Saddleback Valley Trails

South Orange County California Genealogical Society

Vol. 17 No. 5

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

May 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 May 15, 2010

"Research and Analyze Strategy"
Presented By
Caroline Braxton Rober

At one time or another we all forget some of the practices that have helped us do our research. Caroline’s presentation will help each of us learn how the experts keep on top of their work, find new clues to help jump start the research process, and uncover answers that may already be in one’s grasp.

Caroline is a professional genealogical lecturer, teacher and researcher. She has been doing genealogy research for 36 years. She is President of the Southern California Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists and Staff Training Coordinator for the Orange County Regional Family History Center in Orange, California. She is a member of the National Genealogical Society, New England Historical Genealogical Society and the Kentucky Historical Society. Caroline is a native Southern Californian.

Safari News

On May 26 join the group for a day of “ancestor searching,” when we travel to the Orange Family History Center. If you have never taken a SOCCGS Safari, now is the time. Haven’t been for a while? Again, now is the time! The car(s) will leave the LDS parking lot at 9:30 a.m. Bring a brown-bag lunch and $$ for your driver. Since this a shorter distance, there are no plans for dinner.

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!

"Those who do not look upon themselves as a link connecting the past
with the future do not perform their duty to the World."

~Daniel Webster

President's Message

~Sandy Crowley

The April meeting was attended by a large group, which enjoyed speaker Glenn Witte and his wife Maureen’s talk on German Research. Their emphasis was on those who immigrated during the 1800s. There are many useful resources included in Glenn’s syllabus. If you missed his talk, you may want to pick up a copy at the library’s genealogy desk.

Francie Kennedy has offered to teach another Google class at the library on Friday, April 30. This class filled up quickly at the April meeting, and a waiting list has been started. More classes will be scheduled in the fall. This is a popular class, and we are lucky to have a knowledgeable and willing teacher. Google is a valuable tool for genealogists, and, I would guess that many of us are still using it on a minimal level.

When I read Bill Bluett’s column in last month’s newsletter, telling of the financial times of the 1890s and how they affected his ancestor, it got me thinking. My maternal grandmother was born in 1893 in Texas. During the 1890s her family went through two distinct cycles of wealth to poverty and back again. I “Googled” the Depression of 1893. The results I found explained a lot about the fluctuating finances of my grandmother’s family. Now, I am going to look back at financial situations at other times in history to help me understand my ancestors’ circumstances. Following is some of the data I found at (Economic History Association).

The Depression of 1893

~David O. Whitten, Auburn University

The Depression of 1893 was one of the worst in American history with the unemployment rate exceeding ten percent for half a decade. This article describes economic developments in the decades leading up to the depression; the performance of the economy during the 1890s, domestic and international causes of the depression and political and social responses to the depression.

This Depression can be seen as a watershed event in American history. It was accompanied by violent strikes, the climax of the Populist and free silver political crusades, the creation of a new political balance, the continuing transformation of the country's economy, major changes in national policy, and far-reaching social and intellectual developments. Business contraction shaped the decade that ushered out the nineteenth century. More information is available at


Charlene Clark of Mission Viejo is our newest member. She was a guest at the March meeting. She wrote that she enjoyed the meeting so much that she decided to join “the friendly folks.” Welcome Charlene

Iris Graham

We are sorry to report that SOCCGS member, Iris Graham, passed away on April 12. She was a founding member and membership chairman for many years.

Iris, age 87, was a resident of Orange County for over 31 years. She retired in 1993 and became a library volunteer, genealogy society member and Tai Chi instructor. She gave so much of herself and will be greatly missed by all who knew her.

Iris Moreen Padgett was born to John H. Padgett and Grace Sellman Rynearson on 18 April 1923 in North Bend, Oregon. She first married Johnny F. Jones in Washoe County, Nevada. He was killed in Germany in 1945. She then married Bernard Graham in 1948 at Stockton, California. They were divorced in 1977.

Iris worked for many years to prove her right to join the Daughter’s of the American Revolution. Her line to Patriot, Joseph Abbot, is as follows: Grace Sellman, Emerson Sellman, Thomas Sellman, Ester Abbott, and, Joseph’s father, John Abbot.

Joseph Abbott was a private in the Revolutionary War. He served in the Continental Army, Third Battalion of Morris County, New Jersey.

April Meeting

Lots of helpful information was given during the “Brick Walls and Genealogy Moments” portion of the meeting.

Pat McCoy shared the name of a Spanish interpreter, Peggy Edwards, who is willing to help our members with translations, and may be contacted at 949-707-5156. Ms. Edwards was born in Mexico City.

Joyce Van Schaak thanked Herb Abrams for helping her clear up a mangled GEDCOM file.

Myrna Hamid said that she finally received her USS Grant ancestor’s death certificate. She recommends being persistent. Don’t give up. She kept going back to the same sources over and over, and after several answers of “no” eventually the answer was, “Yes, we have it.”

Kathie Mauzey also was persistent. She had lost track of her great grandfather’s brother, William L. Doak, who was missing from the 1870 census. She found him when she searched marriage records, finding that he had another wife (actually 4 wives). That marriage record named his parents, so she knew she had found the right man.

Jim Thordahl found his father’s immigration papers through the Danish Immigrants’ Museum in Iowa.

Pat Christiansen was able to complete a several-generation-history for her son-in-law who didn’t know much about his family. She looked through the papers and pictures he had in a “show box”, then interviewed him and did much research. She was pleased to be able to send him a book she created of his family history.

One guest attended the meeting: Jeannette Smith of Mission Viejo.

Diane Hearne, Ruth Relin and Ted Keyser hosted the refreshment table and provided the goodies.

"Safari Success"

~Marilyn Kowalski

I would like to share with you a recent find while on Safari with our SOCCGS group, when we traveled to the San Diego Genealogical Library in northeastern San Diego.

I was looking for books on Polish history and came across Quarterly Reports for the Polish Genealogical Society of California. There were about ten of them from 2004- 2006. As I looked through them I came across an article about funeral cards found in the belongings of a deceased lady from Michigan. The article provided a listing of the names and information printed on each card. I perused the list of about fifty names and was surprised to find one each for my husband’s maternal grandmother and his paternal grandfather. Both had long ago passed away. Information about spelling of names, dates of death and cemeteries had been lost by remaining family. I was fortunate to find an email address for the author of the article and I contacted her. After several friendly and satisfying communications I now have in my possession the original Funeral Cards and I am sharing them with my husbands' family. Plus, I have a new friend and contact to help in my Polish research.

Going on a Safari is always fun, but this time I was on target and bagged a big one!   I wish to thank Bill Bluett for organizing these expeditions.

Ethical Will or Ethical Won’t?

~Jane Shafron

Do you ever think about what will be your most valuable legacy? Perhaps you should give some thought to an "ethical will".

An ethical will is a personal, spiritual message to our descendants and can include: Thoughts and feelings about life, Lessons learned, Important messages to pass on, Values, hopes and dreams, Challenges and triumphs, Stories about yourself.

Through an ethical will, you pass on your values, not your valuables. You share the voice of your heart and the legacy of your spirit. You may find out more about ethical wills by reading this blog:

Give some thought to your most important treasure - your wisdom, your stories and the values you want to pass on. 

Editor’s note: There is a myriad of information regarding ethical wills on the web: simply put “Ethical Will” into Google.

We Are The Chosen

~Author Unknown

We are the chosen. In each family there is one who seems called to find the ancestors. To put flesh on their bones and make them live again, t0 tell the family story and to feel that somehow they know and approve.

Doing genealogy is not a cold gathering of facts, but, instead, breathing life into all who has gone before. We are the storytellers of the tribe. All tribes have one. We have been called, as it were, by our genes. Those who have gone before cry out to us, "Tell our story!"  So, we do.  In finding them, we somehow find ourselves.

How many graves have I stood before now and cried?  I have lost count How many times have I told the ancestors, "You have a wonderful family; you would be proud of us."  How many times have I walked up to a grave and felt somehow there was love there for me? I cannot say.

It goes beyond just documenting facts. It goes to who I and why do I do the things I do. 

It goes to seeing a cemetery about to be lost forever to weeds and indifference and saying, "I can't let this happen." The bones here are bones of my bone and flesh of my flesh. 

It goes to doing something about it. It goes to pride in what our ancestors were able to accomplish, how they contributed to what we are today. 

It goes to respecting their hardships and losses, their never giving in or giving up, their resoluteness to go on and build a life for their family.

It goes to deep pride that the fathers fought and some died to make and keep us a Nation.

It goes to a deep and immense understanding that they were doing it for us. It is of equal pride and love that our mothers struggled to give us birth. Without them we could not exist, and so we love each one, as far back as we can reach. That we might be born who we are, that we might remember them.  So we do.

With love and caring and scribing each fact of their existence, because we are they and they are the sum of who we are. 

So, as a scribe called, I tell the story of my family. It is up to that one called in the next generation to answer the call and take my place in the long line of family Storytellers.  That is why I do my family genealogy, and that is what calls those young and old to step up and restore the memory or greet those who we had never  known before.

Shared by Donna Hobbs

"The Apron"

The dictionary defines “apron” as a garment worn over the front of clothes to keep them clean during working, especially cooking.

Yes, Grandma's apron was worn to protect her dress, but along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.

It was wonderful for drying children's tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.

From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.

Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove. when the weather was cold, grandma wrapped it around her arms.

Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron. It was used to carry vegetables in from the garden, and, after the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls. In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.

When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of minutes.

When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men knew it was time to come in from the fields.

It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that “old-time apron.”

Remember: Grandma used to set her hot baked apple pies on the window sill to cool - Her granddaughters set theirs on the window sill to thaw.

They would go crazy, now, trying to figure out how many germs were on that apron. I don't think I ever caught anything from an Apron!

Where Are the Records?

~Juliana Smith

My mother started work on our family history back in the 70s, when I was growing up. While we were in school, she would visit libraries, Family History Centers, and the National Archives-Great Lakes. More research was done through correspondence via what we now consider “snail-mail.”

Now we can sit at home in our jammies and fuzzy slippers in front of our computers and with the click of a mouse, locate and view images of census records, military records, passenger arrival records, and so much more. With this convenience though, there is sometimes a cost. We may be so focused on what’s available online, that we may be overlooking a treasure-trove of resources that reside in the physical world–in libraries, archives, courthouses, and with historical and genealogical organizations.

It can be intimidating to venture out beyond the relative comfort of our computer chairs but through correspondence, interlibrary loan, and library visits, we may find that the tools we need, aren’t as far away as we thought.

Where to Check? The good news is, when it comes to rooting out these offline resources, we can start our search online. Here are some places to get you started.
  • Database Descriptions. If you’re looking for an original record that corresponds with an entry you found in an online index, check out the database description. At Ancestry, in many cases, you’ll find the necessary contact information where you can write to request the original record. To view the description, click on the database title at the top of the search results page, or locate it through the Ancestry Card Catalog.
  • USGenWeb or WorldGenWeb. These volunteer-driven websites typically give links and information on ordering vital records, naturalizations, and other locally relevant records.
  • Local Government. Municipalities have figured out that a good online presence can greatly diminish the inquiries that eat up personnel time, so it often pays to go directly to the source of the records. For example, the Cook County, Illinois, website even has a genealogical page with detailed instructions and downloadable forms for requesting records.
  • County Courthouses. Courthouses typically hold a number of records of value to family historians. The National Association of Counties (NACo) website gives addresses and links to county websites for the U.S.
  • Archives. The National Archives has a very helpful website with a genealogy guide, and regional branches also include information on holdings and research requests. The Great Lakes Region website, for example, has an overview of records available. The link to naturalization records lists what states’ records are held at that branch, and there is also a link to order the records online.
  • State archives shouldn’t be overlooked either. The Pennsylvania State Archives has an excellent reference section detailing holdings with guides to census records, coal miners and mining, county records, land records, military records, naturalization records, prison records, railroad records, ships’ lists, and vital records. The website also features several military databases for various conflicts in U.S. history.
  • Family History Library Catalog ( I keep a printout of vital records available at the Family History Library for my areas of interest. The catalog is also a great way to see what else is available for a particular area.
  • Other places to check would include libraries (particularly those with large genealogical collections like the one in Fort Wayne, Indiana and genealogical and historical societies.
Organizing What You Find - So you’ve checked around and have amassed a ton of information. Print off inventories and make your own cheat sheets on record availability, listing repositories, years available, fees and restrictions, and addresses—both street and online. It’s a good idea to keep a list of online databases that you have access to from home. You don’t want to waste precious time searching records you could access anytime from home when you’re on the road. Create a “locality file” and put it someplace near your desk for easy reference. I put mine in a binder so I can easily page through and get what I need. I use information and the outline from Red Book as my guide and I add pages from various repositories.

These are just some of the places whose holdings with which you should familiarize yourself. As mentioned, many won’t even require a visit in person, but if at all possible, it would be well worth the trip. Many of these repositories could have hidden gems that don’t make it to the website and can only be accessed in person.

(Copyright © 1998-2007, Inc., 22 June 2007)

Avoid Needless Loss of Family Treasures

How often do price less family treasures end up on the trash heap or selling for 50 cents at a yard sale, all because none of the younger generation knew the beautiful family stories associated with them?

A grand parent dies, and the youngsters come in to clean out the house. Who could have known that the lamp had been a 50th wedding anniversary gift from a great-grandmother, or that the inexpensive looking bric -a-brac had been a treasured wedding gift, lovingly carried from one residence to another for the past 80 years?

Who would have guessed that grandmother remembered the day in 1923 when her father brought home the Alcoa Aluminum pot with lid as a gift for her mother and the special meals her mother had prepared in it when she was a little girl. It was just another pot the kids found in the kitchen cabinet. In this age of computers and digital cameras, such heartbreaking stories are insanely unnecessary.

While there is still time:
  1. Make a list of items that are special to you. Make notes stating why they are special---Who bought them? Where? Who has owned them? When and how did you come to have them? If you have older relatives, do the same for them.
  2. Open a "Family Inventory" file in your computer, with sub-folders for father and mother's side of the family.
  3. Create a page to display a photo of each item and the story of its family history.
  4. Include a line specifying whom you wish the item to go to upon your demise, and make sure that both the owner and designee receive a copy of the page. For the sake of your family's children for generations to come, don't allow yourself, your parents or grandparents to take memories of treasured items into eternity.

(Edited from an article by the Rev. Charles Stanley, Ret., previously published in RootsWeb
Review: 9 September 2009, Vol. 12, No. 9) and excerpted from the Whittier Area Genealogical Society’s October 2009 Newsletter.)

New at the Library

The Mission Viejo Chapter DAR has purchased two new CDs.

New Hampshire Revolutionary War Rolls. (Heritage Books CD #1172.) This CD contains reprints of the following volumes: *Rolls of the Soldiers in the Revolutionary War, 1775 to May 1777. *Rolls of the Soldiers in the Revolutionary War, May 1777 to 1780. *Rolls and Documents Relating to Soldiers in the Revolutionary War. *Part 1: Rolls and Documents Relating to Soldiers in the Revolutionary War. Part II: Miscellaneous Provincial Papers, from 1629 to 1725. *Composite Index to Volumes XIV – XVII (Revolutionary War Rolls) of the New Hampshire State Papers. *Miscellaneous Revolutionary Documents of New Hampshire, including the Association Test, the Pension Rolls and Other Important Papers.

Revolutionary Records of Georgia, Volumes 1-3. (Heritage Books CD #2406.) *Volume 1 (1769-1782) contains information about the Council of Safety, the Provincial Congress, the Constitution of 1777, several Acts, confiscation and banishment, and a list of Negroes paid to the Georgia State Legion. *Volume 2 (1778-1785) contains information on the Minutes of Executive Council and the Journal of Land Court. *Volume 3 (1781-1784 contains information about the Journal of the House of Assembly. Each volume contains a full name index.

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

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.


The Scottish Festival 2010 will be held on May 29 and 30, 2010 from 9:00am until 5:00pm at the Orange County Fair & Event Center (Orange County Fairgrounds), located at 88 Fair Drive in Costa Mesa, California.

There will be a Memorial Day Program at El Toro Memorial Park on Monday, May 31 at 11:00 a.m.  The speaker will be Chaplain James L. Juhan (LTC) U.S. Army (Ret).  He’s a Vietnam Veteran.

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

New Website

Orange County Cemetery District has a new website and our burial records are now online for Anaheim Cemetery, Santa Ana Cemetery and El Toro Memorial Park.

The 2010 SCGS Jamboree is scheduled Friday, June 11 through Sunday, June 13 at the LA Marriott Burbank Airport Hotel.

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

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