Saddleback Valley Trails

Vol 3 No 8 Editor: Pat Weeks August 1996

South Orange County California Genealogical Society

P.O. Box 4513, Mission Viejo, CA 92629


Monthly meetings are scheduled for the third Saturday of each month and are held from 10:00 a.m. to Noon at the Norman P. Murray Community Center 24932 Veterans Way, Mission Viejo CA.

17 August 1996 Our speaker this month is Dee Semon who spoke to the group at the May meeting. Dee continues the discussion of emigration from central Europe to the United States. She will discuss border changes that have taken place and how to find records in central Europe.

21 September 1996 "What to Do When the Courthouse Burns" is the subject of this meeting, presented by Barbara A. Renick.

12 October 1996 Mimi Holtzman from the Society of Hispanic Historical and Ancestral Research will speak on Spanish History and Heritage.

Please note the date change for this meeting from the customary 3rd Saturday to the 2nd Saturday!!!

Other Events

22-24 August 1996 The British Isles Family History Society Seminar, Los Angeles Family History Center, 10741 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles.

Speakers: James R. Reilly, Judith Wight, Nancy Bier, Don Hirst, Ivan Johnson, Linda Jonas, Annie Lloyd, Beth McCarty. Registration $69. For more information, contact Dorothy Losee at (310)838-6085

21-22 September 1996 The San Diego Gen. Soc's 50th Anniversary Celebration and First Annual Family History Fair. Speakers, vendors. Scottish Rite Center, 1895 Camino Del Rio South, Mission Valley.

18 August 1996 French-Canadian Workshop, 10 A.m. to 4:p.m. at SCGS Library, 122 S. San Fernando Blvd., Burbank CA. Brown bag it or contribute to the Pizza for lunch.

24 September 1996 Hi-Desert Genealogical Society, regular meeting, will feature Donna Wright concerning the Periodical Source Index. 7:00 p.m. 11000 Apple Valley Rd., Apple Valley CA.

9 November 1996 German Gen. Society of America and Scripps College presents Ernest Thode. Theme is German Surnames and How to Locate Hard-to-Find German Place Names. 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Bette C. Edwards Humanities Bldg, Scripps College, Claremont, CA. For further info call (818)444-4395 or (714)671-5982


The following persons have joined our Society:

Kathleen C Hagan

and Kathleen F. Hagan

Guests at the July meeting were Pam Hauser and Linda Ebbert, and Sweet Emma.


The Safari programs has been re-activated and is in full swing again. Plans for the future months include the following trips:

28 August, City of Orange Family History Center, 674 S. Yorba, City of Orange.

24 September Pomona Public Library, a major genealogical library with California history section, CW records, etc.

Remember - the cars leave at 9:30 sharp from the Norma P. Murray Center parking lot and we will try to return at approximately 4:30 in the afternoon. Bring a snack, or prepare to drive yourself out for lunch. See you Wednesday, the 4th Wednesday of the month.


old Genealogical Helper Magazines

The Library committee has requested that we advertize and request for copies of the Genealogical Helper which are needed to complete the set. This set is to be housed in the new library when completed. The missing issues are:

1995 - all issues

1994 - Nov-Dec

1993 - Jan-Feb, Mar-Apr

1992 - Jan-Feb, Mar-Apr, May-Jun, Sept-Oct

1990 - Jan-Feb, Mar-Apr, Sept-Oct

1983 - Jan-Feb

1981 - Jan-Feb, Mar-Apr, May-Jun, Sept-Oct

1980 - Mar-Apr, May-Jun, Sept-Oct

Anyone wishing to donate from the list may bring them to any meeting and we will be happy to accept and find room for them, with thanks. Pat Stafford.



When reading old diaries, accounts, or histories, these measurements may help:

A pace is 3 feet. A span is 10 and O inches. A palm is 3 inches. A hand (horse measurement) is 4 inches. A league is 3 miles. A great cubit is eleven feet. A day's journey is 341/2 miles. An acre contains 4,840 square yards.

As for weights, a barrel of flour weighs 196 lbs. A barrel of rice about 600 lbs. Coarse salt is 85 lbs. Barley is 48 lbs per bushel. Oats 35 lbs, bran 35 lbs, timothy seed 45 lbs per bushel. A tub of butter weighs 84 lbs and a firkin of butter weighs 56 lbs. (Historical & Genealogical society of Randolph Co. IN Apr 1996)


Helena McCay of Nova Scotia Canada has been putting the Inverness County Nova Scotia census (which can be found on our SOCCGS homepage) to good use.

Helena wrote that she had printed off some pages of the 1881 and 1891 computerized censuses for her eighty-two-year old Aunt Marjorie. Marjorie grew up in that region, and Helena hoped that she would recognize some families that Helena's grandfather grew up with.

Helena wrote to us, "Now, the interesting point is that when I handed Aunt Marjorie the pages, she immediately `took on' the accent of the village. Each and every person was remembered with fondness. For one particular `Alexander' she said, "Ah, John Alec, go fetch me a bucket of water!" For that is what his mother would say as he stood in the kitchen doorway, eavesdropping as Grandma Doyle and his mother would be discussing some delicate matter of the day - gossip, we'd call it."

"Aunt Marjorie recalled it all with such color and humor that I am now planning to record her voice as she scans the names. I hadn't thought of her ability to recall the whole village which came alive for her. This made me think of what a wonderful resource this could be for those today in nursing homes who have no `present day' memory but can recall events of years past."

We thank you, Helena for sharing this wonderful idea with us and showing us how computerized version of data makes information more accessible and useful to everyone. We'd like to see more and more of this becoming available.

Our July SOCCGS meeting was not your ordinary routine genealogical meeting!

Upon arriving for the meeting, our President (Smith...NOT Clinton!) discovered a fellow walking an o possom on a leash. Now, this is not something we see every day out here in "upscale"South Orange California. So, our President invited the opossom and her master to our meeting.

Emma, the opossom, showed up with her care-taker, Jim Snyder of Mission Viejo, and proceeded to entertain us and capture our hearts. Emma had been hit by a car and received serious spinal damage, leaving her unable to survive in the wild. Because of her severe injuries, she was a special case, and "retired" to her present live of retirement, we may add, in the lap of luxury and fond care.

Jim Snyder introduced us to the world of opossums, and the Opossum Society of the United States, dedicated to the understanding, protection and preservation of that animal a volunteer group that raises orphan opossums and arranges veterinary and care for them until their safe release back into the environment can be accomplished.

If you are interested in volunteering, or making a contribution to the Opossum Society, their address is P.O. Box 16724, Irvine CA 92713


SOCCGS Member Mel Kinnee has contributed these Internet addresses which she felt maybe to useful to many in the group.

Glossary of Genealogical Terms and Abbreviations:

Genealogical Dictionaries (German terms with English translations. "German" includes dialects spoken in Austria and Switzerland. These dictionaries include old German professions and common causes of death.



Would like to correspond with anyone searching the GILCHRIST family of Wheeling, WV. Mrs Eloise Ryan, 31311 Avenida Los Cerritos, San Juan Capistrano CA 92675.

Seeking info re Elisha PADGETT, b Ky 1827, marr. Adeline ALLEN b 1828 in MO.Died Wallowa OR 1911. Settled in Linn Co. OR in 1850s. Also need info on

William MURRAY, b 1834 possibly CT. Died Texas 1875. Marr. Elizabeth Ann McGlothlin, b 1844 in Trimble Co KY, and lived KS in 1862. Iris Graham, 27504 Abanico, Mission Viejo, CA 92691

Definition of EPITAPH:

A memorial that usually lies above about the one that lies below.


Our custom of putting X's at the end of letters and notes to symbolize kisses grew out of medieval legal practices. In order to indicate good faith and honesty in those days, the sign of St Andrew, a cross, was placed after the signature on all important documents.

Thereafter, contracts and agreements were not considered binding until each signer added St. Andrew's cross after his name. Then he was required to kiss the document to further guarantee faithful performance of his obligations. The cross was drawn hurriedly, and often it was tilted and looked much like the letter "X".

Over the centuries, the origin of the ceremony was forgotten. But people still associate the "X" with the kiss instead of the pledge of good faith and the custom has continued into modern times. (From Reminisce, by Marvin Vanoni in SLO-CO Gen. News, Vol 7 p4 via CSGA Newsletter, June 96)


Delayed birth certificates are those filed many years after the birth by people who did not have the original birth certificate on file. They were issued after affidavits are sworn by relatives and doctors who were present at the birth, or upon proof of birth from a baptismal certificate or family bible records. In the United States, Social Security cards were issued to all citizens in 1940. To obtain a Social Security card citizens had to provide a birth certificate. Those who didn't have one on file had to go to their county clerk's office to have one registered. Persons born as early as 1858 had to register their births in 1940. Check the 1940 birth indexes if you haven't found them otherwise. (Family Tree June/July 1995 via High Desert Gen Soc Dec 95)

E-MAIL Language Translations

A free "Translation" service is available to anyone who can send an e-mail message. Your message must confirm to certain rules, which follow:

Send an e-mail to:


Have_TRANS_ as the subject line (underscore, TRANS, and underscore, Again)

The first line of your message:

#SRC>DEST (SRC is the source language and DEST is the destination language).

For example, to have a German letter translated into English, you would type #GER>ENG.

The following languages are supported:















The rest of your message:

Your text to be translated. Your message will be forwarded to a member of the volunteer translation team who will return the translation when completed. This service is free of charge, so keep in mind the following:

Stick to the subject (genealogy)

Do not send messages longer than 40 lines

If longer, send it in shorter pieces.

Translations will take at least a week.

Translators do not compose letters for you.

The current list of translators can be retrieved via e-mail. Address to Arthur, first line would read: #list. This service needs additional volunteers. This would be a grat way to keep currrent with your second language and provide a useful service to fellow genealogists.

(PAF Newsletter, 1996, Silicon Valley PAF Users Group, via Paths to the Past June 1996)


The practice of putting a stone on a grave arose not from piety but from fear; its origins was not respect for the dead, but the motive was of self-protection. Even after all precautions had been taken, the living were still afraid that the dead person might return and act against his former community. To make absolutely sure he stayed in his tomb, they weighted the soil down with a stone.

At first, people were buried anywhere, generally near where they had died. Thus, graves could be found in most unexpected places.

Primitive society looked on a dead person as something impure. To touch it or even pass over its burial place was considered an act of dishonor. Thus, they marked graves with stones. These were meant to be warnings to passers-by to keep well away. At times, to make the stones stand out more clearly, they were coated with lime.

This identification and consideration led to the origin of the cemetery. Special fields, removed from close human habitation, were set apart to isolate the dead in order to protect the living from contamination.

A later development was the worship of graves. The tombstone was looked on as a home for the spirit. Later on people were no longer worried about getting defiled, but became concerned the grave may be desecrated. They placed stones on the grave to prevent animals from digging up the body. (From "How Did It Begin by R. Brasch, via Tinley Moraine Gen., Tinley Park IL, Mar1994, via Twigs & Branches, Vol XVII No 2, via Gen. Soc. Of North Orange Co CA

Newsletter June 1996)


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