Saddleback Valley Trails

South Orange County California Genealogical Society

Vol. 16 No. 7

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

July 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 – 18 July 2009

“Five C’s To Successful Genealogy Research Today.”
Presented By
Barbara Renick

The five C’s Ms. Renick will discuss in this presentation are: “Combining Computer resources with Classic resources into your search techniques.” “Searching Completely (beyond the ordinary and easily available.” “Seeking out Cousins to Collaborate.” “Citing your sources Consistently.”

During this presentation, Barbara will cover the resources and techniques used to facilitate and ease your way through these five C’s.

Barbara is a frequent lecturer at National Genealogical Conferences and teaches at the Orange Regional Family History Center. She has authored several books and instructional videos. Her book titled “Genealogy 101: How to Trace Your Family’s History and Heritage” was sponsored by the National Genealogical Society for their 100th Anniversary.

Don’t miss this presentation!

SOCCGS Seminar - 17 October 2009

Registration is under way for the Eighth Annual Seminar. Paula Stuart-Warren will speak on four topics of special interest to genealogy researchers. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear one of the premier lecturers in this field. Also, there will be time during the seminar to browse the vendor tables, check out our book sale opportunities, and find a great deal on some fine costume jewelry. The “Corner Bakery Café” will be providing our box lunches.

Sign up now! Be sure to tell your “genealogy buddies” that registration forms are located in the Genealogy section of the Mission Viejo Library, or on the SOCCGS website at A form may also be found in this newsletter.

Annual Quilt Raffle

A beautiful quilt will be up for raffle at the seminar again this year. David Flint, ways and means chairman will begin offering tickets for sale at the general meeting in July. Joanne Florence donated the quilt. She is a resident of Mission Viejo, and a member of the Mission Viejo DAR. Tickets are $1.00 each or six for $5.00.

Genealogy Safaris are suspended during July & August.

“Discovery consists of looking at the same thing as
Everyone else does and thinking something different.”
~Albert Szent-Gyorgyi

President's Message

~Sandy Crowley

I enjoyed our June meeting with speaker Nancy Huebotter teaching us about researching cemetery and mortuary records. Thanks to Diane Hearne and Marilyn Kowalski for bringing our snacks for the meeting. A big thank you to our new Hospitality co-chairs: Eunice Murai and Barbara Heebner! Thanks also to Bill Bluett who purchased the new Easy-Up tent for the snack area. It was nice to have with the morning drizzles. The board of directors recently Okayed this purchase. The following is a continuation of letters written by my Scottish Tannahill ancestors, brothers Robert and John who came from Scotland via Cornwall via Liverpool, England in 1841/1842 to be with their sister Janet (married to Mr. Toomer) and other family members in Fulton, MS. Letters traveled slowly back and forth. I believe this one gives a good look at life in Mississippi in 1842.

John Tannahill, having arrived in Fulton, Mississippi writes to his brother James in Truro, Cornwall, England on January 19, 1842 “I wrote this in my own log cabin, which barring a few chinks is not a bad one. Robert is here today from Mr. Toomer’s store. Mary (John’s wife) and he are gone out to visit one of our neighbours. They beg to be remembered to all friends in Cornwall. Write to Marion and Helen (John and Robert’s sisters in Scotland) on receipt of this and you would perhaps drop a note to Mary’s Mother at Thornhills (Scotland) to say you had heard from us and that we were well.

The country here is but thinly settled as it is only six years since the Indians left it. The land is not so rich as it is in other parts of the States where I have been but I am told it is very healthy. My Father’s place is one of the finest here abouts and he has got the best log house in the county. I think they will be able to live very comfortably and want for nothing necessary.

I think I will be able to live for $50 a year. I am to have $250 a year from Mr. T. With the house I live in this is very little, but I am to have a share in the concern next year, and if it does well, so will I. I think it very likely that Robert will also be engaged in the store as their way of doing business requires a great deal of writing.

I would have written you before but I wanted to give you some idea of our situation and prospects here. We live on bread of Indian corn which is the only kind used here. Their hogs are excellent being fed in the woods on nuts and acorns, but the beef is most [?]. They never think of feeding cattle, but go out and pretty indifferently shoot down with the rifle the one that happens to be best within their range. We have got no Irish potatoes and the sweet ones, fond as I am generally of sweets, neither Mary nor I can eat. I get up in the morning, chop as much firewood as will be wanted for the day and then trudge away to the store.

All men here are not merely nominally but really equal. There is a lot of threatening with guns and knives here. The sheriff has his hands full. Two men have been shot in Mr. Toomers store.”

Note: John eventually built a house that is a historical home in Mississippi, then he and his family moved to Texas. Robert married in Mississippi, and then moved on to Texas, where the home he built is a Texas state Historical Home. Both brothers (and some other family members) lived out their lives in Texas since the mid-1850s. Most descendants of the brothers still live in Texas to this day.

New Books at the Library

~Bunny Smith, Librarian

Our Thew Family Heritage follows the history of the John Thew and Elsie Snedeker family. The goal of the writer was to document as best he could. They used citations for every single source that proved the information reported for each person and family. This is a very big but well written book, even if you’re not a Thew.

Cyndi’s List, A Comprehensive List of 40,000 Genealogy sites on the Internet. Here, in print, is the organized, cross-reference index to genealogy and family history sites on the Internet that you can feel, touch and read.

The Official Family Tree Maker. Learning how to use Family Tree Maker is now a breeze. With this book’s step-by-step instructions, you can build your family tree.

“The truth is rarely pure and never simple.”
~Oscar Wilde

Getting The Most Out Of Obituaries

~Michael John Neill

There are many genealogically significant items one can find in a newspaper, but we frequently turn to the obituaries. This week let’s take a look at an obituary that was discovered in the newly uploaded additions to and see how it can be analyzed for further clues and search ideas.

Conrad Krebs died in November of 1899 in Davenport, Iowa, and his obituary appeared shortly thereafter in The Davenport Weekly Leader of 21 November 1899. As I looked at this newly found death notice, I was reminded of some things we should keep in mind when working with obituaries.

Read the Whole Page - There may be more than one reference to a person on the same page and OCR searches do occasionally miss entries. There was an obituary for Conrad and, on the same page, a notice about the “Krebs Obsequies” (“obsequies” refers to the funeral service). If the obituary had not provided details about the service and I hadn’t scanned the entire page, this information about the church and burial would have been overlooked.

Consider the Source - Most information in any obituary is secondary. Many of the details in the obituary are being reported years after the actual events and typically by individuals who were not firsthand witnesses. Even when it comes to “current” information, a newspaper can easily make an error.

Saving a digital copy of the obituary is best, but if you must transcribe, copy the obituary exactly and do not edit it. Include obvious errors as they were written and use the “sic” notation immediately after the likely mistake.

Create a Chronology - Ordering the information found in obituaries chronologically makes it easier to spot inconsistencies and opportunities for research. Here’s an abbreviated chronology for Conrad based upon his obituary:
  • 1818 Born in Goldbach, Bavaria
  • 1854 Came to United States, directly to Davenport
  • 1881 Went into paper and bag business
  • 1885 Wife dies
  • 1891 Retires from paper and bag business
  • 1891 Moves in with daughter, Mrs. Herman Hartz
  • 1899 Dies at home of daughter in Davenport
Events in a chronology suggest resources to be researched or gaps to be filled. It is best to use the chronology as a research tool beginning with the most recent event and working backwards. Each fact should be entered into your genealogical database. Cite the obituary as the source.

Approximate Dates - Not only does an obituary tell me who is dead, it also tells me who is alive. “Conrad was survived by three children, Mrs. Herman Hartz, Mrs. Mary Handel and Conrad Krebs. Two siblings, Mrs. Thekla Krausert and Joseph Krebs, also survived.” In my genealogy database I can indicate they were alive at the time of Conrad’s death and include their residence as well.

Take care when making assumptions regarding the spouse of a female based on the way the woman’s name is written. Thekla Krausert is listed with her first name, rather than her husband’s as was often the custom, but was married and living with her husband in 1899. The use of the wife’s first name does after the word “Mrs.” does not necessarily indicate she was widowed or divorced as you might think.

Follow-Up with Other Sources - The death date listed suggests locating a death record for Conrad–both at the county level and possibly at the church as well. His wife’s death date, also listed in the obituary, suggests the same sources should be utilized for her and the chronology also indicates her death took place in Davenport as well. Given the year of death and the year of immigration, Conrad and family should appear in federal census records between 1860 and 1880. There are also several Iowa state censuses available that should be checked as well.

City directories for Davenport may document any changes in residence for Conrad and may provide more information on his paper-selling business. Conrad’s obituary provides a year of immigration for him and his wife. Since Conrad died before the census asked any specific immigration questions, this year of immigration should be used as a starting point in any searches of passenger lists. The obituary does not make any mention of a port where Conrad landed, so searches should include all available ports.

Remember nearby locations. For rural areas, search in towns near where the person lived—not just the town where they resided. Searching the county seat newspaper is also a good idea as they may run death notices for areas within the county as a whole.

(Copyright © 1998-2006, Inc 3 August 2008)

“Cemeteries I Have Known”

~Jim Thordah

Memories of my first encounter with a cemetery are as fresh as the wildflowers that grew in the old cemetery at the corner of Wilcox and Quaker Roads in Erie County, New York about twenty five miles south of Buffalo. Wildflowers were not on our teenage minds as we imagined ghosts prowling their realm. As the shivering shadows of the cemetery’s uncontrolled growth gave way to the sun’s last glimmer, we made a mad dash past its portal; eyes straight ahead as we bicycled home down Wilcox Road. In daylight though, we often cavorted among the headstones, read their entries in search of a name we recognized and balanced on the brass rails encircling family plots. At the cemetery’s East side, on a never used portion, tall lean brush was laden with vines, a perfect canopy for our secret hideout.

Fifty years later with new reverence for my first cemetery, I was stunned to find it completely overgrown. Some effort to stop nature from overwhelming it was evident by saplings slashed in a manner, a couple feet about the ground, so that it appeared a field of pungie sticks had been planted for protection. I wished for an opportunity to contribute to this cemetery’s restoration. Since then, others have contributed to remembering this cemetery and a plaque has been placed at the intersection of Wilcox and Quaker. What I never knew was that, it is a Quaker Cemetery.

On this trip back “home”, however, I was in search of other cemeteries and perhaps their secrets. I had been researching and assembling a family tree of Nicholas Beaver my wife, Bonnie Beaver’s, great great grandfather. Nicholas was six years old in 1830 when he came to America with his father, Nicholas, and mother, Magalana, from France. With his first wife, Elizabeth Haas, Nicholas (jr.) had eleven children and with his second wife, Hortensia Stickney, he had five and perhaps a sixth that died in infancy. On the Internet I had found many of the gravesites for his deceased descendants.

I had seen a picture of Nicholas’s monument in the Marshfield Burying Ground. Now, I wished to personally photograph it and others. My wife’s cousin, who lives in the area, escorted me to all the applicable cemeteries. Without his guidance, I would not have found Marshfield Burying Ground. Its location is described as at the corner of Marshfield Road and Sisson Highway. However, to get to this old cemetery, three hundred feet before the intersection, you must enter a farmer’s private drive on Sisson Highway and then skirt his hayfield for about 600 feet to reach the copse of large trees hiding its treasure of headstones from a hundred and fifty years ago. I decided to take a hike rather than risk getting the rental car stuck in the slick bottom below the promontory.

Pine Hill Cemetery on the Erie County side of the town of Gowanda and Collins Center Cemetery have become familiar haunts to me. Where online data is lacking, family contacts have helped to keep fresh the memory of dear departed ones’ last resting places. My wife’s sister has been a big help in locating ancestor gravesites. However, it was a determined tromp through the entirety of Pine Hill Cemetery that revealed the forgotten location of one great grandmother’s gravesite, and the family plot of another branch to our family tree.

Another rewarding cemetery visit happened almost by chance when I was driving my sister home from a family lunch. As we passed through the town of Cattaraugus in Cattaraugus County, New York, she suggested, “We could drive by the cemetery.” I made a quick u-turn and followed her directions. Her husband is buried in the Easton family plot and beside this plot is the Fuller family plot with data that proved a connection that that long eluded me.

Needless to say I look forward to more cemetery visits in Western New York.

(Jim is a member of SOCCGS)

“GeoCities Closing Down”

GeoCities ( will close later this year (2009). Please go to the above website for complete information. There are many genealogy sites on Geocities, and many of these sites may be lost if the webmasters don't move the sites to a new location.

I Could Be Wrong About Some Things

~David Servant
"Atomic energy might be as good as our present-day explosives, but it is unlikely to produce anything very much more dangerous." ~Winston Churchill, British Prime Minister, 1939
"There is not the slightest indication that nuclear energy will ever be obtainable. It would mean the atom would have to be shattered at will." ~Albert Einstein, German-born American physicist, 1932

"Websites of Interest to Genealogists"
Did you know there are over 1300 genealogy websites?
  Directory database of active and retired cemeteries.
  Here you may request volunteers in another area to take a picture of a grave marker.
  Site dedicated to preserving America’s endangered cemeteries.
  Web site for the 2010 US Census.
  Go here for “country specific” genealogy websites.
  Go here for the 50 Most Popular Genealogy Websites for 2008.
  Chinese Genealogy-Related Websites may be found here.
  The oldest and largest African American genealogy site.
  Canada Genealogy Links.

June Meeting

During the audience participation portion of the meeting several members shared brick walls and research suggestions. Pat Christiansen told of a one-page document that may be added to a will in order to ensure that genealogical data is saved. (There are copies available at the SOCCGS docent desk at the Mission Viejo Library.) Eunice Murai had questions about getting info on the Orphan Trains. She thinks her ancestor Fred Alonso Mileo may have been a rider on an Orphan Train. Joyce Van Schaack suggested leaving your genealogy to a Historical Society. While on a visit to Salt Lake, Bunny Smith found a Virginia probate record, dated 20 years after the death of her ancestor, which named three children and said, “They’d moved out West”. Thus, she found proof of her Wisconsin family. Melbournea Pittman found a Ball cousin who was born on her wedding day. Jo Taylor reported that she found her great great father in Ancestry’s Civil War prisoner records. David Flint mentioned that genealogist, Arlene Eakle, has a warehouse in Utah where she stores genealogical collections. Check out the following website for an interesting story about how she became involved with this project:

Pat Weeks shared a beautiful picture of her ancestor, Francoise Missouri, who was also known as the Princess of the Missouri.

Marilyn Kowalski and Diane Hearne served scrumptious treats under our new hospitality tent. As Sandy mentioned in her president’s article, Barbara Heebner and Eunice Mauri have graciously volunteered to serve as hospitality co-chairs. Be sure to thank them. They have ensured our treats for the rest of the year!

We welcome two new members: Karen Jachetta, and Dottie Barnes, Dottie is searching BOLYN in England and North Carolina, TAYLOR in Virginia and Maryland.

Membership chairman, Jack Naylor, introduced guests: Anita Aron, Laguna Woods, Allan & Della Frankel, San Clemente, Lucille Nukols, Mission Viejo and Joan Petrime, Laguna Woods.

Ralphs Community Contribution Program
David Flint – Ways & Means Chairman

This Ways and Means project is going well. Instructions for signing on to this program are posted on the SOCCGS website. You may also receive them via email or USPS by contacting David Flint. Please consider signing up for this project.

"The horse is here to stay, the automobile is only a fad."
~Advice of President of Michigan Savings Bank to Horace Rackham, lawyer for Henry Ford, 1903
(Rackham ignored the advice and invested $5000 in Ford stock, selling it later for $12.5 million)

"An Ancestor I Wish I Had Known"

~Patricia Nostrome

My great great grandfather English-born John Lockin(g) from the Stainfield, Lincs area of (Lincolnshire, England) was baptized 27 March 1796. The earliest recorded event in the Locking family tree is the birth of Robert Locking born 1490 who wrote a will, dated 2 Dec 1533, and was buried in the church of St. Peter and St. Paul of Tetney. In 1840 the Lockins suffered a devastating loss from which they never recovered. Five of my great grandmother’s siblings died. Although there is no specific information available records say there was a major epidemic of smallpox from 1837 to 1840, which killed 42,000 people nationwide so perhaps members of this this family were victims of smallpox. Within a few years the whole family would have emigrated to America to make a new start and a better life in Wisconsin and Iowa. In 1841 in Stainfield John appeared on the census living with his wife and three children. According to oral history he was a foreman of a plantation for several years. The sons went to America first and the parents and girls followed in 1845. The sons were William, John, Thomas and James. The daughters were Elizabeth and Harriet. They left only a married daughter Anne Goulding back in England. I would like to ask him what it was like to leave your homeland where so many of his ancestors lived and travel to some unknown land.

He immigrated to Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. They stayed about three years in Jefferson County, then moved to Fond du Lac. Through the first third of the nineteenth century Fond du Lac County was part of the Winnebago Indian nation. By the close of the 1830’s, however, the central Wisconsin wilderness, the new Northwest became a focal point for Easterners hoping to create new lives for themselves. The county itself was created in 1836, and growth came rapidly beginning in the mid 1840’s. By 1870, Fond du Lac was the state’s second largest city, a major railroad hub, and the second major county in wheat production. On 1 March 1848 either John, or his son John Jr., took out land patents for several parcels of land in the Metomen area, totaling 353 acres. They were in the area that became Brandon, in the southeastern part of Metomen. Elizabeth was the first of the family to move from Wisconsin, after marrying Thomas Nerton originally from Yorkshire, England in March or April of 1852. The newlyweds, my great grandparents, crossed the Oregon Trail in a western bound oxen-drawn wagon train and arrived in Oregon Territory on October 18, 1852. By the 1860 census John Lockin Sr. was listed as a 63-year-old farmer of $4,800 worth of real estate and $723 worth of personal estate. He died 27 September 1871 in Metomen. He and his wife are buried in the Brandon cemetery in the new world as a respected old settler in the village of Brandon. I wonder what they had thought of their life here.

In the far west my great grandmother and grandfather made a Donation Land Claim in Columbia County. They settled in St. Helens, Washington and later moved to Clark County, Washington and settled on a homestead. The area was called Fourth Plains and later called Orchards. In 1855 Thomas Nerton took out his American citizenship and received a Donation Land Claim of 320 acres in Clark County, Washington. Each claimed 320 acres for a total of 640. Elizabeth inherited an additional 320 acres from a man she had cared for until his death. They had 13 children. During the Indian War of 1855/56 Thomas served under Captain William Kelly with the “Clark County Rangers” Second Regiment of the Washington Volunteers. I wonder how great grandma survived all this change and danger. Thomas died in September 1882 and Elizabeth died in January 1897. Both are buried in the Sifton Cemetery in Clark County, Washington.

Two of their sons George and Thomas came down to San Francisco, California in 1900 and worked as motormen on the trolleys. Thomas Nerton would meet and marry Mary Elizabeth Tehan and become my grandfather.

So it continues...

(Patricia is a member of SOCCGS)

“Francoise Missouri”

(There was an error in a June 2009 newsletter article.)

Pat Weeks has confessed that she was 90 years off and another 90 miles away when she stated that Francois Dubois was killed by the Indians around 1728. The site of the massacre was Fort Orleans, and not Fort Osage. Working from memory causes these mishaps. “Pobody is nerfict.”

“Commit yourself to lifelong learning.
The most valuable asset you'll ever have is your mind and what you put into it.”

~Brian Tracy


September 26 - North San Diego county Genealogy Society plans a Fall Seminar, “Unexpected Journeys”. More information will be forthcoming.
October 17 - SOCCGS 7th Annual Seminar. This year featuring Paula Stewart Warren. For information contact Bill Bluett (949) 492-9408 or

"Man will not fly for 50 years." -- Wilbur Wright, American aviation pioneer, to brother Orville,
After a disappointing flying experiment, 1901 (their first successful flight was in 1903)

Please use the Registration Form below to secure your place at the October Seminar.

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:


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 _______________________ 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:

SOCCGS ‘2009’ Seminar Registration

Name(s)______________________________________________________ Registration:  _______ @ $20.00
 ____________________________________________________________ Box Lunch:  _________ @   $9.00
Address:______________________________________________________ Total:  $  ___________
City & Zip_____________________________________________________  
Mail to: SOCCGS, P.O. Box 4513

Information: (949) 492-9408 or                           

Mission Viejo, CA 92690-4513

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