Editors: Mildred Kirkwood and Jolene Abrahams

Web Editor: Vicki Renz

The Roots Tracer is a quarterly publication with articles of interest to the genealogist. Members are encouraged to submit their "Profiles" as well as articles of general interest. Queries are free to members, $l.00 to non-members. The deadline for each quarterly is the 15th of June, September, December and March. Send material to: Roots Tracer, P. O. Box 901, Livermore, CA 94551-0901.


Calendar of Events

From the President

Civil War Pension File

Computer News

CD Corner

Family History Center

Book Reviews

Vital Records Update

Maps on the Internet

Things to file


Video Tape Review

Illinois Public Records

Life Story Classes

Genealogist's Code of Ethics

Livermore Valley History

Golden Wedding Celebration


Murphy's Laws of Genealogy


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.

(From various sources)

Oct 16 - L-AGS STUDY GROUP meets at LDS Church, 950 Mocho Street, Livermore - 7:30 pm.

Oct 18 - Solano County Genealogical Society will host a Seminar with the Vacaville Family History Center. Seminar begins at 9:00 at the LDS Stake Center, 480 Wrentham Drive, Vacaville.

Oct 18 - Calaveras Genealogical Society will host a seminar "Discovering Your Heritage," presented by Everton's Genealogical Helper.

Oct 23 - L-AGS COMPUTER GROUP meets at LDS Church, 950 Mocho Street, Livermore - 7:30 pm.

Oct 23 - Santa Cruz County Genealogical Society featuring Henry Jones, from 10 am to 3 pm at Live Oak Grange Hall, 1700 17th Avenue, Santa Cruz.

Nov 1 - Irish Genealogical Seminar will be held at United Irish Cultural Center, 2700 45th Avenue, San Francisco.

Nov 11 - LIVERMORE-AMADOR GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY (L-AGS) Regular meeting 7:30 pm. Congregation Beth Emek, corner of College Avenue & South M Street, Livermore.

Nov 15 - San Mateo County Genealogical Society - Karen Clifford will be guest speaker. The seminar will be held in the 2nd floor auditorium of the Sam Trams Building, 1250 San Carlos Avenue, from 9:00 am to 3:45 pm.

Nov 15 - Genealogical Society of Stanislaus County - Dr. George K. Schweitzer, speaker. Topics: Researching Burned Out Counties, Obscure Genealogical Sources and Revolutionary War Genealogy.

Nov 20 - L-AGS STUDY GROUP meets at LDS Church, 950 Mocho Street, Livermore, 7:30 pm.

There will be no L-AGS Computer Group meeting in November.

Dec 9 - LIVERMORE-AMADOR GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY (L-AGS) Regular meeting 7:30 pm. Congregation Beth Emek, corner of College Avenue & South M Street, Livermore.

There will be no L-AGS Study Group or Computer Group meetings in December.


Jan 13 - LIVERMORE-AMADOR GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY (L-AGS) Regular meeting 7:30 pm. Congregation Beth Emek, corner of College Avenue & South M Street, Livermore.

Jan 15 - L-AGS STUDY GROUP meets at LDS Church, 950 Mocho Street, Livermore, 7:30 pm.

Jan 12-16 - Utah Genealogical Association - Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, Salt Lake Plaza Hotel. Tuition for five days: $270.00. (Special room rate from the host hotel - 801-521-0130) Application deadline is 7 Oct 1997.

Jan 22 - L-AGS COMPUTER GROUP meets at LDS Church, 950 Mocho Street, Livermore, 7:30 pm.

Apr - Utah Genealogy Society presents the 1998 UGA Conference "Bring Your Ancestors to Life" to be held at the Doubletree Hotel, Salt Lake City, UT. For information, see the UGA web page: or write UGA, PO Box 1144, Salt Lake City, UT 84110.

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David Abrahams


At the L-AGS August Board Meeting, it was determined that L-AGS should have a unique logo that can be used on stationery, the Roots Tracer, and any other publication to denote that is a L-AGS document. In order to find a suitable logo, we are holding a design contest open to all members.

The rules are simple:

  1. Don’t use a piece of existing clip-art.
  2. Members may use outside help (family members, friends, etc.).
  3. All entries must be delivered to L-AGS no later than 9 December 1997 (the last L-AGS meeting of the year).

Two members of L-AGS have volunteered to judge the entries. Their decision will be final.

The prize to the winner will be a one year extension of membership dues.

So, come one, come all, put your creativity to work for L-AGS!!!!



Our annual Seminar, held on 20 September, was a huge success. We had many positive comments from the attendees regarding the quality of the lectures and also from the instructors letting us know they appreciated our efforts.

Special thanks for this Seminar go to the Seminar Co-Chairs, Jolene Abrahams (representing L-AGS) and Joe Toland (representing the LDS Church in Pleasanton). Special thanks also go to the Seminar Committee: Vicki Renz and Karen Banta, pre-registration and registration; Linda and David Curry, Displays; Garth and Rose Ludwig, lunch and cookies; Dean Lee, computer setup; John Walden, secretary; and all the volunteers who helped behind the scenes.

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by Lori Codey

CIVIL WAR PENSION FILES - Is There More In Your Ancestor's File?

When using the NATF-80 form to request Civil War Pension Records from the National Archives, they will select only the first fifteen pages of what they think are the most genealogically significant papers with your initial request. If your return copy of the form does not have the words "Entire File Copied" stamped on it, SEVERAL more pages may be in that file!

To obtain the remaining copies in the file, you must submit ANOTHER NATF-80 form. Indicate somewhere on the form "Remaining Documents Only." The cost is 25 cents per page. They will send you a quote for the cost to copy the remainder of the file OR you can indicate your credit card number and "If cost is less than $__.00 (whatever you are willing to spend), please charge and send. If over this amount, please send a quote."

NATF-80 forms may now be ordered via e-mail by sending a message to: stating how many copies (usually only four) of NATF form 80 you need. You must also send your first and last names, mailing address, telephone number and e-mail address. You will receive an e-mail response stating that the message was received and the forms will be sent out.

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Doug Mumma


The Computer Interest Group (CIG) will only meet in October. No meetings are scheduled for November or December because Thanksgiving and Christmas fall on the meeting nights.

Meeting - October 23, 1997 - "Share & Tell" - This last meeting of the year will not have a fixed topic, but will be an unstructured meeting where everyone can bring up problems that they have been having this year with their computers or share successes that they may have had. We will also discuss potential topics for next year's meetings.


Normally, I have many things that I like to share with everyone about computer issues, however this time, my mind is almost blank from exhaustion and joy. Recently, at 2 a.m. in the morning, I completed a major milestone of a dream that began about 5 years ago by uploading a searchable database that contains over 31,000 Mumma descendants to my Internet web site. The dream started when I became frustrated trying to locate the names of various Mumma relatives in several books that had been published about the family. The Robert (Bob) Moomaw book, containing over 19,000 individual records, was well indexed, however it left out a large number of Mumma descendants that were contained in another Mumma book written by Richard Huffman. The Huffman book, however, had no index and it was almost impossible to find a particular person among the 150 pages. My dream was to have all of the current knowledge of all the Mumma ancestors located in one database that I, or anyone else, could use to search for any name. With modern computer technology, the concept seemed like a "piece of cake." Wrong! I contacted both authors and they too felt my dream was a good idea and were most anxious to support me in this endeavor. However neither one of them had their data in a standard, lineage-linked genealogy program. Bob Moomaw was using a ten year old multifunctional program called INTUIT and Richard Huffman was using a very old word processor program. Not to be stopped, I bought a copy of the INTUIT program from its developer (the company had even gone out of business by now) and to my horror, discovered that the program did not even store its data in normal DOS format, but a unique format of its own. Frustrated, I put the concept on the back burner for the next year. Then Bob Moomaw shared with me that he was in contact with a Chuck Grife who had input about 3,000 names from Bob's book into PAF. I figured if anyone was crazy enough to hand input that much data into PAF, I could try to move forward with my goal.

I contacted Chuck Grife and encouraged him to continue with his effort. It looked like he would take about a year to complete his task. I decided to renew my effort to extract all of the data from Bob's database. Bob and I decided that he should update his database with newer information he had been receiving from various people and input all of the data from Richard Huffman's book. Then, if I was successful extracting his data, it would represent the most current assemblage of Mumma data in the world. If it didn't work, we would always have Chuck Grife's data available.

Around the first part of 1997, Chuck Grife completed his task of inputting all of Robert Moomaw's book into PAF and Bob Moomaw finished updating his files and sent me the data disks. Now I got in over my head very quickly. The data was stored in "spreadsheet" format, i.e. all of the individuals were listed in rows with their individual data regarding birth, marriage, and death stored in appropriate columns. It seemed very simple to extract the data into Excel, Access, or a similar program. Again I underestimated the complexity of the problem. I was able to extract his data in 40 small comma-delimited text files and merge it all together, but discovered Excel 95 would not handle a file with over 16,000 lines of data and the file I had assembled contained over 20,000 data lines. I tried Microsoft's relational database program, Access, but it kept losing lines of data and Word also became very hard to view with 26 columns of data. After some inquiries on the Internet, I found out that Excel's new version called Excel 97 would handle 64,000 lines of data, so I bought and installed the newer version. The information was useful in this format, but it was not in a universal GEDCOM format that I was hoping for. I had now passed the limit of my technical skills.

I mentioned my dilemma to George Anderson at one of our monthly meetings and he said, "I think we can solve your problem, send me a small portion of the data file to play with." There were two major obstacles to overcome. One was creating links between two people as parents and creating links between parents and their children. None of this data was directly listed in the data file. The second obstacle was knowing the gender of each person. The saving thing on the first issue was the fact that "modified Henry" numbers had been assigned to all descendants. "Henry" numbers are generation numbers assigned with the first person in the database being given the number 1, his first son is given the number 11, the second son number 12, etc. The first son's first child is numbered 111, and the process is repeated for all descendants. Using these numbers, George, through some clever programming, was able to assign the appropriate marriage and parent-children links. Gender assignment was also tricky since many given names might be either male or female. Since Chuck Grife had input all of Bob's book data into PAF, we extracted the given name vs. gender data to create a lookup table. Only names whose gender was 100% certain were included in this table. When the program couldn't determine the gender from the table, the program looked to see if the person was married and whether the spouse's name would help identify the gender. Another test was to look at the person's surname and the surname of the children. All in all, George's program was able to correctly assign gender except for a few hundred names that had to be assigned by hand. Even then there were some names for which I was unsure and simply assigned them a gender. When all of this massaging of the data for errors, gender, linkage, etc., was completed, a GEDCOM file was extracted from the data and George transmitted the data back to me as an attachment to an e-mail message. It should be pointed out that we had the added complexity of George working with a Macintosh and I use a Windows based machine. In March of this year, George finished his work and sent me a 6 megabyte GEDCOM file. Without George's superior effort, the project would have never been completed.

I took this new file and processed it through several error checking routines available in most genealogy programs. I discovered a fairly large number of birth, marriage, and death errors. Some were easy errors to correct because of the year being off by 100 years, i.e. 1944 instead of 1844. There were also about 120 duplicate individuals listed in the database because of "cousin" marriages. These people were merged together. To the database, I added about 3000 new individuals that had been supplied to me in GEDCOM files from various individuals over the past year. At long last, I had a database that was ready for an initial "release." It is not complete, just like any genealogy, but contains a significant portion of the knowledge base about the Mummas of America!

My next problem was how to make all of this information available to Mumma researchers worldwide in an easy to use format. The file was now huge, as it contains over 31,000 individuals, is a 25 megabyte data file in my Family Tree Maker directory, and is over 8 megs as a GEDCOM file. Most programs that create pedigree or descendant charts for uploading to the Web would be swamped by a file this large, or it would be too slow to access. Again, luck was with me. I monitor the GEDCOM developer's list on the Internet and noted that someone suggested the "Indexed GEDCOM Method" program was quite effective in handling large GEDCOM files. Being desperate, I figured I should give it a try. A little over a month ago, I contacted one of the developers, Randy Winch, and he helped me install the necessary executable files on my ISP and he modified some of the programs to meet my unique needs. He also taught me some UNIX and Perl language commands and he hand held me though the installation process! The results far exceeded the goals of my dream 5 years ago. By typing a name into the search engine input screen, the program will search the 31,000 record database in a few seconds and present you with some possible choices. After selecting an individual, you are shown the birth-marriage-death data that is known about that individual as well as their individual notes. Now you can choose to either display that person's pedigree chart, their descendants chart or you can even create a GEDCOM file of the data and download it to your computer. That is a powerful program!! If you would like to see my dream in action, simply go to the following URL:

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by Robbie Robinson

In the past two months, Broderbund/Banner Blue has released 15 new CDs for genealogists to use in doing research on your own computer. I'll review just a few.

Rhode Island Genealogies #1, 1600s-1800s

This CD contains images of the pages of the two volume set "Genealogies of Rhode Island Families," published by the Genealogical Publishing Company. These books contain family history articles on Rhode Island families that originally appeared in the "New England Historical and Genealogical Register." Referencing approximately 46,000 individuals, this collection contains some of the best genealogical articles pertaining to Rhode Island in the past 140 years. One interesting feature of this CD is that it includes source records from at least fifteen early Rhode Island towns. The records vary in content, but generally include genealogies, family histories, vital records, cemetery inscriptions, marriage records, and birth and death lists. CD #180, $29.99.

Kentucky Genealogies #1

On this CD you will find images of the pages of the three volume set "Genealogies of Kentucky Families" published by the Genealogical Publishing Company. These books contain family history articles that originally appeared between 1903 and 1965 in the "Filson Club History Quarterly" and the "Register of the Kentucky Historical Society." The articles in the second publication include every bible record and genealogical fragment published in the register. This CD references approximately 51,000 individuals and covers the entire state of Kentucky. An alphabetical name index is included. CD #185, $29.99.

Marriage Index: New York #2, 1740s-1880s

This CD indexes nearly 100,000 individuals who were married in the state of New York from the mid 1700s to the late 1800s. On the CD are the names of both spouses, the date of marriage, and the source of the original marriage record. Some records include residence, occupation, age, names of parents, and the name of the individual who performed the marriage. These records were collected from a variety of sources including church records, newspapers, census records, and state vital records. An alphabetical name index is included on the CD. CD #402, $29.99.

Marriage Index: Massachusetts, 1633-1850

This Family Archive CD indexes approximately 837,500 individuals who were married in the state of Massachusetts between 1633 and 1850. The CD identifies the names of both spouses, the date of marriage, and the location of the marriage. Records indexed may not be comprehensive for the time and region covered. An alphabetical name index is included. CD #231, $29.99.

Revolutionary War Soldiers and Sailors, 1775-1782

This CD contains images of the pages from all seventeen volumes of Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in the Revolutionary War. (NOTE: Massachusetts) The materials date from 1775 to 1782 and follow the military careers of Massachusetts soldiers and sailors and their commanding officers. Together, the military records reference approximately 688,000 individuals. CD #147, $39.99

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Jeanne Tanghe

The Family History Center now has the following resources available:

We also have another computer (486) with Windows, Microsoft Works, PAF 2.31 and PAF 3.0.

Come in to see our new room addition and use all the resources we now have.

The hours are:

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by David Abrahams

1997 California Family Researcher’s Directory

The CSGA has just published a new directory that will be an invaluable aid to genealogists doing research in California. The book is divided into seven sections. The first section is a "master" (alphabetical) list of all entries. This includes genealogy societies, historical societies, and other related organizations. Information includes the group’s name, mailing address, meeting day and time (if available), a contact phone number (if available) and county. All of the following sections are sorted by county: Section Two is an alphabetical listing of the same organizations. Section Three consists of organizations with an ethnic, nationalistic or religious emphasis. Section Four consists of organizations with a patriotic or lineage emphasis. Section Five is a listing of repositories where one is likely to find genealogical collections. Section Six lists groups offering newsletters and is also sorted by county. Section Seven consists of computer-oriented groups. The book is available from L-AGS, and is priced at $15. If you would like a copy of this directory, please contact David Abrahams or Robbie Robinson.

Genetic Connections

This is a guide to documenting your individual and family health history. The book "was written to help you document your family’s health history and prepare a family health pedigree - a one-page representation of you and your family’s health history." This book is a tool to help you accomplish this important task. The book is divided into three units. The first unit discusses genes, chromosomes, inheritance of diseases and physical traits, etc. The second unit discusses the systems of the body with information on the structures and functions of each system. The third unit contains step-by-step instructions for creating your family health pedigree and helps you to keep accurate, current health files for your family. The price of the book is $27 to L-AGS members. However, in order to obtain this price, we must order a case of thirteen copies. If you would like to have a copy of "Genetic Connections", please contact David Abrahams or Robbie Robinson.

NOTE: Copies of both books will be available for examination at the October General Meeting.

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by David Abrahams

I have gleaned the following information from the California State Genealogical Alliance (CSGA) monthly Legislative Reports. Iris Carter Jones, the Legislative "Watchdog" for CSGA, publishes a monthly report currently available in an electronic format and printed for display at L-AGS meetings.

Beginning in January of 1997, the California State Viewing Room was reopened, but with limitations. One must call for an appointment, which is only thirty minutes in duration, to view the Indexes. There was not much of an outcry about this time constraint, because we know that the ‘Indexes’ can be viewed at the California Room in Sacramento, and many research libraries throughout the State.

The ‘Indexes’ have been made available on microfiche by the State and have been sold to the public for many years. These microfiche will continue to be available, but, according to information provided at a recent CSGA Board meeting, only through 1995. The State has no interest in providing 1996 and future years on microfiche.

The California Death Indexes are available at two local locations. First, the Family History Center at 950 Mocho Street, Livermore, has microfilms of the Indexes 1905 through 1939 and microfiche 1940 - 1979. Second, the Pleasanton Public Library at 400 Old Bernal Avenue has microfiche of the Indexes 1940 - 1995.

The Livermore History Guild library in the Carnegie Building on Third Street has an index of deaths gathered from obituaries in local newspapers.

The Guild’s index consists of the names of the decedents, the newspaper the obituary was in, and the date of the newspaper. The index covers portions of the years 1900 - 1963 and 1970 to date. This index is available for viewing during normal operating hours of the Guild’s library. Copies of the index may also be found at the Livermore Public Library, 1000 South Livermore Avenue.

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by David Abrahams

Recently while surfing the Internet, I was led into a wonderful map site. "Mapquest!", at, will allow you to type in an address in the United States and see a street map of the location. On my screen, I can view an area about eight inches square, and the scale is approximately 100 meters to the inch. Mapquest! also has street maps of many major cities worldwide, including London, Berlin, Sydney (Australia) - just to list a few.

Once I found London, I was able to "zoom in" on all of the streets where my great-grandparents lived, all of the addresses Dad gave me of where he lived while growing up, and the locations of many other family members. Of course, this doesn’t account for streets that disappeared during World War II or due to relocations of roadways.

I was really excited when I found Brighton, the city of my birth and where I grew up before we emigrated. Again, I was able to zoom in on our street to the same scale as London.

Other cities and towns may be available world-wide; everyone must do their own research!

As of this writing, I have not been able to find street maps of other English cities, such as Birmingham and Manchester - germane to Jolene’s research. They may not be available at this time.

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by Jolene Abrahams


If your ancestor was in the United States during the Civil War, another possible source of records can be found in the Civil War income tax records. The Internal Revenue Act of 1862 instituted a tax to pay for the war. It was in effect from 1862-1872 and the records are available through the National Archives. This could be particularly valuable if your ancestor owned a business or a reasonable amount of property. Check the Guide to Genealogical Research in the National Archives for film numbers.

From: San Ramon Valley Gen. Soc. Newsletter, Vol. XIII, #3, September 1997.


Seldom used records with great potential are Selective Service Records of World War I. Every male resident born between 1874 and 1900 was required to register, whether or not he had to serve in the war. There are 24,000,000 registration cards listing place of birth, race, citizenship, occupation, employer, nearest relative and marital status, all on microfilm. All Selective Service Records are held at the Archives Branch, Federal Records Center, 1557 St. Joseph Avenue, East Point GA 30044. Information is filed by state and draft board. You must provide a complete name and address. There is a fee for this service and you need the proper form.

From: H.A.G.S. Informer, Vol. 20, #7, July 1997.


Sutro Library in San Francisco has acquired the Canadian censuses of 1851,1861, 1871, 1881 for the provinces of Quebec, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Manitoba, New Brunswick, British Columbia and the Territories - 850 reels. These microfilm censuses may be used on site or loaned to libraries in California.

From: The Marin Kin Tracer, Vol. 20, #3, 1997.


The newsletter of the Mennonite Historians of Eastern Pennsylvania announced that some early membership records and documents have been discovered in the West Swamp Mennonite Church Collection Archives. They include an 1838 original membership record book which is being transcribed and indexed to be made available to researchers.

For further information, contact MHEP, Box 82, Harleysville, PA 19438.

Source unknown


These cards are available for the 19th and 20th centuries in many courthouses. If you can’t find the birthplace or possible date of birth for an ancestor, this might be helpful for you. The registrant had to give his birth date and the place he was born. The election commissioners wanted to be sure he was 21 and born in this country. Or, if he was not born in this country, when and where he became naturalized. The immigrant had to give the date and location of that event, and the name of the court that authorized his citizenship. The card will also show his signature. Women could not vote until 1920, so don’t expect to find a great grandmother.

From: The Marin Kin Tracer, Vol. 20, #3, 1997.


If you have Bible records for your family lines with Virginia connections, the Virginia State Archives has been collecting such records since 1928 and would like your help in adding to their 4,000 plus files. Please make photocopies of the title page of the bible (date of publication) and all pages which record dates of birth, marriage, death, etc. Send these copies, plus information concerning the counties involved to: Archives and Records Division, Virginia State Library and Archives, 11th Street at Capital Square, Richmond, VA 23219-3419.

From: H.A.G.S. Informer, Vol. 20, #7, July, 1997.


The 1852 State Census of California is very valuable if you have lost an ancestor in 1850. Many went gold prospecting, and in this census, they were asked their former residence.

From: The Herald, Vol.16, #2, Summer 1993 and other newsletters via Nuggets From Paradise, Sep. 1996.


Did you know that the first census for France was 1801? Saxony was 1815, Austria 1815, Bavaria 1818, Prussia 1810, Spain 1789, Great Britain 1815, Norway 1815, Sweden 1749, Greece 1839 and Switzerland 1860.

From Placer Trails, May, 1997.


Children of soldiers who died in World War II have formed a society called the American WWII Orphans Network, to assist descendants in finding information about their parents. If you are interested in this organization, write: American WWII Orphans Network, P.O. Box 4369, Bellingham, WA 98227-4389.

From:NVGBS Winepress, Vol.23, No.6, June 1997.


Sometimes locating a census can be difficult. The 1820 and 1830 Wisconsin censuses are with Michigan. The 1860 Nevada census is with Utah. The 1860 Oklahoma census is with Arkansas. The 1860 Wyoming census is with Nebraska. The 1860 Colorado census is with Kansas. The 1840 federal census takers included present day Minnesota in with Clayton County, Iowa. The 1790 census for the present day District of Columbia is recorded in the Montgomery and Prince Georges Counties, Maryland.

From: Valley Genealogist, Pomona CA and New Mexico Genealogist NM GS March 1996.

EPITAPH From: "The Worlds Funniest Epitaphs" by Ronald Bremer -

Here lies my wife

Here let her lie

She is at rest

And so am I

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by Jolene Abrahams


A new quarterly publication, Canada’s Family History News: The Newsletter for Genealogical and Historical Researchers, is available from:

Family History News
c/o Parr’s Publishing
525 Ritson Road North
Oshawa, Ontario L1G 5R4 Canada

From: CSGA Newsletter, Vol. 15, #6, June, 1997.


Original letters, diaries, photographs, art work, scrapbooks, maps, official papers, newspapers, uniforms and other memorabilia and items from World War I are contained in the Liddle Collection housed in the Brotherton Library, University of Leeds, Leeds, England L52 9JT.

From: FGS Forum, Vol. 9, #2, Summer 1997.


Avotaynu, the International Review of Jewish Genealogy, Vol. XII, No. 1, Spring 1997, contains several articles on conducting genealogical research in France, including "Basic Genealogical Research in France," "Changes in Access to French Naturalization Documents," "Emigration from Alsace-Lorraine" and "Jewish Cemeteries in Paris."

From: CSGA Newsletter, Vol. 15, #7, July 1997.


The German Post Office has changed its way of handling international reply coupons. Only one IRC can be accepted for any letter or package. Any postal charges in excess of the value of the IRC must be paid in cash by the mailer. One $1.05 IRC provides 3DM of postage for foreign mail. This covers about one sheet of paper and the envelope.

From: Theakiki {Kanakakee Valley Gen. Soc. Quarterly}, Vol. 27, #3, Aug. 1997.


The German Genealogical Society of America Bulletins of January 1990, indicates that the West German Government is sponsoring a massive research project to document the movement of people from the Southwestern part of Bavaria between 1800 and 1913. They wish to contact persons with ancestors from Bavarian Swabia. One can write in English, including all information on the ancestors, along with three international reply coupons. The report will be published in English. Contact Dr. Wolfgang Khabe, Schwabische Forschungsemeinschaft, Univ. Augsburg, Unistrs. 10, D-8900 Augsburg, West Germany.

From: Penn in Hand, Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania, Vol. XI, #2, 1990.


The Irish: At Home and Abroad, Vol.4, #2 (1997) holds a wealth of informative articles for those researching Irish families. The lead article relates valuable data regarding the Genealogical Office and its holdings, which date back to 1552. Other items include "Canadian Cemeteries," "Researching Irish Palatines in Ireland and Ontario," "Mount Jerome: A Victorian Cemetery," "County Armagh," "The Letters of the Colonial Secretary of New South Wales," and "Irish Resources on the Internet." Other outstanding regular features include the "Letters and Questions to the Editors," "News and Events," and "Book Reviews."

From: CSGA Newsletter, Vol. 15, #9, September 1997.


Italians to America: Lists of Passengers Arriving at U. S. Ports, 1880-1899, edited by Ira A. Glazier, Director of the Temple Baich Center for Immigration Research and P. William Filby. Volumes have been published through 1888. Contact Scholarly Resources at 800-772-8937 for information regarding purchase.

From: CSGA Newsletter, Vol. 15, #9, September, 1997.


Reusch International, 700 Eleventh Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001-4507, exchanges American currency for foreign currency. The fee for service is $3 and requires the consumer’s Social Security number. Phone 800-424-2923.

From: FGS Forum, Vol. 9, #2, Summer, 1997.

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by Jerry Reynolds

L-AGS Video Tapes - The Genealogists’s Video Research Guide

These tapes are for the beginning genealogist and also are a good refresher for others. Also, they are not a continuing study and can be viewed separately on the subjects covered.

Each tape is about one hour long.

The format of the tapes is a seminar with flip charts, then at the Family History Center using a computer for practical application.




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submitted by David Curry

From: gertANETSHEL.NET (Gert Mysliwski)

PENNSYLVANIA-ROOTS-L@LISTSERV.INDIANA.EDU (Pennsylvania Genealogy discussion group)

In this weeks EASTMAN’S ONLINE GENEALOGY NEWSLETTER I read that the state of ILLINOIS has passed an act concerning access to public records. The state agencies reportedly have interpreted that act to mean that a genealogist, regardless of where they reside or work, if conducting any type of research in Illinois, must have a Private Investigator’s License. This will be required before they can request a birth, marriage, death, obituary, or estate record.

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by Marge Jergentz-Stout

Marge Jergentz-Stout will be teaching WRITING YOUR LIFE STORY classes in Pleasanton, Danville, Livermore and Hayward. She will be starting a Beginner’s Genealogy Class at the Pleasanton Senior Center in September. These classes are sponsored through Pleasanton and Hayward Adult Education.








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submitted by Jerry Reynolds

In order to protect the integrity of public records and library books, I am ethically bound and hereby agree:

  1. I will treat with the greatest care and respect public records and library books which may be made available to my use.
  2. I will speak courteously to all employees of a vital records office, or of a public library, when requesting to see any vital record or library book, and when finished with such records or book I shall express my thanks to the person attending to my requests.
  3. I will not tear, erase, mark or remove any public records or library book, and will refrain from mutilating, defacing or otherwise destroying any part of such public record or library book.
  4. When I have finished viewing any public record or library book, I will return it to the proper or designated place.
  5. I will not repeat or publish any item which will reveal the illegitimacy of any person born within the past 75 years.

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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.


In the spring of 1864 a wagon load of lumber appeared in the eastern end the Livermore Valley. It belonged to one Alphonso Ladd and was intended for a frame house. Ladd had pre-empted a 160 acre parcel of the Robert Livermore Rancho Las Positas - perhaps "squatted" is a more apt term, since the boundaries of Livermore’s property had not yet been quieted. It was Ladd’s intention to start a small community to be known as Laddsville. Its location was at the junction of a wagon trail from Dublin with another that crossed the valley from the southwest. That wagon trail from Dublin is today known as Junction Avenue.

Ladd brought another load of lumber into the valley in the fall of 1864 for the construction of a hotel. Besides rooms to let at 50 cents a night, Ladd provided convivial spirits over a bar consisting of two planks laid over upright barrels.

Ladd’s venture attracted others to his new community. A general mercantile store; a blacksmith shop, followed by a second one, offered services making and repairing equipment for surrounding farms; a druggist; a brewery; and eating establishments were established in the business district. The need for a school became apparent by 1866 - it was established some distance west of the community, near the intersection of what is now Portola and Rincon Avenues, primarily to serve farm children. And by 1868, Laddsville had become a noticeable community, consisting of perhaps 50 people, not more than a half-dozen of whom were registered to vote.

The news coming out of Laddsville at this time was, in most instances, of a violent nature: knifings and shootings. But there was more innocent amusement in the town. Until 1875 the townspeople enjoyed bull fights on Sundays and, on other occasions, a bear might be pitted against a bull, or a dog set upon a badger that was given refuge in a barrel. The bullring was said to have been 30 feet in diameter and seven feet high with several tiers of seats around the ring.

But Alphonso Ladd did not live to see his community in full bloom. He died on November 2, 1868, when he was only 40 years old.

Laddsville bustled with activity in the spring of 1869. The Central Pacific Railroad was being pushed through the valley which meant an economic benefit to the community. Railroad workers required boarding places, lodging, and other wants which residents were quick to supply.

Fire struck the business district of Laddsville in September, 1871. With no fire protection in place, the conflagration quickly spread throughout the village. The town was never rebuilt; most of the inhabitants moved to the new town of Livermore, just a half-mile down the road.

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John and Vera Walden celebrated their 50th Wedding anniversary at a dinner with family and friends at Girasole, June 14, 1997.

The couple eloped the summer after their high school graduation to Russell, KY, where they were married by the Rev. Russell Lennox on June 17, 1947. They have two daughters, Beverly Ciraulo of Pleasanton and Barbara Walden of Livermore; a son, John Walden of Livermore; and two grandchildren.

John is a retired chemist from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Vera is a homemaker. They are members of L-AGS and of the Livermore Valley Tennis Club, and enjoy their grandchildren.

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The keeper of the vital records you need has just been insulted by another genealogist.

Your great-grandfather’s newspaper obituary states that he died, leaving no issue of record.

The will you need is in the safe on board the Titanic.

Copies of old newspapers have holes occurring only on last names.

John, son of Thomas, the immigrant your relatives claim as the family progenitor, died on board ship at age 10.

The public ceremony in which your distinguished ancestor participated and at which the platform collapsed under him turned out to be a hanging.

When at last, after much hard work, you have solved the mystery you have been working on for two years, your aunt says, "I could have told you that."

The relative who had all the family photographs gave them all to her daughter, who has no interest in genealogy and no inclination to share.

The only record you find for your great-grandfather is that his property was sold at a sheriff’s sale for insolvency.

The one document that would supply the missing link in your dead-end line has been lost due to fire, flood or war.

The town clerk to whom you wrote for information sends you a long hand-written letter, which is totally illegible.

The spelling of your European ancestor’s name bears no relationship to its current spelling or pronunciation.

None of the pictures in your recently-deceased grandmother’s photo album have names written on them.

No one in your family tree ever did anything noteworthy, owned property, was sued or was named in wills.

You learn that your great-aunt’s executor just sold her life’s collection of family genealogical materials to a flea market dealer "somewhere in New York City."

From a genealogy publication of Alberta, Canada.

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Last modified 27feb2005 vlr