Saddleback Valley Trails

South Orange County California Genealogical Society

Vol. 15 No. 12

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

December 2008

Editor: Mary Jo McQueen

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.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

You Are Cordially Invited To SOCCGS’ Annual Holiday Party
December 20, 2008
10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Lunch will be served.
(Regular meeting location.)

          SOCCGS will celebrate Christmases past at the last meeting of 2008. This will be the perfect occasion to share, with fellow genealogists, a favorite Christmas memory, picture or ornament, etc. Take time from your busy holiday schedule to relax and enjoy great food, holiday cheer and “talk” genealogy.
          The luncheon will be catered, except for dessert, so, if you would like to share a small amount of a favorite holiday recipe, it will be most welcome.

“Holiday Mail for Heroes”

          “The Red Cross is partnering with Pitney Bowes this holiday season for the Holiday Mail for Heroes campaign. For the second year in a row, we’re collecting holiday cards to distribute to American service members, veterans and their families in the United States and around the world. Pitney Bowes is generously donating technology, resources and postage to make this holiday card program possible.” Please send cards to this address, following the guidelines listed on the above web address: Holiday Mail for Heroes, PO Box 5456, Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456

2009 Calendar
January 17 - Member Presentations
February 21 - Liz Skookesberry Myers, "Maps"
March 21 - Caroline Rober, (No program selection yet.)
April 18 - Kathleen Trevena - "Crossing a Continent: Migration Between
The Revolution and the Civil War"
May 16 - Herb Abrams, Internet Research

Safari News

          There is no safari scheduled in December. Mark your calendars now! January 28, 2009 – trip to LA Public Library.

Google an Address

          Try entering the address of a known family household into Google...I did so using the address of a great-grand uncle and found it listed in a real estate ad! The listing also included photos of the front, rear, and side views of the house. Virginia Dunham (Ancestry Weekly Journal)

"True terror is to wake up one morning and discover
That your high school class is running the country."

~Kurt Vonnegut

President's Message

~Bill Bluett

          It is hard to believe that the Holiday Season is upon us once again. Where does the time go? It’s time to get the house decorated inside and out, and start replacing the bulbs that so mysteriously burn out between the time I put them away and the day I unpack them 11 months later. Happens every year like clockwork.
          I suppose many of you are making plans to be with family as Christmas approaches. Surely, some of you will be traveling to be with loved ones during this special season. So, I guess this means that genealogy research may go on the “back burner” until after the first of the year. But, you might keep this little suggestion in mind. When you gather with family members or old friends whom you have not seen for some time, you might take that little notepad out of your back pocket or purse and jot down some answers to a few questions that might come up in conversation. Talking about “old times” or “reminiscing” can certainly be part of the conversation at holiday gatherings. So, be prepared!
          At the December 20th meeting, there will be some time for sharing or reminiscing. If you would like to bring a photo or item that brings special holiday memories to mind, please do so. We would love to have you share a brief story regarding that special time in your life. Sharing time will be prior to serving our traditional “Christmas Brunch”.
          Next year, we will continue to have interesting and informative monthly programs for everyone to enjoy. So, be thinking about whom you might invite to one of the meetings after the first of the year. Make it your “New Year’s Resolution” to bring at least one friend or family member to meet our group in 2009. I know they would enjoy the fellowship with other genealogists and will certainly learn something from any one of our programs during the coming year.
          Now, as this year comes to a close, I would like to thank you all for allowing me to be the SOCCGS President these past two years. I have been so impressed with your enthusiasm and dedication. You must be getting the word out to the community because we continually have visitors show up every month many whom decide to join. I’m certain that the interest in program selections helps bring many of these folks out to our meetings. Our attendance has been overwhelming! Several meetings have drawn as many as 80 plus people. So, thank you all for so strongly supporting SOCCGS. Keep up the good work!
          I would like to personally wish each of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

2009 Executive Board

          At the November meeting the following members were elected to serve during 2009: Sandy Crowley, president; Bill Bluett, vice president; Cindie Reilly, recording secretary; Pat Weeks, corresponding secretary and Mary Jo McQueen, treasurer. Jack Naylor will install these officers at the December meeting.


Please welcome our newest members:
Karla Houlihan, Mission Viejo, Karla is with Heritage Creations and was a vendor at the recent seminar.
Eunice Murai, Mission Viejo, Looking for: Mealio-IL 1800's-1700"s, Ray - IL, Minn 1900's, Reeves - IL, Minn 1800's, Polver - Ky 1800's.
Patricia G. Warren (Patti), Laguna Hills, Looking for: Shallenberger-San Diego 1930's, Pratt-San Diego Redlands & Winnemucca, NV.
Jo Taylor, Mission Viejo, Looking for: Taylor-CA & MN, Pinkston-MO & ID, Crawford-MO & ID, and Edwards-ID.
Kate Robertson, Fullerton, Kate, who joined last month, is searching O'Connor, Morris, Applegate, McHugh, Harris, O'Brien, Scanlon, Halsema, Schrader.

New at Ancestry

          Brooklyn, New York Catholic Church Baptism Records (1837-1900), Brooklyn, New York Catholic Church Marriage Records (1839-1900), Michigan Death Records (1897–1920), Washington Death Records (1891–1907), 1890–Era City Directories, U.S. Native American Enrollment Cards for the Five Civilized Tribes, 1898-1914, U.S. Native American Applications for Enrollment in Five Civilized Tribes, 1896, U.S. Navy Pensions Index, 1861-1910, U.S. Military and Naval Academy Registers, 1805-1908, Jewish Family History Collection.

Les Bon Temps In Louisiana

~Patricia Weeks

          I recently enjoyed a wonderful trip and there was not even a research visit to a library or a stomp through a cemetery. It was a history seminar conducted by the Center For French Colonial Studies. Every year the center conducts a two-day seminar at which scholars speak on the influence the French heritage throughout the Mississippi Valley contributed to our society in the 17th and 18th centuries. The speakers talk on food, music, architecture, social aspects, language, religion, military, fur trading, Indian alliances, genealogy, clothing, or any topic related to the early French population. The early French were very mobile, going up and down the Mississippi and the Missouri Rivers. When research is done on that era and culture one must look at colonies from the Nova Scotia region thru Quebec and Montreal, down to Detroit, Chicago, Peoria, St Louis, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, it goes on and on.
          On this trip, I started at Lafayette, Louisiana and rented a car so I could drive to see “Shadows on the Teche” in New Iberia, LA. This is the Weeks plantation, a gorgeous old home built in 1834, but sadly not of my husband’s Weeks line. Also, I visited Avery Island, the home of McIlhenney’s Tabasco Sauce. How many people in the world do you know that have eaten jalapeño ice cream? Delicious!
          The next day, I made the short trip up to Opelousas, the birthplace of Zydeco music. By day three, all of my friends had arrived and we went on a bus tour to St Martinville, LA, where Evangeline supposedly died in pursuit of her Acadian lover, a beautiful wonderful fairy tale. This is really a story of the power of Hollywood.
          Day four was the seminar, held on the campus of ULL, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, lovingly referred to by the locals as “Ooh Lah Lah”!!! Topics presented were: early LA education - the story of the Urseline Convent in New Orleans, the Natchez massacre of 1728, French colonial architecture, the Ethnogenesis of French Identity which played right into the Evangeline story, and my favorite “Power, Sex and Race in Colonial St. Louis.” Carl Ekberg’s interpretation of the 18th century disproportionate number of males vs. females, and how so many female Indian slaves became the progenitors of the early St Louis population was fascinating! Equally fascinating, during our breaks, was the alligator habitat, right next to the student union and in plain view from our second story windows. We couldn’t keep our eyes off the sightings of the gators. The evening concluded with a banquet and Cajun music.
          I have been to similar seminars at St Louis; Ste Genevieve; Old Mines Missouri; Quebec City; Peoria, Indiana; Cahokia, Illinois; Vincennes, Indiana; Mobile, Alabama and Natchitoches, Louisiana. Next year I will attend the meeting at Florissant, a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri. I will have to make that trip a working visit for there is still much to research to be done in that region’s early archives.

SOCCGS Surname List

          Now is a good time for members to visit the website in search of surnames of interest. 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.

Newsletter Submissions

          Please send ancestor stories, web site information or items of special interest to the newsletter editor by Wednesday following the monthly meeting. These may be sent via email or Word attachment and must be 800 words or less, Arial size 11 font. All submissions are subject to editorial approval, and may be edited for content or space. Articles should be of genealogical significance. Complete stories, outlines and/or rough drafts will be accepted. Send to:

Tips from the Pros: Get Rid of Mc or Mac.

~ George G. Morgan

          If you have ancestors whose surnames begin with “Mc” and “Mac,” such as McKnitt and MacTavish, you may find them suspiciously absent in records even in places you are almost positive they should be appear. Sometimes the Mc or Mac may have been omitted by the person making the record or the record may have been misfiled under the second half of the name. Look in the records for both the full name and for the shortened version of the name. Of course this would also apply to O’Malley and other surname prefixes that could be separated. Learning to misspell and fracture your ancestors' surnames can sometimes help you find those missing links.

Picasa To The Rescue

~Bob Carmichael

          A year ago my mother-in-law, Nancy, asked me to scan a few 35mm slides onto a computer and print the pictures. It took me about an hour to figure out how to adjust my scanner to accept the slides. I had foolishly thrown away the slide adapter that came with the scanner so I had to make a plastic adapter. Once the adapter was in place I scanned and printed the 14 slides. Nancy was so pleased with the results she showed the pictures to everyone who came to her house. I was very proud to have helped her, so when neighbors and family members began calling and emailing me, I was happy to email them copies of the pictures.
          I was the family hero and more than happy to take a bow when anyone mentioned what a nice job I did with the pictures. Usually, in life, that is the point when things start to turn ugly.
          Nancy called and praised me once more for being such a great son-in-law. Then she mentioned that she had found a few more pictures, and would I mind working my magic on them? Could I say no? Three days later a box containing seven hundred slides arrived with a nice thank you note and I was trapped. My sympathetic wife could not stop laughing.
          The slides were slow to scan and I had trouble doing more than thirty an hour. The project took me most of a week to finish. My wife told me that she was sure that these were the only slides and that my work was now done. She could not have been more wrong.
          She had laughingly discussed my predicament with family members who, of course, wanted copies of all seven hundred pictures. Soon, they were all sending me boxes of regular pictures that they wanted to share. Would I please scan them and send everyone a copy? For the next few weeks I spent my spare time scanning and emailing. Problems were starting to show up. Email works fine for a few pictures, but not for seven hundred. The pictures had to be broken into groups that could be emailed. Also, the pictures from various boxes were starting to get mixed up. I was frustrated, but somehow managed to soldier through all of this.
          Cousin Connie - The straw that broke the camel's back. Connie has a dial-up modem and a service provider from the Bronze Age. Email trickles through to her computer slower than it would take the USPS. Her computer is old and has little space available to store pictures. After hours of work and many unsuccessful attempts, all of the pictures made it to Connie's computer. I felt a great sense of accomplishment when she reported that the project was now complete. The next day she called. She announced in a high-pitched voice, "Bob, you won't believe this but they are all gone! They were here last night but now they are gone! This is just bizarre!"
          To make a long story short, Connie never did get the pictures. So, I feverishly began to search for a way out of "scan and email" hell!
          Picasa to the Rescue. The best thing about Picasa, the picture program from Google, is that it is completely free. It is actually two programs, one that helps store, edit and categorize pictures on a computer and another is a web server that stores pictures on the Internet.
          Once pictures have been scanned or copied onto the computer, Picassa automatically recognizes them as pictures and stores them in separate directories. When finished editing and/or captioning the pictures they can then be moved up to the Internet into any combination of directories. At this point you need only to send an email to friends and family as to where the pictures are stored. (Picassa has a button that will generate the email.) Pictures can then be printed or downloaded.
          Those who do not understand computers will need hard copy pictures. Picassa has arranged for third-party photo printing companies to print and ship any group of photos. The photos are good quality and inexpensive. They make the best last minute gifts.
          Finally, I should mention how I solved the scanning problem. There is a company in Irvine, that will scan pictures onto a disc, which can then be loaded then onto the computer.
          Some of which I have written may seem negative, but the truth is, I really enjoyed this project. Pictures and videos of our families are easily lost or destroyed in fires or other natural disasters. As historians we should take the lead in helping our families protect these precious documents.

New At The Library

          CD – Pennsylvania Land Warrants: Third Series, Vol. XIV-XXVI (Pennsylvania Archives).

Arkansas Research

          The Arkansas History Commission maintains a terrific Web-based index to its extensive state archive.

Tips From The Photograph Detective

          1 – Was your ancestor really in the photo? Whoa! Photo shopping is a fairly new technique isn’t it? Our ancestors didn’t have computers where they could scan in an image and make changes to it so what do I mean? Those old photographers did their own version of photo shopping. Did you know it was a practice, in a family grouping that perhaps one of the family had died but the family wanted them in the family picture? The family could provide the photographer with a picture of the deceased ancestor and he could insert them into the picture! It’s hard sometimes to pick out this additional person but if one looks closely enough, there will be a clue. (1) The background doesn't match the background of the rest of the picture, (2) the subject is looking a different direction than the rest of the family; (3) the attire might be out of vogue for the picture, etc. It was done! If you have the ability, scan that photograph in to a photo program and then crop the picture to show just that one individual. Compare it against everyone else. Is there a difference? Also, sometimes this was done at a funeral. The family would gather together and a picture of the deceased would be added to the photo in remembrance. Photographs of coffins were also very popular – the coffin would be stood on end and a picture taken; some old coffins had glass over the face of the deceased so the individual could be seen one last time.
          2 – What happened to the beautiful jewelry, the fancy dress, and the handsome suit? Was this thrown away when the person died or given to a relative who moved to the other side of the world? Was it sold at auction? Or … did the person not even own it in the first place? Photographers who did a healthy business often kept a supply on hand of the niceties they wanted. He could keep a supply of pearl necklaces, dress shirts, hats, etc., which the subject could use for the picture.
          3 – It looks like my great-grandfather, but he had protruding ears; in this photo the man doesn't. Hmmm….photographers had other tricks of the trade too. Many carried gum with them. They (or the subject) would chew up a wad of gum and then stick it behind the ears of the person with protruding ears. The gum would hold long enough to pull back those big ears!
          4 – Is it a boy or a girl? During certain periods of the 19th century (give or take), boys were attired in dresses until they reached about the age of 5. This is something I never understood, but it was fashionable. With longer tresses and fancy dresses, it’s hard to figure out the gender of these little cherubs. You can. Boys had their hair parted on the side; girls had their hair parted down the middle!
          5 – Picking out the oldest people in the picture. Now, that sound obvious, the more wrinkles, the older. But, remember that many women started their childbearing years while they were still they were still young themselves. It was traditional to put the oldest family members in the front center of the photograph. I'm not saying it was always done that way, but it was their children with the spouses possible behind the daughters, etc. There’s no rhyme nor reason to many photographs, but give this a try.
          6 – Older man by a younger woman. Was that his daughter and his wife was deceased? Or, was this a second wife? Men often remarried much younger women who had the strength to take care of his current children and bear him more. So, don't be quick to assume that this is a daughter, check the family tree!
          7 – Looking for the photographer’s name and place where picture was taken. Many of the older photographers put an imprint someplace on the photo or under it showing his name and place of business. If you have several photographs of the same individual and the photographer’s place of business is different, did your family move? Do an Internet search to see if anyone has posted anything about this photographer if his place of establishment isn't shown; possibly you'll find a write-up on him indicating where his studio was located.
          8 – Remember that women’s clothing styles changed more frequently than men’s did. If trying to date approximately, it might be more accurate to try to date her clothing. The husband might recycle his best suit of clothes where the woman would want to appear up-to-date.
          9 – The crowning glory – the hair. In the 1840’s women wore their hair close to the head, had a center part, possibly had long ringlets and wore large hair combs. By 1850, hair drooping over the ears replaced all the curls. By 1860, the center part was still there and the hair over the ears, braids could be seen. Between 1860 and the mid 1870’s, hairpieces were added to enhance the hair. Braids were near the crown with long locks flowing down the back. Buns in the back came into vogue in the late 1870; by 1900 oversized hats appeared. With men, it was easier! Being clean-shaven was “in” during the 1840’s and 1850’s. Beards varied with the generation. In the 1840s fringe whiskers were popular. Full beards were popular in the 1860s. The length of the man’s hair varied also; in the 1840s hair was kept at ear length. In the 1850s the man’s hair extended down to the collar and was often heavily oiled to wave away from the part.
          10 – Occupations. These can sometimes be determined in old photographs as well for firemen, policemen, religious orders or certain tradesmen. Otherwise, men wore the typical shirt, vest and slacks.
          11 – Backgrounds. These can be a great help for more casual pictures taken for special occasions, places of work, etc. In most of these cases, it will take a real detective researcher to seek out the little clues. Again, a scanner and photo program will be of great help. Let’s say that your ancestor owned a tavern; you have a picture of him (hopefully) in a group of people sitting in front of an old time bar. “Look” around that tavern and what do you see? There are photos or advertisements on the wall; there are bottles on the shelf, perhaps the outdoors can be seen through a window or door. Scout around for something that might give you a clue and crop everything else out of the picture, thus enlarging the item. Is it a poster advertising an upcoming event in town like a circus? Is it a product advertisement for a certain product that was carried there? Is there a calendar on the wall? Then it’s time to go web searching to see if you can date that item. When was it manufactured, where was it sold? Can you see something outside like a street sign? Is there a car in the background – what model and what years were they produced in that style? Does it look like it’s a celebration of some sort? Is someone in the picture more in the foreground grinning like a Cheshire cat? Zoom in on him to see if you can see if he has a bright and shiny badge, a piece of paper in his hand noting an award. Check the clothing of those in fashion? Check the background to see if you can see their surroundings – are they postal employees, railroad hands, or the such?
          12 – Are backgrounds similar in a lot of photographs? Could it be the same snowstorm that dumped 20 inches on the ground and everyone is out building snowmen or showing how deep the snow is? Check the almanacs on line or histories of the county (if you know where they lived), to see if some major weather event occurred on a certain year.
          13 – The old perforated prints. I imagine all of us have boxes of old photographs with the jagged edges. There might even be clues on the backs of those. Although I have never tried this, supposedly these prints came off in a roll or sheet and if you turn all the pictures over, the jagged edges will fit together perfectly if they were all processed together. Sometimes the developer initialed or dated the roll or sheet before tearing them apart.
          These are just a few clues for you to think about when trying to date those old cherished photographs. I would recommend you search the web for various sites that will go into more detail on the clothing styles and the photographic techniques used.

© Copyright 31 Oct 2008, Sandra K. Gorin (Used with permission.)

"Some Websites of Interest to Genealogists"
  The Washington Office of Secretary of State’s Digital Archives, in a partnership with Microsoft Research, today announced it is hosting a new speech-search technology that will dramatically change how Washingtonians are able to access important public recordings.
  An interesting site. It has some great pictures and documents on California history.
  Czech I.G.I Vital Records Extractions

New On The SOCCGS Website
1766 Religious Census of Ahoghill Parish, County Antrim, Ireland

          From Herb Abrams – “This is the Parish where my Abrams ancestor may have lived. I transcribed this several years ago from the LDS Film 1279330. The only Abrams on there was John Abram who it says was a member of the Established Church (Church of Ireland). I'm not so sure he was related because my people were Presbyterians or "Dissenters" as they were referred to on this census.”
          Also, check out for other Parishes that Ancestry has put online. They were transcribed from LDS Film 100173 but do not include Ahoghill Parish.

"Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn't know you left open."

~ John Barrymore


January 31 – The Palm Springs Genealogical Society presents “Your Family History Shaken and Stirred!” featuring Forensic Genealogist, Colleen Fitzpatrick. Information: or (760) 323-0250.
February 28 - Whittier Area Genealogical Society annual seminar. Keynote speaker will be Curt Witcher, head of the Genealogy Department of the Allen County Public Library in Indiana. Contact Judy Poole, (909) 985-6657, or Christine Johns, (310) 995-8852,
March 14 – The Genealogical Society of North Orange County California presents “One-Step Webpages: A Potpourri of Genealogical Search Tools” featuring Stephen Morse, Ph.D.
For information: or (714) 777-2379.
March 28 – North San Diego County Genealogical Society (Carlsbad) will host a Spring Seminar featuring Kory L. Meyerink. Contact Nina Anderson at or (760) 599-9958.


President................................ Bill Bluett.................................
Vice President……..................... Nellie Domenick........................
Recording Secretary…............... Sandy Crowley.........................
Corresponding Secretary............ Pat Weeks..............................
Treasurer............................... Mary Jo McQueen....................
Membership............................ Jack Naylor.............................
Publicity/Webmaster................. Herb Abrams...........................
Librarian................................. Bunny Smith............................
Parliamentarian........................ Shirley Fraser...........................
Hospitality............................... Trish Leard.............................  
Historian................................. Barbara Wilgus.........................
Newsletter Editor...................... Mary Jo McQueen....................

SOCCGS Website @

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SOCCGS Library within the Mission Viejo Library;

Marguerite Parkway at LaPaz, (949) 470-8498

SOCCGS E-mail:


South Orange County California Genealogical Society Membership/Renewal Application

( ) New   ( ) Renewal                                    ( ) Individual, $20/yr.                        ( ) Joint Members, same address $25/yr.  

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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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