Saddleback Valley Trails

South Orange County California Genealogical Society

Vol. 17 No. 4

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

April 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.

General Meeting April 17, 2010

“German Research”
Presented By
Glenn Witte

Glenn and his wife Maureen retired in 1994 and then started to research their family origins They remembered that family oral history claimed some of their ancestors were French, some Dutch and some German. Their research has shown that all of their immigrant ancestors were German, and came to Wisconsin in the mid 1800’s. Glenn will discuss the methods they used to discover 253 of their direct-line ancestors (one back to the 1400’s), with 107 different surnames. He’ll give examples of the sources used and the “rewards” they reaped from their efforts.

Glenn and Maureen are Mission Viejo residents in the Palmyra retirement community of Mission Viejo, and have been members of the Genealogy Club since its inception in 1996. They’ve served the Club as President and/or Vice President for a combined 12 years. Over the years they became known as the “German Experts” and two years ago were persuaded to make a presentation to the Club describing their efforts. That is the presentation you will experience.

Safari News

Plans are in the works for a safari on April 28 to the Southern California Genealogy Society’s Library in Burbank. This is one of the premier genealogy research facilities in California. Plan your day by perusing the Library’s Catalogue at The SOCCGS group will leave the LDS parking lot promptly at 9:00 a.m. Since, this will be an all-day excursion we will eat dinner on the way home. Plan to bring lunch. Bring $$ for the driver. To make a reservation please contact Bill Bluett at or 949-492-9408.

"Coming October 16th"
Dr. George Schweitzer is coming back to SOCCGS!

The three topics Dr. Schweitzer will present at the seminar are: “Revolutionary War Genealogy”, “German Emigration, Immigration & Migration Patterns” and “Rivers To Trails To Roads To Canals To Trains”. Those of you who have attended a Schweitzer seminar will remember that he dresses in costume for his presentations. You will be entertained while learning!

President's Message

~Sandy Crowley

Our March meeting ushered in a beautiful spring day, a great bunch of genealogists, and yummy snacks at break time and speaker Michael Kratzer presenting his “Civil War Collections for Family History” talk. One thing Michael said that struck home with me was his statement that he started out with no recollections within his family of any ancestors involved with the Civil War. He told us, step by step, how he discovered many interesting connections, including one man who spent each day with President Lincoln, escorting him from Lincoln’s summer home to the White House. How exciting. The reason I started genealogical research was that my paternal side of the family knew nothing about, and had no interest in, our ancestors. Luckily, the occasional person among our family members has the interest to pursue the family history and share it.

We enjoyed seeing our former President, Judy Deeter, who was visiting from out of town. She stopped to see us and to hear Michael’s talk. Thanks for visiting, Judy.

March Meeting

Once more, we had a nearly capacity crowd at a monthly meeting. We relish our growing popularity, which some attribute to the Friday night TV Show, “Who Do You Think You Are?” Are you all watching?

Guests joining us were: Charlene Clark, Paul Densmore, Sharon Newman, Michael Reed, and Virginia Robertson.

Mary Jo Nuttall, Pat Nostrome and Richard Merritt provided and served the goodies during the break.

Thanks to the following who participated by sharing brick wall questions and suggestions:

Trish Leard asked if anyone could help her by translating several pages written in Spanish, also German. Mickey Dempsey offered to help with the Spanish translation.

Dean Duet has an 88 page secession document relating to his great-great grandfather which is written if French. See Dean if you can help with the translation. (Note: we do have a list of members with various areas of expertise located in the docent book at the Mission Viejo Library genealogy section. If you would like to add your services to this list, see librarian Bunny Smith or one of the board members.)

Joyce Van Schaack gave information regarding the Saddleback College Veterans Memorial. If you’d like to buy a brick to support the construction of this memorial, please see Joyce. Further information is in a separate article within this newsletter.

Pat McCoy told us that the Indianapolis, Indiana Historical Society has actual letters that some of her ancestors wrote. It was a thrill for Pat to actually see and hold these old documents.

Shirley Blythe Good is searching for information on Israel Blythe, who was perhaps a gypsy.

Michelle David is looking for translation help with a four-page deed of Herman Frasier.


Don & Iris Bjorklund of Mission Viejo were visitors at the March meeting and decided to become members. Welcome! They are searching ASA LONSON in Shaw, Ohio. Don and Iris may be contacted at or

Salt Lake City 2010 NGS Family History Conference
April 28 – May 1

Several SOCCGS members have expressed an interest in attending this conference. However, transportation seems to be an issue. Is anyone interested in driving to Salt Lake City? Contact Mary Jo McQueen at

Each year the National Genealogical Society (NGS) holds a national conference to share the latest ideas, trends, and information. Some of the special activities include:
  • Free one-on-one research consultations with accredited genealogists
  • Extended Family History Library hours and extra staffing
  • Free same-day access to millions of rolls of microfilm from over 100 countries
  • Dozens of special international presentations and hands-on workshops
  • Free admission to an evening celebration of family history.
  • Free access to over 250 genealogy and technology exhibiters—the largest-ever gathering under one roof
More details about the conference can be found online at

“An Ancestor I Wish I Had Known”

~Bill Bluett

Thanks to Francie Kennedy and her January presentation titled “Google Research”, I found information that filled a time gap of about fifteen years for my great grandmother Martha (Jones) Bluett. I searched her name on GOOGLE and clicked on the “BOOKS” search located at the top of the page. The third item listed was a book titled “The Pacific Reporter”. It was volume 86, page 854, of 1135 pages. The book contained details of Supreme Court cases in the fourteen most western states from August 20th to October 22nd, 1906. The case of interest to me was “Bluett et al V. Wilce”, August 25th, 1906. The write-up actually began on page 853 and covered nearly three printed pages. The case took place in the City of Spokane, Washington.

Two years after my great grandfather, James W. Bluett’s, death in 1891, Martha remarried. Everything went downhill from that point on. Unfortunately, she was not that well treated by her second husband, Henry Boston. Martha still had the family homestead of 160 acres, was about 40 miles south of Spokane. She still had at least five children at home, who ranged in age from 3 to 15. My grandfather, Ralph Bluett, was about ten years old at this time. In 1893 a severe depression hit the United States. Railroads failed, banks closed, and land values hit rock bottom. Martha had to borrow money against the farm. Ultimately, what she owed became more than the value of the land, and she lost the farm in 1895.

In the meantime, she had separated from her husband and they divorced by 1899. Much of this information is outlined in the lengthy summary of her court case. The reason Martha filed a case was because she felt that, being a woman in difficult times and circumstances, a number of individuals had taken advantage of her, including her second husband. Martha indicated that her former husband and the folks she owed money to forced her into signing over the deed with no opportunity to recover the farm even if land values happened to rebound at some future time. The folks she owed the money to took over the farm and kept up the taxes on the property. I do not know when Martha actually filed her case in court. But, by the time a decision was rendered, eleven years had passed since the deed had been turned over to the Wilce family. Another words, releasing the farm to the party she owed, paid off her debt. Martha’s claims of being taken advantage of did not hold up in court and she lost her case. The case was decided on August 25, 1906. I do not know why she even filed a claim in the court system. It may have been at the urging of her family or possibly her third husband, William Conrad, whom she married on February 26, 1906, six months prior to the court decision. At any rate, she lost the case.

Needless to say, I was thrilled to find this document on GOOGLE “BOOKS”! It not only gave me a historical glimpse of a depression era in the 1890’s, but it gave me insight into Martha Bluett’s life from 1891 to 1906. The great thing about this particular book was the fact that there was a PDF file that allowed me to download it (88.8 MB) and copy all the pages I needed. Not all books on GOOGLE can be downloaded.

So, once again, I would like to say, “Thank you, Francie Kennedy,” for giving our Society members more insight into the research power of GOOGLE!

"Lost at the March Meeting"

Don Bjorklund took a Civil War pin to the meeting and since has been unable to locate it. It is an infantryman's pin that belonged to his great-grandfather. The name "F. H. Crepps" is engraved on it, along with the 103rd OVI (Ohio Volunteer Infantry). The pin was in a Zip-Loc bag. It was possibly left on the entrance table as they were leaving the meeting. Please call Don at 949-830-4730 if you have any information regarding this keepsake.

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. It’s a great way to give something back to the larger genealogy community

"To forget one's ancestors is to be a brook without a source, a tree without a root."

~Chinese proverb

“Veterans Memorial Dedication - Salute our Heroes”

Saddleback College is well on its way to the completion of the campus Veteran Memorial, which is being designed and built by the students and faculty.

Terence Nelson, VETS Director and Asst. Dean CS&SP at the college requests, "Please save the date - Thursday, April 29th - as we dedicate this largest and most significant memorial to the United States military heroes on a California post-secondary institution campus."

The event will include military bands, color guards representing all military branches, and guests including Veterans and decorated military officials. More than 1,000 guests are expected to attend the event.

The VETS Center Open House starts at 3:00 p.m. The Veterans Memorial Dedication follows at 4:00 p.m. This official dedication, which will be held at Saddleback College, 28000 Marguerite Parkway, Mission Viejo, will include students, faculty and neighbors.

Over 700 veterans are presently attending classes at Saddleback College. Nelson says, “we need to help our heroes’ transition back into civilian life and find success,”

If you would care to Salute, Honor or Memorialize your active or retired veteran please donate your tax deductible gift to the Veteran Memorial or VETS Program's fund. You can salute your loved ones with an inscribed brick or plaque placed in the pathway or on a bench, leaving a lasting reminder to the name of your veteran for generations to come.

Please contact Saddleback Board of Governors’ Member Joyce Van Schaack (949) 495-4567 or for more information. If you would like to receive a brochure call (949) 582-4479 or e-mail

Ralph's Update

~David Flint - Ways & Means Chairman

Don’t forget to shop at Ralphs! This is a reminder for you to designate SOCCGS as the organization to receive funds from Ralphs. Please see the detailed instructions on our website

We recently received notice that Ralphs is issuing a check to SOCCGS in the amount of $204.68. This is for the shopping period between 12/01/2009 and 2/28/2010. Last names of members who participated are as follows: Abrams, Cramer, Crowley, Dill, Domenick, Ellison, Flint, Frankel, Gahran, Harley, Keyser, Larsen, LaVenture, Lobo, Luckman, Mauzey, McQueen, McCoy, McGuigan, Merchant, Murtha, Naylor, Nolen, Reilly, Ryu, Schwarz, Sheean, Weeks, White, Wilgus and Witte. THANKYOU!

New at the Library

Donated by Mary Bump: Irish Pedigrees, Vol. I & II, 5th Edition, by John O'Hart: Listed in this edition are all the Genealogies contained in the Third Edition of Irish Pedigrees and those given in our Irish Landed Gentry When Cromwell Came to Ireland. Included in Vol. It is the Origin and Stem of the Irish Nation as far as have been collected. Vol. II lists the Families in Ireland from the twelfth to the end of the sixteenth century.

The Hereditary Register of the United States of America 1984 by Ralph Malcom Pabst & Jerome Francis Beattie: In order to be listed in the Register one must be a member of a hereditary organization requiring proven lineal descent from ancestors who resided in the United States not later than the American Revolution.

Anonymous donations are: A General History of the Burr Family: With a Genealogical Record from 1193 to 1891 (1878), by Charles Burr Todd; This work may be regarded as the fruit of the author's interest in, and his desire to preserve to posterity the memory of the fore fathers. This book contains over 500 pages with sketches on Colonel Aaron Burr and Chief-Justice Peter Burr.

The House of Waltman and Its Allied Families, by Lora S. LaMance: This book begins with Valentine Waldman who was born in Alsace, France and died in Bavaria about 1750. His only heir, Conrad, came to Philadelphia in 1738, and from him most of the Waltmans in the United States came. Eight generations of Waltmans and allied families are represented in this book.

"The kind of ancestors we had is not as important as the kind descendants our ancestors have."


Understanding land measurement and terms is vital to genealogy research. I hope this will help you decipher the wills and  land records.

Old Survey Measurements: Old surveys were often measured using a Surveyors Chain. These were literally chains made up of 100 links. Each Chain was 66 feet long. Each link was 0.666 of a foot...or 7.92" To convert the distances on a plat measured in chains (abbreviate Ch) simply multiply the distance in chains by 66.

Another common unit of measurement was the Pole. The Pole is exactly what it sounds like; a wood pole which was 16.5' feet long. To convert the distances on a plat measured in poles (abbreviated P) you must multiply the distance by 16.5 . A Pole is sometimes called a "perch"on old surveys.

Miles: A mile is defined as being 5,280 feet in length.

Area Measurements: The standard unit of measuring land in the United States is the ACRE. An Acre is equal to 43,560 square feet (Sq. Ft.) of area. An acre is also equal to 10 square chains ( 66 x 66 x 10 = 43560 Sq. Ft.),  or 160 square rods (16.5 x 16.5 x 160 = 43,560 Sq. Ft.) There are exactly 640 Acres in one square mile.

Seeing how older units of measurement, like the chain and the pole, can be converted into acres makes it easy to see that seemingly odd distances (66' and 16.5') really did make sense.

What Does An Acre Look Like? If you had a parcel of land that was exactly 1 acre in size and was perfectly square it would be 208.71' on each of the 4 sides. If the same lot was a rectangle 100' wide it would be 435.60' feet deep (long).

Methods of Survey: The following methods of survey comprise the specifications for determining the length and direction of lines.

Distance Measurement: Units: The law prescribes the chain as the unit of linear measure for the survey of the public lands. All returns of measurements in the rectangular system are made in the true horizontal distance in miles, chains, and links. (Exceptions are special requirements for measurement in feet in town site and mineral surveys.

Units of Linear Measure: 1 chain=100 links, 1 chain=66 feet, 1 mile=80 chains, 1 mile=5,280 feet.

Units of Area: 1 acre=10 square chains=43,560 square feet, 1 square mile=640 acres.

The chain unit, devised in the seventeenth century by Edmund Gunter, an English astronomer, is so designed that 10 square chains are equivalent to one acre. In the English colonial area of the United States the boundaries of land were usually measured in the chain unit, but lengths of lines were frequently expressed in poles. One pole is equal to 25 links, and four poles equal one chain. The field notes of some early rectangular surveys in the southern States show the distance in "perches," equivalent to poles. The term now commonly used for the same distance is the rod.

Surveying Measurements: 1 yard = 3 ft = 0.9144 meter, 1 rod, perch, or pole = 25 links = 16.5 ft, 4 rods = 1 chain, 1 chain = 4 rods = 66 ft = 100 links, 10 chains = 1 furlong, 1 link = 1/100 of surveyor's chain = 7.92 inches, 25 links = 1 rod = 16.5 ft, 100 links = 1 chain = 66 ft, 1 furlong = 10 chains = 1/8 mile = 220 yards = 660 ft = 201.168 meters, 8 furlongs = 1 mile, 1 mile = 80 chains = 320 rods = 1,760 yards = 5,280 ft = 1,609.344 meters, league = 3 statute miles = 4,828.032 meters.

Google Workshop

About 17 members attended Francie Kennedy’s workshop on March 26. Everyone learned more about researching genealogy on Google, and some found new information. Read what Herb Abrams has to say. “I am pretty sure I found the middle name of my great grandfather at Francie's workshop on Friday. I had always known him as William D. Bassham, b. 1820 in Tennessee. His son, Solomon, named one of his sons William “Doak” Bassham.  I am guessing that the "D" in my great grandfather's name was Doak also. It sounds like a surname, so now I will start researching the Doak family hoping to find a connection.” Watch for information regarding a future workshop featuring Francie and Google.

The Basics of Archival Document Storage

~George G. Morgan

Many people are unsure about how to store the documents they have collected in the course of their genealogical quest. There are a number of considerations in selecting the right storage containers, binders, file folders, and the like. You also have to be aware that anything published on newsprint can spell disaster to documents stored in close proximity to it.

Most of the genealogical items you compile are paper-based materials. These include originals of letters, vital records, land and property records, books, diaries, journals, forms, and other documents. They also include photocopies you make when you visit libraries, archives, and courthouses. In order to ensure the longevity of these papers, you need to know about and recognize their natural enemies.

Original documents may or may not have been produced using archival-safe paper. Some paper products are manufactured using acids or chemicals, which degrade or destroy the paper over time. Newsprint is a prime example of high-acid paper. It has been used in newspapers, telephone directories, and other short-term publications. Other materials it comes in contact with can discolor and/or decompose over time. If this paper comes in contact with other paper documents–even through the air–the other documents become “infected” and begin to discolor. Newsprint should be stored separately from other documents. An excellent solution is to make a photocopy of newsprint items and store the copy instead of the original. However, even photocopies may be a problem because not every photocopy paper is acid-free and archival-safe. Check the box or wrapper that the paper comes in; for these purposes, recycled paper is not a good choice.

Storage in cardboard is a definite no-no too. I learned this the hard way. I once purchased a beautiful signed and numbered print, “African Elephants,” by artist John Ruthven. It arrived in a stiff cardboard package. I set the print aside for a year or so before I decided to have it framed and matted. Imagine my horror when the framing gallery owner informed me that the print had been damaged and discolored by the cardboard in which the print had been shipped and stored. The print’s paper had already begun yellowing. Only through the application of a spray-on acid neutralizer and fixative was the damage halted. However, in the meantime, my expensive print had been so damaged that no other collector would ever want it.

Direct sunlight is a deadly enemy to paper products. Light and heat can cause photographic papers to age, fade, discolor, and deteriorate over time. Sunlight and bright light also interact with photographs of all types causing them to fade and disintegrate. (Keep in mind that photographs are created using controlled light exposure and even though the chemicals used and stop bath may halt the chemical developing process, prolonged exposure to bright light will fade some photographs and cause others to darken.)

Moisture and humidity can do more damage than you might think. They certainly can damage paper, causing it to warp, weaken, and deteriorate. They also provide an ideal environment for the formation of mold and mildew and a breeding ground for a variety of insects and parasites.

If you combine direct sunlight, moisture and humidity, acidic paper products, and general neglect, you have a perfect recipe for disaster. Proper storage is not as complicated as you might think, and with a little foresight and planning, you can develop your own archival preservation and storage environment.

Storage Basics: The ideal environment for storing genealogical materials would be clean, dark, cool, and have low humidity. Containers should always be archival-safe and acid- and lignin-free. That means no ordinary cardboard boxes or plastic storage containers. Both of these can wreak havoc on paper products.

All of us are guilty of gathering genealogical documents and setting them aside until we have the time to work with them. Short-term storage in non-archival-safe containers may do little damage, but you would do well to equip yourself with an archival-safe storage receptacle for that temporary period. Who knows how long it will be until you get around to filing and preserving your files?

(The Ancestry Weekly Journal, 22 June 2008)

"If you don’t know your family history, then you don’t know anything.
You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree."

~Michael Crichton, Author


April 28–May 1. - Salt Lake City NGS Family History Conference <>

October 16 – SOCCGS Family History Seminar featuring Dr. George Schweitzer.

Is Your Address Label Highlighted?

This means that the April newsletter will be your last issue, as the 2010 dues payment has not been received. Please contact Jack Naylor or Mary Jo McQueen if you still wish to remain a member.

Do you need a name badge?

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


President _________________________ 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

( ) New   ( ) Renewal                                    ( ) Individual, $20/yr.                        ( ) Joint Members, same address $25/yr.  

Name(s)  ________________________________________________________________________________

Address _________________________________________________________________________________

City _____________________________ State_____ Zip ____________ Phone _________________________

Email address: ____________________________________________________________________________

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

Mail with application to: SOCCGS, P.O. Box 4513, Mission Viejo, CA 92690-4513

Top of Page

Soccgs Home Page