Orange County California Genealogical Society
17 No. 2
Box 4513, Mission Viejo, CA. 92690
Mary Jo McQueen
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.
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February 20, 2010
“The Orphan Train Story”
Mary Jo McQueen
|From 1854 to 1929,
orphan trains, mostly from New York, “placed out” about 200,000
destitute children, mainly to farming communities of the Midwest.
Might your elusive ancestor have been one of these?
The Orphan Train Story is really America’s Story. The movement of
these children during this 75-year period impacted society in such
a way that it still reverberates today, and will forever more.
In this month’s presentation Mary Jo will show the cause and effect
of this most important slice of American History. You will learn
research tips and sources to help determine if one of these children
is part of your family history.
Mary Jo is a member of SOCCGS, having served as president, vice
president and currently as treasurer. She has been researching her
family history since 1997 when a friend fostered an interest in
the DAR. While searching through family papers, Mary Jo found a
connection to the American Revolution. Ensuing research uncovered
a Revolutionary War patriot, through her maternal great grandmother.
She is an advocate of the SOCCGS safaris, since on one such trip
her Mayflower ancestor was revealed.
|The Cole Genealogy Library in
Carlsbad is the destination for the safari on February24. We will
leave the LDS parking lot at 9:30 a.m. This library is one of the
best in Southern California. Preparation is the key to making any
research trip successful. Use the library catalogue and set your
genealogy research in motion. You may bring lunch, or be prepared
to drive a short distance to a local eatery. Don’t forget $$ for
your driver. There are no plans for dinner on the way home. Contact
Bill Bluett to reserve a spot.
Dr. George Schweitzer
is coming back to SOCCGS!
He will be the featured speaker at the October 16 Seminar.
|This month I would like to share
some info about my Woodall ancestors. I pick up this line
in Georgia, then through Alabama, Mississippi, and on to Texas.
The eldest that I can find is Selfnire (sp?) Woodall,
a Cherokee Indian who married a white woman. He was born about 1770
in Georgia, probably Putnam County. Their son, Zephaniah Woodall,
was born in 1792 in Georgia and married Lavinia (“Viney”) Vest.
The families moved to Alabama, where Zephaniah and Viney’s son,
Zephaniah Harvey Woodall, was born.
Zephaniiah married a woman who was half-Cherokee. From what I read,
they moved to Mississippi, where he became a well-liked sheriff.
While in Mississippi, his son, Rufus Woodall, was born. Rufus
was about 10 years old during the Civil War, and told of his vivid
memories of Yankees riding through town and taking their only cow.
His mother was ill from childbirth and the family begged the soldiers
to leave the cow to feed their new little brother. They took the
cow, and baby and mother died. Rufus was very angry about this until
he died. (The Civil War was, I think, the worst war we, as a
country, have been through. So many losses, and tragic stories on
both sides of the war.) Zephaniah retired to Hillsboro, Hill
County, Texas and several of his adult children, including Rufus,
went along. He, Rufus, and others of this Woodall family are buried
in the oldest cemetery in Hillsboro, Texas. Rufus and his wife,
Martha Leona Anderson, had my grandmother, Ruby Earl Woodall
in 1893 in Kirby, Texas, a small town outside Hillsboro. Kirby no
There are few historic items left in this family. Very few pictures
survived, and the Bibles, letters, etc. are also gone. These families
came across the south at a time when it was Indian Territory; wars
were fought across the areas, and the small wooden houses they built
were easily destroyed. There were certainly no churches and courthouses
on many corners during this time. It is hard to find surviving records.
While my grandmother was growing up, her house burned twice after
someone placed the metal coal shuttle on the back porch and it sparked,
igniting the house. The Woodalls are just one of several lines of
my ancestors who came to Texas.
|We enjoyed a super January meeting
hearing member, Francie Kennedy’s presentation. She is a great speaker
and her “Google” subject clearly brought out the folks. Francie
has supplied several extra copies of her awesome handout. They are
available at the SOCCGS docent desk. Bill Bluett and those VPs before
him have done great jobs of obtaining interesting speakers.
Several members shared with us their brick walls and research suggestions
at the meeting:
Joyce Van Schaack asked for help in researching Theopolis Anderson
in Virginia. He fought with the Indians in 1825-1828. She also wants
information on Frederic Hammel who was in Pennsylvania before
the Revolutionary War. Her email address is
Myrna Hamid suggested posting a query with the New England Historical
& Genealogy Society (NEHGS).
Annabelle Farago told us that the University of Virginia has lots
of information. Also, that Linda Jonas, who is the head of one of
the Family History Centers in Virginia, is a good resource and has
written a few books. (To find her, put “Linda Jonas” into Google.)
Kathleen Fairbanks Rubin is seeking info on Nathanial Fairbanks
(or Fairbank) in the mid-1800s in middle New York State.
Verl Nash shared a comedic story of a man who did everything he
could to either leave no trace of himself or to leave incorrect
data. (This piece appears elsewhere in this newsletter.)
Sandy Crowley said that she has been contacted twice, due to genealogy
articles she wrote for our newsletter.
Mary Jo McQueen told of receiving a letter to be forwarded to a
former member who wrote a query, which appeared in 2007. (Be patient;
good things will happen!)
Dean West, a guest, from Washington State visited especially to
hear about Google. Another guest was Maggie Finnegan, a former member
who was visiting from Canada.
"God gave us
memories that we might have roses in December."
~ J.M. Barrie
“Behind the Name”
|I came across a website the other
day on Names. With some of the strange Southern names in my own
family, this sites helps research the census. I'll put an asterisk
were I can't figure out the letter, and then I can figure out the
rest of the letters. So far it's worked quite well.
~Zona Hayen, Litchfield,
|I am looking for information regarding
Agnes L Bennett. She died Oct 19, 1994 at San Juan Capistrano, California.
I located her at Ancestry.com and I'm hoping to find her obituary
so I will be able to find her husband's first name and if she had
any children, etc. Any information will be appreciated. I can be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Air Force Records
at the National Archives
|Approximately 177,000 official
military personnel files from the United States Air Force were recently
transferred to the National Archives and Records Administration,
making the historical documents part of the public record. As Air
Force personnel files continue to reach maturity at 62 years, they
will be transferred to national archives ownership. The ownership
of these records by the National Archives now makes them open to
the public. While the Privacy Act no longer applies to archival
records, exemptions of the Freedom of Information Act continue to
protect the personal privacy of the members and their families and
Social Security numbers are redacted before release. For more information
and to request copies of records from the National Archives, visit
the National Archives' eVetRecs website. (Source: Military Report,
Military.com) Thanks to Kathy Mauzey for passing along this information.
“1852 New Year
Resolutions Solve Genealogical Mysteries.”
|It is New Year's Eve 1852 and
Henry HYDENWELL sits at his desk by Candlelight. He dips his quill
pen in ink and begins to write his New Year’s resolutions.
1. No man is truly well educated unless he learns to spell his name
at least three different ways within the same document. I resolve
to give the appearance of being extremely well educated in the coming
2. I resolve to see to it that all of my children will have the
same names that my ancestors have used for six generations in a
3. My age is no one's business but my own. I hereby resolve to never
list the same age or birth year twice on any document-especially
4. I resolve to have each of my children baptized in a different
church -- either in a different faith or in a different parish.
Every third child will not be baptized at all or will be baptized
by an itinerant minister who keeps no records. Every girl child
will be named some form of Lucy, Louise, Louisa, Lucinda, every
boy Lewis, Louis, Louie, Lee or some other form of the same name.
5. I resolve to move to a new town, new county, or new state at
least once every 10 years -- just before those pesky enumerators
or tax people come around asking silly questions.
6. I will make every attempt to reside in counties and towns where
no Vital Records are maintained or where the courthouse burns down
every few years.
7. I resolve to join an obscure religious cult that does not believe
in record keeping or in participating in military service. Maybe
even marry an Indian Princess and never tell anyone her name or
8. When the tax collector comes to my door, I'll loan him my pen,
which has been dipped in rapidly fading blue ink.
9. I resolve that if my beloved wife Mary should die, I will marry
another Mary. If both women should die, both will be buried with
a tombstone that says: "M.” wife of the Honorable Henry Lee Jamison
George Albert Hinden Wells, esquire, gentleman, civic leader & patriot.
(aka: Bubba Hendavell)
10. I resolve not to make a will. Who needs to spend money on a
lawyer? On that note: I resolve to spend all my money before I go--mostly
on my own headstone (which will be set at my grave in an obscure
place with my phonetically spelled name or a row of initials, and
the wrong date).
(Thanks to Verl Nash for sharing.)
Tracing a Family
Through the Numerical Index
~Mary Clement Douglass
|As genealogists, we are always
searching for another way to discover the relationships between
and among our ancestors and the communities in which they lived.
Land records, in my experience, are one of the best ways
to find these relationships and one of the most overlooked by the
In a genealogy "how-to" book or workshop you may have been encouraged
to read the general or grantor-grantee indexes in whatever county
office records land transactions. You may have copied every instance
of your surname for years before and after your ancestor lived in
a given location. You may even have read and photocopied some of
the deeds, leases, contracts, mortgages, liens, affidavits, and
agreements referred to in the indexes. That is a good start! Every
single source of information adds to the picture we try to create
of our ancestor.
But do we always go the second step and follow the land itself?
Have you ever been told to check out the other land record index-the
numerical or tract index? That is where the genealogical gems are
hiding! Tracking a parcel of land through its owners will sometimes
reveal the names of married daughters, heirs-at-law, the in-laws,
the grandchildren, the wife's parents and other ancestors of another
surname, the neighbors our ancestors married, and interaction with
local, state, and federal governments. It is in the numerical index
to lands, for federal-land states, that you find all the documents
related to the land. It is through the complete record that you
find the other locations your ancestors and their descendants lived.
There are 30 federal-land states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas,
California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas,
Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana,
Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon,
South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. In federal
land states the land was surveyed into townships and ranges, which
contain 36 numbered one-mile sections of land. The township system
is based on a series of meridians running from pole to pole and
base lines, running east to west. The Kansas Base Line is the Kansas-Nebraska
border. The meridian for Kansas is the 6thPrincipal Meridian. The
6th Principal Meridian is the eastern boundary of Saline County
Kansas. I live in Section 12, Township 14 South [of the Base Line]
and Range 3 West [of the 6th Principal Meridian].
In Kansas, the Register of Deeds is the person responsible
for the recording and maintenance of land records. In other jurisdictions
it is the County Recorder. The Register keeps both an alphabetical
grantor [direct, seller] and grantee [indirect, reverse, buyer]
index and a numerical index to the land tracts in that county.
What You Can
Find In the Numerical Or Tract Index
In Kansas (and other states) the numerical index is divided into
townships of 36 sections. Using for an example the page covering
Republic County Section 36, Courtland Township 3 South and Range
5 West (36-T3S-R5W), we find the following headings for the columns
on this page: kind of instrument, date of instrument, grantor, grantee,
recorded-book, page, northeast quarter, southeast quarter, northwest
quarter, southwest quarter, number of acres-irregular or metes and
bounds, date of release (remarks).
Listed under the kind of instrument, we find a variety of instruments,
including an executor's deed, an incorporation petition, warranty
deeds, a contract and grant of easement, quitclaim deeds, an order,
probate judge's certificate, mortgage, affidavit, release of mortgage,
contract of sale, assignment, tax certificate, and a probate case.
Most of the entries are for warranty deeds-the sale of a specific
piece of property by one person to another. Without the Numerical
Index, you would need to search in records kept by each county office
and court to find all of these kinds of instruments.
How To Use The
If you don't already have the legal description of the land, you
will need to search the General Index to Deeds under the surname
for which you are searching. Note all the tracts owned by that person
and then proceed to the Numerical Index to research each tract.
In using the numerical index, you don't search for the names of
your ancestors first. You look for the tract of land they purchased
to see what happened to it.
(WorldVitalRecords.com Aug 04,
Article originally appeared in Everton's Genealogical Helper magazine.
“Wouldn't it be nice if whenever we messed up our life
We could simply press 'Ctrl Alt Delete' and start all over?”
~Michael John Neill
|The late Stanford mathematician
George Polya devised a problem-solving process that has been used
in math classes for years. Even though family history problems are
not always math problems, Polya’s procedure can provide a framework
within which to work. In essence, Polya had four steps to his process:
1) Understand the Problem - This is an important aspect of solving
any research quandary. There are several aspects of “understanding
the problem” of which the genealogist needs to be aware. Searching
for “everything I can find” about great-grandfather is not a “good
problem.” While it may be clear, it is certainly too broad. Better
problems would be more specific ones such as:
“Locate the ca. 1830 marriage record of James Rampley and Elizabeth
Chaney that took place somewhere in Ohio.”
First, I need to determine if marriage records were kept in Ohio
in 1830 (they were), and if they are still extant in the counties
where the couple might have gotten married. I should seek out church
records of the marriage in addition to civil records.
If I know the names of the couples’ parents, I could try to find
where their parents were living in 1820 and 1830 to get a potential
location for the marriage.
Another option is to look at places of birth for the couple’s children,
if that information is known. While couples do not necessarily have
their children in the same place in which they were married, those
places of birth are good starting points. Other materials such as
county histories, obituaries, and pension records, might provide
clues as to where the couple was married.
2) Devise a Plan - Once I understand the problem, I need to devise
a plan. This typically means determining what records will be searched
and how those records will be accessed.
My actual goal is the marriage record itself, so any reference in
a finding aid or an index will not be a final step. In this case,
I can contact the county office in the county where the Rampleys
were married to see if they have the record.
I can also check to see whether the Family History Library has microfilmed
the records. If they have, I can order them at my local Family History
If I am not sure of the county where the couple married, I could
see whether there are any statewide marriage indexes–either in print
or online. If these indexes are used, I need to know the extent
of the coverage, and if they are not, what counties have been omitted.
If I am unaware of how to access marriage records at the local office
level, I can refer to the appropriate chapter of Red Book: American
State, County, and Town Sources, the state research outline on the
FamilySearch site, or the appropriate USGenWeb site.
3) Execute the Plan - I decided to contact the county and see if
they had the record and made certain to request a copy of the complete
record. I wrote the letter and made a note in my research log. (Tracking
your research is extremely important.) A few weeks later, I received
a copy of the record.
4) Evaluate the Results - It might seem like the problem was solved.
Of course, now that I confirmed the date and county of marriage,
I needed to know more about the couple before their marriage. There
are many questions that could be asked, but here it is important
to remember that you should not rush on without evaluating what
has been found.
The record told me that neither James nor Elizabeth were natives
of Ohio. Questions I could ask now include: “What brought them to
Ohio?” and “Did they come with their families?”
Answering these questions takes us back to step one, understanding
the problem. In the case of these two new questions, it will require
more understanding of the history and migration patterns in the
area, details that were not as necessary with the marriage problem.
Problem solving is inherent to any genealogical dilemma. Problems
should be clearly stated and well defined. Vague problems usually
get vague answers. Our ancestors and their records are sometimes
vague enough; our approach to finding them should not be.
(MyFamily.com, 25 May 2008)
"One of the greatest
tragedies of life is the murder
Of a beautiful theory by a gang of brutal facts."
~ Benjamin Franklin
"Who Do You Think
|The NBC show "Who Do You Think
You Are?" begins airing Friday, March 5 (8-9 p.m. ET). The show
looks to be truly fascinating and should be a great show, especially
for family history enthusiasts. The show will follow seven celebrities
as they learn more about their own family histories. Ancestry.com
is NBC’s official partner on the series.
World Vital Records
|City Directories for New York,
New York are now available on SOCCGS Library computers. These include
directories of residents, organizations, and businesses in New York,
New York, 1786-1922 (and some undated). Before the modern phone
book, many cities and towns published alphabetical directories of
their residents and businesses. These publications contain names
and addresses for most adults and businesses in the city and may
include references to age, occupation, employer, the name of a deceased
spouse, and other information. These directories tended to be published
more often than every ten years, so they give a more dynamic picture
of a city's population than the decennial US census. (In partnership
|Please visit our website at
(or type SOCCGS into Google) to learn about our society’s co-sponsorship
and participation in the World Archives Project with Ancestry.com.
There are links on our website to connect you with information about
the program and how to get started.
The project SOCCGS is sponsoring is "California, U.S. Naturalization
Records - Original Documents, 1795-1972". If you decide to participate
in the World Archives Project, please be sure to work on that project.
Also, when registering, you will be asked, “What made you decide
to participate in the World Archives Project?” When you reply, please
select, “I learned about it from a genealogical society” and in
the free text area type “South Orange County California Genealogical
Society” or “SOCCGS” so that Ancestry knows you are associated with
our group on this project. Please consider helping with this service
project. It’s a great way to give something back to the larger genealogy
~David Flint - Ways
& Means Chairman
|We recently received a check from
Ralphs, in the amount of $102.96, based on member’s purchases for
September, October and November. Thank you for your participation
in this project. To those not yet signed up, this is a reminder
to designate SOCCGS as the organization to receive funds from Ralphs
when you shop at your local Ralphs market. Go online at Ralphs and
signup. We need to re-designate every September. Please see the
detailed instructions on our SOCCGS website at
Note: There is also now a new and easier method to re-designate
for those who already have a Ralphs rewards Card but do wish to
do it online. Ralphs has provided us a special “scanbar” letter
for the cashier to use when you go through the check stand. Simply
show this “scanbar” letter to the cashier who will scan the bar
at the bottom of the letter and it will register SOCCGS as your
designated organization to receive the Ralphs donations for your
purchases. Instructions for you and the cashier are provided in
the letter. If you would like to receive one of these new convenient
“scanbar” letters, please contact David Flint at 949-551-6300 (email@example.com).
New at the Library
|Book, donated by Sheryl Fisher:
Family History and Genealogy of the Brunet, LeJeune, Martel, Lavergne,
Chachere, and Boutte Families by Barney and Leslie Brunet Ellis.
This genealogy has a very rich family history, which is told through
pictures, maps and documents. Starting in France they first moved
to Acadia, 1636 to 1750, then the journey down to Louisiana. The
book has kinship charts, baptism and marriage certificates, and
copies of old family letters.
March 6 – Family History Fair 2010, Escondido, California, David
E. Rencher, Keynote speaker. For information:
March 13 – Genealogy Society of North Orange County California presents
“Family History for Fun and Profit” featuring Arlene H. Eakle, Ph.D.
Brea United Methodist Church. Pre-register by March 6. Information:
(714) 777-2379 or www.gsnocc.org.
March 27 – North San Diego County Genealogical Society’s Spring
Seminar will be held at the Carlsbad Senior Center. “Family Tree
DNA & You” will be presented by Family Tree DNA. For registration
form go to
October 16 – SOCCGS Family History Seminar featuring Dr. George
|Members, please check your information
on the SOCCGS Surname Website. If corrections and/or additions are
necessary notify Herb at firstname.lastname@example.org
or (949) 581-6292). New members may add their information by
sending an email to Herb listing surnames, locations and years being
|Please send queries,
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. All submissions are subject
to editorial approval, and may be edited for content or space. Articles
should be of genealogical significance. Send to:
Seminar & Safari
Bill Bluett ________________________
||Cindie Reily _______________________
||Pat Weeks _______________________
|Treasurer & Newsletter
||Mary Jo McQueen
||Jack Naylor ______________________
||Herb Abrams _____________________
||Bunny Smith _____________________
||Charles & Patricia
Eunice Muari ______________________
|Ways & Means
||David Flint ________________________
South Orange County
California Genealogical Society Membership/Renewal Application
( ) New
( ) Renewal
( ) Individual, $20/yr.
( ) Joint Members, same address $25/yr.
State_____ Zip ____________ Phone _________________________
Make check payable
to: SOCCGS (South Orange County CA Genealogical Society)
Mail with application
to: SOCCGS, P.O. Box 4513, Mission Viejo, CA 92690-4513
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