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.
"Court Records in the USA"
Penny’s presentation will include court records of various types. She will cover Probate, Civil, Apellate, State Legislature and, Federal District Courts. Additional topics to be covered are Notorial and Justice of Peace Records, Land Records, Check List, Deeds, Personal Property, Maps, Bounty Lands, and Homesteads.
Ms. Feike is a native born San Diegan. She, became interested in genealogy at the age of fifteen. In June 1972, Penny began volunteering at the San Diego Family History Center and later became a consultant. She has since widened her research into other areas and languages. Penny became a professional Genealogist and began teaching genealogy in 1972.Penny is one of our favorite lecturers. Don’t miss this chance to hear her again.
SOCCGS ANNUAL FAMILY HISTORY SEMINAR
"State Archives: What They Are and How to Use Them"
"Using Newspapers for Family History Research"
"Erie Canal Genealogy: The Peopling of Upstate New York and the Midwest"
"How to Assemble and Write a Genealogical Work that Is Both a Reliable Document and a Readable Story."
Please send in your registration now!
Summer is now in full swing and many of you are traveling, taking vacations, or perhaps visiting the places where some of your ancestors settled. Helen and I recently returned from a trip to Lake Tahoe, Oregon and Yosemite. We had an opportunity to visit with friends and family along the way. With some friends from San Clemente we climbed Half Dome in Yosemite. That was an eighteen-mile hike and I’m not planning on making it an annual event! But, I do have to say that it was a fun accomplishment. We have plenty of pictures to verify our effort!
We visited with my brother in Ashland, Oregon. Richard has lived there since 1980 and would not want to live anywhere else. He loves the area. It is a beautiful community nestled against the foothills of the Siskiyou Mountains and has been the home of a Shakespeare Festival since the 1930’s. Our primary reason for visiting him was to help celebrate his 60th birthday. It is interesting that Richard settled in Ashland. He has had no interest in genealogy and did not realize that our grandmother’s families settled there in the early 1850’s. Our grandmother, Mollie Morgan Bluett, was born in Talent (located between Ashland and Medford) in 1888. Mollie and our grandfather, Ralph, were married in Ashland on 31 December 1907. Her father was Samuel Morgan who arrived in Ashland Mills (as it was known then) from Ohio about 1850. In 1854 Mollie’s mother, Martha, arrived in by wagon train from Wisconsin with her parents, Bennett and Armilda Million. So, both families were early pioneers in the area. How ironic, that one hundred and twenty five years later their grandson, my brother, came to Ashland! He is beginning to show more interest in genealogy and has been visiting local cemeteries. Most of our ancestors are buried in the Ashland Cemetery about a mile from his home.
The story about my great-great grandfather is an interesting one. Bennett Million was born in Kentucky in 1812. He moved his family and his parents to Wisconsin in the 1830’s and farmed on homesteaded land. In 1849, after gold was discovered in California, he headed west without his family to strike it rich. I don’t know what the results of his efforts were. But, in 1852, he boarded a ship in San Francisco that was bound for Panama, crossed the Isthmus, sailed to New Orleans, and returned to Wisconsin by way of the Mississippi River. Upon returning, he sold his farm, packed up his family, and headed west. They intended to go to California but along the way met a group of forty horsemen, believed to be Indian fighters, who promoted the idea of Oregon as the land of promise. They said that California was getting too crowded! So, turning northward, the Million family arrived in the new little settlement of Ashland Mills in the fall of 1854. Bennett and Armilda each immediately filed for 160 acres of land and established their farm.
Southern Oregon has wonderful facilities and great collections of historical documentation and information for those researching the pioneers who settled in the area. I’m sure that many of you have had the opportunities to travel to places your ancestors lived, and experienced the excitement of digging through original files that can only be found locally. If you haven’t, consider planning a vacation that includes one of those areas. It will be an enjoyable experience. I plan visit Ashland again in the near future; in the meantime, perhaps my brother will be willing to do a little legwork for me researching the archives in Southern Oregon. I’ll have to call and politely ask him.
JULY MEETING An interesting and informative presentation by Ivan Johnson on "Naming Patterns" was focused on "First Names" and finding naming patterns in previous generations. He referenced the book, "In Search Of Your British & Irish Roots" by Angus Baxter. (Note: A copy of this book in is the SOCCGS Library.) He also gave reference to a website, GOONS (Guild of One Name Studies).
An interesting and informative presentation by Ivan Johnson on "Naming Patterns" was focused on "First Names" and finding naming patterns in previous generations. He referenced the book, "In Search Of Your British & Irish Roots" by Angus Baxter. (Note: A copy of this book in is the SOCCGS Library.) He also gave reference to a website, GOONS (Guild of One Name Studies).http://www.one-name.org/ He related that naming a child after a previously decreased child within a family is referred to as a NECRONYM.
Tricia Leard asked about information regarding the meanings of phrases or words used in previous centuries that we find in the censuses and other documents. Someone mentioned that there is a book in our library that gives definitions or explanations. (Ancestry’s Concise Genealogical Dictionary located in General Research.) Also, it is possible to "google" a word and come up with a definition.
Marsha Roy told of her recent trip to Montana. (See story on page six.)
Bill Bluett informed the group of the passing of Bill Spicer on May 10. Bill was an enthusiastic and friendly member. He especially enjoyed the safari group. We will miss him.
Thank you to Tricia Leard and Kathy Kane who provided the yummy treats.
Thank you to Tricia Leard and Kathy Kane who provided the yummy treats.
Welcome to Mickie and Ron Dempsey, San Juan Capistrano,firstname.lastname@example.org and Jan McAllister Laguna Hills, email@example.com who have recently become members.
We extend a special welcome to new members Peter and Jane Lehmann-Shafron, Mission Viejo, firstname.lastname@example.org. We encourage them to list their surnames on the SOCCGS website (see below).
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 email@example.com 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.
Don’t forget to wear your Name Badge to the monthly meetings. Don’t have one? Herb Abrams will provide one if you sign up at the check-in table.
THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE
This column will appear each month to note happenings in the lives of SOCCGS members. Please notify the president or Trails editor if you have an item of interest, or know of someone who needs a special card or phone call.
Get Well Soon
Iris Graham has been ill and is confined to her home. We miss her and wish her a speedy recovery. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or (949) 770-5685.
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. Send to:email@example.com
Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence?
Five were imprisoned by the British as traitors and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army and another had two sons captured. Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War. They all signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.
What kind of men were they? Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated, but they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.
Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.
Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.
Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.
At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson Jr., noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.
Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.
John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished.
"Let us not take our liberties for granted, for they come at a very high cost!"
The recently published book, "Bounty and Donation Land Grants in British Colonial America", by Lloyd Bockstruck is a new addition to the SOCCGS Library."All 6,500 soldiers known to have received land grants for their participation in the conflicts with the French and their Indian allies, as well as in various colonial insurrections, are listed with details of their place and dates of service, rank, military campaigns, location of bounty and donation land grants, acreage, and, most importantly, assignment of title to heirs, relatives, and friends." Also new on the book shelves are "German Given Names" and "Names, Nicknames, and Misspelled Names" by Nancy E. Carlberg.
Think about the first family history research you ever did. How old were you? What was it like? Was it exciting? Was it a revelation? Were you findings enlightening? Enjoyable? Shocking? And just how much previous experience as a researcher had you had?
If you were like 99% of us, you had had no real experience with genealogical research methods and standards. Probably least of all did you know about or understand the importance of documenting your sources of information. Even with some experience as a researcher, you probably had no inkling of the vast range of the record types that you would eventually encounter and the nuances of working with and analyzing them. And you certainly had no idea of how to write a source citation for things like tombstones, engraved wedding bands, and embroidered tea towels. Good heavens!
I was very fortunate to have gotten an early start with my family history research. My aunt and grandmother, to occupy my attention on a snowy winter's day, helped me learn to develop and draw a family tree. The stories they told (which I now call 'family traditions') and the paper materials such as Bible records, deeds, letters, and other documents (which I now refer to as documentary evidence — primary vs. secondary and original vs. derivative sources), all combined to capture my attention and imagination. They brought my ancestors and the periods in which they lived to life. That snowy afternoon began a life-long learning odyssey, an obsession called genealogy.
The problem with that picture is that there was one vital piece of information missing: documentation of my sources. At the tender age of ten, I had no idea that the stories and documents being shared with me would be of any concern or importance outside our small, immediate family group. Hindsight is always 20-20, of course, and I have spent the last twenty to thirty years, off and on, trying to reconstruct that source information. It is particularly difficult, if not impossible, when the documentary evidence no longer exists. (Yes, when they had both died, other family members cleaned out the house and many letters and papers, which would have been excellent sources, were discarded or destroyed.)
How many of us don't have similar stories? However, there are countless other reasons why we might not have a complete compendium of source citations for all of the information in our files, or why the citation we have is incomplete or has some caveat attached to it. Let's look at some examples.
"It's A Family Story" - Family stories are wonderful clues. There often is a grain of truth or a pointer to the truth included in the account. A key to documenting these sources is to make note of who provided the story, details about them, and the salient details of the story itself (who, what, when, where and why). In last week's column, I talked about the search for my Great Uncle Brisco Holder, and I mentioned that both my mother and my aunt had told me what they knew. Unfortunately, one thought he died in Chicago and another thought he died in Ohio, in some town whose name begins with a 'C.' (Gee, that could be Cleveland, Cincinnati, Canton, Chillicothe, or a host of other 'C' places!) You might not want to cite the source of your information in your database for various reasons, not the least of which is to protect the identity of living people. This is a two-way street.
Possible Solution: You want to document your sources, but at the same time you want to respect your source and his/her privacy. Therefore, you may want to include a citation in your database similar to that of an oral interview, and which includes only the initials of the source. This will be a reference to your documentation on file. The citation might look like this:
Tradition, as recounted by CPW. 7 January 2000, at Ft. Myers, Florida. Transcript held in 2002 by Gene E. Ology, 321 Searcher's Drive, Familyville, NE 45678
"I Got It From An E-mail" - We've all exchanged details with other researchers around the world. I use e-mail, message boards, and mailing lists in tandem with one another to try to expand my connections with other people who might be able to help further my own research. I also provide them with a lot of data. It really is a two-way street as well for several reasons.
First, you are obtaining the information in a casual, written medium. The data shared is not always well written or well documented. As a result, you will always want to do the investigation for yourself to verify the other person's research and sources, and to weigh their hypotheses with yours. Second, you may also want to protect that person's privacy.
I had one bad experience last year with another researcher. I had seen a posting on a message board at Ancesty.com about one of my ancestral lines. I responded on the board and, within a couple of weeks, the person replied on the board and via private e-mail. She indicated she was excited to be exchanging information, and proceeded over the next few weeks to send me more e-mail with data, a GEDCOM file, and a mailed package of photocopies. In turn, I also had 'opened my heart' to her with information. I thought I had found a kindred soul — in more ways than one, and I obtained her written statement that I could share the information with other researchers when appropriate.
There were some logical items I received from her that I added to the notes area of my database, and added a source citation attributing the origin of my information (and current ownership of two original documents and a Bible) as this person at her specific e-mail address. Shortly after that, I uploaded a new GEDCOM file to the Ancestry World Tree (www.ancestry.com/trees/awt/main.htm). I was surprised when I received a scathing e-mail from this same 'angel' telling me I had betrayed her by including any references to her name and e-mail address in my GEDCOM. Apparently, the fact that I had included this information in my file was a violation of her privacy and her trust. She had given me permission to disseminate the information, and she had already posted a great deal on at least one message board under her own name and e-mail address. I felt that I was providing a service to her and to other researchers by providing a source citation giving her credit for the materials.
Possible Solutions: In cases where you are unsure of how the source of the information feels about having their e-mail address shared, you might include in your database a simple notation as follows: Source: Private e-mail received 28 September 2002. Copy is in author's file.
You might want to consider including a citation in your database for the facts gleaned from e-mail for which you have written permission to share the source as follows: Gene E. Alogy, Ball Family in Virginia, e-mail message from <firstname.lastname@example.org> to author, 28 September 2002. For those items obtained this way, which have not been personally proved, you might add a notation at the end of the citation, which reads, "Fact not yet personally verified by researcher."
"I Got It Off The Web" - Have you ever located a really great GEDCOM file containing a whole line of your ancestry that you had not yet researched? And did that GEDCOM perhaps contain a rich collection of source citations, which, on examination of several, seemed to be absolutely credible and well researched? And did you import and merge it into your own database? GASP! Well, what happens when you place your own GEDCOM files on the Ancestry World Tree and someone writes to ask for a copy of the source you used for 'your' evidence? Will you stutter like Porky Pig and respond, "Well, er, let's see now. Um! Argh! Well, you see . . . I got that off the Web and you'll really need to contact so-and-so." Wouldn't it have been simpler to add a credit to your own GEDCOM file to indicate the source of the information as that other person's GEDCOM? Well, perhaps not. It might be a massive amount of work going record-by-record adding an attribution.
Possible Solutions: Some GEDCOM files allow you to include a comment in the overall file header. Yours might include a statement similar to the following: "Data included in this GEDCOM file consists of personal research of the author as well as data acquired from other GEDCOM files and other sources. The author has not personally verified all information; therefore, researchers reviewing this data should exercise caution and should personally verify all facts. Questions may be directed to the author via e-mail at <email@example.com>.
When posting messages on message boards and to mailing lists, you might indicate your sources in the message OR indicate that persons interested in details of sources may contact you.
"It Was In A Book I Saw Some Where" - Any good researcher should be able to identify a book used in his or her work, and to create a bibliographic source citation for it. However, some books are tougher than others to cite. What about privately published books where no address information is provided for the author or published?
Unfortunately, even when we do use books as reference sources, a citation doesn't tell another researcher anything about the quality and accuracy of the content. You may be using a book containing the only known fact about an ancestor as an evidentiary basis for the connection of an entire line. However, the fact that the book you're using was written by a less-than-stellar researcher, or the fact that the book is an abstraction of documents that may have been misread or misinterpreted by the author, might not be evident.
Possible Solutions: Always provide a bibliographic citation for any book or manuscript. Elizabeth Shown Mills' book, Evidence! Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian is a definitive reference for many, many genealogical citation principles. This should be a staple in every genealogist's personal library — and should be used. Examples of how to write citations for manuscripts are included as well. In the case of one-of-a-kind manuscripts, always include the name and address of the repository in the citation. If, unfortunately, the manuscript has been lost, indicate that fact in your citation. A future researcher will then know not to expect to replicate your research on that item.
"My Database Is A Work In Progress" and Adding a Disclaimer - One of my favorite lines is, "I've been working on my database and just haven't gotten to the point of adding my source citations. It's really a work in progress, and I'll do all that tedious work when I retire." Have you heard this? Have you said it yourself?
I clearly understand the desire to move forward to the next piece in the research puzzle, but I also understand the reluctance to sacrifice progress for something as supposedly as boring as writing source citations. I've approached the citation portion of the job as an integral part of any genealogical data entry into my database. I've learned to take pride in the quality of my citations, and have made the so-called drudgery into a source of pride and enjoyment. It is a learning experience trying to determine just how to write an effective citation for a family heirloom artifact — such as that tea towel I mentioned.
Saying that your database IS a work in progress is neither a lie nor an excuse. It is a statement of fact, unless you have completely abandoned data entry, of course. What you may want to consider is adding a disclaimer to your database, or to records, which says something like the following: "My genealogical database is a work in progress. I am backtracking to collect and, over time, enter the source citations for many records. If you encounter something about which you would like more information, you may send me e-mail with questions about the content and the sources to <firstname.lastname@example.org>. I will make every effort to respond with information in a timely basis. If you want copies of materials I have in my collection, I will make copies at the local office supply store at a price of $ .10 per page, plus $1.00 for the envelope, and appropriate postage, payable in advance." ("Along Those Lines" 9/27/2002 – Archive)
A Glossary of Archaic Medical Terms, Diseases and Causes of Death
Antiquus Morbus is a collection of archaic medical terms and their old and modern definitions. The primary focus of this web site is to help decipher the Causes of Death found on Mortality Lists, Certificates of Death and Church Death Records from the 19th century and earlier.
Go to: http://www.antiquusmorbus.com/Index.htm click on language of choice.
It is summertime and people are eating melons and fruit – and once it was the season to begin canning! Can you remember the ladies in your family trading recipes, and kitchens boiling hot with all the cooking and sterilizing of jars? This reminds me of how we loved watermelon pickles.
I looked through eight recipe books – too recently printed, I guess, since no watermelon pickles were mentioned. Finally, in my own three-ring notebook I found three recipes, each a little different. I seem to remember my neighbor and I making some using the simplest recipe.
(To process: Place jars in rack of boiling water, covered over at least 2 inches. Boil allotted time. Carefully remove with canning jar lifter and allow to cool on a towel.)
My Grandma Whipp (Lucy Jane Callaway) had a baby every other year for thirty years! One boy died at about five years of age, and another son was stillborn. However, thirteen grew up, married and supplied my sisters and me with lots of cousins! We loved to visit, and go into Grandma’s kitchen where there was a wood-burning cook stove set out a bit from the wall. There was usually a big box of loudly peeping baby chicks keeping warm behind the stove. We all lined up to touch one, and get a cookie, and then go out to play in Gramma’s yard.
As you all know, this was many years back – but it is a happy memory in my (mostly) happy life.
I recently returned from a family reunion in the Bitterroot-Selway wilderness of Western Montana, the home of my parents since the 1930s, where their parents emigrated to from Glasgow & Anaconda, Montana. While there, I decided to practice courthouse research, using lessons I learned from SOCCGS lectures, because I was familiar with the families and I felt it might help later when I travel to do research. I went well armed with exact phrases to
I recently returned from a family reunion in the Bitterroot-Selway wilderness of Western Montana, the home of my parents since the 1930s, where their parents emigrated to from Glasgow & Anaconda, Montana. While there, I decided to practice courthouse research, using lessons I learned from SOCCGS lectures, because I was familiar with the families and I felt it might help later when I travel to do research. I went well armed with exact phrases tosay upon presenting my request at the clerk's window. I took hardly anything in with me, only a pad of paper with a list of the records I would be inquiring about, and a grateful attitude with a big enthusiastic smile.
When I asked about land records, I was ushered into the back portion of the courthouse and was surprised to find a cheerful clerk ready to help me. She started by asking me lots of legal description questions. I was so surprised by how easily I had gotten past "the guards" at the front desk, I wasn't prepared and had to return following day.
I politely requested copies of family records from the Ravalli county indices, assuring the clerk I knew how busy they were and I would pick them up in a few days, which she seemed to appreciate. One of the documents was my grandparents divorce paper, which I am SURE no one in the family had ever bothered to read. It gave me a whole new perspective from the maternal side and answered questions I had always had.
I received permission to videotape in the Ravalli County Museum, which was located in the old courthouse that was used when I was little. The museum contained a research department for newspapers, obituaries, military services, etc. The first thirty minutes were free, and since it was $6 per half hour thereafter I moved quickly. I obtained microfilm copies of some, but others had not been filmed. One entire year of newspapers was brought up for me to examine and when I took out my white cotton gloves to examine it, everyone in the room stopped and looked. Respecting the records really paid off because it tipped them to the fact that I was not a beginner. When I informed them that I was a member and a docent of SOCCGS, they insisted I be given access down into the catacombs of the museum basements to search for other years of newspapers. I felt quite privileged to be able to actually see where the records were kept, especially with the uncharacteristic 107-degree heat wave.
Having practiced beginning court house search skills, I was excited to fly back home with copies of Bills of Sale, Probate, Land, Birth/Marriage/Divorce/Deaths, Guardianships and Military records never before investigated.
While I am not quite ready to tackle Irish County Houses, at least I am on my way!!
2007 GENEALOGICAL EVENT CALENDAR
August 25– British Isles Family History Society Seminar featuring ARLENE EAKLE, "Chasing Your Ancestors ‘Round the U. K. & Ireland." Dr. Eakle will present four lectures at the Veterans Memorial Complex, 4117 Overland Avenue, Culver City. Advance registration is required and none will be accepted after August 10. For information: Lydia Jeffrey (626) 359-1729; email Annie Lloyd email@example.com; www.rootsweb.com/~bifhsusa.
September 29- North San Diego County Genealogical Society’s Fall Seminar, "Finding Ourselves: Case Studies in Genealogy." Contact: Nina & Wayne Anderson firstname.lastname@example.org
October 27– Mission Viejo Library Tenth Anniversary Celebration. SOCCGS will hold an all-day Genealogy Workshop in the Genealogy Department. (More information will be forthcoming.)
"Searching for Ancestors - A Journey of Self-discovery"
"State Archives: What They Are and How to Use Them"
Refreshments - Door Prizes - Drawing for Handmade Quilt
---------------------------------------------------------------------------SOCCGS ‘2007’ Seminar Registration
Name(s) ____________________________________________ Registration: _____@ $20.00___________________________________________________ Box Lunch: _____@ $7.50
City & Zip: ___________________________________________ Total: $_________
SOCCGS, P.O. Box 4513
Mission Viejo, CA 92690-4513
Information: (949) 581-0690 or http://www.soccgs.org