Saddleback Valley Trails

South Orange County California Genealogical Society

Vol. 17 No. 2

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

February 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.

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February 20, 2010

“The Orphan Train Story”
Presented By
Mary Jo McQueen

From 1854 to 1929, orphan trains, mostly from New York, “placed out” about 200,000 destitute children, mainly to farming communities of the Midwest. Might your elusive ancestor have been one of these?

The Orphan Train Story is really America’s Story. The movement of these children during this 75-year period impacted society in such a way that it still reverberates today, and will forever more.

In this month’s presentation Mary Jo will show the cause and effect of this most important slice of American History. You will learn research tips and sources to help determine if one of these children is part of your family history.

Mary Jo is a member of SOCCGS, having served as president, vice president and currently as treasurer. She has been researching her family history since 1997 when a friend fostered an interest in the DAR. While searching through family papers, Mary Jo found a connection to the American Revolution. Ensuing research uncovered a Revolutionary War patriot, through her maternal great grandmother. She is an advocate of the SOCCGS safaris, since on one such trip her Mayflower ancestor was revealed.

Safari News

The Cole Genealogy Library in Carlsbad is the destination for the safari on February24. We will leave the LDS parking lot at 9:30 a.m. This library is one of the best in Southern California. Preparation is the key to making any research trip successful. Use the library catalogue and set your genealogy research in motion. You may bring lunch, or be prepared to drive a short distance to a local eatery. Don’t forget $$ for your driver. There are no plans for dinner on the way home. Contact Bill Bluett to reserve a spot.

"News Flash"

Dr. George Schweitzer is coming back to SOCCGS!
He will be the featured speaker at the October 16 Seminar.

President's Message

~Sandy Crowley

This month I would like to share some info about my Woodall ancestors. I pick up this line in Georgia, then through Alabama, Mississippi, and on to Texas. The eldest that I can find is Selfnire (sp?) Woodall, a Cherokee Indian who married a white woman. He was born about 1770 in Georgia, probably Putnam County. Their son, Zephaniah Woodall, was born in 1792 in Georgia and married Lavinia (“Viney”) Vest. The families moved to Alabama, where Zephaniah and Viney’s son, Zephaniah Harvey Woodall, was born.

Zephaniiah married a woman who was half-Cherokee. From what I read, they moved to Mississippi, where he became a well-liked sheriff. While in Mississippi, his son, Rufus Woodall, was born. Rufus was about 10 years old during the Civil War, and told of his vivid memories of Yankees riding through town and taking their only cow. His mother was ill from childbirth and the family begged the soldiers to leave the cow to feed their new little brother. They took the cow, and baby and mother died. Rufus was very angry about this until he died. (The Civil War was, I think, the worst war we, as a country, have been through. So many losses, and tragic stories on both sides of the war.) Zephaniah retired to Hillsboro, Hill County, Texas and several of his adult children, including Rufus, went along. He, Rufus, and others of this Woodall family are buried in the oldest cemetery in Hillsboro, Texas. Rufus and his wife, Martha Leona Anderson, had my grandmother, Ruby Earl Woodall in 1893 in Kirby, Texas, a small town outside Hillsboro. Kirby no longer exists.

There are few historic items left in this family. Very few pictures survived, and the Bibles, letters, etc. are also gone. These families came across the south at a time when it was Indian Territory; wars were fought across the areas, and the small wooden houses they built were easily destroyed. There were certainly no churches and courthouses on many corners during this time. It is hard to find surviving records. While my grandmother was growing up, her house burned twice after someone placed the metal coal shuttle on the back porch and it sparked, igniting the house. The Woodalls are just one of several lines of my ancestors who came to Texas.

January Meeting

We enjoyed a super January meeting hearing member, Francie Kennedy’s presentation. She is a great speaker and her “Google” subject clearly brought out the folks. Francie has supplied several extra copies of her awesome handout. They are available at the SOCCGS docent desk. Bill Bluett and those VPs before him have done great jobs of obtaining interesting speakers.

Several members shared with us their brick walls and research suggestions at the meeting:

Joyce Van Schaack asked for help in researching Theopolis Anderson in Virginia. He fought with the Indians in 1825-1828. She also wants information on Frederic Hammel who was in Pennsylvania before the Revolutionary War. Her email address is

Myrna Hamid suggested posting a query with the New England Historical & Genealogy Society (NEHGS).

Annabelle Farago told us that the University of Virginia has lots of information. Also, that Linda Jonas, who is the head of one of the Family History Centers in Virginia, is a good resource and has written a few books. (To find her, put “Linda Jonas” into Google.)

Kathleen Fairbanks Rubin is seeking info on Nathanial Fairbanks (or Fairbank) in the mid-1800s in middle New York State.

Verl Nash shared a comedic story of a man who did everything he could to either leave no trace of himself or to leave incorrect data. (This piece appears elsewhere in this newsletter.)

Sandy Crowley said that she has been contacted twice, due to genealogy articles she wrote for our newsletter.

Mary Jo McQueen told of receiving a letter to be forwarded to a former member who wrote a query, which appeared in 2007. (Be patient; good things will happen!)

Dean West, a guest, from Washington State visited especially to hear about Google. Another guest was Maggie Finnegan, a former member who was visiting from Canada.

"God gave us memories that we might have roses in December."
~ J.M. Barrie

“Behind the Name”

I came across a website the other day on Names. With some of the strange Southern names in my own family, this sites helps research the census. I'll put an asterisk were I can't figure out the letter, and then I can figure out the rest of the letters. So far it's worked quite well.

Bob Reilly

Genealogy Query

~Zona Hayen, Litchfield, MN

I am looking for information regarding Agnes L Bennett. She died Oct 19, 1994 at San Juan Capistrano, California. I located her at and I'm hoping to find her obituary so I will be able to find her husband's first name and if she had any children, etc. Any information will be appreciated. I can be reached at Thank you.

Air Force Records at the National Archives

Approximately 177,000 official military personnel files from the United States Air Force were recently transferred to the National Archives and Records Administration, making the historical documents part of the public record. As Air Force personnel files continue to reach maturity at 62 years, they will be transferred to national archives ownership. The ownership of these records by the National Archives now makes them open to the public. While the Privacy Act no longer applies to archival records, exemptions of the Freedom of Information Act continue to protect the personal privacy of the members and their families and Social Security numbers are redacted before release. For more information and to request copies of records from the National Archives, visit the National Archives' eVetRecs website. (Source: Military Report, Thanks to Kathy Mauzey for passing along this information.

“1852 New Year Resolutions Solve Genealogical Mysteries.”

It is New Year's Eve 1852 and Henry HYDENWELL sits at his desk by Candlelight. He dips his quill pen in ink and begins to write his New Year’s resolutions.

1. No man is truly well educated unless he learns to spell his name at least three different ways within the same document. I resolve to give the appearance of being extremely well educated in the coming year.

2. I resolve to see to it that all of my children will have the same names that my ancestors have used for six generations in a row.

3. My age is no one's business but my own. I hereby resolve to never list the same age or birth year twice on any document-especially US census.

4. I resolve to have each of my children baptized in a different church -- either in a different faith or in a different parish. Every third child will not be baptized at all or will be baptized by an itinerant minister who keeps no records. Every girl child will be named some form of Lucy, Louise, Louisa, Lucinda, every boy Lewis, Louis, Louie, Lee or some other form of the same name.

5. I resolve to move to a new town, new county, or new state at least once every 10 years -- just before those pesky enumerators or tax people come around asking silly questions.

6. I will make every attempt to reside in counties and towns where no Vital Records are maintained or where the courthouse burns down every few years.

7. I resolve to join an obscure religious cult that does not believe in record keeping or in participating in military service. Maybe even marry an Indian Princess and never tell anyone her name or tribe.

8. When the tax collector comes to my door, I'll loan him my pen, which has been dipped in rapidly fading blue ink.

9. I resolve that if my beloved wife Mary should die, I will marry another Mary. If both women should die, both will be buried with a tombstone that says: "M.” wife of the Honorable Henry Lee Jamison George Albert Hinden Wells, esquire, gentleman, civic leader & patriot. (aka: Bubba Hendavell)

10. I resolve not to make a will. Who needs to spend money on a lawyer? On that note: I resolve to spend all my money before I go--mostly on my own headstone (which will be set at my grave in an obscure place with my phonetically spelled name or a row of initials, and the wrong date).

(Thanks to Verl Nash for sharing.)

Tracing a Family Through the Numerical Index

~Mary Clement Douglass

As genealogists, we are always searching for another way to discover the relationships between and among our ancestors and the communities in which they lived. Land records, in my experience, are one of the best ways to find these relationships and one of the most overlooked by the average genealogist.

In a genealogy "how-to" book or workshop you may have been encouraged to read the general or grantor-grantee indexes in whatever county office records land transactions. You may have copied every instance of your surname for years before and after your ancestor lived in a given location. You may even have read and photocopied some of the deeds, leases, contracts, mortgages, liens, affidavits, and agreements referred to in the indexes. That is a good start! Every single source of information adds to the picture we try to create of our ancestor.

But do we always go the second step and follow the land itself? Have you ever been told to check out the other land record index-the numerical or tract index? That is where the genealogical gems are hiding! Tracking a parcel of land through its owners will sometimes reveal the names of married daughters, heirs-at-law, the in-laws, the grandchildren, the wife's parents and other ancestors of another surname, the neighbors our ancestors married, and interaction with local, state, and federal governments. It is in the numerical index to lands, for federal-land states, that you find all the documents related to the land. It is through the complete record that you find the other locations your ancestors and their descendants lived.

There are 30 federal-land states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. In federal land states the land was surveyed into townships and ranges, which contain 36 numbered one-mile sections of land. The township system is based on a series of meridians running from pole to pole and base lines, running east to west. The Kansas Base Line is the Kansas-Nebraska border. The meridian for Kansas is the 6thPrincipal Meridian. The 6th Principal Meridian is the eastern boundary of Saline County Kansas. I live in Section 12, Township 14 South [of the Base Line] and Range 3 West [of the 6th Principal Meridian].

In Kansas, the Register of Deeds is the person responsible for the recording and maintenance of land records. In other jurisdictions it is the County Recorder. The Register keeps both an alphabetical grantor [direct, seller] and grantee [indirect, reverse, buyer] index and a numerical index to the land tracts in that county.

What You Can Find In the Numerical Or Tract Index

In Kansas (and other states) the numerical index is divided into townships of 36 sections. Using for an example the page covering Republic County Section 36, Courtland Township 3 South and Range 5 West (36-T3S-R5W), we find the following headings for the columns on this page: kind of instrument, date of instrument, grantor, grantee, recorded-book, page, northeast quarter, southeast quarter, northwest quarter, southwest quarter, number of acres-irregular or metes and bounds, date of release (remarks).

Listed under the kind of instrument, we find a variety of instruments, including an executor's deed, an incorporation petition, warranty deeds, a contract and grant of easement, quitclaim deeds, an order, probate judge's certificate, mortgage, affidavit, release of mortgage, contract of sale, assignment, tax certificate, and a probate case. Most of the entries are for warranty deeds-the sale of a specific piece of property by one person to another. Without the Numerical Index, you would need to search in records kept by each county office and court to find all of these kinds of instruments.

How To Use The Numerical Index

If you don't already have the legal description of the land, you will need to search the General Index to Deeds under the surname for which you are searching. Note all the tracts owned by that person and then proceed to the Numerical Index to research each tract. In using the numerical index, you don't search for the names of your ancestors first. You look for the tract of land they purchased to see what happened to it.

( Aug 04, 2008)
Article originally appeared in Everton's Genealogical Helper magazine.

“Wouldn't it be nice if whenever we messed up our life
We could simply press 'Ctrl Alt Delete' and start all over?”

Problem Solving for Genealogy

~Michael John Neill

The late Stanford mathematician George Polya devised a problem-solving process that has been used in math classes for years. Even though family history problems are not always math problems, Polya’s procedure can provide a framework within which to work. In essence, Polya had four steps to his process:

1) Understand the Problem - This is an important aspect of solving any research quandary. There are several aspects of “understanding the problem” of which the genealogist needs to be aware. Searching for “everything I can find” about great-grandfather is not a “good problem.” While it may be clear, it is certainly too broad. Better problems would be more specific ones such as:

“Locate the ca. 1830 marriage record of James Rampley and Elizabeth Chaney that took place somewhere in Ohio.”

First, I need to determine if marriage records were kept in Ohio in 1830 (they were), and if they are still extant in the counties where the couple might have gotten married. I should seek out church records of the marriage in addition to civil records.

If I know the names of the couples’ parents, I could try to find where their parents were living in 1820 and 1830 to get a potential location for the marriage.

Another option is to look at places of birth for the couple’s children, if that information is known. While couples do not necessarily have their children in the same place in which they were married, those places of birth are good starting points. Other materials such as county histories, obituaries, and pension records, might provide clues as to where the couple was married.

2) Devise a Plan - Once I understand the problem, I need to devise a plan. This typically means determining what records will be searched and how those records will be accessed.

My actual goal is the marriage record itself, so any reference in a finding aid or an index will not be a final step. In this case, I can contact the county office in the county where the Rampleys were married to see if they have the record.

I can also check to see whether the Family History Library has microfilmed the records. If they have, I can order them at my local Family History Center.

If I am not sure of the county where the couple married, I could see whether there are any statewide marriage indexes–either in print or online. If these indexes are used, I need to know the extent of the coverage, and if they are not, what counties have been omitted. If I am unaware of how to access marriage records at the local office level, I can refer to the appropriate chapter of Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, the state research outline on the FamilySearch site, or the appropriate USGenWeb site.

3) Execute the Plan - I decided to contact the county and see if they had the record and made certain to request a copy of the complete record. I wrote the letter and made a note in my research log. (Tracking your research is extremely important.) A few weeks later, I received a copy of the record.

4) Evaluate the Results - It might seem like the problem was solved. Of course, now that I confirmed the date and county of marriage, I needed to know more about the couple before their marriage. There are many questions that could be asked, but here it is important to remember that you should not rush on without evaluating what has been found.

The record told me that neither James nor Elizabeth were natives of Ohio. Questions I could ask now include: “What brought them to Ohio?” and “Did they come with their families?”

Answering these questions takes us back to step one, understanding the problem. In the case of these two new questions, it will require more understanding of the history and migration patterns in the area, details that were not as necessary with the marriage problem.

Problem solving is inherent to any genealogical dilemma. Problems should be clearly stated and well defined. Vague problems usually get vague answers. Our ancestors and their records are sometimes vague enough; our approach to finding them should not be.

(, 25 May 2008)

"One of the greatest tragedies of life is the murder
Of a beautiful theory by a gang of brutal facts."

~ Benjamin Franklin

"Who Do You Think You Are?"

The NBC show "Who Do You Think You Are?" begins airing Friday, March 5 (8-9 p.m. ET). The show looks to be truly fascinating and should be a great show, especially for family history enthusiasts. The show will follow seven celebrities as they learn more about their own family histories. is NBC’s official partner on the series.

World Vital Records

City Directories for New York, New York are now available on SOCCGS Library computers. These include directories of residents, organizations, and businesses in New York, New York, 1786-1922 (and some undated). Before the modern phone book, many cities and towns published alphabetical directories of their residents and businesses. These publications contain names and addresses for most adults and businesses in the city and may include references to age, occupation, employer, the name of a deceased spouse, and other information. These directories tended to be published more often than every ten years, so they give a more dynamic picture of a city's population than the decennial US census. (In partnership with

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

We recently received a check from Ralphs, in the amount of $102.96, based on member’s purchases for September, October and November. Thank you for your participation in this project. To those not yet signed up, this is a reminder to designate SOCCGS as the organization to receive funds from Ralphs when you shop at your local Ralphs market. Go online at Ralphs and signup. We need to re-designate every September. Please see the detailed instructions on our SOCCGS website at

Note: There is also now a new and easier method to re-designate for those who already have a Ralphs rewards Card but do wish to do it online. Ralphs has provided us a special “scanbar” letter for the cashier to use when you go through the check stand. 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 (

New at the Library

Book, donated by Sheryl Fisher: Family History and Genealogy of the Brunet, LeJeune, Martel, Lavergne, Chachere, and Boutte Families by Barney and Leslie Brunet Ellis.

This genealogy has a very rich family history, which is told through pictures, maps and documents. Starting in France they first moved to Acadia, 1636 to 1750, then the journey down to Louisiana. The book has kinship charts, baptism and marriage certificates, and copies of old family letters.


March 6 – Family History Fair 2010, Escondido, California, David E. Rencher, Keynote speaker. For 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
October 16 – SOCCGS Family History Seminar featuring Dr. George Schweitzer.

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 & Safari
Chairman _________________________

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

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

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