Saddleback Valley Trails

Vol 9 No 1 ...Editor: Gail Gilbert ...January 2002

South Orange County California Genealogical Society

 P. O. Box 4513, Mission Viejo, CA. 92690

Monthly meetings are held on the third Saturday of each month from 10:00 a.m. to Noon at the Mission Viejo Family History Center Institute Building, 27978 Marguerite Parkway, Mission Viejo, between Medical Center Drive and Hillcrest Drive. Membership is open to anyone wishing to join. Yearly membership fees are $20 per calendar year for individuals, $25 for joint membership. SOCCGS is not affiliated with the LDS Family History Center.

Reminder: DUES ARE DUE!

Please pay promptly and make things easier for our membership chairman.




Happy New Year to my fellow genealogists! May this be our year for breaking down brick walls and finding those elusive ancestors!

This should be another good year for SOCCGS. There are some great programs planned and we will hear each month from another of our members. We will certainly not lack for inspiration to continue our searches.

By mid-April, we are scheduled to be in our new section at the library. This will mean being "hooked up" to the Internet once again. I believe our genealogy traffic will increase, so please consider helping out as a docent.

See you the 19th!

Mary Jo McQueen


19 January 2002 We are happy to welcome again as our guest speaker Leland Pound, and his topic will be "Researching the South".


16 February 2002 Randy Thompson, Archive Specialist with the National Archives, Laguna Niguel Branch, will present a workshop on using the 1930 Census which is being released April first of this year.


12 January 2002 The San Diego Genealogical Society (SDGS) will present Mary E. V. Hill at their Annual Luncheon at the Handlery Hotel & Resort, 950 Hotel Circle North San Diego. Her topics will be The Big 4 U.S. Sources - Census, Vital, Land & Probate Records, Land Records in the U.S., Colonial Immigration Prior to 1776, and Homestead Case Files. Cost is $35 for the day. For more info. contact Bonnie Fago at (619) 579-6587.

9 February 2002 The new chapter of the Colonial Dames in Laguna Hills will meet. For info on joining, contact Pres. Sandra Harris (760) 754-1015 or Registrar Mary Bump (949) 830-8429.

23 February 2002 The Whittier Area Genealogical Society (WAGS) will hold its 20th Annual Seminar, presenting Sharon DeBartolo Carmack, CG, author and contributing editor for Family Tree Magazine. Topics will include: Flesh on the Bones: Putting Your Ancestors into Historical Perspective, The Silent Woman: Bringing a Name to Life, Painless Organization, and Cryptic Clues in the Bone Yard. For more information contact the seminar director, Jean Bogart at (626) 333-1194 or Or visit the web page at:

3-10 March 2002 The North San Diego County Genealogical Society will be hosting a trip to Salt Lake City. The cut off for reservations is February 3rd. For more information contact: Floyd Smith, trip coordinator, at (760) 559-4716 or email to <>.

13-14 April 2002 The Southern California Genealogical Society (SCGS) will hold its Annual Genealogical Jamboree at the Pasadena Convention Center. Info is available from Chris Hubbard (818) 843-7247 or or

7-10 August 2002 The 2002 Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference will be hosted next summer by the CA State Genealogical Alliance at the Ontario Convention Center. Details will be posted on the FGS Website at You can also write FGS, PO Box 200940, Austin, TX 78720-0940.


Many thanks to Pat Weeks for filling the role of newsletter editor for me the past two months. She was a lifesaver and really did a terrific job. I also want to thank all of you for your well wishes during my two surgeries. It sure lifts your spirits to hear from friends. I'm back and running pretty much at full steam now. So, send me your items for the newsletter. It would be nice to make this truly a newsletter by and for our membership. Thanks again, Gail

IN MEMORIAM: It is with sadness that I report we have lost one of our founding members, George McInnis, who passed away Dec. 29th, cause of death, leukemia. George was instrumental in developing the bylaws for the SOCCGS and was a board member in those early years. He and wife Eleanor took on the task of mailing out the newsletter for the first four years it was published. George was also involved in using his personal computer in its early years, and would expound on the values of the computer. Most of us had no idea of the role the computer would play in genealogy research, but George could see its future. Back before most of us even got a computer, George had translated the 1881-1891 Antigonish and Inverness County Nova Scotia census, and it was probably one of the first such databases to appear on the internet. I will always remember George's story of how he wore out his printer in printing out the census information. He would set the clock at every two hour intervals throughout the night in order to feed paper into the printer. Our website still makes this database available. Our sympathy to his wife Eleanor and family. Pat Weeks


The Southern California Genealogical Society, housed in Burbank CA, has a very active French Canadian Interest Group that meets five times a year. The holdings of this group is awesome. Their latest acquisition is the Blue Drouin, an alphabetical listing of the French Canadian marriages from 1760 through 1935. This collection includes 1-2 million marriages of Quebec, Eastern Ontario and New Brunswick as well as other areas. Currently they are one of only five libraries in the U.S. to have this collection, and the other four are all on the East coast. This is only a small portion of what they have.

This group meets at the Burbank Library, 10 am to 4 pm and guests are welcome. They are extremely friendly and eager to help with research problems in regards to French Canadian ties. Usually there are snacks and desserts, and $5 buys you a slice or two of pizza. Schedule for the coming year is: Feb 17; May 19; July 21; Sept 22; and Nov 17; all Sundays.

Pat Weeks would love to attend the February meeting, but needs others to go and keep her company because Dana Pt. to Burbank is a long trip! If interested, contact Pat at (949) 493-4777 or


Don't forget to keep submitting those surnames to Herb Abrams for our on-line surname list at our webpage: http://www.soccgs.orgsurnames.htm If you have any additions or corrections contact Herb at: <> He tells us that he can revise the list very easily. Also, if you want the name of a submitter, just send him an email and he will contact that submitter and ask them to contact you. We are not putting names or addresses on the list to protect the privacy of the submitter. Be sure to take a look at the list. You may be surprised to find you have been sitting at meetings next to a long lost cousin.


Do you have some musty smelling old books which you treasure but can't stand in the house? I'm told that one way to remove the odor, and it makes sense to me, is to put the book in a brown paper bag with some Kitty Litter. Seal the end of the bag and put it aside for about a week. When you open it, you should find that the Kitty Litter has absorbed all the odor from the book.


by Linda Merle, former SOCCGS member currently living in MA

We Scotch-Irish are far removed from the motherland(s) (in our case). Our ancestors left and prospered, whether it was the US, Canada, Australia, or South Africa that saw the benefit of their labors. We have not got a clue what it was like "back home" two or three hundred years ago. We assume it was a lot like the worlds we now inhabit, but it was not.

I know that because my father's grandparents were the emigrants. This has helped me understand. My father's father's people came from County Durham in England. They were coal miners who left in the 1870's. Upward mobile coalminers: they opened a pub in Ohio, but later lost it when a son stole the profits . . and had to go back to work in the coal mines (I found the bad guy in a census living with a Polish ragseller claiming he was Polish, which has caused me to laugh a lot).

One of my grandfather's brothers became part owner of a coal mine and blew his brains out when he lost it all in the crash of 1929. Another lit out for the Texas oilfields . . he's still lost. My grandfather was one of the first men hired into his brother's mine, and so the top of the heap. Still, he died of black lung living in public housing. My father wanted to buy some land and move to the country when he was a young man. My grandfather told him he couldn't do that. Why? Because no one in the family had ever owned land. It was inconceivable to my grandfather, one generation out of the coalfields of Durham. How could he even think of this?

My father refused to give up his dream, though. And he did manage to buy some land and build a house there when I was a child. My grandfather would come out and cut down trees. The first one in our family to ever be able to cut down a tree . . legally <grin>. Having come out of Weardale in Durham, which was in a huge royal forest, I suspect they were not the first trees we've cut down <wink>.

But that's what it was like back there. Our ancestors were lured to America by free or almost free land. Something they'd never had before. No matter that it was full of scalping Indians and primeval forests and you had to make your own furniture out of tree trunks. They were grasping at something most of them had absolutely no chance of having in the Old Country. Owning land really meant something to them. It changed everything. Many people risked everything and many died for the chance to own a little land.

And now my father is a wee country gentleman living on his three acres . . something no one in his family had ever done before. What a tremendous accomplishment.



The Los Angeles Family History Center Newsletter for Oct/Nov 2001 announced that "The Church recently released a new family history tool for those who want to learn more about their Scandinavia ancestors. The Vital Records Index for Scandinavia on CD-ROM contains 4.5 million records extracted from original birth, christening and marriage certificates from Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. Volunteers extracted the information from church records kept from the late 1600s to 1905. . . . The set of seven discs (item no. 50108) can be purchased for U.S. $16.50 through Church distribution centers world-wide. The discs can also be ordered on the Internet at


The British Listowner for my Garton surname, <>, sent the following interesting information to the GARTON-LIST which I will pass along verbatim:

The UK's Public Records Office (PRO) is seeking support for a lottery Funding grant application, so it can make available as an online searchable archive, some 20,000 Mediaeval wax seals from documents held in the PRO.

To quote from the leaflet on this, the archive will offer ". . .a catalogue, fully searchable under many different heads: names of owner and user, date, region, design, inscription etc. Exact consistency of description, even for detailed elements of design, will make the catalogue a tool of great value for mediaeval study and research."

Further it tells us that ". . .Mediaeval seals on-line is not concerned only with seals of kings, bishops, knights, monasteries and the like, but also those of ordinary people (almost unknown, although in fact some four-fifths of surviving seals)".

If you would like to express support for this valuable addition to online archives, please visit the PRO here: and click on the Mediaeval Seals link (in orange at the top of the paragraph) to download the Acrobat.pdf file which has a copy of the support form for you to complete, and the address to which it needs returning. This can be done either electronically by e-mail or via snail mail.

The Mediaeval Seals Project is part of the UK PRO's programme of making information available online. The 1901 Census will be made wholly available online for the first time in January 2002.


This is the site for the National Obituary Archive which contains over 50 million obituaries and death records, some being from the SSDI. Search by name, date, range or city.

This is the new site for ProQuest which has purchased Heritage Quest from Sierra On-Line. They now have the largest genealogical collection available on-line.

This is a good source for definitions of military terms found in genealogy research.


Go to this site for the latest on Brigham Young University's project, - DNA in genealogy.


This site appears to be a newsletter with interesting articles on Burke's Landed Gentry.

Some other sites that speak for themselves: This is NEHGS' website. This site has interesting links. See for volunteers to do free lookups.

Newspaper As A Genealogical Resource
by Nancy Giles

As many or you who have attended the Beginner's Class know, I find newspaper articles a valuable source for genealogical information. All genealogical researchers are aware of the newspaper to obtain an obituary or death notice, but there is so much more to be gleaned from newspapers than just those items.

In a past issue of the newsletter I wrote an article on using interlibrary loan and this is the method you would use to get newspapers from the area in which you are doing your research. In order to know what newspapers are available from a given area, you would first want to write to the State archive or library (in some cases these are one and the same) and inquire as to what they have available and the policy for acquiring them. For example, when I decided to read the newspapers from Washington, PA, I first wrote to the state library at Harrisburg and found out what papers were filmed. I decided to start with 1880 as I knew the Giles family had moved into the area about that time. I was told that I could order up to nine rolls, but found out quickly that nine rolls were too many, since it is required that they are read in the library requesting the loan (at the time I was using the Pomona library) and the time frame allowed was two to three weeks. I found that it required me to be in the library nearly everyday and I still couldn't get all nine rolls read in that time frame. I now request no more than five rolls when I order film.

Some of the information I have obtained through newspaper research has been birth announcements (which often give the names of the grandparents and great grandparents); notices of christenings; social notes (a birthday party in which the guests included members of the family), articles about relatives visiting local relatives, membership in local clubs, church functions, farewell parties (which usually give where the family is moving to or going to school, etc. ), bridal showers, anniversary parties, especially silver and golden anniversaries (which usually include information about the wedding and families involved, especially valuable if the marriage had never been announced publicly before), family reunions (in some cases this gives complete information on the ancestor being honored); court notices (divorces, probate closings, jurors' lists, liens, guardianship, Sheriff's sales); real estate transfers (complete with land descriptions in some cases); military information; in areas of waterways, lists of ships with passengers coming into the port would be published as well as articles naming people who have become citizens.

Many times a newspaper will print an article including the sentiments of a pioneer who revisited the area after being away for awhile. They would mention names of neighbors, relatives etc., that would include genealogical information.

Newspaper research can open many leads for a genealogist in compiling a timeline for the individual you are researching. Information about the are can make you aware of the problems and challenges that your ancestors faced and can make you "live" their lives with them.

When reading old newspapers it is important that you read each and every article, as many of the social articles were placed in among want ads and other articles.

There is only one problem with newspaper research - you will get

"hooked" on it!

(For U.S. Newspaper Program see: or


1. Continuous classes are offered at the Mission Viejo Family History Center at 27976 Marguerite Parkway. To register call (949) 364-2742.

2. For information on classes held at the Orange FHC, 674 S. Yorba St., Orange, call Beth McCarty at (714) 998-3408.

3. Classes for beginners and intermediates in Computer-assisted Genealogy are offered each month by the Orange County CA Genealogy Society in the General Meeting Room of the Huntington Beach Central Library, 7111 Talbert Ave., Huntington Beach, CA for a fee of $4 for non-members, payable at the door. See for schedule.

4. The schedule for NARA workshops is available by calling (949) 360-2641.

5. The British Isles Family History Society (BIFHS) holds classes monthly at the LA FHC of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 10741 Santa Monica Blvd., W. LA. Classes and parking are free. For information contact Dorothy Losee at (310) 838-6085,

6. Classes are offered monthly by the LA Family History Center, 10741 Santa Monica Blvd. Los Angeles which offer a wide variety of topics. To see the schedule for the current month, go to their website at or call (310) 474-9990.

7. Brigham Young University's Department of Independent Studies offers two free online genealogy courses, Finding Your Ancestors and Providing Temple Ordinances for Your Ancestors. See for details.

8. Community College genealogy courses, such as the one being conducted currently by our society member Doug Mason at Orange Coast College, can be found listed at the website: Many of these are also free online.

South Orange County California Genealogical Society

Membership/Renewal Application

( ) New 1 Year ( ) Individual, $20 ( ) Jt. Members, same address $25

( ) Renewal Membership Number(s) _______________ ___________________

Name(s) ________________________________________________________________

Address _____________________________ EMAIL__________________________________

City ____________________________ State_____Zip__________Phone ___________________

Make check payable to: SOCCGS (South Orange County CA Genealogical Society) Check No. __________________

Mail with application to: SOCCGS, P.O. Box 4513, Mission Viejo, CA 92690-4513 Date Rec'd__________________


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