Saddleback Valley Trails

 South Orange County California Genealogical Society

Vol. 14 No. 1                                                                                Editor: Mary Jo McQueen                                                                            January 2007

 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 interested in genealogy. Individual membership fees are $20 per calendar year, $25 for joint membership. SOCCGS is not affiliated with the LDS Family History Center.






Colonial American Research


If you haven't researched your ancestors in Colonial records, you are missing a wonderful adventure. From this presentation, you will learn what makes Colonial research different from our familiar 19th and 20th Century research; and, how you avoid Colonial “gotchas”. Kathleen will also review each of the familiar colonies – and some you may never have heard of! Finally, you will see some of the fascinating examples of Colonial records that have survived for centuries. You will come away with renewed enthusiasm for tracking ancestors who lived in America between 1607 and 1775.

Kathleen has lectured throughout Southern California on the topics of migration patterns, ancestor occupations, surnames, and given names. She has given our Society presentations on at least four different occasions. We are delighted to have her back again.


                                                                    2007 CALENDAR

Feb. 17 - Caroline Rober, "Courthouse Research for the Serious Researcher."

March 17 - Liz Stookesberry Myers, "Ohio: Gateway to the West."

April 14 – Leland Pound, “Internet Research for Genealogists.”

October 21 – Family History Seminar

December 15 – Holiday Party



         On January 24 we will travel to Santa Monica for a day of research at the Los Angeles Regional Family History Center. Go to, where you can search for books, film and fiche available in the Center. This will enable you to better plan the day. The car(s) will leave the LDS parking lot at 9 a.m. Bring a brown-bag lunch, $$ for your driver and dinner on the way home.


            THANK YOU, to a wonderful group of SOCCGS Members whose enthusiasm and cooperation have served to make my past two years as president rewarding and fulfilling. Together we have accomplished much, but most important to me is the attendance and the tone of our monthly meetings. I love how guests are made to feel welcome, and that the genealogy discussions are lively and informative.  Particularly enjoyable is the interaction taking place during the “breaks.” The entire membership, especially the docent staff, can be proud of our genealogy library.  In addition to the genealogical services we now offer, the Mission Viejo Library will soon be adding Watch for the forthcoming announcement! I look forward to a great New Year and the opportunity to work with our new president, Bill Bluett.

Mary Jo McQueen.


Add to your Genealogy the fun, easy way, Have Grand Children!




~Bill Bluett

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve as your society president in 2007. It will not be easy to follow in Mary Jo McQueen's footsteps. She has done a fantastic job!

As a native Californian I grew up in the greater Los Angeles area, mainly south central L.A. and the Lynwood-South Gate area. My alma maters are Lynwood High School, Compton Jr. College and Long Beach State College (Cal State Long Beach).

In 1962, I met my wife, Helen, in Las Vegas. Well, that's a long story. I'll share it with the group some time. She and two nursing school classmates were on their way to California to look for work. They settled in the L.A. area where Helen and I began dating. In 1965, we were married in her Iowa hometown. We honeymooned from Iowa City to Los Angeles. Our first home was in Diamond Bar where we began our family. We have a daughter (Heather) and a son (Matt). In 1976, my employer, the Fluor Corporation relocated from Los Angeles to Irvine. So our family headed south and we settled in San Clemente. This proved to be a great place in which to raise our kids, and an excellent location for future retirement.

Helen and I have been retired for six years and enjoy the volunteer opportunities in our church (San Clemente Presbyterian) and in the local community. There, I am involved with the Historical Society. Genealogy has inspired my interest in history. They seem to go hand in hand.

Our travels have taken on a different focus since I joined the genealogy society in 1999. Vacations are now for pleasure and research. Ancestor trails have taken us to Northern California, Oregon, Iowa, Colorado, and “over the Pond” to the British Isles and Europe. We plan to visit Canada one day, since both of us have ancestors from that region. It was interesting to discover that both of my Irish ancestors on my mother's side, the Fallon and the Collins families, settled in Iowa not more than 100 miles from where Helen's families settled. This was over 150 years ago! Migration patterns may have caused our ancestor's paths to cross, not knowing how future generations would come together. Genealogically speaking, I guess it makes sense that I married an Iowa farm girl.

I hope that you will enjoy the great programs we have lined up for 2007. Some wonderful guest speakers will be sharing their knowledge with us. Please plan to be attendance at these informative presentations. Bring a good friend or family member with you. They will enjoy our helpful, warm and friendly group.

I would like to wish you all a very Happy New Year. May this year open doors into your research that will give satisfaction and gratification as you pursue your family history. 


What Are…….?

Hessians – German troops used by the British in the Revolutionary War, many of whom deserted and remained in America.

Huguenots – French Protestants who fled from persecution mainly from 1685 onward. They went to Prussia, the German Palatinate and then to America.

Mennonites – A Swiss Protestant sect founded in 1525 and migrated by way of Alsace, England and Russia to America. They settled in Pennsylvania, Minnesota and Kansas.

Moravians – The United Brethren is a Protestant group formed in Bohemia about 1415 and spread to Poland, Prussia, Germany and England.

Palatines – In 1688 Louis XIV of France began persecution of German Protestants on the west bank of the Rhine River. Queen Ann of England helped a group come to American in 1708. More than 2000 arrived in New York in 1710 and settled along the Hudson and Mohawk Rivers.

Quakers – The Society of Friends was founded in England in 1648. Early restrictions brought them to New Jersey in 1675 and some 230 English Quakers founded Burlington, New Jersey in 1678. 1681 was the year William Penn was granted the territory of Pennsylvania.

Scotch-Irish – The descendants of Presbyterian Scots that had been placed in the northern counties of Ireland by British rulers in the early part of the 17th century. Most came to America from 1718 until the Revolution. Settling in Pennsylvania first, the movement was then to the south and then westward with the frontier.

Wallons – From southern Belgium and their language is a French dialect. Cornelius May of Flanders, Holland and about 40 families came to America in 1624 and established Fort Orange. It is now known as Albany, New York.

(From The Searcher, SCGS, July 1993)



One of the most difficult things to give away is kindness, it is usually returned!


How Do We Stop This Epidemic?

~ Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak

            As I write this, it's a gorgeous Saturday morning here in South Jersey. It's bright and sunny--a perfect day for a walk. So my husband and I decided to meander around our town. Not surprisingly, we stumbled across a few garage sales--and then, an auction. An elderly woman had been placed in a nursing home, so something had to be done with her belongings. That something was an auction.

            History for Sale - All of this woman's possessions had been piled in rows across the lawn and driveway. A crowd of perhaps twenty-five people milled about and poked through everything as an auctioneer sold off lot after lot. Linens, once stylish hats, even canned goods. You name it.

            Of course, I had to look. I had to do exactly what I do whenever I enter an antiques store and check for any family-related items. Much to my dismay, I spotted it almost instantly. A framed, 1916 marriage certificate written in Cyrillic. I picked it up and sounded out the names--Maksim and Anastasia. I could make out that they had married in a church called St. Michael's in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on 12 February 1916. And this really got me--they were Greek Catholic. That's the same relatively unknown faith of half of my own ancestors. An authentic marriage certificate like this was a treasure, up for sale to the highest bidder.

            Alice's Story - I went around to the back of the house where still more items were lined up. Here was a bag of framed family photos--one of them likely of the 1916 wedding. Picking up a book, I saw that Alice Shamley had owned it. In her schoolgirl writing, she had scribbled her name multiple times on the inside cover. As is often the case, a slip of paper was tucked inside. It read:

            "Sometimes you meet people who seem to take a delight in being discourteous. Everything they say is said in such a tone of voice and in such a manner that it can hardly fail to give offense. We naturally avoid such people. We have just as little to do with them as possible. Promotion passes them by, if indeed they are not dismissed from their ancestors."

            The pieces started fitting together. Alice was the woman who had just been put in the nursing home. Maksim and Anastasia had been her parents. That toddler in one of the photos was Alice. It was her family's history that was being sold, and I couldn't help wondering if she would consider the people selling her possessions "discourteous" and worthy of being "dismissed from their ancestors."

            What's the Solution? - I'd like to tell you that I rescued these items--and if they had price tags on them, I probably would have. But they were being sold in lots and I would have had to wait hours for them to get to the family photos and documents--Alice's husband's Social Security card also being among them--that were scattered around the property. Like everyone these days, I'm busy, and therein lays the problem. We're all so busy that we hardly give any thought to protecting our own family treasures, much less someone else's. (ADN, 12/1/06

Note: Please see the “Genealogical Codicil To My Last Will and Testament” included with this newsletter.


Elusive Ancestor

~Merrell Kenworthy


I went searching for an ancestor. I cannot find him still.

He moved around from place to place and did not leave a will.

He married where a courthouse burned. He mended all his fences.

He avoided any man who came to take the U.S. Census.


He always kept his luggage packed, this man who had no fame.

And every 20 years or so, this rascal changed his name.

His parents came from Europe. They should be upon some list

Of passengers to U.S.A., but somehow they got missed.


And no one else in this world is searching for this man.

So, I play geneasolitaire to find him if I can.

I'm told he's buried in a plot, with tombstone he was blessed.

But the weather took engraving, and some vandals took the rest.


He died before the county clerks decided to keep records.

No Family Bible has emerged, in spite of all my efforts.

To top it off this ancestor, who caused me many groans,

Just to give me one more pain, betrothed a girl named JONES.

The Year Was 1794

The year was 1794 and the French Revolution, now five years old, was in its bloodiest phase--the Reign of Terror. It began with the execution of Marie Antoinette and a string of thousands of others followed. Anyone critical to the ruling faction was beheaded with the recently invented guillotine. The leader of ruling party, Maximilian Robespierre claimed, "Terror is nothing other than justice, prompt, severe, inflexible." However, his advocating of the Reign of Terror led to his demise in July 1794. Members of the National Convention turned against him, fearful they too would become victims, and he met the guillotine on 28 July 1794.

Besides fighting among themselves, the French were also doing battle with much of Europe in what are known as the French Revolutionary Wars. Alliances against France made the previous year led to battles with Spain, Britain, Austria, and Prussia in 1794.

Across the Atlantic, Americans were also fighting amongst themselves. In 1791, the newly formed American government had imposed an excise tax on whiskey and other spirits. The tax was very unpopular in far western areas because it hit the smaller stills particularly hard. This, and dissatisfaction with representation in the government, led to the Whiskey Rebellion. In these rural areas, excise tax collectors were threatened and in some cases, tarred and feathered, or worse. President George Washington called in federal troops to put down the violence in western Pennsylvania and twenty participants were arrested and brought to trial, but none were found guilty.

Residents in these rural areas were also fighting with Native Americans and a confederation of tribes had formed under Chief Little Turtle. President Washington sent General "Mad" Anthony Wayne to the area to confront this confederation and in June of 1794 his troops dealt a devastating defeat to the native forces. This defeat paved the way to the Treaty of Greenville in 1795, which opened lands in areas like Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, and Illinois (including the future site of Chicago).

         1794 was also the year that Eli Whitney patented the cotton gin. His invention had a huge impact on the economy of the growing United States by increasing the amount of raw cotton that could be produced for use in the U.S. and then exported.

(18 December 2006


Men Of The CCC

~Mary Penner

            "110 Rookies Enrolled in Oct," read the newspaper headline. Below the headline it read, "Average Age is 17 Years and 11 Months -- Educational Level Varies -- All are Interested in Self-Improvement."

            The headlines summed it up. Those were the typical characteristics of the young rookies. But, that wasn't just any group of rookies; my father was in that group. The newspaper? It was the Camp Ames News, published by CCC Company 1709 in Ames, Iowa.

            In the 1930s, the Great Depression gripped America; unemployment and poverty affected millions of households. Shortly after taking office in 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt spearheaded a bill through Congress creating the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).

            Focusing on natural conservation projects, the CCC promised to put young men to work across the country. Enrollees, aged 18-25, (later expanded to 17-28) had to be poor, unemployed, single, and healthy. They also had to send most of their $30-a-month pay home to their families.

            With a stunning display of bureaucratic speed, CCC camps began to open across the country just a few months after the bill passed. Iowa, for example, responded quickly with thirty-four camps in operation by the end of 1933. Over the program's nine years, nearly 46,000 young men labored in Iowa as CCC enrollees; more than eighty Iowa state parks owe their development to the efforts of the CCC.

            In fact, 2.9 million young men served in the CCC between 1933 and 1942. State parks throughout the country sport plaques and markers identifying the handiwork of the CCC.

            They built roads, picnic shelters, bathhouses, dams, bridges, and fences. They dug irrigation canals and fought forest fires. They learned trades and took education classes. And, they received food, clothing, and shelter--a welcome change for many of the impoverished men.

            When the United States entered World War II, however, the funding for the CCC stopped and the camps quietly disbanded. Many of the enrollees, including my dad, went directly into the military.

If any of your relatives served in the CCC, there are a number of resources available for researchers. At the national level, the National Archives in Washington D.C. has extensive records on the CCC in its Record Group 35 including photographs, official correspondence, camp directories, inspection reports, and accident reports.



                        You can also request copies of the enrollees' records from the Civilian Personnel Records Center in St. Louis.  Include as much information in your request as you can, including date and place of birth and death, location of CCC service and the CCC company number. If the individual is deceased, provide proof of death. When requesting my father's records, I sent in the funeral card and that worked fine. The individual record files include enrollment and re-enrollment paperwork. You'll also find a record of the enrollee's duty and camp assignments. Other data includes a list of previous employment, education, and a medical history. Genealogical clues include parents' names, birthplaces, occupations, and education.

            Payroll disbursement records provide another interesting snapshot of the CCC enrollee. My dad sent $22 of his monthly pay to his mother and put $7 a month into the bank, keeping just $1 a month for himself.

            Check the state archives where your relative served for additional records. The New Mexico State Archives, for example, has 11,000 enrollment cards, rosters of enrollees, lists of discharges, and other miscellaneous documents. Keep in mind that enrollees didn't always serve in their home state. My dad was a rural Missourian, but he served in the CCC in Iowa.

            Look also for camp newspapers. These provide an excellent glimpse into camp life. The Camp Ames News was a fine example. Its articles outlined the various projects camp members worked on; sports news recapped the camp baseball team and boxing squad efforts; lists of new arrivals and profiles of enrollees were in each paper; plus, little bits of gossip about camp members rounded out each issue.

            Search an online database for camp newspapers at the website for the Center of Research Libraries. They have microfilmed many CCC camp newspapers and the microfilm is available via interlibrary loan. Other camp newspapers are at state archives and historical societies. The Kansas State Historical Society has a large collection from various states. To learn more about the CCC, go to the Civilian Conservation Corps Alumni website. You'll also find information about the CCC Museum in St. Louis. 

            I never knew that my dad served in the CCC until after his death. If he ever talked about it, I forgot it, or, even worse, didn't pay attention.  Now, as with most of our genealogy research, I just have the documents left behind to help me piece together that part of his life. I did find his CCC-issued trunk in the basement and an autograph book that he had while in the CCC. Filled with addresses, signatures, and little one-liners from his camp buddies, it's a poignant and touching symbol of my dad's youth.     (Ancestry Weekly Journal 11 December 2006


Cemetery Essentials

I recently submitted a tip about getting "extra" photos at the cemetery while doing volunteer photos, and it crossed my mind that it might be a good idea to list some "essentials" to take along with you. The list below is only a starting point and others may have ideas as well.

* First and foremost is water! To drink and to wet down the old stones; it makes them much easier to read. I use a one-gallon pump sprayer and carry water bottles in my car as extras.

            * Some sort of ground cover--a blanket or old quilt works well--and will keep you dry and clean.

             * Bug repellent in the warm weather.

             * A sharp knife to carve the grass away from those stones that are flat in the ground and overgrown.

            * A soft brush, to remove the surface dirt and mold. Spray first with the water and gently run the brush over the surface; do not scrub.

            * A wooden Popsicle stick, to get some of the moss out of the lettering.

            * An old towel or two to dry off the stone if it has water puddles.

            * A foil, car windshield reflector; this will help to direct the sun to the face of the stone if you are on the shady side of the cemetery.

            * I also carry a small pry-bar to help loosen those stones that are broken and embedded in the ground. I only use it when I have permission to do so--from the owner who has requested the photo, or from the individual who maintains the cemetery. I put a folded towel between the bar and the stone so as not to damage it.

Another thing to remember--no rubbing, no scraping, no shaving cream, no chalk--no kidding! Also never use bleach or any other chemical substance on any stone use WATER only.

Of course, don't forget your camera, making sure your memory card is in it, and the batteries are fully charged. Depending on your location a few other ideas would be a cell phone and a GPS.

Bonnie Selig    (Ancestry Daily News, 12/25/2006


Snobs talk as if they had begotten their own ancestors!



To my spouse, children, guardian, administrator and/or executor:

Upon my demise it is requested that you DO NOT dispose of any or all of my genealogical records, both those prepared personally by me and those records prepared by others which may be in my possession, including but not limited to books, files, notebooks or computer programs for a period of two years.

During this time period, please attempt to identify one or more persons who would be willing to take custody of the said materials and the responsibility of maintaining and continuing the family histories.

[If you know whom within your family or friends are likely candidates to accept these materials, please add the following at this point: "I suggest that the persons contacted regarding the assumption of the custody of these items include but not be limited to" and then list the names of those individuals at this point, with their addresses and telephone numbers if known]

In the event you do no find anyone to accept these materials, please contact the various genealogical organizations that I have been a member of and determine if they will accept some parts or all of my genealogical materials.

[List of organizations, addresses and phone numbers at bottom; include local chapters, with their addresses, phone numbers and contact persons if available as well as state/national contact information and addresses]

Please remember that my genealogical endeavors consumed a great deal of time, travel, and money. Therefore it is my desire that the products of these endeavors be allowed to continue in a manner that will make them available to others in the future.


Signature ___________________________ Date ___________


Witness ____________________________ Date ___________


Witness ____________________________ Date ___________

(We suggest that you make a copy of this document and personalize it to fit your situation. Then you should add it to your will or show it to your attorney and ask him to do so.)

Reprinted by permission from "The Pine, Maple, and Family Trees of Northern Wisconsin" the newsletter of the Langlade County Genealogical Society, Vol 9, No. 2, July 2004 (Submitted by Alice Schroeder) --via the Bremer County Browsing Vol 29, Issue #1, and Question and Ancestors, Howard-Winneshiek Genealogy Society Volume #19, Issue #2, Spring



February 3, 2007

Hemet-San Jacinto Genealogical Society is presenting a Family History Seminar featuring Dr. George K. Schweitzer. Location: Hemet Public Library, 300 E. Latham, (951) 765-2372. Hours: 9:00 am to 3:30 pm. Topics will include Missouri, Pennsylvania & Irish Research. Registration forms are available at the SOCCGS library. Pre-registration is due by January 26.

Note: If there is enough interest in attending this seminar, perhaps we can get a car pool together?


February 24, 2007

Whittier Area Genealogical Society presents Curt B. Witcher, manager of the Historical Genealogy Department of the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Topics: “Back to Basics: A Research Plan,” “Using Government Documents,” “Germans to the Midwest” and “Doing the History Eliminates the Mystery.” For information and registration:

Registration forms are available at the SOCCGS Library.


June 8, 9 & 10, 2007

Southern California Genealogical Society's 38th Annual Genealogy Jamboree and Resource Expo.

For more information and registration visit the website at


June 23-24, 2007

San Diego Scottish Highland Games and Gathering of the Clans. Brengle Terrace Park, 1200 Vale Terrace Drive, Vista. For more information:


Photographing Tombstones to Share

I live in a very rural area and volunteer for an organization to do cemetery photos upon request. There are a lot of old, abandoned cemeteries around here, and whenever I have a photo request at one of them I try to spend a little extra time and get photos of surrounding tombstones. If the cemetery is small enough, I try to get pictures of all the stones. So many have been broken, buried, or are weather- worn, and I figure this is one way of preserving what is left of them. I post all the photos to the Find-A-Grave site ( so that anybody looking for the information has it available, for free. If the stone is hard to read, but I can pick out part of a name, I often check census records or other county information to find the name.

Bonnie Selig, Jo Daviess Co, IL RAOGK Volunteer

Find-a-Grave County Keeper

(Ancestry Weekly Journal 11 December 2006


It's Renewal Time!

Please us the form below to mail your renewal. Forms will also be available at the January 20 meeting. Please inform the membership chairman of any changes in your contact information. (Verl Nash – Since the newsletters are sent by bulk mail, they are not forwarded. They are returned “postage due.” If your mail is held while you are out of town they are also returned to us. Let us know and we can hold or send them first class.


South Orange County California Genealogical Society Membership/Renewal Application


( ) New       ( ) Renewal                   ( ) Individual, $20/yr.   ( ) Jt. Members, same address, $25/yr.


Renewal Membership Number(s) _________________________ _____________________


Name(s) _______________________________________________________________________________


Address _______________________________________________________________________________


City _____________________________ State_____Zip ____________Phone ______________________


Email address:__________________________________________________________________________

Make check payable to: SOCCGS (South Orange County CA Genealogical Society

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




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