Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Volunteers Needed!

Interested in improving the access to local vital records? Please consider joining a group of volunteers indexing the Death Records of South Bend, Mishawaka and St. Joseph County! All that is needed is a laptop computer and some volunteer time.

We have approval from the Health Department to support their new software program by providing an index of the death records from the very heavy and cumbersome record books of 1920 on. It is a fascinating look at the early people of the area, many foreign born, many working at either Studebaker or Oliver, the occasional murder or suicide, and the family tragedy of a stillborn.

South Bend Area Genealogical Society member and coordinator for the project is member Jim Curtis.  If you would like to help please contact Jim at

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Highlights from DNA Explained with Roberta Estes


The South Bend Area Genealogical Society was pleased to co-host our April meeting with the Local & Family History Department of the St. Joseph County Public Library, in their Colfax Auditorium.   Some 70 people were in attendance to hear Roberta Estes, a nationally known speaker on DNA use for genealogical research.
In her first lecture, “DNA Testing for Genealogy Explained”, Ms. Estes defined DNA as “the encyclopedia of life” and described the three basic DNA tests used in genealogy: Autosomal; mitochondrial; and Y-chromosome.  Autosomal DNA tests for all ancestry, all lines and is contributed 50% by each parent.  Mitrochondrial DNA tests either a man OR a woman but only along the direct maternal line, being only passed on by the daughter.  Y-DNA tests a male along his direct paternal line and passes down almost unchanged father to son. 
In her second lecture, “DNA Test Results Explained”, Ms. Estes used personal family test results and FamilyTreeDNA, the largest DNA genealogy company, to illustrate the very many reports now able to be generated.  She explained the more markers tested, the better the more recent genealogical match would be and recommended 37 marker testing as being optimal (although testing can go to over 100 markers if desired).  Using examples of surprising and sometimes not wanted results, Mrs. Estes said firmly “if not prepared for surprises, DON”T test”. 
Ms. Estes provided a very thorough and lively look at a most valuable and complex tool that we can use in our family history, DNA testing.
Roberta Estes founded DNAeXplain in 2004 to provide analysis and interpretation of genetic genealogy DNA test results.  Her website is and her very excellent and informative blog is  

Monday, April 7, 2014

Join us this Saturday for DNA for Genealogy Explained!

Roberta Estes

Wanting to do your DNA but don’t know how to begin? Having done your DNA, do you understand what you have and how to interpret the results? Come to these two fascinating and informative lectures.

On Saturday April 12 in the Colfax Auditorium, the St. Joseph County Public Library, in collaboration with the South Bend Area Genealogical Society, will present two lectures from national speaker Roberta Estes, an expert in the use of DNA testing for genealogical purposes.

For the first, DNA Testing for Genealogy Explained, Ms. Estes will discuss the types of DNA testing available and how these tests can serve the genealogical researcher. Her title for the lecture is DNA and Genealogy Introduction, and it will begin at 10:30.

For the second, DNA Test Results Explained, Ms. Estes will cover interpreting DNA test results. Her title for the lecture is Yikes, My Results are Back! Now What?  This presentation is for both Y-line and mitochondrial DNA. It will begin at 1:30.

You may reserve your space by calling 574-282-4621, or at

Roberta Estes is a professional scientist, business owner, and genealogist. She excels at explaining difficult technical subjects in an understandable fashion to a nontechnical audience. She founded DNAeXplain in 2004 to provide analysis and interpretation of genetic genealogy DNA test results. Her website is

Monday, March 3, 2014


The annual South Bend Area Genealogical Society Genealogy Fair is coming up.  Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

February Members Meeting - One Quiet Sunday Afternoon in Mishawaka (1860's)

The South Bend Area Genealogical Society will host its February meeting at 7:00 p.m., Monday February 24, 2014 at the Sunnyside Presbyterian Church on Frances and Washington Streets in South Bend. 

Our special guest speaker will be Mr. Dave Eisen, Director of the Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library system. Mr. Eisen will speak on "One Quiet Sunday Afternoon in Mishawaka", a happening that will surprise the audience!

 The meeting is open to the public.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Happy 38th Anniversary to SBAGS!

Today marks the 38th anniversary of the South Bend Area Genealogical Society!

The Society was conceived in 1975 by Laureen Bostedt and Fay Lies, with Prudence Michael and Carol Collins as advisors.  The first organized meeting was held January 22, 1976 in the Schuyler Colfax Auditorium of the South Bend Public Library under the direction of Jeanne Denham, President.

The Michiana genealogical community owes a big thank you to Laureen, Fay, Prudence, Carol and Jeanne for founding the society with the goals of record collection, preservation and dissemination as well as instructing on research and documentation of those records. Thanks to your foresight SBAGS has thrived over the last 38 years.

Here's to many more.