Saddleback Valley Trails

South Orange County California Genealogical Society

Vol. 18 No. 9

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

September 2011

Editor: Gary Schwarz

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 - 17 September 2011

“How Were Your Ancestors Affected by the Events of 1861-1865?”
Presented by
Joan Rambo

Not everyone participated in actual battles. Life went on for some. What was happening on the home front? What records were those people generating that you have overlooked? Most teachers were men, but with many off fighting this opened the door for women to become teachers. What other changes came along because of the war? Let's go looking.

About the Speaker: Joan E. Rambo is the immediate past president of the Orange County California Genealogical Society. Joan has worked as co-chairman for the past 18 years putting together week long package trips for the Society to visit the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Once there she helps those with U.S. research. Joan presents classes and speaks to other societies and philanthropic groups. She helped with cataloging the sizeable genealogy collection to the online catalog for the Huntington Beach Public Library.

Safari News

We last visited the Los Angeles Regional Family History Center in October 2010 just a few days after its reopening. This facility underwent a complete remodeling and renovation. You will be able to take advantage of the vast genealogy resources offered in this great facility. Come join us on September 28th and take part in our safari. Go to, where you can search for books, film and fiche available at this Center. This will enable you to better plan your day. The car(s) will leave the LDS parking lot at 9 a.m. Bring a brown-bag lunch, $$ for your driver, and then enjoy dinner on the way home.

Meeting Location

Until further notice the SOCCGS monthly meetings will be held in the main building at the Mission Viejo Family History Center.

"We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us."

~Winston Churchill

President's Message

~Bill Bluett

Unfortunately, I missed Nancy Huebotter’s presentation on TIMELINES at the July monthly meeting. I was on vacation in South Lake Tahoe with family at the time. But, I have to say that her topic is an important tool to utilize when doing genealogical research. Utilizing TIMELINES has helped me a great deal in researching my ancestors. I gave a presentation to our group last January and shared some examples of a few POWERPOINT presentations that I have created for some of my ancestors. Using a timeline helped me to focus on each ancestor in a chronological sequence and find many informational gaps in my research. Many times, historical related information has helped me to understand what was impacting my ancestors during different periods of time and why they made some of the decisions that they did.

For instance, the Bluett family relocated in the early 1850’s from the mining regions of Eastern Pennsylvania to the “Gold Rush” country around Grass Valley and Nevada City – east of Sacramento. I’m sure they thought that they could improve their standard of living and hopefully enjoy a more comfortable life. This was a major decision and a significant move prior to the railroad coming to the west coast. They would either have to travel overland by wagon west of the Mississippi or by ship – possibly crossing the Panama Isthmus in the process – then sailing to San Francisco. That would be quite a journey regardless which direction you traveled and an expensive one. Today, we all realize that an event as significant as the “Gold Rush” brought many of our ancestors to California. And, here we are!

There is another significant historical event that had a great impact on my great grandmother, Martha Bluett. Her husband James Bluett had died in 1891. Two years after his death, the “Great Depression” of the 1890’s began. Banks, businesses, and railroads were failing. Unemployment climbed over 15%. The nation was in a deep depression for nearly 7 years. Martha was now a widow with 6 children on their 160 acre homestead south of Spokane, Washington. Eventually, the value of her farm became much less than her debts owed and the family lost their homestead residence by 1895. Now that I have been reminded of “The Panic of 1893”, I can go online or find books and web sites that help me to better understand how our nation and families were severely affected during this period of time.

Another timeline period that gained my attention was the Civil War. My wife and I have many ancestors that served in the Union Army. I conducted deeper research into each of our family’s involvement and discovered that Helen and I each had great-great uncles that fought together in a number of key battles in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Helen’s great grandfather’s brother, Bryant Reynolds, served with the 28th Iowa Infantry Regiment. My great grandfather’s brother, Joseph Bluett, served with the 2nd Massachusetts Cavalry. In October of 1864, they both fought at the “Battle of Winchester” and the “Battle of Cedar Creek” under the command of General Philip Sheridan. Major General George Custer was the cavalry commander in those battles. How interesting is that! I just discovered this coincidence and connection between our families last year. By taking the time to delve deeper into our family Civil War records, this fact was uncovered. I have to say that following an ancestor’s timeline prompts me to stop and research more extensively into a given period of time. You just never know what you may discover.

My final example involves another great grandfather, Tom Collins. He began working for the Los Angeles Water Department in the early 1890’s. William Mulholland was the head of the department at that time. I researched Mulholland’s timeline by utilizing online access to the old Los Angeles Times newspaper on the L.A. Public Library website. Goggle had a considerable amount of information, as well. Tom was working for Mulholland when plans were being formulated for the construction of the 233 mile aqueduct from Owens Valley to Los Angeles. This was a “must” project if the Los Angeles area was to continue to grow. It was most interesting to discover that my great grandfather and William Mulholland’s paths crossed during this period of time. I do not know if Tom had any input on the aqueduct project. But, at least he was there when the planning phase began developing into a major project.

As you can see, timelines have helped me to dig a little deeper and uncover more information about many of my ancestors. Including historical data into their lives has given me a much greater understanding of how the past influenced key elements in the lives of my ancestors. Nancy Huebotter gave us a great list of website resources for researching historical data in her July presentation. Give some of them a try and report back to us if you find something that helped you in your research. It might even prompt you to submit an article to our newsletter editor. Good luck in your research endeavors.

August Meeting

Jean Wilcox Hibben’s presentation on FamilySearch Historical Records Collections gave us detailed information on how to access and navigate this astonishing collection of data and documents that continues to grow daily. This accessible tool is free for all genealogists to use. Guests introduced at the meeting were: Joanne Casell, Penny Sanders, and Stacy Smith... Refreshments were provided by members: Bunny Smith, Kathie Mauzey and Marilyn Kowalski.


Two new members joined at the August meeting:

Fran Childers, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA, She is looking for Childers, Blackwell, Hinkle, Brakebill, Kurrle, Hanes, Herbert, Moser Clark and Carson.

Peggy McGlone, Mission Viejo, CA. Peggy is looking for VanHorn in New York, Indiana, & Iowa, Mailloux in Tilbury, Ontario and Quebec, Canada, Tetreault in Quebec and Ontario, Canada, Karber in Ohio & Iowa, Partner in Pennsylvania, Ohio & Iowa, Bourdeau in NewYork & Ontario, Canada

Marci Glidden, whose information was in the August Newsletter, is looking for Collins–Texas (1800’s), Mason–Texas (1854), Raulsto –Oklahoma (1880) and Perdue–Texas (1800’s).

"2011 Seminar"
Curt B. Witcher is coming October 15!

We are beginning to receive reservations for our 10th Annual Seminar. So, it is not too early to send yours in. We expect a full house for Mr. Witcher's first visit to Mission Viejo. Members, please note that reservations are processed on a first come basis, and the capacity of our venue is 125 persons. You will find a Reservation Form on the last page of this newsletter. Tell your friends! Information is on the SOCCGS Website.: or (949)-581-6292

"Needed: Door Prizes, Books and Jewelry!"

Please bring items to the library or to the September meeting.

Do you know of a business that might be willing to contribute a door prize? Or, do you have a new item that someone might feel lucky to win?

The Jewelry Table will be up and running again this year. Donations of costume jewelry in good repair will be appreciated.

Genealogy related books and materials are being sought for the Book Sale Table. You may also donate hardback fiction books. No paperbacks.

New Feature at Family Search

~Herb Abrams

I ordered a microfilm online after hearing Jean Wilcox Hibben's presentation at Saturday's meeting.  The website is: You must register first and tell them to which Family History Center you want the film sent.  The only cost was $5.93 (the transportation expense), which I put on my credit card.  I was impressed with the email reply I got back, which said, "Thank you for your order from FamilySearch. Once your package ships we will send an email with a link to track your order. You can check the status of your order by logging into your account. If you have any questions about your order please contact us at or call FamilySearch."

I found the film number at:, I did a place search for Savannah, Tennessee, where my father grew up and found a newspaper from the years when my father was a young boy.  I am looking forward to reading all the news from that time period.

Who knows what I might find?

Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts.
               ~Arnold Bennett


~FamilySearch is changing so we’re relishing the better changes and working the drawbacks and discomforts.

Change before you have to.
               ~Jack Welsh


~Check out “What’s New” at FamilySearch

Thanks for Giving

~Patricia Ann (Dean) Christiansen

As we research our ancestors we sometimes find others who have performed some action that has affected our lives in significant ways. When my next younger sister Barbara Dean was born in February 1934 she had a birth defect that prevented the intake of food; vomiting would begin within moments of being fed. This condition is called pyloric stenosis. That was an era when the infant literally starved to death unless diagnosed by a competent physician. The surgeries that followed often resulted in the death of the child from infection. The prognosis usually was not too promising.

When our family was living in Cincinnati, Ohio (1932-1939) mother was under the care of Doctor Charles D. Heisel a Cincinnati native born in 1880. Dr. Heisel was the son of Daniel Heisel (a carpenter and wood turner, working in a furniture factory and born in Bavaria) and Elizabeth Heisel, his mother. Charles was the middle child of the three surviving of the elder Heisel’s five children.

Charles and his siblings were instilled with the desire to get an education and to also be contributors to the world around them. His sister, Emma, was first a librarian and then a school teacher; his brother, Elmer, became a lawyer; and Charles became a doctor. Charles was 41 when he married Gertrude, a widow with a 5-year old disabled son; the boy was unable to attend school, read, write or speak.

Dr. Heisel performed the surgery on my sister Barbara to correct her stomach blockage. Ether was used as an anesthesia and the incision began at her sternum and ended at her pelvis. When Barbara was brought home, she was not allowed to cry for fear the incision would open. Mother made a bed for her in our wicker laundry basket and as she did her chores carried Barbara throughout the house. Barbara developed colic, a condition provoked by the surgery, and had to be picked up and calmed at the first peep.

There was another fear … that of peritonitis developing. No antibiotics or penicillin were with us at that time, only sulfa drugs; something akin to denatured alcohol had been poured into the open incision to forestall infection. This surgery, over 75 years ago on an infant barely a week old, was precedent setting and historic in that it had a successful outcome. The patient survived. As an adult, Barbara sometimes mentions that the incision made her abdomen look like a laced up football. She also says that is the extent of her interest in sports.

As a physician and surgeon, Dr. Heisel exuded compassion. Mother (Rebecca Irene Shultz Dean) told me that Dr. Heisel had tears in his eyes as he removed, with great tenderness, the countless stitches from Barbara’s abdomen. No dissolving sutures in those days; cat gut and staples were the norm.

Dr. Heisel was the attending physician when my sisters and I each entered the world. After Nancy, the youngest was born, Dr. Heisel performed a hysterectomy on our mother; a difficult delivery and the loss of considerable blood necessitated this additional procedure. Three babies in 44 months can take its toll. In 1939, he removed my sister’s and my tonsils and adenoids the spring before we moved from Cincinnati to Columbus, Ohio. Our father, John Dean, was a petroleum engineer with Standard Oil of Ohio and was transferred to set up gasoline stations for the company in this new area.

Our doctor never stopped learning or perfecting his craft; he was proficient in many areas of medicine, he made house calls and was available on weekends. When my adolescent cousin shoved me into a windowsill ledge while we were playing London Bridge, Dr. Heisel opened his office on a Sunday to stitch my torn eyebrow and chastised my cousin for his “brutish behavior.” The bird-in-flight scar still remains as a reminder of this childhood prank.

When my sister Nancy “ate” a shaving cream covered Schick Injector razor blade, Dr. Heisel was the one who was called. No scar was ever evident on my sister’s lower lip; “Young ladies shouldn’t have marks on their pretty faces,” he said. The stitches were made inside her mouth. His treatment style had a calming and healing effect. Mother was encouraged to massage the area gently with Vaseline Petroleum Jelly to keep the skin soft.

My son Carl (born September 1958) and my great-grandson, Luis (born October 2006 and nicknamed “Junior”), were each born with pyloric stenosis conditions. For Carl, the blockage was a partial one and wasn’t diagnosed until he was several months old. The membrane ruptured in 1959 when we flew in a non-pressurized private plane to visit my mother.

As a sharp contrast to my sister Barbara’s surgery, Junior’s repair, at the age of five weeks in 2006, consisted of three tiny incisions in his abdomen (one through his navel), less than half a dozen stitches, and three small round bandages to cover the incisions.

At the age of 38 Barbara was identified with an IQ of 162. Today, my sister is a Doctor of Speech Language Pathology working with disordered children and their parents; she is witty, educated and a talented provider to society. How fortunate we are to have Barbara still with us. Dr. Heisel is gone, but the memory of how hard he tried to ensure a chance for our futures is still with us.

To those who contributed to and enhanced our joy of family, thanks for giving!

Extreme remedies are very appropriate for extreme diseases.


No health insurance back in the day!

Never go to a doctor whose office plants have died.
               ~Erma Bombeck


Unless he makes house calls or works on Sundays.

Query from Scotland

At 2:30 am, SOCCGS’ rootsweb mailing list received this query from John Gibb of Scotland:

“This is my first post and I'm looking for help. This is a very long shot, but nothing ventured nothing gained! Flora McKinnon was born on the Isle of Mull Scotland on 5th Nov. 1859; I know that she left Scotland to settle in the USA. I have the 1881 Scottish census showing a "Flora McKinnon" living in Glasgow; if that is her she must have left Scotland in 1881 or later. I have a diary from another of her family which states "Flora died 23rd Nov. 1928 in Calif".

And by noontime, Kathy Mauzey had discovered Flora’s married name, her husband’s name, their whereabouts in Illinois in 1900, their residence in Montana in 1910 and her final residence in Sacramento CA in 1920, where she passed away. Kathy emailed John immediately, and we are certain he is celebrating highland style tonight with such immediate feedback.

Bjørn Family Reunion (2011)

~Jim Thordahl

Color coding descendant lines is a clever way to enhance our personal identity and clarify our place in a large family. For younger folks it adds a friendly way to meet cousins at an occasional family reunion. Color spices up a chart too. If you are doing a family tree, remember, the leaves on a tree come in many colors. At a recent family reunion, I illustrated the colors on my family tree by writing and reading the following “poem.”

In the year of twenty eleven,
     In the summer month of seven,
The Bjørns (Bears, you know) went to Tennessee.
     To see what they could see.

The Bjørns drove up the mountain,
     And drove, and drove (carefully);
Up the slope and around the curves,
     Even a hair-pin turn or two.

From the top of the mountain,
     This is what they saw:
A lot of folks from their family tree,
     Who had come together in Tennessee.
They came to play and came to stay,
     Each family in a fine chalet.

Upon a Smokey Mountains’ peak,
     A view of the past, they did seek.
Treasured cousins, they would greet,
     And another generation, they would meet.

On the summit they might also meet -
     A fellow you best hesitate to greet.
Better to pay him “no-never-mind.”
     The black bear is of another kind.

Our bear clan comes in color too.
     Hanne has prescribed the hue.

Pardon a departure from rhyme and meter
     To paint them all from sire, Peder.


All descended from Peder Jensen Bjørn (1829-1888) are we; and his wife.
     Johanne Poulsen (1832-1893) she would be.

First of their children was Jens, (1860-1938).
     His descendants today are generous in green.

Their second child, Johanne Marie, (1862-1956) and her husband, Anton Jensen, (1864-1932) were first to come to America.
     They farmed in Iowa and had no children.

Then there was Poul (1865-1959), who raised his family in Iowa.
     His descendants are now plentiful in pink.

Lars (1867-1951) was their fourth child. He came to America too.
     Only recently did Hanne find his descendants.
     Until then an improbable pink could do.

Next was Hans (1871-1940) who raised his family in the homeland.
     The descendants of this fellow glow a bright yellow.

The last child was Niels, (1875-1939), whose descendants are found in Denmark and America.
     For them a shade of blue is due.

A colorful bunch of Bears are we,
     Who have come together in Tennessee.

2011 Genealogy Events

October 15South Orange County California Genealogical Society presents its annual seminar in Mission Viejo, CA, this year featuring Curt B. Witcher, a manager of the Allen County Library, Fort Wayne, Indiana.

October 15 - The 13th Annual Family History Day at the California State Archives will be in Sacramento, California.  This free, public event will feature genealogy classes; Archives tours and classes in the Preservation Lab; Root Cellar Genealogical Library; and exhibitors. Co-sponsored by “Root Cellar – Sacramento Genealogical Society.” Details at; email

October 22Clark County Nevada Genealogical Society presents its CCNGS Fall Family History Seminar in Las Vegas, Nevada, “Gardening Your Roots, A Genealogy Series”,

Ways and Means

~Jim Thordahl – Ways & Means Chairman

Ralphs’ Community Program - We have received a check from Ralphs in the amount of $171.87. During the last quarter 46 households participated in the Ralphs Community Program. They were: Abrams, Barry, Cramer, Crowley, D. (initial only), Dill, Domenick, Elster, Flint, Frankel, Gahran, Harley, Irey, Keyser, Lancey, Larsen, Laventure, Lobo, Luckman, Mauzey, McQueen, McGuigan, Merchant, Merritt, Murtha, Nash, Naylor, Nolen, Penland, Petrime, Poff, Reilly, Reinhold, Roy, Ryu, Schwarz, Sheean, Smith, Taylor, Thordahl, Weeks, White, Wilgus, Witte. Was your name missing? Two households were listed by number only. This suggests that their Rewards Card data are incomplete.

Remember! September starts a new “Ralphs' year.” We must re-enroll. Pick up a “Scanbar letter” at the September meeting. A “Scanbar Letter” can also be downloaded from our website. If you are a new SOCCGS member or have not yet enrolled, it’s easy. Get a Ralphs Rewards Card, if you don’t have one. Present a copy of the “Scanbar letter” which contains our code at checkout the next time you shop at Ralphs. You may also enroll on-line at If you have a question call or e-mail: ; ph: (949) 492-5334.

Quilt Raffle - The sale of Quilt Raffle tickets began at the July meeting. Sales totaled $55. That is a great start! Tickets (6 for $5 or $1 each) will be available at the August and September meetings and at the Seminar 0n October 15. The final event at the Seminar will be the drawing for the winning ticket.

Brick Walls & Genealogy Research Suggestions

Sheila Larson located a book on WorldCat with information about an ancestor hanged for committing murder in 1867. The Illinois library (who had the 55 page book) made a copy for her for $5. What a deal!

David Flint has discovered that his father was 1 of 8 siblings and not 7. An aunt in England had information on a brother born in 1909 that died at the age of approximately 2 months.

Jack Naylor is enjoying searching the 1865 New York State Census on the FamilySearch website.

Kevin Gross uses the Family Tree Maker 2011 program. He entered his uncle’s name and found WWII military information including the cemetery, section, lot number, and grave number. Kevin contacted the Western PA. Genealogy Society (in Pittsburgh) and they went to the cemetery and took 5 headstone pictures and sent them to Kevin.

Rosanna Gahran needs help locating death records in New Jersey because they are stored by county.

Barbara Taylor used the GenForum message board and received great responses from a gentleman that helped her uncover information about her husband’s grandparents (and their parents) located in the Virginia/North Carolina area. A marriage record was found on as well.

Gary Schwarz suggested by submitting pedigree charts and family group sheets to various genealogical societies to which members belong, new family contacts may be located to help put some cracks in brick walls. Gary met a second cousin while attending a Germans from Russia Heritage Society (GRHS) Convention, who had found him by looking through group sheets and pedigree charts that the GRHS had brought to the convention and by a chance meeting at one of the sessions. Her mother is ninety-one years old and is willing to talk about family history.

All things are difficult before they are easy.
               ~Thomas Fuller


Breaking brick walls!


President, Seminar & Safari
Chairman_______________________________ Bill Bluett___________________
Vice President / Program Chairman _____ David Flint___________________
Recording Secretary____________________ Sandy Crowley_________________
Corresponding Secretary________________ Pat Weeks_____________________
Treasurer______________________________ Mary Jo McQueen_______________
Historian______________________________ Barbara Wilgus________________
Hospitality____________________________ Barbara Heebner_______________
Hospitality____________________________ Sharon Keener_________________
Librarian______________________________ Bunny Smith___________________
Membership_____________________________ Jack Naylor___________________
Newsletter Editor______________________ Gary Schwarz__________________
Parliamentarian________________________ Marilyn Kowalski______________
Publicity / Webmaster__________________ Herb Abrams___________________
Ways & Means___________________________ Jim Thordahl__________________ 

SOCCGS Website @

Mail List:

SOCCGS Research Center, Mission Viejo Library;

Marguerite Parkway at LaPaz, (949) 470-8498

SOCCGS E-mail:

Use this form to send with your dues payment

South Orange County California Genealogical Society Membership/Renewal Application

 ( ) New   ( ) Renewal      ( ) Individual, $20/yr.      ( ) Joint Members, same address, $25/yr.
 City_____________________________________ State_______ Zip _____________ Phone__________________
 Email address:__________________________________________________________________________________
 Make check payable to: SOCCGS
 Mail with application to: SOCCGS, P.O. Box 4513, Mission Viejo, CA 92690

South Orange County
California Genealogical Society

Mission Viejo, California


A Family History Seminar
Saturday, October 15, 2011 - 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.)

“An Ancestor’s Life – Pulling It All Together”

Curt B. Witcher
Renowned Lecturer & Manager of the Allen Co. Library Genealogy Dept. - Ft. Wayne, Indiana


“Doing the History Eliminates the Mystery”
“Fingerprinting Our Families – Using Ancestral Origins as a Research Key”
“An Ancestor’s Death – A Time for Reaping”
“The Road Not Taken - Mega Internet Sites Off the Beaten Path”


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

Pre-registration must be received by October 12 / Tickets at the door $25.00, no lunch.
(Seminar information & registration form are also available on SOCCGS website.)

Use this form to register for seminar. Send with your check for payment.

SOCCGS ‘2011’ Seminar Registration

 Name(s) ___________________________________________________________ Registration: ______ @$20.00
 ___________________________________________________________________ Box Lunch:    ______ @ $9.00
 Address: __________________________________________________________ Total:   $__________

 City & Zip: _______________________________________________________
 Telephone: _________________________ E-mail:____________________________________________________
 Mail to: SOCCGS, P.O. Box 4513                               Information: (949) 492-9408 or
          Mission Viejo, CA 92690-4513      

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