Saddleback Valley Trails

Saddleback Valley Trails

Vol 7 No 12 ...Editor: Gail Gilbert ...December 2000

South Orange County California Genealogical Society

 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 wishing to join. Yearly membership fees are $20 per calendar year for individuals, $25 for joint membership. SOCCGS is not affiliated with the LDS Family History Center.


16 December 2000 Christmas party. Bring a favorite treat if you can or just come and enjoy !

20 January 2001 To be scheduled. Topic to be either Scottish or German Research.

17 February 2001 Speaker Wendy Ellliott Scheinberg to be confirmed.

17 March 2001 Joan Rambo will speak on using non-genealogical sources for your research.

21 April 2001 Global History will be the topic of Kathleen Trevena.

19 May 2001 Louis Carlson will talk to us about "Everything You Wanted to Know About Headstones and Were Afraid to Ask: "A Humorous Look at Headstones Through the Ages,Their Maintenance and their Symbolism."

16 June 2001 Gary Shumway will speak on:"Using Oral History to Document Your Genealogy."

21 July 2001 Norma Keating will cover Danish Research for us.



2 December 2000 The Genealogical Society of Hispanic America - Southern California Chapter will present at their general meeting, "Oral History with a Hispanic Twist: Developing Oral Histories and Adapting Life Stories From the Tales of Our Grandparents' by Mary Ann Montanez. The meeting will be held at the SCGS Library, 417 Irving Dr., Burbank, CA from 10 am 0 4 pm.

25-27 January 2001 An "Irish Crash Course" in genealogy will be held at the Marriott Hotel, Torrance. Speakers will be noted researcher and co-founder of British Isles Family History Society, Nancy Bier, and professional genealogist, author and lecturer, Nancy Carlberg. Cost will be $98, including syllabus and $50 for Saturday only. An alternative program will also be offered on Saturday for those who are unable to attend the first two days. For more information contact Nancy Carlberg (714) 772-2849 or Nancy Bier (310) 375-6149, e-mail

24 February 2001 The Whittier Area Genealogical Society will present their Annual WAGS Seminar with nationally known speaker and author, Richard S. Wilson on "Making Connections: Technology and Genealogy ." For more information visits WAGS new web Page (sponsored by Richard Wilson of at

24-25 March 2001 The Southern California Genealogical Society and Family Research Library will present JAMBOREE 2001, Saturday 8:30 am - 6 pm & Sunday 8:30 am - 4 pm, at the Exhibition Bldg., Pasadena Convention Center, 300 E. Green St., Pasadena. See



A final Safari trip for the year will be made DEC 27 if there's enough interest. Please contact Janet Franks at (949) 496-8428



For schedule of current classes being held at the LA Family History Center, 10741 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, call (310) 474-9990 or visit their website at

For information on classes held at the Orange FHC, 674 S. Yorba St., Orange, call Beth McCarty at (714) 998-3408. The remaining mini class schedule is as follows:

Dec 6, Wed 10-noon Starting Your Personal History - Part I Linda Newsom

Dec 7, Thur 10-11 am Putting the Gene Back in Genealogy Norma Keating

Dec 8, Fri 10-11 am Carved in Stone: Cemetery Hints, Humor Celia Christensen

Dec 13, Wed 10-noon Starting Your Peronal History - Part II Linda Newsom

Dec 16, Sat 10-noon Hungarian Research Vera Boyles

For classes at the Mission Viejo Family History Center, 27976 Marguerite Parkway, Mission Viejo: or phone (949) 364-2742. New classes in "Beginning Genealogy" and "Computers in Genealogy" start on October 3 and continue through Nov. 7 on Tuesday evenings 7-9 pm . No charge!

Classes for beginners and intermediates in Computer-assisted Genealogy are offered each month by the Orange County CA Genealogy Society in the General Meeting Room of the Huntington Beach Central Library, 7111 Talbert Ave., Huntington Beach, CA for a fee of $4 for non-members, payable at the door. See for schedule.




by Herb Abrams

I have noticed that most people who do genealogy also like to do crossword puzzles. There is a similarity there that is obvious. The object of both is to fill in all the blank spaces. Well, in my wife's Thrasher family I have filled in all the blank spaces as far back as her g-g-g-grandfather, Francis Thrasher b. 1768, place unknown, who died in Oneida County, NY on March 5, 1853. I have not been able to find his parents, his wife's maiden name nor his birthplace.

Francis and his wife Martha are shown on the 1850 census of Ava, Oneida Co., NY, but the census taker did not fill in the "Place of Birth" column. On the 1855 NY State census of Ava, it shows that Martha was born in Rhode Island and had resided in Oneida Co. for 70 years. She was 83 years old, so apparently she came there as a child. Of course Francis had died in 1853, so was not listed. He was buried at the Frenchville Cemetery at the town of Western. He is shown on this webpage: On his tombstone there are these words: "For many years preacher in the Methodist Episcopal Church died March 6, 1853 - Aged 85 yrs. Servant of God well done. Thy glorious will warfare's past and thou are crowned at last. This small tribute to his memory is raised by his numerous Friends on Steuben Circuit."

I found a history of another Thrasher who lived in Trenton Falls, Onieda Co., NY, only about 15 miles away from the Frenchville Cemetery. He was Joseph Thrasher b. 1773 in Taunton, MA. I suspect that Francis was related to him, maybe a brother. I also found a very good history of the Taunton Thrashers in a manuscript titled "Christopher Thrasher of Taunton" compiled by Grace Pratt Bonsall in 1950. Unfortunately, I was not able to find either Joseph or Francis listed in that document.

By the way, I found both of those family histories in the LDS Family History Library Catalog. That catalog is now on-line at:

Many people overlook this very useful resource. Even if you find a family book that is not microfilmed, you can request a photo copy of the index and a portion of the book for a cost of 25 cents a page. You can get the form for ordering photo copies at the local Family History Center. They may not copy the whole book for you, but they have copied up to 20 pages at a time for me.

Any suggestions as to how I could find more information on Francis Thrasher would be appreciated. You can contact me at <>.


Have you heard of it? A free trial copy is available by visiting Some of the articles this month may help you break through that barrier and keep you from "giving up" on that ancestor who just doesn't want to be found, - articles like "Reading the Omens . . . a key to genealogical breakthroughs," "Getting Past the Brick Wall," or "Becoming a Genealogical Detective." Let us know if you find it is helpful to you.


by Patricia Law Hatcher, Ancestry Daily News ( April 12, 2000. Reprinted by the Genealogical Society of Stanislaus County, Vol. 22 #5, May 2000 and WAGS newsletter Vol. 20 #1, June, 2000.

If you are having difficulty separating your ancestor from other men of the same name, try this technique: quit focusing on your ancestor. Collect all information for men of the same name and then separate out those which do not belong to your ancestor. Let's look at the process step by step.

1. Record all the information you have collected thus far in a single place. You may choose to enter the information in a word-processing document, a data base program, or an organizational system such as Clooz. Old-fashioned 3" x 5" file cards work very well. Make note of every name on each document, occupations, localities (including roads and waterways), and the type of document (a full citation isn't necessary in your analytical file if you have recorded it in its proper place.

2. Make sure you have collected all census records for the surname. Write down the ten names listed before the key person and the ten names after. You may be able to begin the separation process based on census alone. Let's say you suspect your ancestor John Jones was born about 1815, married about 1840, and died about 1848, based on information about his widow and children on the 1850 census, but you did not find a good match on the 1840 census. Forget about your ancestor. Look at other records. Here is a John Jones in 1850 with girls aged 12, 14, and 16. He is probably the man in 1840 who listed in his household two females under the age of ten, one female between ten and sixteen years, and one female forty-five years or older.

3. Make sure you collected all land records for the name. Include grants and mortgages. Expand your search beyond the time period in which your John Jones might have bought or sold land. Go several decades earlier and later. Suppose you have a deed of purchase in 1820 for what is clearly the same piece of property. Either your John Jones was many years older than his wife, or (more likely) the land was owned by a different John Jones.

4. Look for tax lists. One of the most powerful tools for separating men of the same name is tax lists, especially where a long, continuous run of these lists survives. These have rarely been published, but can usually be found on microfilm. Record every entry completely. You should be able to separate several of the men on the tax records: the man who owned slaves versus the man who had none, the man who had seven cows versus the man who had one, the man who had 322 acres of land versus the man who had none, the man who was identified as "blacksmith" versus the man who had a cryptic 'CR' next to his name.

5. Play Cards. Collect the file cards or print out all the data. (File cards are easiest for this step.) Find a variety of colored pens or highlighters. Find a large, flat, empty surface (dining room table, bed, floor) and spread out the cards or paper. You will be working with what I call 'markers' - things that identify a person in a record. Markers include residence, occupation, names of wife and children, signature or mark, and so on. find two documents that share a marker. For example, here are two records (an 1850 census and a deed) for John Jones blacksmith. Use the orange highlighter to highlight the word 'blacksmith.' Now see if either document has a marker that you can find elsewhere. Yes, this deed names wife Mary, and so does another deed. Highlight (still in orange) 'Mary.' And here is a census record with neighbors Brown and Green, who are also the adjoining property owners on one of the deeds. Continue chaining until you run out of matching markers. Then pick up the green highlighter and begin the process again, looking for new matching markers. At this stage, don't analyze or evaluate, just highlight.

6. When you've run out of matching markers, it's time to evaluate. Collect all of the cards with orange highlighting and arrange them sequentially and read the story of the man's life. Does it seem reasonable? Then clip the cards together and set them aside. Does he die before he got married? Then, it's a pretty safe bet you have two men. You may be able to study the cards and separate them easily. For example, if the only connection between the pre-death cards and the post-death cards is the wife Mary, you have a clear break.

7. What if you have far too many cards with a single color? This is often the case when dealing with an extended family with no imagination in name choices that lived in a small geographic area. Back up to step 6 and start over. This time use a different color for each marker. Choose a pair of colors. Analyze the documents. Would they likely apply to the same person? Pay special attention to reasonable ages for events. Typically, you can match up several of the sets, but not all of them.

8. Look at the cards with no highlighting. In other words, those cards you could not connect with any other card. Analyze at the critical records first (probates, vital records, land purchases, censuses). Compare them to the men (stack of cards) you have identified. Is there only one reasonable fit? A marriage in 1836, for example, is a good fit with an 1840 census with two small children under five, but a bad fit with an 1840 census with a single man over 60. Not impossible, but a bad fit.

9. If you are fortunate, you have now managed to pick out those records that belong to your John Jones. You will also know those that do not. if not, it is time to expand into whole-family research, to research collateral lines and to research on the families named as neighbors and associates. Probates and deeds in another surname may produce statements of relationships or markers that can solve the problem.

10. Write brief biographies of each of the men you have identified. It will help you keep them straight as you continue your research and can be invaluable in corresponding with the distant cousin who is having difficulty understanding why you say your John Jones did not live on Cripple Creek. Very often you will not have documents which specifically state the relationship you think is true or tie a specific document to a specific individual. It is useful to say so. "No document states that John Jones, husband of Sarah and father of Jonathan, is the man who lived on Jones Run rather than the man who lived on Cripple Creek. However taken as a whole, the documents strongly point toward this identification." Then follow this with the documents-based biographies for each man. Don't neglect to acknowledge documents you couldn't place. "It is unclear which man was paid for killing three crows in 1840."

Caveat: The process described above requires collecting All data available (in other words, you cannot pick and choose which documents you want to search, nor which ones you want to leave out.) it is based on reasonable life patterns. Unless and until it doesn't solve the problem, choose the simplest solution. Occam's razor is a rule that says when faced with complex problems, the preferred solution should be based on the known quantities (the documents you found, rather than a theoretical 'maybe' ) and on the simplest solution rather than a more complex one (a single marriage at a reasonable age with several children, rather than a series of four marriages in eight years).

The most common reasons we have difficulties disentangling men of the same name include the following:

All of these reasons are easily overcome, and often men of the same name are more easily separated than at first seems possible.


Common Mistakes to Watch Out For in Genealogical Research

From The Family Tree Online for April/May, originally from The Arkansas Family Historian and Standridge Kith an' Kin.

1. Not using family group sheets and pedigree charts.

2. Not contacting living relatives for assistance.

3. Assuming that "nobody else" is working on my line.

4. Not using maps of the area at the time your ancestors were living there.

5. Not knowing the history of the area in which you are conducting research.

6. Not using common sense when reading family histories. If a source for information is not listed, be cautious about accepting it. Much of the information may be hearsay.

7. Gathering information on everyone with "that" surname, unless it is an uncommon name.

8. Not using primary sources - original land, probate, church, county records - but relying on printed histories.

9. Not making a second copy of your information so you may leave the master copy at home when you travel and take the duplicate with you.

10. Not organizing your records

11. Not paying attention to any clues your ancestors may have left.

12. Assuming your surname is never spelled a different way.

13. Giving up.


Another place to turn to if you're stumped and need some guidance is "ASK-A-GENEALOGIST" at RootsWeb. This is a site where you can post a query and get some advice from a professional. For the current issue, look up For a back issue, look up, and for the site guidelines, look up Again, let us know if it is helpful.


At our September meeting Gene Cramer talked to us about creating our own web page, and in the October newsletter we presented some standards and guidelines, drawn up by the National Genealogical Society, for doing this. Now we have a more humorous approach to the subject in the following tips on "How to Build a Web Page" from the ROOTSWEB REVIEW:

1. Download a piece of Web authoring software. (20 minutes)

2. Think about what to write on your Web page. (6 weeks)

3. Download the same piece of Web authoring software, because they have released three new versions since the first time you downloaded it. (20 minutes)

4. Decide to steal some images and awards to put on your site. (1 minute)

5. Visit sites to find images and awards; find five that you like. (4 days)

6. Run setup of your Web authoring software. After it fails, download it again. (25 minutes)

7. Run setup again, boot the software, click all toolbar buttons to see what they do. (15 minutes)

8. View the source of others' pages. (4 hours)

9. Preview your Web page using the Web Authoriing software. (1 minute)

10. Try to line up two related images horizontally. (6 hours)

11. Remove one of the images. (10 seconds)

12. Set the text's font color to the same as your background; wonder why all your text is gone. (4 hrs) 13. Download a counter from your ISP. (4 minutes)

14. Try to figure out why your counter reads "You are visitor numer 16.3 E10." (3 hours)

15. Put 4 blank lines between two lines of text. (8 hours)

16. Fine-tune the text, then prepare to load your Web page on your ISP. (40 minutes)

17. Accidentally delete your complete Web page. (1 second)

18. Recreate your Web page. (2 days)

19. Try to figure out how to load your Web page onto your ISP's server. (3 weeks)

20. Call a friend to find out about FTP. (30 minutes)

21. Download FTP software. (10 Minutes)

22. Call your friend again. (15 minutes)

23. Upload your Web page to your ISP/s server. (10 minutes)

24. connect to your site on the Web. (1 minute)

25. Repeat any and all of the previous steps. (eternity)

Written by Bridgett Schneider ( and Nancy Cole ( Previously published by, Inc., RootsWeb Review: Rootsweb's Genealogy News, Vol. 3, No. 44, 1 November 2000. RootsWeb:



The membership voted at the November meeting to accept the slate of new officers for 2001 as presented by the nominating committee. Congratulations and welcome to the following executives:

President Mary Jo McQueen

Vice President Karyn Schumaker

Recording Sec. Joe Barney

Corresponding Sec. Pat Weeks

Treasurer Ruby White

Also, you might start thinking about paying those dues to renew your memberhsip for 2001. It would make it a lot easier on our Membership Chairman if you pay promptly. Just use the form at the end of this newsletter and send it with your check to Iris Graham, SOCCGS, P.O. Box 4513, Mission Viejo, CA 92690-4513.


In Shakespeare's time, mattresses were secured on bed frames by ropes. When you pulled on the ropes the mattress tightened, making the bed firmer to sleep on. That's where the phrase, "goodnight, sleep tight" came from.


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