Saddleback Valley Trails

South Orange County California Genealogical Society

Vol. 16 No. 5

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

May 2009

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 – 16 May 2009

“Genealogy Research on the Internet”
Presented By
Herb Abrams

Genealogy research on the Internet is growing at a phenomenal pace. Historical record data is being added daily to the many websites that exist. The SOCCGS Genealogy Department at the Mission Viejo Library has an excellent selection of “free” and “fee based” websites that can be accessed from our three computer workstations. Herb Abrams will demonstrate how to search on a number of these websites. Any one of them may have the answers you’ve needed for discovering more about your ancestors.

Herb began doing genealogy research after his retirement in 1992. He became a volunteer at NARA in 1995 and joined the society about the same time. It wasn’t long before he accepted the job of publicity chairman and additionally took over the duties of web master in 1997. He has been a Saturday morning docent since 1997 when our Genealogy Department opened at the library. Herb also services the SOCCGS computers, printers and copy machines.

SOCCGS Seminar - 17 October 2009

We are eagerly anticipating the annual seminar and Paula Stuart-Warren’s presentations. Topics are: "Genealogy on the Internet: Make it Work For You," "Organizing Your Genealogical Materials," "The U.S. Federal Government: 13 Underutilized Resources" and "Untrodden Ground: Sources You May Not Have Encountered."

Paula has lectured for genealogical societies and organizations across the U.S. and Canada. Her presentations are lively, professional and educational. Information about her may be found by entering her name in GOOGLE. Click on the GENEALOGICAL SPEAKERS GUILD and it will open to her page.

Be sure to set that day aside to attend what is sure to be another great seminar!

Safari News – Burbank In May

Plans are in the works for a safari on May 27 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 at 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. Contact Bill Bluett (949-492-9408) to make a reservation.

SOCCGS 15th Birthday Party at the May Meeting

~Bill Bluett, Program Chairman

We will celebrate our Society’s birthday with displays of special photos, highlights from the first six months of the newsletter, and a specially decorated cake commemorating the event. Also, some folks will receive special recognition. Come join the celebration!

President's Message

~Sandy Crowley

The month of April brought us another great speaker (Connie Moretti) who has left us with suggestions on researching our Civil War ancestors. We said goodbye to member Kathy Kane who is moving away. We have two super seminars coming in 2009: the SCGS Jamboree in Burbank from June 26-28, and our own SOCCGS seminar on October 17.

Following is more information from the letters left by my Scottish ancestors detailing their voyage to America, and their trip across the country, in 1842 to be with their sister who had come to the country in 1832. This letter was written by my ancestor Robert Tannahill’s brother John to their brother James who remained in Truro, Cornwall, England.

Written by John Tannahill from their destination in Fulton, Mississippi, Jan. 19th, 1842:

“Dear Brother.
           I left the canal at Lockport (?) about 25 miles from Buffalo, and went by railway to Niagara. Thin rails are laid on cross pieces of split timber, which jump about and shake horribly, and you can hardly venture to set your face out at the window lest it should receive a salute from a stump. They are not either very particular as to level, as they seemed to go up and down hill indifferently. They do not as in the old country start to the minute, but are sometimes ˝ an hour or more after. I can’t say I felt at all at ease in them.
           As to the Falls, I was taken by surprise all at once. I heard the sound, and two Frenchmen in the same car could not preserve any degree of composure. Such gesticulation I never saw before. With much difficulty, I moved past them and the Falls with all their magnificence lay before me. I will not venture on any description of them. I cannot. Conceive a mighty river rushing through a confined channel, and thrown sheer over a precipice 160 feet high. I went down and lingered and lingered in a state of overwhelming amazement the few hours I had to spare and left on the evening by steam for Buffalo. I saw with great interest the scene of the late struggle – Navy Island and Grand Island, and after a tedious ascent to the Black Rock Rapids, when at some places we did not make 1 yard in 5 minutes, I got to Buffalo at nightfall.
           The canal boat came up the same evening, and the next day we took boat for Cleveland, but owing to storms could not leave for two days. It was piercingly cold with snow showers and after Robert and I had spent the night in a place like a dog’s den, among a miscellaneous ( ), of no very respectable looking emigrants, we retreated to the cabin, fairly driven from economy by the weather.
           There is a small colony of Indians near Buffalo which is said to be rich. I saw a good many of them in Buffalo. The women carry their children swung at their backs, and wear leggings and moccasins embroidered. The men were clad in beaver coats and trousers and except the countenance had nothing remarkable about them. But the face there was not mistaking. The long straight black hair, small piercing eye, and the broad nose marked every one of them.
           We got to Cleveland in a week after landing in Buffalo. Thence to Portsmouth by the Ohio canal, another week. Thence by the Ohio to Paduca, another week. Here we were obliged to wait nine days for a boat going up the Tennessee. This took two days and on a Sunday night we landed at the town of Eastport.”

To be continued...


Jamie Walker was born 10 December 1929 and passed away 01 April 2009. She had recently undergone open-heart surgery. Jamie was a long time member of SOCCGS, Mission Viejo DAR and a devoted library docent. She will be sorely missed.

Library Docent Positions Available

Help is needed to fill the second, fourth and, sometimes, fifth Saturdays from 1:00 to 4:00 pm., and on Wednesdays 1-3. There is also a need to fill Jamie’s shifts on Friday’s from 1-4. It is possible to fill a shift for one day a week if the entire month is not possible. If you are able to fill any of these shifts please contact Bunny Smith, 949-472-8046. She will set up a training session for you. Note: Serving as a docent is a great opportunity for you to research your own genealogy.

Why is it that our children can't read a Bible in school, but they can in prison?

"An Ancestor I Wish I Had Known"

~Patricia Nostrome

The Englishwoman, Cecil Woodham-Smith, is the author of The Great Hunger Ireland 1845-1849. In the book she writes about the "Irish of the nineteenth century and their blend of courage and evasiveness, tenacity and inertia, loyalty and double-dealing" and how their character developed during centuries of Penal Laws (1695 to 1829).

My great-great grandfather, Irish-born Jeremiah Fallon, came from the poor rocky west of Ireland, Elphin Parish, County Roscommon. He was a larger than life young man. He seemed to have had a great sense of timing. He boarded a sailing ship alone bound for New York between 1832 and 1834. Why did he leave? This was before the great famine but certainly times were already tough and in 1821 and 1822 the potato crop failed completely in Connaught. His birth date is unknown and later records indicated he might have been as young as 16 in 1834 when he made his passage.

During the long voyage he met and fell in love with his future bride, Eleanor Murray, who was traveling with her older brother, Michael Murray. Michael and Eleanor remained in New York for a while, however, Jeremiah went to New Orleans. A shipbuilder by trade, he constructed two ships and by 1838 had made enough money hauling pine timber down the Mississippi to New Orleans to send to New York for Eleanor. The Marriage Register of St. Patrick's Catholic Church in New Orleans, erected in 1833 for English speaking people, indicates "Darby Fallon" married "Ellen Murray" on May 22, 1838. He probably spoke mainly Irish, but he must have spoken English, as well, since he used the anglicized version "Darby" for Jeremiah. He acquired ten acres of land in the piney woods of Louisiana and built a nice house. Four children were born to the Fallon’s in New Orleans, including twin daughters who died in infancy.

Ellen's brother Michael Murray, unmarried, left New York City to start farming near St. Joseph, Missouri. Michael started looking west and during a visit by Jeremiah and Ellen, Michael convinced them to join him on a wagon train to California. Jeremiah returned to New Orleans and sold his boats, business and I assume home and property as well. In the early spring of 1846 the little family and Uncle Michael yoked up their oxen and joined a wagon train. Why were they willing to leave a comfortable life to venture into the unknown? Perhaps Eleanor couldn't bear to be separated from her only kin in America or perhaps the idea of slavery was hard to accept after English domination.

According to family stories the Fallon and Murray wagons left Missouri in a group headed by George F. Donner and James F. Reed. They separated at Fort Bridger, Wyoming, after deciding to push on with little rest. This proved to be a fateful choice since the Donner Party became trapped in an early snowfall in the High Sierras. The Fallon and Murray train arrived in Mission San Jose on October 18, 1846, the Fallon wagon being pulled by a big white ox, called "Whitey." Whitey had been crippled in Nevada by arrows from a hostile Indian band and left to die. He followed the train overnight and was hitched up to make it to Mission San Jose and later to what would become Dublin, California. Captain Jeremiah Fallon is sometimes listed as one of the early group of rescuers of the Donner Party. “I would like to ask Captain Fallon if this is true.”

In 1848 gold fever came to Mission San Jose and Jeremiah Fallon and Michael Murray headed for the Mother Lode. After making enough money to purchase land Jeremiah Fallon convinced Jose M. Amador to sell him land and built a home in the Amador Valley. Michael Murray followed his example and eventually they acquired over one thousand acres. They donated land and money to build Saint Raymond's Catholic Church, in Dublin, California. In 1850 when Jeremiah first acquired 246 acres of land he went up into the Oakland Hills at Moraga to fell redwood trees and hauled them back to the site by an oxen team. He built his home like a ship with square wooden pegs and moved it once on logs when the spring water dried up.

When the county of Alameda was created Michael Murray was the first supervisor and Jeremiah served on the early board as well. Jeremiah became sick and died August 13, 1864. Eleanor lived for another thirty-one years to raise her three remaining daughters and three sons. Her oldest John had died at Mission San Jose. The last daughter was born after Jeremiah's death. My great grand mother, who was also named Ellen, crossed the continent in a wagon train at one year of age. She was the first to marry in St. Raymond's church and was given away by Uncle Michael Murray. This wedding, which took place on 1 January 1866 united Miss Ellen Fallon (daughter of Jeremiah) and Mr. William Tehan, who came West as a civilian teamster for the army.

Bumper sticker of the year: "If you can read this, thank a teacher.
Since it's in English, thank a soldier!"

April Meeting

Our guest speaker, Connie Moretti, gave a very interesting presentation on "Researching Civil War Ancestors". Primary areas to search for information regarding a veteran was indicated as follows: cemetery headstones and markers, old newspapers for reunions and obits, county histories, pension records, and master rolls and indexes. The 1910 census, column 30, indicates if the person listed was a Civil War veteran. Also, Connie encouraged members to consider joining one of the Heritage Organizations listed on her handout. Members who shared information about ancestors who were “colorful characters” or Civil War veterans were: Beverly Long, Pat McCoy, Georgiana Emery, Karen Miller, Eunice Murai and Pat Christiansen. Those sharing "brick walls" were: Tom Corning, Karyn Schumaker, Kathy Kane, Kathy Mauzey, Patti Bartlett Russell, and Rosanna Gahran. Pat Nostrome and Noel Jensen provided the delicious treats.

Further Revelations on Herb Abrams' Lost Revolutionary War Ancestor

(See the June 2008 issue of the Saddleback Valley Trails)

Following is what Herb reports: I recently upgraded my 12-marker DNA test to a 67 marker test and now have the results. There were two 63/67 matches, one with a Gary McNeil and one with a Rodney Richard Baird and two 62/67 matches, one with a Lamar Beard and one with a Larry Beard.

I had suspected that my 4th great grandfather William Abrams b. about 1774 might be from Mary Telford's (James Abrams' wife) possible prior marriage, because my DNA did not match with James Abrams. In the book "A Compilation of the Original Lists of Protestant Immigrants to South Carolina 1763-1773" by Janie Revill (on file at our SOCCGS library) it shows that Mary Telford arrived in South Carolina in Jan 1773 from Belfast, Ireland on the ship Britania and petitioned for land. The names on either side of her name on the petition were William Beard and James Beard and indicated they were on the same boat. I have a land plat map that shows James and William Beard's land near James and Mary's in Newberry County, SC.

I contacted by email all four of the people with whom I had close matches and got replies back from all of them.

Gary McNeil's niece Irene McNeil sent this: "My great grandfather is Henry Charles McNeil born 1862 in London area, England. My great-great grandfather is William Baird McNeil, born in Scotland. I never really paid attention to the fact that my great-great grandfather's name was William Baird McNeil. I thought that could have been his mother's name. It obviously was a direct male ancestor and now I need to pursue this."

Rod Baird sent this reply: " I will review my data – there is a suggestion of SC property ownership until the Civil War but I need to refresh my memory. William and John were the usual Baird (Beard) forenames during this period and around that time there were 2 brothers (W & J) that crossed the Atlantic in my records but we have to be very careful with jumping to conclusions. The hard part starts here!"

Lamar Beard didn't reply but he included a pedigree chart on the Family Tree DNA webpage that showed his earliest known ancestor was James A. Beard b. 1822 in Alabama. I found him in the 1880 census and it showed that his father was born in South Carolina.

Larry Beard wrote this: "My great grandfather was William Noah Beard, Sr. DOB – 30 July 1865, Place – Pulaski, Giles County, Tennessee. His father was Frank Beard who died in 1899." I found him in the 1850 census and his father was John A. Beard b. 1795 in South Carolina.

So three of the Beard/Baird close matches have paper trails back to South Carolina and could indicate a close relationship. The other one probably indicated a common ancestor a few generations before my William Abrams.

One more thing - there was a William Beard that purchased items at James Abrams' estate sale at his death in 1822 in Newberry County, SC. William Beard was listed on the 1800 census of Newberry County, age 26-45, with 4 sons under 10. John A. Beard born 1795 could have been one of them.

I wonder..... Could I be a Beard instead of an Abrams????

I Could Be Wrong About Some Things

~David Servant
"Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You're crazy."
~ Drillers whom Edwin L. Drake tried to enlist for his project to drill for oil in 1859.

“So many centuries after the Creation it is unlikely that anyone could find hitherto unknown lands of any value."
~ Committee advising Queen Isabella of Spain regarding a proposal by Christopher Columbus in 1486.

"Websites of Interest to Genealogists"
  Interesting site. Simply put the mouse on a city anywhere in the world and the newspaper headlines pop up... Double click and the page gets larger.... you can read the entire paper on some if you click on the right place.
  Digitization of the Old Parish Register death/burial records covering the years 1553-1854 has now been completed, and the collection was launched online on April 1. This is a wonderful addition to the site following the recent release of the 1881 Scotland census. As a pay-per-use site, ScotlandsPeople has offered online access for many years to digitized records of births, marriages and deaths found in civil registration records from 1855. In addition, they have offered birth/baptism and marriage records from the Old Parish Registers (OPRs) maintained by the Church of Scotland for 300 years prior to the implementation of civil registration. Searching is free.
  Have you seen this? Go to and click the drop-down menu under "Search". In "Record Search Pilot" it was possible to print out an ancestor’s 1850 census page. Another is "Historical Books". If a book is found you may pint out pages.
  The Indiana Magazine of History, published by Indiana University, has put its past issues online from 1910 to 2007. Only the last two years are not available. Go to this page and type your subject into the search box.

New Searchable Databases On

(Available on SOCCGS Library Computers)

  • The Connecticut Nutmegger, Volumes 1-6 was released in January 2009. An additional five volumes will be released every few weeks. The entire database will be online by the end of 2009.
  • New England Historical and Genealogical Register, 2005 (Newly added),
  • New England Ancestors, Volumes 1-3.
  • Plymouth Court Records, 1686-1859.

Los Angeles Regional Family History Center To Close For Renovation

The Family History Center on Santa Monica Blvd. will be closing as of April 26 for renovations. It is expected that the facility will be closed until the fall

New Ways & Means Project

David Flint, Ways & Means Chairman
( or (949) 0551-6300)

Please go to this website to find printable information regarding the fund raising project in conjunction with Ralphs Grocery.

Newsletter Submissions

Please send 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. Complete stories, outlines and/or rough drafts will be accepted. Send to:

Member Badges

Ladies, please stop by the check-in table to pick up a new badge holder. Bring your current badge and make the change. Don’t have one? Sign up and Herb will make you one. Gentlemen, of course, may have a new badge holder, but this change is being made particularly with women in mind. New members may also pick up their badges. Please wear your badge at each meeting. If you forget there are temporary ones available.

Surname List

Have you searched the SOCCGS Surname Website lately?
Please check your information, and 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.

“One Brick Wall Toppled; Another Behind It!”

~Mickie Dempsey

About a year ago, I recounted how I unraveled the mystery of my great grandfather William Allen’s roots, tracing him to Sugar Creek, Montgomery, Indiana. I found his father to be James Allen, born somewhere in Pennsylvania. A Montgomery County biography of William’s brother, John, revealed that their father, James, had left Pennsylvania as a young child and moved with his parents to Ohio. Where in Ohio, it was not said. Eventually I came upon Montgomery County, Indiana, land records showing the sale of land to a James Allen of Warren County, Ohio; on that same day a parcel of land was sold to an Abraham Allen, also of Warren County. I checked additional Montgomery County land purchase entries for any other Allen’s who might have come from Warren County, but found none. In searching US Federal Census and LDS records, I learned that Abraham was born in Ohio in 1808, four years after James was born. On the basis of those three sources, I tentatively claimed the two Allen’s as likely brothers. Fine and dandy! But who were their parents? Where in Ohio? Allen is such a common name. As for James! Why not Ichabod or Horatio?

Working further with the Census and LDS records, I learned that Abraham was married to Mary Ann Bunnel, also of Warren County, Ohio. I searched for Bunnels in Warren County and found several possible families from which Mary Ann might have come. However, I was not able to determine which family was hers. I decided I would have to wait for a lucky day to discover anything further. Months later, on a whim, I decided to search Warren County genealogy sites once again. This time I found a reference to “Biographies with Warren County Connections”, taken from The History of Warren County Ohio, Part V. Biographical Sketches, written by WH Beers. There, I found a biographical sketch of Benjamin Bunnel who was born in New Jersey and, with his father, Abner, came to Warren Co. in 1804. Benjamin married Maria, daughter of James and Margaret Allen, who came from Pennsylvania and settled in Turtle Creek Township, “where they lived and died.” “They were the parents of five (other?) children; James, Sarah, Abraham, Ann, and an infant.” Since this list does not show Maria, I assume she may have been the first child and the author had already included her when he mentioned her as the wife of Benjamin Bunnel. At any rate, the spacing of the children seems logical, if there was one child (Sarah) born between James (1804) and Abraham (1808). It sure looks like this could be the right family! A James and an Abraham, parents from Pennsylvania, maybe even a namesake for James, Jr’s daughter Mariah.

The author writes that Mrs. (Margaret) Allen died about 1812. Apparently shortly after the first Mrs. Allen died, James married Elizabeth Busby on April 16, 1812 in Butler, Ohio. With Elizabeth he had nine more children, four of whom survived to adulthood. So I’ve learned that my great, great grandfather, James Allen, Jr. had a stepmother by the time he was eight years old, and a number of step-siblings as well. Maria Allen and Benjamin Bunnel were married March 2, 1820. If Maria were born about two years before James, she would have been 18 when she married. A family group record from the LDS family search shows “Maria Bunnell” born in 1802 in Pennsylvania.

As yet I have been unable to find more information on James Allen, Sr. or his wife Margaret. Cemetery records have not produced any sign of Allen’s. However, I hope to find death records in Warren County that might indicate Margaret’s maiden name and possibly where, in Pennsylvania, they were born. With that information I might be able to find a marriage record containing additional details. For now I am happy to have (possibly) learned the names of another generation of Allen’s and the names of James’ siblings, my great grandfather’s aunts and uncles.

Since I had Mary Ann Bunnel Allen to thank for my great discovery, I thought it was only fair to see if I could find her parents. Suspecting that she might be the sister of Benjamin, I looked for Abner Bunnel at Ancestry and Family Search. He was there, but his family wasn’t! So I Googled Abner and discovered “Bible Records with Warren County Connections”, part of the Warren County Ohio Gen Web project. There I found a copy of the actual Bible page listing May Ann Allen as a sister of Benjamin Bunnell! So Mary Ann’s parents were Abner and Anna (Scudder) Bunnell. That means two Allen siblings married two Bunnell siblings. Another bit of the family puzzle has been pieced together. But another brick wall awaits this researcher’s bulldozer.

"We are the children of many sires,
And every drop of blood in us in its turn
... betrays its ancestor."

~Ralph Waldo Emerson


May 16 - Hemet-San Jacinto Genealogical Society seminar with Geoff Rasmussen at the Hemet Public Library. For information:
May 23 & 24 - United Scottish Society Highland Gathering & Festival, Fairgrounds Costa Mesa.
May 25 - 20th Annual Memorial Day Observance, 11:00 AM, at El Toro Memorial Park, 25751 Trabuco Road, Lake Forest. Featured Speaker: Ronnie Guyer, Vietnam Veteran. Information: (949) 951-8244.
June 20 & 21 - Irish Fair & Music Festival, Irvine Meadows Fairgrounds. Follow the VerizonWireless Amphitheater signs into the Park. 8800 Irvine Center Drive.
June 26-28 - Southern California Genealogy 40th Annual Jamboree at the Burbank Marriott Hotel and Convention Center. Check the blog Registrations may be made online at
June 27 & 28 - San Diego Scottish Highland Games & Gathering of Clans in Vista.
October 17 - SOCCGS 7th Annual Seminar. This year featuring Paula Stewart Warren. For information contact Bill Bluett (949) 492-9408 or


President _________________________ Sandy Crowley____________________
Vice President, Seminar
Chairman & Safari Coordinator ________

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 _______________________    
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.  

Renewal Membership Number(s) ________________        ________________

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

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