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The Livermore Roots Tracer

Volume 25 Number 4

November 2005

Editors:  Marie Ross, Eileen Redman, Lois Barber, Jane Southwick, rootstracer@l-ags.org

Web Editor: Vicki Renz, webmaster@l-ags.org

The Roots Tracer is the quarterly publication of the Livermore-Amador Genealogical Society. The mission statement of the Roots Tracer is: "Instruct. Inspire. Inform." In keeping with this mission and in the spirit of our Society's motto, "Members Helping Members," we encourage members to submit articles for publication. Material can be e-mailed to: tracer@L-AGS.org or mailed to L-AGS, P.O. Box 901, Livermore, CA 94551-0901.

The deadline for each quarterly issue is the 15th of the previous month. Submissions must contain the name of the submitter, as well as the name of the author, publication and date of any published article that is being quoted.

Queries are free. Please send your queries to querymaster@l-ags.org.

Table of Contents

Membership News President's Message In Memoriam: Jon Burditt Bryan
The Recent FGS/UGA Conference Heritage Using Online Census Indexes
Upcoming L-AGS Programs G.R.O.W. Genealogy and the Weather
From France to The Azores to Livermore
in 1000 Years
Dues Reminder 2006 What Did You Say Your Name Is?
What's In YOUR Closets? "Freedom Ain't Free" Creating a Family Legacy with Newsletters
Wandering Wisconsin Another Memory Jogger Finding (Sophie Auguste Julie) Mathilde
Printing Ellis Island Manifests Our Showcase for Family History Month 2005 Roots Tracer Staff


Member News

Membership Co-Chairs - Marilyn Cutting & Jean Lerche, membership@l-ags.org

Welcome to Our New Members

Lynn Hildenbrand Alice Jean Pitts Cynthia Ostle
Betty Courtney Sherri Titus

We are grateful for the generosity of these members of L-AGS:

James Bahls, Lois Barber, Dick and Wanda Finn


Membership Report As of October 24, 2005

Membership Types and Number

Total Individuals

Individual Members



Family Members



Life Members






Honorary/Charter Members



Honorary Members



Total Memberships




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A Message from President Jane Southwick

In April, Kenneth Miller gave a talk at our General Meeting about the resources available at the Oakland Family History Center. Kay Speaks wrote an article about his talk, which is available on our web site at


Because she was inspired by his talk, Kay, who is our Study Group Leader, arranged a visit for us to the Oakland Family History Center. Many people attended and were treated to an orientation by Margery Bell. Margery was available to help people with their research. We are fortunate that she has agreed to be a speaker at a General Meeting in the spring of 2006.

We have had many good speakers this year. During these past few months, Cath Madden Trimble spoke about "Lists, Indexes and Special Collections," Don Dickenson spoke about the "Mayflower Society," Linda Garrett gave a presentation about "Headstone Symbolism and Their Meanings," and Chuck Knuthson talked about "Research in the Golden State." Our Society wants to help you find the easy-to-find and the elusive ancestor. One way is to provide you with programs that will inspire you, provide information and maybe entertain you a little. I hope we are accomplishing that.

October was Family History Month and the Livermore Heritage Guild, which has its headquarters in the Carnegie Building in Livermore, provided us with a display case to help us tell the public about Family History and L-AGS. As part of the display, we put a number of our publications in the case. Our members have worked hard over the years putting together information in book form for genealogy researchers. If you would like to see a list of the publications, go to our Web Page: http://www.l-ags.org. I hope you were able to see our display. If not, plan to see it next year, because the Heritage Guild has agreed to provide a case for us during Family History Month.

Dick Finn has been working diligently on the TriValley Heritage Project. He now has 10,000 family names in his database. He is finding the families who lived in the valley as our towns were beginning, and is discovering their descendents who are still living here. Good work, Dick.

We will miss one of our members, who passed away recently. Jon Bryan was a dedicated worker in L-AGS and is one of the reasons L-AGS is a successful Society. He was a soft-spoken man who was always willing to help. His interest in research was of benefit to many. We will remember him fondly.

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In Memoriam

We mourn the passing of our very good friend, Jon Burditt Bryan. Jon touched the lives of many people. He has left a large hole. Jon has been our President, our Program Chairman, and a docent at the Pleasanton Library. He has contributed greatly to the success of our Society's presence at the County Fair, helping to set it up, working tirelessly during the time our booth was operating, giving lessons to people to allow them to have answers while working at the Fair. He was in charge of our monthly bulletin, which was received by e-mail at the beginning of each month. He contributed often to the Roots Tracer. He worked on the Lyster Project doing a lot of research. He has been there to answer questions and do research for others. We will miss him.

Jane Southwick, President

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Notes Regarding the Recent FGS/UGA Conference

By Bill Silver

The joint conference of the Federation of Genealogical Societies and the Utah Genealogical Association was excellent, even better than our expectations, which were already high. We had previously attended an FGS/UGA conference five years ago and had been quite impressed by the organization and energy that had gone into the presentations. Five years later we were still impressed. The conference was held in the huge Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, a good thing as the 1400 attendees, eight concurrent sessions and the over 130 exhibitors in the exhibition hall took up a lot of space. Our biggest problem was deciding which sessions not to attend. The conference was held September 7-10, 2005.

The first day, Wednesday, was devoted to special sessions for society management (four concurrent) and Family History Center support (two concurrent) and what was called FHL Track (updates regarding the Family History Library). We stayed quite close to the latter two topics. Some things we learned include:

1. An effort is underway to scan and digitize a large part of the film records in the granite vaults of the LDS Church. The project involves the use of something called the Scanstone process, which, in three steps, takes about 30 minutes to scan the typical film. They currently have 10 scanners but will be adding another fifteen very shortly. When up to speed they will scan about 25,000 rolls per year. Since returning, I've seen other numbers much larger but that's what I heard (and you know what that's worth). Anyway, they expect to complete the project in six years, which will represent a large part of the 2.4 million films now in storage. We asked about the rest and were told that many of the films have proprietary restrictions.

2. Along with the scanning/digitizing project is another effort called FamilySearch indexing being conducted by the Utah Genealogy Society (an LDS organization) directed at indexing primary records. Volunteers were solicited from everyone at the conference. Marelene and I signed up to be participants and were told we would be doing Georgia vital records. This same program is being worked locally on a pilot basis by the LDS Livermore Stake.

3. Family histories in the FHL are being digitized at the rate of about 100 per week. This is an effort being conducted by the genealogy arm of Brigham Young University. Those already complete can be accessed through www.FamilySearch.org. As an aside, I submitted Part I of my family history to the FHL during the conference. They said it would take about eight months to show up on the shelves as a hard cover document. At some point it will also be available in digitized format on the Internet.

4. For those using PAF, everyone was assured that the LDS Church would continue its support. Apparently there have been a number of rumors regarding abandoning the program.

5. There was a strong recommendation to not update FHC computers to Windows XP as some resources such as Scottish Old Parochial Records and Military Records will not work on anything beyond Windows 2000.

6. As an update to the increasing size of the LDS records collection, in 2003 the collection increased monthly by an average of 4,100 rolls of film, 700 books, and 16 electronic sources.

The Exhibit Hall opened on Thursday following a razzle-dazzle opening address by Jay Verkler, currently responsible for all family history functions of the LDS Church. Clearly they are moving into the "everything on the Internet" world, and very quickly. As noted before, there were over 130 exhibitors in the exhibition hall. I was particularly interested in the DNA folk and quickly found Family Tree DNA. I talked with someone named Max who, on learning I was from Livermore, asked if I knew Doug Mumma. I said yes and he went on to tell me what good work Doug had done in this area. I left a sample and hope to hear from them within the next few weeks.

Our next stop was at Legacy's booth as we had heard they were issuing an update to their 5.0 version. It's more severe than that. The new edition is 6.0 and is not meant to be an update but rather a replacement for the earlier version. They will no longer support 5.0.

Much of our remaining time at the conference was spent attending lectures on our special areas of interest, Marelene on New England topics and Bill on England, Scotland, and Ireland. If anyone has specific questions regarding presentations in these areas, please get in touch with us. I have placed a copy of the syllabus in the FHC in Livermore for those interested.

I might add a word regarding next year's FGS conference. It will be in Boston, Massachusetts, August 30 through September 2, 2006. The conference hotel is the Sheraton Boston with room rates of $159.00 per single/double, which was presented by the New England folk as a bargain price considering hotel costs in Boston. They expect the rooms to disappear quickly so anyone interested in attending was urged to reserve a room soon. Conference topics may found at http://www.fgs.org.

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If you could see your ancestors

All standing in a row,

Would you be proud of them?

Or don't you really know?


Strange discoveries are sometimes made

In climbing the family tree.

Occasionally one is found in line

Who shocks his progeny.


If you could see your ancestors

All standing in a row,

Perhaps there might be one or two

You wouldn't care to know.


Now turn the question right about

And take another view.

When you shall meet your ancestors

Will they be proud of you?


Author Unknown

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Using Online Census Indexes:

A Comparison of Ancestry and HeritageQuest

(Part One)

by Susan Goss Johnston

[Editor's note: Susan is a new member of L-AGS. She kindly furnished the following information about herself.]

I graduated from Yale University with a degree in physics and began working in medical research while studying voice at Peabody Conservatory. I left both careers to raise two children. One day, I discovered a box of old photographs, my children's ancestors, and in studying those people, found a new vocation. Genealogy was research that didn't require grant writing! I'm a graduate of the National Institute on Genealogical Research, "Advanced Methodology and Evidence Analysis" at the Samford University's Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research, and the National Archives' course, "Going to the Source." After thirty years in Maryland, I moved to Fremont with my husband in August 2004. Occasionally, I still head west when I'm supposed to go east.

"I can't find Smith Horton anywhere in the census index!" How many times have you heard that comment? How many times have you yourself said the same thing? There are three reasons why you might fail to find your research subject in a census index, published or online.

Reason 1: Your subject was not counted in the original census. Although scientific studies of census undercounts were not conducted until the 1940s, they're a historical fact. The smallest estimate of the 1790 census net undercount is almost 3%; that of 1950 was 3.8% for the white population, 7.5% for black. Your subject not appearing in a census is a real possibility.

Reason 2: Your subject was omitted by the census indexer. If this is your usual assumption, you're not alone. Complaints about the Accelerated Indexing System's (AIS) 1850 census indexes sparked several studies, and the results will surprise you. These indexes covered from 97% to 99% of the heads of household and strays. When researchers used all available indexes for a location, coverage reached 99.5%! Both HeritageQuest and Ancestry appear to be making improvements on the earlier indexes, so don't assume your subject is not included in either one.

Reason 3: Index operator error. If your subject was counted in the original census, he or she is probably in the index. The name, however, may not be what you expect. Knowing the reasons for spelling variants may help you search more effectively in any index.

Phonetic spelling: The original census taker probably spelled names as they sounded, not necessarily as they were spelled.

Transcription errors: Most federal censuses were recopied and this copy is the one we use in our research. Become aware of common transcription errors and include them in your search patterns.

Transcription errors by the indexer: Census indexes are the end result of a written "telephone" game. There are usually at least two transcription processes from original census to final index. Some of the most common errors that result will appear in search examples included in this article.

Published indexes allowed the researcher only one search variable, surname. If serious errors were made in the spelling of that surname, the researcher might be unable to find the subject. Online indexes provide additional search parameters, such as given name, age, or place of birth. If all available indexes are used with creative search parameters, odds favor finding any research subject included in the original census.

A side-by-side comparison of the two major online indexes, HeritageQuest and Ancestry, illustrates the strengths and weaknesses of both. The HeritageQuest index is a head of household and strays index only. Therefore, I chose a pre-1850 census to compare the two. The 1800 census for Middlebury, Addison County, Vermont, includes 213 names. Although 213 entries appeared in both indexes, they differed on 84 of them, almost 40%. Only those 84 entries were examined.





Given Name Problems

18 abbreviated names Name written out Copied abbreviation
3 suffixes (Jr., 2nd) Included Omitted
14 names   Misread and will not be retrieved by wildcard search
7 names   Initial letter incorrect

Ancestry's index retrieves abbreviated given names, as well as names entered in full, regardless of the form requested by the user. HeritageQuest lacks this ability, so be prepared to search given names by abbreviations as well as full names. In this instance, the indexer chose to write out the full name rather than the abbreviated entry, but that is not always the case.

Ancestry includes a wildcard search option in all text fields: the asterisk (*) is used to represent up to six characters; the question mark (?) is used to represent one character. The wildcard must be preceded by at least three known characters. In these 14 names, the error occurs in the second or third letter, rendering the wildcard search useless.

Initial capitals are frequently misread. When this happens, neither soundex nor wildcard searches will retrieve the name. The Ancestry indexer misread the initial letter of seven given names.




Surname Problems

41 names misread in total 3 names misread 40 names misread
2 names misread by both indexes "Moulton" read as "Moultan"; "Hatton" read as "Holton" "Moulton" read as "Moutton"; "Hatton" read as "Matton"
1 name "Seelye" indexed as "Soolye" Read correctly
13 names   Misread, but will be retrieved by either wildcard or soundex search
12 names   Will be retrieved by wildcard search, but will not appear in a soundex search
7 names   Initial capital correct, but will not appear in either soundex search or wildcard search
8 names   Initial capital misread

HeritageQuest is the more accurate of the two online censuses. This is especially important, since this index does not offer any wildcard or soundex search options. Two of its three misread surnames should appear in spelling variant searches.

The Ancestry index misread 40 surnames, almost 20% of the total. Given its increased flexibility, though, 25 of these 40 surnames would appear in a soundex search, a wildcard search, or both. That leaves 15 surnames, or 7% of the 213 households, that must be found by other methods. Only one of these 15 surnames would not be found by an additional search in the HeritageQuest index.




Some Interesting Examples

Wm. Goodrich William Goodrich Would you believe: Wm. Gao Irick??
John entered as Jhon in original census Indexed as John Indexed as Thore, Shan
Epraim Indexed as Ephraim Indexed as entered: Epraim

Search Summary

Number of names that will not be retrieved by given name or surname search 0 1: Saml. Mattocks indexed as Sorm Morttocks

The goal of a transcriber is to reproduce an original document exactly; the goal of an indexer is to create a tool that allows a user to find necessary information in that original document. I agree with the liberties taken by the HeritageQuest indexer in the above instances, despite the fact that this action might introduce additional errors. No one would ever think of searching for given name "John" by substituting "Thore" or "Shan."

The most important result of this comparison appears in the final line. An intelligent search of both indexes would result in the researcher finding all 213 names in the original.

The 1790 through 1840 censuses are all head of household censuses indexed and available through both HeritageQuest and Ancestry; and both indexes allow the same search variables: given name, surname, and three locations: state, county, and city or township. In this small study, the location to the township level was a constant. Only the given name and surname variables were examined. Post-1840 censuses included the names of all members of the household, as well as additional significant information useful for identifying subjects in an index. The variables place of birth, age, gender, and race were added by both Ancestry and HeritageQuest to search forms for these later censuses. Ancestry provides additional variables that vary by census year. These new search variables give online census indexes a significant advantage over published indexes, no matter how accurate the latter might be.

Post-1840 census index research will be investigated in part two of this study.

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Upcoming L-AGS Programs

Date Speaker Subject
November 8 Frank Geasa Research at the Pleasanton Library
December 13 Bob Dougherty Genealogy in the Digital Age
January 10, 2006 Barry Schrader To be announced
February 14 To be announced
March 14 Caroline Earhart Genealogy Quilting
April 11 Margery Bell Colonial Handwriting

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G. R. O. W.

Genealogy Resources On the Web – The Page That Helps Genealogy Grow!

Compiled by Frank Geasa

The site of the Illinois Trails History and Genealogy Project has many interesting items including Illinois residents who graduated from the University of Indiana 1830-1910 and links to county pages, some with extensive genealogical offerings.
The Saskatchewan Genealogy Society has an ongoing project locating the cemeteries in that Canadian province and categorizing them by name, location, religion, etc. If an Internet link for the cemetery exists, it is listed, facilitating the use of any search lists that may be available.
The Hispanic Genealogical Research Center of New Mexico has an ongoing Pedigree Database Project with over 80,000 names already in it.
If your ancestors are from the Eifel area of Germany you will want to visit the web site of Thomas A. Pick who has transcribed over 340,000 births and marriages for several hundred towns in the area.
The Milwaukee County Genealogical Society, Inc. has both bride and groom marriage indexes online for the years 1822-1876. It includes the Family History Library film number on which the marriage document can be found.
A search list of the Union soldiers serving from the state of Delaware is available at this site:
The Maine State Archives has online search indexes for marriages (1892-1966 & 1976-1996) and for deaths (1960-1996) at this site:
If you need a translation/explanation of an archaic medical term in English, German or more than a dozen other languages, see if this continually expanding site can help you.
If your English ancestors were traveling show people, you might want to visit this unique site listing fairground showmen for the general period 1871-1915.
A useful guide to Jewish genealogy research in Italy can be found at:
The Michigan Department of Community Health has an online index of deaths in that state for the period 1867-1897 at:
The Colorado State Archives now has a growing combined name index of individuals in any of their databases. It returns the type of record, the county and the date.
At this unique site you can search the proceedings of over 100,000 criminal trials at Old Bailey, London's criminal court from 1674 to 1834. It is interesting reading.
If your immigrant ancestors arrived in the USA via New York Harbor between 1820 and the opening of Ellis Island in 1892, you can search for them at this free Castle Garden site: http://castlegarden.org/

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Genealogy and the Weather

By Dick Finn

James Edward Finn and Caroline Phoebe Kitchingham Finn

Genealogy seems to be like a lot of other subjects that one might be interested in. The more you learn about the subject, the more you know that you are only scratching the surface. That in turn leads you to areas of study that you might never have thought you would be interested in.

For example, after making contact with the Kitchingham side of my family some years ago, we have been to family reunions in Louisiana and Kent, England. The reunion in Kent was perhaps the most interesting. We were able to visit farms and churches in counties Suffolk and Kent that the family had worked and worshiped in since at least the early 1500s. Along the way we learned about the effects of weather, house construction, architecture, farming methods, labor poor laws, etc.

The Kitchinghams in Louisiana were a mystery to me. How did Kent folks end up in Louisiana? That led me to learn about the construction of railroads in the mid 1800s. I found that the Kitchingham men worked on the railroads that paralleled the Mississippi River, from Wisconsin to the mouth of the river. When they got to the Gulf, they could not go any further, so they took up farming. From that base, the Kitchinghams also moved into Missouri and Texas where they live even now. I thought my great-grandmother Caroline P. Kitchingham Finn was the first Kitchingham to come to America. I was off by about 50 years.

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That brings us back to the weather. Having made contact with and visited the Louisiana Kitchinghams, I have been concerned about what hurricanes Katrina and Rita might have done to the properties of these sixth and seventh cousins.

Cousin Nora wrote that where they are in mid-state Louisiana (LaSalle Parish), they were somewhat lucky. They were on the east side of the storm and did not get much damage, but the parishes around them had major damage. The schools were closed because there was no power and the water was contaminated. All Nora lost were tree limbs and power. She says that a very large part of Louisiana is really devastated – perhaps much worse than we see on television. For example, a relative of hers, in the National Guard, had been on duty in New Orleans. He got a cyst in his leg from the dirty water. It had to be cut out and left open to heal.

Another cousin lives in southwest Louisiana about 45 miles from the coast. Watching CNN, we thought they would be in for major damage, but they seem to have had very little. As I write this we still have not heard from cousins in southeastern Texas. We hope they are okay.

The bottom line is that I never would have learned so much about the topography of the southeast, the culture, food, hurricanes, etc., if it were not for meeting distant cousins because of our common interest in family history. And like Gramps always said, "The more you learn, the more you know you don't know."

The dots show where my Kitchingham relatives live in hurricane country.

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From France to The Azores to Livermore in 1000 Years

By David Bettencourt Goularte

My Bettencourt ancestors. Great-Grandfather Francisco Silveira (Frank S.) Bettencourt, 1847-1915 and Great-Grandmother Francisca (Frances) Bettencourt, née Pires, 1855-1929. Photo taken in 1884 and colorized about 1921.

Early 2001 saw a long genealogical search move to Livermore. Here, in the first installment, is part of the story. David Goularte of Olympia, Washington, is pleased to share his story for publication in the L-AGS Roots Tracer and the Livermore Heritage Guild Newsletter. Look for the "rest of the story" in a future Roots Tracer. — Anna Siig

Part I of My Odyssey

My family had shown little interest in their history. Both sides originally were from the Portuguese Azores Islands but came to California at different times – my maternal great-grandparents in the 1870s, my paternal grandparents about 1917–1919. This lack of interest was not unusual for their generations. They were ranchers and farmers. My maternal great-grandfather Bettencourt had been a whaler before he acquired his ranch.

My schoolteachers had insisted our name (Goularte) was French while I equally insisted it was Portuguese. Another incident that sparked my interest was the pride my maternal grandmother showed when I asked, as a young boy, what her name had been. She had said it was "Bettencourt," but she could not explain any significance other than it was a "good" name and was "not Portuguese."

When I was in France, people had said, "you are French?" The "Goularte" triggered the comment but when "Bettencourt" was mentioned, I was told (with raised eyebrows) it was a "very old" name in France. Fascinating, but I did not think there could possibly be any connection. My forebears had been just "farmers."

I did wonder if we were of Portuguese descent, why all these non-Portuguese names? I did not pursue the answer then.

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In 1985, we visited Spain, Portugal, Madeira, and the Azores. While at Azorean St. George Island, my mother wanted to look up some relatives she knew from her parents' papers. Her parents never visited the Azores. We did go to the ancestral village and found the relatives. I bought a book, A History of the Azores Islands, by James H. Guill, while on Terceira Island but never really read but a couple of chapters. It was something "I'd do someday." [The Guill book is in the L-AGS library, donated by Bill and Marelene Silver.]

In 1994, despondent after the unexpected death of my mother, I remembered that wonderful trip of '85 and found the book. I started reading it carefully.

It was a revelation!

Most of the people who settled the Azores were not of Portuguese descent. They were from the British Isles, Italy, Spain, the majority coming from a corner of Europe that included the Low Countries (Netherlands), Flanders (Belgium), and northwestern France, including Picardy and Normandy. It makes more sense to call the islanders "Azoreans," as opposed to "Portuguese," to differentiate the origin of the people.

I learned that the paternal name Goularte was derived from the Flemish "Govaert," that my other maternal family name was also of Flemish descent. The Bettencourt name was indeed French.

People came to the Azores to escape various political problems in Europe during the 1400-1500s at the encouragement of the Portuguese crown. Some names were altered to fit the language the settlers were required to learn. They had to accept the state religion (Catholic). The educational system was never extensive, so much history that might have been retained was lost to vocal narratives. Some men may have come from families of wealth, but as the younger sons, they were left with little – as European custom decreed, estates went to the oldest son.

I began to read the chapter on the founding families. Among them were the Bettencourts who "have long figured in the history of the Azores." They indeed were a very old French family with written history back to the time of the first recorded de Bethencourt who fought in the Battle of Hastings (1066 A.D.) riding alongside William, Duke of Normandy. The de Bethencourts were the Lords of Bethencourt and of Picardy. The victorious William the Conqueror and his Normans began their rule of England. The de Bethencourts continued to serve there, as well as to hold offices in France and Spain. They participated in Crusades and were involved with the Kings of France, England, Spain, and the Pope in Rome to further their fortunes.

After several centuries, they hit a bit of a rocky stretch. All the male de Bethencourts fighting at the Battle of Agincourt (1415) against the English were killed. Though France lost the war (and England), the family managed to keep their continental holdings, pledging fealty to the King of France.

The only two surviving brothers had been in Avila, Spain, managing family estates and business there. They had built the castle at Avila. It is they who continued the line. They ruled the Canaries, eventually selling them to Prince Henry (the Navigator) of Portugal, and went on to Madeira, with some eventually to the Azores.

The last sentence in the section was the hook! "All Bettencourts, Avilas, Avila Bettencourts and variations of the name in the Azores are descended from these French de Bethencourts." Could it really be that if I could connect to a branch on the Internet chart I later found (twenty-eight generations!), my grandmother's family could have a recorded history going back nearly a thousand years?

Where to start?

I had only one clue regarding the name of the village the family came from. My mother had told me both her grandparents had come from the same town that we had visited in '85. I would need this clue. It had sounded like "Beda" to me – but I could not find it on maps. I knew it was near Velas, St. George.

I realized then I had lost track of my mother's family. She had no sisters and only one brother, who died the year before she did. My cousin and sister knew less than I did. I knew I still had relatives in Livermore but the one address I had did not respond to letters. I knew where my great-grandmother's house was and where another family house was but they were long out of the family. I had been to the 1870s ranch once, in 1961, when I was 13. Memories were dim. I knew Mother's cousins may still be alive but all went by married names and I could not remember them. I didn't even know if the ranch would still be in the family or lost in the sprawl of today's Livermore.

A couple years later, I had an idea. What if I went online to see if I could find a genealogy group in Livermore?

To be continued in the February 2006 Roots Tracer.

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Dues Reminder 2006

It is hard to believe that 2005 is nearing the end, but the calendar tells us it is true. So that means the membership dues are due by January 1, 2006. Individual memberships are $18.00 and Family memberships are $25.00.

Please send your check made out to L-AGS to: L-AGS, P. O. Box 901, Livermore 94551-0901.

Thanking you in advance. Marilyn Cutting, Membership Chairman

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What Did You Say Your Name Is?

By Jim St. Clair

An essay on surname origins published in The Inverness Oran, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, on 7 September 2005. Copied by Beverly Schell Ales and her husband, Joe, during their 50th wedding anniversary honeymoon in Nova Scotia. Reprinted with permission of Mr. Jim St. Clair.

The Heritage of Inverness County

"The Butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker..." "The farmer in the dell..." "Old King Cole..." Children's rhymes are full of names of people of varying occupations. While we do not have so many candlestick makers as perhaps we once had, we still have bakers and butchers and farmers – whether they are in the dell or the deli or elsewhere.

Not only are occupations evident in nursery rhymes, they may also be found in the surnames listed in the telephone book – take a look on any page or in any section. See the number of people in Margaree (Cape Breton) who carry the name of their ancestor's occupation, the Millers. And there are Smiths, as well, in Belle Cote (Cape Breton) and Southwest Margaree – a worker in metal at a forge in their background, generations ago. And spell it whatever way you like, but the progenitor of the Taylors at Margaree Harbour and Lake O'Law must have sewn many garments and used a needle well.

Isn't it strange that in Mabou (Cape Breton), where many people like oatmeal for breakfast or supper or thick soup for lunch,  there is a family, the Pottingers, whose name looks back to a remote forebear who apparently made the pottage well enough so as to have been known by that cooking down through the several centuries? And which craft did some old-time Wright practice so well that his children and grandchildren were known by the same label, even if they were not so handy? Was he a cart-wright? Or a mill-wright? Or perhaps a wheel-wright?

And there is a MacIntyre in the Mabou phone book section, as well as in Port Hood and Whycocomagh and Port Hawkesbury – the origin of the name through generations of Gaelic speakers must be the "son of a carpenter." And all those Beatons derive a last name from a practitioner of medicine, for the root of the last name has to do with health. And we know how conducive good music is to good health.

Many surnames are, indeed, derived from occupations. Most last names came into common use towards the end of the 1300s and the early 1400s. In Wales, however, people were still styled on their fathers and grandfathers down into the late 1800s. Some noble families, however, began to use consistent second names a bit earlier.

Many last names, perhaps as many as 35%, are formed on the basis of a parent's name: for instance, the Timmonses, found in the Margaree and Cheticamp sections in the phone book, all look back to some Thomas who was called Tom, or Tim for short, and then his children were Tom or Tim's son – then Timson which changed over time to Timmons. But it is really the same name as Thompson, which is found in West Bay or Thompson living near Brook Village. But there was certainly more than one Thomas from whom these various families derive.

Patronymics may be found in many other forms to be sure. Think of all the "Mac" names – MacDonald, son of Donald; MacFarlane, son of Parlan. The O'Brians and the Breens listed in Margaree and Port Hawkesbury and Port Hood and Marbou have a remote ancestor, Brian Boru, High-King of the Irish. Although he didn't use a last name, his grandson carried the name Teigue Ua Brian or Teigue, grandson of Brian. In time the "ua" came to "O" and then O'Brian in many forms.

As well, the Fitzgeralds and Fitzpatricks carry as part of their name the Irish form of the French "fils" or son. This use came to Ireland soon after the Norman Invasion – so Fitz and Mac and Mc are really the same thing but in different languages – each meaning the "son of."

It appears that a large percentage of the names in common use refer to places where people lived or from which they came. For instance, the Pond family once lived near a pond in some part of England, while the Franks of Mabou once lived in France and were known by their place of origin. The DuBoises certainly lived in or near a clump of trees, while the Hills lived up high.

The St. Clairs (or Sinclairs as the name is often found in Ireland and Scotland) lived near a place called for a St. Clair in Normandy, France, and brought their name with them as "de Sancto Claro" when they came to Scotland from France in the time of the Norman Invasion.

The Doyles, found in large numbers in Port Hawkesbury and Margaree and Mabou, have a name that is partly from their having come from some other place than where they lived and from their dark complexion. The origin is Irish Gaelic meaning "a dark-haired or swarthy-skinned stranger."

Many other families derived their surnames from physical characteristics or nicknames. The LeBlancs had a fair-haired progenitor many centuries back, while the LeBruns were noted for their brown hair. Some LeJeune was a young person in a family or perhaps the second person in the group with the same first name – so the nickname stuck and remained, although some of them had their name translated into Young (Granny Ross was a LeJeune by birth, but many of her kin today in Bras d'Or are known as Youngs).

The Camerons and the Campbells both have last names with the Gaelic "Cam" in front – "crooked" or "twisted." The former had a nose with a noted curve in it, while the latter had a mouth that seemed a bit out of line.

Many of the First Nations families took the Christian names of saints as their last names - such as Francis and Bernard and Joseph and Michael - at the time they became Christians in the seventeenth century. Other nationalities certainly did the same.

Surnames reveal much about history and the development of society as we trace them from earlier times to now. Each name carries a story that is centuries old. The exact time when most last names became standardized varies with ethnic groups and with language and culture. But look down the variety in the telephone book for Inverness County communities and see how many you can identify as to type of origin: a patronymic, an occupation, a location name or a nickname. It can be a fascinating study.

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What's In YOUR Closets?

By Marie Ross

One afternoon, I decided to look through one of my closets that had been accumulating items for a long time. Have you forgotten what you have in your closets? I certainly had.

What a fine time I had reminiscing! I discovered a photo of my older brother at a geisha party for servicemen in the military days of the 1940s. Guess who was holding the geisha's hand and grinning at his fellow officers? My brother was 6 feet 4 inches tall, so you can imagine how he towered over the brightly costumed girl. Obviously, there was more to my brother than I ever knew.

This closet also produced a Vuitton leather travel case embossed with my mother's initials. The bottles it contains are capped with copper enameled with turquoise, as are the other toilet articles. A plate glass mirror with a shoehorn and nail file in the top complete the set in the same decor. I'm sure it must have been a gift for her honeymoon trip in 1917. Best of all were two tissue- wrapped items loose inside. I unwrapped an ornate silver hand mirror and a whisk marked with the Scroggie family "S." Years before my cousins had sent me one Scroggie dinner fork. Now I discover I have three pieces of family silver. If only they could "speak!"

Now — what can you find forgotten in YOUR closets?

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"Freedom Ain't Free"

By Pat Northam

Douglas Northam, Gunners Mate 3rd Class

My father knows better than most the truth of his statement "Freedom ain't free." More than 60 years ago, my father, Douglas Northam, became a Japanese Prisoner of War. I knew he was a POW during World War II, but never asked much about his experiences. While we were growing up, my sister and I met some of Dad's buddies from his days in the prison camps, men named Shill, Parker, Franklin, and Augustine. We were vaguely aware of the bond they had forged from their 39 months together as POWs, but we rarely probed.

In the early 1980s, while preparing for a trip to Japan in 1985, I began reading books about World War II in the Pacific, seeking more information about my father. I read nonfiction books about the Bataan Death March. Dad was captured one month afterwards at Corregidor so I knew the experiences described would be similar. I also read fictional works, such as King Rat by James Clavell. Dad indicated to me that Clavell had researched well or that he had been a prisoner himself. Tidbits began to emerge to pull together the story of Dad's experiences during that time.

Five years ago, I read about a retired Castro Valley doctor who had written the book, M.D. P.O.W, A Firsthand Account of 42 Months of Imprisonment in Japanese Hands. He'd been in the Philippines, too. I contacted Julien M. Goodman and bought one of his books for Dad and one for me. Once again, I had a first hand account of what occurred in the Japanese POW camps, but not Dad's written account.

Over the years, I had more conversations with Dad about his life during World War II. At various times, he started to write his story, but it wasn't until early in 2005 that he seriously put pen to paper. A volunteer at the Veterans Administration hospital in Reno typed it for him. He made revisions, retyping it himself on an old laptop. His story is about 25 pages, and each time it is reread or we gather other documents, it triggers other memories to include.

Along with Dad's memoirs, we will include the telegrams my grandmother received from the Navy, the few postcards he was allowed to send, and local newspaper clippings.

As I dig more to round out Dad's printed story, I've discovered some useful web sites. A web site dedicated to POWs and related information is: http://www.mansell.com. The various links have allowed me to download the POW names from two of the four camps my father was sent to (Osaka Umeda Bunsho and Tsuruga Shi-Osaka 5). The Mansell site linked me to information about Nagato Maru, the Hellship my father and 1600 others were shipped out on, November 7, 1942. The Nagato arrived in Japan on Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 1942. The Mansell website also has photos of some of the POW camps.

Another website which I've found useful has information and photos about naval vessels: http://www.history.navy.mil. My interest is with the USS Boise and the USS Oahu. My father was on the Oahu, a river gunboat, when it was scuttled and surrendered at Corregidor on May 7, 1942.

As I search for what documents to include along with Dad's story, I keep locating nuggets of gold. I know the list will grow, but for me no document will compare to Dad's first hand account.

I was honored and pleased that my father made the decision to write his account to leave with others so the story is shared. My family and family friends feel lucky that he has chosen to share his experiences with us.

Dad is a living treasure. It is fitting that I write this article in October, as this is the month he is celebrating 86 years of life.

To begin a search for your military POW during World War II, go to Google and type:

"Northam, Douglas" +POW

substituting your ancestor's name. Type the quotes and note the space after the comma and before the + sign.

This should take you to references on your particular ancestor and get you started in tracing your ancestor's military background.

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Creating a Family Legacy with Newsletters

by Debbie Pizzato

Nameplate of my Cuckler newsletter and the beginning of the first story

If sharing genealogical research, finding distant relatives, becoming a clearing-house for family history, memorabilia, and photographs interest you, a family history newsletter may be just what you need.

I had no idea how creating and editing the Cuckler Family History newsletter would expand my information source base and put me in touch with relatives across the United States and Canada. The majority of us have never met in person and although we have different interests, different occupations, and derive our identity and belonging from our immediate family, our one link is ancestry.

The idea of a family newsletter came to me when I inherited a great deal of Cuckler family history that nearly ended up dumpster genealogy. As I thought about all the hard work, time and effort this material represented, I also thought how sad it was that it never got out in any form to family members. I realized the same could happen to my efforts. So, a family newsletter became a valuable tool for bringing distant relatives together, sharing research, and creating a legacy and paper trail for future generations.

How do you create a family newsletter? You are only limited by your imagination, common sense, and computer capabilities. I was blessed with more material than I had imagined. I relied on common sense that had a lot to do with what I had learned from co-editing the Livermore Roots Tracer. I studied several family and genealogical newsletters, and found that the layout and design varied greatly, sometimes even in the same newsletter. Common sense told me to keep it simple, focused and uncluttered, and use the same design template in all newsletters. I learned that the readers were not interested in a big production. The attraction came from what we were sharing.

My basic newsletter costs included paper, postage and printing. If your idea is to create a newsletter for a few family members, then absorbing the cost may be practical. However, if you expect widespread interest, have a large family association, or will include more than one surname, then consider asking for a yearly donation of a specified amount.

You may wonder whether to use the postal service at all when you can e-mail or post it on a website. I used the postal service initially, and then used e-mail after I established a family e-mail group. This cut cost, but I continued to send newsletters to family members who did not have e-mail access.

Consider how much time you can commit to your newsletter. Do you always want to be compiling, editing, printing, or mailing? I send out a newsletter four times a year: winter, spring, summer and fall. I keep a small hanging file box with files for each season and organized content material for current and future newsletters.

I compiled addresses belonging to known Cuckler family members. I then used www.whitepages.com and did a search for the Cuckler surname. This added approximately one hundred additional Cuckler surnames and addresses that I used to create mailing labels.

The first newsletter was a "Welcome to the First Issue of the Cuckler Family History." It was two 8 1/2" by 11" pieces of paper, printed on both sides, creating four pages: cover page, page two, page three, and back page with address matter. It was stapled in the left corner, folded in half, stamped with current first class postage and taped closed.

In this issue, I introduced myself and gave some background on what I and other family members had done so far with research. I included photographs and early family history. I posed the idea that a family newsletter would allow us to stay up-to-date with what's happening within our extended family, and would allow those of us who are researchers to share information about ancestors.

I wrote that my goals were to establish and maintain family ties, gather the family history, make this history known, and to mark significant events in our everyday life. I encouraged all readers to actively participate and share their ancestry names, family stories, photographs, documents, bible records, obituaries, tombstone inscriptions, military history, reunions, queries, and today's milestones. I also indicated in every newsletter that I hoped readers would take advantage of the possibilities for sharing through a family newsletter.

I included the "Standards for Sharing Information with Others." These standards, put out by the National Genealogical Society, are all about being a responsible family historian. I used these standards as a guide to editing and sharing information. You can find them at the NGS's website:


The response to the newsletter was overwhelming and the personal interest varied. Some readers were researchers, other folks just wanted to know about our family history, and several people, who had been out of the family loop at a very young age due to divorce, as an example, did not know their immediate family. It was very rewarding to help them and put direct line families in touch with each other, furthering their own research and creating family ties.

A Few Points to Consider

What are your hardware and software capabilities? Using a scanner is easiest and reproduces well. You can produce a quality newsletter with most word processing software.

How much time, effort, and expense needed is going to vary from person to person, by type of newsletter (paper-, e-mail-, or website-based) and how it is created. Determine the scope of your intended readers, examine your budget, consider basic costs for mailing, paper, printing or using envelopes. Remember, weight determines postage amount. Will you ask for a yearly donation?

What will be your focus? Will one family surname be predominant with collateral families or will it focus on more than one family surname? You need to provide defined information for your readers.

Decide on a general newsletter format. How many pages per issue? Consider your focus and choose a newsletter name that might include a photograph or art work. Do you have a photo of the old homestead or the earliest known ancestor? Does your family have a coat of arms? What regular features will be included? How will you use photographs or clip art? Use your imagination – many possibilities exist. Don't be afraid of white space on a page – it makes a page easier to read. Add space between paragraphs or graphics, indent lines, and list items. Ask yourself, is the page pleasing to the eye?

For consistency, make and keep a design style sheet, listing your choices of paper size; number of pages; margin settings (top, bottom, left, right); column amount and space between; header size and content; footer size and content; paragraphs; tab settings; justification; font name and size for body text, major heads, subheads, bylines, header and footer. Include back page with address set up, publishing schedule and how distributed. Create and save page templates to use with every issue: cover page, numbered pages odd and even, back page. This saves time. A consistent style shows your professionalism.

Decide on a publishing schedule: bi-monthly, every three months or twice a year. Consider the amount of possible content material and your time commitment.

Regularly request submissions from readers. There may come a time when enthusiasm fades and content becomes harder to come by. Give topic ideas in your newsletter and let readers know that no submission is too small. Let them know how to submit material. All editors of these kinds of newsletters will tell you it is hardest to get people to send in submissions. You may have to adjust your publication schedule or content in the future. Raising the consciousness of family history research, sharing that history, and keeping in thouch with your extended family is what is important. Your newsletter will become a cherished heirloom.

A lot of advice about editing a newsletter has been published. There are numerous books available. The Internet provides extensive information. Family Tree Magazine is just one of many how-to sites:



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Wandering Wisconsin

By Scott Gagnon and Mary Ann Loss

If you have roots in northeastern Wisconsin like we do, visit the Brown County Library the next time you're in the greater Green Bay area.

The Central Library at 515 Pine Sreet., Green Bay, has extensive and unique resources available to the public and a friendly, helpful, knowledgeable librarian to boot.

One aspect of the collection that captured our attention was the wall of French-Canadian books, manuscripts, etc. It was one of the more interesting collections that we'd seen in our wanderings. It turned out to be a compilation from a number of sources. Part is from the purchase of a private collection from a Milwaukee family and the rest is the result of a very smart, resourceful librarian.

With a little bit of time in the shelves, we were able to fill in many historical family details.

Additionally, the card catalog full of death and marriage records from the Brown County Health Department was especially helpful and we were able to fill in more details on our families.

With those all-important dates in hand, we plied through reels of local newspaper microfilm locating nearly all the obituaries and news stories we were looking for.

If you'd like to know more about this library, visit their website at:


Or call the library at 920/448-4400 ext. 394. The library's email address is: bc_library@co.brown.wi.us.

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lakewood map

Another Memory Jogger

By Vicki Renz

My neighborhood in Lakewood, Ohio

In previous issues of The Roots Tracer, I have talked about starting to write YOUR story. You should have written about the vehicles your family owned and about the home you lived in when you were young. Here's another assignment for you:

Who were your elementary school teachers? Can you write their names down – in order? Write something you can remember about each of them.

Did you go to kindergarten? Or did you start with first grade?

How far away was your elementary school? Was there more than one elementary school you could go to?

Can you picture your elementary school? Was it a public school? Can you draw a floor plan? Can you label the rooms you were in for each grade?

How did you get to school - did you walk, ride a school bus, ride public transportation, or did a parent drive you?

Did you go to school with your neighborhood friends? Did they go to a different school?

Was there a teacher you especially liked? Was there one you didn't like?

Was there a teacher who had a reputation for being "mean" or "hard"? Did you have one of them for class? Did they live up to their reputation?

Did you wear regular clothes or wear a uniform to school?

Did you move during your elementary school years and have to go to more than one elementary school?

Did you have brothers or sisters who attended the same school? How did that affect your school years?

Did you have any "best friends" in elementary school? Did they live near you? Have you kept in touch with anyone from those years?

You can go to Mapquest.com and create a map showing the house you lived in and the school you went to (if they still exist). Save that map to include with your memories of your elementary school.

Do you live near the town where that school is located? Next time you visit that town, be sure to take photos of the school. My elementary school is still in the same location. Additions have been built, but you can still see the old bricks of the original building.

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Could you put together a collage of photos of yourself from elementary school age? Do you have any "school pictures" from your elementary years? They didn't do "school pictures" when I went to grade school, so I would have to pull photos from boxes to put together in a collage for my elementary school years like I have done for my two children.

Second grade, 7 years old

Do you have any report cards from your elementary school years? I have several, but I really like the one from kindergarten: I got along well with others, had a good interest span, clear enunciation and expression, self-confidence and was outstanding in my work in general.

Have fun with remembering your elementary school activities, teachers and friends.

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Finding (Sophie Auguste Julie) Mathilde

By Lois Smith

Sophie Auguste Julie Mathilde Krause

For several years I had been trying to find information on my maternal grandmother, Mathilde Krause Graveline. I knew a few things about her from comments my mother made over the years, but could never find her in the databases. Then a crumpled envelope came down to me from my mother. It was labeled "Mother's Letters."

One of the items in the envelope was a copy of a will, signed "Herman Krause," proving that Mathilde was his daughter. Another item was an autograph book that apparently belonged to "Mathilde" – but it was dated about 20 years before my grandmother Mathilde was born. It contained a sweet poem, in French, signed Hermann Krause. So I was fairly certain that her parents were Hermann and Mathilde Krause.

I finally decided to have the letters translated. There were three from her brother Paul, one from her brother Hermann, and ten from Sister Maria Seraphine, Mathilde's sister, who was a nun in Germany. These letters told me quite a lot about the family, but not the information I was looking for – where and when Mathilde was born.

Among the letters were four tattered pieces of paper that I finally had translated. Some parts of it were obviously missing. The information – with lots of omissions – was as follows:

"Excerpt from the church record of the Catholic community.

"In the year 1861, at the 21st……..at six thirty in the morning, was born to the miner Friedrich Ludwig Hermann….. and Maria Luise Ma…….mann in Niederstute, a daughter who was baptized with the name Sophie Mathilde……

"….this excerpt was performed in the year 1871."

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The dots signify missing information.

Now I realized that, like a lot of my German ancestors, these people had multiple names. With this new information I looked in the LDS FamilySearch for Sophie, the daughter of Friedrich and Maria Krause. Bingo! There was Sophia Auguste Krause, daughter of Friedrich Ludwig Krause and Maria Louise Duempelmann, born 11 April 1861.

At first I was not sure that this IGI record was the correct one, because it showed no Mathildes and no Hermanns. But the date seemed close and it showed Maria's surname was Duempelmann. One of my cousins had thought it was something like Dumpelmacher, so this was similar.

The IGI record gave the film number, so I ordered it at the Family History Center. I could hardly wait for the film to come, and when it did I was ecstatic! What I found on the film totally complemented the fragmented document! I plugged in the missing information and found it all fit:

"In the year 1861, at the twenty-first of (March) at six thirty in the morning was born to the miner Friedrich Ludwig Herman (Krause)…and Maria Luise Ma(thilde Duempel)mann in Niederstute a daughter who was baptized (11 April 1861 in Hattingen) with the name Sophie (Auguste Julie) Mathilde."

Parentheses indicate information added from the film – a Kirchenbuch record.

And that is the story of how I found Mathilde!

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Printing Ellis Island Manifests

An example of an exchange among members of L-AGS, as posted on our members-only e-mail forum.

Question asked by Ileen Peterson: "I recently found a record but the key parts of the manifest are written across and thus almost illegible. Is there any way to download or enlarge and print out the image? I seem to get only the 'prohibited' symbol. I know that Ellis Island sells hard copies."

Two members answered this question. Edward Toy (ejt@ela.com) wrote, "If you use an alternative browser (I use Opera, http://www.opera.com ) you can enlarge on the fly and get around the saving of the image issue. The Opera browser has a scaling button as part of the default setup that will enlarge or reduce any image being displayed. Opera is free, by the way. I am not sure if the other alternative browsers have this feature but you can look at FireFox or Mozilla as well."

Jim Scofield answered, "Under Internet Explorer, after I enlarged the manifest and put the mouse pointer on it, there was an option to either print it or to save it. I said to save it and it went as a GIF file. A reader had no problem dealing with the resulting file. The filmed copies of the records are available for rent at LDS Family History Centers. To find the film number you need, go to the LDS website: http://www.familysearch.org. The index sorted by surname is found by following these links:


Family History Library Catalog

Place Search

In Place, type: "New York City"

In Part of (Optional), type: "New York"

New York, New York (City)

New York, New York (City) - Emigration and immigration - Indexes

"It is not guaranteed that the microfilm will be easier to read than what is online."

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Jeanie the Genie was driving down the street in a panic because she was late for an interesting genealogy meeting and couldn't find a parking place.

Looking up toward heaven, she said "Lord, take pity on me. If you find me a parking place I will get reacquainted with my family and quit spending all day in the library."

Miraculously, a parking place appeared.

Jeanie looked up again and said, "Never mind. I found one."


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Our Showcase for Family History Month 2005

The Livermore Heritage Guild kindly allowed us to use one of their display cases in the Carnegie Building in Livermore for our traditional observance of Family History Month in October.

The exhibit featured some of the 18 books that have been published by L-AGS.

Members helping to set up the display were Dick Finn, Marie Ross, George Anderson, and Jane and Nancy Southwick.

Photo by Jane Southwick

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Staff meeting

Livermore Roots Tracer Staff

Advisors Marie Ross, Lois Barber, Eileen Redman, Jane Southwick
Editor Emeritus Mildred Kirkwood
Compositor George Anderson
Web Editor Vicki Renz


Eileen Redman
Staff Contributors
G.R.O.W  Frank Geasa
Local History Gary Drummond

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Last modified 11 november 2005 vlr