Saddleback Valley Trails
South Orange County California Genealogical Society
Vol. 14 No. 11                                                      Editor: Mary Jo McQueen                                                      November 2007
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 17, 2007

Irish Research
Presented by
Nancy Ellen Carlberg

Ms. Carlberg will give a presentation on Beginning Irish Research - how to get prepared for research, what records are available and how to use them, both here and in Ireland, and what to do when you encounter problems.

Nancy has been researching her family tree since 1963. She has been a professional Genealogist since 1974 when she went to work in Salt Lake City. Nancy then went to work for Alex Haley on Roots II and Queen. Currently, she works at the Anaheim Family History Center two days a week. She is the owner of Carlberg Press, a publishing company specializing in Genealogy books. Nancy has written 66 books, excluding family histories. She has taken tours to Salt Lake City and the British Isles. She is a member of the British Isles Family History Society-USA, the Orange County California Genealogical Society and Sons and Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors.

2007 Calendar
December 15 - Holiday Luncheon
2008 Calendar
January 19 - Penny Fieke, “Vital Records”
February 19 - Barbara Renick, “Creative Census Research”
March 15 - Penny Fieke, “Immigration”
April 19 - Mary Jo McQueen, “Scottish Research”
June 21 - Leland Pound, “Compiling & Publishing a Family History”
July 19 - Connie Moretti, “Newspapers: A Gold Mine of Information”
August 16 - Nancy Huebotter, “Order Out of Chaos”
October 18 - Seminar
Nov 20 - Bill Bluett
December 20 - Holiday Luncheon


Sees Candy order forms will be available at the November 17th meeting. This is an annual ways and means project chaired by Bunny and Leon Smith. The candy is offered at a special price for this short time. Make plans to place your order!


Plans are being made to research at the Southern California Genealogy Society Library in Burbank and Sons of the Revolution Library in Glendale on November 28. Sign ups will be taken at the November meeting or call Bill Bluett at 949-492-9408.

The year has turned its circle the seasons come and go.
The harvest all is gathered in and chilly north winds blow.
Orchards have shared their treasures, the fields, their yellow grain,
So open wide the doorway ~ Thanksgiving comes again!
~Old Rhyme

~Bill Bluett

Last month, my great-grandfather's brother-in law was the focal point of my story. Bailey Youngson lived a dangerous life in Leadville, Colorado in the late 1800's. He was accused of killing a law enforcement officer; but was acquitted. He was involved in one or two shoot-outs, which he survived. Tom and Mary Collins (my Irish great-grandparents) missed all of Youngson's action because they relocated from Leadville to Salt Lake City about 1883. Bailey's incidents took place 4 or 5 years after that move. While in Utah, Tom continued employment as a brick mason. This is where my grandfather, Robert Fallon Collins, was born in 1884. But, the call to move on must have been in Tom and Mary's blood. In 1890, they relocated again, this time to the Pacific Coast. Los Angeles, California proved to be their final destination.

Tom held many different jobs and responsibilities in providing income for his wife, daughter Josephine (Aunt Josey), and their son Robert (Pappy Collins). He continued working as a brick mason, became involved with the L.A. City Water Works Department, and opened a small family grocery store on First Street about one mile east of what is today the downtown area. One of great-grandpa Tom's largest projects as a brick mason was the City Hall that was constructed in the 1890's in the 200 block of Broadway. That particular City Hall is where my story is headed.

Sometime, soon after the turn of the century, Tom began losing his eyesight. With his sight failing, he would not be able to hold down a job. But, because Tom had worked on the construction of the city hall, as a brick mason, he came to know every corner of the building. In 1903, the city created a position for him as a guide. He became so proficient, despite his blindness, he could go to every office, upstairs or down, with the greatest exactness. He knew everything about the office and often helped officials find tax books and other records stowed away in forgotten places. Hundreds of tourists were piloted through the City Hall without suspecting that their white haired guide was walking through perpetual darkness in front of them.

On the evening of December 17th, 1910, about 5 PM, Tom was sitting on his “perch” near the entrance waiting for his son-in-law to pick him up and take him home. Suddenly, he collapsed and fell to the floor unconscious. He had suffered a stroke. Dr. J.S. Outlaw, a black physician, came to his assistance. Tom was immediately taken to a nearby hospital. But, nothing could be done for him. He was then taken home to be with his family. He died the next morning at the age of 60.

Tom Collins was well known and very well liked in the community. He was quite a conversationalist and always enjoyed a good political debate: what Irishman wouldn't? There were two wonderful articles printed in the evening edition of the Los Angeles Times on December 17th and December 18th outlining his earlier days as well as the sudden tragic incident that took his life. One of the articles included a great photograph of “Old Blind Tom”, as he was known around City Hall. Tom is buried in the Evergreen Cemetery in Boyle Heights just east of downtown. It is the oldest public cemetery in Los Angeles and was founded in 1873. Mary was buried there in 1932. Neither have grave markers on their plots. So, I may take care of that myself one day soon. The City Hall that Tom helped build is no longer in existence. But, if you go to and scroll down about halfway through the page, you will see a picture of the building. The City Hall tower can be seen from different vantage points in other pictures on this webpage. My great grandfather, “Old Blind Tom” was truly one of the interesting characters in downtown Los Angeles at the turn of the 20th century. I would like to have had the opportunity to know him.

National Personnel Records Center Opens More Than Six Million New Military Personnel Files

The National Personnel Records Center (NPRC), St. Louis, MO, will open for the first time all of the individual Official Military Personnel Files (OMPFs) of Army, Army Air Corps, Army Air Forces, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard military personnel who served and were discharged, retired or died while in the service, prior to 1946.

Family members, historians, researchers, and genealogists treasure these archived files. Contained in a typical OMPF are documents outlining all elements of military service, including assignments, evaluations, awards and decorations, education and training, demographic information, some medical information and documented disciplinary actions. Some records also contain photographs of the individual and official correspondence concerning military service.

To obtain copies of records, customers may write to NPRC at 9700PageAvenue, St. Louis, MO 63132, fax a request to 314-801-9195, or submit a request through or on a Standard Form 180.

Information about records available at NPRC is also posted on the National Personnel Records Center Homepage at

Archived, public records are subject to the National Archives and Records Administration's published fee schedule. Archived records are subject to a limited privacy exemption under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act. As such, all records are reviewed prior to release and social security numbers are redacted.

(Shared by Kathie Mauzey from the South Central Kentucky List.)


Welcome to David Flint, who joined our group while attending the seminar. David lives in Irvine. His email address is


Herb Abrams will update your information on the SOCCGS Surname Website Listing as needed. Please check your information, and if corrections and/or additions are necessary notify Herb or (949) 581-6292). New members are especially encouraged to add their Surnames to this list. Send an email to Herb listing your surnames, locations and years you are researching.


Please wear your SOCCGS Badge to the monthly meetings. Don't have one? Herb Abrams will provide one if you sign up at the check-in table, or you may send him an email with your name and the surnames (up to six) that you would like included.

~Patricia Ann (Dean) Christiansen

Over three decades ago, I purchased an inexpensive fishing vest from a K-Mart Store; the cost then was about $12. My initial purpose for the vest was not to go fishing, but to use it as a convenient wearable carrier of photographic supplies; film, batteries, note pad, pens, lenses, etc. Digital cameras were not on the horizon in the 1970s when I embarked upon a calling to publish a limited circulation newspaper.

The newspaper is no more, the nest is empty and I now traipse through cemeteries photographing headstones. My three-year-old digital camera makes life so much easier; however, cemeteries have their challenges now that I have to walk at times with a cane.

The vest has a large zippered pocket on the back that will hold a 12 oz. water bottle, car keys and my charged cell phone. On treks lasting several hours I hang a larger water bottle in a carrier around my neck.

The front of the vest has two large zippered pockets, nine front pouches with Velcro type fasteners and four inside pouches. If the cemetery has an office on the premises where I can acquire a location map; the map can then be stored in one of the zippered pockets. There might be a county recorder's office nearby where cemetery information may be obtained. A small notebook will come in handy in order to record the phone number and address of the cemetery office and/or the recorders office to track your source information. To locate rural cemeteries write down a good description as to highway names and landmarks.

I fill the remaining pockets and pouches with pens, small notebooks (I like the spiral bound ones), light and dark chalk, a stiff bristled paint brush, an additional memory card and charged battery for the camera, sunscreen, tape measure, pruning tool, magnifying glass, and lip balm. I also take soft energy bars and hard candy, which fit neatly into a zippered pocket

The handle of my cane slips easily into a loop already attached to the bottom of the vest. Even though my cane has a wrist strap, it is sometimes more comfortable to have the cane off my wrist, but still on my person. Not carried in the vest, but a part of my ensemble is a pair of binoculars (with a neck strap) and a large straw sun hat. The chinstrap on the hat is a bonus that saves running after it if the wind blows it off.

Before entering the cemetery I photograph the entry marker (if there is one), with the cemetery name. Then I take pictures of each headstone at least twice and write the description in the notebook. Sometimes the headstones are dirty and the paintbrush comes in handy in dusting away debris. And, finally I use the pruners to cut creeping weeds from the surface of the headstone.

I note adjacent headstones in order to identify the location of the ancestor's burial site at a future time. I use a separate notebook page for each headstone or monument, and draw a simple sketch to help reference the ancestor more readily. Certain details about the headstone or monument are noted; i.e., height of the monument, is the headstone flat or upright, the exact wording on the marker, the condition of the headstone and any other details that set it apart. Do not rely exclusively on your memory or the photographs to memorialize information. You need it all; once away from the site, data may become fuzzy, a photograph blurry and memory confused.

Is your wardrobe lacking a cemetery vest? If you try one, you might like it!

"If you don't know your history, then you don't know anything.
You are a leaf that doesn't know it is part of a tree."
~Michael Crichton

Funeral Home and Newspaper Research Can Be Astonishing!
~George G. Morgan

I am often approached by researchers who have contacted funeral homes and mortuaries, only to be rebuffed and refused access to some or all information in an ancestor's or family member's file. You should understand that funeral homes are private corporations and that funeral directors and other employees are trying to protect the privacy of surviving family members. The National Funeral Directors Association in Brookfield, Wisconsin, published an article in its magazine a couple of years ago suggesting that genealogists not be given access to any information. In addition, many states have changed their laws concerning death certificates. Some states have set extensive limits on the number of years after death that copies of the certificates may be made available. Others have adopted the policy of masking the cause of death on these documents, making it impossible to conduct medical genealogical research.

While these are impediments to our research, when we can and do gain access to death certificates and funeral home records, they can sometimes provide a wealth of information. Obituaries, too, are mini-biographical sketches that provide many clues for your investigation. This week, I want to report on one particular funeral home record and the newspaper article that added to the knowledge of one woman who lived in Florida.

The Funeral Home Records - A funeral home record package came into my possession a short time ago for a Florida woman. The funeral records included her name, husband's name, date and time of death, birth date and birthplace, parents' names, and listed an informant from another state.

One thing that is interesting is that an autopsy was performed on this woman. This is indicative of perhaps a suspicious or unusual cause of death. (She was only twenty-five years old at the time of her death.) The record indicates that her body was to be shipped (including flight dates and times) to a funeral home in the hometown of the informant, and also gave the name of the cemetery where she was to be interred. Another document detailed the costs charged to the funeral home and when that payment was received. As you can see, there are many important details in these records that may point you to other records.

The Newspaper Records - The next point of research was to be the local newspaper. I began searching for an obituary, but what I found instead was an astonishing story. The headline reads, "Couple's argument ends in death." It seems that an argument broke out between this woman and her husband, which resulted in her leaving their trailer and going to a house next door. The husband followed and, firing a pistol through the window of the neighbor's trailer home, shot his wife twice in the back, killing her and wounding a neighbor in the shoulder.

Immediately following the shooting, the husband placed his five-year-old daughter and two-year-old son in car and drove to a local convenience store. There he put several gallons of gas in his tank, then went inside and held up the store clerk with a revolver. A passing deputy recognized the vehicle and, using flashing lights and a siren, pulled the car over after a ten-mile chase. The husband did not resist arrest, and the children were turned over to the state Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services. He was charged with first-degree murder and other crimes, and confessed. The article further stated that the family had arrived from another state about a month before the murder.

I next checked TRAILS, an obituary and news index at the Tampa-Hillsborough County Library Cooperative's that is part of their online Information Gateway. There was no obituary published in the Tampa Tribune, and the St. Petersburg Times does not have obituaries online any further back than 1987.

For most of us, the stories we find aren't nearly as tragic as this one, but it serves to remind us of the importance of these records.

Other Records in Funeral Homes' Files - Death certificate, Burial permit, Copy of transit permit (if the body was shipped to another state or country), Text of obituary obtained from family/informant for publication in newspapers, as well as the list of newspapers' locations, and may include a photograph of the deceased, Body preparation instructions, Casket and vault selection and invoice(s), Burial clothing, hair styling, and makeup instructions, Detailed invoice for all charges, Information concerning funeral service, officiating clergy, and pallbearers, Correspondence of other sorts, List of family and friends to contact on behalf of the family, including locations, addresses, and/or telephone numbers.

Summary - Funeral home and mortuary records may provide much information. Be sure to look for obituaries in the place where the person is buried, and don't overlook the records that may be in the interment files of cemetery administrators and sextons. These may include some of the records listed above, but they also can point you back to the funeral home. (Along Those Lines,, March 2005)

Write Your History

Go to your genealogy source for ideas and resources to bring your family history to life.


The 2007 Seminar is history! It was great, stupendous, inspiring and educational. Dr. Colletta is one of the best speakers I, personally, have ever had the pleasure of hearing. This presentation had the highest attendance ever, one hundred twenty-five. Forty-nine were nonmembers! We appreciate everyone who purchased quilt tickets. Total sales were $523, which will benefit our library. Joyce Van Schaack was the winner of the quilt. She, in turn, presented it to Dr. Colletta. Other successful ways and means projects for the day were: jewelry sales ($104.50) and book sales ($167). Thank you to all members who attended and/or helped. As most of you know this was the last seminar I will chair. It has been great fun, made so because none of you has ever said “no”, when I asked for assistance. Not once in six years! You are a great group! You do yourselves proud!

Mary Jo McQueen

287 Million New Newspaper ARCHIVE Records Now Online at World Vital Records, Inc.
(Available on SOCCGS Library Computers)

World Vital Records has increased its holdings of newspapers from SmallTownPapers®. In this recent update, more than 63 million names have been added to the World Vital Records' index. Within this update, 312 newspapers that were already in World Vital Records' have been updated to include more images. Additionally, 17 new newspapers from SmallTownPapers are now available at World Vital Records.

Among the new newspapers are three from Washington State including the Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune, the Coulee City News, and the Tri-County Tribune. There are also new papers from Arizona, California, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oregon, South Dakota, and Texas.

The newspapers that received updates cover small towns throughout the United States. Several of the updated newspapers come from Texas including the Malakoff News from Malakoff, Texas. There were also many newspapers from Alabama, California, Colorado, Washington and West Virginia.

If previous searches in the SmallTownPapers' collection on the World Vital Records site did not yield positive results, now is an excellent time to try searching again.

~Mary Jo McQueen

On Veteran's Day I am reminded of the my family's life during WWII. My father, George Emerick, age 30, enlisted in the Army Air Corps in September 1942. The enlistment age limit was 28, but he found a way to secure a falsified birth certificate showing his birth year as 1914, not the actual 1912. He was determined to be a “flyboy”, never mind the fact that he left a young wife and three small children at home. He was gone for nearly three years.

I remember being proud that my dad was “in the war,” but sad, too, that he wasn't home. Life was difficult for my mother. She took a job as a grocery clerk, and we kids helped out by planting and harvesting Victory Gardens annually in the back yard of our rented house. In our little town in Northwest Iowa we, along with our friends, helped the “war effort” by collecting tin foil, tin cans and other scrap items to put in barrels located on the streets uptown. We all understood the need for rationing and didn't complain (much) while saving up stamps for special treats; like a new pair of shoes once a year.

Our house had a “pot belly” wood-burning stove in the living room for heat and Mom cooked on a huge old iron stove in the kitchen. There was a large reservoir on the side that provided warm water for our Saturday night baths! No electric refrigerator, instead we had only an icebox. We loved it when the iceman came to deliver blocks of ice; then we got slivers of ice to eat on hot summer days. They tasted almost as good as popsicles do today.

Life for us got better after my dad was sent overseas. His pay increased considerably and there were other perks as well. Through the War Department we were given permission to obtain an electric refrigerator and gas for a heating stove. And, a telephone!

Dad arrived in England in July 1944; just one month after the Normandy Invasion began. He was a waist gunner/radio operator on a B-17 and flew his thirtieth and final mission on December 31, 1944. He elected to stay at the Sudbury Airbase as a gunnery instructor for the next five months. His alternative would have been to fly missions in the Pacific. Dad was done flying; he even took a ship home after his tour was over. It was 1962 before he ever flew again!

In the beginning of a change, the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned.
When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot.
~Mark Twain, Notebook, 1935

New At The SOCCGS Library

: Grassroots of America: Index to the American State Papers, Land Grants and Claims, 1789-1837
Clans and Tartans of Scotland, Neil Grant
Illustrated 17th Century Maps of Scotland, Jeffrey Stone
The Clans of the Scottish Highlands, R. R. McIan
A Dictionary of Scottish Emigrants to Canada Before Confederation Vol. I, Donald Whyte
A Dictionary of Scottish Emigrants to Canada Before Confederation Vol. II, Donald Whyte
(Carolina) From Ulster to Carolina, Tyler Blethen & Curtis Wood, Jr.
Tracing Your Irish Ancestors, John Grenham
The Surnames of Ireland, Edward MacLysaght
More Irish Families, Edward MacLysaght
The Book of Ulster Surnames, Robert Bell
(Nebraska) Irish & Scotch-Irish Declarations of Intention to Naturalize: Cass, Douglas, Lancaster, Nemaha, Otoe, Richardson, Sarpy and York Counties in Nebraska 1855-1940+, Ellen & Raymond De Vries
(Pennsylvania) The Scotch-Irish of Colonial Pennsylvania, Wayland Dunaway
(General Research) Abbreviations-Acronyms, Kip Sperry

Library Docents

A docent is needed for the Thursday shift from 5:30 to 7. Please contact Bunny Smith if you are available.

Parish Question

“I understand a parish in Ireland is an area somewhat like a township within the county in the United States. Would someone please tell me the difference between a Civil Parish and Roman Catholic Parish. I've found family in a Civil Parish that I know were Catholic. Does this mean both denominations shared parishes? If so, why are they designated different names?”

Answer #1 - This question crops up when you are studying Griffith's Valuations. The parishes referred to are CIVIL and not ecclesiastical although their boundaries usually coincide with the parishes of the Church of Ireland. They do not coincide with the boundaries of the Roman Catholic Church and care should be taken to make sure in which Poor Law Union(s) the parish is situated. Some parishes are shared with more than one Union. Some Roman Catholic and Church of Ireland parishes appear in more than one Union so that both Unions should be searched for family information. The Townland Index is very useful as it lists the Union(s) in which "civil" parishes lie. Beware that Griffith's does not list every person living in a particular area and thus is not a census. A book you might find useful in this regard is "An introduction to Irish Research- Irish Ancestry: A Beginner's Guide" by Bill Davis. Pub. by the Federation of Family History Societies, The Benson Room, Birmingham and Midland Institute, Margaret St., Birmingham B3 3 BS England.

Answer #2 - The English Parish system was introduced to Ireland after the Ulster Plantation [after 1607]. The Parish at that time was based on an area with a Church of Ireland {Anglican] Church at its center. They also became the Civil Parishes. Several Parishes made up a Diocese under the charge of a Bishop.

Presbyterians do not recognize the C of I Parish system but instead created Presbyteries. Methodists do not employ the Parish system either but instead have Circuits. Similarly the Catholic Church did not use the C of I Parish system but instead created their own R.C. Parishes again with a Church/Chapel at its center.

As there were fewer Catholic Churches the Parishes tended to be bigger. In later years as more Churches were built, these large Roman Catholic Parishes were sub divided creating smaller Parishes within the old one.

(From Robert @ - shared by Shirley Fraser.)

"Expert Links: England Family History and Genealogy"

This is a new page that organizes nearly 400 important websites for English genealogy in one place. Categories include sites where you can obtain civil registration files and indexes, vital records, probate records, emigration records, and more. National site inks are organized first, then by county in alphabetical order. For-a-fee sites are set apart with a different color.

"Family faces are magic mirrors. Looking at people who belong to us,
We see the past, present, and future."
~ Gail Lumet Buckley


November 11
- Veterans Day Observance at El Toro Memorial Park, 25751 Trabuco Rd., Lake Forest. Information: (949) 951-9102
December 2 - “Celtic Christmas Faire” at Soka University, Aliso Viejo
February 16
- Hemet-San Jacinto Genealogical Society Seminar, Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak
February 23 - WAGS Annual Seminar (Whittier), Lloyd DeWitt Bockstruck. Contact Judy Poole (909) 985-6657 or (Flyers available at SOCCGS library.)
March 8 - Genealogical Society of North Orange County California Annual Seminar (More info later.)


Don't forget to send your literary contributions to the newsletter editor by the Wednesday following the monthly meeting. These may be sent via email or Word attachment. All submissions are subject to editorial approval and may be edited for content or space. Send to:

Need a break from your research?

Suggestion from member, Karyn Schumaker: Enter your zip code, and you will be amazed at the information you will find.

"New York Times" Online for Free

Now, you can search the "New York Times" for articles from 1851 to the present and view those from 1851-1922 (in the public domain) and from 1981-1987, for free. To visit the "New York Times" Online Archives:

We on this continent should never forget that men first crossed the Atlantic
Not to find soil for their ploughs but to secure liberty for their souls.
~Robert J. McCracken

A Little Humor

“An elderly gentleman had endured serious hearing problems for a number of years. He went to the doctor and the doctor was able to have him fitted for a set of hearing aids that allowed the gentleman to hear 100%. The gentleman went back to the doctor a month later and was told, "Your hearing is perfect. Your family must be pleased that you can hear again." The gentleman replied, "Oh, I haven't told them yet. I just sit around and listen to their conversations. I've changed my will three times!”


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 Date Rec'd__________________


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