Saddleback Valley Trails

South Orange County California Genealogical Society

Vol. 17 No. 1

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

January 2010

Editor: Mary Jo McQueen

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.

Please check your newsletter label.
If it reads 2010, your dues are payable in January.

January 16th, 2010

Presented By
Francie Kennedy

“Google’s” mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. This vast amount of information is likely to contain something about your ancestors and the places in which they lived. Our member, Francie Kennedy, will explain how to become a power user of the “Google” search engine and perhaps uncover genealogical gems. There are many useful tools for genealogists to be found on “Google” i.e.; translation, maps, books and e-mail. These are just a few of the offerings available at this phenomenal site, which will be explored during this presentation.

Francie is a fourth-generation Californian and has been researching her family history for eight years. She has discovered unexpected things about her ancestors using Google. Francie teaches at Santiago Canyon College and also holds the position of Water Conservation Coordinator for the City of San Juan Capistrano. She has resided in San Juan for 25 years and has been active in the preservation of the Los Rios Historic District.

Safari News

On January 27th we will journey to the Los Angeles Public Library. Since we make this trip just once a year, you will want to make a special effort to go along. It is likely we will need more than Bill’s car. In order to prepare for this fact-finding excursion you can go to the LAPL website and peruse the genealogy books available. Also, it is always good to make a list of research goals.

Cars will leave the LDS parking lot promptly at 9 a.m. This will be an all day and into the evening foray. You may bring lunch; eat in the library food court or in one of the nearby restaurants. We will have dinner on the way home. Don’t forget to bring $$ for your driver. Make your reservation with Bill Bluett.

I Could Be Wrong About Some Things

~David Servant
"What, sir, would you make a ship sail against the wind and currents by lighting a bonfire under her deck? I pray you, excuse me, I have not the time to listen to such nonsense." ~Napoleon Bonaparte, when told of Robert Fulton's steamboat, 1800's.

President's Message

~Sandy Crowley

What a wonderful December Christmas meeting we had! I especially enjoyed chatting with members who enjoy belonging SOCCGS, and who add so much to our society’s information and experiences. I hope you all had fun and enjoyed the sharing of Christmas tales and traditions as well as the yummy hot lunch. (Thanks, Bob McQueen.) I wish you all an exciting New Year.

This year, I have shared several examples of my fruitful family research, including the Venables, the Tannahills and the Renicks.

In the New Year I will be focusing on family names I’ve yet to dust off and research. These include John McGee/Magee and his ancestors in Northern Ireland prior to the mid 1700s, Judith Pate Jackson, who married one of my Venables in Virginia and is possibly connected to Stonewall Jackson’s extended family and Daniel Anderson - I lost track of his family prior to 1832 in Georgia where he married another of my Venables.

I hope that next year you all will grab a family line or two that you’ve not yet delved into. The search goes on and takes a number of turns for most of us. Some riches do grow on trees…Family trees. Enjoy discovering the rich rewards of exploring your family history.

December Meeting

Besides the awesome luncheon, the highlight of the annual holiday meeting was the sharing of member’s Christmases past. Sandy Crowley showed ancestor photos from about 1900 and told of Christmas trees with candles, which sometimes caused fires. Myrna Hamid McGuigan brought her Christmas stocking made by her grandmother and a hand carved German Santa. Wilma Boice had a postcard family album that was 90 to 100 years old. Jo Ann Minnig, who lived in Glendale during WWII, said her dad would bring servicemen home for Christmas from the Hollywood USO. David Flint, who was born in England, talked about English Christmas pudding and brought the recipe. He also brought a Christmas stocking made by his grandfather, an English tailor. Kathy Mauzey’s Christmas family gatherings include 100+ in attendance. Her grandmother had 15 grandchildren. Mary Jo McQueen, just a kid from a poor family during WWII, had a basket left at the door with food and toys for Christmas. Pat McCoy told of the significance of an orange in Christmas stockings, a tradition passed on to other generations in the family. Trish Leard shared a story about her dad's trip to grocery store when he was a little boy. Their friend, the grocer, gave him a basket filled beyond his expectations. (This was a very emotional story for Trish to tell.)

Another part of the meeting we enjoyed was the sharing of brick walls and genealogy information. From Donna Hobbs we learned of the Sandi Gorin,, site on "Rootsweb." One interesting item on the site is “Do You Know What This Means?” which are definitions to help figure out old terms. Chuck Nostrome advised of the difficulty with the latest version of "Family Tree Maker"; some information would not transfer properly or did not transfer at all. Jessie Ellison contacted the Eastern Regional NARA facility and was told that they only covered New York. Kathy Mauzey found information from one of the websites mentioned at the November presentation that helped her get past a significant "brick wall." On a lighter note, Verl Nash informed us that male reindeer lose their antlers each year before Christmas. Does that mean that Rudolph is a girl???

"The War of the Rebellion: Official Records of the Union"

~Herb Abrams

This is a collection of battle records and is easy to search but not really genealogy related. I did a search on "Hardin County" and found a very interesting account of the conditions where my father grew up near Savannah, Tennessee. My great grandfather fought for the Union but his brother fought for the Confederacy and was killed. My grandmother's father's first wife was killed by a marauding band of guerrillas at her home near Savannah. This website was very helpful in explaining the conditions there that allowed those things to happen.

“A family tree can wither if nobody tends its roots.”

Cousins Explained

One difficulty that researchers seem to share is the one of 1st, 2nd, 3rd cousin, and how many times removed that cousin is. The following explains the way to figure out "# Cousin, # Removed".

Figure out which # (number, i.e., 6 great-) grandparent is the common ancestor between two individuals. If the number is the same, you've got it made. Example: if the common ancestor is your 6th great-grandparent and the other person's 6th great-grandparent, add 1 to the 6. You are seventh cousins.

If the number is not the same, add 1 to the smaller number giving the "cousins" portion, then subtract the smaller from the larger giving the "removed" portion. Example: if the common ancestor is your 9th great-grandparent and the other person's 7th great-grandparent, add 1 to the smaller number (7) giving 8, and then subtract 7 from the larger number (9) giving 2. You are eighth cousins, twice removed. That is, it takes one person two generations to get to the person who is an eighth cousin, and that is why he/she is twice removed.

Some Unusual Death Inventory Items Explained

Caps and pins - may refer to the caps that women wore and the pins that held them to their hair

Knot dish - a dish to hold fancy ribbons, called knots

Milk trays - used to put milk in and the cream would rise to the top to be separated - also called "set pans"

Bed rope - preceded the bed slats we know today and was used to support the mattress. The rope was strung across the bed frame and the mattress laid on top. The expression "sleep tight" came about because the bed ropes had to be tightened occasionally and it was considered a better night's sleep with the ropes taut.

Fletchets (or hetchels) - a hetchel, or hackle (bed of nails) was a tool used to comb flax to break off the rough straw parts and to separate the fibers in order to spin it and make linen thread.

Dutch wheel - a type of spinning wheel to make yarn or thread

Stilhards (or stilhands) - a stilyard, or steelyard, is a portable scale for weighing things ‘

Pillowbeers - Pillowcase

Porringer - a small shallow bowl, probably of pewter

Doulas - a coarse linen clothe made in France

Slice and tongs - the slice is what today would be considered a spatula - it was used to turn foods in the frying pay and the tongs to pick it up

Trammel - a shackle for a horse or a device with links or openings at different heights for hanging a pothook in a fireplace

English Common Law, 18th Century Virginia

At age 14 for males (age 12 for females), one could: Witness documents, Testify in court, Select their own guardian, Serve as an apprentice, Be punished for a crime, Show land to processioners, Sign contracts, Act as executor, Bequeath property by will.

At age 16 for males, one could: Be listed as hittable, Be mustered into militia, Take possession of land holdings.

At age 18 for males, one could: Be licensed to practice a trade.

At age 21 for males (age 18 for females), one could: Release their guardian (or at time of marriage); Be married without parental (or guardian) consent.

At age 21 for males, one could: Plead/sue in court, Own land, Devise land by will, Be eligible for most public offices, Serve on a jury (grand, petit, coroner), Vote.

(Note: The foregoing three articles were found at USGENWEB.ORG/RESEARCH/MISC and /RESEARCH/OCCUPATIONS. Lots more good stuff there.)

The Cost of Living?
"It's hard to understand how a cemetery can raise its burial cost
And blame it on the cost of living!"

“Orange County’s Forgotten History”
Doc Wylde Recalls Wild Times on the San Juan Creek

Member, Jane Safron of “Your Story Here LLC” recently had the privilege of interviewing ‘Doc’ Wylde, a local man, who spent his early years on San Juan Creek. Following is the story she wrote about Doc's recollections.

“Most of us traveling the Ortega Highway these days drive pell-mell just to get across the Santa Ana Mountains and onto the 15 Freeway. We barely notice the creek or the valleys along the way or, the history.  Not so for Doc Wylde.

Doc Wylde is an impassioned naturalist. Not the airy-fairy tree-hugging kind, but someone who has hunted and fished and camped nature all his life. Now 82, and living in San Clemente, he remembers as a child traveling along Highway 74 in his father’s Model A Ford to get to the family cabin 13 miles from Capistrano on the San Juan Creek. As a youngster he hoisted trout out of San Juan’s pools by hand, moving them from smaller to larger pools so they would survive the summer dry spell. He collected wild honey from the hills, being careful to avoid the mountain lions that lived in the clefts of Sitton Peak. Later, he would give Elynor his Sigma Chi Fraternity pin during a USC pledge party at the Cabin. (Properly chaperoned of course.) 

Some of Doc Wylde’s best memories come from San Juan Creek. Like how he and his buddies (and their girl friends) used to sneak into the thermal pools along Hwy 74. The pools were part of the old San Juan Hot Springs Resort, long ago boarded up, but still making a hot water stream.

Or the time Doc went shooting Quail along the 74 with his shotgun. Not hitting any birds, he volunteered to use his posterior as a test target.  (“I was wearing jeans,” he protests, to avoid being thought too bone-headed.)  Sure enough, the problem was not the gun, and Doc was pulling shotgun pellets out of his bottom for weeks.

An even less pleasant memory of San Juan Creek comes from the war years (WWII).  Doc let friends talk him into breaking into cabins along the creek. They got in, got out, and Doc became very popular giving the loot away at school. Then the sheriff arrived at school. Doc spent two weeks in the Orange County lock-up. “It sure taught me a lesson,” he says today. “I never broke the law ever again.”

As well as a naturalist, Doc is a historian. Not the pipe smoking, tweed jacket wearing kind, but someone who all his life has photographed, filmed, processed and preserved his own history and that of his family.  He has created an archive of more than 10,000 images and over 50 hours of film and video footage (including rare 8mm color footage of a fishing trip to Mexico using home made scuba equipment).

Doc the Naturalist and Doc the Historian is an Orange County Original. He is also part of a growing number of Orange County seniors who are preserving their life stories with private, personal history documentaries – known in the industry as “video biographies”. Doc created his video biography so that future generations would know his story. "I want them to know something about me and our family history.  This video biography is something that I can leave them."

“What to do about the Black Sheep”
The Smith's were proud of their family tradition. Their ancestors had come to America on the Mayflower. Their line had included Senators and Wall Street wizards. Now they decided to compile a family history, a legacy for the children. They hired a fine author. Only one problem arose -- how to handle that great-uncle who was executed in the electric chair. The author said he could handle that chapter of history tactfully. The book appeared. It said, "Great-uncle George occupied a chair of applied electronics at an important government institution, he was attached to his position by the strongest of ties and ... his death came as a real shock."

“If you are lucky enough to be a genealogist, you are lucky enough.”

Local Histories

~Michael J. Lecher

Local histories are too often overlooked in conducting genealogical research. Many researchers do not realize the value of the information contained in them. They may quickly look for a section on compiled genealogies and move on if there isn’t such a section or if the book is not indexed. These books are worth working through, even if it takes a little longer. In addition to giving you a greater understanding of the area in which your ancestor lived, they can give you other information and major clues that will assist you in your search.

For example, in researching the Gibbs family I discovered a number of individuals of this surname living in the town of Blandford in western Massachusetts. The vital records of Blandford were not published as part of the official series of Massachusetts vital records, although some records were published by NEHGS on the Corbin Collection, Volume II CD-ROM.

In 1928 Sumner Gilbert Wood published Ulster Scots and Blandford Scouts. The title would lead one to believe that it only contains information on a migration of Scots-Irish to the Blandford area. A review of the table of contents, however, shows that after discussing this topic in the first half of the book, the remainder contains a general history of the town, including migrations from the town of Hopkinton.

Searching for mentions of the Gibbs family revealed numerous references. Israel Gibbs “was thirty and Mary was twenty-eight at the time of their emigration from Hopkinton, and their son Israel was the first Male child born in the new settlement. A family tradition has it that Israel and his wife spent a night at Brookfield with the Glasgow Company.” [p. 127]. In addition to the age information and the year of emigration from Hopkinton, the Brookfield tradition is an interesting story. The author includes a source citation, observing that he obtained the information from The Gibbs Family Bulletin, Number Two. NEHGS has only the fifth issue of this publication, but a quick check of WorldCat revealed that the New York Public Library has a full set and a friend is now checking the original publication for me.

The section on Hopkinton reveals a major controversy among the members of the Congregational church there who were Irish Presbyterians. The controversy culminated in the excommunication of many members, including Israel Gibbs and his wife Mary. Most of the excommunicants ended up migrating to Blandford. Now we have a reason for people moving from one town to another.

The book also contains lists of holders of pews in the church, original land grantees, and lists of those giving military service. All of these records are starting points for other research. The book also contains drawings of farming tools that belonged to Israel Gibbs, as well as facsimiles of town documents from 1759 that include the signatures of Israel Gibbs and his sons John and Israel. At the end of the book are genealogical tables, vital records extracts, and a bibliography of the sources consulted in compiling the town history.

The next time you are researching your family at the library, take the time to examine the local histories. Even if the title doesn’t seem appropriate to you at first, a thorough canvassing of all of the books may provide a goldmine of information and clues that you would miss entirely.

(From NEHGS eNews Vol. 8, No. 51December 27, 2006, courtesy Mickie Dempsey)

Clipping of the Day

From the Edinburgh Advertiser (Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland), 19 October 1827, page 4:

CONVICTS -- There are, on an average, about 5000 convicts constantly employed by Government at Woolwich arsenal and the different dock-yards: it is said, that the Lord High Admiral has recommended that this number should be considerably reduced, and their places supplied by industrious labourers of good character, thousands of whom can obtain little or no work. The expense of transporting men beyond the seas is certainly a serious burden upon the country; but probably the public money cannot be more advantageously expended in getting rid of characters who on their being discharged from the hulks are almost certain to return to dishonest practices, and who, after another course of crime, again put the country to the expenses attending their conviction and transportation. There does not appear to have been any return made of the number of criminals who have been more than once under the sentence of transportation; but it is believed that the instances are very numerous. (Note: So, they came to America.)

Ancestry World Archives Project
David Flint

Please visit our website at (or type SOCCGS into Google) to learn about our society’s co-sponsorship and participation in the World Archives Project with There are links on our website to connect you with information about the program and how to get started.

The project SOCCGS is sponsoring is "California, U.S. Naturalization Records - Original Documents, 1795-1972". If you decide to participate in the World Archives Project, please be sure to work on that project. Also, when registering, you will be asked, “What made you decide to participate in the World Archives Project?” When you reply, please select, “I learned about it from a genealogical society” and in the free text area type “South Orange County California Genealogical Society” or “SOCCGS” so that Ancestry knows you are associated with our group on this project. Please consider helping with this service project. It’s a great way to give something back to the larger genealogy community.

Ralph's Update

~David Flint - Ways & Means Chairman

This is a reminder to everyone to re-designate SOCCGS as the organization to receive your donation from Ralphs when you shop at your local Ralphs market. We all need to go online at Ralphs and re-designate for the new program year since September 1. Please see the detailed instructions on our SOCCGS website at

There is also now a new and easier method to re-designate for those who already have a Ralphs rewards Card but do not have access to do it online. Ralphs has provided us a special “scanbar” letter for the cashier to use when you go through the check stand at your Ralphs market. Simply show this “scanbar” letter to the cashier who will scan the bar at the bottom of the letter and it will register SOCCGS as your designated organization to receive the Ralphs donations for your purchases. Instructions for you and the cashier are provided in the letter. If you would like to receive one of these new convenient “scanbar” letters, please contact David Flint at 949-551-6300 (

Clipping of the Day

“Marriage Laws”
From the Adams Centinel, (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania), 01 February 1826, page 3:

“A bill is under discussion in the Legislature of Virginia, for prohibiting widowers from marrying sisters of their deceased wives. Virginia is daily becoming more sublimated in morals and politics.”

Clipping of the Day

From the Adams Centinel (Gettysburg, Pa.), 21 October 1818, page 1:

“Emigration --- It is stated that in a Reading, Pa. paper of the 26th ultimo that from the 17th of March, 1817, to the last of December, two thousand & one families passed through Gate No. 2 on the Berks and Dauphin turnpike, all destined for the land of promise.”

(Note: Definition of “ultimo” - in or of the month preceding the present one.)

For Genealogy Fever

The inhabitants of this place have been stricken with
GENEALOGY FEVER, a deadly infectious disease.
Notepapers stuffed in pockets and files,
Heart palpitations at the sight of gravestones and old trunks filled with letters,
Bloodshot eyes from excessive microfilm exposure;
Erratic speech patterns punctuated with pilgrims and princes;
Cold sweat upon arrival of the mail.


January 9 – San Diego Genealogical Society will present Jean Wilcox Hibben at the Crowne Plaza Hotel & Resort. More information at
March 6 – Genealogical Society of North Orange County California presents “Family History For Fun and Profit”, featuring Arlene H. Eakle, Ph.D., at the Brea Methodist Church. Please call 714-777-2379 for more information.
March 13 – Genealogy Society of North Orange County California presents “Family History for Fun and Profit” featuring Arlene H. Eakle, Ph.D. Brea United Methodist Church. Pre-register by March 6. Information: (714) 777-2379 or
March 27 – North San Diego County Genealogical Society’s Spring Seminar will be held at the Carlsbad Senior Center. “Family Tree DNA & You” will be presented by Family Tree DNA. For registration form go to

Surname List

Members, please check your information on the SOCCGS Surname Website. If corrections and/or additions are necessary notify Herb at or (949) 581-6292). New members may add their information by sending an email to Herb listing surnames, locations and years being researched.

Newsletter Submissions

Please send queries, ancestor stories, web site information, or items of special interest to the newsletter editor by Wednesday following the monthly meeting. These may be sent via email or Word attachment and must be 800 words or less. All submissions are subject to editorial approval, and may be edited for content or space. Articles should be of genealogical significance. Send to:


President _________________________ Sandy Crowley____________________
Vice President, Seminar
Chairman & Safari Coordinator ________

Bill Bluett ________________________
Recording Secretary ________________ Cindie Reily _______________________
Corresponding Secretary ____________ Pat Weeks _______________________
Treasurer & Newsletter Editor ________ Mary Jo McQueen _________________
Membership ______________________ Jack Naylor ______________________
Publicity/Webmaster _______________ Herb Abrams _____________________
Librarian _________________________ Bunny Smith _____________________
Parliamentarian ___________________ Charles & Patricia Nostrome _________
Hospitality _______________________ Barbara Heebner __________________
Eunice Muari ______________________
Historian  ________________________ Barbara Wilgus ____________________
Ways & Means  __________________ David Flint ________________________

SOCCGS Website @

Mail List:

SOCCGS Library within the Mission Viejo Library;

Marguerite Parkway at LaPaz, (949) 470-8498

SOCCGS E-mail:

South Orange County California Genealogical Society Membership/Renewal Application

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

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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