By Sheila Benedict

Contributing Writer

Belated Happy New Year to everyone. I am sorry I could not write the column in January as I had eye surgery and my computer time was severely limited. I am healed now and back to my usual working self again. It is apparent repositories and other research locations are still closed.

You can probably visit a cemetery, but it is doubtful you can go there if it is quite a distance from home. Better to adhere to all the guidelines, take the vaccine when available to you, and hopefully the COVID-19 case numbers will start going down, and that soon some repositories will be back in operation. 

In the meantime, there is a constant flow of new digitized databases coming to the variety of genealogical sites such as,,,, Cyndi’s, local genealogical societies, and others. Do not forget to check out ethnic and religion websites, historical societies, our National Archives in DC and regionally, California state repositories and those in other states as they may be putting more material online as well. 

There are many webinars offered for beginning, intermediate and advanced researchers and they are on a range of topics including DNA research. Upcoming are many of the weeklong conferences and all one has to do is Google genealogical courses online 2021 and a variety of them will come up. Methodology, focused topics for regions of the U.S. and other countries, and so much more.  

As a reminder when you do your research, be sure to cite your sources, all of them, and one of the best texts to have at your desk is “Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace” third edition revised; written by Elizabeth Shown Mills and published in 2017 by Genealogical Publishing Company. It is the definitive work a genealogist needs. There are others and one of these months, I may devote a column to give readers a lengthy bibliography to keep handy. 

It is probably unnecessary to state there is an excellent Danish museum in Solvang, the Elverhoj Museum of History & Art, 1624 Elverhoj Way. Other places to visit are Mission Santa Inés, 1760 Mission Drive, and the Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum and Parks-Janeway Carriage House, located on 3596 Sagunto St., Santa Ynez, and it has history of the whole valley including Solvang. I do not know if any of them are open to the public yet and if not, let us hope they will be soon. Until next month, remember once again to follow the guidelines and be safe and well.

Sheila Benedict is a professional forensic and family genealogist. She is the author of Research in California, which she wrote in 2015 for the National Genealogical Societies Research in the States Series and writes articles in a variety of genealogical society newsletters and magazines. All words are her own and may not be reproduced without permission.