Fun and Foibles

On Tuesday, September 20, we were treated to an informative and very entertaining presentation by Joel Warner, President of the Jacksonville Genealogical Society.  Joel had come to Amelia Island to talk to us about four cases he had worked on during his research in England.  He managed to involve the audience, while identifying flukes, errors and wrong assumptions, and demonstrating how perseverance and luck may help to solve problems. Thank you, Joel! 

How to Use DNA to Prove an Ancestor and a Hereditary Disorder

On Tuesday, July 19, an audience of 33 (including 7 guests) was treated to a highly entertaining and enlightening presentation by Sharon Clark Driscoll. Using her own DNA tests through AncestryDNA and 23andMe as examples, Sharon showed us the tools that are available to confirm ancestry lines, in particular the Shared cM Project 4.0. She also described a genetic health risk report provided by 23andMe, which reveals your risk level for developing certain health conditions.  To those who attended, as well as those who missed it, we recommend visiting the DNA Painter website: Thank you, Sharon, for helping us to demystify our DNA results!

Crandall Cemetery

The Villiage of Crandall was platted in 1927, it had sprung up around the L. A. Davis and Brother’s Turpentine Mill located on the St. Mary’s River west of Roses Bluff circa 1895. The land was sold to Rayonier circa 1937. There was an African American church in Crandall. The 1910 Census, of Census District 4, which includes Crandall and Evergreen, was 75% African American (black/mullato) and had a total population of 210. There are two known marked graves and a large number of depressions that are likely grave sites. There are 30 known death certificates citing Crandall cemetery as the place of burial. The Crandall database lists the known and suspected based on death certificates and burials not just the existing grave markers. The cemetery is on Rayonier Forest Products’ land and prior approval is required to be escorted to the cemetery, snake-bite gaiter, orange safety vest, and hard hats will be provided, and four-wheel-drive vehicles are recommended as approximately 4-miles of dirt roads are on the route.

Uncle Sam - We want you!

AIGS Volunteer Opportunities – We Need You!

For any organization (large or small), there’s always more work to be done than there are people to do it. For some situations, it’s just a matter of hiring more people to get it done. However, non-profit groups such as AIGS, have no paid staff and depend entirely upon volunteers who share common interests, to provide their organization’s services. AIGS has been in a rebuilding phase the last couple of years (recovering from the impact of COVID) with focus on growing back our membership and providing quality genealogy programs and classes. And we need our members’ help to continue to move forward! Volunteer opportunities are many and varied! Time commitment can range from a one-time shot for limited minutes (e.g., Research-Help Committee), to a couple of meetings for a one month period (e.g. Audit Committee), to a monthly meeting (or less frequently) for a couple of hours (e.g., Library, Program and Membership Committees). Some efforts can be accomplished from your own home (e.g., Data, Publicity, and Web Committees) and some get you out working actively with others (e.g., Cemetery and Education Committees). There really is something for everyone with a wide range of experience and skill levels needed! This month you will find a Volunteer Interest Form in your member folder. Please take a couple of minutes to review, complete and return the form. AIGS needs your help to be able to offer ongoing resources/services for our members. A little goes a long way! Please don’t hesitate to contact a …

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The Genealogy of Genes

We almost had a full house for our monthly meeting on Tuesday, February 15, which was attended by a total of 52 people, including 20 non-members! The audience listened to Medardo Monzon’s presentation “The Genealogy of Genes”, a fascinating story about the discovery of DNA.  Using simple props and historic photographs, Medardo explained what DNA is, and how the puzzle of this remarkable molecule was solved. He also described the different types of DNA genetic testing, and showed how his own DNA test results encapsulate the story of human migration. Finally, he explained how COVID-19 mRNA vaccines teach our cells how to make a protein that triggers an immune response inside our bodies, without entering the nucleus of the cell where our DNA is located. Thank you very much for a great presentation, Medardo!

The Last Spanish Land Grant in Florida

AIGS started off the new year on January 18 with a presentation by Past-President Jean Dixon Mann. No less than 38 attendees, including several new members and 13 non-members (welcome!) were treated to the fascinating story of the family of Domingo and Mary Fernandez who once owned large plantations on Amelia Island. Their descendants still retain ownership of probably the Last Spanish land grant in Florida, which constitutes one acre between St. Michael’s Church and St. Michael’s School between North 4th and 5th Streets.  Jean had traced many of these descendants, not only in Florida, but also in other parts of the world, and told us their interesting stories. Thank you very much, Jean!

Ancestor Road Show

During our Annual Meeting on November 16, members had the opportunity to talk briefly about a family heirloom or tell a family history. As always, the presenters did not disappoint, but treated us with a variety of funny and interesting stories. An old Vortalex fan blade; an even older gravy bowl; a handwritten letter about the history of the First Baptist Church; a poem from great-grandma’s wooden scrapbook about the arrival of Rayonnier; the many applications of a Scottish hat; the search for a husband’s elusive family; a couple of great-grandparents who were literally clowning around; and a distant ancestor who operated as a Barbery pirate, these were the topics of the presentations. Our thanks go to Frances Bartelt, Jim Ramage, Betty Waas, Valerie Davis, Gus Reinwald, Jean Mann and Jim Shroads for their very entertaining contributions.

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