Sussex County Genealogical Society - Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
SCGS is a member of the Friends of the Delaware Archives
SCGS is a member of the Federation of Genealogical Societies
SCGS is an official Society in the 1940 Census Indexing Project
The best part about genealogy
is searching for ancestors
and finding friends.
                                                                   Lawrence Dillard
Come to a place where we do both!


Recording Family History

Family History: Interview Questions & Tips to Start the Conversation 

Our family’s story is a vital part of our family history, and recording our own personal history is just as important as compiling a pedigree. The stories passed down by older relatives may include vital clues that help you in the research process as well. Here are some questions to get you started.

  •  How long did your family live in the neighborhood you grew up in? Are parts of the family still there?
  •  Was there extended family living in the area at that time?
  •  Did you live on a farm, and if so, what kind of crops and livestock did you raise?
  •  Did you have pets in your household?
  •  What was your house or apartment like? How many floors? How many rooms?
  •  Where did the family congregate?
  •  What kind of amenities did it have? Indoor plumbing? Electricity? Gas? Telephone? Refrigerator? Cooking stove? Television?
  •  Were there any special items in the house that stand out in your mind? A favorite possession belonging to you, your parents, or a sibling?
  •  What kind of neighborhood did you grow up in?
  •  Did the town have a railroad? Post office? What kinds of stores or shops?
  •  Was your family part of a religious community? If so, where did you go to worship?
  •  What religious ceremonies did you take part in?
  •  Do you have godparents or sponsors?
  •  Where did you go to school?
  •  What level of education do you have?
  •  What was your favorite subject to study?
  •  Did you have any special interests when you were growing up (sports, hobbies, crafts, etc.)?
  •  What kinds of games did you play?
  •  What was your favorite toy?
  •  What did you do for fun (go to the beach, a park, movies, a zoo, etc.)?
  •  Did your family ever take trips to visit family or go on sight-seeing vacations?
  •  Did you ever attend a family reunion, and if so, where was it?
  •  Were there any foreign languages spoken in your household? Do you speak any foreign languages?
  •  Who were your friends growing up?
  •  Who were close friends of the family?
  •  Describe the personalities of your family members.
  •  Are there any physical characteristics that run in your family?
  •  Were there any serious illnesses in your family? Do any illnesses run in the family?
  •  Were there any memorable traditions that your family observed?
  •  Can you remember any stories that were told to you as a child (fictional, folk lore, or real life)?
  •  What events stand out in your memories from your childhood?
Source:   -   Visit the Ancestry Support Center at 

Preserve and Digitize an Old Notebook

The Washington Post 30 Nov 2017 - BY JEANNE HUBER

The ink in this 105-year-old notebook is fading, and the pages are becoming brittle. A professional conservator can determine the best way to treat the pages and, if needed, help with scanning them.

Q: I have my grandmother’s 105-year-old notebook with her beautiful calligraphy. The ink is fading, and the pages are becoming more and more brittle. What is the proper way to preserve it? And is there someone who could digitize the notebook and make high-quality copies of the pages without damaging it? Rockville
A: A project like this, with great sentimental value, warrants the help of a professional conservator who specializes in preserving works on paper. The American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works offers a “find a conservator” service on its website ( that allows you to search by specialty and Zip code. To be included in the list, conservators must have been trained to use materials that are chemically stable and as reversible as possible, and their protocol always involves providing written and photographic documentation of what they do. Their goal is to stabilize and preserve, not necessarily make documents look new again.
The Washington area, with its wealth of museums, is particularly well endowed with suitable specialists — a search on the AIC website turned up 23 conservators specializing in books and paper within 20 miles of Rockville. But many have email addresses indicating they work at the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution or other agencies.
One book and paper conservator who takes on individual projects is Ewa Paul in Fairfax (703-488-8626; Like other conservators, she typically begins a project with a free consultation, although if she has to travel she might charge for that. She’d discuss options, and if you wanted to proceed, she would draft a formal proposal with prices. Paper conservators in the Washington area generally charge $100 to $140 an hour, Paul said.
The treatment would begin by documenting the condition of the notebook via photographs. Then Paul would test the materials to determine things such as the type of paper and whether the ink is sensitive to solvents. The actual conservation might include treating the paper to combat acidity. After the treatment, she would take another round of photographs and give you a report detailing all that she did.
Paul looked at the picture you sent. Judging from the small section visible in it, she wrote in an email, “I can tell that the paper is in rather good condition, and so are the inks.” But she would need to examine the whole notebook to make a recommendation about the best way to digitize it. If the pages are fragile, she suggests having a conservator do the scanning. If the pages are in good condition, you might be able to do it yourself.
For the scanning, you might want to follow standards that the Library of Congress uses when it scans documents for people who want copies of books or papers in its collection. The library scans at a finer resolution, called DPI, or dots per inch, for small pages than it does for large pages on the assumption that people may want to enlarge small pages more when making prints. For pages 4 inches by 5 inches, the DPI setting would be 1,400. But for pages 5 inches by 7 inches, or 8 inches by 10 inches, it would be only 600. Make at least one copy of your scan and store it in a different place. And, because file storage systems keep evolving, transfer the images to a current storage system every five years or so. You might also want to make a paper printout and save that.
The Library of Congress offers tips for digitizing personal documents at

Step-by-step tips for saving and archiving your personal websites, blogs and social media.

Find-A-Grave Has Changed

Source: Ted  Bainbridge,  Ph.D
The home page has become a photograph with a few menu selections across the top.  That page is dominated by the search panel, which functions largely as it did in the past and with the same options for every search box except those related to location.
The old search panel specified location via pull-down lists for country, state, and county.  The new search panel offers a single box for location, in which you are supposed to type the name of a place.  As you begin to type a city, county, state, or country that box auto-fills with suggested place names which you can select with a mouse click.  Use the American English equivalent of a country name; Germany works but Deutschland doesn’t.
The new home page’s menu bar goes across the top of the screen.  Clicking CEMETERIES takes you to a page that lets you hunt cemeteries in either of two ways.  Near the top left of the page is a search box where you can type a cemetery name.  This auto-fill box works as above.  When you select a name, you see a hit list of cemeteries with that name.  Each entry on the hit list displays some facts about that cemetery, and a link to its information page.  That page contains a search box that you can use to hunt for a person’s name.
Instead of using that cemetery-name search box, you can use the cemetery-place search box to its right.  Clicking a place name produces a map of cemeteries near that place.  You can zoom the map in or out, and can pan it in any direction.  (If the map doesn’t display any marker pins, zoom in.)  After a name is in that search box, clicking Search leads to a hit list of cemeteries near that place.  Use this hit list the same way you use the other cemetery search box.


Genealogy Tip Of The Day

Want Great Tips on Genealogy Research? 
Check with Michael John Neill!

Sussex County Genealogical Society

Wants to Know .. What YOU
Would like to see and hear about at our Genie Bytes and Monthly Meetings.
We have several great speakers lined up for our meetings and are looking for suggestions.
Genie Bytes looks to enhance your search capabilities and discuss not only technical issues but aid in your research.
Let us know .. OK?   Send your suggestions to!

December 13
Board Meeting
Board/Committee Reporting and Planning.  Lunch afterwards.
December 16
Monthly Membership Meeting & "Show & Tell - Holiday Traditions"