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Saddleback Valley Trails

South Orange County California Genealogical Society

Vol. 19 No. 8

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

August 2012

Editor: Gary Schwarz

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.


General Meeting 18 August 2012


Presented by
Francie Kennedy

Dusty unread books on deep dim shelves in historical libraries are seeing the light of day again! Books we traveled to far-away places to read are now right in our laps! Thanks to energetic transcribing, scanning and digitizing efforts, old books - possibly with our ancestors in them - are increasingly available free online. Genealogy books now available include how-to texts and research guidance, along with resources like county histories, family histories, military histories, federal records, court case abstracts, descriptions of events and details of occupations. Online books include sources we would never look for, or even are aware they exist! A few of these obscure sources of information are government reports, alumni books, fraternity annuals, industry publications and medical journals. Francie will introduce us to the major sources of online books and provide searching strategies to improve results.

About the Speaker: Francie Kennedy has been researching her family history for 12 years. She has spoken to us before about searching techniques for online research, and the tools available via Google. Francie is so excited about sharing what she learns, and helping beginners get started, that she has recently joined the Association for Professional Genealogists.


Safari News

There will be no safari this month. We will resume in September. Check the next newsletter for the location of our September safari.

October 20 Seminar

The date for the annual seminar is fast approaching. Reservations are coming in every day. Please use the form on page 6 to get your space reserved.

Books and jewelry are being collected for the sale tables. All genealogy related books and other items are welcome. The jewelry table is always a fun place to shop. Costume jewelry in good repair will be appreciated. These items may be brought to the August and/or September meetings. Need a pickup? Please contact Bill Bluett.

"He who has no fools, knaves, or beggars in his family was begot by a flash of lightning." ~Old English proverb

President's Message

~Bill Bluett

It was unfortunate that I missed Gena Philibert-Ortegaís presentation in July as I was vacationing in Lake Tahoe with my family. But, the topic she presented got me to thinking more specifically about the lives of my grandmothers and great grandmothers. The one that comes to mind most vividly is my great grandmother Martha Ann (Jones) Bluett.

Martha married my great grandfather, James, in San Francisco on July 12th, 1871. She was now a Methodist Episcopal ministerís wife. Over the next 11 years, the family would move a total of 6 times to a new Northern California location in order to serve young growing churches. Martha gave birth to five children during this period of time. It must have been difficult to make friends and build up relationships and then move on to a new location at the request of the Methodist Church leadership. I suppose this is what was expected of ministers during the age of initial growth in the State of California following the "Gold Rush".

The family relocated to the Washington Territory in 1882 and settled onto a 160-acre homestead near Cheney (south of Spokane). Now, the family had a permanent home and a place to grow crops, have a garden, and care for some livestock. Over the next 9 years, James would be away for periods of time to tend to the churches he was assigned. Martha had the responsibility of caring for the children and keep things in order on their property with the help of the older children. 9 kids would eventually be roaming the homestead by the late 1880ís.

Something unique was happening in the Washington Territory shortly after the Bluett family arrived. In 1883, the legislature approved the Woman Suffrage Bill and they were given the right to vote, serve as jurors, clerks, jury foreman, and bailiffs. On November 22, Governor Gordon Newell signed the act into law. Bells rang and guns boomed as suffragists celebrated their victory. And, Martha was right in the middle of it. She is mentioned in a book titled "History of the City of Spokane and Spokane County" which was printed in 1912. It is stated in the book that "The first women jurors to serve in Spokane County were doubtless Mrs. Martha Bluett, Mrs. L.M. Kellogg, and Mrs. Mary R. Bybie, who, as well as can be recollected, served in the justice court of John W. Still in the community of Cheney." Women had this privilege in the Washington Territory from 1883 until 1888. In the next election, a higher percentage of women voted than men. They tipped the balance for law and order, and in several communities including Seattle, voted "whiskey hells" and brothels out of existence. But, in 1888, the Supreme Court ruled the suffrage law void and women did not regain their rights in the State of Washington until 1910. But, Martha Bluett was able to vote and have her day in court more than 35 years before the 19th Amendment became the law of the land!

My great grandfather died in 1891 and this brought a terrible hardship upon Martha. The Great Depression of 1893 was just around the corner and severe financial problems were building up on the homestead that Martha eventually lost. Her past experiences of serving in the courts may have prompted her to take on a legal battle over the loss of the property. The case was in the Supreme Court for three years. She eventually lost the case. But, I have to give her credit for taking on this issue and giving it a go. Her second marriage during this period of time was a failure and the court documents seemed to indicate that the husband didnít treat her very well. Marthaís third marriage only lasted about a year and a half until that husband died in 1908. Martha lived out her last year with one of her sons in Butte, Montana. She died in January of 1909 and was buried in the family plot in Spokane along with my great grandfather, James Bluett.

Martha had an adventurous life filled with a lot of hardships along the way. I appreciate all that she accomplished during her life. She wasnít one to be idle with her time. I believe she was a very strong woman in her convictions and what she set out to do. Maybe one day I will somehow find a photo of her. In the meantime, Iíll just have to rely on the image I see in my own mind of what I think Martha would have looked like.

"We've uncovered some embarrassing ancestors in the not-too-distant past. Some horse thieves, and some people killed on Saturday nights. One of my relatives, unfortunately, was even in the newspaper business." ~Jimmy Carter


The July meeting was attended by 79 members and 9 guests, including: Arno "Gil" Gillis, Donna Skelly, Kirk McEvers, Melissa Cattiell, Shirley Olson, Rosalie Thomason, and Linda Stucker. Gil Gillis and Donna Skelly became the newest members of our Society.

Gil is searching Gillis in Indiana and Iowa, Bullinger in Russia and North Dakota and Robertson in Iowa.

Donna is looking for Levi E. Hitchcock (1857-1887) in Ohio, Illinois and Elkhart Indiana; Davis Randolph (1810-1885) in Ohio and Mifflin, Pennsylvania; John and Mary Randolph (1774) in Piscataway, New Jersey.

July Meeting

Gena Philibert-Ortega gave an excellent program on "Finding your Female Ancestors". She pointed out that researching women is different, emphasizing the importance of thinking "outside the box". Gena recommended, in addition to researching the woman herself, to also research the womanís family (husband, father, sons, brothers); the locality where she lived; the time period she lived in; and her neighbors and community. Many websites discussed in her presentation may be found on her blog at Genaís program was well received. She is a new speaker for our group and we will invite her back to speak at a future meeting. Members who provided refreshments were: Noel Jensen, Pat Weeks, Tina Murtha, Ruth Sheean, and Christina Hurst Loeffler.

Brick Walls & Genealogy Research Suggestions

Dale Larsen mentioned that when she checked her own 1940 Census entry on FamilySearch it showed her age incorrectly for 1940. She wondered how to get that corrected. It was suggested that the FamilySearch website provides a way to send in corrections. Mary Jo McQueen reminded us not to forget Google when we are doing research on a name. She told how she was looking for information on a relative and entered the name in Google. The result was that she found the name in the Flickr photo website and was able to get a photo she did not have of a great aunt. Karen Miller has a new grand daughter and decided to research the other grand mother, who had German ancestors coming through Castle Garden in New York, and directly from New York to Nebraska. Karen was looking for help with research for German families going to Nebraska in the 1860ís. Someone in the audience offered to help, and they met during the break. Perhaps Karen will give us an update on the outcome at a future meeting.

Betty Collins Bluet
1920 - 2012

Betty Jane Bluett, daughter of Robert and Mildred Paddock Collins, was born on May 25th, 1920, in Los Angeles, CA. She graduated from Fremont High School in L.A. in 1938 and married Ralph Emerson Bluett, Jr. in September of that year. Betty raised her three children in the Los Angeles area as a single mom following her divorce.

Family vacations and genealogy research were some of her favorite activities. She was employed by Sears-Roebuck for 23 years as a Department Manager and retired to Laguna Woods in 1978. She was a member of the Mission Viejo Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Betty passed away on July 21st, 2012, in Mission Viejo, CA. She is survived by her three children: William Bluett and his wife Helen of San Clemente, Joan Robinson of Aliso Viejo, Richard Bluett of Ashland, Oregon; two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

"When a society or a civilization perishes, one condition can always be found. They forgot where they came from." ~Carle Sandburg

Irish Name Game

~Jim Manley

Although the weather was perfect, confusion reigned supreme at the family reunion. He had his head ducked down peering at the hot coals on the barbeque. Out of the corner of his eye he could see all the kids lining up to get some hot dogs off the grill. It was always this way at the Family Reunion---everyone wanted to eat at the same time. He always enjoyed cooking, and was very good at it. He had cooked for a whole submarine crew of men while in the navy and the knack of cooking for a large group of people had remained with him, now fifty years later.

He had been at it for about an hour and was beginning to feel some dryness in his throat---a beer should do the trick to alleviate that. Not wanting to leave the searing hot grill, he simply called out: "Hey Jim, can you grab me a brewski?" And, all of a sudden, three beers were extended to him from three different Jims. Oh no, he thought, I forgot about all the Jims in this family.

We often wondered why so many have the same first names in our family. One could have called out for Mary, Bill or Ann and also received multiple responses. Then, one day, my nephew, Bill, a computer wizard and amateur genealogist, picked up on and old Irish tradition for naming their off-spring. It seemed to work as follows:

Order of birth

First son
Second son
Third son
Fourth son
Fifth son

Named After

Fatherís father
Motherís father
Fatherís oldest brother
Motherís oldest brother

Order of birth

First daughter
Second daughter
Third daughter
Fourth daughter
Fifth daughter

Named After

Motherís mother
Fatherís mother
Motherís oldest sister
Fatherís oldest sister

Back in those days most everyone had large families (There were seven children in my Dadís family, 14 in Momís, and there are seven of us.). It is easy to see the proliferation of same names. So, when you go to your next Family Reunion be prepared to have a good time, but be careful when you ask for a beer.

By the way, the guy doing the cooking was my brother-in-law also named, Jim.

(This story comes by way of member, Jim Thordahl. Mr. Manley is a member of his Dana Point Autobiography Workshop group.)

Eleanor McCormick McGinnis

Eleanor was the daughter of Frank G. and Leila Cumming McCormick was born in South Dakota. Eleanor grew up in Minnesota graduating from the University of Minnesota where she was a life long member of Kappa Alpha Theta.

"At the age of 93, our avid family genealogist joined her ancestors" This was the opening statement for the obituary dedicated to Eleanor A McInnis printed in the July 16,2012 issue of the Orange County Register. Eleanor, and her husband, George were charter members of SOCCGS. George was instrumental in developing the first bylaws of our society as well as being a board member. They were responsible for mailing out the newsletter those first four years. You can bet Eleanor was probably doing more of the work than George! George transcribed the 1891 Antigonish and Inverness County, Nova Scotia censuses onto his personal computer, and it was President John Smith who thought it novel to submit it to the very new Web. This was probably one of the first such databases, concerning genealogy, to appear on the Internet. It can still be accessed on our website. I will always remember Georgeís story of how he wore out his printer to print this census information. He would set the clock at two- hour intervals throughout the night in order to feed paper into the printer. I would love to have heard Eleanor expound on her thoughts of this adventure. She probably would have had some embellishments.

Eleanor McInnis will be remembered by many of us a very sweet, loyal and charitable person who gave much of her time and devotion to SOCCGS in its early years. ~Pat Weeks

Alva B. Weeks and the Petrified Indian

~Patricia Weeks

When your genealogical research has not unearthed any Revolutionary War heroes, any large land and slave owners, any prominent politician, or any pious ministers, you are forced to resort to talking about the scoundrels in your line.

That is what happened to me. May I introduce Alva B Weeks, my late husbandís grandfather. I probably shouldnít call him a scoundrel, maybe more of an entrepreneur. Alva B was born in Winterset Iowa in 1863. Farming was not his calling, so he moved to Denver. At Manitou he was introduced to the white gypsum rock of that area that when soaked could be soft enough to whittle. Thus began his career of whittling delicate carvings of animals, tree stumps, and other items.

In 1892 Alva B married Nina Schmidt in Colorado City, Colorado. Their residences were split between Colorado and Winterset. In the summer Alva B would mine the gypsum in Colorado, and retreat to the farm in Iowa in the winter and carve the curios to be taken back to Colorado Springs in the spring and summer. Alva B had a stand at the entrance to the Garden of the Gods where he set up shop and sold these toothpick holders, mantle pieces, curio shelf items, etc. to the tourists with "Garden of the Gods" and dates chiseled on the underside.

Well, one year, when mining for the gypsum to be used for carving, Alva B and friend named Charlie were digging in the mountains near Colorado City. They unearthed the figure of an Indian turned completely to stone, a reddish brown figure lying on itsí back with itsí knees drawn up. They took it to Fatty Rice, the proprietor of a local beer hall and curio shop. Fatty was another entrepreneur, flamboyant and eager to make a dime, and as his local ad read, it was a "genuine Digger Indian from the Cliff Dwelling of Southern Colorado on exhibit" P D Rice, Garden of the Gods.

Of course, Alva B had carved the Indian, salted it away, and then "discovered" it. Fatty was most probably aware of the hoax from the beginning since he shared the money with Alva that he raked in from the admissions to see the "genuine petrified Indian".

The Indian remained at the Fatty Rice location for some years, then sold to another curio shop owner, and finally ended up in the 1920s with Charles Stausenback who owned the well-known "Trading Post" in Colorado City. As late as the 60s one of Alva B.ís grandsons saw the relic resting in a case with a glass top, advertised again as a genuine petrified Digger Indian.

As for Alva B, was he ever remorseful that he perpetuated such a hoax? It probably never entered his mind. Alva B went on to have four wives, lived a full and exciting life with family who adored him, or more honestly, they were boastful of old Grandpa being so resourceful. Alva B lived to be 82, dying in Lincoln, Nebraska in 1945. I wish I could have met him.

Genealogy Research Center Ė Mission Viejo Library

We Need You! Sign up today to be a volunteer docent in the Genealogy Section of the Library. Summer is here and the need for substitutes has increased. Bunny is ready to sign you up and arrange for your training.

Contact her at (949) 472-8046 or

Thank you to our newest substitutes: Arlene OíDonnell and Barbara Taylor.

Ralphs Community Contribution Program

~Jim Thordahl Ė Ways & Means Chairman

Forty (40) SOCCGS households participated in this program during the last quarter. They were: a # only, Abrams, Barry, Crayne, Crowley, D, M. (initials only), Dill, Dunk, Flint, Freund, Gahran, Harley, Inouye, Irey, Keyser, Lancey, Larsen, Lobo, Luckman, Matt, Mauzey, McQueen, McGuigan, Murtha, Nash, Naylor, Penland, Petrime, Poff, Reinhold, Rottenberg, Ryu, Schwarz, Sheean, Taylor, Thordahl, Weeks, White, Wilgus, Witte. Thanks to your support SOCCGS received a check for $196.11 from Ralphs.

Remember! September starts a new "Ralphs year." We must re-enroll after September 1st. You may enroll on-line at, or pick up a "Scanbar letter" at the August meeting and present it at checkout the first time you shop next month. If you are a new SOCCGS member or have not yet enrolled, itís easy. Get a Ralphs rewards Card. Present a copy of the "Scanbar letter" which contains our code at checkout the next time you shop at Ralphs. If you have a question call or e-mail:;; phone: (949) 492-5334.



"I am a cencus takers for the city of Bufflow. Our city has groan very fast in resent years & now in 1865, it has become a hard and time consuming job to count all the peephill. There are not many that con do this werk, as it is nesessarie to have an ejucashun, wich a lot of pursons still do not have. Anuther atribeart needed for this job is god spelling, for meny of the pephill to be counted can hardle speek inglish, let alon spel there names."

New, or Updated, Collections on

New, or Updated, Collections on
New Hampshire Marriage Records Index, 1637-1947
Massachusetts Marriages, 1633-1850
Nevada Marriage Index, 1956-2005
Marion County, Oregon Death Records, 1849-1900
Willamette, Oregon Death Records, 1850-1970
West Virginia Marriage Index, 1785-1971
California Marriage Index, 1960-1985
New York Veterans Burial Cards, 1861-1898
North Carolina Marriage Collection, 1741-2004

Do you need a name badge?

Wearing a name badge at the monthly meetings is an excellent way to meet new friends and/or possibly a ďcousin.Ē These are provided to all members at no cost. Please contact Herb Abrams at (949) 581-6292 or, and he will have one ready at the next meeting.



President, Seminar & Safari
Chairman_______________________________ Bill Bluett___________________
Vice President / Program Chairman _____ David Flint___________________
Recording Secretary____________________ Pat Weeks_____________________
Corresponding Secretary________________ Marilyn Kowalski______________
Treasurer______________________________ Mary Jo McQueen_______________
Historian______________________________ Pat Christiansen______________
Hospitality____________________________ Barbara Heebner_______________
Hospitality____________________________ Sharon Keener_________________
Librarian______________________________ Bunny Smith___________________
Membership_____________________________ Jack Naylor___________________
Newsletter Editor______________________ Gary Schwarz__________________
Parliamentarian________________________ Pat Christiansen______________
Publicity / Webmaster__________________ Herb Abrams___________________
Ways & Means___________________________ Jim Thordahl__________________  

SOCCGS Website @
Mail List:
SOCCGS Research Center, Mission Viejo Library;
Marguerite Parkway at LaPaz, (949) 470-8498
SOCCGS E-mail:

Use this form to send with your dues payment

South Orange County California Genealogical Society Membership/Renewal Application

 ( ) New   ( ) Renewal      ( ) Individual, $20/yr.      ( ) Joint Members, same address, $25/yr.
 City_____________________________________ State_______ Zip _____________ Phone__________________
 Email address:__________________________________________________________________________________
 Make check payable to: SOCCGS
 Mail with application to: SOCCGS, P.O. Box 4513, Mission Viejo, CA 92690


South Orange County
California Genealogical Society

Mission Viejo, California


A Family History Seminar
Saturday, October 20, 2012 - 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
(Doors Open 8:00 a.m.)
City Hall, Saddleback Room, 100 Civic Center Drive, Corner La Paz & Marguerite
(North end of the city hall directly across the library parking lot.)

"Breathing Life Back Into Your Ancestors"

Renowned lecturer & V.P. of Community Relations for ANCESTRY.COM


"Whatís New and How to Best Use"
"Beyond Names and Dates: Finding Biographical Details"
"Finding Naturalizations, Passenger Lists, and Immigrant Origins"
"A Dozen Ways to Jumpstart Your Family History Project"


Refreshments - Door Prizes - Drawing for Ancestry Subscription - Sales Tables and Displays

Pre-registration must be received by October 17 / Tickets at the door $25.00, no lunch.
(Seminar information & registration form are also available on SOCCGS website.)

Use this form to register for seminar. Send with your check for payment.

SOCCGS Ď2012í Seminar Registration

 Name(s) ___________________________________________________________ Registration: ______ @$20.00
 ___________________________________________________________________ Box Lunch:    ______ @ $9.00
 Address: __________________________________________________________ Total:   $__________
 City & Zip: _______________________________________________________
 Telephone: _________________________ E-mail:____________________________________________________
 Mail to: SOCCGS, P.O. Box 4513                               Information: (949) 492-9408 or
          Mission Viejo, CA 92690-4513      


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