The Livermore Roots Tracer

Volume XIX Number 4

November 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. 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

Thank You to Our Members

Editor's Message

Calendar of Meetings

Seminars and Classes

Sogndal, Norway

Try This Web Site

Our Surname Pages

Irish Sources

Legislative News

Plymouth Archives

Livermore History

Computer Group

Transfer of Large Amounts of Data

Library News

LDS Pedigree Resource File Submissions

Standards for Research in Libraries and Repositories

Do You Have Melungeon Ancestors?

Where Was GG Grandmother Born?

Oregon Newspapers

Past Programs

Looking for Old Newspapers?

If You Could See Your Ancestors

Things To File

PAF 4.0.2 Upgrade

Social Security Requests

Donations to L-AGS

Note: This volume consists of continuous articles (an 85 KB file) so you can scroll through to the end. Please be patient while it is loading.

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.

Member sharing on December 14, 1999

For our Livermore-Amador Genealogical Society meeting on December 14, 1999, we plan to have another Member Sharing session. We plan to give each member a chance to mention one or more things that they haven't mentioned before about their genealogical research.

If you can't think of anything, please be prepared to answer the question, "How or why did I get interested in genealogical research?"

I expect us to have an interesting evening, especially since none of us can predict all the ideas we might learn that apply to our own research.

Membership Dues for next year are payable on or before January 1, 2000.

Memberships will be delinquent if dues are not received by February 29, 2000.

Our membership committee appreciates the early and timely payment of dues.

President's Message

I have served as President for two years now and must "retire." I have really enjoyed serving on the Board as your President and previously as Membership Chairperson. It has given me a great opportunity to get to know more of you, to learn a lot, and to get involved behind the scenes! Thanks for helping me along the way and forgiving my mistakes as I learned "the ropes."

As we head into the Holidays and the New Year, I wish all of you the best and hope all of your genealogy dreams come true!

Lori Codey

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Thank You To Our L-AGS Membership
By Jon Bryan

Recently I have been receiving compliments for our General Meeting programs this year. Actually, I think our excellent program schedule is largely due to the many suggestions of our members (see below).

Please remain alert for potential L-AGS programs for the future among speakers that you hear, articles that you read, related genealogical activities, and friends. We are interested in ideas for both speakers and topics in the future. If we missed your recommendation this year, please submit it again for next year!

You may have also noticed that a few of the suggestions get used in our L-AGS Special Interest Groups - Computer Interest Group (Finn/Anderson), Family Tree Maker Focus Group (Finn/Anderson), and the Study Group (Renz). Remember that our chances for having good programs tend to improve when we can choose from more than one possibility. Thank you for all the ideas you have shared with me in 1999! Here is my count for the past year:



Suggested By

January Jeremy Frankel Garth Ludwig (1998 Program Chairman)
February Dan Mosier Harriet Anderson (newspaper article)
March Gloria Gibbel George Anderson (a cousin)
April Max Noel Jon Bryan (friend of a friend)
May Doug Holmes Bill Silver (L-AGS member)
June Kathleen Watson Jon Bryan (speaker I heard)
July Picnic Lori Codey (annual event)
August Linda Ashworth Jon Bryan (speaker I heard)
September Billie Dancy Judy Person (new library director)
October David and Joan Sisson Dick Finn (friend and newspaper article)
November Traci Parent Kathleen Young (friend)
December Sharing Jon Bryan

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Editor's Message
By Mildred Kirkwood

This is the last issue on which I will be serving as Co-Editor of the Roots Tracer. I have enjoyed my 2 years involvement, but I want to do some traveling in the future and don't feel that I will be able to fulfill my Tracer duties. Vicki Renz has done a marvelous job during the past year. She is responsible for the new format and has been meticulous in ensuring the quality of the newsletter.

At the October General Meeting, I asked for a volunteer to co-edit the Tracer with Vicki. I am pleased to announce that Debbie Pizzato has volunteered. I feel very confident that Vicki and Debbie will continue to improve upon our already excellent newsletter. I could not leave it in better hands!

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Calendar of Meetings

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. During the summer, meetings are held at the LDS Church, 950 Mocho Street, Livermore. For information e-mail

General Meeting: 2nd Tuesday (except July), 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. During the summer, meetings are held at the LDS Church, 950 Mocho Street, 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.

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.

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

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.

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

San Ramon Valley Genealogical Society
3rd Tuesday of each month (except August and December), 10 a.m. at the Guardian Rehabilitation Hospital, 7777 Norris Canyon Road, San Ramon.

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.

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.

Sonoma County Genealogical Society
4th Saturday of each month at 1 p.m. (except July, August, and December) in Room 2009, Lark Hall, Santa Rosa Junior College, Santa Rosa.

Stanislaus County Genealogical Society
3rd Thursday of each month (except July and December) at Trinity Presbyterian Church, Covell Hall, 1600 Carver Road, Modesto.

Tracy Area Genealogical Society
4th Thursday of each month at 7:00 p.m. at the Lolly Hansen Senior Center, 375 9th Street, Tracy.

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Upcoming Seminars and Workshops

November 13 – California Genealogical Society – meeting at 1611 Telegraph Avenue, Suite 200, Oakland. Frederick Sherman will speak on "New England Research."

November 13 – South Bay Cities Genealogical Society – Seminar of Military Records with Bill Doty of the Laguna Nigel Branch of the National Archives. Torrance Public Library, Torrance Boulevard at Madrona, Torrance, CA. For information see their web site.

November 16 – San Mateo County Genealogical Society – Seminar with Christine Rose speaking on "Beyond Probate: A Goldmine." For information see their web site.

November 20 – Sacramento Genealogical Society presents Nora Hickey on Irish Research, 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Citrus Heights Elementary School, 7085 Auburn Boulevard, Citrus Heights.

November 21 – Jewish Genealogical Society of Sacramento – Seminar with Glenda Lloyd speaking on "Researching U.S. Census Records," Sunday, 10 a.m., Albert Einstein Residence Center, 1935 Wright Street, Sacramento.

January 6, 2000 – Genealogy Society of Vallejo – meeting with our own David Abrahams speaking on "20th Century Immigration and the INS." Upstairs at the Naval and Historical Museum, 734 Marin Street, Vallejo, 1:00 p.m.

January 17 to 21, 2000 – Utah Genealogical Society – 5th Annual Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy offers several course options, including American Genealogy Records and Research; European (German and Swiss); Preparation for Accreditation, Producing a Family History; and Advanced Problem Solving.

January 27-29, 2000 – GENTECH 2000 – "Bridging the Centuries: Bringing Genealogy and Technology Together," conference hosted by the San Diego Genealogical Society at the San Diego Concourse Convention Center, 1997 Alameda Ter, San Diego. Features nationally known speakers presenting information on how to use today’s technology for computers, genealogy software, scanners, and the Internet, emphasizing the latest in genealogical research techniques for beginners to advanced genealogists. For information see their web site.

February 4-5, 2000 – National Genealogical Society Regional Conference – hosted by the South Bay Cities Genealogical Society at the Torrance Hilton, 21333 Hawthorne Boulevard, Torrance, CA. Speakers are Christine Rose, Curt B. Witcher, and John Vincent Wylie.

April 1, 2000 – Sacramento German Genealogy Society will present John Philip Colletta who will speak on immigration and naturalization. For information, write to V. Boisseree, Sacramento German Genealogy Society, P. O. Box 66061, Sacramento, CA 95866-0061.

April 15, 2000 – Sonoma County Genealogical Society will present Curt B. Witcher in an all-day seminar titled "Finding Family History: Records and Methods," Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, just off Highway 101 at the River Road/Mark West exit north of Santa Rosa. Registration is $15 for members, $18 for non-members, $20 at the door.

April 28 & 29, 2000 – California Genealogical Society Family History Fair at the Alameda County Fairgrounds. More details later.

September 6 to 9, 2000 – Federation of Genealogical Societies – National Conference "A World of Records."

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Sogndal, Norway
From Arleen Wood

In August I joined a Sognefjord Homecoming Heritage tour to Norway. The community of Sogndal, situated on the Sognefjord, served as the center for the festival. Having researched my husband’s ancestors for the past 18 years, and knowing that they all came from this particular area, I felt this trip was created for me! We stayed four nights in Sogndal and three nights in Aurland, besides Oslo, Voss and Bergen. The fact that everyone in the group was interested in family history and had ties to this area provided for great camaraderie. We not only saw sights of common interest, but Brekke Tours made it their point to help each of us find family roots. We visited stave churches, a Viking museum, farm museums, saw glaciers; hiked, rode trains, ferries, and buses and enjoyed some of the most beautiful, awesome, unspoiled scenery in the world.

In order to know which Ole Johnson you are talking about, the naming custom in Norway was to identify the people by the place/farm name. Since this area of Norway is secluded, locked in by high mountains and the deep fjord, almost everybody from this area is related in one way or another. On one road out of Sogndal, approximately ten miles long, we found seven family farms of my husband’s ancestors: Flatland, Orrestad, Fretland, Ladgsvold, Hillestad,Gurvin, and Kvale; and across the bay in Kaupanger we saw the farms of Hovland, Hostaker, and Ambla. We visited Stedje church in Sogndal, Kaupanger stave church, and the Hopperstad stave church in Vik where our ancestors were christened, were married, and were buried.

The highlight of the trip for me was to be able to share this trip with two of my sons, a daughter-in-law, and two cousins. We hired a van to take the six of us to visit the farm where the grandfather was born and last lived before the family immigrated to Minnesota in 1865. We connected with a fourth cousin who lives on the family farm where the great grandfather was born and raised. They invited us to their home and treated us to homemade pastries (lefse and krumkake) and wonderful hospitality. It really made our family history come alive when we could see the layout of the land, etc.

In Sogndal, they had set up a genealogy workshop in their cultural center and invited guest speakers, archivists, and a noted genealogist to give us clues on how to research Norwegian records. The frustration was not being able to peruse all the books and resources that were available in the time allotted. It was helpful that I had written some letters requesting information before the trip, so the archivist had looked it up beforehand. This area of Norway, Sogn og Fjordane has some of the best available records on the Internet. One can track births, marriages, deaths and emigration through church records from about the late 1600's to about 1850. Some of the censuses have been translated into English. There are also wills, probate records and tax polls for the same period (this part I did not get into). This is all available free at the Sogn og Fjordane site. You should be able to link to it from most any Norwegian genealogical site. You may have to give them your e-mail address and get a log-on password to use it.

A good Internet site for Norwegian research is the Digital Archives:    (It has a Norwegian and an English part.)

Only 3.5 percent of the land in Norway is tillable, so there are vast areas of unspoiled beauty. Waterfalls are everywhere. The Norwegians have harnessed this energy for hydroelectric power. Many of the new hydroelectric plants are built inside the mountains. They also are building many tunnels for their roads.

Norway is the third largest oil-producing country in the world but they charge four times what we pay for gasoline in the U.S. Thus, there are very few cars. Outside of the cities of Oslo and Bergen, traffic was very light. Pedestrians and animals always have the right-of-way and free range! I never saw a driver run a red light nor fail to stop for a pedestrian. Nearly everyone spoke English. The people were friendly and hospitable; and I never heard anyone say Uff Da!

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Try This Web Site
From Joyce Siason

I got this web site from a list that I subscribe to and I thought it was great – see what you think.  (Editor's note: This link did not work 6 June 2003.)

Near the bottom of the main genealogy page, there are some boxes with all sorts of interesting genealogy-related facts, poems and prose, and humor.

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Our New Surname Pages on the Web
By George Anderson

Our new surname Web pages went online on September 27. Through a great deal of work by Karen Banta and Dick Finn, the new surnames were gathered, organized and digitized. I converted the lists to Web form and, with the help of Larry Renslow, uploaded them to the L-AGS Internet site.

So far we have 5515 name-location-date entries submitted by 123 members. The largest list contains 342 entries, and the smallest, one entry. The average size is about 45 entries. Of course, many entries are for the same surname in different localities, so there are far fewer than 5515 different surnames.

We had two purposes in redesigning our surname pages. One was to allow our many new members to get their names on the Web. The other was to reorganize the site radically to make it easier to update whenever we wanted, as current members revise their data and as future new members submit theirs.

The restructuring of the site has an added payoff. Each entry now appears only once on the server, whereas formerly each entry appeared seven times: in master files sorted by surname, by locality and by Soundex; in small files for each letter of the alphabet, also sorted by surname, locality and Soundex; and in a file sorted by members’ codes. A Web surfer using our search engine would come up with seven links to follow for each hit, all leading to essentially the same entry. This redundancy was built in for a purpose before Doug Mumma installed the site-wide search engine - browsing the indexes was the only way to locate a searched-for name or locality before the search engine was available.

Incidentally, you should remember that the search engine is useful for finding ANY word on our Web site. For example, say that you want to reread an article about the Draper manuscripts that you remember seeing in our Roots Tracer, but you don’t have your old copies of the magazine. Enter "draper" (case doesn’t matter) in the search engine to go to the file, then search the page with your browser. There it is! As a bonus in this example, the search turns up the fact that our audio tape collection includes a lecture on the Draper manuscripts.

Searches for surnames are now much faster, since the surname parts of our Web site now total 497 kilobytes for 5515 entries, compared to 3,066 kilobytes for 10,103 entries before. A large part of the decrease from 10,103 to 5515 entries was due to the withdrawal of one member who got e-mail burnout after submitting 3376 entries in 1997!

To use the new surname pages, go to the L-AGS home page at and click on the link, "Search L-AGS Web Pages." Enter a surname or place and follow the links that result. A code number, for privacy protection identifies the submitter of the surname you find. L-AGS members have received a list of the members’ codes keyed to the members’ names. E-mail addresses or telephone numbers can be found on the L-AGS roster.

Members who have not submitted names for Web posting may still do so, and corrections to posted lists may still be made. Send such new data for posting to me.

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Irish Sources for Genealogical Information
By Dick Finn

Those of you researching your Irish ancestors know that it is often very difficult to find records that are of much help. While we were in Ireland this past August I ran across a few sources that may be helpful.

There is a great museum at the Cobh Heritage Centre at Cobh in County Cork. Cobh has quite a history: The Titanic sailed from there, the Lusitania sank outside the harbor, and the first emigrant processed at Ellis Island sailed from Cobh as did millions of others who sailed to America and Australia. The Heritage Centre has a "genealogical unit."

A priest on Achill Island suggested contacting one of the Mayo Family History Centres if you have family from County Mayo. Another source of information could be the Genealogy Centre in Derry, Northern Ireland.

One of the most helpful people we met was at the Genealogical unit of the National Library of Ireland in Dublin. She seemed to be just one of several helpful volunteers. The library has published a series of handouts on doing family history research in Ireland.

I have the addresses for a number of research repositories in Ireland and Northern Ireland including the National Archives, Public Records Office, Presbyterian, Methodist, Friends, and Jewish. Some have web sites and e-mail.

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Legislative Information

(Editor’s note: Information in this article was gleaned from a report from Iris Carter Jones, Legislative "watchdog" for the California State Genealogical Alliance, through David Abrahams.)

California Newspaper Project

Senator McPherson’s SB927, University of California: California Newspaper Project is an effort to identify and preserve the state’s history as reflected in its newspapers, and is mandated by the Center for Bibliographical Studies at the University of California, Riverside.

Henry Synder, the Director of the Center, has said of the Project, "First it will provide a union listing of all newspapers published in California, location of repositories, etc., online. Secondly, newspaper collections that have never been filmed, public and private (with consent) will be microfilmed, with a complete set sent to the California State Library for interlibrary loan purposes." Additionally, a copy of the microfilm of a newspaper will be given to the library serving as the origin of the paper. Because state money is involved, support for this bill from the public is necessary.

The bill passed through the Senate with no negative votes and went to the Assembly where it was referred to Appropriation and placed in the suspense file.

Once approved, this bill would be a tremendous resource for those researching anything in California. To provide one with an insight of the amount of material, Ms. Jones went to search Alturas, California, (a small town) in which there are 31 repositories for newspapers published at Alturas, the dates of each collection, method of filming, etc.

Open Public Records

A Sacramento Bee article, dated 17 July 1998, by Stephen Green, Bee Capitol Bureau, said "according to a report by the Legislature’s Task Force on Government Oversight, ‘The Public Records Act was written in 1967 to ensure that citizens could gain prompt access to most state and local government records. Requests for records can be oral, but most are submitted in writing and government agencies have 10 working days to comply with or deny a request.’"

The report goes on..."the public records law ‘has been interpreted, reinterpreted and fiddled with to the point that it has been turned into a paper tiger by state officials who know they face no penalty if they refuse to release public information.’" The Oversight Report made the following recommendations:

Senator Byron Sher, D-Palo Alto, followed up with SB48, with co-author Senator Jackie Speier.

Ms. Jones sat through a year of Joint Legislative Task Force hearings relating to privacy and says "Those who spoke out for stronger measures to protect the public’s right to know, were all but ignored, or given a pat on the head and those who ‘favor the closed records,’ whether the argument was to ‘protect privacy’ or ‘prevent fraud,’ were heard long and loud."

To follow State Legislation, check the State Web Site at to follow a bill or order copies from Bill Room, State Capital, Sacramento, CA 95814, or call 916-445-2323.

Iris Carter Jones, CSGA Legislative Network Coordinator, July 26, 1999.

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The Plymouth Colony Archive Project
at the University of Virginia

The Plymouth Colony Archive Project presents a collection of searchable texts from the Plymouth Colony. It includes court records, Colony laws, seminar analysis of various topics, biographical profiles of selected colonists, probate inventories, and wills. There is also the Glossary and Notes of Plymouth Colony, and Vernacular House Forms in Seventeenth Century Plymouth Colony: An Analysis of Evidence from the Plymouth Colony Room-by-room Probate Inventories 1633-85, by Patricia E. Scott Deetz and James Deetz, 1998. An information-loaded web site.

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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

Fraternal Organizations In Livermore

Do these acronyms make sense to you: IOGT; UPEC; IORM or OdHS? They represent some of the fraternal organizations that have been popular in the Livermore Valley since 1870. They stand for International Order of Good Templars, for Uniao Portuguesa do Estado da California, for Improved Order of Red Men, and for Order der Hermann’s Sohnes.

Fraternal organizations in the 19th century served several purposes. They united immigrant social groups such as the Portuguese or the Germans; they assumed civic responsibilities (the International Order of Good Templars was a temperance movement); and they were, primarily, benevolent societies. In the days before medical benefits and burial insurance were available, one’s membership in a fraternal organization often provided funds for a family in case of emergency.

The earliest recognized fraternal group in Livermore Valley was the Free and Accepted Masons (F&AM), organized in July 1871. At that time there was no suitable meeting facility in Livermore, so the organization’s first meeting was held at the Pleasanton Hotel. A more permanent meeting place was soon found when the Pleasanton school district agreed to rent the lodge a room in the schoolhouse for $6.25 a month provided the brothers would lathe, plaster and paint the room. The Masons met there until November 1874, when they moved to Livermore, and met in the IOOF hall on First Street. In 1886, one of the members, A. J. McLeod, erected a new 3-story building at the northeast corner of First and Livermore (then Lizzie Street), which included a suitable lodge room on the third floor. On May 28, 1909, the cornerstone was laid for a new Masonic Temple at the southwest corner of First and Livermore, where the Masonic Lodge 218, F&AM, has maintained its hall since.

Livermore’s Independent Order of Odd Fellows was organized in the spring of 1873. Within a year, they began construction of a lodge hall on First Street. Designed and constructed by J. L. Weilbye, a young architect/builder in the community, it cost about $4500.00. One of the features requested by the Building Committee was a series of pegs in the anteroom so that the brothers who came from outside the town could hang up their knapsacks as they usually stayed overnight in local accommodations. The 125-year old IOOF hall is a First Street landmark.

Another local social/civic group was the Improved Order of Red Men, which traced its origin to the secret patriotic societies founded before the American Revolution. Their purpose was to promote liberty and to defy the tyranny of the British Crown (one of these secret societies was the Sons of Liberty, best known for hosting the Boston Tea Party in 1773). The Red Men were formally recognized as a separate organization in 1813. The local lodge was established in Livermore in 1910 as Cotati Tribe #228 at a "council fire" conducted by Grand Sachem Henry Gesford. The "council fire" was allowed to extinguish itself here in the 1960s.

The Order der Hermann’s Sohnes was a nationalistic group organized in Germany about 1848 and brought to America with German immigrants. Its name commemorates Arminius (Hermann in German), the only Germanic chieftain to defeat a Roman legion. The local branch was organized here in 1887. Although its local meeting place has not been identified, members of the fraternity are remembered in a fenced-in cemetery plot, marked with the initials OdHS, at Roselawn Cemetery on North Livermore Avenue.

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"We are the children of many sires, and every drop of blood in us

in its turn...betrays its ancestor."

~Ralph Waldo Emerson~


Computer Interest Group (CIG) News
Dick Finn at

Note! – The Computer Interest Group will not meet in November or December due to the holidays. We will meet again January 27, 2000, at the Livermore Adult Education Building, 543 Sonoma Avenue, Livermore, at 7:30 p.m.

The Computer Interest Group (CIG) meets monthly to hear speakers on topics such as software (new, revised, how to use it,), hardware (computers, storage devices, scanners, cameras, printers), web sites, useful CDs, etc., that help us in our quest for genealogical information. Often we have useful handouts. In the new year, we plan to have information about the many genealogical software packages available now.

We meet the 4th Thursday of every month except November and December at 7:30 p.m. at Livermore Adult Education, 543 Sonoma Avenue, Livermore. In June, July, and August, we meet at the LDS church, 950 Mocho Street, Livermore. Non-members are welcome to attend.

For information on topics, call Dick Finn or George Anderson. 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 Livermore Adult Education, 543 Sonoma Avenue, Livermore. In July, August and September, we meet at the LDS Church, 950 Mocho Street, Livermore. See the references above for maps to each location.

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. We are currently working on a "wish list" of improvements to send to the makers of FTM.

All persons having an interest in Family Tree Maker and related software are invited to attend. Guests are welcome. For information on our group, call Dick Finn or George Anderson.

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Transfer of Large Amounts of Data
By Dick Finn

Many of us have found that transferring copies of photographs, documents, and other items that require large amounts of data can be a pain. We have found that the transfer of such files either requires a great deal of time for downloading by way of e-mail, or worse, a number of providers will not accept large files at all. So, we mailed floppy diskettes to each other. However, we soon found that such floppies were incapable of holding even one photograph from a massive file such as that generated by Adobe PhotoShop. The next step that many of us took was to use ZIP disks. This was a great improvement since a single ZIP holds about 80 times as much data as a floppy. But, if someone finds an old photo album and wants to send dozens of photographs to family members, then even a ZIP is inadequate.

That brings us to a tool that has been on the market for a bit. Any genealogist who plans to send large amounts of data to friends and relatives will want to look into purchasing a read/write CD drive.

These units are another major step forward. A cousin has been sending me vast amounts of data on CDs he has generated. At our Kitchingham International Reunion this past July, he collected input from a number of us by way of a large number of floppies and ZIP disks and placed all of that data on CDs. One of the CDs has copies of 395 pictures, birth certificates, death certificates, and other data. R/W CDs are a great way to go if you have large amounts of data to send.

The cost of a R/W (rewriteable) CD unit is about $89 on up (name brands run $180 to 400). The cost of a recordable CD disk is about $.99 while a rewriteable CD runs about $1.49.

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Library News

Pleasanton Library Activity

Our Library Chairperson, Jay Gilson, reports that there has been much activity on his part in acquiring more genealogical CD-ROMs for our use at the Pleasanton Library. He suggests that we check the L-AGS web site for the list of CD-ROMs that are available. He is always open to suggestions for 50-50 purchases.

Judy Person, also on the library committee, has been ordering and receiving books for the collection that will circulate. Most of the titles are in processing right now, and will be available for checking out shortly. She also welcomes suggestions of titles to purchase for our circulating and reference collections.

The Pleasanton Library hours are: 

A L-AGS docent is on duty at the library on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Members who would like to serve as genealogy docents may contact

LDS Pedigree Resource File Submissions
By Jim Scofield

The LDS FamilySearch web site has a link called "Preserve Your Genealogy." Following this link allows you to send in your genealogy information in GEDCOM format using your web browser. The information is then placed on CDs called "Pedigree Resource Files" that are being sold for $5.00 each.

The first two such disks are now available. I have purchased one which is available for viewing at the LDS Family History Center on Mocho Street in Livermore. These and many of the items for sale from the Distribution Center in Salt Lake City can be purchased through the FamilySearch site.

The instructions for submissions to the "Pedigree Resource Files" are given on the FamilySearch web site. Click on "Preserve Your Genealogy" and follow the instructions. The Family History Centers also have flyers with instructions for submitting your genealogy to the database. Your name, address, and e-mail address will be included on the CD, as well as a limited amount of source material.

Unlike the Ancestral File, your material will not be mixed in with submissions from other people. You will be able to make changes to your submission with the corrected material coming out on a later CD. They say the material may later be placed into the Ancestral File, but separate submissions should continue to be made.

I am a little disappointed by the submissions to the first CD. Source references are extremely sparse. Locations are quite often omitted. I hope that future submitters will take a little more time filling in this information.

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Livermore Family History Center
Bill Silver, Director

The LDS Family History Center, 950 Mocho Street, Livermore, is open at the following times:

The telephone number is 925-443-2750.

L-AGS members who would like to serve as docents at the Family History Center may call the FHC during open hours.

Pleasanton Family History Center
David and Lola Cummings, Directors

The Pleasanton Family History Center is pleased to announce its new hours which began in September.

The telephone number is 925-846-0149.

The center has four microfilm readers, four fiche readers, and two computers running the Family Search program. Non-LDS patrons are welcome. It is located at the Pleasanton Stake on the corner of Valley and Paseo Santa Cruz. The building faces north and the entrance to the library is on the east side.

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Standards for Using Records Repositories and Libraries

Recommended by the National Genealogical Society.

Recognizing that how they use unique original records and fragile publications will affect other users, both current and future, family history researchers habitually -

1997 by National Genealogical Society; includes material 1995 by Joy Reisinger, CGRSSM. Both copyright owners grant permission to copy or publish these standards, provided they are reproduced in their entirety, including this notice.

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Do You have Melungeon Ancestors?
From Mary Dillon

Are you familiar with the term Melungeon? If you answer, "Who or what are Melungeons," you are like most people. If you have been researching your family in the Cumberland Plateau of Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina, West Virginia, and Tennessee, during the early migration years, you may be able to find them through a connection to this group of people who are only now being researched with unbiased eyes.

The Melungeons are a people of apparent Mediterranean descent who may have settled in the Appalachian wilderness as early as 1567, possibly earlier. They "almost certainly intermarried with Powhatans, Pamunkeys, Creeks, Catawbas, Yuchis, and Cherokees."

To find out more about these people, this web page has a lot of information: This is NOT a genealogy page and is not set up to handle genealogy queries.

Other web sites:

GenForum also has a Melungeon forum:

This information came from Nancy Sparks Morrison, of Roanoke, VA.

(Editor’s Note: Mary sent several pages of information written by Nancy, including a list of Melungeon surnames. It was too much to print in the Tracer, but we will be happy to send it to you.

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Where was GG Grandmother Born?
By Dick Finn

The recent release of the 1881 British Census on CD by the LDS Church lists my great great grandmother, Elizabeth Woodward Finn, as being born on Achil (now spelled Achill) Island off the western coast of Ireland. We were able to visit Achill this past August. Some call it the most beautiful spot in Ireland. It is the largest of all Irish islands and at one time had a large population.

Elizabeth is reported to have been born on Achill in 1821. That is the same year listed in all other documentation I have found. But, something bothers me: if Elizabeth Woodward (not an Irish surname to be sure) was born on Achill, then how did she get all the way to Chilham, County Kent, on the south east corner of England by 13 April 1823 when she was baptized? Various census records have her birthplace listed as Achel Island, Achil Island, Achol, Acol, and Aloc. Death certificates list her birthplace as England and as Kent, England.

I suppose that Elizabeth could have been born on Achill Island in County Mayo. However the incomplete records that I was able to look at do not show a Woodward ever living on the island. The birth records for County Mayo only go back to 1853. Father Patty Gilligan of the Achill Roman Catholic Church told me the records were not kept before 1846 so that the British authorities could not get hold of them. I don’t believe that Elizabeth was born a Catholic anyway. One of her sons, my great grandfather, was a Methodist circuit rider. Father Gilligan said that was almost as bad as being a Catholic. The "Established Church" started a mission to Achill in 1832 - ten years after Elizabeth was in Chilham.

Was Elizabeth born on Achill or was she in fact born in the small village of Acol? Acol sounds almost like Achill. Did the census taker misunderstand? Acol is located in the southeast of England not far from where Elizabeth was baptized. Was Elizabeth born on Achill? I don’t think so. Was she born in Acol? I think there is a much better chance that she was. Having checked the IGI for the area around Acol I found that there were a large number of Woodwards living in the area. Much work needs to be done before we might be able to prove that.

So again it seems that even "primary records" must be viewed with a questioning mind. Someone once told me that you need at least three references before you can trust a date or place – that may not be a bad rule.

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Oregon Newspapers on CD-ROM
By Mildred Kirkwood

The following Oregon newspapers are available on CD-ROM from Oregon Heritage Press. They were copied from the silver negative original films, so they should be clearer than microfilm copies. Each CD costs $15 plus shipping and handling. There are discounts if you order 4 or more CD’s.

Oregon Statesman 1851 - 1856
1859 - 1862
1863 - 1866
1869 - 1872
Oregonian 1850 - 1856
Oregon Spectator 1846 - 1855
Oregon City Enterprise 1866 - 1869
1869 - 1872
Pacific Christian Advocate 1855 - 1863
1864 - 1870
Oregon City Argus 1855 - 1861
1861 - 1863
Times Mountaineer 1860 - 1889

Six more newspaper titles will be coming out in November. There are gaps in the dates of the Oregon Statesman because some of the original films are damaged. They are working on finding a way to copy them, too.

Also available are indexes of the Catholic Church Records of the Pacific Northwest, which are in book form (NOT CD’s). I don’t have information on the dates included in the books. Death & Marriage indexes each cost $15 plus shipping and handling. Baptism index is $30 plus shipping and handling. Contact:

Heritage Trail Press
P.O. Box 86235
Portland, OR 97286

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Other Oregon Web Sites

Oregon State Archives –

Oregon State Library –

Oregon Historical Society –

Oregon Page of the USGenWeb –

Oregon Newspapers on Microfilm –

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Past Programs
By Jon Bryan

Our August meeting featured Linda Ashworth of Livermore whose topic was "Genetics, Genomics and Genealogy: A Common Root." She is the Assistant Genome Center Director and Assistant to the Associate Director at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL).

Linda gave us a quick tutorial on basic genetics. She then summarized the Human Genome Project, an international endeavor with major participants from the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, and France. Originally conceived by Congress to help understand and improve human health, the project is ahead of schedule due to recent technological advances.

When the mapping is completed, researchers will be able to study genetic markers to determine our risk for many diseases. Then gene therapies may be used to fight, eliminate, or reverse disease.

The LLNL branch of the Human Genome Project employs about 80 people, including biomedical scientists, scientific technologists, and computer scientists. They are working on chromosome 19 and have sequenced about 25% of it.

Linda recommends the following three web sites for information on the Human Genome Project:

The Department of Energy (DOE) funds the Human Genome Project. It is accessible from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) site at:

The LLNL biology address is:

The LLNL Human Genome web site is:


Our September speaker was Billie Dancy of Oakland, the new Director of Library Services for the Pleasanton Library. Billie has a Bachelor's Degree from the University of California, Riverside, and a Master's Degree in Library and Information Science from the University of California, Los Angeles. She has worked in various library systems throughout California for more than 25 years including Riverside, South San Francisco, and Oakland.

Her presentation, "What Is New at the Pleasanton Library," included some of its history. In 1909 The Women's Improvement Club established a Reading Room at the Corner of Division and Main Streets. Three years later The Women's Improvement Club sponsored the building of a Town Hall (now the museum) which housed city offices, the police department, and the Library. In 1962 the Library moved to 660 Main Street.

Pleasanton Library became a full member of the Alameda County Library System in 1964. The library moved several more time over the years: to 55 Bernal Avenue in 1968; to 4333 Black Avenue in 1973; and to its present site at 400 Old Bernal Avenue in 1988.

Finally, this year, the Pleasanton Public Library was established as an independent, municipal library.

Based on my conversations with Billie and from her presentation, I think L-AGS will have a cooperative relationship with the Pleasanton Library.


Our October speakers were David Henry and Joan Sisson of Livermore whose subject was "Finding Our Extended Family (Without the Internet!)."

Their genealogical research effort began about 35 years ago when David’s father asked them, "Who is this John Sisson?" It took David and Joan about 15 years to solve this puzzle.

The culmination of all this research was the publication of a 788-page book entitled "Descendants Of Richard And Mary Sisson - Ten Generations From 1608." It contains about 5,000 descendants; almost 3,900 allied persons in almost 2,000 families, and references to over 600 sources. This book grew out of a Sisson newsletter, which they have published about five times a year for thirteen years. A copy of their Sisson book will be added to the L-AGS collection at the Pleasanton Library.

They had many tips and recommendations for genealogical and family history researchers:

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Looking for Old Newspapers?
By Vicki Renz

The United States Newspaper Program is a cooperative national effort among the states and the federal government to locate, catalog, and preserve on microfilm newspapers published in the United States from the 18th century to the present. Funding is provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Technical assistance is furnished by the Library of Congress. A listing of the state agencies who participate in the program may be found on the NEH web site at

Holdings in public libraries, county courthouses, newspaper offices, museums, archives, academic libraries, and historical societies were inventoried. Catalog records were entered into a national database maintained by the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC). Microfilm copies of newspapers are usually available to researchers through inter-library loan from the institution that houses the microfilm.

There are eight national repositories for newspaper microfilms, including the Library of Congress. Among the states, the usual repository is a state archive or historical society. Many, but not all, institutions maintain their catalog of holdings on their web site. The NEH web site lists each state’s participating institution with its web address so you can gather more information about old newspapers in your area of interest.

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If You Could See Your Ancestors

If you could see your ancestors, all standing in a row,

Would you be proud of them, or don’t you really know?

Some strange discoveries are made in climbing family trees.

And some of them, you know, do not particularly please.


If you could see your ancestors, all standing in a row,

There might be some of them, perhaps, you wouldn’t care to know.

But there’s another question which requires a different view...

If you could "meet" your ancestors,

Would they be proud of you?

~ Anonymous ~

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Things to File

Genealogy Cruises
By Mildred Kirkwood

Eastern Caribbean

Onboard genealogy events and seminars to help you get organized, find available resources, speed up your genealogy, track down immigrant ancestors, break through the brick wall, etc. Jan. 22, 2000, on Royal Caribbean ship, from $899 per person, double occupancy. Call CruiseOne at 1-800-280-9954 for brochure.

Civil War Steamboating Vacation

Civil War historians, authors and entertainers. A Civil War genealogy expert will offer seminars and help with your personal search for Civil War ancestors. New Orleans to Memphis aboard the "American Queen" on the Mississippi River, August 14 - 21, 2000. Call 1-877-332-9572 for brochure.

Literary Awards Contest
By Mildred Kirkwood

The Connecticut Society of Genealogists has announced its 13th Annual Literary Awards Contest. Publications must have been published in or after 1992 and have some relevance to a New England ancestor. Entries must be received by Feb. 15, 2000. The categories and awards are:

For rules and entry form, write to:

Connecticut Society of Genealogists, Inc.
P. O. Box 435
Glastonbury, CT 06033-0435
Telephone: (860) 569-0002

(Note: a copy is available in the Genealogy section of the Pleasanton Library.)

New York Documentary
By Eileen Redman

Viewers who crave a typically sprawling Burns epic will find it supplied this fall by Ric Burns, Ken's brother. His 12-hour "New York: A Documentary Film" will study the city’s origins as a Dutch trading post in 1624 through its status today as the de facto capital of the world.

Narrated by David Odgen Stiers, the series includes a chorus of off-camera voices reading the words of the men and women whose lives have been knit into the fabric of New York’s rich history.

The series will air in two-hour episodes November 14-18 on PBS.

From the Boston Globe, reprinted in the Valley Times.

Great Idea for the 2000 Census

After completing the information on your 2000 Census form, make a copy for your genealogical files. These census records won't’ be released until 2075. Ask all your family members to photocopy their census forms to add to your data, also.

ZichronNote, Vol. XIX, No. 2-3, May/August 1999 from David Abrahams.

War of the Rebellion
By Mildred Kirkwood

There is a link to an online scanned version of "War of the Rebellion," a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies at I got this information from Allison Cozzi, who was attending the Military Records class at the Concord Genealogy Seminar. Included are scanned images of reports, correspondence, seizures of Southern property, etc., sent to the War Department during the Civil War. It includes both Union and Confederate accounts and appears to be in chronological order.

You may find the online version is slow-going to look through, so it is nice to know that this information is also available on CD-ROM, "The Civil War CD-ROM, The War of the Rebellion." It has over 1,000 volumes of Civil War history and genealogy on one disk. Priced at $69.95, you can order it online at, or call their Sales Department at 1-800-725-5013. FamilyStoreHouse will donate 10% of the sales proceeds to RootsWeb if you mention RootsWeb in your conversation.

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Update on Personal Ancestral File 4.0
By Jim Scofield

The LDS Church released an upgraded and improved version of its genealogical software, Personal Ancestral File (PAF) 4.0.2. It has new features, enhancements, and corrections of bugs found in the original PAF 4.0. The new version will be completely compatible with any files you have created with PAF 3.0 and can accept PAF 2.31 using a conversion feature.

The new PAF 4.0.2. is available at the FamilySearch web site. Click on "Order Family History Resources," then on "Software Downloads." If you have the original PAF 4.0, you do not have to remove it to install this new version. It will overwrite those portions of PAF 4.0 which are being improved and leave the rest untouched, including and especially your personal genealogical data.

Bug fixes include the following:

New features and enhancements include:

A manual is available at the FamilySearch web site, but you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view or print it. You can download the Reader from the Adobe web site if you don’t already have it on your computer.

If you have not downloaded PAF 4.0.2, I hope that you will take advantage of the opportunity to use this fine software. It continues the long tradition of Personal Ancestral File, first developed in 1982, by providing all of the essential features of good genealogical software. At today's prices, a comparable software package would cost over $50.

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Social Security Requests

If you would like a copy of the Social Security Application (Form SS-5) of a deceased relative you may request one from the Social Security Administration under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). No form is required, but they do need as many details as possible, such as names, dates, and parent’s full names.

The fee for a Social Security Number application is $7.00 if you know the number. If you don’t have the number, they will need detailed identifying information in addition to a fee of $16.50.

Mark both the envelope and its contents: "Freedom of Information Request." And you don’t need to include a return envelope.

Send to:

Social Security Administration
Office of Central Records Operations
FOIA Workgroup
P.O. Box 17772
300 N. Greene Street
Baltimore, MD 21290

Full information can be found at the Social Security Administration web site.

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Donations to L-AGS

Some of our members have wished to donate books or other items to our group. We will be happy to receive such donations. The donor will receive a Thank You note to use for tax purposes, if desired.

Other members have wished to make a monetary donation on behalf of a loved one or friend. These donations will be used according to the donor’s wishes, or if none is expressed, we will purchase items for our Pleasanton and Family History Libraries.

We welcome such donations and our Corresponding Secretary will acknowledge the gift. If a memorial, an acknowledgment will be sent to the family.

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Last updated 6 June 2003 vlr