Saddleback Valley Trails
South Orange County California Genealogical Society

Vol. 14 No. 9       Editor: Mary Jo McQueen       September 2007
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 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 – September 15, 2007

"Land and Taxes"
Presented by
Joan Rambo

"As genealogy researchers who haven’t used land records, have you really dug deep enough? Have you taken advantage of the "clues" you should have seen, but didn’t? Those records want to talk to you. Heads up, now pay attention – look again." These words from Joan Rambo should be sufficient to entice you to attend the SOCCGS September meeting.

Joan is president of the Orange County California Genealogical Society. She has researched her own family lines for several decades and does research for companies looking for missing heirs. Joan is in charge of the volunteers in the genealogy collection at the Huntington Beach Library, and co-chair for the annual one week trip to Salt Lake City each spring.


October 20 – John Colletta, Ph.D. - Family History Seminar
November 17 - Nancy Carlberg
December 15 – Holiday Party

Looking forward to 2008, vice-president/program chair, Nellie Domenick is busy filling out the calendar. So far she has scheduled Barbara Renick, Leland Pound and Penny Fieke (twice).


The safari destination on September 26 will be the Orange Family History Center. The Center is located on Yorba Avenue. Car pools will leave the LDS parking lot at 9:30 a.m. Sack lunches are preferable, or some may wish to drive a short distance for lunch. We will be coming back to Mission Viejo before dinner. Please contact Bill Bluett.

Seminar Report
(Please see flyer on page six.)

We are fast approaching the date of our sixth annual seminar. I know that those who attend will enjoy hearing and learning from Dr. Colletta. There were thirty-six paid reservations as of August 18. We need at least eighty-five! Please don’t disappoint me!

Sandy Crowley will be collecting items for door prizes at the September meeting. We have donation receipts available showing our Federal Tax ID Number. Call or email me if you need one before the next meeting. We are also collecting gently used hardback books for the sale table. These can be on any subject, and may also be brought to the next meeting. One more thing: again this year the plan is to sell costume jewelry, which we accumulate from year to year. If you would like to donate jewelry items please bring these to the September meeting.

Please send in your registration now!

Presenting The Seminar Speaker

John Philip Colletta, Ph.D. is one of America's most popular genealogical lecturers. Entertaining, knowledgeable and experienced, he is based in Washington, DC, where he conducts workshops for the National Archives and teaches courses for the Smithsonian Institution and local universities. He also lectures nationally and is a faculty member of the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research at Samford University (Birmingham, AL) and the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (Salt Lake City). His publications include two manuals -- They Came in Ships: A Guide to Finding Your Immigrant Ancestor's Arrival Record and Finding Italian Roots: The Complete Guide for Americans. Dr. Colletta’s latest book -- Only a Few Bones: A True Account of the Rolling Fork Tragedy and Its Aftermath -- is a history of the German-speaking merchants of the Mississippi Delta during Reconstruction. It is written around the mysterious destruction of his great-great grandfather's country store, and its five unfortunate inhabitants.


~Bill Bluett

Last month I shared some information about my great-great grandfather, Bennett Million, who settled in Oregon in 1854. What came to my mind later was the fact that he had a very close encounter with death as a young man. Many of us have had an ancestor who came close to dying. And, that makes me think of all the generations that would have been wiped out had they not survived. If Bennett had not made it through his close encounter, I wouldn’t be writing this message to you!

The incident takes place in Lafayette County, Wisconsin, near the Illinois border. The year is 1832. Bennett is a young man, 18 years of age. The Black Hawk War is in progress throughout the region. On the morning of June 14th, a party of six militia volunteers head south from Fort Hamilton to hoe corn. The men will labor in a farm field claimed by Omri Spafford, near the Pecatonia River. After the men had been working a few hours, a Sauk war party surprises the group and kills Omri Spafford on the spot. Abraham Searles, James McIlwaine, an Englishman nicknamed "Johnny Bull", Francis Spencer and Bennett Million, flee to a ravine leading to the river. Searles, McIlwaine, and Bull were shot while in the water. Spencer hides in the brush along the river while Bennett is hugging along the bank for some 300 yards before his location is discovered. Bennett then plunges into the river (about 50 yards wide at that point), and swims underwater, without raising his head, until he reaches the opposite shore. He reportedly springs up the steep riverbank in a single bound "amid a shower of bullets" which twice perforate his shirt. Then, he runs through a wooded area as his attackers continue the chase. Finally, after running several miles, the Sauk Indians give up their pursuit. Bennett managed to return to Fort Hamilton by evening and reported the massacre that had taken place. The following day, he guided the militia volunteers back to the site. The mangled bodies of the fallen were found and buried in a common grave. Then they continued to look for Francis Spencer who finally shows up at the Fort a few days later.

This incident has become known as the "Spafford Farm Massacre". Today, there is a monument near the site with the names of the four fallen men and the two who escaped death, Francis Spencer and Bennett Million. After experiencing such a close encounter with death, Bennett later married, raised a family of twelve children, traveled from Wisconsin to the West Coast twice, became a well known pioneer of the Southern Oregon region, and lived to be a few months short of ninety four. It turns out that he had quite a life after several bullets came within inches of ending it.

I would not be surprised to find out that a number of you may have an ancestor who survived a close encounter with death. If you have an interesting story along that line, or any type of story that our membership might enjoy reading, pass it along to our newsletter editor, Mary Jo McQueen. We would like to know more about your ancestors and how they survived for the benefit of future generations.

HappyHaggis a website that concentrates on just Scotland. The General Record Office of Scotland estimates that over 28 million people have Scottish roots, so I hope my experience and local knowledge will assist you.


"Every man is his own ancestor, and every man his own heir.
He devises his own future, and he inherits his own past."
~H. F. Hedge


Over seventy-five were in attendance to hear Penny Fieke’s court record presentation. The search tactics, which she imparted to the group, are far too numerous to mention here. We did learn that, in genealogy research, court records and land records should not be separated. Penny alluded to three books that are important to court and land record research. "Researchers Guide to American Genealogy" by Val Greenwood, "Land Records" by E. Kay Kirkham and "Land Records in US" by Wade Hone can all be found at the SOCCGS library. If you were so unfortunate as to miss this lecture you will have another opportunity to hear her in January 2008! She asked that we pass along her email address so that she can answer any questions you may have.

President Bill introduced Trish Leard who has accepted the position of Hospitality Chairman for the remainder of the year. Thank you Trish!

Dean Duet shared a hundred year old vase, which had belonged to his great grandmother. He recently met a second cousin while on a trip to Maryland and received the vase from him. Lucky Dean, he continues to have serendipitous genealogy experiences. (See the April 2007 issue of the Saddleback Valley Trails.)

Bunny Smith and Kathie Mauzey generously provided delicious cookies. Thank you ladies!


Welcome to Charles and Patricia Nostrome, Irvine and Susan Nordell Mission Viejo who became members at the September meeting.

Charles is searching for Nostrome & Sorbo in Auellino, Italy 1850-1880 and Capaldo, Sorbo & Serpico in Auellino, Italy; Mehlmauer, Salina, Italy 1880-1900.

Patricia’s families are Fallon, Murray, Tehan, Nerton, Anselmo, Durta 1890’s Hawaii to California; Fallon, Murray, Roscommon, Ireland 1883 New York to California; Tehan in Kilkenny, Ireland 1863 Dublin to California; Nerton in Linconshire, England 1830’s Oregon, Washington.

Susan is researching in Franklin, Vermont for Catherine Flanagan about 1837; Alcase Lorraine, France for Charles Henry 1837; and for Catherine Josephine Higgins, born19 July 1885 and died 1958.

Guests at the meeting were David Flint, Ruth Relin, Norma Longmire and Cynthia Gilbert.

Email correction: Mickie & Ron Dempsey


Herb Abrams will update your information on the SOCCGS Surname Website Listing as needed. Please check your information, and if corrections and/or additions are necessary notify Herb or (949) 581-6292). New members are especially encouraged to add their Surnames to this list. Send an email to Herb listing your surnames, locations and years you are researching.


Please wear your Name Badge to the monthly meetings. Don’t have one? Herb Abrams will provide one if you sign up at the check-in table.


Don’t forget to send your literary contributions to the newsletter editor by the Wednesday following the monthly meeting. These may be sent via email or Word attachment. All submissions are subject to editorial approval and may be edited for content or space. Send to:

Opportunity Quilt

Quilt chairman, Barbara Wilgus displayed the quilt top at the August meeting. It is fifty-two inches square and the colors used are dark reds, greens and browns. Accent squares are cream. It is now on the way to the quilter. The next viewing will be at the October Seminar. Herb has uploaded a quilt photo on our website (

Barbara ( has tickets and pictures of the quilt available. Please give her a call and help make this a successful ways & means project.


Rootsweb Archives Search

Use "advanced search" – find all the Rootsweb mailing lists to which you have made posts.


Or, Leave No Stone Unturned!

~Donna Hobbs

Count yourselves fortunate if your ancestors are buried in a cemetery near a major highway, a church, or if you find a cemetery someone has transcribed. However, most of us find ourselves trekking through weeds, getting lost in cornfields, or reading perfectly wonderful maps that show roads and highways, the problem being that none of the roads in the area have street signs.

I made a goal to visit the gravesites of my husband and my relatives who died after 1800. With a future visit to Pennsylvania I should have my husband’s family finished and mine was finished on a recent visit to West Texas. What have I learned, lots!

My favorite cemeteries were the first and the last two. The first graveyard was quite an adventure; I was looking for the Brents Family Cemetery in Clinton County, Kentucky. I had only seen one reference to this cemetery and the location couldn’t have been more vague: "This cemetery is located fairly close to Highways 127 and 90." Thanks to a "cousin" on the Brents Rootsweb page I was able to contact a 90 plus year old "cousin" who, when I called, graciously said he would drive me around Clinton County. On our first day out Mr. Brents told me he had a surprise. This was an understatement! He was driving down Hwy. 127 when all of a sudden he pulled off the road bumped over a ditch and headed into a field of weeds. I was sure he was having a stroke. No, he was fine just heading for one of many clusters of trees, about a mile or two off the road. When we reached the trees, he helped me out of the car (my legs were shaking from this wild ride) and we walked a few hundred feet to another grove of trees. Under these trees was the Brents Family Cemetery, holding the graves of my third, fourth, and fifth Brents great grandparents. My fifth great grandfather, JOHN BRENTS, died in 1819. What a joy it was to see this small cemetery bordered with a wrought iron fence, planted with ferns and other shade plants. We walked on a little further in order to see the slave’s cemetery, which was also beautifully cared for. The next day I drove myself along Highway 127 looking for the cemetery. I never found it…may be magical moments are not meant to be revisited.

My second favorite search took place in Indiana, in another Clinton County. This county is in central Indiana and we were visiting in the summer, which means "corn as high as an elephants eye." I had what I thought was a great map to a cemetery full of Hobbs family, dating back to 1830, the beginning of Clinton County. We spent a half-day in a frenzied drive around farms and cornfields as none of the roads in this rural countryside had street signs. We finally stumbled onto a town. In what turned out to be a serendipitous moment we spotted a mortuary down a side street and decided to stop and make some inquiries. The mortician said he knew the cemetery, hadn’t been out there in a few years, but could give us directions. The directions: Go down to the only stop sign, turn left, and drive till you come to the two story red brick house. Drive until the fence on your left ends then turn left. Drive until you see two silos, turn left, and drive until you come to the red barn with the blue door. Turn right on the first dirt road. Drive about a mile and the cemetery will be on the right. The directions were perfect! We would never have found it on our own since the cemetery had no sign, was surrounded by fields and nary a building as far as the eye could see.

On the last search, again, there was a mortician to thank. I was searching for a cemetery in rural Hardeman County, Texas. Thanks to "" I had a picture of the cemetery’s entry gates, but after multiple messages on message boards and phone calls no directions could be found. The maps showed numerous roads named Ranch Road 1167, etc. I could tell I was in trouble. So, I called the County Clerk’s office and was given the phone number of a local mortuary. His directions: Go north on 287 through Vernon to Chillicothe. Turn left at the streetlight. Follow the road out of town. There is a big curve to the right with a blacktop road, don’t take the blacktop road. There is a big curve to the left, but keep going straight. There is a big curve to the right, but don’t go on it, look for a blacktop road on the left and go on it. The cemetery is about ¼ mile down the blacktop. He asked when I was planning on arriving and said, "I’ll be here on that day, so give me a call if you get lost". Again, perfect directions! We celebrated reaching my goal in this cemetery surrounded by cattle and horses with not a building to be seen as far as the eye could see.

My advice to those searching for ancestral burial places is, if your cemetery isn’t near a major highway, road, city or town or near a church that is still standing: Find a local person to drive you to the cemetery. Obtain directions from published cemetery transcriptions ( Visit the local mortuary.

Finding the final resting places for ancestors who died before 1800 is my new goal. I look forward to searching next in Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and Ohio.

We've uncovered some embarrassing ancestors in the not-too-distant past. Some horse thieves, and some people killed on Saturday nights. One of my relatives, unfortunately, was even in the newspaper business. 
 ~Jimmy Carter

Seminar Vendors

Our resident author Jacquelyn Hanson will again have a display of her biographical novels. These will include Matilda’s Story, Susan’s Quest, Katlin’s Fury and Matilda’s Story; The California Years. Those who have read any of Jackie’s books know that she tells her stories in a way that is both compelling and entertaining. The rest of you are in for a great read!

"Genealogy Note Cards" by Alexis will once more be offered for sale.

Following is an introduction to a new vendor at the 2007 seminar. Your Story Here - video biographies for a lasting genealogical legacy. "Your Story Here" will be showcasing some ideas for recording family stories and histories on video.

While books are a popular way of capturing the results of your genealogical discoveries, there is a strong and growing demand to record the results on video, creating a DVD that can be shared with everyone in the family. Surprisingly this is a real, reasonably priced option, which is now a possibility for your family history.

Showcasing your family story on DVD is a wonderful way of sharing your family story in an accessible, colorful and entertaining way. It is popular with both young and older members of the family

Material can be presented in a variety of ways – incorporating your valuable genealogical research, important family documents and photographs, expertly retouched. Voice over and even interviews can be added to bring the photos and story to life.

Jane Lehmann-Shafron and her husband Peter work with clients to develop a product that meets their needs and budgets. To find out more visit them on the web: or call them on 949-716-2390 or email They will be in attendance at our October Family History Seminar to answer all of your questions and showcase examples.

Note: We hope to have more vendors to introduce in the October newsletter.

George G. Caldwell

~Billie May Bowron

George Gerrard Caldwell was a cousin from my great-grandfather’s, Alexander Cory/Corey, side of family. His maternal grandmother, Hannah Frear Gerrard, was a cousin to Alexander. George was born in November 1859 in Nekini, Winnebago County, Wisconsin. When he was about three years old he lost his father: Isaac W. Caldwell, in the Civil War on 7 May 1862 at Memphis, Tennessee. He was the oldest son. His two younger brothers were Charles Allen (1861) and James W. (1863) He had one older sister, Jane (Jennie (1858). At the time of his father’s death the family was living in Wisconsin. Later his mother moved the family to North Dakota.

George grew into manhood taking care of his mother, Catherine F. (Gerrard) Caldwell. He became a farmer, and was one an early setter in Dickey County, North Dakota. It is said that he had one of the finest farms in Dickey County, and was well known to all who lived there. On 16 September 1903, his mother passed away. He was forty-four years old and had never married. However, that was soon to change!

He went to Grand Forks, North Dakota and came back with a new bride! When he arrived home his face wore such a happy expression that some of his friends ventured to ask him the why and wherefore, and he told them he had married at Grand Forks. His new wife was formerly Miss Anna Clark, a twenty-seven year old schoolteacher. They were married 23 September1904. George and Anna had three children. Charles (1905) and Marjorie (1908) were born in North Dakota. Soon after Marjorie’s birth they sold their farm and moved to Orange County, California, where Ruth Catherine was born in 1912. It is not known what occasioned this move from North Dakota to California.

In 1910 George owned a chicken farm on Country Road in Villa Park, California. By 1920 he owned a citrus ranch on Santiago Boulevard, Villa Park. George died 19 August 1929 in Villa Park.

In 1930 Charles was a laborer on an Orange County citrus ranch and lived with his wife, Hazel. He died in Los Angeles in 1964. I am now searching for their children, if any, and possible marriages of his sisters, Marjorie and Ruth. In genealogy, researching collateral lines is a means to an end. In this case I am trying to determine just how Hannah Frear became to be a cousin to Alexander Corey.

Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War have a link to California Civil War/GAR Memorials.

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

Hidden Gems Lurking at RootsWeb

~Joan Young

Even the newest and most casual RootsWeb user is most likely familiar with RootsWeb's mailing lists and message boards. Most users have also probably searched or uploaded a GEDCOM to WorldConnect. These are among the major features you immediately learn about when you discover RootsWeb. However, if you delve a bit further beneath the surface you find some hidden gems lurking at RootsWeb just waiting to be discovered. I'd like to share a few of my favorite hidden treasures with you.

At the top of my list of little gems is an old message I found within the extensive archives of ROOTS-L, the granddaddy of all RootsWeb mailing lists. Everyone should read this article, especially if you are new to genealogy. The message provides excellent pointers on getting started in your research:

How many times have you looked at your family tree and stopped to ask yourself, "Is cousin Harry my second cousin twice removed, or is he my first cousin three times removed?" You can find the answer by using the relationship chart located here:

Another helpful chart in determining relationships is the Kinship Chart (or Consanguinity Chart) located on the following RootsWeb-hosted site:

You need forms for completing a family group sheet, or you are looking at a census record on Ancestry and can't quite make out the column heading for the information you are attempting to decipher. "If you only had a sample form for comparison." You can get the following forms free, in PDF format: Ancestral Charts, Research Calendars, Research Extracts, Correspondence Records, Family Group Sheets, Source Summaries, U.S. Census Forms, 1790-1930 (plus 1850 and 1860 Slave Schedules and 1890 Veterans Schedules), and UK and Canadian Census Forms. Just visit this RootsWeb page:

Now that you have those census forms and have deciphered the column headings, the next thing you need to know is the official dates for U.S. censuses, which you can find here:

Your favorite search engine allows you to search using an exact match or Soundex. But what exactly is Soundex? You can find out at the Understanding Soundex page:

You can also use RootsWeb's Soundex Converter here:

Your great-grandpa's obituary states that he belonged to the I.O.R.M. and that your grandaunt Martha was a member of the DAR. You are not quite certain what the organizations are. Acronyms and abbreviations for these organizations and many others that you may encounter are explained on this site hosted by RootsWeb:

You know the name of the town where your ancestor lived but you don't know the county in which the town is located. Try using RootsWeb's Town-County finder. Type in the name of the town and the state in the appropriate boxes and the Town-County finder will tell you which county or counties in the state had towns by that name. If you are not sure of the state but have a town name, type in the town and leave the state blank and you will get a list of all the states in which towns by this name are found:

Or perhaps you know the county where your family member lived but not the state. You can find which states have counties of a certain name by using the RootsWeb County Finder located here. Type in the county name and leave the state blank to obtain a list of all the states with counties of a specific name:

Above are only a few of the hidden gems you can find by poking around in the dark corners at RootsWeb.

(Rootsweb Review, 01 August 2007, Vol.10, No. 31)

New At

Check out these new databases at the SOCCGS Genealogy Library: California Marriage and Divorce Indexes;

U.S. County Land Ownership Atlases, c. 1864-1918; U.S. War Bounty Land Warrants, 1789-1858; U.S. Indian Census Schedules, 1885-1940 and Passenger Ships and Images – Updated.


In different hours, a man represents each of several of his ancestors, as if there were seven or eight of us rolled up in each man’s skin, —seven or eight ancestors at least, and they constitute the variety of notes for that new piece of music which his life is. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson




September 29 - North San Diego County Genealogical Society’s Fall Seminar, "Finding Ourselves: Case Studies in Genealogy." Contact: Nina & Wayne Anderson

October 27 – Mission Viejo Library Tenth Anniversary Celebration. SOCCGS will hold an all-day Genealogy Workshop in the Genealogy Department. (More information will be forthcoming.)

In concurrence with the library celebration, SOCCGS will hold an all-day genealogy workshop. No reservations necessary. Participants are encouraged to come any time between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

December 2 - "Celtic Christmas Faire" at Soka University, Aliso Viejo

May 24 & 25, 2008 - United Scottish Society HIGHLAND FESTIVAL Returns to Orange County Fairgrounds.



SOCCGS’ A Family History Seminar
Saturday, October 201, 20076 -
9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
(Doors Open 8:00 a.m.)
City Hall, Saddleback Room, 100 Civic Center Drive, Corner La Paz & Marguerite
(North end of the city hall directly across the library parking lot.)

"Searching for Ancestors - A Journey of Self-discovery"
Featuring Renowned Genealogy Author & Lecturer
John Colletta


"State Archives: What They Are and How to Use Them"
"Using Newspapers for Family History Research"
"Erie Canal Genealogy: The Peopling of Upstate New York and the Midwest"
"How to Assemble and Write a Genealogical Work
That Is Both a Reliable Document and a Readable Story."


Refreshments - Door Prizes - Drawing for Handmade Quilt
Sales Tables and Displays


Pre-registration must be received by October 18 / Tickets at the door $25.00, no lunch.
(Seminar information & registration form also available on SOCCGS website.)


SOCCGS ‘2007’ Seminar Registration

Name(s) ____________________________________________ Registration: _____@ $20.00

___________________________________________________Box Lunch: _____@ $7.50

Address: ____________________________________________

City & Zip: ___________________________________________ Total: $_________

Telephone: __________________________________________

Mail to:

SOCCGS, P.O. Box 4513
Mission Viejo, CA 92690-4513
Information: (949) 581-0690 or


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