Saddleback Valley Trails
South Orange County California Genealogical Society

Vol 11 No. 2 Editor: Mary Jo McQueen February 2004

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

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


Please find the renewal form on the last page of the newsletter.

Nancy Bier to speak on 19th Century American Poorhouse Records

There really was a Poorhouse! During the 19th Century many people from many different walks of life ended up in the ‘poorhouse’. Some for only a short time. This lecture will give you new insight on ways to research your ancestors, including children.

Ms. Bier has been a professional genealogist for over 15 years. She continues to research topics and records that are unusual and sometimes difficult to find. She annually takes researchers on site to Ireland and England as well as Scotland to do family history. Nancy is a respected lecturer and teacher of local history, traditions, and historical records that will help you to locate your ancestors.


March 20 - Joan Lowery, “Hamburg Passenger Lists and Other German Emigration Sources”
April 17 - Watch for future announcement.
May 15 - Dawn Thurston, “Write a Family History that Breathes Life into Lifeless Ancestors”
July 17 - Connie Moretti, “Learning to Love the Pre-1850 Censuses”
August 21 - Joan Rambo, “Getting the Most Out of Family History Centers”
September 18 - Watch for future announcement.
October 16 - Seminar
November 20 - Elaine Alexander, “How to Locate Naturalization Records”


Two new members joined our group at the January meeting. Please welcome Donna Hobbs and George Nothhelfer, husband of Jo Ann Nothhelfer Donna is searching for Allen, Davis, Brents and Guffey in Kentucky and Rothery, Joughin and Tweddle in England. George is searching for Nothhelfer, Hicken and Stevens. Guests at the meeting were Thomas and Sally Hamilton and Janet Peters. We hope they will consider becoming members in the future.


Web Master Herb Abrams is preparing to put the SOCCGS Surname Listing on our web site. The plan is to list the email address of the person submitting the surname. This will allow a researcher to send an email directly to you to gain or give information. If you do not want your email address listed please contact Herb at <>. We will discuss this at the general meeting in February. The target date for finalizing the surname list is February 23.


On February 25 we will make a visit to the Huntington Beach Library. Cars will leave the LDS parking lot at 9:30 a.m. Plans are being made to research at the San Diego Genealogical Society Library in March. Be sure to read the March newsletter for confirmation on this trip.


We are purchasing books and cds. Please let us know if there is an item you would like to see added to our collection. Call Janet or Mary Jo. Members are encouraged to sign up as a regular or substitute docent. Hours can be tailored to fit your schedule. As little as one shift per week will help keep our library open for researchers.


On Sunday afternoon, April 25, SOCCGS will collaborate with the Mission Viejo Library in offering an online genealogy class to the public. The charge will be $5.00 per person. This fee will be split between SOCCGS and the library. Colleen Robledo, Assistant in the Library Tech Center, is putting together a series of instructional computer classes of which this is one. Herb Abrams and I will be assisting her with this class. More information will appear in the March newsletter.

(Truth or Imagination?)

Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May and still smelled pretty good by June. However, they were starting to smell so brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor. Hence the custom today of the bride carrying a bouquet.


Houses had thatched roofs - thick straw, piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the dogs, cats and other small animals (mice,bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof. Hence the saying “It’s raining cats and dogs.”


There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could really mess up a nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That’s how canopy beds came into existence.


England is old and small and some cemeteries started running out of places to bury people. They started digging up coffins and taking the bones to a “bone-house” so the grave could be reused. They found, when reopening coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins had scratch marks in the inside and they realized some people had been buried alive. They began to tie a string on the wrist of the supposed corpse, lead it through the coffin, up through the ground and tied it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (the “graveyard shift”} to listen for the bell: thus someone could be “saved by the bell” or was considered to be a “dead ringer.”



Jack could lead if he would get the lead out. * A farm can produce produce. * The dump was so full the manager had to refuse refuse. * The soldier decided to desert in the desert. * The present is a good time to present the present. * At the Army base, a bass was painted on the head of a bass drum. * The dove dove into the bushes. * I did not object to the object. * The insurance for the invalid was invalid. * The bandage was wound around the wound. * There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row. * The students were too close to the door to close it. * The buck does funny things when the does are present. * They sent a sewer down to stitch the tear in the sewer line. * To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow. * The wind was too strong for the sailors to wind the sail. * After a number of novocaine injections, my jaw got number. * I shed a tear when I saw the tear in my favorite shirt. * The doctor had to subject the subject to a series of tests. * How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend? * I spent last evening evening out a pile of dirt.
And, how about, do the Polish polish furniture in Poland?

If there is a harvest ahead, even a distant one,
it is poor thrift to be stingy of your seed corn.
~Thomas Carlyle

Ten Steps to Recording Your Personal History
-Juliana Smith

As family historians, we often forget that we are an important part of our family’s history. Here are a few ideas to help get your personal history project off the ground.

1. Schedule some “me” time.
By scheduling a little time to record your personal history, you are allowing time for yourself to reflect on the day and on your life as a whole.

2. Make it convenient.
By choosing a method that is convenient, you will be more likely to follow through. If you are more comfortable in front of the computer, create a file for your journal there. If you choose to use a journal and pen, find one that you can take with you anywhere.

3. Do a little at a time.
Documenting your personal history may seem overwhelming at first, however, if you do it a little at a time it will be much less intimidating. Don’t try to record everything at once. Break it down into smaller periods of your life. It doesn’t need to be done in chronological order.

4. Interview yourself.
Ask yourself the questions you would ask an ancestor if you had the opportunity.

5. Liven it up with current events.
By including events that were in the news during the period you are recording, your history will be more illuminating as you set it against the context of the times.

6. Jog your memory.
Photographs, letters, yearbooks and other memorabilia can all serve to bring back those memories that have been pushed to the back of your brain.

7. Introduce your friends and family.
Include tidbits about those around you. By including friends and family, your descendants will have better insight into family relations and the way you interact with others.
8. Let your light shine through.
By sharing your thoughts, ideals, favorite quotes, and jokes, you will give your readers a glimpse into your true self and let them know what a truly unique and wonderful person you are!

9. Get help online.
There are many sites online that can give ideas, stimulation, and information to help you create a captivating personal history.

Writing the Journey: Online Journal Writing Website
(Juliana says, “I really liked this site. It includes ideas, information about journal-keeping software, a free newsletter, an online workshop, exercises to improve our writing skills, and more.)

“Seven Thoughts About Keeping a Journal.,” by John E. Lane

10. Make it fun.
There are no rules. If you have fun creating your memoirs, your readers will most likely have fun reading it. Be as creative as you want, and include whatever you want. Photos, textiles, maps, pressed flowers from your garden, news or magazine articles, receipts, recipes, song lyrics or poetry - anything that makes you happy or sad or makes you think.

However you choose to preserve your memories, they will be a reflection of you and your devotion to preserving you family history, and your family will love you for it!

(Excerpted from, 4/17/2000, The Family History Compass)


SOCCGS member, Bill Tosh and his son, Franklyn Lawrence Tosh, were welcomed as new members of the South Coast Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution at the Tuesday, January 24 meeting. Bill is the 4th great grandson of Thomas Tosh, who assisted in establishing American Independence while acting in the capacity of Provisioner for the Cherokee expedition of 1776. Congratulations to Bill and his son!

Leon Smith, Registrar

Revolutionary War Ancestor

As a little girl, I had learned that when the family of Christopher Hartman came to America they had traveled on a different ship than their belongings. His father, Conrad Hartman, had engaged passage for himself and his family on a sailing vessel destined for the American colonies, and put aboard all his movable goods. The vessel was advertised to sail at a time named, but sailed some hours before, and in consequence, the whole family was left without anything and it was several days before they obtained passage on another vessel. Their belongings were lost at sea.

After a six months’ voyage the family landed at Philadelphia where two of the sons were sold into servitude to pay for the passage to America. Our family records, written by my Grandmother’s sister, indicate that the parents never saw these sons again. Christopher Hartman was only about three years old when he came to America. His older brother, George and one other brother became slaves. Later, one of these boys was to come looking for his family.

It is said that George was turned over to a very hardhearted man. Supposedly, he was a slave for many years. In the twelfth year of servitude, he was assigned to split rails two miles from where he lived. Every time he came home from splitting rails, his master made him cart a rail back in order to get a meal. He did this until his back hurt so badly he could carry no more rails. One day he came to dinner without his usual rail. His master abused him so badly that he ran away. George eventually married, fathered nine children and became a well-respected landowner in Harrison County, Virginia.

Christopher, at the age of nine years, was bound out to a farmer in Bucks County, Pennsylvania until of age. He became a millwright. In 1776 he married Mary Hutchinson, eldest daughter of Will and Ann (Vann) Hutchinson. He then enlisted in the Revolutionary Army and was in the battle of Monmouth on 28 June 1778. In 1795 he removed with his family from New Jersey to Lexington in wagons. They started in October, got to Pittsburgh and there built a flat boat and floated down the Ohio River to the Mouth of Limestone, now Maysville. From there they went on to Lexington where they landed in December. The following spring they moved five miles out of Lexington on a farm.

In the early 1800’s a doctor, who was a neighbor to George Hartman in Virginia, was passing through the country and stopped at Christopher’s farm in Clermont County, Ohio. He at once took Christopher to be the brother of George and in consequence of the doctor’s visit a correspondence between the brothers began. A surprise visit was made by George in 1807. When George and his son-in-law came to Christopher's farm, they passed themselves off as strangers traveling west. In those years, it wasn’t unusual for people to stop at the Hartman home as they traveled through the area. Sometime during the meal she served, Christopher’s wife, Mary, realized that this wasn’t just any man sitting at their table; this was Christopher’s long-lost brother George. The two brothers had found each other after more than 50 years! This was the last time they saw each other. George died in 1818 and Christopher in 1833.

Thank you to Judy Deeter for sharing the information about her Revolutionary War Ancestor, Christopher Hartman.


This month is the anniversary of one of the biggest twentieth-century disasters in the city of Boston. Genealogists normally like to study the current events of the times in which our ancestors lived. Wars are easy to study as they are well documented in history books. Yet other calamities of bygone times are often not so well known and documented.

One great disaster in the early twentieth century was the great Molasses Flood of January 15, 1919, in Boston, Massachusetts. This sounds humorous until one reads that 21 people died when an eight-foot high wall of molasses rolled down Commercial Street at a rather high speed. Two million gallons of crude molasses can move quickly when warmed by the sun. The result was an explosion heard many miles away. Half-inch steel plates of the huge molasses tank were torn apart. The plates were propelled in all directions, hard enough to cut the girders of the elevated railway.

You could say that these unfortunate people were "molassessed" to death. That is not exactly how I wish to go. You can read an account of this bizarre accident at:

The foregoing article is from Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter and is copyright 2004 by Richard W. Eastman. It is republished here with the permission of the author. Information about the newsletter is available at


Have you ever wondered what was going on in the world the day you were born? Now you can find out with the help of an online Time Capsule. Simply enter the day, month and year you were born. It will automatically tell you interesting facts about that day and year. Read the top headlines that ran in the papers that week. Find the top songs, television shows and toys for the year, Academy Award winners, food prices and more! You can also walk through a wizard to choose which events you want displayed on your page. Then you can print your page.

To visit this site, go here:


Louisville's First Families: A Series of Genealogical Sketches by Kathleen Jennings This is a copy of the book that has been scanned onto the web page and is printable. It is great reading for anyone with ancestors from Louisville, Kentucky and even those who don’t.


If you are researching your Scottish family history, or have always wanted to find out more about Scots in past centuries, is the site for you! They offer free access to a fully searchable index of over 520,000 Scottish wills and testaments dating from 1500 to 1901. You can purchase high quality color digital images of related documents for only 5GBP each (around 8 US Dollars).


Old English Handwriting Examples: The samples of old english handwriting you will find on this web site were taken from wills and patents written in the 1795-1838 time frame.


The Proceedings of the Old Bailey London 1674 to 1834. A fully searchable online edition of the largest body of texts detailing the lives of non-elite people ever published. There are accounts of over 100,000 criminal trials held at London’s central criminal court. Now available: 22,000 trials, from December 1714 to December 1759. Makes for good reading.

Wheelock Family In America: A history and genealogy of the Wheelock family in America, with an emphasis on the Charlton, MA, Wheelocks can be found at:


Everybody comes from 2 parents, 4 grandparents, 8 great grandparents, 16 great great grandparents, etc. Every generation back we go, we have twice as many lineal ancestors.

This is very much like the Persian Chessboard problem. If there are, say, 25 years to a generation, then 64 generations is 64 x 25 = 1600 years ago, or just before the fall of the Roman Empire. So, every one of us alive today had, in the year 400, some 18.5 quintillion ancestors - or so it seems - to say nothing about collateral relatives.

But this is far more than the population of the Earth, then or now. It is far more than the number of human beings who ever lived. Something is wrong with our calculation. What? We have assumed all those lineal ancestors to be different people. But this is not the case. The same distant ancestor is related to us by many different routes. We are repeatedly connected with our relatives. Every marriage brings cousins together.

If we go back far enough, any two people anywhere on Earth have a common ancestor. Whenever a new American President is elected, someone - generally in England - discovers that the new President is a distant relative of the Queen of England. This announcement is intended, perhaps, to soothe any residual American longing for a king of our own. Of course, when two people derive from the same small corner of the world, and their genealogies are well-recorded, the last common ancestor can be discovered.

But whether it can be discovered or not, a relationship is clear: We are all cousins - all members of a vast world-girdling family. It’s time, I think, for a reunion!

~Author Unknown

It’s an unusual family that hath neither a lady of the evening
nor a thief.


March 20 - How To Find Your Irish Ancestors by Nora Hickey; Carlsbad Library North San Diego County Genealogical Society ($30.00)
March 20 - Melinda E. Kashuba Seminar; Gen. Soc. No. Orange Co.; 8:45-3:30 Yorba Linda Community Center, 714-528-5607
April 3 - Irish Seminar with Kyle Betit; OCCGS, Huntington Beach Central Library 12:30-4:15; $15.00 at the door, no preregistration necessary; Info:
April 25 - Online Genealogy Class April 25; Saddleback Room, Mission Viejo Civic Center (More info elsewhere in the newsletter)



Truckee River,
Emigrant Road, Monday, Sept. 30th, 1850

Mr. W. P. Johnson—
Dear sir:

…I have now been on the horrible road more than one month, during which time I have witnessed every grade of human suffering & misery. Too often have I seen families, who from all appearances, had been brought up in the enjoyment of every luxury, feasting upon the carcasses of dead oxen.… I have seen hundreds so weak that they reeled and staggered as they walked along the road.… Several families have disappeared, for which no account can be given who have either been killed by the Indians when off the road, or taken prisoners.

I have only mentioned a few of the thousand calamities which have befallen the overland emigration of 1850.… The snow is now four inches deep upon the mountains, and the rivers rising, and in fifteen days from this time, in all probability, the mountains will be covered with snow from five to ten feet deep, and in many places much deeper. There will not be a trader on this side of the mountains after 5th of October. The greater part of them are now leaving with their stock, for fear of being in the snow storms of the Sierra Nevada. From the best information I can get, there is yet between 100 and 200 families and probably 2,000 men in the most perfect state of destitution, far back on this route, without stock or provisions, and many of them without blankets or comfortable clothing. If the winter sets in early, I cannot see any possible chance for these people to cross the mountains.…

I have fitted out an expedition, and will leave here tonight to relieve the sufferers on the Humboldt, and shall carry back flour and beef sufficient to enable 1,000 persons to cross the Desert. We have [relieved] emigrants from every State in the Union. -Those from the city of St. Louis have been the greatest sufferers. Then comes those from Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa and Missouri.

I have with me Thomas Kinkade, of Benton Co., Mo., and Ewing and Washington Pond, of St. Clair Co., Mo., who have pledged their word of honor to remain with me on the east side of the mountains until the last emigrant has passed on, or has been called to a final account. After full consideration, those I have named from your section of Missouri declared they were willing to risk the consequences and remain, and declared they would never attempt to cross the Sierra Nevada until I crossed with them; so you may rest assured, if you ever hear of our arrival in Sacramento City, that the last of the overland emigrants of 1851 are out of danger from starvation, as we shall go in with those in the rear. My company is small but well armed, each man having a rifle, four pistols, hatchet and bowie knife. I have duly considered the risk and reflected upon the consequences, and should I never reach Sacramento again, I shall at least die with the consolation of having attempted to discharge a painful duty to the suffering humanity under difficulties too great to be overcome.
My respects to Friends,

Yours truly,
William Waldo

From the Ohio Repository Newspaper (Canton, Ohio) 22 January 1851 January 22, 2004
{The Oregon Trail is also known as The Emigrant Road)

There is nothing noble in being superior to some other man. The true nobility
is in being superior to your previous self. ~Hindu Proverb


Consider the changes we have witnessed:

We were born before television, before penicillin, before polio shots, frozen foods, Xerox, plastic, contact lenses, frisbees and The Pill. We were before radar, credit cards, split atoms, laser beams and ball point pens: before pantyhose, dishwashers, clothes dryers, electric blankets, air conditioners, drip-dry clothes - and before man walked on the moon.

We got married first and then lived together. How quaint can you be? In our time, closets were for clothes, not for coming out of. Bunnies were small rabbits and rabbits were not Volkswagens. Designer Jeans were scheming girls named Jean or Jeanne, and having a meaningful relationship meant getting along well with our cousins. We thought fast food was what you ate during Lent, and outer space was the back of the Riviera Theatre. We were before house-husband, gay rights, computer dating, dual careers and commuter marriages. We were before day-care-centers, group therapy and nursing homes. We never heard of FM radio, tape decks, electric typewriters, artificial hearts, word processors, yogurt, and guys wearing earrings.

For us, time-sharing meant togetherness-not computers or condominiums; a “chip” meant a piece of wood; hardware meant hardware, and software wasn’t even a word. In 1940, “Made in Japan” meant Junk and the term “making out’ referred to how you did on your exam. Pizzas, “McDonalds” and instant coffee were unheard of. We hit the scene when there were 5 and 10 cent stores, where you bought things for 5 and 10 cents. Sanders and Wilsons sold ice cream cones for a nickel or a dime. For one nickel you could ride a street car, make a phone call, buy a pepsi or enough stamps to mail one letter and 2 postcards. You could buy a new Chevy Coupe for $600, but who could afford one; a pity too, because gas was 11 cents a gallon!

In our day, cigarette smoking was fashionable, grass was mowed, coke was a cold drink and pot was something you cooked in. Rock music was a grandmother’s lullaby and AIDS were helps in the Principal’s office or nursing assistants. We were certainly not before the difference between the sexes was discovered, but we were surely before the sex change; we made do with what we had. And we were the last generation that was so dumb as to think you needed a husband to have a baby! No wonder we are so confused and there is a generation gap today! But we survived!!! What better reason to celebrate!!!

-Author Unknown-


“As the youngest in the family, her older siblings always called her Sister. When they got married all their spouses called her Sister, too. Her parents were even known to call her Sister as often as her real name. However, only one family carried the name into the next generation, and now a third generation. I always have to chuckle when I hear one of the cousins say. ‘Aunt Sister’.”

I trace my family history so I will know who to blame.

South Orange County California Genealogical Society
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