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Gena Philibert Ortega
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Started this discussion. Last reply by Declan Chalmers Jul 27, 2009.

Gena's Genealogy

Join Me for 50 Records That Document Female Ancestors

I LOVE Legacy webinars and Family History Month is the prefect time to discuss female ancestors. Join me for 50 Records that Document Female Ancestors on Legacy Webinars this week!

“Women can’t be found in genealogical documents.” “They are difficult to research.” While these statements can be true, there are records out there that document their lives. We will explore 50 records to consider as you research female ancestors from the colonial period to the 20th century in the United States.


Register now for this webinar to see it live on Wednesday, October 9th. It's also free for a week after the live presentation. After that, you can view it and the handouts with a Legacy subscription. (Well worth it to have access to Legacy's 1,000 + webinars). 

You can view my other Legacy webinars on my page at

Gena's 2019 Northern California Speaking Tour

It's Summer! That means it's time for Gena's annual California Speaking Tour. Join Gena at one of the societies listed below for genealogy and resources. 

Well I'm not speaking in Monterey but it does make for a nice California photo. (2018) Gena Philibert-Ortega.

NEW this year is the opportunity to consult with Gena on your genealogy brick wall problem. Meet Gena in San Ramon for 30 minutes & get help with your research. Just $20! Contact Gena for appointment times at

It's also time to start booking 2020's tour. 2020 includes a speaking tour in California (July), Arizona (April), and Texas (Fall). To learn more, contact Gena! 

See you on the Tour!

July 8, 2019: Livermore-Amador Genealogical Society
Topics: Her Name was Not Unknown: Finding Female Ancestors & We’re Related to George Washington?: Proving Family Stories.

July 9, 2019: El Dorado Hills Genealogical Society
Topic: Journals, Store Ledgers and Letters to Aunt Mary: Using Manuscript Collections

July 11, 2019: Contra Costa Genealogical Society
Topic: A Genealogist Goes to the Library

July 13, 2019: Silicon Valley Computer Genealogy Group
Topic: Her Name was Not "Unknown": Finding Female Ancestors

July 14, 2019: Sacramento Public Library
Topic: The Farmer Takes a Wife

July 16, 2019: San Ramon Valley Genealogical Society
Topic: Anatomy of Birth, Marriage and Death Records

July 18, 2019: Marin County Genealogical Society
Topic:Step Away From the Computer: Using Archives, Academic Libraries and Museums for Your Research

July 19, 2019: Mt. Diablo Genealogical Society
Topic: Brick Walls

July 20, 2019: Ventura County Genealogy Society
Topics: 25 Tips for Researching Female Ancestors & Using the FamilySearch Catalog

Topics are subject to change. See the individual society’s website for more information. 

Women's History Month 2019: Until Next Time

Wow! 31 days. We took 30 of those days looking at directories that go beyond city directories to find mentions of women's lives.

So let's take this last day to talk tips for finding your female ancestors. I want to highlight some of the "best practices" that probably  became obvious as I added blog posts.

1. Always take time to search by location. This is something I harp on in presentations. I think it's because my research training was not just genealogy so my background included different types of research and resources. Research is more than plugging in a name/date/place. Use websites like WorldCat, ArchiveGrid, and digitized book websites and search by the place your ancestor lived.

2. Don't stop at the homepage search. For genealogy websites, they have so much more to offer than just that homepage search. Explore their card catalog, search by location, check out what databases exist in their collections. That's how you find the hidden gems.

3. Use digitized book websites. These are truly some of the most important websites for genealogy. But because they aren't "genealogy" websites or what they include is not clear they are easy to ignore. Search by place, search by name, just search and explore. Take some time to explore Google Books, Internet Archive, and Hathi Trust today.

4. Research isn't a race, it takes time. We've grown accustomed to the luxury of typing in a name/date/place and like a slot machine, getting a "hit" that adds to our genealogy wealth. But that's not real research. Research requires asking questions, finding what sources have that answer, and searching for them. It requires learning more about the time period and place. It requires curiosity and persistence. The reward is that you learn more about the story of your ancestor's life.

Thanks for taking the time this month to read my Women's History Month posts. You can read posts from previous years by clicking on the Women's History Month images to the right. 

I want to give a general shout-out to my friends, presentation audience, and others who gave me the inspiration for posts this month. Special thanks to Tami Osmer Mize of Conference Keeper who designed the promotional images. 

Good luck researching your female ancestors!

Women's History Month 2019: The Englishwoman's Directory

Sometimes a directory might not be as useful for  finding an individual ancestor but can help you better understand the world they lived in. One such directory is The Englishwoman's Year Book and Directory 1900 available on Google Books

All kinds of institutions are listed here that assisted women and children.

And there is even a small obituary section.

And there is a directory of individual women's names as well. 

This book has a little bit of everything and even for those who didn't descend from "Ladies" you may find something that can help you with your understanding of your female English ancestor's world. 

Women's History Month 2019: A Red Book

Hathi Trust

As I was coming up with the list of directories I wanted to talk about this month, there was one directory I knew I wanted to feature, I knew where it was located online, but I couldn't remember what it was called.

Lucky for me, describing what the directory looked like, "red directory" yielded the right result.

The Ladies' Directory. Red Book for Shanghai for 1916-1921 is available on Hathi Trust . It's a directory for and of British women living in China. 

According to the bookseller Antipodean, it was compiled by the North China Herald. In the 1870 copy they sold it contained, ..." translations of colloquial phrases; translations of roads in the English settlements and in "Hong-Que"; listings of the women's' names, beginning with Mrs. T. Allen and ending with Miss Yates (at the French Concession); advertising for storekeepers; a table listing market prices for foodstuffs; and "Visiting Notes" with each month listed with blanks for visits made and visits received."

The 1916 version has pretty much the same content. This directory of British women includes both married women and their daughters but in some cases the woman is listed by her husband's  name (Mrs. John Smith) or if a daughter, simply Miss Smith. 

Hathi Trust

A great directory of women that could be followed up with using other records like their husband's occupation, membership records, and travel records. Other sources might also exist such as a cookbook. I know that in my cookbook collection I have a community cookbook whose recipes come from American women living in an Asian country because of their husband's work. 

Don't forget that sometimes our temporary circumstances might also be the catalyst for the creation of a directory. 

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Latest Activity

Gena Philibert Ortega posted a note

October Genealogy Virtual Meetings

Virtual Meetings are a way for you to learn more about genealogy from The National Institute for Genealogical Studies instructors.  Everyone is welcome and the meetings are FREE. Join us! Note: NO USER NAME or PASSWORD is REQUIRED. After clicking on…
Gena Philibert Ortega replied to Jeanie Brewerton's discussion Spam
"We have removed the member who was posting spam messages to members. Thank you for reporting it. Gena Philibert-Ortega Director Genealogy Services The National Institute for Genealogical Studies"
Oct 1
Gena Philibert Ortega posted a note


Occasionally, we do get members on GenealogyWise who are here to do one thing, spam other members. Ning, the platform we use, has no way to detect a spammer prior to them bothering our members. The only way we have to find spammers and terminate…
Sep 30
Gena Philibert Ortega replied to Jeanie Brewerton's discussion Spam
"Another member already reported James Pollard for spam. He has been removed from the website. "
Sep 12
Gena Philibert Ortega posted a note

September 2019 Genealogy Virtual Meetings

Have  questions about your genealogy research? Join the instructors from The National Institute for Genealogical Studies for FREE virtual meetings where we discuss resources, records, and answer questions. Below is a list of virtual meetings. Attend…
Sep 6
Gena Philibert Ortega posted a blog post
Aug 27
Gena Philibert Ortega replied to Susan Dzialo's discussion How to find ancestors that performed in show business?
"You don't mention where Mildred lived but the first place you should look, if you haven't already is  newspapers. Several online digitized newspaper websites should be checked including and GenealogyBank. Conduct…"
Aug 23
Gena Philibert Ortega posted a note

June 2019 Genealogy Virtual Meeting Schedule

Have any questions about your family history  research? Join instructors from The National Institute for Genealogical Studies for Virtual Meetings. These online presentations are FREE and everyone is invited. Below are the June scheduled…
Jun 6
Gena Philibert Ortega posted a blog post

MyHeritage Expands to Health; Launches New DNA Test Offering Powerful and Personalized Health Insights for Consumers

MyHeritage Expands to Health; Launches New DNA Test Offering Powerful and Personalized Health Insights for ConsumersThe new MyHeritage DNA Health + Ancestry test provides comprehensive health reports for conditions affected by genetics including heart disease, breast cancer, type 2 diabetes, and Alzheimer’s diseaseTel Aviv, Israel & Lehi, Utah — MyHeritage, the…See More
May 20
Gena Philibert Ortega posted a note

May Genealogy Virtual Meetings

Have any questions about your genealogy research? Join The National Institute for Genealogical Studies this month for our Virtual Meetings. Join an instructor for Q+ A, lecture, and more. Below are the May scheduled…
May 10

Profile Information

What surnames are you interested in researching?
McNeil, Smith, Nikolaus, Hibbert, Philibert, Harsbarger, Montgomery, Randall, Earlywine, Chatham, Lewis, Ortega, Ochoa, Marquez, Aquino
What countries and other locations are you interested in researching?
USA, Mexico, England
What is your level of genealogy knowledge?
Professional Genealogist
If you are a genealogy expert, what are your specialties?
American Records
For what reason did you start genealogy research?
I love family history and learning more about my ancestors.
Do you have a genealogy website or blog?

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Virtual Genealogical Association Conference

Posted on August 27, 2019 at 9:29am

Valerie & Myrt’s Excellent Genealogy Adventures debuts today

Valerie & Myrt’s Excellent Genealogy Adventures debuts today
Colorado Springs, CO, Oct 19, 2018 — In anticipation THE…

Posted on October 19, 2018 at 10:33am






The Virtual Genealogical Society is a global organization serving family history enthusiasts of all levels, geared…


Posted on April 29, 2018 at 9:41pm — 1 Comment



March 24, 2018 | Utica, OH

Email Terri O’Connell for contact details, photos, and an author bio.




Posted on March 26, 2018 at 10:19am

Comment Wall (109 comments)

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At 6:41pm on May 4, 2016, Susi (Susan C Jones) Pentico said…

Yup the correct word is NOT CONNECTED????

At 6:40pm on May 4, 2016, Susi (Susan C Jones) Pentico said…

Gena Philibert Ortega,  for some reason the system says my chat is shut off? I keep clicking to go into chat room and it says not available?

619 623 5250

At 10:36am on March 6, 2016, Joe said…

Hello Gena, Thanks for trying to address my email issue. When I click settings...Profile...change email, it gives me a link to click on in my new email. when I do click on it, it takes me to my page. when I re-enter my profile the old address is still there

At 6:49pm on September 15, 2011, Erin Bradford (freeaainnc) said…
Hi!  I tried emailing you about the possibility of starting a new chat, but it bounced and said your box was full.  When you have some space in your email, could you email me  Thanks!
At 2:49pm on August 29, 2011, Hal Horrocks said…


Is there nothing your not involved in?


Hal Horrocks

At 7:55am on July 14, 2011, James P. LaLone said…


Check out Monica Diesma posting the same message to many people, I think it is spam to get in contact with people. Jim.

At 10:29pm on May 12, 2011, Lawrence Wright said…
Thanks for the comment and encouragement Gena.  This is a wonderful site.  I have to confess that I feel a bit overwhelmed.  Trying to find the right pedagogy to learn this has left me feeling like a deer looking at an oncoming car at night with bright headlights on.   Larry
At 11:16am on February 9, 2011, Ellen Healy said…
Gena, So glad to see you here again. I didn't know you had been gone until it was mentioned one night on the chat. Good news!!!
At 8:26pm on November 10, 2010, Ellen Healy said…
Hi, Gena, I really love the lists of sites you have been posting in the newsletter. They are very helpful, and I just copied the ones from todays' newsletter on military records. One question I have is do you know of any good sites where records of the Spanish-American War are listed?
At 5:31pm on October 27, 2010, Sharon Rollins Pustejovsky said…
Thanks for the welcome! I look forward to using GenealogyWise and getting to know other users, and helping each other as much as possible.

Sharon Pustejovsky




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