Saddleback Valley Trails

South Orange County California Genealogical Society

Vol. 18 No. 1

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

January 2011

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.

15 January 2011

Bill Bluett
"Connecting Your Ancestors With Historical Events"

Historical events certainly shaped our ancestors lives and may have even had an influence on where they settled. Most of our ancestors have an interesting story that should be told. Bill will talk about selecting an ancestor, creating a timeline and how and where to look for historical information. The final item discussed will be how to assemble the information that has been collected. You just might be amazed at what you uncover when you dig a little deeper into the details of an ancestor’s life.

Bill is currently President of the South Orange County California Genealogical Society. His interest in genealogy began about 12 years ago in preparation for retirement in 2001. Joining the SOCCGS group in 1999 was the perfect fit for his new hobby of interest. He has served on the Board since 2005 and has made presentations to SOCCGS, Palmia Genealogy Club in Mission Viejo, and Dana Point Library.

Be sure to attend this first meeting of the New Year!

Safari News

On January 26th 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 a good idea 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.

‘Bye Now

This morning I am at the computer in Eden, Utah beginning my final issue of “The Trails” looking at beautiful snow covered mountains while watching the softly falling snow. This is a bittersweet time for me as I have derived much enjoyment from providing you with genealogical and society information for the past 7 ½ years. That breaks down to 90 newsletters and about 360,000 words. Yikes! I could have written the Great American Novel. Now, I plan to put that time to use writing family history stories.

I appreciate all of the input and articles from members, which made my job easier and gave SOCCGS a newsletter that is both interesting and educational. We can all be proud of The Trails! Also, I am so thankful for all of your complimentary words and emails. You make it difficult to be humble.

Now, goodbye, and welcome Gary! Mary Jo McQueen

Please check your newsletter address label.
“1/1/11” means dues are payable in January 2011.

Outgoing President's Message

~Sandy Crowley

Following a brief business meeting, the installation of 2011 board members and the sharing of Christmas memories, 68 members and guests, Gary and Karan Everson, Mission Viejo, enjoyed the Annual Christmas party/luncheon.

"Christmases Past"

Pat Christiansen brought a photo of herself with her sisters and mother in new holiday outfits made from her father’s white shirts and suits. The photo was going to be a gift to their father for Christmas. The girls had their "tootsie rolls" clutched in their hand except Pat. She dropped hers on the floor. After the photos were taken one of her sisters picked it up and jammed it into her mouth along with her own before Pat could get to it. They could easily tell who had the extra “tootsie roll” by the drool running down her chin onto her blouse. Pat also recalled that during the bleak financial times of her childhood, kids looked in the Sears Catalog Wish Book to choose gifts they would give to others if they could afford to.

David Flint shared that a woman in England responded to his online genealogy "message" and was willing to help him with his mother’s genealogy. She sent him an ornament with his family "Coat of Arms.” He nearly had an opportunity to meet the woman in England. He was traveling one direction on a train that passed through the station where she was waiting to travel in the opposite direction.

Mary Jo McQueen read a story received from Judy Deeter about singing Christmas carols to a "hillbilly" family that lived back off the road a bit. The young group she was with walked up the lane to the circular driveway area in front of the old house. It had an old bed in the center of the circle with flowers planted in and around it. They sang but, as it turned out, no one was home. They laughingly went on their way.

Sandy Crowley reminisced about her ancestors celebrating Christmas in the late 1890's and putting candles on the tree. As it turned out, 2 homes of her ancestors burned down. Christmas could be dangerous in those days.

Bob and Marge Reinhold recalled a family living in Mission Viejo that decorated their tree with candles. Call the fire department!

Alice Volkert was doing research for a family that had an ancestor with three daughters. On Christmas day in 1870, all three daughters were married. It was a matter of convenience. All the family members were together for Christmas anyway. So, why not have three weddings?

Jim Thordahl remembers a number of years ago spending 20-40 hours to properly decorate the Christmas tree. (Maybe it was the tinsel.) Also, Jim talked about the large foldout Christmas cards that Hallmark used to make. He had one that was a Santa head on which he would pin a beard.

Jack Naylor was involved with the Berlin Airlift in 1948 and remembers helping to get Christmas packages to folks when Berlin was under blockade.

Bea Norred remembers Santa arriving at the Goodyear Plant in Los Angeles (Florence Ave. and Gage) and children receiving a box on candy. Her father worked for Goodyear.

Bill Bluett remembers going to the same Goodyear Plant at Christmas in the late 1940’s when he was a kid. Santa arrived by helicopter in those days.

Thanks to our hospitality chairmen, Barbara Heebner and Sharon Keener for serving the yummy holiday lunch and to those who brought desert items to share. I would like to extend a special thank you to Bob McQueen for preparing and delivering the luncheon items!

I would also like to thank each and every one of you who volunteered or helped out in some capacity during the year. You have helped this to be the wonderful genealogical group that it is! I have appreciated the opportunity to be your President for the last two years. I hope to see you all in January as we begin a new year of speakers and activities.

Please note: As the church begins to build a larger building on the current meeting site, we will be meeting in the main church building, probably beginning in February. Details will appear in the February newsletter.

I wish you and yours a super New Year!

"When a society or a civilization perishes, one condition can always be found.
They forgot where they came from."

~Carle Sandburg

Incoming President's Message

~Bill Bluett

Thank you for giving me a second opportunity to serve as your Society President. Sandy Crowley has done an outstanding job over the last two years! Thank you, Sandy, for all your time and dedication to our group.

I will give you a little rundown about myself that I am sure many of you have heard before. But, for those who haven’t, I am a native Californian who 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. I still have not told that story to our group. Maybe I will this year. Helen and two nursing school classmates were on their way to California to look for work (I'll continue the story at a later date). In 1965, we were married in her Iowa hometown of Oxford. We honeymooned from Iowa to Los Angeles in her/our 1962 Oldsmobile Cutlass. Our first home was in Diamond Bar, where we began our family. We have a daughter (Heather) and a son (Matt). In 1976, the Fluor Corporation (my employer at the time), relocated from Los Angeles to Irvine. At that time, 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. I retired in 2001 and have enjoyed many volunteer opportunities in my church (San Clemente Presbyterian) and in the local community where I am involved with the Historical Society. I have been a member of SOCCGS since 1999.

Our travels have taken on a different focus since I joined our society. Vacations are now for pleasure and research. Ancestral trails have taken us to many parts of the U.S.A. and “over the pond” to the British Isles and Europe. We plan to visit Canada one day, since both Helen and I have ancestors who spent some time in the Ontario region. My Irish ancestors on my mother's side, (Fallon and Collins), settled in Iowa not more than 100 miles east and 100 miles west from where Helen's families settled. Her maternal ancestor’s were Reynolds (England) and Eimen on her father’s side (Amish/Mennonite Germans). They all settled in and around the Iowa City area. Our ancestor's paths may have crossed in Iowa, but we'll probably never know. I guess it did make sense that I married an Iowa farm girl.

Now, turning to genealogy, we have some great programs lined up for 2011. Wonderful guest speakers will be sharing their time and knowledge with us. Please plan to be in attendance for these informative presentations and enjoy great refreshments. Speaking of refreshments, our membership always steps up to the plate when it comes to providing some wonderful goodies. I want to thank all who have provided in the past. The tradition will continue as an integral part of our monthly meetings.

I would like to wish all of you a very Happy New Year. May this year bring you broken “brick walls” in and hopefully open doors filled with exciting new information regarding those illusive ancestors.

Ways & Means Report 2010

~David Flint - Chairman

Hello Fellow Genealogists. I am writing this on December 23 for the January newsletter. I just finished making some mince tarts for Christmas (an experiment!) and will report to you on the success in person at the January meeting.

I want to thank everyone who has participated in the Ralph’s Community Contribution Program this past year. Thanks to your involvement, we raised over $800 in 2010 and nearly $1,100 since we started the program near the end of 2008. This turned out to be an easy success for us, and a great way to raise money for the organization by simply buying our groceries at the market. How easy is that? As I move on to another position, I wanted to thank you all for your support, and to request that you continue your participation in the program.

Jim Thordall will do a great job in the coming year as our new Ways and Means Chairman, and I look forward to serving SOCCGS in the position of Vice President next year.

Best wishes for 2011 and Happy New Year!

Executive Board

At the December meeting the following officers were installed by Chuck Nostrome to serve for the coming year: President-Bill Bluett, Vice President-David Flint, Recording Secretary-Sandy Crowley, Corresponding Secretary-Patricia Weeks, Treasurer-Mary Jo McQueen. We look forward to another great year of genealogy.

"Year End Thanks"

Pat and I have enjoyed the two years we spent as Parliamentarians and our tenure on the Board of Directors.  Thank you for the opportunity to serve.

Happy New Year to all our members, Chuck and Pat Nostrome

A BIG THANK YOU and HAPPY NEW YEAR to all the Library Docents and Substitutes.   Without your dedicated support we would not have a successful Genealogical Section at the Mission Viejo Library.

Bunny Smith, Librarian

Who Do You Think You Are? Returns

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. - December 16, 2010 - Viewers can take an up-close and personal look inside the family history of some of today's most beloved and iconic celebrities when NBC's "Who Do You Think You Are?" returns for its second season on Friday, February 4 (8-9 p.m. ET). The celebrities who star in the series are Gwyneth Paltrow, Tim McGraw, Rosie O'Donnell, Steve Buscemi, Kim Cattrall, Lionel Richie, Vanessa Williams and Ashley Judd.

From executive producers Lisa Kudrow and Dan Bucatinsky "Who Do You Think You Are?" is an adaptation of the award-winning hit British television documentary series that leads celebrities on a journey of self-discovery as they unearth their family trees that reveal surprising, inspiring and even tragic stories that often are linked to crucial events in American history.

From the trenches of the Civil War to the shores of the Caribbean, and from the valleys of Virginia to the island nations of Australia and Ireland, "Who Do You Think You Are?" will reveal the fabric of humanity through everyone's place in history. Each week a different celebrity takes a journey into their family's past, traveling all over the world. While giving viewers an in-depth look into their favorite stars' family tree, each episode will expose surprising facts and life changing encounters that will unlock people's emotions, show just how connected everyone is not only to the past, but to one another.

(Note: An earlier announcement gave January 17 as the return date.)

Toys For Marine Families

SOCCGS members donated 135 gifts at the November meeting. Karen Schumaker delivered them to personnel who then distributed them to 1st Battalion, 11th Marines, Charlie Battery families at Camp Pendleton. AWESOME!

(A Short, Pointed sentence expressing a wise, clever observation.)

The nicest thing about the future is it always starts tomorrow.
Money will buy a fine dog but only kindness will make him wag his tail.
If you don't have a sense of humor, you probably don't have any sense at all.
Seat belts are not as confining as wheelchairs.
A good time to keep your mouth shut is before you put your foot in it!
Why is it that, at class reunions, you feel younger than everyone else looks?
Scratch a dog and you'll find a permanent job.
There are no new sins; the old ones just get more publicity.
No one ever says 'It's only a game' when their team's winning..
I've reached the age where happy hour is a nap.
After 70 if you don't wake up aching in every joint, you are probably dead.


"We've uncovered some embarrassing ancestors in the not-too-distant past.
Some horse thieves, and some people killed on Saturday nights. One of my relatives,
Unfortunately, was even in the newspaper business."

~Jimmy Carter

Dark Winter Days and Cemeteries

~Alice Volkert

I wonder if it is the short, dark, gloomy days this time of year that turn my thoughts to cemeteries? Or, the frustration of people I am looking for who seem to have disappeared off the earth! Of course, all the people I am researching are dead! I am a genealogist!

But, I have never been a fan of cemeteries. I prefer researching census records, church records, birth and marriage records and families’ books and bibles. Those talk about life. It is the life story of a person I am pursuing. But all lives come to an end, and sometimes we need to learn about that. Death is an event in the life of a person. To not seek that information and document it as well would cheat that person.

It used to be (in those old, long-ago days) when cemetery research meant putting on your sun hat and sturdy shoes and some bug repellent and getting out there and tramping up and down the rows. I have done that! (Does that make me old? Do not answer that!) Sometimes, we still need to do that. After all, sometimes we just really have to put our own eyes on something. If we do actually go out and find that grave marker – we MUST take a camera with us! We can see that marker; but another person who cares might live in another state, or even another country! They would appreciate a photo very much. Just as I would be so very thrilled to receive a photo of the grave of one of my missing Irish ancestors. (Not happening!)

A website I use as soon as the need for a death or burial appears is Find-a-Grave. That is such a great site! I have placed a few photos on there. But the pictures of markers taken and placed by people simply out of the kindness of their heart amazes me. But the really tremendous thing is when a picture of a grave marker has been placed by a descendent and contact information is provided! Well! That just opens up a whole new line of inquiry and the possibilities seem endless. Some long-last cousin may have just the information I so much want! And I have information to share with that person.

Too often the actual gravestone is not there any longer. Sometimes, the whole cemetery has disappeared! Small family cemeteries on old family farms have been lost when the farm passes out of ownership of the family. Old cemeteries connected to a church may no longer be maintained when the church ceases being used and the members of the congregation worship elsewhere. These cemeteries later became – a shopping mall, apartment complex, freeway on/off ramps or other modern use. We can only hope that the records of the burials have been kept, somewhere.

Sometimes, those records have been preserved! Some time ago, while in a small town in Ohio seeking an old graveyard next to an old church I stopped in the library. I was only hoping to find directions or some simple information like that. I was amazed to find a binder on a shelf with information on the cemeteries in the area, including the one I was seeking, with a diagram of the layout. It had been a very small cemetery. The librarian told me that the stones had almost all been removed for re-use; but a few were on the back of the lot, by the trees. I found the place. It looked like a typical vacant lot, covered with weeds, a lot of trash, and a rusted out old car on the corner. There was no sign of the church that had been next to it. But from the information someone had assembled in that binder I had what I wanted / needed.

It is scary to think that the little library in that little town had the only record of that cemetery. Now, almost any of us could duplicate those pages digitally and make them available to all. As more and more of those sorts of lists, records, memos, whatever are found and made available; the dark gloomy days will be over and we will see the sun shining on our searches.

Ralph’s Community Program

Thirty-eight SOCCGS members made purchases between 09/01/2010 and 11/30/2010, which garnered $213.34 for our treasury. The following are those who participated: Abrams, Cramer, Crayne, Crowley, Dill, Domenick, Elster, Flint, Frankel, Harley, Keyser, Lancey, Larsen, LaVenture, Lobo, Luckman, Mauzey, McQueen, McGuigan, Merchant, Merritt, Murai, Murtha, Naylor, Nolen, Poff, Reilly, Ryu, Schwarz, Sheean, Thordahl, Weeks, White, Wilgus, Witte

There were three member’s numbers with no names on the list, so if your name is not listed perhaps one of those belongs to you.

50 Most Popular Genealogy Websites for 2010

"Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense."

~Gertrude Stein

DAR Site On The Library Genealogy Computers

~Bunny Smith

  1. You will drop into the Ancestor Search view
  2. Type in the Ancestor name. Click Search.
  3. A list will come up. Find the person in your line then hit See Ancestor Record
  4. That Ancestor will come up with a list of every DAR who has an application.
  5. The list will have the child of the ancestor, find one you are interested in seeing more, then chick the 'D' to see the descendancy of that application.
  6. Repeat until you find the one that is most helpful to your line.
  7. You can print screen at this point. But if you want to order a DAR application:
  8. You will have to order on line from your home computer. When you have found the best application, and you click Purchase, another form will appear for you to fill out using your credit card, the program verifies your email address and sends you a PDF file to your home computer.
  9. If you wish to order a DAR application online from home, you need to go to and scroll down the right side to the bottom and click on Genealogy Research> a new screen will appear, then click Image to Open GRS.
  10. Now you are back to step #1.

ETHS Goes to Northern Ireland

Myrna Hamid McGuigan sends this information regarding Dr. Schweitzer and the East Tennessee Historical Society:

From Sunday, June 26, 2011 through Saturday, July 02, 2011 the Ulster Historical Foundation and the University of Ulster will offer a Genealogical and Historical Course in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The course will involve lectures, visits to major genealogical repositories, and numerous side trips to historic places in Ulster.

The full cost (excluding airfare) will be 900 euros ($1280). Included are the course, two-in room accommodation at the Premier Inn, 6 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 5 evening meals, and admission charges and transportation to all visitor attractions. Single accommodations are available for 150 euros ($215) extra. Not included is transportation from & return to the US, and the optional excursions June 30-July 01.

Several of us from the East Tennessee Historical Society plan to make the trip. If you wish to join us:
  1. Go to and read the details, especially cancellations.
  2. On the above site, go to Registration Form and fill it out. Your credit card will be asked for
  3. Call Jenny Connatser at AAA [865-862-9162] to make your reservation and get INSURANCE.

Research Classes Online

The Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah and other sponsors provides the following online classes. Learn the basic methods and key resources to start your family history. Note: The easiest way to find these is to put “FamilySearch Online Classes” into Google.

* England Beginning Research
* Germany Research
* Ireland Research
* Italy Research
* New Zealand Research
* Poland Research
* Principios básicos para la investigación genealógica en Hispanoamérica (México)
* Reading Handwritten Records Series New!
* Research Principles and Tools New!
* Russia Research
* U.S. Research New!

"In all of us there is a hunger, marrow deep, to know our heritage –
To know who we are and where we came from. Without this enriching knowledge,
There is a hollow yearning. No matter what our attainments in life,
There is still a vacuum, an emptiness, and the most disquieting loneliness."

~Alex Haley, Roots

2011 Genealogy Events

January 29 – The Whittier Area Genealogical Society presents Lisa Louise Cooke at the 28th Annual Seminar. Ms. Cooke will present four topics: “Google Search Strategies,” “Google Earth & Maps for Genealogy,” “Genealogy Gems: Google Books & Google Toolbar,” and “Google Tools: iGoogle, Gmail, Google Alerts. For further information and registration contact Roger Mount (562) 693-2674, or visit the WAGS web site at
February 26Hemet-San Jacinto Genealogy Society will present Curt B. Witcher at a seminar to be held at the Hemet Public Library. Topics: ”Using Church Records,” Mining The Mother Lode,” Roll Call: Military Records & Research,” “Historical Research Methodology”
March 12North Orange County Genealogical Society presents a family history seminar featuring David E. Rencher, Topics: “Find out What’s New & What’s Coming Soon,” “Uncover Hidden Secrets to More Effective Searching,” “Learn New Skills for Using Name Lists,” “Acquire Highly Effective Principles for Focusing on your Research Objectives” (714) 777-2379 or

Do you need a name badge?

Wearing a name badge at the monthly meetings is an excellent way to meet new friends and/or possibly a “cousin.” These are provided to all members at no cost. Please contact Herb Abrams at (949) 581-6292 or He will have one ready at the next meeting.


President, Seminar & Safari
Chairman ________________________

Bill Bluett ________________________
Vice President / Program Chairman ___ David Flint _______________________
Recording Secretary _______________ Sandy Crowley____________________
Corresponding Secretary ____________ Pat Weeks _______________________
Treasurer ________________________ Mary Jo McQueen _________________
Historian  ________________________ Barbara Wilgus  ___________________
Hospitality _______________________ Barbara Heebner __________________
Sharon Keener____________________
Librarian _________________________ Bunny Smith _____________________
Membership ______________________ Jack Naylor ______________________
Newsletter Editor __________________ Gary Schwarz ____________________
Parliamentarian ___________________ Marilyn Kowalski __________________
Publicity / Webmaster ______________ Herb Abrams _____________________
Ways & Means  __________________ Jim Thordahl______________________

SOCCGS Website @

Mail List:

SOCCGS Research Center, 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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