Saddleback Valley Trails

South Orange County California Genealogical Society

Vol. 18 No. 2

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

February 2011

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.

If your newsletter mailing label is highlighted,
2011 dues have not been received.

19 February 2011

Presented by
Beth McCarty

This program will provide an overview of researching records of the Church of England, including the history of parish registers and key historical dates affecting English records. Ms. McCarty will point out what may be found in parish records and bishop’s transcripts, related records such as marriage licenses, bonds and allegations. She will also explain how to find parish records for the areas being researched, and methodologies for determining what records are available (indexes, microfilm, and other resources).

About the Speaker: Beth McCarty is currently Director of the Orange Family History Center. She is a professional genealogist with over thirty years experience, specializing in British Isles research. In addition to providing classes and research guidance at the Orange Family History Center, Beth also lectures at conferences and genealogy society events around Orange County and Southern California.

Safari News

The Cole Genealogy Library in Carlsbad is the destination for the safari on February23. We will leave the LDS parking lot at 9:30 a.m. This library has one of the finest genealogy collections 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.

Right or Wrong?

Many Americans will say that the last land battle in the War of 1812 was at New Orleans but is this correct? Or, was the last battle actually a British victory at the “Battle of Fort Bowyer on February 11th, 1815?” This took place over a month after New Orleans. Even though Andrew Jackson himself declared, "ten thousand men cannot take it!" a force of around 1500 British regulars from the 21st Regiment of Foot managed to move their artillery into position and bombard the fort, forcing the Americans to surrender.

President's Message

~Bill Bluett

I mentioned in the January Newsletter that I might tell the story of how I met my wife, Helen. Now, that story has taken on a greater significance since genealogy has become my hobby. We have parallels and connections that we didn't realize until more recently. But first, “The Story”:

In September of 1962, I traveled to Las Vegas with a friend and his father to stay for three nights. Las Vegas was cheap in those days. Food, lodging, and entertainment were very reasonable. We saw some great lounge and midnight shows on "the strip". Our last evening was spent at the midnight show at the Flamingo where we were seated at a table right next to the stage with three young ladies (nurses from Iowa) directly across from us. One was already working in Los Angeles at Cedars Sinai Hospital and the other two were headed to California to seek work. They all had graduated from the Mercy Hospital School of Nursing in Iowa City a year earlier. None of the girls had been to Las Vegas before. So, after the show was over, we asked them if they would like to see some lounge shows. Now, to tell you the truth, the three of us didn't have much money left as we would be leaving for home the next day. But, my friend's father had brought a "disability check" with him in case of an emergency. We decided that if he could cash it, we would show the girls the town and take them to breakfast in the morning. Then, we would split the cost three ways when we got home. He finally got it cashed and we followed through with our plan. We finished up the night with breakfast at the Silver Slipper Casino. My friend made plans with the girl working in Los Angeles to go out on a date. A few weeks later, I found out that Helen and her friend had been hired at the Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles. A triple date was set up and I chose Helen as my date. It was Halloween night and we all went to the Biltmore Hotel for dinner and dancing. Three years later, we were married in her hometown of Oxford in Iowa. I often wonder what would have happened if my friend's dad hadn't brought along that "disability check" - which we did split three ways.

Now, I will explain a few genealogical parallels and connections between my wife and I. The State of Iowa is an interesting parallel for each of us. Helen’s maternal side (the Reynolds family) settled in the Iowa City area about 1840. Her paternal side (the Eimen family) settled south of Iowa City in the 1870’s. As I mentioned in last month’s newsletter, I have two Irish families that settled in Iowa. The Collins family (my mother’s great grandparents) settled in Dubuque in 1855. The Fallon family (my mother’s maternal g-grandparents) settled in the Winterset area in 1856. Iowa was a migration hub at this time for folks moving west. Even my great grandmother, Martha Jones Bluett, was born 15 miles south of the cemetery where Helen’s great grandfather, Daniel Eimen, and other ancestors are buried in Henry County, Iowa. The main difference in our families is that all mine were headed for California and all hers are still in Iowa - except Helen and her sister Betty Ann (who lives in Fallbrook).

The one interesting connection I shared with you in my presentation in January was the fact that our great grandfathers, Isaiah Parker Reynolds and James W. Bluett, each had brothers that participated in the same Civil war battles in 1864. I compared their service record information found on the Ancestry website. And, low and behold, they fought together in at least two major battles in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. The first was the Battle of Winchester on September 19th and the Battle of Cedar Creek on October 19th. Bryant W. Reynolds was in the 28th Iowa Infantry and Joseph T. Bluett was in the 2nd Massachusetts Cavalry. They most likely never met one another. But, they were on the same battlefields. Helen and I saw the Cedar Creek re-enactment in October of 2000. We were very impressed and quite moved by how realistic the event was portrayed. We did not know about the Reynolds/Bluett connection at that time.

Now you know how I met my wife and how genealogy has brought our ancestors closer together. It is amazing the things you can find when you dig a little deeper into your family history. Genealogy research has certainly surprised me with additional Iowa roots I had not expected. Marrying an Iowa farm girl was definitely meant to be.


New Members: Gary & Karen Everson, Mission Viejo, Dorothy & Norman Prescott, Ladera Ranch, and Doug Moylen, Mission Viejo, Doug is searching for: Motylinski, New Jersey 1870 and New York 1920.

Shame on the men who can court exemption from present trouble
And expense at the price of their own posterity's liberty!

~Samuel Adams

January Meeting

Bill Bluett’s presentation showed how he is using timelines of ancestor’s lives to link them to historic people, places, and events. He explained how these links are making his genealogy more interesting and how gathering material to make these links has helped him delve deeply into new areas of research. Bill is putting his research into MicroSoft Power Point presentations, which he can then use to pass on family history to others in his family. Guests introduced at the meeting were: Linda Serna and Bob & Dorie Santos. Members providing refreshments were: Barbara Wilgus, Patricia Leard, Sandy Crowley, Bob & Cindie Reilly, and David Flint.

Brick Walls & Genealogy Research Suggestions

Kevin Gross has been searching for information regarding the Kettleman family from Germany for the past 9 years. He received obituary information through the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library that opened some doors for him about the family and children. Also, Kevin recently did some research on the FAMILY SEARCH pilot program that revealed information about two of his brothers that were “stillborn”. This is information he did not previously have about these brothers. Linda Serna has been researching Indiana graves and having difficulty finding a particular ancestor’s death certificate even though she is buried in Indiana. Upon contacting a mortuary in the area, she found out that the individual was living in California when she died from contacting the flu. She now has the certificate from California. Victoria Crayne has been utilizing MESSAGE BOARDS more recently and has had some great connections take place with distant family members that have shared more than a 100 photos with her during the course of their communications with one another. She suggests re-posting queries you have made to websites in the past. Joyce Van Schaack mentioned that Saddleback College will have a fund-raising gala on February 5. The money raised will go toward student scholarships and veterans’ support. Saddleback College is the only college in the U.S. to have a memorial honoring veterans on campus. Francie Kennedy announced that the city of San Juan Capistrano is celebrating the 50th anniversary of city hood. In celebration, the Yorba, which is a large collection of early city photos, is being displayed. Contact the Community Center for information. Bill Tosh shared a large Virginia research document. Any questions regarding Virginia research? Ask Bill, he is our resident expert on Virginia genealogy.

Introducing Marilyn Kowalski

Hello to all and Welcome to SOCCGS: I am Marilyn Kowalski, a happily retired Geriatric Nurse Practitioner. I am pleased to be your new Parliamentarian. We all have a voice with SOCCGS and helping to ensure open, constructive, orderly conversations is sure to keep my ears open and me on my toes!

I have always been interested in family stories and history. My folks were not too chatty about family, but when we went visiting to aunts and uncles homes and state and county picnics I had my ears open and listened to the talk being shared. I was intrigued to know who was related to whom and how their lives had gone. I began gathering information on our local family stories and creating albums with old and new pictures. In my early genealogical efforts I was lucky enough to save an entire notebook of entries from the family cabin’s log where we frequently vacationed in my younger years. It has been most interesting in providing our family with ongoing “fishing tales”!

I eventually joined with several newly found cousins in tracing and saving important stories and facts for our joint families. I contribute to my cousin’s blog, “Reher Ramblings” to bring stories and information digitally to our families who are widely located throughout the United States.

Just before I retired in 2007 I joined SOCCGS and began to be more earnest in searching out family history. I found several family trees already available on Ancestry and Family Tree. I quickly realized the importance of not only recording the information, but also that knowing the sources was vital to ensure accuracy. And so goes my current task of searching to document or correct resources for information that others have previously recorded. My brick walls are abundant, but the fun and successes of our SOCCGS members keeps me enthusiastic about my own search.

My own family search includes surnames from both of my parents and my husband’s parents. Both families are fairly recent immigrants to the United States, which is within the last 100 years with the exception of one side (Still), having arrived prior to 1766. My family surnames include (but are not limited to!): Still, Lindsay, Gould, Lowry, Lehmer, Reher, Stoltenberg, and Heesch. My husband’s surnames include the Polish names of: Marcewicz, Bednarski, Orlowski, Kowalski, Kendzerski and varieties of these spellings!

I especially enjoy SOCCGS’ Safari trips and can personally attest to having fun and success during these excursions. I hope to see you each month at our meetings and will be pleased to escort you when you come with us on Safari!! I am happy to participate with such an enthusiastic group of people. Thank you for this opportunity to serve on your board.

"Meet The New Newsletter Editor"

I am Gary Schwarz and have decided to serve SOCCGS as the ‘newbie’ newsletter editor. I was born in Nebraska and lived there on a rented farm until I was 4 years old. I was raised in the Hawthorne area of Southern California. I graduated from Hawthorne High School at which notables - other than me - attended: The Beach Boys and George Harrison’s second wife, Olivia Arrias. I attended El Camino Community College and graduated from California State University, Long Beach.

My interest in genealogy was first sparked by my maternal grandfather, Cleo Golding, when he responded to my question, “Grandpa, what’s your name?” with “Puddintain, ask me again and I’ll tell you the same.” Although that spark to learn names lay dormant for many years, it would eventually be fanned to a comfortable fire because my grandmother Adah Golding nee Phillips came to live with us after my grandfather’s death, bringing many old photographs, diaries, letters, postcards, family bibles and scrap books containing clippings from the Harvard Courier (our old town newspaper) with her.

My addiction began when my grandmother died and I had all these documents to look through and began to get interested in the people I was reading about. I started my first pedigree chart sometime around 1980. I had gotten a book on genealogy from the library and it said to get a pedigree chart. Well, when I went to the stationary store (I don’t think there are any stationary stores anymore are there?) and asked for a pedigree chart; they only had them for dogs. I eventually got hooked up with the Los Angeles Family History Center (where I got a ‘people’ pedigree chart) and the Orange County California Genealogical Society (OCCGS) in Huntington Beach. This was the start of my “the old fashion way” phase – writing family group sheets by hand, sending letters, and reading microfilm at the US Regional Archives in Laguna Niguel, and trying to find books with information about my family.

My first entry on a computer was on an Apple II computer using the PAF program I had purchased at the Family History Center in LA. I still use an updated version of the PAF program but now on a Windows platform.

My dad’s side of the family is Germans from Russia. I don’t remember how I found that out. I guess I was still in the names and dates mode at that time or I would have documented my source. I read an article in the LA Times about Germans from Russia which told about the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia (AHSGR). The AHSGR along with the Germans from Russia Heritage Society (GRHS) are the source of mountains of documents about my ancestors. My Schwarz pedigree contains the names: Schwarz, Kauk, Knodel, Ochsner, Walter, Gries(s), Kieffer, Hofmann, Böehler, Gemar, Baer, Grotz, Trautmann, Weisskopf, May, and Laubach.

My mom’s side of the family is mostly English and Irish. A lot of this research was done reading microfilm at the Family History Center in the evening and on the first Saturday of the month at the regional archives (It has since moved from Laguna Niguel to Riverside). Later I was using to get clues to of who and where to search. My Golding pedigree contains the names: Golding, Brown, Wicker, Linville, Darby, Marks, Jones, Phillips, Miller, Huffer, Stevens, Seymour, and Sterns. They lived in Clay Co., Nebraska; Carroll Co., Illinois; Shelby and Howard Co., Indiana; Stokes Co., North Carolina; Bradford Co., Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, and Connecticut.

I’ve moved into the 21st Century and use library versions of, Heritage Quest, Footnote, and other subscription online genealogy services at the Genealogical Section of the Mission Viejo Library for ‘FREE’. Google, USGenWeb, and other non-subscription services have also provided more ‘meat’ to the names, dates, places of my first beginnings of genealogy.

2011 Programs

February - Beth McCarty,
"Researching Church of England Records"
March - Francie Kennedy,
April - Wendy Elliott,
"Land, Tax and Court Records"
May - Hal Horrocks,
"Preserving Your Heirlooms"

“Anna & Harold - A Love Story”

~Jim Thordahl

Anna was only fifteen when she went to work at the tannery. That’s not so young. Lots of kids went to work before their school years were over. At least she had the opportunity to finish school. She had grown up on the family farm so she was familiar with hard work. Since her father died the large family was split asunder. Her mother moved to the city, Buffalo, New York, to live with her oldest child, Albert. Anna moved to town to stay with her brother, Carl and his wife and children. Now it was time for her to contribute to the family wellbeing. Moench Tanning Co. was the primary employer in the industrious little village nestled in the “beautiful valley between the hills,” Gowanda, New York. Most of the new kids were started at the task that required many hands, trimming defective or extraneous skin tags from the huge cattle pelts. It was a dirty, tasteless task, and her day’s work was long.

Even so, it was fun as Anna worked side by side with many of her school friends and others whom she knew from church, the Lutheran Church where many German immigrants worshipped and sought social haven. Her life was about to get a lot more fun. About a week after she began working, a young man, to her a good bit older man, came into her department to install a new rinse tub. Harold was a pipe fitter. Anna noticed him right away. He was handsome, kind of cute. She was smitten. He may have been too old for her but she could always say she did not know how old he was. How could she get him to notice her? She was bold, but not brash. She would wait for the right moment.

She didn’t have long to wait. The next day, Anna was leaving work with her girl friends when she saw Harold leaving too. She could say “hi” or something. Wait! Just then Harold joined up with a group of men heading home from the glue factory. The Peter Cooper Company glue factory was a companion to the tannery from where it got the base for its glue, animal fat, residue scrapped from the cattle hides. Now Harold was walking with just one man, old enough to be his father. In fact, he was, and they were headed to the boarding house where they had moved after Harold’s sister, Ruth, had married and Harold had finished school and gone to work. Their mother had died when Harold was only six, and Anthony had raised his two children alone.

Maybe this was her chance. They had reached the newly installed wooden walk. She was a little breathless because she had hustled to close the gap, as the two men set a quick pace. Now, Anna was right behind them when Harold suddenly turned at a path to his street. They almost collided. Trying hard to hide her infatuation and maintain her composure, Anna blurted out, “Hey, going my way?” A bit embarrassed, Harold, with a shy and hesitant smile intoned, “Depends.” Anthony rescued the moment and offered, “You can join us if you want; we always take this shortcut.”

It was a shortcut that led to a long summer of romance. The next day Harold waited for Anna to come out of the tannery and they headed home together every day from then on. On hot humid evenings they would detour down to the bank of the Cattaraugus creek where its swift flowing water quickly carried away the stench from the two lifeblood factories on its banks. They could take off their shoes and dangle their feet in the bubbly current. At a pool of smooth water they would skip stones across the creek. Anna was just as good as Harold at this game and didn’t hide her talent. Sometimes they would stop at the railroad bridge and watch the old steam engines join up with a freight train to help cars, loaded with leather and glue, up the steep grade out of the valley.

It became their secret spot, a hidden rendezvous site. Harold didn’t seem so shy and reserved anymore. He took Anna’s hand to help her down the slope onto a favored rock, where they talked and shared their dreams. Suddenly, she kissed him on the cheek. He kissed her back; she had not had to wait until she was sixteen for that first kiss. Anna Emke and Harold Amann were married January 29, 1921, two months after Anthony died. Harold had just turned twenty one and Anna was four months past sixteen.

Anna and Harold are my wife’s maternal grandparents. They named their first child Elizabeth June. Tucked between the pages of a tiny tattered German language hymnal, embossed with her name and the year, 1917, I found a picture of the young couple. The little photograph was trimmed so that it might fit into a locket, so I gave them this love story - matched to genealogical data from censuses, family records and recollections of my hometown. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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.

“Introducing Jim Thordahl”

I have been a member of SOCCGS for about three years, and interested in genealogy for many years. I have done research since retiring about seven years ago. I have always been a student of history and geography and those interests fit nicely with genealogy.

Family history books were popular in Denmark about fifty years ago and I have one for my mother, Bjorn. A cousin in Denmark keeps the Bjorn family tree current. She has also provided a tree for my father. There is still plenty for me to do. My book about my parents and a collection of seven siblings’ memories are in the repository of the Danish Immigrant Museum in Elk Horn, Iowa and the Danish Emigrant Archive in Denmark. When I resolved to research my wife’s Beaver family, I found it had also been done. With the help of other family members, I brought it up to date, and continue to work on names within the Beaver tree, including Amann, Emke, Stuhlmiller, Kuhne, and Giess. With four brothers and three sisters I have plenty of in-law families to research, including Rodgers, Colburn, Crouse, and Jimerson (Native American). My most recent excitement came in finding the frontier story of my grandson’s paternal ancestors, Shirley (Oklahoma/Texas).

I grew up on the family farm in Western New York, joined the Air Force and ended up on California’s High Desert for twenty four years, then moved to Dana Point. My wife and I moved to San Clemente eighteen months ago. I am an “adventure seeker.” After retiring from the Air Force and then Rockwell International, I tackled a cross-country trip in a 1965 VW Karmann Ghia. Now I write autobiographical stories in participation with a writing group in Dana Point, but my genealogical adventure continues as a docent on Saturdays at SOCCGS library and as the new chairman for ways and means.

Ancestry World Archives Project

~David Flint, Chairman

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. Please consider helping with this service project.

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.

News From the Mission Viejo Library

Attention All Library Docents and Substitutes! The library wants to thank all the volunteers with “The Volunteer Recognition Brunch”, which is being hosted by the Department of Library & Cultural Services on Friday, February 11th 2011 at 10:00 a.m. at the Norman P. Murray Community Center in the Sycamore Room. Contact Bunny Smith (949-472-8946) if you don't receive your invitation.

Ralphs Community Contribution Program

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. There, you’re’ enrolled until September. Please see me at the next meeting for a “Scanbar letter.” There are copies of the letter at the library docent desk, or one will mailed at your request. You may also enroll on-line at If you have a question call or e-mail:; ph: (949) 492-5334.

Was your name missing? The names of three participants were missing in SOCCGS January newsletter. This suggests that their information is not correct in the Ralphs rewards Card Database.

2011 Genealogy Events

February 18/20 – 18th Annual Scottish Festival at the Queen Mary in LongBeach.
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”
February 27Hemet-San Jacinto Genealogy Society will present “Old American and English Handwriting Workshop” by Gene Cheney at 1:00 P.M. at the BIFHS-USA meeting of the at the Los Angeles Family History Library.
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
March 26North San Diego County Genealogical Society is scheduled at the Carlsbad Center. Stephen P. Morse will present "The One-Step website: Its Tools and Its Applications." Additional information: For reservations:


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 @

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