Saddleback Valley Trails

South Orange County California Genealogical Society

Vol. 18 No. 10

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

October 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.


15 October 2011 - Seminar
Doors open at 8:00 A.M. to mingle with refreshments

Kurt Witcher - Starts at 9:00 A.M.


“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”
Saddleback Room - Mission Viejo Civic Center
Corner of La Paz Road and Marguerite Parkway


Safari News

The Cole Genealogy Library in Carlsbad is the destination for the safari on October 26th. We will leave the LDS parking lot at 9:30 a.m. This library has one of the finest genealogy collections in Southern California. Preparation is the key to making any research trip successful. Use the library catalogue and set your genealogy research in motion. You may bring lunch, or be prepared to drive a short distance to a local eatery. Don’t forget $$ for your driver. There are no plans for dinner on the way home. Contact Bill Bluett to reserve a spot.

Meeting Location

This month’s meeting will be held in the Saddleback Room of the Mission Viejo Civic Center at 200 Civic Center, Mission Viejo, California.

President's Message

~Bill Bluett

Curt B. Witcher, Manager of the Historical Genealogy Department at the Allen County Public Library in Indiana, will be our featured seminar speaker on October 15th. He will give four interesting and informative presentations during this event. As our seminar date approaches, I thought that it might be a good idea to review the topics that Mr. Witcher will be covering:

“Doing the History Eliminates the Mystery” – This presentation will be an explanation and demonstration of how researching all the details of each ancestral family as well as the history surrounding the area they lived in can pay significant research dividends. Histories of geographic areas, ethnic and religious groups, migration patterns, and occupations can provide the genealogist with important data as well as pointers to other information. Nancy Huebotter, our speaker in July, spoke of the importance of historical information in her Timelines presentation. I have used this technique myself and found that a more detailed picture of my ancestor’s lives can be uncovered and developed because of the impact that certain historical events had on their lives.

“Fingerprinting Our Families: Using Ancestral Origins as a Research Key” – The concept of “America, the Great Melting Pot” may really be a flawed concept, and that identifying the particular ethnic group of one’s ancestor can pay significant research dividends. Topics covered include population clusters, various patterns (naming, migration, settlement etc.) as well as locating repositories for various ethnic groups. The reasoning behind families or individuals migrating is something that we would like to have answered and included in our research. Many times, we find our ancestors in ethnic clusters when they settle in a particular area. You may even find from census listings that our ancestor’s neighbors as well as other relatives may have made a significant relocation together. The reasoning and concept are always interesting areas to explore. And, Mr. Witcher will do that in this presentation.

“An Ancestor’s Death - A Time for Reaping” – Typically, no other time in our ancestor’s lives is the record creation potentially as high as it is at their death. This talk, complemented with many record examples, spotlights numerous “happenings” surrounding an individual’s death that can generate records. Many times, we are fortunate to find an excellent obituary that spells out an abundance of details about a person’s life and their accomplishments. This is just one of a number of examples that Mr. Witcher will bring to light.

“The Road Not Taken: Mega Internet Sites, Off the Beaten Path” – The number of genealogy Internet sites continues to grow at an exponential rate. This lecture looks at some large online bibliographic databases genealogists should be using to further their research. Many are important sites for doing more than “surname surfing”. Additionally, this talk also incorporates and demonstrates some successful search strategies. Our research center computers at the Mission Viejo Library offer links to many searchable websites including 7 subscription sites that we make available to our patrons. After we hear Mr. Witcher’s website suggestions from his presentation, there may be additional links that we feel would be beneficial to incorporate onto our computers. Don’t miss this informative presentation if you enjoy “surfing the web” for your ancestors.

Curt Witcher will be giving us a wealth of information during these four presentations on October 15th. The more knowledgeable we can become regarding tools that are available for performing genealogy research, the more success we will have in attaining our goals. Be sure to register for this upcoming event if you have not already done so. You will not want to miss it!

"2011 SOCCGS Seminar”
Curt B. Witcher will be here on October 15
!Register now!

To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.
               ~Aldous Huxely

Taking the road not taken, gives us the opportunity to discover what’s right about other countries and our families.

September Meeting

Joan Rambo’s presentation on the Civil War years gave us some lesser known informational facts about how our ancestors and our country were affected before, during, and after the war. Her handout gave us many examples with website addresses to explore regarding the details covered in the presentation. We thank Joan for tolerating “all us Yankees” during her informative program.

Our one guest introduced at the meeting was: Bonnie Shanks.

Members providing refreshments were: Bill Bluett, Donna Hobbs, Diane Hearne and Sondra Koegler.


Three new members joined at the September meeting:

Penny Sanders, Mission Viejo, CA, She is looking for:  Gorden in Missouri; Venable in Missouri; Adams in Ireland 1800-1840; Robinson in England: 1800-1860; Lobbin or Lobin in Missouri 1800-1840.

Felesia Dailey, Mission Viejo, CA, Looking for: Dailey in Mississippi and East St. Louis; Sandy George Daiely in Mississippi; Dixon in Alabama.

Stacey Smith, Laguna Hills, CA, Looking for: Groschen Smith and Guyton Farson in Fayette Co, PA; Beranek, Jelinek and Yelinek in Prague, Chech Republic.

Brick Walls & Genealogy Research Suggestions

Donna Hobbs attended a Civil War re-enactment in Huntington Beach. She tells us it was fabulous and encourages us to experience it next year.

Rosanna Gahran thanked our members for suggesting FINDAGRAVE.COM. She found some headstones for Baltimore ancestors on the website.

Jessie Ellison received help through the ROOTSWEB.COM message boards and was directed to the New Jersey Hall of Records for her grandfather’s emigration info which included the ship, his birthday, etc.

Joyce Van Schaack attended a gala event at Saddleback College on “Constitution Day” which culminated with her helping to ring the bells at the San Juan Capistrano Mission.

Pat McCoy found an ancestor’s Civil War letters through the Historical Society in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Melbournea Pittman found a book on GOOGLE regarding her father’s family.

Sandy Crowley read a new book entitled “Toward the Setting Sun” by Brian Hicks which covers the Cherokees, other tribes and the Trail of Tears period. The book focuses on the period from the 1700s - 1838 (when the last of the Cherokees are sent west.) If you have ancestors in the south east or have Indian ancestry you will enjoy the history and will possibly recognize names and places.

Virginia Duncan and Donna Hobbs visited the gravesites of family members at the Rosedale Cemetery in Los Angeles.

Jackie Hanson now has her latest book online with the help of a family member. It can now downloaded onto your Kindle.

Gary Schwarz suggests using to find addresses and phone numbers for contacting recently discovered “cousins”. Reactivating searches of “backburnered” descendant lines may reveal cousins with old documents and photos who are willing to share. Gary met a 2nd cousin at a convention and found that she had a painting of their great-great grandfather, Philipp Hofmann.

Louisa Dailey attended an annual reunion in Indianapolis, Indiana honoring her family’s ancestor John Porter Dailey.

Jackie Hanson told us that her book Melinda’s Story is now available on Amazon Kindle.

Photo Restoration Vendor at Our Seminar

Claire Santos-Daigle will be one of our vendors at our seminar on October 15th. Claire and her husband Michael, own “Photos Made Perfect” in Chula Vista, California. They are in the business of restoring old or damaged photos. They can be on any type of medium, such as, glass, wood, tin, or film. This would include daguerreotypes, tintypes, and cabinet cards. Their customer base is focused on genealogists and historical societies. Claire will bring a scanner and is encouraging seminar attendees to bring photos. During the course of the day, she will scan the photos for folks who choose to have her restore them. She would then follow-up with a contact a few days later. Claire is willing to do this because many genealogists would rather not leave their precious photos with a lab or trust mailing them anywhere. So, if you might be interested, plan on bringing a photo (or photos) for Claire to scan.

“We still need: Door Prizes and Books!”

Do you know of a business that might be willing to contribute a door prize? Or, would you be willing to provide a gift card from an eatery or other type of business? You might have a new item that could be donated as a door prize. If you have something to donate, please contact our board member, Sandy Crowley in advance and let her know what the item is. We need the items no later than Friday morning, October 14th, when we set up the Saddleback Room for our seminar the following day.

Also, genealogy related books and materials are being sought for the Book Sale Table. You may also donate hardback fiction books. No paperbacks. These items can be brought to our docent’s station at the Mission Viejo Library no later than the above mentioned date.

Descendents Research

~FamilySearch Wiki

The goal of descendancy research is to find the children (and spouses), grandchildren (and spouses), and so forth of an ancestral couple. Descendancy research starts farther back in time and moves toward the present.

Motives for descendancy research. Researchers sometimes do descendancy research in order to:

  • contact relatives who have moved to distant lands
  • show a relationship to a famous ancestor
  • find genealogical evidence such as the family Bible of a common ancestor
  • return a family heirloom such as an old photograph
  • find heirs of an unclaimed rich estate
  • locate possible compatable organ donors
  • identify family members who may have an inherited tendancy toward a disease
  • publish an article in a genealogical journal like the New England Historical and Genealogical Society Register
  • submit an application for certification with the Board for Certification of Genealogists
  • find more names to submit for LDS temple ordinances.

Risks of Descendancy Research

It may increase the chances of an error. If the goal is to gather as many names as fast as possible, there is a risk the research and documentation will become casual or sloppy. Undue haste may result in unnecessary duplication of research and name submissions.

It may be harder. Some genealogists consider descendancy research more difficult than pedigree research. This is because finding children is sometimes more difficult than finding parents. There are always exactly two parents of each child, but the number of children of each set of parents can vary widely. In many cases there tends to be more documents that are likely to name the parents of a child, and fewer documents that list all the children of a set of parents. Finding children who died young and between censuses is often more difficult than finding parents.

No shortage of pedigree names. It is true you can find more names in three generations of descendancy research than in three generations of pedigree research. So what? There is no shortage of names for a pedigree researcher willing to go back a few more generations and concentrate on the immediate children of direct line ancestors.

Not protecting privacy and the feelings of others. When doing descendent research please be protective of the privacy of living people. Please be respectful and considerate of the feelings of living relatives regarding their deceased ancestors.

Doing Descendent Research

Step 1: Prepare

Fill in a pedigree chart, or locate a pedigree chart for your family. This chart will provide some dates and places to help you get started.

Step 2: Choose a Starting Family

Here are a few suggestions to keep in mind as you get started:

  • Begin with what you know. If you already know the names of your great-grandparents and approximately when and where they were married, it will be much easier to search for their descendants.
  • Begin with individuals or families alive around 1850. People who lived in the period from the mid-1800s to the present are usually easier to find. In many countries, birth, and death records began to be created by the mid-1800s.
  • Record what you find on family group records. Preferably in a computer database.

Step 3: Collect Previous Research

Someone else may have already started gathering information about the family you have selected.

  • Find published family histories
  • Find Internet information compiled by others
  • Find Town, County, and State Histories

Step 4: Consult Additional Sources

Five record types are especially rich in descendant information:

  • census records
  • wills (probate records)
  • county and local histories
  • church records
  • obituaries

Step 5: Compile and Share What You Have Learned

Each time you find information about an ancestor, document it as you go. Good documentation will increase the value of your work when you share it with others. Sharing research with others helps verify the findings, and leads to new information.

Document what you find. As you identify the members of your ancestral families, put the information on research logs and family group records. The family group record is the most widely-used means for recording information about parents and their descendants. Use a computer program for documentation.

Share Your Research. There are many ways to share. You could put up a genealogical web page, publish a genealogical magazine article (contribute articles to the SOCCGS Newsletter), or publish a book, or contribute to a genealogical databases like the Pedigree Resource File.

Descendents Research Results

~Gary Schwarz

Following widely expanding descendent charts down to people living today, has enabled me to obtain photo images of my great-great grandparents and early documents of emigration from South Russia (what is now Ukraine). I have learned more of what my ancestors were like and maybe a little more of why I am like I am. I have noticed personality traits that seem to be common from first cousins out through fourth cousins.

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”,

October 30 – 11:00 A.M. O.C. Jewish Genealogical Society hosts a David Zarnov presentation “Finding My Family in Lithuania and the Ukraine” at Temple Bat Yahm, 1011 Camelback Street, Newport Beach.

Germany Locating Place of Origin

~FamilySearch Wiki

In order to research your family in Germany, it is essential that you have identified the place where they came from. It is not enough to know only ‘Germany’ or ‘Prussia,’ as these were quite large entities. You must know the city, town, or parish that they came from. In many, if not most, cases, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to identify the place of origin by going directly to German sources. Therefore, you will need to search in American sources first.

One source to determine place of origin is in a passenger departure list. Hamburg was a major port of departure for Germans and the records from there usually give the place of origin. You can also check other immigration books, such as Germans to America.


~Mary Jo for the board and general membership

Herb Abrams is member #149 on the SOCCGS membership roll. To date we have had over 700 persons join our society. Only about 200 remain, some new in September. Thank Goodness Herb remains!

This article would take a whole page if all of his contributions were listed separately. Just know that he is the “motor” that keeps the society running! Everyone who utilizes our Research Center has Herb to thank. He is responsible for the computers, printers and installation of software.

In appreciation for all he does Herb was awarded a SOCCGS life membership at the September meeting.

~Jeanette McAllister (4 March 1939 – 31 August 2011) ~

We were saddened to learn of the death of member, Jan McAllister. She was an active member of SOCCGS and will be missed by those of us who knew her.

The following words were written by Judith Ryu: “Jeanette, or Jan to family and friends, was born in Los Angeles, California. She was proud to be a native Californian. She spent her early years in Los Angeles before moving to the Bell Gardens-Maywood area. Her parents were William T. and Marjorie M. Dameron McAllister.

Jan first married Thomas Richard Turner with whom she raised four children: Susan, Randy, Thomas and Allison. She followed her Navy husband in his job as a member of the submarine service. After his death, she was married to William McAllister for 29 years. He passed away in 1995.

Jan was a strong determined person and spent much time serving others. She had friends in many places. She was active in her church, loved to knit and research family history.

“Rest in peace my dear best friend."



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      


Top of Page

Soccgs Home Page