Vol 4 No 1 Editor: Pat Weeks January 1997
South Orange County California Genealogical Society
P.O. Box 4513, Mission Viejo CA, 92690
Monthly meetings are scheduled for the third Saturday of each month and are held from 10:00 AM to Noon at the Norman P. Murray Community Center, 24932 Veterans Way, Mission Viejo, CA.
18 January 1997 Mrs. Pat Hall, former President of the North San Diego County Genealogical Society will speak to our group on newspaper research in genealogy.
15 February 1997 Melinda Kashuba returns as speaker this month to discuss "Fraud in Genealogy", fraudulent services, advertisements and publications.
15 March 1997 This month's topic will be "Military Resources at the National Archives", presented by Bill Doty. The speaker is an archivist at the local National Archives, and is currently overseeing the volunteer program there.
Other Local Events
28 January 1997 10 AM at the Carlsbad Library. "Maps Can Help You Climb Your Family Tree" by Harry Drewry. At 1:30 PM, "How To Use the Carlsbad Library"
22 Feb 1997 Whittier Area Genealogical Society's Annual Seminar will feature Desmond Walls Allen. Topics to be discussed are "Problem Solving", "Public Domain Land Records" and "American State Papers for the Genealogist" Masonic Temple, 7604 S. Greenleaf, Whittier, program begins at 9 AM.
1 March 1997 Orange County CA Genealogical Society will hold a Book Fair. Details will hopefully be available for the February newsletter,
29 March 1997 Questing Heirs will host a Heritage Quest Workshop on this date. More to follow when available.
13 April - 20 April 1997+ Annual Spring Seminar to Salt Lake City sponsored by the Orange County CA Genealogical Society, Probably fully booked by now, but you never know. For info call Joan Rambo at or Janet Spurgeon at
President: Janet Franks
Vice-President Judy Deeter
Recording Secretary Mary Ellen Lytle
Corr. Secretary Mel Kinnee
Treasurer Dorothy Gould
The visitors at our December meeting were Grace Cacia, Bob Breton and Bob Moore. (More about the two Bobs later in the newsletter)
Each month they presented a bill to the Treasurer, who reimbursed them for the stamps used.
Shirley Fraser has agreed to be the organizer of the Safari outings. In addition, Shirley helps out at the desk each meeting, and lends a hand when needed to Iris Graham, our membership chairperson.
Betty McKenzie has volunteered to take over the position of Librarian. All is quiet on the front at the moment, but with the MV Library opening in the fall, Betty will probably be delighted to have some help in organizing and planning. Now is the time to show you care - join our work force and become a hero.
I was recently reading a 1920 funeral notice from San Diego and was puzzled by an invitation to members of the Modern Woodmen of America. I had never heard of that organization. I little library research showed that it is a "fraternal benefit society" a type of life insurance company, with headquarters in Rock Island, IL.
My curiosity aroused, I wrote to the company, asking about its history and about the gentleman whose obituary had triggered my interest. Almost immediately, I received a postcard acknowledging receipt of my query. A response to it followed fairly shortly thereafter. They found no record of my man but asked for more details about the funeral notice. I sent these, and bing, they found him and sent, gratis, such information as they had.
I also received a very nice letter from Gail Ann Levis, the historian of the company explaining what services she can supply to genealogists. She is herself a genealogist and gladly responds to our queries when she is free from her other company duties.
To take advantage of this, you would have to stumble across the fact that an ancestor was a member of (had insurance with) the Woodmen. Gail draws mainly on the death files of the company, so you would need to send a date of death. Her "meatiest" files are those for persons who died before 1912. More modern files contain only a little more information than a death certificate. Of course, there were other fraternal benefit societies quite popular among 19th century immigrants. (Gen. Soc of North Orange Co Ca., Nov 1996)
The San Diego Maritime Museum has a "Master Ship Index" database. If you know the ship's name for your seafaring ancestor, write (enclosing a small research fee and a SASE) and ask for information on the ship and its history. This may yield dates, ports of call and more cities for an elusive relative. San Diego Maritime Museum, 1492 N. Harbor Dr., San Diego, CA 92101 (CSGA Newsletter, Nov 1996)
The January safari is scheduled for January 22nd. Plans are to go up to the City of Orange Family History Center. This will be a wonderful opportunity to those who have never been to the Orange FHC. Shirley Fraser asks that if there are any who have never been to a FHC before to please call her at 837-5566 and she will arrange to have someone there to help. The group meets at the Norman Murray Center, and departs 9:30 AM sharp. Bring a brown bag lunch and plan to have a fruitful day.
"All records of vital statistics including births, marriages, and deaths in the custody of any registrar of vital statistics or of the Dept of Public Health shall be open for research to any member of a genealogy society incorporated or authorized to do business or conduct affairs in this state and such societies shall be permitted to incorporate statistics derived therefrom in their publications. state." These genealogical societies that have been incorporated are: Ct. Ancestry; Ct Soc. Of Genealogists; Descendants of Founders of Ancient Windsor; French Canadian Soc of Ct., Jewish Gen. Soc of Ct.; Killingly His. Soc; Lance Gen Research Library Soc.; Polish Gen. Soc. Of CT. You MUST be a member of one of these societies. Furthermore, you must furnish proof, such as a membership card, showing your membership is active.
Moral of this article: When you plan to travel to another state, check out availability of records you hope to research before you make the trip.
Anyone doing research in early San Bernardino County should contact Mary Lewis in San Jacinto. Mary has around eighty 2-inch binders of Family Group Sheets extracted from all kinds of records of that county. (Pomona Valley Gen Soc. Sept 96 via CSGA Newsletter Nov 96)
If you run into any of these initials on a death certificate or in a legal document, this is what they stand for:
d.s.p. died without issue
d.s.p.l. died without legitimate issue
d.s.p.m. died without male issue
d.s.p.m.s.died without surviving male issue
d.s.p.s. died without surviving issue
d.u.n.m. died unmarried
d.v.p. died in the lifetime of his mother.
(Nuggets from Paradise, Vol 15, No 11, Nov 1996 via Magazine of Montgomery Co. Gen and His. Soc, Conroe TX ;via CSGA Newsletter, Oct 1996
INTRODUCING: Betty McKenzie
I had been working on my paternal family history for about a year and had no information on my great-great grandfather Samuel Matheny other than his name and where he lived and that he died in a canoe accident on the Jackson River in Allegheny County Virginia shortly after the Civil War. I had been working on this problem for almost a year and had even hired a well-recommended genealogist with the same surname. I gave her all the information I had concerning him, including that he lived and died in Allegheny County. After paying her the required fee of $100 in advance, she sent me information from her un-indexed files of a Samuel Matheny who moved from Virginia to Tennessee. Needless to say, I sent her a red hot letter.
Sometime later I was at the local Family History Center and entered Samuel's name in the IGI files. Within a short time I received a letter from a lady in Billings Montana who said, "Is your Samuel the one who died in a canoe on the Jackson River?" I was so excited when I read her letter that I called her up. We became good friends and corresponded regularly after that. We now correspond daily by e-mail. I am convinced that you meet the greatest people in genealogy.
It has been sixteen years since I began my genealogy and have encountered a brick wall. My paternal history has been traced by others back to ca. 966 in France. Our first immigrant ancestor came to Maryland ca. 1634. He purchased land in 1664 and I have records of the family until 1756 when they sold the Virginia plantation and left for the Shenandoah Valley. My third great-grandfather, William Matheny, was born in 1759 in the Shenandoah Valley. I have checked every county in that area for his birth record with no luck. Nor can I find his marriage record although DAR applications which were approved in the 30s and 40s state that he was married to a Mary Harrison in 1780. The only proof they give is bible records which I cannot locate.
I have a bible record which was owned by his son and lists the children of William and Sarah. Sarah died in 1825. Mary Harrison's date of death is listed on the DAR applications as 1834.
One interesting note concerning the family is that one branch went to Ohio and settled in Springfield. James Matheny was an attorney and good friend of Lincoln. In fact, he was the best man at Lincoln's wedding. James' father was the county clerk who signed Lincoln's marriage license. I have a copy of this. Betty McKenzie