Saddleback Valley Trails

South Orange County California Genealogical Society
Vol. 13 No. 10 Editor: Mary Jo McQueen October 2006
 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.

OCTOBER 21, 2006

Seventy-eight people have signed up for the family history seminar. Those who have not yet registered, and plan to attend, must be sure their registration is received by October 18. This will likely be the last time we will be able to present a seminar featuring Dr. Schweitzer, so don’t miss it!

This will be a significant genealogical experience for those who have not attended one of his presentations. Dr. Schweitzer does many of his lectures in costume. He will assume a frontier persona for the Scots-Irish lecture, and change into a “Colonial” for the Virginia presentation.

After the lectures you will have an opportunity to ask questions of Dr. Schweitzer. Since they do not have to relate to the day’s presentation, you may want to bring one of those “stumbling blocks”, with you!

Sales and display tables will include: Dr. Schweitzer books and tapes, SOCCGS used books (and other stuff), costume jewelry, books by Jackie Hanson, genealogy note cards by “Alexis”, Creative Memories scrapbooking with Maggie Matthews, DAR & SAR information, and general genealogy information

Don’t forget our great door prizes and free refreshments for your morning break! And, of course, the opportunity quilt drawing.

Come and enjoy this informative and fun-filled day!
Registration form at end of this newsletter


November 18 - Member-Participation Program. Details will be announced in the November newsletter.
December 16 - Annual Holiday Luncheon.


It is time for our annual research trip to the Los Angeles Public Library. Call Bill Bluett at (949) 492-9408 if you are interested in participating. This will a full day of research, with dinner on the way home. Please bring $$ for your driver and be prepared to buy your dinner. You may bring lunch, or eat at one of the places available in, or near, the library. We will leave the LDS parking lot promptly at 9 a.m. Keep in mind that two vehicles may be needed for this journey.

Common sense is genius dressed in its working clothes.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson


About sixty members and guests enjoyed a most informative presentation given by Nancy Huebotter. Are we all now inspired to begin writing down our stories? Bill Bluett and Barbara Wilgus arranged an extensive display of member’s family history projects. “Thank You” to all who participated. This was so well received that Bill is thinking of a reprise at the November meeting. A huge “thank you” goes to interim hospitality chairman, Diane Hearne, for agreeing to serve out Leesola Cannon’s term on the board, and for supplying the delicious goodies.

Guests, and hopefully prospective members, in attendance were: James Allred and Donna McLean.

Welcome to our newest member, Patricia Leard of Mission Viejo, who joined at the September meeting.


As of the August mailing we will hold newsletters for members whose previous newsletter has been returned. The post office does not forward third class mail, and it costs 75 cents for each one undelivered. Most of those returned have been listed as “Temporarily Away.” We can also send the newsletter first class if you provide us with you temporary address.


The newest member of our docent staff is Michael Smith. He will be staffing the genealogy desk on Wednesdays, 10 to 1. Welcome, and thank you, Michael.

There is still a need for docents, especially substitutes!. Please call Bunny Smith, 949-472-8046, if you are able help. Training classes for prospective docents are held on Tuesdays (10-1), Thursdays (12-3) and Saturdays (10 to 1, except 3rd). These classes are also open to current docents and any members wishing to learn more about using the resources available at the library. If this is not convenient, please call Bunny to reserve a more convenient time.

To All The Kids Who Survived the 1930’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and 70’s!!

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us.
They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes.
Then after that trauma, our baby cribs were covered with bright colored lead-based paints.
We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking.
As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags.
Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat.
We drank water from the garden hose and ot from a bottle.
We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and no one actually died from this.
We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank soda pop with sugar in it, but we weren't overweight because we were always outside playing!
We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.
No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O.K.
We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.
We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 99 channels on cable, no video tape movies, no surround sound, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet chat rooms, we had friends, and we went outside and played with them!
We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.
We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.
We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes.
We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them!
Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!
The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!
This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever!
The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.
We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all!
(Thanks to Pat Weeks for passing along this bit of trivia.)

Genealogy Quick Tips

Wet Stones: To get a good picture of a tombstone, I wet the face of the stone with regular water in a spray bottle. Most stones have a polished face which repels water and the cut letters and numbers hold water on the surface. This enhances contrast and adds a nice shine to the stone. I discovered this by accident when cleaning a grimy stone and taking a few pictures as it dried. Pictures of the dampened stone were much easier to read.
Guy Harrison, Minneapolis
(Ancestry Daily News,, 9/17/2006)

Citing Sources

A great misconception of family tree hobbyists is that citing sources is only for professional or "serious" genealogists, and if you are doing genealogy for fun or "just for your family" you don't need to bother. Wrong -- unless, of course, you have lots of time and money to waste (so you can do the same research over and over again because you don't know where you have looked or where you found the information or can't determine which source is more likely correct when various "facts" start to argue), or if you don't care whether your genealogy is as accurate as possible and worth being passed along as a gift to your descendants so they can continue the work without reinventing the wheel.
One of the most difficult concepts about genealogical research for many to grasp and accept is that when you are citing sources you should use YOUR sources -- not your cousins' and not mine. If you obtain some information from my material posted at WorldConnect, for example, then I am your source of that information. Always cite the source that you actually used, not the one that someone told about or the one someone else makes a reference to. If Cousin Jack tells you that he obtained your mutual grandfather's birth information from a census, then your cousin is your source for that information. However, if you examine the census yourself, then it is your source and not Cousin Jack.
SOURCE OR EVIDENCE: What's the difference?
--Source is the means by which information comes to a researcher.
--Evidence is the physical form in which information is presented to the senses.
RootsWeb Review: RootsWeb's Weekly E-zine, Vol. 6, No. 13, 26 March 2003 (c) 1998-2003, Inc.

Editor's Note: See also the following articles by Drew Smith:
"Citing Messages" - .
"Citing the Sites" - .
as well as: Citing Sources topic at Cyndi's List - .

Free Classes - Genealogical Society of North Orange County

October 11, 6:30 p.m., BASIC RESOURCES (spelling? Penmanship? and the Census Taker) by Wendy B. Elliott at the Brea Library, 1 Civic Center Circle.

October 18, 7:00 p.m., INTERNET BASICS (Negotiating the Wild, Wild Web Without Getting Lost) by Barbara Renick at the Yorba Linda Community Center, 4501 Casa Loma Avenue.

October 23, 7 p.m., LOCAL RESOURCES (Looking Locally, Finding Globally) by Caroline B. Rober at the Placentia Library, 411 East Chapman Avenue.

October 20, 7 p.m., DOCUMENTATION (Document, Document, Document!) by Laureen Tywoniuk at the Haskett Branch Library, 2650 West Broadway, Anaheim.

Newspaper Archive

Choose from over 250 small town newspapers you can read free every week! Browse & search scanned newspaper archive from 1865 up to the current edition.

“Every time I hear the word ‘exercise’, I wash
my mouth out with chocolate!”

The Year Was 1835

The year was 1835 and historical accounts from Missouri tell of a cold beginning to the year. An online version of History of Greene County, Missouri, 1883 relates that,

The winter of 1834-5, was intensely cold. “The cold Friday and Saturday” were long remembered. Cattle had their horns frozen, many old settlers assert, and in some instances, had their legs frozen off up to the knees. Pigs and fowls perished in great numbers, and there was much damage done to peach and other fruit trees. [171]

The snow was unusually deep and drifted to extraordinary depths, laying on from December to March. The people were thereby subjected to many inconveniences, not to say privations. It was impossible, in many cases, to go to mill or to a store, owing to the distance and the impassable condition of the roads, and so the hominy block was called into requisition to supply bread stuff, and the “store goods” were dispensed with.

In Tennessee, “February 5, 1835, was called ‘Cold Friday’ because so many cattle and hogs froze to death that day.”

Another natural phenomenon that occurred in 1835 was the appearance of Halley’s Comet. It was the second predicted appearance of the comet. Perhaps it was Halley’s Comet that inspired the Great Moon Hoax of 1835. In August of that year, the New York Sun ran an article on the “Great Astronomical Discoveries Lately Made by Sir John Herschel, L.L.D. F.R.S. &c.” The article said that Herschel had, through a new high-powered telescope, viewed fantastic features of the moon that included bison, a tribe of bi-ped beavers, and a race of winged humans. The Wikipedia entry on the hoax includes links to transcriptions of the articles that appeared.

One of the most disastrous events of that year occurred in New York with the Great Fire of 1835. On a frigid December evening, a fire began in a warehouse and spread quickly. The firefighters were hampered by a shortage of water due to frozen hydrants. Eventually the decision was made to blow up buildings in the path of the fire to deprive it of fuel and this was how the fire was eventually extinguished. By then it had destroyed over 700 buildings and damage was estimated at $20 million. A map of the affected area and more information can be found on the Virtual New York website.

1835 also marked the start of the Texas Revolution when on October 2, American colonists successfully held off Mexican forces at Gonzales, Texas. The colonists would go on to win their independence in April of 1836.

Transportation in Europe was becoming easier with the first railway in continental Europe connecting Brussels and Mechelen, Belgium. Another rail first came in December when the first German train ran between Nurnberg and Furth.

(From Ancestry Weekly,,17 September 2006)

Coming Soon to the SOCCGS Library

The Ricker Compilation of Vital Records of Early Connecticut [CD] based on the Barbour Collection of Connecticut Town Vital Records and Other Statistical Sources.

This vital record CD consists of an alphabetized and edited list of vital statistics and other information bearing on the inhabitants of the towns of early Connecticut. This new CD is based extensively on the Barbour Collection of Connecticut Town Vital Records, the chief resource in Connecticut genealogy. Containing 1.2 million records of births, marriages, and deaths from over 135 Connecticut towns, plus another 300,000 records from cemeteries, probate records, tax records, and family Bibles, the Barbour Collection is by far the largest collection of Connecticut town records ever assembled in one place. In addition to the celebrated Barbour Collection, this compilation also includes vital statistics from several Connecticut towns not included by Barbour, as well as information gleaned from lists of source records, Bibles, and church records held in the Connecticut State Library in Hartford. Also, it includes tombstone transcriptions from over 400 cemeteries which were originally published in The Connecticut Nutmegger, a publication of the Connecticut Society of Genealogists formerly edited by Jacquelyn Ricker. The search engine, based on the popular Adobe Acrobat Reader platform, allows you to search the records by name or keyword.

Editor’s Note: This CD is on order and should be in the library by October 7.

“My young grandson called the other day to wish me Happy Birthday.
He asked me how old I was, and I told him, "62." He was quiet for a
moment, and then he asked, "Did you start at 1?"

  ~Donn Devine, CG, CGI

There's no question that some of the genealogical information available on the Internet is either incorrect or unreliable. But whether it's a problem for individual researchers depends entirely on how they use it, whether they use it at all, and how they make that decision.

It remains, however, a problem for the genealogical community because the bad data continues to proliferate. No matter how long ago a correction for a particular error may have appeared in print or online, it never seems to catch up with the ever-widening distribution of the error.

It's not a problem caused by digital technology, or limited to it. The same thing happened in print long before the Internet. Multi-volume series like Frederick Virkus's Compendium of American Genealogy and John S. Wurtz's Magna Charta were standard fare in many public libraries. They published lineages submitted by their subscribers that were as unreliable as any found online.

Much of the unreliable data available, both online and on CD-ROM, is in compiled pedigrees or genealogies contributed by enthusiastic but uncritical volunteers, eager to help others and proud of how many spaces they have filled on their charts. The errors often appear in many different pedigrees, carefully copied from one unreliable source to another. Correcting those errors published on disc isn't possible, and the large number of websites propagating the same errors makes their correction unfeasible. However, we can easily identify information that isn't soundly based, and still use it for whatever help it might offer in suggesting new directions for our own research.

Weeding Out Worthless Data

The first indicator of bad data is the lack of source information. Without knowing where it came from, we can't be confident in either its original accuracy or the faithfulness with which it has been passed along before reaching us.

If a source is given, but we don't know the quality (e.g., an author or pedigree contributor whose work and reputation aren't known to us), we will also need to look further. If we find that the source is a thoroughly researched and well-documented compiled genealogy, we may be inclined to accept it uncritically, but even in this case we need to be cautious. One online pedigree cites its source as a genealogy I had written and published in a respected research journal, but the Web pedigree didn't include corrections I made to it that were published over the following ten years in the same journal. The online pedigree continues to perpetuate the errors I made originally, even though the corrections are as widely available as my original article.

We can accept any information or data item with some confidence when 1) the source is given for it, 2) further investigation shows the source is reliable, and 3) the date of a record is close to the event, or the date of a compiled source is recent enough to include the latest corrections and critical comment. As with any genealogical finding, however, if new evidence comes along, we will have to reconsider our earlier acceptance no matter how convincing that available evidence may have been.

Causes of Data Errors

We usually find that errors in compiled genealogies, or in the lineage-linked databases produced by genealogy software programs and often shared through GEDCOM files, result from one of four causes:

1. An event was reported with errors regarding date, location, participants, or circumstances.
2. A name or event was attributed to the wrong individual.
3. A relationship or other status was erroneously reported or concluded.
4. A record was misread or misinterpreted.

To verify that none of these causes have affected a particular item of information, we must determine how the original source learned of it by direct observation or by deduction from other knowledge. If we find the original source believable, then we must judge whether the information has been reliably transmitted through whatever derivative sources it passed (e.g., other persons, records, books, transcriptions, abstracts, copies) before it got to us. Information or data that passes these two tests is of high quality and likely to be reliable.

Quality of Purchased Data

Up to this point, we have been considering unreliable information given ever-wider distribution by well-meaning but uncritical volunteers, and how we can avoid being misled by their failings. It's another matter when there are errors or omissions in material that has been indexed, transcribed, abstracted, or imaged by commercial publishers or database services for sale to their customers or subscribers. This has been the most serious concern in the recent mailing list threads mentioned earlier. The complaint is not with the errors themselves but in the low priority given to quality control in the initial production of publications and databases, and in online services of correcting problems identified by subscribers.

With publications in fixed formats such as books and CD-ROMs, little can be done until a new edition is released, but often new editions appear without corrections. With online services, technology allows instant correction, but often the priority is quantity and expansion over quality and improvement. Some websites allow users to attach “sticky notes” to entries, which helps in warning of problem entries, but where an omission has been made there is nothing to attach the warning to.

At a minimum, database services should provide organized errata pages, with numerous references and links to them. The pages would display subscribers' notifications of errors, omissions, and corrections organized by database title and page or other location designator. The subscriber notices would remain until the appropriate correction could be made in the database itself.

Not long ago, few people would have predicted that there would be a market for the huge quantity of high-quality genealogical source material that is now available (like images of original records), or that electronic searching would make it so accessible. When we find that an indexer has misread a handwritten census entry and placed the name under the wrong initial letter, or a text-recognition program has missed a name in a newspaper image, we should return, in those individual cases, to the tedious way we used to search by scrolling through entire enumeration districts or minor civil divisions, or by reading entire newspaper files covering some period of time.

Looking Ahead

For the future, we can expect genealogical garbage to continue to proliferate online, but we can also expect technology to bring even greater improvements, making it easier, faster, and more convenient to access high-quality data, including images of original documents on a scale hardly dreamed of. The benefits of digital technology, and particularly the Web, more than make up for whatever efforts we must expend to cope with the problems of bad or missing data.
Meanwhile, as users we can avoid being misled; we must be very critical of any information that isn't attributed to a source we can consider reliable. As contributors of data to websites and digital databases, we can assure the quality of our own input by always including a reference to the source of each information item.

Finally, when confronted by a database shortcoming, we can always resurrect those useful old strategies we used in the days before technology simplified our search procedures. For example, if a name that should be in a census index doesn't appear, try to identify a close neighbor from city directories, deeds, tax assessments, or cadastral maps that show names of occupants. Then search for the neighbor's name in the defective census index. If found, you should be able to find your desired listing on the same or adjacent pages without having to go through all the pages for the area in which the person lived.

Those of us who remember the pre-Web days can dredge our memories for some of these useful but now seldom-used techniques. When the shortcomings of a particular database or digital publication leave us frustrated, applying some old-fashioned research practices may help us control both temper and blood pressure. We can also share these techniques with new researchers so they, too, can deal effectively with digital data problems that arise. Then, disappointment over incorrect or missing data won't dull their enjoyment of the benefits of technology.

(Copyright 2000, Ancestry Magazine, May/June 2003, Vol. 21 No. 3)

Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness

Many Internet researchers give of themselves unselfishly in aiding others in their research. This project expands on this premise by going one step further:

The volunteers of this movement have agreed at least once per month to do a research task in their local area as an act of kindness. The cost to you would be reimbursing the volunteer for his expenses in fulfilling your request (video tape, copy fees, etc.). This is not a FREE service.

Successful genealogical research is based upon people helping people. Volunteers unselfishly provide information available in their area to those who live far away.

Scottish Handwriting

The primary purpose of this site is to provide online tuition in paleography (reading old handwriting) in the context of early modern Scottish historical documents. It is aimed mainly at those whose research involves reading Scottish historical records written in the period 1500-1750.


The South Orange County California Genealogical Society in Mission Viejo will present a family history seminar, “Still On The Trail Of Our Ancestors”, featuring Dr. George K. Schweitzer, on Saturday, 21 October 2006, 9 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Topics include Scots-Irish Genealogical Research, Virginia Genealogical Research and Finding Your Ancestors’ Parents.

The day will conclude with a question and answer session, after which a drawing for a handmade quilt will be held. See quilt picture at http://www.soccgs.orgQuilt.html.

Doors open at 8:00 a.m. at the Mission Viejo City Hall, Saddleback Room, 100 Civic Center Drive, Corner of LaPaz & Marguerite (located at the North end of the city hall directly across the parking lot from the library).

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


SOCCGS ‘2006’ Seminar Registration

Name(s) ___________________________________________ Registration: _________@ $20.00 ___________________________________________________ Box Lunch: _________@ $ 7.50 Address: ___________________________________________
City & Zip:__________________________________________ Total: $____________ Telephone:__________________________________________
Mail to:
SOCCGS, P.O. Box 4513 Information: (949) 581-0690 or
Mission Viejo, CA 92690-4513


We all grow up with the weight of history on us.  Our ancestors dwell in the attics of our brains as they do in the spiraling chains of knowledge hidden in every cell of our bodies.  ~Shirley Abbott

Please notify the membership chairman if you have a change of address.
Newsletters are not forwarded, the cost is 75 cents for each one returned.
Membership: Verl Nash, (949) 859-1419,


South Orange County California Genealogical Society Membership/Renewal Application

( ) New ( ) Renewal ( ) Individual, $20/yr. ( ) Jt. Members, same address $25/yr.

Renewal Membership Number(s) _________________________ _____________________

Name(s) _______________________________________________________________________________

Address _______________________________________________________________________________

City _____________________________ State_____Zip ____________Phone ______________________

Email address:__________________________________________________________________________

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


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