Society helps beginners in ancestor search

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society has held monthly educational classes to help people who are beginners and wanted to explore their ancestry. The CVGS is starting its classes up for those interested in exploring their ancestry.

Chula Vista Genealogical Society President Karen Smith said many that come to meetings are interested in the DNA testing that is now available.

“Now that we have DNA testing, we have two ways to do genealogy,” she said. “We can do it through genetics, and we can do it the old way, which is through records to try and establish our family records. And that is what the Society is about. Digging up our roots and finding out where we came from.”

Smith said COVID took a big hit on the Society. Before the pandemic, the Society held three educational classes a month at the Chula Vista Library. That stopped and everything went to Zoom.

“We are trying to revamp the monthly education classes so that we can have people come in and do things in person,” she said. “And help them get a good foothold on genealogical research. Oct. 17 will be the first meeting, and we are calling it ‘Genealogists Helping Genealogists.’ People can bring their laptop, tablet, or their written records, and we can give them a boost on researching.”

Smith said the meeting will have experienced researchers to help attendees to help them. She said the first meeting will be Oct. 17 at the San Diego County Bonita-Sunnyside Library Community Room from 1-3 p.m.

Smith said with DNA testing, there are choices.

“There is 23andMe DNA testing and they have the second largest database of people that have tested,” she said. “The reason you want that is to see who you match. You use that to help you trace your family tree. But the best and largest database is They are superb. They have a huge database of people. If you go to 23andMe, you are probably not going to get as many matches. On Ancestry you do. Nobody has the amount of people in their database as Ancestry.”

Smith said finding out about your ancestry can bring up things that are “precious” to know about your family history.

“Many people go to Ancestry just to find out if they are Greek or French and many people on Ancestry do not have a family tree,” she said. “We try to go around that. You can usually pick things up even without a family tree by things that do match and how they are related to you. We have many Society members that are extremely skilled.”

The CVGS is only one of three genealogical societies in the county with around 100 members. Smith said the largest is San Diego, which is huge, and one in North County. The CVGS began in the late 1980s.