September – A Personal DNA Case Study

The September meeting is scheduled for Saturday, September 15th, at the Southeast Branch Library. Margaret Nicholson is our speaker. She is presenting a personal case study on how DNA can help find one’s roots.

You’ve done genealogy for years—and years, painstakingly, driving here and there, searching through dusty courthouse records, and traipsing across cemeteries with a camera.  Now everyone is talking about the role DNA can lay in finding ancestors or locating distant, or close but missing, relatives. You spit in a little tube and send your kit to Your results are back, now what?

Using her experience as a case study, she will demonstrate the software features useful for identifying unknown relatives and explain how to use DNA matches to confirm a lineage in a family tree.  Her story involved a surprise father, so more time and effort was required to find her paternal relatives and build a family tree. But the process is essentially the same, even if you don’t receive a surprise with your DNA results.

Margaret M Nicholson came to St Augustine from Harrisburg, PA, fifteen years ago, a move prompted by the birth of her grandchild. Creating a family tree for Noah sparked Margaret’s interest in genealogy. She says, “He’s almost sixteen and ignores me if I utter the words, ‘first cousin once removed,’ but he will look at the ship manifest showing the arrival of his maternal great-grandfather from Italy.”

After taking the plunge into DNA testing and discovering an unexpected birth father, Margaret stopped work on her 80,000-word travel memoir to begin writing My Ancestry Story and How to Find Yours (working title). She has become proficient at using’s DNA results and family tree hints and enjoys sharing her expertise with others. Margaret hopes her book about solving her mystery will provide help for many others. If all goes as planned, the book will be available in September.

St. Augustine Genelogical Society member meetings are open to the public at no charge. Check-in begins at 12:45pm and the meeting is called to order at 1:00pm.

August – Summer Break


SummerTrip.pngThere will be no August member meeting. The society will meet again in September at the Southeast Branch Library. Even if you are taking advantage of the last few weeks before school begins, you can still stay in touch wherever you are. Our weekly Research Notes newsletter will be delivered to subscribed members each Monday. Members can always drop by our Facebook group to request help, share eureka moments or just chat.

We’ll see you all again in September!

June – DNA Questions Answered


Our June member meeting will be held Saturday, June 16, at the Southeast Branch Library. Jack Butler returns to answer your DNA questions. Check-in begins at 12:45pm and the meeting is called to order at 1:00pm.

St. Augustine Genelogical Society member meetings are open to the public at no charge.

May – Searching Local Records

Williamsburg Courthouse

Join the St Augustine Genealogical Society on Saturday, May 19, at 1:00 pm at the Southeast Branch Library to learn how to organize a state-by-state or county-by-county genealogy search of courthouses, libraries, cemeteries & archives.

Ginny Barrs is our speaker. Her love of history was fostered by her father, Harry Dismuke, and she began investigating his family roots while serving in the U.S. Navy in Virginia Beach. After marrying a Navy man, she had two sons and worked for 30 years as a manufacturing engineer in San Diego. When she retired, she and her husband traveled by RV in the southeastern states to locations where members of the Dismukes family once lived. After finally proving her own Dismukes’ ancestral line, Ginny decided to share all of the records she collected during her research. She has authored three books so far (available at with plans to write several more covering all of the Dismukes born before 1870.