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The Roots Tracer

Volume XIX   Number 2

May 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

Calendar of Events

Upcoming Seminars
Genealogy Tours

SF Bay Area Genealogical Consortium

Pacific Islanders Month

Records Access Livermore Valley History

Computer Interest Group

Library News Past Programs Queries
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

I want to give a big THANK YOU to everyone who worked on the California Genealogical Society Fair held at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton. John Walden, Isabel Nolte, Dave and Linda Curry, and George Anderson all worked hard to come up with an unusual and exciting display representing L-AGS. The volunteers who worked throughout the Fair to demonstrate the CD collection and introduce the attendees to L-AGS did a wonderful job. The display was very well received by both participants and producers of the Fair this year.

Congratulations on a job well done!

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Editor’s Message

By Vicki Renz

We have had some positive comments to the two-column format that we began in our last issue. We hope it has made reading the newsletter easier and more enjoyable for you. If you have any other suggestions regarding the format, please let us know. Also, if you have any ideas for articles or would like to submit a personal experience to share with our members, please E-mail us at

Another reminder to notify Lori Codey at if you want to get your Roots Tracer from our web site instead of a paper copy.

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Study Group News

By Vicki Renz

We have had several good discussions at our study group so far this year. We talked about immigration records; the value of newspapers in genealogy research; and reviewed the opportunities for research at the various libraries in the Bay Area.

One evening, we toured the Family History Center at the Mocho Street LDS Church where Jim Scofield introduced the various resources available. It was very enlightening for those who attended.

These meetings are more of a sharing of experiences rather than a presentation of information. Sometimes we have information to hand out, and if we do, we make a copy of everything to put in the vertical file at our library in Pleasanton. So if you have missed a study group, check the vertical file for that topic at the library, and see what information was deposited.

We welcome you to join our future discussions. We are planning to have a "Brick Wall" session; to talk about cemeteries and their value to genealogists; and what to do with all our "Stuff" to be sure it doesn’t get tossed when we pass on.

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In Memoriam

Evelyn Wartman-Brown, a longtime Livermore resident, died in her home Saturday, February 6, 1999, of cancer, which she had been fighting for some time. She was 79. Born March 6, 1919, in Chanhassen, Minnesota, she lived in Livermore for 40 years. She had retired after working as an interior decorator for 25 years.

Besides being a member of L-AGS, Evelyn was a member of St. Michael's Church and the Antique Club of Livermore, and the Garden Club and the Altar Guild at St. Peter's Church of Suquamish, Washington. She was also a seamstress and she loved winning bridge games and attending social events. She will be remembered as very artistic and hardworking. She was self-taught and considered herself a farm girl.

She is survived by her husband of two years, Clarence "Doc" Brown; daughters, Colette Christensen of Washington and Patricia Moran of Fremont; son, Brian Wartman of Washington; sisters, Marie Nein, Sally Koehnen, Luella Neidenfeuhr and Myra Hensel, all of Minnesota, and Florence Dueffert of Texas; brothers, Daniel, Thomas and Al Klingelhutz, all of Minnesota; 11 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

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Calendar Calendar of Events

Livermore-Amador Genealogical Society has the following monthly meetings:

Family Tree Maker Focus Group: 1st Thursday, 7:30 p.m., at Livermore Adult Education Building, 543 Sonoma Avenue, Livermore. For information  e-mail

General Meeting: 2nd Tuesday, 7:30 p.m., at Congregation Beth Emek, corner of College Avenue & South M Street, Livermore. For information  e-mail

Study Group: 3rd Thursday, 7:30 p.m., at the LDS Church, 950 Mocho Street, Livermore. For information e-mail

Computer Interest Group: 4th Thursday (except November and December), 7:30 p.m. at Livermore Adult Education Building, 543 Sonoma Avenue, Livermore. For information e-mail

Other Area Genealogy Societies General Meetings

Contra Costa County Genealogical Society:
2nd Thursday of each month, 7:30 p.m. in the Community Room of the new Concord Police Station, 1350 Galindo Avenue, Concord. For information check their web site.

East Bay Genealogical Society:
2nd Wednesday of each month, at 10 a.m. at the Dimond Branch of the Oakland Library, 3565 Fruitvale Avenue, Oakland. This location is subject to change. For information check their web site.

Hayward Area Genealogical Society:
4th Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. in the San Lorenzo Library, 395 Paseo Grande, San Lorenzo, CA.

Mt. Diablo Genealogical Society:
3rd Friday of each month, 1 to 3 p.m. in the Community Room, CivicBank of Commerce, 1940 Tice Valley Road, Walnut Creek.

San Joaquin Genealogical Society:
3rd Thursday of each month at 1:00 or 7:00 p.m. at various locations. For information check their web site.

San Mateo County Genealogical Society:
3rd Tuesday of each month, 7:30 p.m. in the Belmont Central School, 525 Middle Road, Belmont. For information check their web site.

San Ramon Valley Genealogical Society:
3rd Tuesday of each month (except August and December) at the Guardian Rehabilitation Hospital, 7777 Norris Canyon Road, San Ramon, CA.

Santa Clara County Historical and Genealogical Society:
3rd Thursday of each month, at 7:00 p.m. (except August and December) in the community room of the Santa Clara City Library, 2635 Homestead Road, Santa Clara. For information check their web site.

Solano County Genealogical Society:
4th Thursday of each month (except July, August, November and December) at 7:00 p.m. in the Fairfield Senior Center, 1200 Civic Center Drive, Fairfield. For information, check their web site.

Tracy Area Genealogical Society:
3rd Thursday of each month at 7:00 p.m. at the LDS Church, 1981 Chester Drive, Tracy. For information, check their web site.

Please note that the web sites for these groups can be accessed from our "Useful Internet Links" page under "Genealogical Societies."

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Upcoming Seminars

May 12 to 15 - National Genealogical Society 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. For information check their web site.

May 14 - National Archives Workshop - "Military - Part 1, Pre-Revolution to War of 1812," 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. by Rose Mary Kennedy, Genealogy Specialist. Part of the 1999 Workshop Series. 1000 Commodore Drive, San Bruno. Fee - $15. Reservations must be made in advance or class may be cancelled. To register and reserve space, call Rose Mary Kennedy at 650-876-9001.

May 22 – Sonoma County Genealogical Society – All-day seminar with John P. Colletta, noted genealogist and author, at the Luther Burbank Center, just off Highway 101 at the Larkfield exit, north of Santa Rosa. $18 in advance for non-members, $20 at the door.

June 5 - Genealogical Society of Stanislaus County Seminar featuring Russel Baker, certified Archivist, Deputy Director and Archival Manager of the Arkansas History Commission and State Archives, 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Modesto Centre Plaza, Pistache-Gingko Room, 1000 "K" Street, Modesto.

June 11 - National Archives Workshop - "Military - Part 2, Civil War to World War II," 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. by Rose Mary Kennedy, Genealogy Specialist. Part of the 1999 Workshop Series. 1000 Commodore Drive, San Bruno. Fee - $15. Reservations must be made in advance or class may be cancelled. To register and reserve space, call Rose Mary Kennedy at 650-876-9001.

June 12 & 13 - Southern California Genealogical Society Genealogical Jamboree, Pasadena Convention Center. Some speakers are Arlene Eakle, William Dollarhide, and John Humphrey. $10 for one day, $15 for two days. Special lectures by Cyndi Howells on Internet research ($3.00), Sunday the 13th, 11:00 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. For information, check their web site.

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 8 to 13 - Jewish Genealogy Society, Inc. - 19th Annual Conference on Jewish Genealogy - "New York...Gateway to America." For information check their web site.

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. For information call FGS at 888-347-1500 or check their web site.

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.

October 30 - San Mateo County Genealogical Society all-day seminar with Larry Jensen. Subject and location to be announced. For more information, check their web site.

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Genealogy Tours

When Charlie Vlk set out to find his roots, he was armed with only the name of his great-great grandfather and a 168-year-old address. Yet Mr. Vlk was able to find not only his family’s village, but also the actual house where that ancestor was born.

Mr. Vlk had some help from the Weber Travel Agency in Chicago, whose owner, Jerry Rabas, devotes a small portion of his time to a specialized type of travel: genealogy tours - trips that can extend to the farthest reaches of one’s past. "I’m talking small villages, maybe a population of 20, 40 or 100," says Mr. Rabas. "There aren’t accommodations in places like that, so I get a private driver - a bus if the group is large - and take them there."

Genealogy tours are a logical extension of researching your family tree, an increasingly popular hobby in the U.S. In recent years, an estimated 100 million people have spent at least some time in search of unknown ancestors.

But not all agencies offering genealogical tours have genealogical services. Some help get you where you want to go, which can require hiring a driver or interpreter and finding lodgings in remote locations. Some agencies will put you in touch with foreign archives and other genealogical resources that might yield clues to your family’s past. But only in rare cases will an agency perform the actual research.

For those who are willing, the work is a labor of love. It can mean long hours poring over maps, seeking villages that are little more than specks. And for the agencies, the payback can be minimal: Mr. Rabas puts twice the amount of work into planning a genealogy tour to Europe as he does a traditional tour - but the final price is roughly the same: about $2,800 for a two-week excursion.

Travel agencies advise clients to do as much of their own research as they can. Central to the pursuit of family roots are genealogy societies. They can be found in telephone directories and ethnic newspapers. The National Genealogical Society in Arlington, VA can provide the names of many local genealogy societies around the country. And starting this year, the society itself plans to conduct genealogy tours.

Representatives of foreign governments may be able to point you to travel agencies that conduct genealogy tours. Ask the national tourist board, national airline, consulate, or embassy of the foreign country you’re going to visit. In addition, foreign regions or cities may have their own local genealogy organizations. For example, Hamburg, Germany has a tourist office, a museum, and records of Germans who immigrated after 1842.

Genealogy publications can also lead you to genealogy tour operators. Charles Ostot, a retired government economist in Arlington, VA, subscribed to Everton’s Genealogical Helper. There, he found the organization, Palatines in America, which helps German-Americans trace their origins and arranges genealogical tours. Mr. Ostot was rewarded with a trip to his family’s ancestral home in 1987, and the discovery of living relatives.

Make sure you understand what services will be provided by any agency you contact.

Miriam Weiner, owner of Routes to Roots Travel in Secaucus, NJ, provides some of the most elaborate genealogy tours. A genealogist who started her own travel agency, Ms. Weiner specializes in helping Jews find their European roots. She writes a genealogy column for dozens of newspapers and has published a book listing genealogy archives in Poland. She is now writing a similar source book on the Ukraine.

Ms. Weiner limits her own fees to archive research. But costs mount in the travel part of the business, run by her associates abroad. Expenses can run hundreds of dollars a day for the services of a translator and security person. Then there are flights, hotels, and food. Ms. Weiner’s genealogy trips to Russia, Poland, or Ukraine can cost $5,000 to $10,000, depending on the destination, level of service and airfare.

Whatever your tastes in amenities, the trip will be more rewarding if you are willing to invest the time in exploring your past.

"You have to know something to begin with," says Mr. Otstot, the retired economist. "You can’t expect others to do it for you. You can’t just show up without having done anything."

Excerpted from The Wall Street Journal, 14 September 1998. Written by Terence B. Foley

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Meeting San Francisco Bay Area Genealogical Consortium

By David Abrahams

During the past few months, representatives from several local societies have been meeting to determine how they could work together to further promote our hobby throughout the greater Bay Area and even nationally.

On January 30, these representatives met in San Mateo for their second meeting. Represented were genealogical societies, the San Bruno branch of the National Archives, several Family History Centers (FHCs), and the California State Genealogical Alliance (CSGA). It was at this meeting that the name, "San Francisco Bay Area Genealogical Consortium", was coined and accepted. The formality of setting up bylaws and officers has not yet been addressed, although Helen Crisman took minutes and Cath Trindle moderated the meeting.

Purposes of the Consortium include:

Encouraging participation by all societies and libraries in the greater Bay Area that deal with genealogy and family history

Focusing on marketing societies and repositories within the greater Bay Area

Setting up a web page, linking all of these societies and repositories (Ed. note: A web page for the San Francisco Bay Area Genealogical Consortium has just been started with basic information about the group and its goals.)

Joining to work on projects which will benefit Bay Area researchers and visitors, as well. One such project is well under way: the creation of a database of all repositories in the greater Bay Area with U.S. Census Indexes. To date, eight repositories have been "inventoried," with many more to go.

Other projects that have been suggested include:

Publishing inventories of long-term holdings at the local FHCs

Publishing inventories of City Directories found in the various libraries

Identifying genealogical libraries with on-line access

Developing new speakers; and providing a listing of local speakers of interest to our societies.

The representatives to the Consortium that I have met and know are extremely dedicated people with some wonderful ideas and expertise. We can support the Consortium by providing representation at the meetings and by volunteering to work on some of the projects that will benefit all of us.

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Island scene Pacific Islanders Heritage Month

By David Abrahams

In honor of Asian Pacific Islanders Heritage Month, the following presentations will be given by Chinese Historical Society of America members:

May 15 (11 a.m.-noon): Genealogist Jeanie Chooey Low will present an audio-visual workshop entitled "Chinese American Family History: Techniques, Resources and Analysis" at the Asian Branch of the Oakland Public Library located at 388 9th Street, Suite 190, Oakland, CA (510-238-3400). The program is sponsored by the Friends of the Library and is free to the public. Ms. Low specializes in researching immigrants from Guandong, China, to the U.S. from 1850 through the 1970’s. Among the sample artifacts are a Chinese wedding certificate, 1909; Alta CA advertisement, 1885; ancestral tablet; and gravestone inscriptions.

May 22 (2-4 p.m.): Jennie Lew, Media Producer, will demonstrate and discuss her new multimedia project, "Living Widows & Paper Sons," exploring the Chinese Exclusion Era of the American Immigrant Experience. Presently in development with the support of grants from the California Council of the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities, this program will engage the viewer with primary documents, oral histories, and video interviews. Jeanie Chooey Low, Genealogist, will present a discussion titled "The Legacy of the Chinese Exclusion Era on Family History." She will explore issues of "paper names" and the "confession and amnesty program" on identity. This presentation will be held in the Auditorium at the Oakland Museum of California, 1000 Oak Street, Oakland, CA (510-238-3818). Free with Museum Admission - Adults $6; Senior/Students $4; Children under five and museum members are free.

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Open record book Records Access

From FGS Forum, Vol. 10, No. 4, Winter 1998

The catalog of the Arizona State Library's holdings will soon be available on the Internet. Director Gladys Ana Wells announced that SIRSI, Inc. would install an automated, integrated library system for the Department of Library, Archives, and Public Records. "This online catalog will make it easier for the library's clientele -- legislators, state personnel, and anyone interested in the state -- to view our unique holdings," Wells said. The department's catalog will initially show the holdings of the State Law Library, the State Research Library's collection of Federal publications, Arizona state publications and genealogical materials, and the Arizona History and Archives Division collection of Arizoniana.

Over time, records for other materials, such as maps and archival holdings, will be added to the system until it reflects all the department's holdings. Dale Steele, Arizona Department of Library, Archives. and Public Records, Phoenix, AZ, September 1998. via Linda McLeary

Specific forms are no longer required and the cost for any Florida vital record is now just $5. According to several Florida genealogical quarterlies, requests for death records (since 1877) must include the deceased's full name, sex, date of death, city/county of death, and a check for $5 for the first copy and $4 for each additional copy of the same request. The cause of death will be blocked out for deaths that occurred less than fifty years ago. It is understood that relatives only may request the death certificate and you must state your relationship

Marriage and divorce records are available from June 1927 but are filed under the husband's name only. Birth records for the last one hundred years are available only to the named person if over 18, or to the parent or legal guardian/representative. Records of births occurring more than one hundred years ago are available to the public unless the court has sealed the record. Send requests with your name, address, and daytime telephone number to: Office of Vital Statistics, P.O. Box 210, Jacksonville, FL 32231-0042 with a check for $5 payable to that office.

A "County-by-County Directory of Kansas Vital Records and other Genealogical Materials Printed in Kansas Genealogical Periodicals" is published in the Topeka Genealogical Society Quarterly Volume 28 #3 July 1998. For each county (also General, Kansas Territory, and Kansas), entries appear for articles in area publications that would be helpful to researchers. For example, under Dickinson County are three entries: divorces, excursions, and immigrants. Following each entry is the title of an article, i.e., "Index to Dickinson County Divorce Cases, 1882-1900," and the publication citation. Almost twenty pages of entries provide an excellent finding aid for Kansas researchers. Write to the Topeka Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 4048, Topeka, KS 66604-0048.

The large library collection of the St. Louis Genealogical Society is now housed in the headquarters of the St. Louis County Library. It was moved from the University City Public Library where it had been housed for a quarter of a century. St. Louis is the site of the 1999 Federation of Genealogical Societies annual gathering. For details, contact The St. Louis Genealogical Society, 4 Sunnan Drive, Suite 140, P.O. Box 43010, St. Louis, MO 63143-0010; or call (314) 647-8547.

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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.

Public Education In The Livermore District

The rich farmlands of the Livermore Valley brought not only opportunity but also families and a consequent need for schools. Although Livermore School District was organized by the county supervisors in 1862, it was not until May, 1866, that a small one-room school, taught by Miss Esther Weeks, opened on what is now Portola Avenue with thirteen pupils - six of whom were from one family. It was a subscription school, as no provision had yet been made for taxation.

By 1869, it was necessary to move the building closer to the population centers of Laddsville and Livermore. After it was relocated on what is now the Livermore High School football field, a second building was needed to accommodate a burgeoning student body. Within a few years, both buildings were moved on Fifth Street, donated by William Mendenhall, where, in 1877, a new two-story structure opened. The two original buildings were again moved - one became a saloon on First Street, and the other was converted into a carpenter shop.

In the meantime, other school districts were being formed to offer education up through eighth grade. In the years between 1869 and 1898, thirteen school districts, all rural, were organized and either lapsed or were annexed to adjoining districts when the average daily attendance dropped below the required minimum. The May District three miles north of Livermore, the Summit District in Altamont Pass, and the Townsend District east of Greenville Road on Tesla were organized the same day, May 3, 1869. The Harris District served children in the coal-mining community of Harrisburg. Organized in 1875, it lapsed in 1904 when the mines closed. The Mocho District, whose school was located at the junction of Mines Road and the road leading to Del Valle Recreation Area, opened and lapsed twice before being annexed to the Livermore District. The school building was moved to Tubbsville, a low-income residential area on Railroad Avenue. When the Tesla District School closed in 1913, Father Patrick Power purchased the school furnishings and moved them to St. Michael’s Catholic School, which opened that year.

A high school education was available almost from the founding of the town. Livermore Collegiate Institute, a private school, was established in 1870 by Dr. W. B. Kingsbury on aptly named College Avenue. When Kingsbury failed financially, James D. Smith purchased the business in 1875, and for almost twenty years, the Institute had an average annual attendance of 50 students.

Assemblyman Frank R. Fassett of Livermore introduced legislation in Sacramento to provide for union high school districts. Livermore was designated Union High School District No. 1 in 1891, as the first in the state to be formed under the new law. This led to a new high school building in 1893, but it also meant the demise of Livermore Collegiate Institute.

Today, all the rural schools are closed and students in the outlying area attend schools in the Livermore Unified School District.

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Computer Computer Interest Group (CIG) News

By Dick Finn at

The Computer Interest Group (CIG) meets the 4th Thursday of every month except November and December at 7:30 p.m. at the Livermore Adult Education Facility, 543 Sonoma Avenue, Livermore. Non-members are welcome to attend at no cost.

We have some exciting programs planned for the next several months. Issues include:

- Roots Web (what is it and how do we use it?)

- How do I select and match scanners and printers – what do I need in my new printer?

- Vendors speaking on the advantages of several genealogy software packages

- Digital imaging with a popular software package to enhance your old family photographs and documents.

Some of our members have asked us about conducting courses in basic computer use, researching the web, etc. We feel this is taken care of by several organizations in our community including Adult Education schools, Recreation Departments, and Los Positas College (LPC). See the February 1999 Livermore Roots Tracer for addresses.

Fall classes you might try at LPC are:
    Overcoming Computer Anxiety, CIS 86;
    Internet Research Skills, Library 2; or
    Photo Manipulation, Art 46 (to clean up those old photographs and documents).
For LPC registration call 426-0197.

For information on CIG e-mail Members needing help with a computer problem may call one of the mentors listed in the Members' Handbook.

The Family Tree Maker Focus Group meets on the 1st Thursday of every month at 7:30 at the Livermore Adult Education Facility, 543 Sonoma Avenue, Livermore.

We are a group of Family Tree Maker users (from beginners to experts) who discuss and share problems and successes and help each other in the use of FTM software. Recently we have been discussing the new 6.0 Version; the pros and cons, including the very useful "Go Back" button.

Congratulations to Jane Southwick for winning a Family Tree Maker software package as a door prize at one of our last meetings.

All persons interested or potentially interested in Family Tree Maker and related software are invited to attend. Guests are welcome at no cost. For information on our group, e-mail

Surname Web Page Update

L-AGS maintains pages on our Web site that list the surnames our members are researching. We know that genealogists from all over the world have found our site and have contacted members to share information on families in common. We are in the process of updating our surname list. We hope that 100 percent of our members will submit, correct, and update their family data. You should remember that when you submit your surnames you do have an obligation to answer inquiries you receive. Failure to do so reflects badly on L-AGS.

By the time you receive this newsletter you should have been contacted by e-mail or by US Mail with a listing of your surnames as currently listed on our Web site. Please look it over and revise it as needed.

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 any e-mail response to you. If you do not have e-mail, the webmaster will respond and send your mailing address to the inquirers, suggesting that the inquiries be sent to you again by postal mail.

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New Library Books

By Judy Person

The following books are being processed and will be available soon.

The Arrol, Arroll and Arrell Families, by John Arros, edited by Robert Arrol, M.D., Arrol House Publishers, Danville, California, 1994. An excellent example of a family history produced by fourth cousins from Danville, California, and Arcola, Illinois. It includes all Arrols from their origins in rural Scotland to those around the world. Although there is no index to allied families, it is worth examining for its thoroughness and top quality publishing.

Becoming an Accredited Genealogist, by Karen Clifford, A.G., Ancestry Publications. A gift from L-AGS member, Connie Pitt, who chose it from our "Wish List." Invaluable for those who are considering becoming professional genealogists, this explains not only the how-to of genealogy searching, but also the process for becoming accredited. It includes a pre-test for judging readiness which would be a useful review for any intermediate genealogist.

The Morse Genealogy, Southern Historical Press, 1990. A gift from L-AGS member Jane Morse Cote. This is a reprint of a family's turn of the century work, in preparation for carrying on with later generations. As such, it is a good example for other family associations. Published in 1903, 1905, 1973, and reprinted in 1990, it begins with Nicholas Mors of Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, England, in 1478, and continues with Anthony Morse of Newbury, Massachusetts, in 1635, encompassing several lines. If you have any Morses from New England, examine this book.

The Ultimate Search Book: Worldwide Adoption and Vital Records, by Lori Carangelo, 1999 edition, Heritage Quest. Two copies werepurchased by L-AGS, one copy for use in the library only, and one to check out. From an advocate of open records, this is a thorough examination of how to search. She reports on methods which may have broken some rules, but  disclaims incitement to rule-breaking, and lays out possibilities state-by-state, plus many foreign countries.

The Van Dyke Family: A Glimpse of the Dutch Settlement of New Jersey, by Paul Van Dyke, Heritage Books, 1997. A gift of the publisher. Though perhaps overshadowed by the Dutch in NY and the Swedes in NJ, in the early 1700s, many  Dutch immigrants settled on farms in northern New Jersey. There is a lot of history as well as family genealogy through nine generations of Van Dykes.

Stories Grandma Never Told: Portuguese Women in California, by Sue Fagalde Lick. Donated by L-AGS members Bill and Marelene Silver. These are wonderful personal stories that will be fascinating to all, especially those of Portuguese descent. From the immigrants to their daughters and grandchildren, they are exciting, emotional, and full of wisdom and courage.

Virtual Roots: a Guide to Genealogy and Local History on the World Wide Web, by Thomas Jay Kemp (author of the International Vital Records Handbook). Donated by L-AGS member Jean A. Salas. This is a directory of thousands of web sites for research and for families, including international sources. This volume is definitely worth examining for more ideas of places to search.

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Slide projector

Past Programs

By Jon Bryan, 1st Vice-President and Program Chair

Editor’s Note: This page will be a regular feature of our newsletter. We believe we have had some very special programs in the past few years, and want to show our readers what they may have missed if they were unable to attend a general meeting. We will review the programs held so far in 1999.

Jeremy Frankel was our speaker in January. He is a writer, professional researcher, cartographer, and genealogist. He has researched his own family for many years and has traced back to the 1790s in Poland.

He spoke about the many libraries on the campus of the University of California at Berkeley. He emphasized the library that houses old newspapers and encouraged us to use newspapers in our research, not only for obituaries, but also for the social history of the times our ancestors lived.

He also encouraged us to use the map libraries. There are many different maps from different agencies, from the cities, counties, states, etc. showing roads, land holdings, and topographical information. There are also the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, which show every building on every street for many cities. These maps include details on the types of buildings for fire insurance purposes. However, for genealogists, we can discover the kind of house our great-grandparents lived in.

Having Jeremy’s perspective on libraries as a genealogist was a pleasure and somewhat different from that of librarians that we have heard in the past. He used many examples using those resources from his own research that showed just how much can be learned if we take the time to read old newspapers and look for maps from our areas of interest.

Since there is a fee for a library card for non-students to use the libraries on the Berkeley campus, Jeremy suggested that we join the UC Berkeley Alumni Association if we want to use those libraries very often, as alumni can use the libraries for free. For more information, write to the UC Berkeley Alumni Association, Alumni House, Berkeley, CA 94720-7520. Phone 510-642-6252.

In February, our speaker was Dan Mosier, local history author, and proprietor of the Mines Road Bookstore in Fremont. His presentation was "Searching for Former Tesla Residents." Dan’s interest in Tesla began when he was in high school over thirty years ago and he bicycled by some mine tailings in the area of Corral Hollow. He has researched the area since then and has just published a book with Earle E. Williams titled "History of Tesla, A California Coal Mining Town."

Dan brought a slide program showing many old photographs of the area, the buildings, and the people. He is attempting to contact as many relatives of the inhabitants of Tesla as he can, to document its history.

Tesla was a coal-mining town named after the famed electrical engineer Nikola Tesla and was located about ten miles southeast of Livermore in the late 1890s and early 1900s. At its peak, it had over 1,200 people. After the mines closed in 1911, Tesla became a ghost town. The buildings disappeared and few artifacts remain to show where it was. Tesla is now part of the Carnegie Vehicular State Recreational Area, which will someday be open to the public.

Check Dan’s web site for more information about his bookstore and the other books he has written. (It is also listed on our Internet Links page.)

Our March speaker, Gloria Gibbel of Grass Valley, gave a presentation titled "My Quest for Patriots." She is a member of the Captain John Oldham Chapter, National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR). She discussed her experiences in her quest for "Patriots," the DAR’s term for documented ancestors who aided the American Revolution. She gave an overview of the DAR application requirements and emphasized other avenues when information is missing in the usual places. She summarized an amazing amount of genealogical research that she has done on only about five years. She has proved 11 Patriots, including one New Ancestor for the NSDAR.

Gloria recommends that we write many letters, and not to stop with just one. If you do not find the answers to your research questions on the first try, follow up with another letter, and even telephone calls. Perhaps the person who answered your first query was not fully acquainted with the records available, and you need to talk to someone else.

She mentioned that the catalog of the DAR Library is on their web site along with other information about the organization.

Persons interested in the local chapter, the Jose Maria Amador Chapter, should contact Sue Overturf.

Also, note that L-AGS has several DAR members in our group.

D. M. (Max) Noel of San Ramon was our speaker in April with a presentation titled "Techniques to Locate Persons Both Living and Dead." Max retired recently from the FBI after working with that agency for about 31 years. He worked on the infamous Unabomber case for about 18 of those years and was the agent who finally arrested Ted Kaczynski. Max is a fellow genealogy hobbyist with his own brick walls in research. He revealed that many techniques of the FBI are the same as those of a dedicated genealogical researcher. These include: have a definite strategy; have patience; keep good records; consider all possibilities, build an intelligence database; use computer analysis; and try to get help from the general public. He believes that a good genealogist is half historian and half detective.

His brick wall is finding the husband of his great great-grandmother Anna Noel. She was listed in the 1850 census as the head of household in Benton County, MO. Our members had several suggestions, including using the land records of the Bureau of Land Management, and treating it as if it were an FBI case and offer a reward!

Max then told us about his involvement with the Unabomber case and left plenty of time for questions from the audience. His description of the agonies that he and the other agents went through to apprehend the Unabomber was thoroughly fascinating. We are looking forward to a book by Max for more detail although none is in the works yet.

Our thanks to member Felicia Ziomek for requesting that we tape this presentation. Max granted his permission and we now have two copies of his presentation in our tape library, available at general meetings from Jerry Reynolds.

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Question mark


Claude Feschotte - 26 Rue Lavoisier, F-69800 Saint Priest, France (Tel/fax 04 78 21 46 93) is looking for information on Joseph BLONDIN, born in the French region of Savoie. He left France and settled in California after being in the Maximillian army in Mexico about 1864/1867. He married Josephine ZIMMERMAN in Livermore, probably in 1877. Josephine was the daughter of Simon ZIMMERMAN and Mary Ann LEITH. Josephine died 16 Aug 1889, at the age of 31 and is buried in St. Michael’s Cemetery. Joseph died in Livermore on 29 May 1900 and was cremated in the Columbarium in San Francisco 2 days later. Claude is looking for the origins of Joseph BLONDIN, especially his parents and the city of his birth. It would be especially helpful to have copies of Joseph’s marriage certificate and death certificate.

1847 Pioneer Project: Nancy Provost is looking for information about pioneers who arrived in the west by ship or on the Oregon Trail in 1847. She is working on a book that will be a valuable reference and research tool. She needs to identify as many of these pioneers as possible and to collect other information about them. This project has the support and encouragement of coordinators on the ORGenWeb, part of the USGenWeb, with research funded in part through a grant administered by Foundation Northwest.

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File cabinet

Things to File

FHC Has Direct Telephone Line
Bill Silver, director of the Family History Center at the LDS Church on Mocho Street in Livermore, has announced that there is a direct phone line to the FHC. The number is 925-443-2750. Patrons and staff may now make outgoing calls and receive incoming calls, but the line will not be used for Internet connections.

1852 State Census Index
Southern California Genealogical Society has compiled an index to the 1852 California State Census from the 1972 edition microfilm and from the 1930s DAR transcription. The complete database will be published on CD-ROM, including a search engine, in the near future, with final date and price to be announced.
Southern California Genealogical Society "Searcher," April 1999 through L-AGS member Susan Nourse Peterson.

Deceased Physician File
Are you doing genealogical research on an American physician? The National Genealogical Society offers a research service for entries in the AMA Deceased Physician File. Records are best for physicians who died after 1906 and before 1969. Information in the database usually includes date and place of birth and death, medical school attended, place of practice, hospital affiliation and citation to an obituary. Write to:

National Genealogical Society
Attn: Deceased Physician File
4527 17th Street North
Arlington, VA 22207-2399

Include the first and last name of the physician, the time period, and the location if known. The fee is $15 prepaid.
NGS Newsletter, Volume 18, #1, January/February 1999.

Rhode Island Cemeteries Database
The Rhode Island Cemetery Project is attempting to put every known grave from every cemetery in Rhode Island on the Internet. Not all of them are online yet, but these volunteers have posted more than 430,000 inscriptions! There are lists for every town, from the early 1600s to the present. Arranged by surname, the list includes names, dates and where the person is buried. They do not list entire gravestone inscriptions however.
Newsletter of the British Isles Family History Society – U.S.A., Los Angeles, CA, March/April, 1999.

The 8870 Formula
Submitted by Lou Betsch to the Ross County Genealogical Society Newsletter, 26:3, 1998-99, and reprinted exactly as written.

Ever heard of the 8870 formula? We had not either. It may be a genealogical term. We spotted it in a Gwinnett Historical Society newsletter, which was quoting from the Los Angeles Westside Genealogical Society.

The formula is used to find out a birth date. Some people use it when a tombstone record may only show the date of death.

If a tombstone shows a person died May 6, 1889, and lived 71 years, 7 months, and 9 days, but did not give the actual birth date, here is what you do.

Write the number 18890506, representing the day the person died. Subtract from it 710709, representing the 71 years, 7 months, and 9 days the person lived. The result is 18179797.

Now subtract 8870 from that number. The second result is 18170927, or translated to: born on September 27, 1817.
Santa Clara County Genealogical Society "Root Digger," February 1999.

A Good Idea
Stick a label with your name, address, and telephone number (and e-mail address?) to the front of each family folder or notebook. Then, if you ever leave it in a courthouse or library by mistake, it can be returned, or at least someone may contact you about it.
Contra Costa Co. GSNL, 14:1. Jan. 1999

Ship Sites
There are many web sites with information about the ships on which our ancestors came to America. Try these:
Cyndi’s List for a myriad of links relating to immigration
Immigrant ships
The Dutch Emigration Trilogy
Immigrant Ships Transcriber’s Guild
(The PIPOST, St. Croix Valley GS NL, June 98 via H.A.G.S Informer Vol. 21 No. 7, July 1998)
San Ramon Valley Genealogical Society newsletter, Vol. XIV, No.7, March 1999.

Civil War Photographs
The United States Army Military History Institute has a program in progress to obtain photographs of every possible Civil War soldier, both Union and Confederate. If you have a photo of your Civil War veteran ancestor, this Institute requests that you send them the photo for their archives. In return, they will return your photo, a negative, and an 8 x 10 copy, all at no cost to you. If you are seeking a photo of your Civil War veteran, write to ask if his face is among the many photos already collected. If you have a photo to submit or wish to inquire about one, write to The U.S. Army Military History Institute, Carlisle Barracks, Carlisle, PA 17013-5005.

You may search the Institute’s catalog at their web site.

Brady Civil War Photos
On the National Archives and Records Administration web site is its entire collection of Civil War era photographs taken by famed photographer Mathew Brady and his associates. The 6,176 photographs, originating as glass plate negatives, include portraits of well-known Union and Confederate commanders, Abraham Lincoln and his Cabinet officers, senators, congressional representatives and other noted personalities. They also document the ordinary soldiers, battlefield scenes, naval vessels, railroads, supply dumps, and hospitals. These are remarkable historical photographs of the people and events of the Civil War.
(The PIPOST, St. Croix Valley GS NL, March 1998 via H.A.G.S. Informer Vol. 21, No. 4, Apr 98)
San Ramon Valley Genealogical Society newsletter, Vol. XIV, No.7, March 1999.

Clues in Military Marker Requests
Military grave markers are not provided unless requested by a survivor of the veteran. That request made for a deceased relative or ancestor could contain important genealogical information. A copy of the marker request can be obtained from Office of Memorial Programs (403A), National Cemetery Systems, Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington, D.C. 20420.

The office can also supply the location of a burial in any National Cemetery.

Jean Johnson supplied this article from the Hayward Area Gen. Soc., Jul 1998 via Niagara Co. NY GS 19:2, 1997 via Napa Valley "Wine Press" 24:5, May 1998.

The Future Family Tree


A modern mother is explaining to her little girl about pictures in the family photo album. "This is the geneticist with your surrogate mother and here’s your sperm donor and your father’s clone. This is me holding you when you were just a frozen embryo. The lady with the very troubled look on her face is your aunt, a genealogist."

San Mateo County Genealogical Society Newsletter, Vol. 17, No. 13, March 1999.

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