Saddleback Valley Trails

Vol 9 No 8 ...Editor: Gail Gilbert ...August 2002

South Orange County California Genealogical Society

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

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 wishing to join. Yearly membership fees are $20 per calendar year for individuals, $25 for joint membership. SOCCGS is not affiliated with the LDS Family History Center.


My Favorite Hobby, Genealogy

In 1997, when I began searching for "dead people" I didn't realize that one of the rewards of this hobby was finding living relatives who I never knew existed. This "genealogical game" was becoming fun and fascinating.

My very first query on the Internet connected me with four "Ross" cousins. We share a common ancestor who fought in the Revolutionary War on the English side! After that success I figured every online search was going to add something of interest to my family tree. Not so, it was two years before I answered someone else's query and found an even closer cousin in my Morrison line. This contact provided me with new information on my paternal grandfather's family. He also sent several pictures of, so-far, unidentified ancestors, along with a letter written by my great grandfather telling of his wife's death. This has proven to be the only actual written proof of her death.

One of the main reasons for continuing my research was the hope of finding a living relative who might have family pictures to share. Finally, just last year, I received an e-mail from a previously unknown cousin who was able to fill in many blanks in my Ross/Rariden families. In return, I provided him with the link between our gg and ggg grandfathers. He rewarded me with pictures of my great great grandparents and my great grandfather and his siblings. I so wish my father were alive to see the picture of his grandfather. There is quite a resemblance between the two.

I have no idea what other surprises might be awaiting me. In the hopes that there are more out there, I will keep searching and trying to climb over my brick. As you well know, genealogy is a time consuming and often frustrating hobby. It must be addicting because I seem to be unable to "kick the habit."

Please visit our library to see if there are any "surprises" waiting for you! And tell your friends!

See you on August 17 and until then . . . . . .

Yours in Genealogy

Mary Jo McQueen



17 August 2002 Our speakers for this meeting will be Susan Ogle and Dave Bean who will speak on "History of the Drum Barracks and Civil War History in Southern California."


14 Sept 2002 SOCCGS Garage Sale! See message below.

2 Nov 2002 SOCCGS Seminar featuring Hank Jones. See enclosed flyer for preview.


7-10 August 2002 The 2002 Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference will be hosted by the CA State Genealogical Alliance at the Ontario Convention Center. The title is California 2002 "A Goldmine of Diversity". A complete program of events with registration information is available at our library docent's desk. A myriad of seminars is offered for doing research in all kinds of areas of interest from basic to specialized topics. Take a look at the program and I think you will want to attend this one. Details are also posted on the FGS Website at or you can write FGS, PO Box 200940, Austin, TX 78720-0940.


Virginia (Mickey) Arvan - Researching surnames BATEMAN & KING

Beverly Halverson - Researching surnames KLANG, HALVORSON & SKOTT in Sweden.


Start clearing your homes and garages of all the clutter that has accumulated over the past year. The SOCCGS can use that clutter at our next garage sale scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 14, 2002. Starting Sept. 1, you can bring those unwanted items to Mary Jo McQueen's or Leon and Bunny Smith's homes. Better yet, give Leon and Bunny a call and they will be happy to pick up those unwanted items for the sale. The Smiths can be reached at (949) 472-8046.


Classes held at 674 S. Yorba St., Orange, CA. To register call (714) 998-3408.

Wed Aug 14 10-N Making a List & Checking It Twice Barbara Renick

Wed Aug 14 10-N Personal History Writing - Workshop Linda Newsom

Thr Aug 15 10-N Research Basics - Census 101 Linda Newsom

Fri Aug 16 10-11 How To Be A Good Organizer Celia Christenson

Wed Aug 21 10-N Personal History Writing - Workshop Linda Newsom

Thr Aug 22 10-N Research Basics - Census - Tips & Trick Linda Newsom

Fri Aug 23 11-N Using the Internet for English Research Beth McCarty

Wed Aug 29 10-N Personal History Writing - Workshop Linda Newsom

Thr Aug 30 10-N Research Basics - Library Tour Linda Newsom

Visiting The Cemetery (Part 2)
by Nancy Giles
Reprinted with the author's permission from WAGS Newsletter Vol. 21, July 2001

Last month I discussed the preparation to make your visit to the cemetery more rewarding. This month, I want to take that a little further. After you have done the research and are now ready for your actual trip to the cemetery, you will want to consider some of the items you will need to make the Trip more pleasant for you.

You will want to wear clothing that will be suitable for the location of the cemetery. I suggest you wear jeans or old slacks, and a long sleeved shirt. You may be getting into bramble and heavy overgrowth and need this extra protection. A wide brimmed hat will be wonderful protection on a very hot, sunny day, and a sweatshirt or jacket may be necessary if you have chosen a cold, windy day. I always find it easier to 'dress down', so layering is a consideration. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes or boots, and socks. I don't suggest tennis shoes, they can become wet, and give you no support if you need to climb a steep incline or over rocky terrain.

Make sure you have plenty of drinking water, especially if the day is quite warm and humid. Also take extra water to use to wash your face, hands, arms, etc. after returning to the car. Use insect repellent, spraying lavishly over all exposed parts of your hands, face, arms as well as over the clothing you are wearing. Include a small First Aid kit in your pack, and possibly a Snake Bite kit. Keep a sharp eye for bees, wasps and other insects, especially if you have brought something sweet to drink or snack on. Know what poison ivy and poison oak look like before you start out. This paragraph is applicable to any cemetery, not just the unkept ones.

Be sure to use sun screen or lotion, even if the day is overcast. I have been more sunburned on an overcast day, than on a bright sunny one, due to the ultraviolet rays.

You will be glad if you have packed a few tools in your trunk, such as a sharp hatchet or large knife to cut your way through wild and overgrown areas. A small shovel and hoe is handy too, to help clear grass and dirt away from gravestones that may have sunk into the ground. A small pry bar will be handy in the event that some of the gravestones have tipped over. And of course, a heavy pair of work gloves is a must. A heavy stick or thin pipe to poke the ground is very helpful, especially if you are working in the overgrown or "abandoned" cemetery area, as some of the gravestones may be completely undetected unless you accidentally strike them with such an object.

You may want to diagram the area you are searching, since in another visit several years from now you may find that the terrain has changed drastically and the area will be unfamiliar to you. Note fences, walls, trees, etc. Some of these may have disappeared by your next visit, but hopefully enough will remain to help you positively identify the area again.

If you plan to photograph or video tape your visit to the cemetery, be sure to have enough film and extra batteries, etc. You may want to take both black and white and color film. Black and white photographs have a longer lifespan than colored ones. If you don't have a video camera, you may want to take a small tape recorder to record information off the gravestones you find. If you do this, always designate the number of the film which relates to the stone. That way if the photograph doesn't come out clear, you will have an accurate account of it.

If it becomes necessary to clean away some dirt from the gravestone to photograph it, do it with a brush that is strong enough to do the job, but soft enough not to damage the stone. If it is covered with lichen, try not to disturb any lichen not covering the information, as lichen

actually helps to preserve the stone. If you need to get dirt out of the letters in the inscription, use a gentle soap and water. Some shaving creams, etc. are very damaging to old stones, in spite of them being recommended in some articles.

The main thing I want to leave with you, is that cemetery research is very rewarding, and can be lots of fun, if you are comfortably prepared.


Before you visit the cemetery, visit the website for the Association of Gravestone Studies. Here you will find links to frequently asked questions (FAQ), advice on gravestone rubbing, explanation of gravestone symbolism and additional tips for collecting your graveyard data. information.htm

Another site, The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Geographic Names Information System, which can help you locate a cemetery by county and perhaps even provide a location map is:

The FGS conference in Ontario (see events schedule) has a session on "Planning a Successful Cemetery Research Trip" by George G. Morgan, author and speaker, who presents a weekly online genealogy column for

There are also many sites online which are devoted to preserving cemetery records. These can be easily located by referring to Cyndi's List or Rootsweb and may save you a trip to the cemetery:

Another interesting site which I found through the Virginia VAROOTS List is:

Although devoted primarily to providing a source to old city directories, this site also has categories for volunteer look-ups, transcriptions and cemetery photos taken, among others.

Some other web sites I have come across lately which don't have anything to do with cemeteries, but may interest you all follow:

For a copy of significant documents such as the "Gettysburg Address":

For Hamburg emigration records (now fee-based):


We bid fond farewell to Eugenia Gannon who has moved to the Simi Valley. We will miss her greatly. She can be reached by email at <>.



SOCCGS Library Acquisitions, June/July 2002:

Tracing Ancestors Among the Five Civilized Tribes, Rachel M. Lennon

Tennessee Records: Bible Records & Marriage Bonds, Jeannette T. Acklen

Some Early Records & Documents of the Town of Windsor, Connecticut, 1639-1703

Douglas County, Nebraska Marriages, 1854-1881

Century of Stories: Jamestown, Sutsman County, North Dakota

Tracing Your Dakota Roots, Winistorfer & Langemo

Abstracts of Bucks County, PA, Land Records 1684-1723

Pioneer Women: The Lives of Women on the Frontier, Peavy & Smith

Dreamers & Schemers: Profiles from Carbon County, Wyoming's Past, Lori Van Pelt

Missoula, Montana Death & Burial Records, Vols 1 & 2

Search For The Passengers of The Mary and John, Vol. 5 through 8

Handybook for Genealogists, Tenth Edition, Everton Publishers


There have been warnings from numerous sources lately about the reappearance of a site offering access to the world's largest genealogy database for a fee. This appears to be the infamous under a new name. As one of my list administrators so aptly described it, "Family Discovery and their alias sites links their pages to free Rootsweb sites and archive pages, USGenWeb sites, and privately owned sites by way of frames . . . sites on which all the information is already free." The information appears to be their own and of course they charge a fee for it. They do this without permission and they have been under investigation for a couple years. Some of their aliases are:,,,,,,, Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter has also warned of this scam. They provide the following three "watchdog sites" where you can check on genealogy services:

Dick Eastman has past articles on such genealogy scams at:



The Southern California Genealogical Society has advertised in their July/August Searcher the availability of qualified researchers to "help resolve your research challenges." Numerous areas of searches are offered, using the vast resources of their society's library. If you are finding you are short on time to do it yourself, why not contact The Research Teams at SCGS. For fees and additional information, send them your request with a self-addressed legal-size envelope to:

417 Irving Drive, Burbank, California 91504-2408 or e-mail them at <>.


A roster of all the current courses is maintained at our library. Be sure to check at the desk for details.

1. Continuous classes are offered at the Mission Viejo Family History Center at 27976 Marguerite Parkway. For a current schedule or to register call (949) 364-2742.

2. For information on classes held at the Orange FHC, 674 S. Yorba St., Orange, call Beth McCarty at (714) 998-3408.

3. Classes for beginners and intermediates in Computer-assisted Genealogy are offered each month by the Orange County CA Genealogy Society in the General Meeting Room of the Huntington Beach Central Library, 7111 Talbert Ave., Huntington Beach, CA for a fee of $4 for non-members, payable at the door. See for schedule.

4. The schedule for NARA workshops is available by calling (949) 360-2641.

5. The British Isles Family History Society (BIFHS) holds classes monthly at the LA FHC of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 10741 Santa Monica Blvd., W. LA. Classes and parking are free. For information contact Dorothy Losee at (310) 838-6085,

6. Classes are offered monthly by the LA Family History Center, 10741 Santa Monica Blvd. Los Angeles which offer a wide variety of topics. To see the schedule for the current month, go to their website at or call (310) 474-9990.

7. Brigham Young University's Department of Independent Studies offers two free online genealogy courses, Finding Your Ancestors and Providing Temple Ordinances for Your Ancestors. See for details.

8. Community College genealogy courses can be found listed at the website: Many of these are also free online.



South Orange County California Genealogical Society

Membership/Renewal Application

( ) New 1 Year ( ) Individual, $20 ( ) Jt. Members, same address $25

( ) Renewal Membership Number(s) _______________ ___________________

Name(s) ________________________________________________________________

Address _________________________________________________________________

City ____________________________ State_____Zip__________Phone ___________________

Make check payable to: SOCCGS (South Orange County CA Genealogical Society) Check No. __________________

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



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