite names and dates – let’s try to bring our folks and their times back to life.

Meeting location: Southington Historical Center, 239 Main Street, Southington CT

June 22 “Bring Family History Alive in Bite-Sized Projects”

The Society will be hosting an in person meeting on June 22 7 pm at the Southington Historical Society, 239 Main Street, Southington CT.

Bring Family History Alive in Bite-Sized Projects – How to create practical, bite-sized projects that can be shared and repurposed to bring your family’s history to life today and tomorrow. Each project takes a short time and gives you flexibility to be creative in spotlighting a particular aspect of family history, such as one ancestor or couple, one special occasion, one heirloom, one special photo, or one special place. Includes step-by-step demonstration of bite-sized projects such as brief ancestor bios and booklets, heirloom stories, ancestor coloring books, photo books, and video-based family history.

Marian Burk Wood is an experienced genealogy speaker, an active genealogy blogger, and the author of the Amazon best-selling genealogy book, Planning a Future for Your Family’s Past. Marian has been researching and documenting her family’s history for more than two decades, with special emphasis on sharing ancestral knowledge more widely. Since 2008, she has been blogging about genealogy methodology and developments at https://ClimbingMyFamilyTree.blogspot.com.

March 23 Meeting, 7 pm

The next meeting of the SGS is next Tuesday, March 23, 2021 at 7 pm. 
We will be showing a pre-recorded webinar by Kate Eakman. Email the southingtongenealogicalsociety@gmail.com if you need the meeting link.

How to Connect with Your Pilgrim Ancestors to Join the Mayflower Society

If you know or suspect you are descended from one of the original Pilgrims who arrived in Massachusetts on 9 November 1620 there is still time to join the General Society of Mayflower Descendants (more commonly known as the Mayflower Society) before the November 2020 celebration of the 400th anniversary of the landing of the Mayflower. Proving your connection to a Mayflower passenger can be challenging. Tracing your ancestry back four hundred years means researching 20 or more generations to provide the necessary documentation to verify the birth, marriage, and death of each generation. This presentation will provide steps to assist you in your quest to become a member of the Mayflower Society. In addition, we will discuss how you can use DNA to become a member of the Mayflower Society.

Speaker: Kate Eakman

Kate Eakman holds an M.A in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has more than 20 years of genealogical experience as well as traditional historical research and writing. Today, Kate is a Senior Researcher and General Research Team Lead for Legacy Tree Genealogists. Her genealogical specialties include Civil War era, African-American, Native American, and general U.S. genealogy as well as Irish, Scottish, English, Canadian, and Italian genealogy. Kate loves the challenge of brick walls and excels at outside-the-box thinking for breaking them down. Kate lives with her husband and his horse in Portland, Oregon.

2021 Meetings

Attend an online Southington Genealogical Society meeting from home on the 4th Tuesday of the month at 7 pm. Contact the society for the meeting link.

We will be showing the pre-recorded webinar, Comparing the genealogy giants: ancestry.com, familysearch.org, Findmypast, MyHeritage, by Sunny Morton.


The 2020 “state of the sites” update will focus on the newest and most exciting developments at each of the major genealogy websites, with plenty of hasn’t-changed foundational description to help viewers know where they should be turning next for their genealogical research–and what sites and tools they should keep in mind for the future. This lecture has a global focus.

Speaker Bio:

Sunny Morton is a popular lecturer for the global genealogy community. She’s a Contributing Editor at Family Tree Magazine and the author of hundreds of articles and blog posts, as well as the brand new book How to Find Your Family History in U.S. Church Records, co-authored with Harold Henderson; Story of My Life: A Workbook for Preserving Your Legacy, and the quick reference guide, “Genealogy Giants: Comparing the 4 Major Websites,” She is an official FamilySearch blogger and past Contributing Editor at Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems Podcast.

Future programs:

February 23: Pre-Recorded Webinar- African American Genealogy Resources at the Library of Congress, by Ahmed Johnson

March 23 :Pre-recorded Webinar – How to Connect With Your Pilgrim Ancestors to Join the Mayflower Society, by Kate Eakman 

October 27: Walt Woodward, Creating Connecticut

At the Tuesday, October 27th meeting, Southington Genealogical Society will be hosting historian and author Walt Woodward who will be discussing his new book, Creating Connecticut: Critical Moments That Shaped a Great State. Due to COVID19, the meeting will be online at 7 pm.

Connecticut State Historian Walter Woodward helps us understand how people and events in Connecticut’s past played crucial roles in forming the culture and character of Connecticut today. Woodward, a gifted story-teller, brings the history we thought we knew to life in new ways, from the nearly forgotten early presence of the Dutch, to the time when Connecticut was New England’s fiercest prosecutor of witches, the decades when Nutmeggers were rapidly leaving the state, and the years when Irish immigrants were hurrying into it. Whether it’s his investigation into the unusually rough justice meted out to Revolutionary War hero Nathan Hale, or a peek into Mark Twain’s smoking habits, Creating Connecticut will leave you thinking about our state’s past––and its future––in a whole new way. 

About the Author

Walt Woodward is the State Historian of Connecticut and an Associate Professor of History at the University of Connecticut. He is the narrator and producer of Today in Connecticut History (with CT Humanities) and Grating the Nutmeg: The Podcast of Connecticut History (with Connecticut Explored magazine). He also writes the “From the State Historian” column in Connecticut Explored. A widely sought after public speaker and historian, he lives in Columbia, CT.

For a link to the online event, contact the society at southingtongenealogicalsociety@gmail.com .  There is no fee and no obligation to become a member.

British Home Children: Online presentation by Norma Cook, June 23, 2020

Do you want to learn about British Home Children? Join our virtual Society meeting on WebEx, Tuesday, June 23 at 7 pm to hear from Norma Davis Cook, the granddaughter of two British Home Children.

Norma writes: “Our family lives in Carleton County, New Brunswick, where my Dad’s parents settled after being sent here as British Home Children in the early 1900’s.  My grandparents’ mysterious past has always intrigued me, but I never realized the truth was out there until I started searching on Ancestry a few years ago.  The history of children like my grandparents has become my primary line of research as I attempt to uncover their stories to share with successive generations.”

Email southingtongenealogicalsociety@gmail.com for the WebEx meeting link to join the meeting. The room will be open by 6:30 pm if you want to join and avoid technical difficulties.

If all goes well, the meeting will be recorded and shared for a limited time on our youtube channel (password required).

Marian Wood, “Insider’s Guide to Genealogical Cousin Bait.”

Marian Wood is scheduled to give the following presentation- ONLINE- at the April 28 7 pm SGS meeting:
“Insider’s Guide to Genealogical Cousin Bait.”

Come and learn a series of lesser-known but extremely useful tools you can use to find possible cousins and enable cousins to find you on Family Search, Ancestry, Find a Grave, and DNA websites. “Cousin bait” can include ancestor photos, old documents, surname lists, family trees, and family stories. Go home with practical ideas for easy and often free ways to set genealogical bait for cousins and take the bait that potential cousins leave online.

Due to COVID19, we will NOT be holding a meeting at the Orchards and following the recommendations to stay home.
A link can be sent to anyone that wants the link to listen the online presentation live. Please email southingtongenealogicalsociety@gmail.com to pre-register.

Feb. 25 Meeting: Webinar, The Three Cs of Irish Research

The Southington Genealogical Society meeting will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. at the Orchards. The Society will be showing the following pre-recorded webinar from familytreewebinars.com:  
The Three Cs of Irish Research: Civil Registration, Church Records, and Census by Judith Eccles Wight
Three of the main Irish genealogical resources of key importance to those tracing their Irish ancestors are census returns, church records, and civil registration (vital records). Although pre-1901 census records were almost completely destroyed and church records also suffered from either a lack of record keeping or destruction, much still exists. This presentation is an overview of surviving censuses and census substitutes, church records and civil registration.
Webinar Speaker Bio:

Owner of Wight House Research, Judy has been an Accredited Genealogist specializing in Ireland (30+ years) and Scotland (10+ years).  She writes extensively for genealogical periodicals and is a popular teacher and lecturer at genealogical events.  She worked 10 years as a reference consultant at the Family History Library and has vast research experience in the British Isles, U.S., Canada, and Australia.

The meeting will be held at The Orchards at Southington in their second floor community room at 7:00 pm. There is no admission charge and no obligation to become a member. No reservations are necessary. The facility is handicapped accessible with an elevator.

The Southington Genealogical Society is a non-profit organization located in central Connecticut that promotes the accurate recording, research and preservation of family history. The society regularly meets at 7:00 pm on the fourth Tuesday of every month, except December, at The Orchards at Southington, 34 Hobart Street, Southington, Connecticut. For more information, contact the society at southingtongenealogicalsociety@gmail.com and http://southingtongenealogicalsociety.org


Jan. 28 Meeting: Webinar, “Reconstructing an Entrepreneurial Woman’s Life: From Family Intrigue to Water Rents”

The Southington Genealogical Society meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 28, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. at the Orchards. The Society will be showing the following recorded webinar from familytreewebinars.com:

Reconstructing an Entrepreneurial Woman’s Life: From Family Intrigue to Water Rents by Rick Sayre

Webinar Description:

Applying the principles of reasonably exhaustive research, the project demonstrates both the process to document the life of a nineteenth century German immigrant from her ancestral village to Allegheny City, Pennsylvania and illustrates how this woman, who was a single parent most of her life, employed her strong entrepreneurial spirt to provide for her family. Both traditional and more obscure urban sources are employed.

Speaker Bio:

Rick Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA, is a long-time researcher and instructor in genealogical topics. Rick is also a retired colonel having served 31 years in the U.S. Army. Rick and his wife Pam coordinate the Advanced Land course and Researching in Washington, D.C., without Leaving Home offered by the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) and the Advanced Land course at Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP). Rick co-coordinates with Judy Russell, JD, CG, CGL, the Law School for Genealogists at GRIP and the FHL Law Library course at SLIG. He also coordinates the Using Maps in Genealogy course at SLIG. Rick also instructs in the Advanced Methodology course offered by SLIG.  He also lectures at national conferences and presents nationwide seminars. His areas of expertise encompass records of the National Archives, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Daughters of the American Revolution, including military records, land records, using maps in genealogy, urban research, and government documents. Rick is experienced in the localities of western Pennsylvania and Ohio. Rick is also a trustee of the Board for Certification of Genealogists. He is also the immediate past president of BCG.

The meeting will be held at The Orchards at Southington in their second floor community room at 7:00 pm. There is no admission charge and no obligation to become a member. No reservations are necessary. The facility is handicapped accessible with an elevator.

The Southington Genealogical Society is a non-profit organization located in central Connecticut that promotes the accurate recording, research and preservation of family history. The society regularly meets at 7:00 pm on the fourth Tuesday of every month, except December, at The Orchards at Southington, 34 Hobart Street, Southington, Connecticut. For more information, contact the society at southingtongenealogicalsociety@gmail.com and http://southingtongenealogicalsociety.org


Raymond LeRoy Thomas, Jr., 1940-2019


The Society is deeply saddened to announce the passing of its founder, Raymond LeRoy Thomas Jr. on December 11, 2019.  The obituary is as follows:

Raymond LeRoy Thomas, Jr., 79 of East Hartford, beloved husband of Barbara E. Sanborn, passed into God’s Kingdom Wednesday, December 11, 2019. Born in Meriden, he was the son of the late Raymond and Lorraine (Petit) Thomas, Sr. of Meriden and Davie, FL. He graduated from St. Laurent’s Elementary School in Meriden, St. Joseph’s High School in Berthierville, Quebec, Canada and attended St Michael’s College in Winooski, VT. He joined the US Navy in 1960 and chose radioman as his rate. His various duty stations included USS MIDWAY CVA-41 and USS Suribachi AE-21; Naval Communications Stations in Finegayen, Guam and Fort Allen PR, Navel Requiting Offices in New Britain and Waterbury, CTG; and various naval schools. He retired in 1982 as a Radioman Chief Petty Officer (E-7). He was then employed by the US Naval Requiting Offices in New Britain and Waterbury, CT, and various naval schools. After a year as a computer programmer in Bridgeport, he was then employed by the US Postal Service in Meriden for 13 years and another 5 years at the Plantsville post office. He retired in 2002.

He was a member of the American Legion, Kiltonic Post # 72 in Southington, and then of the Gray-Dickinson Post # 59 in Windsor. Genealogy was his “thing”. In 1981, he joined the French-Canadian Genealogical Society of CT. He co-founded the Southington Genealogical Society (1984), co-founded the Charette/Charest Family Association (2000), joined the National Association of Leavitt Families (1997), and in 2003 was elected Genealogist of that organization. He volunteered time at the Family History Center at the Southington LDS Church for many years. He also facilitated the Genealogy Club and assisted at the senior net courses in computer and genealogy at the Southington Calendar House. In his spare time, he researched his own family, his 1st wife’s (Shorette & Leavitt) family, helped his current wife with her research and aided anyone else’s family who asked him. In 2009 he started the Genealogy Club at the Windsor Senior Center.

He has been a member of the Baha’i Faith since 1975. Declaring his faith in Baha’u’llah while in Puerto Rico with the Navy. Ray joined, in 1992, the Connecticut Baha’i Chorale, singing with them till the present day. He served on the Southington Baha’i Local Spiritual Assembly for many years. Ray became a member of Baha’i “Voices of Baha”, an internationally known choir, and performed with them at Carnegie Hall in New York in 2002. He was a member of the Southington Interfaith Clergy Association, representing the Baha’is of Southington, until his move to Windsor, serving on the Local Spiritual Assembly of Windsor since 2009.

He is survived by his wife, Barbara Sanborn of East Hartford; his son Raymond L. Thomas, III and his wife Heather of Plantsville; two grandchildren, Natalie Ray and Raymond L. IV; two step children and 7 step grandchildren and a special grandniece, Missy Almquist of Willington; brothers Ronald and his wife Norma of Tahuya, WA, Roger and his wife Denice of Ashville, NC, and Robert of Hollywood, FL; and many nieces and nephews. He is predeceased by his parents, his first wife Cecelia Shorette, his daughters Linda Ann in 1966 and Janet Marie in 1980; a sister, Patricia Hicks and stepson, Roger Conley.

There are no calling hours. Family and friends are invited to a Graveside Service, Monday, December 16, 2019, at 10 AM directly at St. Laurent’s Cemetery, 1351 Hanover Avenue, Meriden, CT followed by US Naval Honors. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Raymond Thomas IV Medical Fund, c/o the Thomas Family, 836 Marion Ave. #2, Plantsville, CT 06479. The Carmon Windsor Funeral Home is caring for the arrangements.