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The Roots Tracer

Volume XIX   Number 1

February 1999

Editors: Mildred Kirkwood and Vicki Renz

The Roots Tracer is a quarterly publication with articles of interest to the genealogist. Members are encouraged to submit their "Profiles" and articles of general interest. Queries are free to members, $l.00 to non-members. The Roots Tracer is published in February, May, August and November.The deadline for each quarterly 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. Send material to: The Roots Tracer, P. O. Box 901, Livermore, CA 94551-0901 or E-mail:

Table of Contents

President's Message

Editor's Message

Study Group News
In Memoriam

Visit to the Santa Clara Library

Calendar of Events
Upcoming Seminars

Computer Interest Group

FTM Focus Group

Computer Terms? Surname Web Page

Livermore Valley History

Library News Family Origins Foreign Postage
Grandpa Martinson Things to File

Copyright Notice: No articles may be reproduced for profit or commercial gain without the express consent of the authors, the editors, or the Livermore-Amador Genealogical Society.

gavel President's Message

by Lori Codey

Hello and Welcome to 1999

I want to begin the new year by giving a big THANK YOU to the outgoing 1998 Board Members. Garth Ludwig gave us excellent programs; Pat Moore and Clarice Sisemore co-chaired the busy job of membership; Karen Banta kept a thorough record of all the meeting minutes; and Vicki Renz took excellent care of the club correspondence. I appreciate all of their hard work and was a great year.

I would also like to welcome our new 1999 Board Members. Joyce Siason takes over Membership; Jon Bryan is our new Program Chair; Kaye Strickland is the new Recording Secretary; and Jane Southwick is Corresponding Secretary. They bring with them new ideas, a sincere interest in L-AGS, and enthusiasm!

I am looking forward to working with the new board and am also looking ahead with great anticipation to the "new millenium" (although from everything I've read, the TRUE new millenium doesn't begin until 2001!). The world of genealogy has become an explosion of information that is more available than ever before. It's hard to imagine what the future may hold for genealogists, but the outlook is promising and exciting!

My wishes for a great New Year filled with exciting "finds" on the ancestors in your family tree.

May all of your ancestors have tombstones!

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Editor’s Message

By Mildred Kirkwood

The publishing schedule of The Roots Tracer has changed, beginning with this issue. In order to publish it in January, all the work must be done in December, which is difficult because of the holidays. Therefore, we changed the schedule. The Roots Tracer will now be published in February, May, August and November. Articles to be included need to be submitted by the 15th of the previous month.

We have also changed to a two-column format in this issue. We believe it will be easier to read. Please let us know what you think of these changes. Our E-mail address is

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Study Group News

By Vicki Renz

At the November meeting, Traci Parent, Supervising Naturalist at the Black Diamond Mines Regional Park, presented a very interesting program about how she gathers oral histories for the Park, with many hints for us as genealogists. In January, we had an excellent discussion of Civil War military records – different types of records and their availability at the National Archives and other institutions. Future topics will include immigration records; what to do with all your "stuff" and organizing; and newspaper research.

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In Memoriam

A longtime, enthusiastic member of our group, Jack Norman died on 14 November 1998, of a heart attack.

Born in Jeffersonville, IN, he married Peggy 14 January 1942. He served 3 years in the CCC as a fire fighter. After 23 years in the Army, he retired as a tank commander and had once served under General Patton. Jack then earned a Masters Degree from Sacramento State University and taught school in Sacramento for 20 years. Jack and Peggy moved to Livermore 12 years ago. They enjoyed traveling and saw a great deal of the world. Jack also enjoyed singing, cross country skiing, and working in the yard. In addition to his wife, Peggy, he is survived by a daughter, Beth Twogood (also enthusiastic L-AGS members), and two sons, Mark, who lives in Kuwait, and Jack, Jr., who lives in Tigard, OR. They also have five grandchildren.

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Library Visit to Santa Clara Library

By Sue Vierk & Gesine Harmon

I was one of the seven who traveled to Santa Clara on October 20 to check out the genealogy collection in the library there. We spent most of the day searching through the excellent collection of materials from every state and many foreign countries. I especially liked the collection of periodicals which highlighted Pioneer Families of Ohio. The genealogy section is housed in a room separate from the rest of the library and is easily accessed, yet private from the bustle of the very popular main room. I would recommend a trip there for anyone who is hoping to find more pieces to complete their genealogical puzzle.

Sue Vierk


As a beginner, I really didn’t find any information I needed, but was glad that I spent the day there.

The library is large, clean and laid out so that it’s easy to locate whatever you’re looking for and they have a number of copiers. The Genealogy section is in a nice quiet room surrounded with a vast number of resources. I enjoyed browsing through books and looking at maps. It was a nice day!

Gesine Harmon

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Calendar Calendar of Events

Livermore-Amador Genealogical Society has the following monthly meetings:

Family Tree Maker Focus Group is the 1st Thursday, 7:30 p.m., at Sonoma School, 543 Sonoma Avenue, Livermore. For information: Dick Finn.

General Meeting is the 2nd Tuesday, 7:30 p.m., at Congregation Beth Emek, corner of College Avenue & South M Street, Livermore. For information: Jon Bryan.

Study Group is the 3rd Thursday, 7:30 p.m., at LDS Church, 950 Mocho Street, Livermore. For information: Vicki Renz.

Computer Interest Group is the 4th Thursday except November and December, 7:30 p.m. at Sonoma School, 543 Sonoma Avenue, Livermore. For information: Dick Finn.

Other Local Genealogy Societies:

Santa Clara County Historical and Genealogical Society:

General Meetings are the 3rd Thursday of each month, at 7:00 p.m. (except in August and December, when there are no meetings) in the community room of the Santa Clara City Library, 2635 Homestead Road, Santa Clara.

Beginners’ Class Saturday, April 10, at the Santa Clara City Library meeting room. Admission free. Call or check the web site for times and topics.

East Bay Genealogical Society:

General Meetings are the 2nd Wednesday of each month, at 10 a.m. at the Dimond Branch of the Oakland Library, 3565 Fruitvale Avenue, Oakland.

Mt. Diablo Genealogical Society:

General Meetings are the 3rd Friday of each month, 1 to 3 p.m. in the Friendship Room, CivicBank of Commerce, Rossmoor Center, Walnut Creek.

San Mateo County Genealogical Society:

General Meetings are the 3rd Tuesday of each month, 7:30 p.m. in the Belmont Central School, 525 Middle Road, Belmont.

Computer Group is the 4th Tuesday of each month, 7:30 p.m. in the San Mateo County Genealogical Society Library at 25 Tower Road, San Mateo.

Newcomer’s Group is the 3rd Saturday of each month at 1:00 p.m. in the Library on Tower Road.

Contra Costa County Genealogical Society:

General Meetings are the 2nd Tuesday of each month, 7:30 p.m. in the Community Room of the new Concord Police Station, 1350 Galindo Avenue, Concord.

Interest Groups & Work/Study Groups are the 3rd Thursday of each month at various members houses.

San Ramon Valley Genealogical Society:

General Meetings are the 3rd Tuesday of each month (except August and December) at the Guardian Rehabilitation Hospital, 7777 Norris Canyon Road, San Ramon, CA.

Hayward Area Genealogical Society:

General Meetings are the 4th Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. in the San Lorenzo Library, 395 Paseo Grande, San Lorenzo, CA.

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Upcoming Seminars

March 20 - San Mateo County Genealogical Society Seminar - Speaker: Sandra Leubking, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sequoia High School, Redwood City. Dinner session on March 19. Topics: Finding Females – Grandma, Where Are You?; Circumventing Blocked Lines; Name That Source. $30 at the door, $27 pre-registered.

April 9 & 10 - California Genealogical Society Family History Fair at the Alameda County Fairgrounds, Pleasanton. Friday, Noon to 8:00 p.m., Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The theme is "Your International Heritage." Vendors and genealogical services will be available.

April 14 - Silicon Valley PAF Users Group - Speaker: Cyndi Howells.

April 17 - Sacramento County Genealogical Society - Speaker: Cyndi Howells.

May 12 to 15 - NGS 1999 Conference in the States hosted by the Virginia Genealogical Society at the Richmond Centre for Conventions/Richmond Marriott, 500 Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23219.

May 22 - Sonoma County Genealogical Society – All-day seminar with John P. Colletta at the Luther Burbank Center north of Santa Rosa.

June 12 & 13 - California Genealogical Society Genealogical Jamboree, Pasadena.

August 3 to 6 - Brigham Young University Annual Genealogy & Family History Center Conference in the Conference Center on BYU’s campus. Cyndi Howells is one of the presenters. 

August 11 to 14 - Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference - "Meet Me In St. Louis", Regal Riverfront Hotel, 200 S. Fourth Street, St. Louis, MO 63102-1804.

August 20 to September 6 - California State Fair - Genealogical and Historical Council of Sacramento hosts the Genealogical & Historical Exhibits.

September 19 - Livermore-Amador Genealogical Society Annual Seminar at the Pleasanton LDS Church. More details later.

L-AGS Booth at the Family History Fair

L-AGS will have a booth at the Family History Fair at the Alameda County Fairgrounds, Pleasanton, CA, April 9 and 10. Along with information about our society, we will have a poster presentation that will highlight "Special Ancestors" of members of our group. For example, one of our members’ ancestors was hanged as a witch and one traveled west with a pushcart. The Booth Committee is asking for your help in gathering information for the posters. If you have any "special" ancestors, please prepare a short paragraph describing them and why they are special and, if possible, include a picture or drawing of the person or event.

Your assistance in providing material for the posters will help make our booth a success.

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Computer Computer Interest Group (CIG) News

By Dick Finn

Computer Interest Group Meetings

Thursday, February 25 - 7:30 p.m.
Livermore Adult Education
543 Sonoma Avenue, Livermore

We will show the new Family Tree Maker video that introduces Version 5.0 of the popular genealogical program. Some of the information includes: the "how’s" of trees and charts, methods for including certain people and items in printed trees, kinship reports, performing a Family Archive CD search, changing color and style of reports and trees, getting to know Family Books and Master Sources, and demonstrations of various Internet searches. The video shows different ways to use and modify Family Books including creation, custom items, proper paging and generating indexes and tables of contents. There will be handouts and a door prize.

Non-members are welcome to attend at no cost.

Computer Interest Group will also meet on Thursday, March 25 and April 22.

Members needing help with a computer problem may call one of the mentors listed in the Members' Handbook.

L-AGS Family Tree Maker Focus Group

Thursday, March 4, 7:30 p.m.
Livermore Adult Education
543 Sonoma Avenue, Livermore

We are primarily a group of Family Tree Maker users (from beginners to experts) who discuss/share problems and successes and help each other in the use of FTM software. At this meeting we will be developing an enhancements list to be sent to Family Tree Maker.

All persons interested in Family Tree Maker and related software are invited to attend. Guests are welcome at no charge.

On Thursday, April 1, we will view and discuss the new Family Tree Maker video and finalize the enhancements list we are sending to Family Tree Maker.

The next meeting will be on Thursday, May 6. Contact Dick or George for information about topics to be discussed.

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Smiley Face


Computer Terms ?


Bit: A word used to describe computers, as in "Our son’s computer cost quite a bit."

Boot: What your friends give you because you spend too much time bragging about your computer skills.

Bug: What your eyes do after you stare at the tiny green computer screen for more than 15 minutes. Also: what computer magazine companies do to you after they get your name on their mailing list.

Chips: The fattening, non-nutritional food computer users eat to avoid having to leave their keyboards for meals.

Copy: What you have to do during school tests because you spend too much time at the computer and not enough time studying.

Cursor: What you turn into when you can’t get your computer to perform, as in "You $#% computer!"

Disk: What goes out in your back after bending over a computer keyboard for seven hours at a clip.

Dump: The place all your former hobbies wind up soon after you install your computer.

Error: What you made the first time you walked into a computer showroom to "just look."

Expansion Unit: The new room you have to build on to your home to house your computer and all it’s peripherals.

FROM: San Joaquin Genealogical Society Newsletter, Vol.19, No.5, November-December 1998.

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Surname Web Page - Call for Updates

L-AGS maintains pages on our web site that list the surnames that members are researching. Internet surfers from all over the world have found our site and have contacted members to share information on families in common.

We plan to update our L-AGS Surname List in 1999. We hope that 100 percent of our members will submit their family data for the updated list. If you do submit your surnames, please remember that you have an obligation to answer inquiries when they arrive. Failure to do so reflects badly on L-AGS.

If you have a computer, we urge you to furnish the information requested below in digital form, either by e-mail or on a diskette hand delivered or sent by postal mail. This will save the editors having to key in the data. If you do not have a computer, please supply the data on paper, clearly handwritten or typed.

Please list ALL of the surnames you are researching, using the examples below for guidance. If you submit your names on paper, use this form as a guide. If you submit your names in digital form, please follow the format requested. Keep in mind that the purpose of the Surname List is not to document your family for posterity, but only to advertise your interests to others worldwide, hoping that a useful exchange of information will result.

If your surnames are already on our Web site, you will be furnished a digital or paper copy of your current list. Please edit the list and furnish any additions.

Your name, address, telephone number, and e-mail address will NOT be posted on the Web. Internet respondents will see only a code number that the L-AGS mailserver will use to forward e-mail responses to you. If you do not have e-mail, the webmaster will manually respond and send your mailing address to the inquirers, suggesting that the inquiries be sent again to you by postal mail.

Please supply the following information. Again, the information will NOT be posted on the Web.

Your name, mailing address, telephone number, fax number, and E-mail address, if any.

Use the following notes and examples as a guide:

The form is not sacred, but the format is: surname and variant spellings; places; and dates. Use your own paper and approximate the form below. Do not abbreviate - let the editors apply standard abbreviations.

Use surnames only, and dates to the nearest year only. In the US, supply the state and the county, but if the county is not known, and a town is, give the town. For a county, do not omit the "Co." We prefer no more than two levels of locality in the US. For other countries, try to keep the locality down to three levels, including the country. A given surname in a given locality should result in only one line - please collapse all dates to a span from the earliest to the latest.

Use additional sheets as needed, but put your name on each one!

Please submit your data before March 15 by giving it to one of the officers at a L-AGS meeting, or by mailing it to me at the address below, or by sending it to me by e-mail. In the meantime, if you have questions, please call.

Surname and variant spellings Localities Dates
Welhoff (Woelhoff, Wellhaf, Well-hauf, WilIhofi) Germany, Wuerttemburg, Iptingen -1810
ditto Pennsylvania, Beaver Co. 1810-1844
ditto Illinois, Warren Co. 1844-present
Ganger Ohio 1800s

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Livermore Valley History

by Gary Drummond

Editor’s Note: Gary Drummond has long been a student of Livermore Valley History. He is the author and editor of several publications on valley history, including the stories of Mary Ann Harlan Smith, William Mendenhall, and James D. Smith, Headmaster of Livermore College from 1875 to 1893. He is on the Board of Directors of the Livermore Heritage Guild.

Livermore's First Non-agricultural Industry

(With the last installment, the reader was left to learn what happened to the balance remaining in the 1906 Earthquake Relief Fund... )

In the summer of 1908, a group of local businessmen discussed a proposition to establish Livermore’s first non-agricultural industry - a firebrick and terra cotta plant. The proposal was contingent on a donation of five acres on the west side of town between the Southern Pacific and Western Pacific railroad tracks. The company promised that no cottages, bunk-houses or company store would be maintained so that employees would be obliged to live and trade in town.

At a second meeting, the businessmen felt it expedient to have additional property, and placed an option on an adjoining ten acres. To purchase the tract, each businessman subscribed a varying amount of money, committing a total of $2650, and the developers of the firebrick plant, seeing the earnestness of the community, offered to pay $1000 for the five acres of the proposed location. The question was then asked, "Why not use the remainder of the ‘Earthquake Fund’ for the community’s share of the land purchase?" And the Town Trustees concurred. They agreed to give the firebrick company a deed to the ten acres on which the plant was to be located when the works had been in continuous operation for one year, and it was to revert to the town if it was ever used for other than manufacturing.

The Livermore Fire Brick Company began its operations in 1910, using clay from Ione, pending the development of a local clay deposit. The Livermore Herald called it "the beginning of an industry which is destined to wax with the passing years until Livermore is the center of the clay manufacturing industry of the State." The first carload of brick was shipped to Sacramento. In 1911, the brick works was shipping its product to Matzatlan, Mexico, to Agnew Hardware in Everett, Washington and to Theo Davis and Co., Honolulu.

In 1914, the Livermore Fire Brick Company began experimenting with brick made of diatomaceous earth. Although the same size as a conventional brick, it weighed but one-fifth as much. It was used as lining in large commercial refrigerators, such as in breweries and meat markets, taking the place of cork which was becoming scarcer and more expensive every year.

A source of firebrick clay was never found locally. Operations became intermittent, based on demand. When business was good, the plant employed between 30 and 40 men. And in these times, large shipments were made: 40,000 firebrick went to the Philippines in June, 1932; 32,000 more in July; and another 30,000 the next month, along with 10,000 fire tiles consigned to Hilo, Hawaii. Meantime, the plant went through several hands. It was rumored that the facility would be dismantled in 1936 when it was being managed by the W. S. Dickey Clay Manufacturing Company. Instead, it was sold to the Stockton Fire Brick Company, and later purchased by Gladding, McBean and Company.

The end of Livermore’s first non-agricultural industry came in the spring of 1949 when the firebrick plant was finally closed down permanently. Where was it located? - Across the street from Valley Memorial Hospital on Stanley Boulevard. That’s why the center there is called the Brickyard Shopping Center.

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Library News

By Jay Gilson

The following CDs, purchased by L-AGS, have arrived and are available to L-AGS members and Pleasanton Library users.

CD 12 - Family Pedigrees: Everton's Computerized Family File, Volume 1, 1400s-Present - Unlike previous publications of Everton's Computerized Family File, which included just a name index, this Family Archive includes an index as well as images of the actual family group sheets. Combined, these family group sheets provide information on approximately 389,000 individuals from all fifty United States and around the world.

CD 208 - Genealogical Records: Maryland Genealogical Society Bulletin, Vo1ume 38 - Each volume of the Maryland Genealogical Society Bulletin includes historical and genealogical material, family charts from personal and public records, transcribed public-domain documents, letters to the editor as well as queries and answers published by the Maryland Genealogical Society. The essays and articles collected in this Family Archive include information on approximately 240,000 individuals.

CD 213 - Genealogical Records: The Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine, Volumes 1-39 - This Family Archive contains images of the pages of The Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine plus four supplements. Published by the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania, the Magazine is distributed semi-annually to its members. This scholarly journal contains book reviews, methodological case studies, discussions of major resources, family histories and genealogies, and research guides. Originally published between 1895 and 1995, the essays and articles collected in this Family Archive include information on approximately 343,000 individuals.

CD 239 - Marriage Index: New York City, 1600s-1800s - This Family Archive contains alphabetical listings of more than 410,000 individuals who were married in or near New York City between 1622 and 1899. While over 90% of the marriages included in this Family Archive were recorded in New York City and its boroughs, some were recorded on Long Island or elsewhere in the state. In addition, approximately 300 of the records are from Connecticut or New Jersey.

CD 354 - Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1538-1940 - This Family Archive contains listings of approximately 2,750,000 individuals who arrived in United States ports between 1538 and 1940. Compiled by Gale Research, these records can provide valuable family history information to those with immigrant ancestors. This information was collected from published passenger lists, naturalization records, church records, family and local histories, as well as voter and land registrations.

PP 1 - SAR Patriot Index, 1998 Edition - Presented as a lineage linked database, many Patriot Ancestors are linked to his/her descendants in standard genealogical format. This data, with over 470,000 records of patriots and their descendants, is compiled from ancestral cards on file at SAR National Headquarters.

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Book Mending Class

By Judy Person

A book mending class was held on January 14 at the Pleasanton Library. Nancy Eby and Nancy Bering taught simple book-mending techniques to several volunteers. Volunteering from L-AGS were Eileen Redman, Robbie Robinson, Dick Finn, Beth Rauch, and Judy Person.

Catalog of the Pleasanton Library

By Beverly Ales

We have a new library catalog! The Pleasanton Genealogy Library (which includes L-AGS books) now contains 912 volumes. We have added 61 new books in the last year, so an update of the printed catalog was warranted. The price for L-AGS members is $2.50 and for non-members $4.00. Shipping is $1.00 extra. Write:

Publications Chair
P.O. Box 901
Livermore, CA 94551

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Tree Family Origins

By Debbie Pizzato

My grandmother told stories, as was her habit, her frequent hand gestures adding a special effect to her natural ability. Born in 1914 on a farm in rural Nebraska, she told stories that made us fall down laughing, and stories of hardships that broke the back and the heart. One of the family origin stories she told went something like this:

My Granddad, Arnold Timmerman, came from Germany on a ship when he was 9 years old. He lived with a family in West Point, Nebraska. I don't know their name, or if I did, I don't remember it. (1)

When he was about 19 years old he worked at a trading post in Norfolk, Nebraska. It was there that he met Grandma, Anna Wortman. She was half Cherokee Indian, born in Indiana. She came to Nebraska with her folks in a covered wagon. They were married about 1874. Granddad got a homestead in Monterey, Nebraska. They had 10 children, all born on the farm in Monterey. (2)

Granddad's brother, Henry, their parents, and Henry's wife, Barbara, came from Germany too. I don't know when, but Granddad and Grandma already had children by the time they came. Their parents lived with Uncle Henry and Aunt Barbara in Monterey until they died. Uncle Henry and Aunt Barbara had 11 children. Three died of the flu epidemic. My Grandma said, "they died faster than the poor man could carry them down the stairs." (3)

I don't know if Granddad had any other brothers or sisters besides Uncle Henry. No one ever said that I could remember. (4)

Growing up, I always enjoyed hearing this story, as stories do, it has gone into me and remains there. Something of what these people were and what they did has been passed down through generations in story. I never thought about how much was really factual, how much had been lost or altered with age and imagination.

It was not until 1996 that I decided to review my family origins. Although I had some names, dates, and photographs, I had no idea on how to proceed. The "how to" books I read were some help. Then I got lucky when I found a basic genealogy course, and joined the Livermore-Amador Genealogical Society. Utilizing my newfound knowledge I set out to search the records. Based on the above oral tradition the following is just a sample of what I discovered through various sources:

1. Arnold Timmerman did emigrate from Germany, arriving in New York, on 19 December 1869. However, he was about 16 years old. In 1870 Arnold was living with the Theodore Wortman family in West Point, Nebraska. Theodore was the uncle of Arnold's future wife, and was from Hanover, Germany, Arnold's birth place.

2. In 1874 Arnold was not yet married. But he does appear in Norfolk, Nebraska, to file his "Declaration of Intention," for citizenship. Now, my Grandmother can tell some tales about Arnold's trading post life in Norfolk. But for documentation what else he might have been doing there is yet unknown. After marrying in 1876, Arnold and Anna lived in Monterey Township. They had a total of 12 children, perhaps luckier than most to have buried only two in infancy. A photograph of Anna Wortman reveals an engraved leathery look, cheekbones jutting out, broad flat nose, and eyes with a defiant edge to them. In my mind she does appear to be Indian, as legend has it, yet I have no proof.

3. Uncle Henry, his parents, and a previously unknown sister, Anna, emigrated from Germany in 1881. Henry's wife, Barbara, had emigrated earlier at age 10. A recent discovery of Henry's life story, handwritten in 1920, told how his three oldest children died of the flu epidemic within days of each other. "On Dec 24 Anna died... I laid her out myself, all alone. Then came Christmas Day... and Rosa departed for a better life... I laid her out too, putting the two dead sisters together. My sorrow was great. Henry died too, on Dec 27, 1918."

4. It is possible that there were other children in this family who died in Germany. The 1900 census enumeration of Arnold's parents indicated seven total children, with only three living at that time: Arnold, Henry, and their younger sister, Anna. Anna lived only a short time in Monterey, Nebraska, before marrying and moving to another county. Prior to that she "hired out" which might explain why she was unknown to some of the later generations.

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Cancelled stamp

Foreign Postage

By Wes Nelson

A recent Roots Tracer note (July, 1998, page 720) discusses the foreign postage offered in the "USA Philatelic" catalog.

"USA Philatelic" is a free quarterly publication of the United States Postal Service. From this catalog we can order any stamp, stamped paper, or philatelic collectible that is currently available from the Postal Service - a far broader selection than can be found at any ordinary post office. The buyer pays face value for stamps plus a $1 fee (plus added charges for special services if any are desired). You can order by mail or by phone; ordering by Internet is not yet possible, but the USPS is working on that option.

"The International Collection" is a special detachable part of the main catalog (beginning in 1999, it will become a separate catalog). The current edition features attractive commemoratives from six nations in a 16 page glossy section. Australia and Israel are new additions to this collection. Ireland, Great Britain, Canada, and Mexico have been offered for some time. Some United Nations issues are also offered, but valid for postal use only at a few official UN sites, so they are not of interest in this context.

Several denominations are listed for each country. If you know the postal rate to the USA from that country, then, most likely, stamps of the proper value are available. The exception is Canada, which for some reason shows stamps in 45-cent, $1 and $2 denominations; the 52-cent stamp (letter rate to USA) went off sale in November 1998.

As mentioned in the original Roots Tracer note, you may find sending stamps more convenient than sending reply coupons, and your foreign correspondent will almost certainly be grateful.

An easy way to get a copy of the current "USA Philatelic" catalog is to call 1-800-STAMP24. Another easy way is to visit the Website:  Click on the "order catalogs" button on the first screen, then click on the "order USA Philatelic" button on the second screen.

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Tree Grandpa Martinson

By Dick Finn

One of my distant cousins found a document, dated 9 May 74 (1874), that I have found most interesting. It is the "Passageer Contract" for my grandfather, Morten Nielsen Mortensen, the first three of his eight siblings, and his parents for their trip from Denmark to America. Family myth has it that it took three months to go from "Kjobenhavn" to New York to Sioux City, Iowa. That seems to me to be somewhat exaggerated. We do know from the contract that the Mortensen family left Kjobenhavn (Copenhagen) for New York. They first went from their farm in Vejle County to Copenhagen. Then on May 14, 1874, they traveled by ship, the North Star, to Hamborg (Hamburg), Germany. From there the went by ship to Leith, Scotland. They then took the train from Leith, Scotland, to Glasgow, where they boarded another ship (of the Anchor Line) for New York.

For the moneys paid, the Mortensens received "steerage place in the vessels and third class waggons on the railroads. Forwarding of luggage via: for Steerage passengers 100[?] pounds to Glasgow and 10 cubic feet from Europe. The moiety [half of the above] for a child over one year. Proper lodgings in the intermediate stations. Good and sufficient fare in cooked state during the voyage from Copenhagen [notice how the city spelling changed] to the final place of landing...Medical attendance and medicine during the voyage from Europe to the place of landing. If the vessel, by which the Emigrant is to be forwarded [sounds like a UPS package!] should by any accident or chance be prevented from accomplishing the voyage, the Emigrant ought to be forwarded by a ship as good as the former with in four weeks; should this not be done, he has a right to claim the restitution of the whole amount paid by him according to this contract. During the above mentioned time the Emigrant must be provided with free board and lodging...Complaints of nonfulfilment of this contract must be communicated to the nearest Danish Consul, who in case the complaint can not be settled in an amicable way by his interference, after making due examination, will have to report the matter to the Royal Danish Government, after which the case will be settled by the Minister of Justice and any compensation due to the Emigrant, taken from the security deposited by the undersigned Agent."

The contract goes on to state what the passengers should expect for meals during their voyage. Not too many stars here: "Breakfast: Coffee, Sugar, and fresh Bread and Butter or Biscuit and Butter, or Oatmeal Porridge and Molasses. Dinner: Beef or Pork and Soup, with Bread and Potatoes or Fish and Potatoes according to the day of the week, and on Sunday, Pudding will be added. Supper: Tea, Sugar, Bread or Biscuits and Butter."

The book, The Dream of America (Mosegaard, 1986), has a very interesting section on "Crossing The Atlantic." The book tells of the bills passed by the Danish government to protect the emigrants who left Denmark for America. The Danish "police" were to supervise provisions, water, life-saving equipment and cargo. All emigrants had to have a medical check-up and the crew should also include a doctor [I have read that many of these "doctors" could not even spell the word]. All these precautions meant that only a few Danes were turned away at the immigration control on Ellis Island.

Two other books that tell of  the numbers of Danes who left their farms for a new life in America include On Distant Shores, Danes Worldwide Archives, 1993, and The Transplanted, John Bodnar, 1985. Both contain a great deal of detail on Danish immigration. For example did you know that "until the 1890s the immigrants still had to bring their own straw mattresses, to be thrown overboard at the end of the voyage."

Like so many other "finds" in genealogy, the discovery of the Mortensen passenger contract has lead me to search for information that in the past I would not have thought would have been of interest to me.

By the way, grandfather Morten Nielsen Mortensen became Martin Nielson Martinson by the time he arrived in Diamond Bluff, Wisconsin.

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File cabinet

Things to File

Correction to "Census Holdings in the Bay Area" By Jim Scofield

I wish to thank the Reference Librarian at the Sutro Library for pointing out several corrections on their holdings of census indexes.

  1. Even though I could not find it in the index, Sutro does have the 1880 Soundex for California.
  2. Sutro has the 1870 Census index for San Francisco, Solano, and San Mateo Counties in book form.
  3. Sutro has the 1870 Census for Shasta County and the 1870 and 1880 Census for Sacramento in book form.
  4. Sutro has the 1870 Census index for both Long Island and New York City in book form.

The fifth line of the first paragraph of the October, 1998 article should read: Oakland FHC shelf holdings were checked, except the 1992 entries were used for years prior to 1850 and after Maine in the listing.

Newsprint Preservation

Dissolve two milk of magnesia tablets in a 28-ounce bottle of club soda. The solution should read PH 8.5 on a test strip. Use a pan large enough to put the clipping in flat. Get a piece of nylon screening cut somewhat longer than the pan, but narrow enough to fit inside the pan. Place the clipping on the mesh, immerse it in the solution, and let it soak for at least two hours. If the paper has begun to turn yellow, soak for a longer period (overnight). Gently lift the clipping out of the pan and place mesh and clipping on a soft towel or cloth to dry. When it is dry, it may be handled normally. If the paper is wrinkled, sprinkle it lightly with water, press at a low temperature between two blotting papers. Store in acid free envelopes, boxes, or encapsulation. The estimated life of such a clipping is 100 years.
FROM: Deurene Oates Morgan <>, VAHIST, 15&18 Apr 1997 (via Contra Costa County Gen. Soc. Newsletter Vol.12, No. 7, July 1997)


The word "cenotaph" on a tombstone means an empty grave. The stone was erected in memory or in honor of a person buried elsewhere, perhaps in an unknown battlefield grave.
FROM: Odom Family Tree, via Contra Costa County Genealogical Society newsletter, July 1993.

Indiana Marriages

The Indiana State Library has put a database of Indiana marriages through 1850 on the Web. The early records are marriage returns, which usually state just the bride and groom data, the person who performed the ceremony, but no parent’s data. The address is:
FROM: Bluegrass Roots, Vol.25, No.3, Fall 1998.

(Editor’s note: Also at this site is the Indiana Cemetery Locator File – a database of Indiana cemeteries and their locations.)

Livermore Library

The Livermore Public Library now has its catalog on the Web. You can enter as a guest or a patron. If you have a card, you will be able to see your account - what you have out, etc. The address is:
FROM: Vicki Renz, L-AGS member.

Kentucky Land Records

The Kentucky Land Office has a web page that is a database of 4748 records where warrants were issued to those who served on the Virginia Continental Line and in the Virginia Militia in the Revolutionary War. Not only is the database searchable, but you can view the actual scanned record. The address is:
FROM: Bluegrass Roots, Vol.25, No.3, Fall 1998.

Virginia Research

If you are doing early Virginia research, I suggest you go to the Library of Virginia web site. You can search the index for a land patent or grant, download an image of it, and print it in high resolution. Be sure to read the instructions.

You also might like to visit the Library of Virginia’s digital collections page.
FROM: Doug Mumma, L-AGS member.

Railroad Records

Cath Trindle, editor of the San Mateo Genealogical Society Newsletter, wrote a great article on Railroad Records and where to find information. Her article can be found in the SMCGS Newsletter, October 1998, Vol. 16-9, p. 169-170. She included these web sites:

The California State Railroad Museum -

The Union Pacific Railroad Museum -

Cyndi’s List of Railroad related sites -
FROM: CSGA Newsletter, Vol.16, No.11 (November 1998).

Civil War Headstones

A recent addition to the National Archives in San Bruno is microfilm publication number M1845 - Card Records of Headstones Provided for Deceased Union Civil War Veterans (c.1879-1903). The films are located in Cabinet 19, drawer 10. The cards are in alphabetical order.
FROM: Santa Clara County Historical & Genealogical Society Newsletter.

California 1852 Census

The 1852 State Census of California is very valuable if you lost an ancestor in 1850. Many went gold prospecting, and in this census they were asked for their former residence.
FROM: Montgomery Co. TX G&HS, Summer ’93 via the Napa Valley Genealogical & Biographical Society Wine Press Newsletter, Vol.24, No. 7, July 1998.

Is Your Confederate Ancestor Buried in California?

The California Division, United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) is collecting names of Confederates buried in California to be presented as a Confederate memorial list during their centennial year. If your Confederate ancestor is buried in California, they would like to have the name and location of the cemetery where he/she is buried and if possible an obituary, photograph, service record, and any family information you would like to share. If you have done a survey of a California cemetery and have a list of Confederates, please share the information with us. Do not send original documents, as they cannot be returned. Send information to:

Margaret Alley
P.O. Box 3295
Montebello, CA 90640-3295
FROM: Elise Morris,  31 Jul 1998 e mail list, via Genealogical Society of Santa Cruz County, November-December 1998 Newsletter.

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Last updated 6 June 2003 vlr, 10may04.0547 gwa