Saddleback Valley Trails

Vol 3 No 10 Editor: Pat Weeks October 1996

South Orange County California Genealogical Society

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


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

12 October 1996 Mimi Holtzman from the Society of Hispanic Historical and Ancestral Research will speak on Spanish history and heritage. Even if you have no Spanish lines, this topic will contain rich local history for us here in South Orange County. At this meeting nominations will be held for the 1997 Board of Directors. 1997 will be a banner year for our organization with the anticipated opening of the new Mission Viejo library. We are in need of dedicated and truly interested people to come forth and accept positions on the Board.

Please note! The date has been changed for this meeting from the usual third Saturday to the second Saturday.

16 November 1996 Mr. Everett Ireland, President of the North San Diego Genealogical Society will give instructions on documentation of records in his presentation titled, "Is That Evidence Really Primary?" At this meeting the election of officers will be held.

21 December 1996 Installation of Officers for the year 1997 will be held at this, our Christmas party meeting.

18 January 1997 Newspaper research will be the topic of this meeting, presented by Mrs. Pat Hall, President of the North San Diego County Genealogical Society.

Other Local Events

19 October 1996 Immigrant GS seminar "German Genealogy Day", the subject of Herr Roland Paul's speech, discussing historical background of Palatine emigrants, and factors influencing their emigration. Methodist Church, Glendale CA. For details call (818)353-2341

2 Nov 1996 British Isles Gen. Research Association presents "A Day with John M. Kitzmiller", chairman of the British Heritage Forum at the Hanalei Hotel, 2270 Hotel Circle North, San Diego, CA, 8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m., (619)444-8120

2 November 1996, North San Diego Co. Gen Soc. Holds its 1996 genealogical seminar, featuring Gary Hoffman, developer of Gen Web and Wendy Elliott, President of California State Genealogical Alliance. Carlsbad Senior Center, 779 Pine Ave., Carlsbad CA. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m.

9 November 1996 Genealogical Soc. Of Riverside will sponsor a seminar featuring Ron Bremer, author of "The Compendium of Historical Sources." beginning at 10:00 a.m., Riverside Public Library, 3581 Mission Inn Ave., Riverside CA.


We welcome new member:

Agnes Taylor

Guests at our September meeting were Dorrie Brent, John Andrew, Michelle Williams, Terry Swartz, Paul Amerman, Grace Cacia and Eugene and Marlene Cramer.

Renewals for the month were made by Edna B. Diller, Tony Dewitt, Margaret Kerbrat and Pat Burckhardt.


In January 1997, PBS member stations will have the opportunity to air a series of 10 half-hour programs called Ancestors.

Genealogists Jim and Terry Willard will host the program. Each episode will begin with a story of a person who has experienced dramatic changes as a result of his or her genealogical research.

Corporate sponsors for the series are Eastman Kodak Co., Broderbund's Family Tree Maker, AGLL Lineages and Palladium Interactive.

The episodes will include Getting Started, Looking at Home, Gathering Family Stories, The Paper Trail, Libraries and Archives, Census and Military Records, African-American Families, Your Medical Heritage, High Tech Help, and Leaving a Legacy. (For more information, visit World Wide Web site:

(Orange Gen Soc. Newsletter 27:08, 1996)

Revision of Bylaws

The SOCCGS bylaws were due for review this year and the following committee was established to accomplish the task: Mary Ellen Lytle, Chairperson; Peg Axlund; Warren Bruns; Eleanor McInnis; George McInnis. A copy of deletions and insertions are included in this newsletter. To follow changes suggested you must refer to the current bylaws. Copies of such will be available at the October meeting, or if you would like a copy, send a SASE envelope (with 55 cents postage) to Mary Ellen Lytle at 3336 Punta Alta, #2A, Laguna Hills CA 92653. The proposed new bylaws were approved by the Executive Board on 19 September 1996, and will be voted on at the November 16th General Meeting.

Chairperson Mary Ellen Lytle wishes to thank all the members of the committee for the hours spent on this revision. She especially wants to thank George McInnis for putting a copy of these bylaws on his computer.

SOCCGS Member Herb Abrams writes:

I first began searching for my ancestors four and a half years ago when I retired. Family records I received said that my great grandfather was William Fletcher Abrams and that his father was Oscar Abrams, born in North Carolina in 1796. I referred to the 1850 census of Hardin Co TN and found William Fletcher and his father. His father's name was Thomas, NOT Oscar, and he was born in South Carolina, NOT North Carolina. And William Fletcher was born in Alabama, something else I didn't know. After finding Thomas in the 1840 census of Lauderdale Co. AL, I hit a brick wall.

I searched for months, finding nothing. Then my wife suggested that I try the LDS Family History Center. I stalled for a few more months but then finally did. Boy, was I glad that I did. The first visit there I found a record of a book titled "The Abrams Family Genealogy, 1745-1979" by George Carter Abrams of Newberry, South Carolina. I ordered the first 25 pages and the index from Salt Lake and when they arrived there was Thomas Abrams and his ancestors back to Thomas's grandfather, James Abrams, born in 1745.

My next lucky break occurred shortly afterward when I was browsing the Huntington Beach Library and found a land grant map of Newberry Co., SC. On it was James Abrams, 120 acres, 1786, and next to him was Mary Telford with 100 acres, 1768. The 1763 date was wrong. I just found out this year that it should have been 1773, and they also misspelled her name. It should read Tedford. James and Mary's first child was born in 1774, so it all fit. They lived on Mary's land and after the Revolution, James was awarded the 120 acres for his services.

The next break came just this year when I again was browsing at the Huntington Beach Library and spotted a notice in the Natchez Trace Newsletter that their speaker was Mr. Edgar Byler, III, who was born in Lauderdale Co. AL and now was living in Collingwood TN (just a few miles from my great grandfather's home). It said he was a founding member and officer of the Wayne Co TN Historical Society. I found him on the internet and e-mailed a message. He graciously supplied the date of Thomas Oscar Abram's marriage in Lauderdale Co. AL and put me in contact with a distant cousin of mine who had tons of information on the Tennessee branch of the family.

In June of this year, my wife and I took a trip to Columbia SC and spent a week searching the state archives. There I found the land grant map of Mary Telford (Tedford). I also found a record of William Fletcher's brother, George, as having been killed in the battle of Chickamauga. He had gone to his parent's home in SC and joined the Confederate Army. His brother, William Fletcher, joined the Union Army in Tennessee. I had heard that story from my aunt but never knew that he was killed, although I suspected it because he was not mentioned in his mother's will. By the way, I found that will on an LDS microfilm.

I still haven't found out exactly where James came from but do know that his wife came over from Belfast in Jan. 1773 to Charleston SC. It is likely that James came over from County Antrim before Mary. They are both buried in King's Creek A.R. Presbyterian Church Cemetery in Newberry, SC. There is a marker there that states: "On this site stood the first log structure called The Old Irish Church. This congregation of Scotch-Irish Seceders from County Antrim, Ireland, was organized in 1772". We saw the tombstones of James and Mary, we could still make out a shamrock and a weeping willow on James' headstone.

LDS Genealogy Classes

The Mission Viejo Family History Center will be offering a 10-week series of classes in "Beginning Genealogy", starting at 7 p.m. Oct. 2. Other series of classes are scheduled for people with experience in basic genealogy - "Writing Personal and Family Histories," starting at 7 p.m. Oct. 3, and "Computers in Genealogy," starting at 7 p.m. October 2. All classes are free.

The Mission Viejo Family History Center, open to the public, is in the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints, 27976 Marguerite Parkway. For information or class registration, call (714)364-2742. (Georgia Dent, "Genealogy" Orange Co. Register, Sept 26 1996, Accent, p3)


Seek family of my gr-gr-mo Lula Ella Jordan born 1879 TX or OK. Orphaned at a young age and raised in an orphanage. Older bro, Commodore Jordan supposedly lived near Beaumont CA area. He was said to have been a gambler on a boat and also involved in the movie industry. In his later years he may have owned a cleaners in the Beaumont area. Married, but I know of no children. Around 1920 he was a newspaper picture of his sister, Lula, and her children trying to cross a swollen river in Fort Worth Tx during a flood, and from this picture was reunited with his sister. Commodore Jordan lived until abt 1960. Lula died around 1959. Would appreciate any help with this family. Penny Dennis Holmes, 4707 Scrimshaw, College Station TX 77845


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