Saddleback Valley Trails
South Orange County California Genealogical Society

Vol. 13 No. 11 Editor: Mary Jo McQueen November 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.

General Meeting, November 18, 2006

Organizing Your Genealogy Notebooks
Using The Pre-1850 Census

Most genealogy researchers have accumulated a significant amount of paperwork, documents and photos. How does one begin to organize such a vast quantity of data? This month three SOCCGS members will share tips on how they are organizing their research and family history notebooks. Members are invited to share any family history project, either completed or ‘works in progress’. These can be writings, scrapbooks or a family history book. There will be ample room to exhibit these items. If you shared in September we would love to see them again.

Also, there will be a short presentation pertaining to the use of Pre-1850 Censuses. With only the “Head of Household” listed from 1790 through 1840, many find these census documents to be a stumbling block for research. However, there is much information that can be extracted. Our member-speaker will show her technique for finding clues in these censuses. Don’t give up on researching this time period.

2006-2007 CALENDAR

December 16 - Annual Holiday Luncheon.
Jan. 20 - Kathleen Trevena, "Colonial American Genealogy."
Feb. 17 - Caroline Rober, "Courthouse Research for the Serious Researcher."
March 17 - Liz Stookesberry Myers, "Ohio: Gateway to the West."


There were 121 paid registrations, the most ever! Dr. Schweitzer’s lectures were extremely well-received.

The consensus is that we will certainly try to bring him back again, perhaps in 2008. I hesitate to individually thank the members who worked so hard to make this event a success, in case someone is left out. But here goes, “Pat McCoy, Mary Jo Nutall, Verl Nash, Diane Hearne, Donna Hobbs, Bev Portlock, Barbara Wilgus, Ginny Jenkins, Francie Kennedy, Karyn Schumaker, Kathie Mauzey, Marcia Roy, Eileen Merchant, Marion Hatch, Shirley Fraser, Bunny & Leon Smith, Sandy Crowley, Pat Weeks, Jamie Walker, LaRee Anderson, Kathleen Kane, Herb Abrams, Bill Bluett, Roger Peterson and Bill Tosh.” Please forgive me if you are not listed. So many people pitched in to help during the day that it was hard to get them all noted. Just know that you are all appreciated! I am blessed to work with such a great group! A special thanks to the Mission Viejo Library staff and the City of Mission Viejo, without whom our seminars would not be possible.

Mary Jo McQueen, Seminar Chairman


This years’ quilt, ways and means project, brought in just over $600, which will be used to help fund our genealogy library. The quilt was won by SOCCGS member, Karyn Schumaker. THANK YOU to all who bought tickets and, therefore, donated to the fund.

“We are the hero of our own story.”
~Mary McCarthy



We are sorry to hear of the passing of longtime member Alice Catalyne. She passed away on August 1. Alice's sister, Helen Salerno of Los Osos, California wrote, "Alice was in poor health with oxygen for the last three years. She was fortunate to have a wonderful caretaker, Estella Reyes. They were like mother and daughter, who shared work and play every day and night. I have always been amazed at Alice's many talents especially her skill with the computer. She completed a carefully written book with family pictures, “The Making of an American Family”, which traced our ancestors back to 1600. Although Joe and Alice had no children they both were always interested in helping people further their education and skills."

Herb Abrams remembers: “She had been a SOCCGS member for many years but I can remember her attending only one SOCCGS meeting - that was in August 2003 when she brought her family book to the meeting. Noted in the September newsletter, "Alice Catalyne shared her beautifully-done family book. It certainly gave inspiration to many of us." She and her husband Joe, after he had retired, toured Europe in a Volkswagen Camper and she had pictures of their travels. Joe had been a professional musician and had played clarinet and saxophone with the Jack Teagarden and the Louis Prima bands. He passed away several years ago.”


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.

by George Morgan

The family traditions in your own family should be preserved forever. If there's a special story, memory, recipe, or something else that needs to be recorded, please invest the time to do it now. If you do nothing else to commemorate Family History Month this year, write down one or more of these family traditions so they may be preserved for posterity. Your family will be forever grateful.

(Ancestry Daily News,, October 2006)

by Winifred Collins

Recently while reading an e-mail from a relative concerning a family wedding, it occurred to me that if I print out our family e-mail correspondence, they can be compiled into a journal that future generations would be delighted to read. With so few people actually writing letters these days and even fewer writing daily diaries it is a way to keep something tangible to pass on. (Ancestry Daily News,, October 2006)

Find out how yesterday’s prices compare to today’s prices.


"Ireland's past has come to life since the Irish government unveiled an online map archive with details of every town, street, and farm on the Emerald Isle dating back nearly 200 years -- an unprecedented achievement expected to be a treasure trove for those tracing their Irish ancestry."

You can see examples of the maps at
For more information, look at


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. If the change is temporary we will gladly hold your newsletters.

Membership: Verl Nash, (949) 859-1419,

Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success.
If you love what you are doing, you will be successful."
~Albert Schweitzer

The Year Was 1850

The year was 1850 and the U.S. Federal Census counted 23,191,876 residents. Of this number, 2,244,602 were enumerated as being of foreign birth. Not surprisingly, due to the Irish Potato famine of the 1840s, 961,719 people claimed Irish origins–or 42%, making it the largest single country of origin cited. These numbers did not go unnoticed in urban areas and resentment of the Irish Catholic immigrants gave birth to a period of nativism. Irish immigrants found themselves discriminated against during this period as cartoons portrayed them with simian features, and newspaper help wanted ads sometimes specified that “Irish need not apply.”

In California, immigrants were also being shunned as people from all over the world converged on the soon-to-be-state in search of gold. To help stem this tide the California legislature passed a Foreign Miners License Tax of $20 per month.

More women were beginning to arrive on the west coast, but they were still greatly outnumbered at a rate of over ten to one and 73% of the population was between the ages of 20 and 40.

With the flow of gold seekers in 1850, disease followed in Sacramento when Asiatic cholera was brought in and killed between 800-1000 residents of that city. Most had to be buried in a mass grave in the Old City Cemetery.

The growth of California because of the gold rush led to statehood in September of 1850. The state’s admission was part of “The Compromise of 1850,” presented by Kentucky Senator Henry Clay. The compromise was an effort to keep the U.S. united as southern states threatened to secede. At issue was whether the new state of California, Washington, D.C., and the new territory acquired in the war with Mexico would allow slavery, and over a land dispute with Texas.

The compromise also covered the Fugitive Slave Act, which legally required the return of fugitive slaves who had fled to the north from slave states. The law also held citizens who refused to cooperate with the apprehension of fugitive slaves subject to legal action. It pushed the fugitives who had begun new lives in the north, even further north — to Canada. Rather than stem the tide of fugitives though, the activities of the Underground Railroad increased following 1850 and it increased northern determination to end slavery.

Women‘s rights activists gathered in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1850 for the first Women’s Rights Convention. Newspaper coverage of the convention varied based on the point of view of the papers and their editors and some of the articles can be found online at the website of Assumption College in Worcester.

(From Ancestry Weekly,,15 October 2006)


The Domesday Book is a great land survey from 1086, commissioned by William the Conqueror to assess the extent of the land and resources being owned in England at the time, and the extent of the taxes he could raise. The information collected was recorded by hand in two huge books, in the space of around a year. William died before it was fully completed.

The Domesday Book provides extensive records of landholders, their tenants, the amount of land they owned, how many people occupied the land (villagers, smallholders, free men, slaves, etc.), the amounts of woodland, meadow, animals, fish and ploughs on the land (if there were any) and other resources, any buildings present (churches, castles, mills, salthouses, etc.), and the whole purpose of the survey - the value of the land and its assets, before the Norman Conquest, after it, and at the time of Domesday. Some entries also chronicle disputes over who held land, some mention customary dues that had to be paid to the king, and entries for major towns include records of traders and number of houses.

The Domesday Book provides an invaluable insight into the economy and society of 11th century Norman England. For historians it can be used, amongst other things, to discover the wealth of England at the time, information about the feudal system existent in society (the social hierarchy from the king down to villagers and slaves), and information about the geography and demographic situation of the country. For local historians it can reveal the history of a local settlement and its population and surroundings, whilst for genealogists it provides a useful and fascinating resource for tracing family lines. Through the centuries the Domesday Book has also been used as evidence in disputes over ancient land and property rights, though the last case of this was in the 1960s.

"The difference between a geologist and a genealogist is
that one digs in the dirt and sometimes finds artifacts,
while the other digs in facts and sometimes finds dirt."
~Rootsweb Review, 3 Jan. 2001


There is a “new look” at our genealogy library. Herb Abrams has moved two computers and the microfiche reader to the other side of the counter. Also, SOCCGS purchased and he installed two more flat-screen monitors. Some of the periodicals formerly housed on this counter have been moved to the book shelves. We are in the process of purchasing CDs and/or books comprising some of the information found in the periodicals. However, we are planning to donate the remaining collection of periodicals, some of which do not include much genealogy information.


Learn to do effective genealogy internet searches with the Easy Google Genealogy Searcher. Can't remember all the Google tricks you've heard for genealogy searching? Want to learn some things you probably had no idea Google could do? The Easy Genealogy Google Searcher puts advanced Google features on one page with suggested keywords and advice about how each feature is useful for genealogy searches.

Download the professional Free genealogy charts, forms and templates you need to document your family tree.


Tips from the Pros: Build a Research Trip Kit
by George C. Morgan

Prepare yourself for library research visits by building a take-along tool kit. Pretend you are headed off to school because, after all, this is just another academic research trip!

Include a small stapler and staples, zipper-lock sandwich bags containing different size paper clips and rubber bands, several sharpened pencils, an eraser, small notepads with pages you can clip to others, a lined pad or notebook with pages for copious notes and transcriptions, and a zipper-lock sandwich bag with a variety of coins and dollar bills for copy machines and microfilm printers.

(Copyright © 1998-2006, Inc. 6/2/2006 - Archive)

Potato Disease, Cotton Cloth, & Scourges
Adams Sentinel (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania), 06 September 1847:

The Potato disease has made its appearance in various parts of Maine; and the Utica, N.Y. Gazette says it has shown itself in some fields in that vicinity. It has also developed itself to an alarming extent in the neighborhood of St. John's, New Brunswick, and other parts of that province.

It is stated that 1,800,000 yards of cotton cloth are made at Lowell, Mass. every week, amounting to 93,600,000 yards per year--enough to extend twice around the entire world! Sixty-five thousand bales of cotton are worked up annually. Of printed calico, there are made 14,000,000 yards per year. In these manufactories one million of lbs. of starch are annually used.

Scourges.--Immense numbers of grasshoppers have invaded the gardens in some neighborhoods of St. Louis, and entirely destroyed them. Except a few vines, they destroy every thing in their way. Millions of small green frogs have appeared in St. Lawrence county, N.Y. They cover the road from Plattsburg to Cumberland Head, and thousands are crushed by the wheels of passing wagons.

(Ancestry Daily News,, September 2005)

In the extreme left margin of the 1920 Census for Quinton
Township, Pittsburg County, Oklahoma the enumerator,
David B. Riggs wrote:

“Outside of town, lovely mountain trails,
Where wolves and ignorance prevail.”

by George G. Morgan

Genealogical research is filled with contradictions. That is the overwhelming reason why we are looking for primary source materials, and settling for secondary sources when necessary. With secondary sources, however, we should be looking for multiple materials that are independent of one another in origin to help substantiate a fact.

For instance, a published family history that contains erroneous information may be accepted as "fact" by a genealogist without personally retracing and verifying the information. If that genealogist adds information to his or her genealogical database and then uploads a GEDCOM file or sends it to another researcher, that person is perpetuating the error(s) published in the original family history. After several replications of the erroneous information, it may be construed as fact because, "Well, it's everywhere out there and so it must be right!"

I always tell genealogists that there are two cardinal rules in family history research:

* Learn how to misspell your family's names, forenames and surnames--because they and everybody else did.
* Maintain a healthy skepticism of anything you have not personally examined, traced, and/or verified.

I want to examine some of the places you must be especially careful when working on your family history research. As you read the column, think about your own family history practices, and consider how you can become more discerning in your own research.

Printed Genealogies
Trust me on this one! Your Auntie Em or Uncle Henry may have known a whole lot about family history and may have written an eminently readable account of the family's history. However, how do you know it is 100% correct? Some of the information may have been word-of-mouth or sheer hypothesis. I just read and reviewed one of these family histories. The author stated in his introduction that the purpose was to pass information on to future generations. It was very obvious that he and his wife had traveled extensively in the U.S. and Europe to visit libraries, archives, churches, and places where the family had actually lived. However, other than telling the reader where some information had been found, there wasn't a source citation or footnote in the entire book. As a result, the book is nothing but narrative (often entertaining) and clues.

Many family history writers may conduct very scholarly research, basing the facts they describe on actual records that can be annotated with citations, including the repository or person where the source material can be found. It is these types of well-researched and well-documented family histories that are probably most reliable. However, there is every reason for you to follow the research path laid out by the citations, obtain exact copies of the source materials, and personally examine and analyze them. You can then determine if the author of the family history developed reasonable hypotheses or drew correct conclusions. Remember that all family histories should be subject to your own examination of the research, and the personal review of the evidence for yourself.

Genealogists are a generous and helpful bunch of people, for the most part. This is one of the features of the "hobby" that makes it so enjoyable. Many researchers actively collect and document source materials and add the details to their genealogy databases. Others, however, only seem to collect names and pick up information from other researchers' data. The latter approach is a shortcut to building a family history, and the information may be riddled with errors, omissions, and perpetuated mistakes.

A GEDCOM file (an acronym for the Genealogy Electronic Data Communications standard format) can be extracted from a person's genealogical database. It can then be sent to or exchanged with other researchers as an attachment to an email. It can be uploaded to a website that stores GEDCOM files and makes them available for review and/or download by others. GEDCOMs can also be reformatted into HTML language in order to help produce personal webpages (discussed below).

In reviewing the contents of someone's GEDCOM file, what should you believe? How do you know that what is fact, what is proved and documented, what is hypothesis, and what has been gleaned, unverified, from other people's research? The truth is that you don't know how scholarly the researcher's work might have been and how much attention has been paid to providing accurate and well-documented information. Yes, the information should be used as a guide to source materials that you can personally review and verify. However, that "healthy skepticism" comes in very handy and can save you travels down the wrong roads in your research.

Personal Websites
You may have encountered some pretty impressive websites created by genealogists who are ambitious in trying to get their family history out on the Internet. There are a number of free software programs that will take a GEDCOM file extracted from a person's genealogy database and format the data into pedigree charts, some of which you can navigate up and down, search, and read notes and source citations. Some include photographs of family members and digitized images of source documents. While these sites are very impressive, remember that you don't know how accurate the researcher might be. The data found at the website provides clues for you to trace and personally verify.

Mailing Lists and Message Boards
Queries and commentary exchanged on email mailing lists and posted on message board sites can be splendid ways of quickly connecting with other researchers with whom you can collaborate. However, these sharing people may not always have the correct information themselves, or they may be perpetuating errors they've found in other places. There is no harm in asking for source citations if none are provided. You can do this by private email so as not to clutter a mailing list or message board, and you can then begin a relationship with another researcher. He or she may even offer to provide you with copies of the source documents in exchange for the cost of photocopies and postage. Always offer to reimburse the other researcher as an incentive to share these materials. Until you see copies of original source materials and you can verify the information, all you have are clues.

Only You Can Tell for Sure
The more research you do on each of your ancestors, the better you get to know them. While all of the sources I've mentioned before can be filled with excellent, well-documented information, there is much erroneous of poorly documented data too. As you become more knowledgeable about your people, the more astute you become to their lives, their personalities, and the way that they may have thought or made decisions. Therefore, when you do the requisite retracing and verification of the information yourself, you can take what you know to be fact and use this in the analysis of the materials you find. Only then can you determine whether you have data on the correct ancestor or family. It is then that you can place this new information into proper context and expand the big picture to create a more complete understanding of your family history.

(Copyright 2005, Reprinted with permission.)


Georgia State Archives:

Michigan: History, Arts and Libraries - :Naturalization Records Indexes,1607,7-160-17449_18635_20684---,00.html

Oregon State Archives:

Colonial America:

Congregational Church Library and Archives:

Early American Archives:

Massachusetts Bay Colony:


Mayflower and New England:

“What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments,
but what is woven into the lives of others.”


November 11, 2006

Veterans Day Observance will be held at El Toro Memorial Park, 25751 Trabuco Rd, Lake Forest on Saturday, November 11 beginning at 11:00 a.m.

February 24, 2007

Whittier Area Genealogical Society presents Curt B. Witcher, manager of the Historical Genealogy Department of the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Topics: “Back to Basics: A Research Plan,” “Using Government Documents,” “Germans to the Midwest” and “Doing the History Eliminates the Mystery.” For information and registration:



(Dorset FHS-June 2004, Richard Allen from a Devon, England churchyard)

"Nothing has really happened until it has been recorded."
~Virginia Wolfe, 1882-1941

Membership dues are payable by January 1, 2007.


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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