Saddleback Valley Trails

South Orange County California Genealogical Society

Vol. 19 No. 1

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

January 2012

Editor: Gary Schwarz

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 address label.
“1/1/12” means dues are payable in January.


General Meeting 21 January 2012

Technology Tips for Genealogy

Presented by
SOCCGS Members

In this new program several members of the South Orange County California Genealogical Society will share information about their favorite technology items. This is not a program for “techies” -- it will focus on simple, easy-to-understand presentations by our members about how they have effectively used technology resources to help with their own research. With the increasing amount of genealogy research moving to computers and online sources, this may be the program where you find out how to make better use of your home computer in your research, or a new gadget you had not thought of trying, or how to use one you already have but don’t know how. Members doing the presentations will bring items with them and will answer questions as part of the program. It should be fun!

About the Speakers: Five members of the South Orange County California Genealogical Society will each do a short presentation based on their own personal technology preferences in genealogy research.


Safari News

On January 25th 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 may need more than one 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.

Meeting Location

The meeting location will again be in the main building. The reconstruction of the Family History Institute Building is not quite complete.

President's Message

~Bill Bluett

I’ve been thinking about “New Year’s Resolutions” as we begin the year 2012. Some folks don’t believe in it. Others give it a try and fail at some point during the year. Some make an effort to accomplish their goals. I located a list for genealogists on the internet titled: “Top 10 Genealogy Resolutions”. Kimberly Powell, a professional genealogist, wrote the article which is located at: You might want to read through it. There are 10 resolutions listed with a “Related Resources” list for each resolution that you can click on for additional information. The following is her list with brief descriptions:

  1. Interview a Relative – Do not postpone any longer! Start with the oldest members of your family.
  2. Take a Class or Learn a New Research Skill – Take a class, attend a conference, read a book, or learn some additional skills online.
  3. Get Organized – We know what this is all about. It may take a little time away from research. But, it needs to be done.
  4. Don't Put Off Until Tomorrow – Plan and schedule ahead. A calendar or a daily planner may help.
  5. Label & Store Your Family Photos – I know most of us have a stack of photos to go through. Be sure to use photo-safe marking pencils or pens.
  6. Two Heads are Better Than One – You’ve joined a genealogical society. Now, you might consider a historical society or utilize genealogical message boards and/or online “chat” forums.
  7. Keep Track of Correspondence – There are free correspondence record forms available online.
  8. More Than Names & Dates – Go out and find at least one more additional record on each of your direct ancestors.
  9. Put Your Research to Good Use – Share the things you find with other family members. A printout or e-mail just might be appreciated.
  10. Volunteer to Help Others – Be willing to help others in our society. One way would be to become one of our docents or a docent substitute at our Research Center in the Mission Viejo Library.

You wouldn’t have to tackle the entire list in 2012. But, you could select two or three items to focus on and see what you might accomplish during the year. This listing is only a suggestion. There might be others that would be more appropriate for your own personal method of research. It would be a nice gesture if any one of us would share any successes from this list with our group at the monthly meetings during the course of the year or you might provide an article for our monthly newsletter. Any other tips or suggestions are welcome as well.

Our first monthly program in January will feature 5 of our own members sharing information that will, hopefully, give you tips on assisting your research endeavors. This will be another way to “jump-start” your research in 2012. Plus, remember that we will have the 1940 census available to us in early April. For some us, we will finally see ourselves “on the rolls”. Our age will no longer be a secret if we were born between 1931 and 1940. We’ll just have to get over it. In the meantime, have a great year and THANK YOU for being so supportive of our society here in South Orange County!


We are sorry to report the recent loss of two SOCCGS members. Goldie Gay of Laguna Hills, our third founding member, passed away on November 29, 2011. Joy Allen of San Clemente passed away on December 3, 2011. We will miss them both.

Genealogical Definition

Et ux – and wife – used in legal documents like deeds. Ux is the abbreviation for uxor, Latin for wife.

December Meeting

Our holiday season gathering was an enjoyable affair with many of our members sharing their past Christmas remembrances. When our program of sharing ended, we gathered in the kitchen and patio area for some wonderfully prepared treats including eggnog and hot cider. One guest introduced at the meeting was: Sarah Sheeley from Hampton, Virginia. The refreshments were provided by your “jolly ole” Board of Directors.

“Christmases Past”

Karyn Schumaker explained to the group about the “Home Front America” organization which will distribute the toys we brought to our meeting to needy military families. Also, Karyn has a plastic nativity acquired in 1979 (when she was a young girl) that the family puts on top of a “happy birthday” Jesus cake each year.

Barbara Taylor remembers her mother taking her to see the “Nutcracker” at the Music Hall in Washington D.C. when she was a young girl. Barbara did the same for her 2 granddaughters for two years at Christmas time. They went to a performing arts center in the State of Washington.

David Flint brought a “Christmas Cracker” to show to the group (do you remember those?). Also, his family tradition is to collect the empty wrapping paper tubes so they can have a “sword’ fight in the park across the street from their home when family gathers together. Do you know anyone else that does this? And, David had copies of Dickens recipes to offer to the group.

Sandy Crowley remembers when her 4 year old son was in a school program singing Christmas songs. The kids had a 12” stick with a star on the end. One boy thought it was fun to poke others. Chaos ensued!

Myrna Hamid McGuigan recalls her grandmother making a quilt for her aunt. Myrna’s mother was in on the secret. But, was totally surprised that grandma had actually made one for her as well. Grandma was busy leading up to that holiday season!

Joyce Van Schaack’s family came from Indiana to California in 1945. It was during that first holiday season that Jim (a beau she had dated several times) came to the door on Christmas Eve with a gift of perfume and a lovely hand made Christmas card. They began going steady and married in 1949 sometime after Jim’s stint in the military.

Jack Naylor brought a 1913 glass slide which was a picture of his grandparent’s Christmas tree.

Ann Hagerty enjoyed attending a Christmas program at the Orange County Performing Arts

Kathy Mauzey’s father comes from a family of 15. Kathy has 47 cousins. Family used to gather at her grandmother’s home for the holiday season. Now, nearly a 100 gather together at the Los Angeles County Fire Museum in Bellflower for their holiday event.

Ralphs Community Contribution Program

Jim Thordahl – Ways & Means Chairman

Thanks to all who are enrolled in this generous fundraising program. If you are a new SOCCGS member or have not yet enrolled, it’s easy. Get a Ralphs rewards Card, if you don’t have one. Present a copy of the “Scanbar letter” which contains our code at checkout the next time you shop at Ralphs. Please see me at the next meeting for a “Scanbar letter.” You may also enroll on-line at Your participation in this program does not affect other Ralphs benefits you receive, such as “Ralphs Rewards Points.” If you have questions, call: (949)-492-5334 or e-mail:

Southern California Genealogical Society - 2012 Webinar Series

The Southern California Genealogical Society's popular Jamboree Extension Series provides family history and genealogy educational webinar (web-based seminar) sessions for genealogists around the world. The live broadcast of each session is open to the public and FREE to all (space is limited to 1000 attendees). Webinars are recorded, archived, and available for the next twelve months day or night to SCGS members, in the members-only section of the SCGS website.



Karl Hofmann

~Gary Schwarz

My great grandfather Karl Hofmann (1857-1932) was born in the Colony of Rohrbach in the Beresan district of the Odessa oblast (state) in South Russia (now in the Ukraine). Novosvetlivka, Rohrbach’s current name, on current maps has had the area around Rohrbach carved out from the Odessa oblast and appended to the Mikolaiv oblast. The area in which Rohrbach is located is known as the Black Sea Region since it wraps around the northern shores of the Black Sea. Karl was a German Russian, his grandfather Heinrich Hofmann (1790-1869), born in Germany, had immigrated to Russia with his immediate family and many other Germans around 1809 at the invitation of Catherine II, Czar of Russia (1729-1796), to settle the steppe. Karl was born 7 Aug 1857 (actually 26 July 1857 as written on the church record. The Russian Calendar had 12 days added to dates when the Gregorian Calendar replaced the Julian Calendar in Russia in 1918) the 16th child of Philipp Hofmann (abt 1812-aft 1858) and (Philipp and Barbara married 7 Feb 1833). Karl’s birth and parents marriage source is from “Russia, Lutheran Church Book Duplicates, 1833-1855” whose digital images were at > Europe > Russia but Russian archivist organizations have recently had online digital access to non-LDS members of FamilySearch removed. Since the records were filmed in St Petersburg their access in the new format is controlled by Russian entities. They are still available on microfilm. Another caution to genealogists that online information there today is not guaranteed to be there tomorrow.

Karl was living in Rohrbach in 1858 as evidenced by his presence on the 1858 Census for Rohrbach. There are four census’s available for Rohrbach before 1900: 1816, 1850, 1858, and 1892.

Karl immigrated to the United States of America in 1873 traveling by train with a large group of German Russians to Hamburg, Germany and then on to New York by the steam ship Fresia. Karl traveled with the family of his uncle and aunt, Heinrich Georg Hofmann (1817-1891), Elizabeth Hofmann nee Ackermann (1819-1894) and also among the others in that family was his cousin also named Karl Hofmann (1859-?) known as little Karl. Heinrich Hofmann was reputed to be wealthy. Many of the immigrants sewed gold coins in their clothing, something you couldn’t do today when traveling between countries. They traveled to Burlington, Iowa by rail which had an Immigrant House (a boarding house for immigrants maintained by the railroad for en-route immigrants). From here they searched for good land at a reasonable price since good homesteading land had already been taken. They found what they were looking for near Sutton, Nebraska.

Karl, when he was older, ended up with land in Hamilton County, Nebraska in an area called Farmers Valley along side the Little Blue River. His uncle had had a mill built near there. That mill was eventually destroyed by floods and no longer exists. Glenn Schwarz my uncle told me that his cousins would swim down the diverted stream that turned the water wheel and swim under the wheel. “Fun” contrived by children in those days tended to be a little more hazardous than the “planned” fun of today.

Karl married Katharina Griess (1859-1926) on 27 Feb 1883. They had twelve children, two of which didn’t survive longer than a few months. They eventually moved to town which is what farmers do when they aren’t able to farm anymore. Katharina passed away first on 3 Nov 1926 which left Karl in a very mournful state. He wrote many letters expressing his sadness and loneliness without his wife of forty-three years, but he did live for six more years, dying 26 Jun 1932 at the home of his daughter Emma Griess nee Hofmann (1883-1963) and her husband Martin H Griess (1886-1960) north of Sutton, Nebraska.

Karl’s parents never came to America and there’s no evidence that he ever went back to visit. He was the youngest of sixteen children born in Russia and other than his brother Frederick Jacob Hofmann (1855-1921), no records have yet been found of any additional members of his immediate family coming to America.

Computer Software - Documenting Digital Photographs (Images)
Text on the photo – Permanent change to appearance of the photo image where you save it.


  • "Picasa" - Free/Easy
    1. Download and install “Picasa”. Edit the file using “Picasa”.
    2. Choose Tools>Options and then the File Types tab. Make sure the image’s file type is checked.
    3. Choose “View” > “Edit View” from the menu bar.
    4. On the left make sure the Basic Fix tab is selected.
    5. Choose the text button.
    6. Choose the font, font size, font color.
    7. Left click on the photo where you want to add the text.
    8. Key in your text.
    9. Use the control tools around your text to reposition your text.
    10. Find and press the apply button.
    11. Choose “File” > “Export File to Folder” to save as a new file.
  • "Paint" - Free/Less Forgiving
    1. Open your file with the Windows program “Paint”
    2. Position your photo with the scroll bars to where you want to type your text.
    3. Press the “A” button and click on the area where you want the text to be.
    4. Choose the font, font size, font color, transparency.
    5. Type your text but don’t press enter.
    6. Reposition the text box. When you press enter the text can no longer be altered. If don’t like the text, don’t save the file. All the changes made during that session will be gone.
  • "PhotoShop Elements" - Not Free/Almost Easy
    1. Open your file with PhotoShop Elements”.
    2. Choose the “Text” tool.
    3. Choose your font, font size, etc.
    4. Click on the photo where you want the text.
    5. Key in your text.
    6. Reposition your text.
    7. Choose “File” > “Save as” to name the file and put in the proper folder.


  • "Picasa" - Same process as Windows above.
  • “Preview” – part of Mac operating system – Free/easy
    1. Open the image with Preview.
    2. Select Tools>Show Fonts. This opens the font window. Use the sliders on the right to adjust the font size. Click on the colored square in the font window which brings up the color window. Choose the font color.
    3. Select Tools>Annotate>Add Text. Click on the image where the text is to be entered. Type in the desired text. Click outside the text box. Click inside the text box and adjust the text location.
    4. Save to a new file or if the change is not desired don’t save the change.
  • “PhotoShop” – Same process as in Windows above.

Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop
~Ansel Adams

-Not good enough in a genealogists labeling effort

Just in at the Mission Viejo Library

~Bunny Smith, Librarian
Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups by Stephan Thernstrom.

I know everyone is still going through the handout from Curt Witcher's Seminar in October. He had so many great research ideas and source information that I am still checking them all out. There was one book that he referred to several times during his seminar and highly recommended it. That book is the Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups. Mary Jo McQueen found a copy and ordered it. The book is now in our Library on the credenza just waiting for you.

Studying all the ethnic histories that relate to your ancestors was one part of Curt Witcher's talk. This book is a guide to the history, culture, and distinctive characteristics of the more than 100 ethnic groups who came to live in America. From Acadians to Zoroastrians, this book provides the first comprehensive and systematic review of the many peoples of this country. Each group is described in detail, not only the immigrants and refugees who came voluntarily, but also those already in the New World when the first Europeans arrived.

Know yourself; know where your Ancestors came from.

Special Interest Groups

~Pat Weeks

Our little French-Canadian interest group is growing. So far, those in our society who are researching French Canadian lines are: Dorothy Prescott, Bob Reilly, Brenda Hardiman, Sandra Koegler, Brian Shannon, Peggy McClone, Yvonne Horton, Eileen Merchant, and Pat Weeks.We have no real goals other than to possible help each other out and pass on tips to aid our research. If you want to add your name, contact Pat Weeks,

Newsletter Submissions

~Gary Schwarz, Editor

I wish to thank members who have submitted articles for publication in the newsletter. Please continue to submit your articles of genealogical interest. Submissions should be submitted by the Wednesday after the monthly meeting. The articles should be a text or MS Word attachment, emailed to the editor and have a Subject line: “SOCCGS Newsletter Article – article title or description”.

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, and he will have one ready at the next meeting.

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 and old members are encouraged to add information by sending an email to Herb listing surnames, locations and years being researched.

Orange County Jewish Genealogical Society

Orange County Jewish Genealogical Society will have Joel Weintraub as their guest speaker. Joel will be speaking on ways to find information in the 1940 Federal Census. Sunday afternoon, January 22, 1:00 P.M. – 3:00 P.M. Temple Bat Yahm, 1011 Camelback Street, Newport Beach CA 92660

Genealogical Definition

Township - In a government survey, is a square tract six miles on each side containing thirty-six square miles of land; a name given to the civil and political subdivisions of a county.

Location Photo Website

~Marilyn Kowalski - Has anyone seen this site yet? It's about linking photographs and written/or vocal descriptions about sites/places all over the world. I happened to stumble on this thru one of my genealogy clubs. I found a slide show someone did on a town in Germany. Some of my family came from the town in the slideshow. 

Why waste your money looking up your family tree? Just go into politics and your opponents will do it for you.
~Mark Twain

-Or use subscription services for free at the library.

2011 Genealogy Events

February 25: 29th Annual Whittier Area Genealogy Society All Day Seminar presents George Morgan – Whitter, California

March 10: North Orange County Genealogical Society All Day Seminar – presenting John Coletta – Yorba Linda, California

June 14-17: 2012 American Historical Society of Germans from Russia Annual Convention, Portland, Oregon

July 18-22: 42nd Annual Germans from Russia Heritage Society International Convention, Bismarck, North Dakota



President, Seminar & Safari
Chairman_______________________________ Bill Bluett___________________
Vice President / Program Chairman _____ David Flint___________________
Recording Secretary____________________ Pat Weeks_____________________
Corresponding Secretary________________ Marilyn Kowalski______________
Treasurer______________________________ Mary Jo McQueen_______________
Historian______________________________ Barbara Wilgus________________
Hospitality____________________________ Barbara Heebner_______________
Hospitality____________________________ 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:

Use this form to send with your dues payment

South Orange County California Genealogical Society Membership/Renewal Application

 ( ) New   ( ) Renewal      ( ) Individual, $20/yr.      ( ) Joint Members, same address, $25/yr.
 City_____________________________________ State_______ Zip _____________ Phone__________________
 Email address:__________________________________________________________________________________
 Make check payable to: SOCCGS
 Mail with application to: SOCCGS, P.O. Box 4513, Mission Viejo, CA 92690


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