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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

In Memoriam

CD Corner
Computer Interest Group

President's Message

NARA Space Committee
Do You Need the 1890 Census?

Scotland General Service Office

International Notes

CSGA Awards Microfilming Records of the War of 1812

London Resources at the Livermore Family History Center

Family History Source Guide How I Got Started in Genealogy Livermore Valley History
Spring Planting L-AGS Message System Things to File

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


(From various sources)

JULY 12-17 - JEWISH GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY OF LOS ANGELES - "Hollywood Chai" is the theme of the 18th Annual Seminar. Registration for the six day event is $115 per person before May 15 and $140 after. For information, write PO Box 55443, Sherman Oaks, CA 91413.

JULY 14 -  LIVERMORE-AMADOR GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY (L-AGS) The regular meeting in July will be replaced by the annual Garden Party on July 18. Members have been notified of the time and place.

JULY 16 - L-AGS STUDY GROUP will not meet this month.

JULY 23 - L-AGS COMPUTER GROUP meets at the LDS Church, 950 Mocho Street, Livermore, CA. 7:30 p.m.

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


AUGUST 20 - L-AGS STUDY GROUP will not meet this month.

AUGUST 27 - L-AGS COMPUTER GROUP meets at the LDS Church, 950 Sonoma Street, Livermore, CA. 7:30 p.m.

SEPTEMBER 8 - LIVERMORE-AMADOR GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY (L-AGS) Regular meeting 7:30 p.m. Congregation Beth Emek, corner of College Avenue & South M Street, Livermore, CA.

SEPTEMBER 17 - L-AGS STUDY GROUP will not meet this month.

SEPTEMBER 19 - L-AGS / LDS Annual Seminar, 950 Mocho Street, Livermore.

SEPTEMBER 24 - L-AGS COMPUTER GROUP meets at Sonoma School, 543 Sonoma Avenue, Livermore, CA. 7:30 p.m.

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

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By David Abrahams

Patricia Futch, a member of L-AGS, passed away on 11 May 1998. She was a native of Mt. Airy, NC, and lived in Alameda County for 39 years. Pat was a teacher for more than 20 years. She taught at East Avenue Middle School, Mendenhall Middle School and Granada High School in Livermore. Pat was active in many other community activities, including Asbury United Methodist Church, American Association of University Women, California Teachers Association and Del Valle Home Economics Club.

Donna Nelson, a member of L-AGS, passed away on 17 May 1998. Donna was a Bay Area native and lived in Livermore for the past 9 years. She was employed by Lucky Stores for many years and most recently for PeopleSoft. Besides genealogy, Donna had a great love for animals.

Billy D. Green passed away on June 30, 1998. Billy and his wife Lorraine were longtime members of L-AGS. In 1990, they helped with the researach for our book, Cemeteries of Pleasanton and Dublin, California. Shortly after that, they moved to the Lake Tahoe area. Finding no genealogical society there, they set about to found one, and successfully did so. Billy's health problems soon forced them to return to Livermore. They rejoined L-AGS, and remained active until Billy's death.

These friends will be missed by all of us.

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Computer and disc


by George Anderson

The Genealogy CD Center in the Pleasanton Library is now open for business! One hundred and six compact disks with genealogical data are there at your fingertips, with more to come. Until all of the disks are cataloged, they will be sent, ten at a time, to Fremont for the cataloging process, so temporarily there will be gaps in the holdings.

We anticipate that L-AGS members will make up a good share of the users, but it should be remembered that most of the CDs were purchased by the Pleasanton Library League, and usage conditions are those required by the Pleasanton Library. In particular, users are asked to be considerate of the reference librarians, who do not have time for lengthy tutoring. There are how-to instructions and help files on each CD, and two printed manuals have been provided to allow users to learn by self-study and practice.

Currently available CDs were listed in the last Roots Tracer. They are also listed at:

Use of the CD computer is on a first-come basis, with a one-hour time limit if others are waiting. If you have a laptop computer with a CD drive, you can bring it to the library and have unlimited-time access to the CD collection.

The Pleasanton Library hours are:

Monday - Thursday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

A L-AGS docent is on duty at the library on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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By Dick Finn and George Anderson

The Livermore-Amador Genealogical Society Computer Interest Group will hold their July meeting on the 23rd at the LDS Church on Mocho Street in Livermore. The topic will be Genealogical Computing. Nina Berry, member of the Technical Staff at Sandia National Laboratories/California, will give us information on the latest computer software and hardware that will have a direct impact on the way we generate and maintain our files. Nina will also give us a glimpse of what software and hardware we can expect to use in the future: big changes to the Internet, virtual reality, etc. The exciting thing is that some of these changes are not too far way.

On August 27, also at the LDS Church on Mocho Street, L-AGS member Bill Farrand will describe and demonstrate digital cameras. This new technology will have a big impact on the technology of genealogy. He will also demonstrate a portable copy stand he has invented to take on genealogical safaris, to solve the problem of how to get copies of Aunt Martha's pictures that she will not let out of her sight.

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By Lori Codey

During the past few months, there have been several chairperson changes within the club. I would like to express my thanks and gratitude to those new volunteers who have stepped up to fill these positions. They bring commitment, enthusiasm and an interest in helping others to their new jobs. They all have big shoes to fill and I'm looking forward to their involvement, input and new ideas for our growing club.

Jay Gilson is our new Library Chairperson. The outgoing chairperson, Judy Person, has been responsible for the growth of our library, and with George Anderson's help, the fantastic quality of the materials now available. Her association with the Library League has given voice to our organization's needs, for which we are grateful. Both Judy and George Anderson will continue to assist in this committee.

New as the Computer Interest Group Chairperson, is Richard "Dick" Finn. Doug Mumma developed this extremely popular group and brought it success with his foresight, determination, expertise, and a huge amount of his time. Doug has been a mentor to us all, always ready to help those of us who have computer problems (or problem computers!).

Pat Moore and Clarice Sisemore have taken on the job of co-chairing the Membership Chairpersons position for the remainder of the year. Chairman Dave Whisman was promoted and transferred to Michigan. Dave did a terrific job with this demanding position and will be missed. We wish him well in his new job and new home!

A hearty WELCOME to these new chairpersons and a big THANK YOU to those leaving these jobs. They all have given much of their precious time to the benefit of us all.

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Building for the Future:

Space Planning at the National Archives and Record Administration

NARA's mission is to ensure ready access to essential evidence that documents the rights of American citizens, the actions of federal officials, and the national experience. We are seeking to improve our ability to provide ready access to all the essential evidence in our custody. To do this we plan to develop our electronic access capabilities so we can bring the National Archives on-line to millions of Americans who do not live near a NARA facility and to people worldwide, improve the quality of space in which records are stored so they will be preserved for generations to come, increase the quantity of space that we have so we can continue to add historically valuable records to our holdings, and reduce the cost of the space we occupy so money we have been spending on rent can be spent on programs and services for our customers.

This plan is in keeping with the goals and objectives of our Strategic plan, which pledges NARA to make essential evidence "easy to access regardless of where it is or where users are for as long as needed" and to be sure that "all records will be preserved in appropriate space for use as long as needed." Most of our regional facilities do not now meet current minimum preservation standards, nor do they have enough space for more permanent records. We need to take action to safeguard historically valuable records.

NARA is beginning a planning effort that will analyze our current configuration of facilities and determine what kinds of facilities we should have and where they should be located to best serve all our customers and protect the records. This project will happen in several phases over many months and will focus on options that enhance access to records, improve space quality, increase space quantity, and reduce space costs.

To make this work, we need your help. No option, no matter how cost-efficient, will be worth pursuing if it does not further our goal of making it easier for researchers to access the records they need. And no matter what option is decided upon, NARA is committed to maintaining, at a minimum, microfilm research rooms with Internet-accessible computer terminals in the metropolitan area where regional archives now exist.

Over the course of this planning effort, we will be reaching out to our broad spectrum of customers to get their input through public meetings, surveys, conferences, publications, and the Internet, on such issues as where records should be located, what services you need, and what amenities should be offered. We have web pages devoted to records management at In addition, we welcome your comments and suggestions by mail to:

Space Planning Team
Room 4100 (NPOL)
National Archives and Records Administration
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740

I encourage everyone to participate in this effort as we work to make NARA's holdings more available to all Americans no matter where they live.

John W. Carlin, Archivist of the United States

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By George and Harriet Anderson

All of us who use the census for genealogy find out sooner or later that the one we need most for a particular family is the one for 1890 - the one that burned up. The LDS Family History Center of San Francisco (located in San Bruno) has done the Bay Area a big favor by making available to the public 974 microfilm rolls of state censuses for that time period. We visited that facility recently and obtained the following catalog of their holdings. The location is just a few blocks from the National Archives Branch in San Bruno. Also included in the table are census substitutes at the National Archives in San Bruno, the Sutro Library, and the Oakland Family History Center.

Catalog of Census Substitutes at

LDS Family History Center of San Francisco

975 Sneath Lane, San Bruno, California

Tel. 650-873-1928

Hours: Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday 9 am-4 p.m., Wednesday 6:30-9 p.m.

State Year Locality Rolls of film L* N* S*
CA 1897 Los Angeles  
  1897 San Jose  
  1899 San Diego  
CO 1885 State All 8  
FL 1885 State    
HI 1890 Except Oahu  
  1896 Oahu  
IA 1885 State All 95
  1895 State All 122
KS 1885 State All 151
  1895 State All 201
MI 1884 State (part) 20
  1894 State (part) 22
MN 1885 State All 28
  1895 State All 59
NE 1885 State All 56    
    State 9 of 56  
NJ 1885 State All 45
  1895 State All 57
NM 1885 Territory All 6  
NY 1890 NYC Police All 59
  1892 Upstate 50
ND 1885 (extract)  
OK 1890 Territory  
  • (1)
PA 1890 (extract) book, Schuylkill Co. only    
RI 1885 State All 13
SD 1885 Dakota Territory All 2
  1895 A few counties  
WA (2) A few counties 20    
WI 1895 State (3)      

* L=LDS Family History Center, San Bruno; N=National Archives, San Bruno; S=Sutro Library

(1) Also at LDS FHC, Oakland. (2) Various dates from 1857-1892. (3) Heads of families only

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Scotland flag


By Bill Ross

SCOTLAND: (An Internet) service will provide World Wide Web access to a fully searchable index to births/baptisms and banns/marriages from the Old Parish Registers dating from 1553 to 1854; and births, marriages and deaths from the Statutory Index for 1855 to 1897.

An index to census records for 1891 will also be provided; 1881 census data will be made available later this year.

Searching will be possible on the following fields:

This index constitutes one of the world’s largest databases of genealogical information, including nearly 30 million names. Users are able to order register extracts (e.g. a birth certificate, a census entry) from the GRO(S) via the Web.

Charging for the service is to be by credit card, using a highly secure payment mechanism.

Credit card details will be transmitted in encrypted form, making this method more secure than using a credit card in a store or restaurant. Charges will be similar to those charged currently by the GRO(S) at New Register House in Edinburgh.

This venture was initiated and will be operated by OMS Services Ltd.

The application is being developed by RTA, an associate company of OMS.

More information is available from:

General Register Office for Scotland
New Register House
Edinburgh EH1 3YT, UK
Tel: +44(0)131-314-4434
Fax +44(0)131-314-4405 

OMS Serviced Ltd.
Dr. Ian Galbraith, Managing Director
87 Moss Lane
Pinner, Middlesex HA5 3AT, UK
Tel: +44(0)181-866-5830
Fax: +44(0)181-868-1160

From: The Family Tree, a newsletter of the Olin Genealogy Library, April/May 1998.

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POSTAGE: Jim McDonnell of the Contra Costa Genealogical Society advises that there is a catalog out called "USA Philatelic" wherein one can order stamps from various countries to put on SASE correspondence outside the United States. He says, like others engaged in genealogical research, he sends a fair amount of mail outside the US and had been relying on purchasing international postage coupons which can be awkward and expensive. While "USA Philatelic" is tailored for stamp collectors, it also can serve the purpose for "information collectors." There is a good selection of denominations and, with the possible exception of Canada, is a valid alternative to the international coupons, according to McDonnell. It appears that the Canadian 45 cent stamp is the only offering from that country. The catalog can be ordered by phoning: 1-800-STAMP24.

From: The Live Oak Newsletter, East Bay Genealogical Society, Jan 1998

GREEK: If you are researching your Greek ancestry you might want to join the Greek Family Heritage Committee. Write Greek Family Heritage c/o Antonia S. Mattheou, 25 Fox Hollow Ridings Road Northport, New York 11768, (631) 262-0635, There is a publication available.

From: CSGA Newsletter, Vol. 16, #1, Jan 1998

SWEDISH: The Swedish post office provides information packets for Americans trying to find their Swedish ancestors. For $20, a researcher fills out a short form on the ancestor and will receive confirmation of parentage, siblings and children. No fee is charged if information is not sufficient. For a packet contact: Swedish Council of America, 2600 Park Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55407.

From: San Joaquin Gen. Soc., Sept/Oct 1997.

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By David Abrahams

At the annual meeting of the California State Genealogical Alliance (CSGA), several awards were made to members of L-AGS. Distinguished Service Awards were presented to the following members in recognition of outstanding service to CSGA or to a member society:

Jolene and David Abrahams

Jolene and David have been extremely active in genealogical societies for the past eight years. They have both served as President of the Livermore-Amador Genealogical Society and have co-chaired the Society's annual one-day seminar for the past six years. Together, they facilitate their Society's Study Group, have co-edited the L-AGS Roots Tracer, have served as Secretary to the CSGA and currently are the co-Regional Directors for Northern San Joaquin Valley.

Beverly Ales

Beverly has been a major contributor to the Livermore-Amador Genealogical Society for many years. She was the L-AGS Project Leader for the creation and publication of  "Cemeteries of Pleasanton and Dublin, California." She always has great genealogical tidbits to share with members at Society meetings.

Judy Person

Judy was, until recently, the Chairperson of the Livermore-Amador Genealogical Society Library Committee. As such, she has assured that the holdings of the Society have been increased and shelved in the Pleasanton Public Library. As a retired librarian from the Pleasanton Library, she is a member of the Library League and has been instrumental in coordinating Library League purchases towards the genealogical collections.

Fran Samans

Fran is one of the original members of the Livermore-Amador Genealogical Society and has served as President, among other offices. Fran has shared her knowledge of family history and genealogy with members of the Society for many years.

Awards of Merit were presented to the following members in recognition of meritorious service or distinguished work in genealogy and family history:

Lori Codey

Lori was the Project Leader in creating and assembling the Livermore-Amador Genealogical Society's Membership Handbook, which is given to all members when they join the Society.

Larry Renslow

Larry initiated the Livermore-Amador Genealogical Society into the world of the computer on-line services. He began the first bulletin board for members and connected L-AGS to world-wide electronic communications.

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by David Abrahams

NOTE: Portions of the following article have been paraphrased from the Federation of Genealogical Societies "FORUM", Volume 10, Number 1, Spring 1998, and other FGS documents.

At the FGS conference in Dallas, Texas, last September, David E. Rencher, FGS President, met with many of the delegates from the FGS member societies. One of the topics of discussion was how to begin microfilming the voluminous collection at our National Archives, and what should be filmed first. The delegates' response was: "Give us a record with broad interest."

Therefore, the Federation considered - and responded with a dramatic goal for the Stern NARA Gift Fund in 1998.

Genealogists may have noticed in recent years a fund drive to collect money for microfilming National Archives records, called the Genealogical Coordinating Committee (GCC)-NARA Gift Fund. This is also known as the Stern NARA Gift Fund.

Rabbi Malcolm H. Stern (1915-1994) was the founder and first president of the GCC, and the creator of the Gift Fund. Rabbi Stern's contributions to genealogy over a 44-year period are monumental. He wrote many articles for genealogical and historical publications. He was best known for Americans of Jewish Descent: 600 Genealogies (1654-1838), which documents the genealogies of Jewish families that arrived during the American colonial and federal periods. He held Fellowships in the National Genealogical Society, the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, and the American Society of Genealogists. He was the 1988 recipient of the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) George Williams Award "for outstanding contributions to the FGS and to the genealogical community."

At its last winter meeting, the FGS board voted to raise the funds necessary to microfilm two major collections of the National Archives. The first project is the War of 1812 pension and bounty-land warrant records, which includes both indexed and unindexed files. In addition to veterans of the War of 1812, a number of Revolutionary War veterans appear in these records.

The second project approved by the board was to fund the microfilming of the United States Colored Troop (USCT) Compiled Service Records. This project coincides with the dedication in Washington, D.C., of a monument to the African American soldiers who served in the Union Army.

These microfilming projects combine FGS's commitment to record preservation and NARA's pledge to record access. NARA's strategic plan embraces strong partnerships that can enhance NARA's ability to make the Archives' records easily accessible to citizens throughout our country.

A newly formed FGS development committee is tasked with building a consortium of interested parties to raise the necessary $1.25 million it will take to microfilm these records for use by interested genealogists and historians. The records, which are already dimming with time, are extremely precious as documents of our American heritage.

It is envisioned that the genealogical community, private donors, corporate sponsors, lineage societies, and other interested parties can come together for this common cause and successfully see this project through. Mr. Rencher has written previously that the Stern NARA Gift Fund has fallen extremely short of its potential - raising only about $10,000 per year. At that rate, the funds necessary to microfilm these valuable sets of records will be available sometime during the next millennium!

The California State Genealogical Alliance (CSGA), a member society of the FGS, has heartily endorsed this project and would like all California genealogical organizations to participate.

Since L-AGS is a member of both the FGS and the CSGA it is appropriate that we participate in this worthwhile project to the best of our ability. We have set as a goal to raise $300 by October 1998. Members may contribute by sending or giving a check [made out to L-AGS] to any L-AGS board member and designate it for the "War of 1812/USCT." L-AGS will then write one check and forward it to the FGS.

Additionally, L-AGS will approach several local businesses to see if they, as part of their involvement in the community, will provide grants of matching funds. If members think that the company they work for would be interested in this project, please contact any one of the Board members.

For those of you with Internet access, you are invited to check out the FGS Home Page. The above information is posted there in detail.

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London Bridge


by David Abrahams

It occurs to me that many of us use the Family History Center in Livermore, and that we often order microfilm or fiche that are kept on "indefinite loan." But no one outside of the regular users of the FHC know what is there, and that it is available for everyone to use. For example, during the past few months I have "borrowed" for indefinite loan a few of the Post Office Directories for London, England. These are for the years 1829 (partial), 1844, 1859, 1899, 1900 and 1912.

These are wonderful resources for those of us who had family in London at the turn of the century. However, the English directories are not like the American city directories that we are used to seeing at Sutro Library. The English directories are rather unique. For example, the 1899 directory begins with an Official Directory (royalty, etc.), followed by a Street Directory, a Commercial & Professional Directory, a Trades & Professional Directory, a listing of Lawyers and Solicitors, a listing of Clergymen and Churches, and much more.

The Street Directory is an alphabetical listing of the streets of London. If those you are researching are listed in any of the sections, you can then look in the Street Directory and locate exactly where they had their businesses or residences, and who their neighbors were. Under each street heading is a list of building or house numbers along each side of the street (identified as East, West, North, or South side). As you read down the column, you often come to a statement "Here is ------ Street." So now you can look on a map and determine which block the person you are researching lived on. Unfortunately, if the people did not own their own businesses or were not lawyers, ministers, etc., they will not be listed in these directories. But what a boon to those of us who are tracing our families in London.

Many of my family arrived in England late in the 1800s. I found both of my great-grandfathers and several other family members listed in these directories as business owners - and now will be able to visit their addresses on my next trip to London.

The Family History Library in Salt Lake City also has all the available Census Records for Great Britain. This has been broken down into many films and fiches. My latest "acquisition" for the Livermore FHC has been the 1891 St. Giles and portions of St. George/Bloomsbury districts of London - where my family and their friends lived. Other users have provided the 1891 St. Paul's/Tottenham district of London. The St. Giles and Bloomsbury districts are in the central area of London, while Tottenham is in the northern part. The census records are on fiche which cost only 15 each, and are all on indefinite loan. Some of the census records have been of great help to me, and I have already located one set of great-grandparents and their children. In order to further research my family I will have to arrange for the acquisition of several more fiche!

No matter what areas of the world you are researching, you just might find some useful material in your local Family History Center, no matter where you live. And don't forget to check out those in the surrounding area as well. The material that patrons order for "indefinite loan" in the local FHC’s often is not shown on the FHC Library CD because of the length of time between updates of the CD’s.

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Compact disc


By Bill Silver

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will make some of its valuable knowledge and data available to the public on compact disc for home use. The new products are part of a plan to simplify genealogical research, making it faster and easier to access vital information and resources.

Already announced were three new products, available through Church distribution centers:

In addition, the following products will be available in the future:

FROM: Church News, week ending April 25, 1998 [*] Sonoma County Genealogical Society Newsletter, Vol.7, No.9, May, 1998.

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by Tony Higgins (meeting visitor)

The older I got, the more curious I become about my ancestors. The subject didn’t seem important to me while my mother was alive. She was recognized by all as the family historian. She told me and my siblings many interesting stories about growing up, her childhood and her ancestors. Most of it seemed so routine that we often "tuned" her out.

Fortunately, she recorded a significant amount of information, including a narrative of her life from her perspective. She also compiled considerable data for our family tree, for both her and my dad’s families.

Last fall, while vacationing in my dad’s hometown in the Midwest, I discovered that a cousin had put together a fairly extensive family tree on my dad’s side which dates back to the early 1700’s. She was inspired when she came across some letters written to my grandfather from relatives we never knew existed. Without the aid of a computer, she researched the family, spending countless hours at her local library, sifting through available records. Her dad (my dad’s brother) and brother visited the remote areas in Kentucky where my grandfather was born and discovered a whole generation of living relatives they had never known. This was a source of more information.

Her experiences became a motivation to me to get started on my own research. When I received the Family Tree Maker for Christmas, it provided me with the perfect opportunity and channel to assimilate my mother’s data and combine it with my wife’s ancestry and with my cousin’s information. As soon as I loaded it on my computer, I called my cousin and had her give me her information over the phone. Then, I started researching, initially using the 5 World Family Tree CD ROM’s I have. I called my cousin back within two hours and told her that I had discovered our family among 8 different family trees. I was even able to fill in some of her missing and incomplete information and provide an ancestor one more generation back from what she had.

Recently, I came across a different document my mother had put together which gave my dad’s maternal grandparents names. When I queried them in Family Tree Maker’s website, I found both were among a family tree on disk 8. I have disks 1-5. A check of my grandmother’s three siblings, two of their spouses, two of her uncles and a cousin all confirmed their existence in this same family tree. I am anxious to look into this family tree. The information I know about it tells me that some of the other surnames are also recognized as relatives by my uncle.

Since then, I have looked into my maternal grandfather’s origins. As a small child, he assumed the last name of the father of his younger siblings. Researching his birth surname, I have discovered several people, living and dead, within a 50 mile radius of where he was born. I found someone on the Internet with the same name who has traced it back to Germany. I am certain these are my grandfather’s relatives and ancestors, although I have not as yet firmly established the link.

As I am sure is the case with many families, we have both famous and infamous individuals. This helps with some of the research. I enjoy the challenge when I can find little information. It makes me look deeper.

My father adopted me when he married my mother. Because his family is the only one I have ever known, and that of my younger siblings, I am intensely interested in their ancestry. I met my biological father several years ago, as a young adult. I know a little about him and have established his birth and death dates, but know little else, except what my mother told me about him and what he told me when I met him. I hope to discover more about his origins.

My wife knows little about her origins beyond two generations. I hope to change this for her as well.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We thought this was an interesting story, and would like to print more such stories in future issues. Write your story and send it to the editors at

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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.


Did you ever wonder how some of the roads and sites in Livermore Valley got their names?

Collier Canyon - was named for Michael McCollier, who settled in the area in 1856.

Corral Hollow - remembers the now-nonexistent corrals built in the 1850s by Mexican and American ranchers who were in the business of capturing wild horses.

Greenville Road - John Green started a small settlement, including a store, near the mouth of Altamont Pass in 1869, just after the railroad was completed through the valley. Green had previously owned a store in Dublin; that building still exists. Nothing remains of Greenville.

Marina Avenue - A good example of a mapmaker's error, the road was to have been named after an Italian viticulturist who lived in that area. His name was Luigi Marini.

Oak Knoll - A cemetery on this hill was started with the burial of William Mendenhall, father of the founder of Livermore, in 1875. The site was officially established as a burial ground in 1878, when a plat map was filed with Alameda County. Oak Knoll remained in use for over 50 years, despite the establishment of two other cemeteries in Livermore. After it was no longer used, it became a rallying point for desecrators who knocked over most of the grave markers. Now it is probably better known as Boot Hill.

Patterson Pass - One of three passes across the Altamont hills (the other two being Livermore, or Altamont Pass, and Corral Hollow), it was named for two brothers, Nathaniel Green and Jacob Patterson, who settled there in 1850 with their huge flocks of sheep.

Scott's Corner - In the early 1850s, Thomas Scott established a store near Sunol for the benefit of travelers to the gold fields. From this point, the traveler had a choice of continuing north to the southwest corner of the valley, or to the east over Pigeon Pass to reach Robert Livermore's ranch.

Tassajara Valley - This name pre-dates the American period. On an 1839 map of Rancho del Valle de San Jose, it was known as Canada de la Tasagera, which is translated into "a place where meat is cut into strips and hung in the sun to cure."

Tesla Road - John and James Treadwell were developing coal and clay mines in Corral Hollow at the turn of the century. The settlement which resulted was named Tesla for the inventor Nikola Tesla because the Treadwells had planned to construct a coal-fired power plant there to supply power to surrounding communities. The plant was never built.

Vasco Road - The new Los Vaqueros reservoir in Contra Costa County was originally a ranch property granted to three brothers-in-law in 1844, and later purchased in 1847 by Robert Livermore and Jose Noriega. By 1857, it had been settled by several Basque families, who had earlier come from Argentina. These new immigrants are credited with replacing the older term of vizcaino with basco, as a common reference to Basque people in the West. As "b" and "v" are often interchangeable in Spanish, the designation became Vasco. Old-timers in the valley still refer to the area as "the Vasco," as in "I'm going to the Vasco."

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Planting tree


First - Plant four rows of peas:


Next - Plant three rows of squash:

Squash Gossip
Squash Criticism
Squash Indifference

Then - Plant five rows of lettuce:

Lettuce obey rules and regulations
Lettuce be true to our obligations
Lettuce be faithful to duty
Lettuce be loyal and unselfish
Lettuce love one another

No garden is complete without turnips:

Turn up for meeting
Turn up with a smile
Turn up with a new idea
Turn up with a determination to make everything count for something good and worthwhile.

From: Newsletter, Vol.7, No.9, May, 1998

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By Larry Renslow

I’ve been building a counting system for the messages moving through the L-AGS mail system. The counter keeps a tally of messages in certain categories on a monthly basis. These are the May tallies:

Why did I do all this? Because I see an advantage in showing results from volunteer work. The counts show a return for the work put in on the mail system and web page. Surname inquiries are tangible results. The counts give an idea of how much work George (as webmaster) is doing.

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MAYFLOWER INFORMATION:   For information on Mayflower passengers, descendants, books, societies, documents, wills, etc., go to 

MAP NEWS: An animated map of the expansion of the United States can now be found online.  Once you have downloaded, you can view a map of the States that changes boundaries by years!

From: NVGBS Winepress, Vol.3, #9, Sept. 1997

CALIFORNIA - IRISH LIBRARY AND ARCHIVE: There is a United Irish Cultural Center, Inc. in San Francisco at 2700 45th Avenue. Among their holdings is a nearly complete run of The Leader, a Catholic Irish-American weekly newspaper published from 1902 to late into the 1920s. For more information call 415-661-2700.

From: Immigrant Gen. Soc., Sep 1996, #150, Page 2.

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Last updated 27 Sep 2004 vlr