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Program Meeting

January 24 @ 9:00 am - 11:30 am

Today’s topic: Recording Complex Families: Understanding Numbering Systems and Narrative Formats presented by Mary Van Orsdol

Have you ever wondered how to include an adopted child into your family tree? Or how to organize a genealogy which includes cousin marriages? Or whether to include step-children? You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Mary Van Orsdol will discuss the numbering systems and narrative formats recommended by the New England Historic Genealogical Society and by the National Genealogical Society. She will illustrate how to number genealogies in both ancestor narratives (Ahnentafel) and descendant narratives (using both NEHGS and NGS). She will also examine the descriptive wording and styles recommended by both institutions.

Speaker’s Biography:
Mary received her B.A. in history from University of California, San Diego, her M.A. in American history from University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and her M.L.S. from University of California, Los Angeles. Her first library position was at University of California, Irvine, as the Humanities Reference Librarian. Mary began researching her genealogy in 1991 after she attended a Van Orsdol family reunion in Bristow, Oklahoma, and met several Van Orsdol genealogists who generously shared their findings. She was able to combine her professional interests in research methodology and her personal interest in genealogy when she was hired as a genealogy reference librarian at the Carlsbad City Library; she became the head of the Genealogy Division in 1993 and retired from that position in 2015.
Mary developed a strong research interest and expertise in New Netherland research as she traced her family’s history. Her other genealogy interests include genealogy research methodology and how this is changing with the internet, source citations and how citing sources influences research methodology, and, most recently, organizing genealogy findings electronically, in other words, going paperless. When not researching her family, Mary enjoys knitting, gardening, and playing with her cats.

The Society sponsors coffee & sweets preceding each meeting. Please join us in the coffee room; on the left, inside the chamber. Note: only water is allowed in the chamber.
Society meeting format:

  • 9:00 am Coffee Social
  • 9:30 am Members’ Meeting: Society News, Sharing and occasional Case Studies
  • 10:00 am Break
  • 10:15 am Featured Speaker


January 24
9:00 am - 11:30 am
Event Category:


Jean Tempke


Carlsbad City Council Chambers
1200 Carlsbad Village Drive
Carlsbad, CA 92008 United States
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