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The Livermore Roots Tracer

Volume XXII Number 3

August 2002

Editors: Debbie Pizzato, Vicki Renz and Mildred Kirkwood

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: rootstracer@l-ags.org

Table of Contents

Member News Editor's Note President's Message
Past and Future Programs Pre-1905 Indexing Project Calendar of Meetings
Trillions of Ancestors From the Attic Why Write Articles?
Robinson Family Bible Melungeon Heritage Revealed Through DNA Computer Interest Group
Family Tree Maker Group Tri-Valley TMG Users Group Sincerely, Lydia Gove Dwinnell
Livermore Valley History Life in the Past Lane Library News
Genealogical Self-Improvement Oklahoma Veteran Records No Longer Public Things to File
G.R.O.W. Upcoming Seminars Livermore Roots Tracer Staff


Welcome to Our New Members

Membership Chair: Kaye Strickland

Ron Fugazzi

Joe & Barbara Barton

Membership Report As of July 9, 2002









Life Memberships





















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Pencil cup

Editors' Note

Editors: Debbie Pizzato, Vicki Renz and Mildred Kirkwood

A note of thanks to all those who submitted articles to the Roots Tracer. Not only was the response prior to the deadline date, the number of articles was fantastic! This leaves some articles for future issues and others to be featured in parts. I hope the response for future issues will be as overwhelming. Thank you!

We are looking for volunteers to be responsible for two of our regular pages. Since the Tracer is published quarterly, each topic only needs to be done once every three months. You can solicit topic items by e-mail from members or research the topic online. You will have the satisfaction of helping to create a top notch newsletter, sharing educational information with others, and learning as you research and write. If you are interested or require further information, please contact us at rootstracer@l-ags.org.

From the Attic - This page focuses on all those things you have inherited from your ancestors like photos, books, clothing, tools, weapons, awards, needlework, toys, quilts - most any memorabilia.

Things to File - This page has tips, how to's, or general interest genealogy items to help you in your research and organization, or just to get you thinking.

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President's Message

President Dick Finn

I want to thank Leo Vongottfried for all of the effort he put into making our L-AGS booth at the Alameda County Fair the best ever! We staffed our booth from at least noon to 4:00 p.m. every day of the 17-day fair. Often we were open until 6:00 p.m. or even later. While we do not have an exact count of how many people stopped at our booth, we do know it must have been in the many hundreds. We were able to help large numbers of people find links to their families and to others researching their families.

We had a number of our members, besides Leo, who put in multiple shifts at the fair. In addition to our members, we had representation from the DAR and Tracy Area Genealogy Society. It was great to work with so many wonderful and enthusiastic people. Let's hear it for George Anderson, Jon and Gail Bryan, Bev Ales, Jane Southwick, Marie Ross, Kaye and Stan Strickland, Sandy Sinwald, Kathie Fisher, Frank Geasa, Martha Martin, Janet Hill, Pat Moore, Glynice Pomykal, Linda Garrett, Jim Lathrop, Ann and Paul Kasameyer, Caroline Foote, Kathleen Young, Martha Wensel, Bud Barlow, John Stewart, Carl Feighner, and Linda and Mark Libby. Also, thanks to Wilma Myers for preparing some of the fair posters.

We all had a great time and feel we did a real service for the community. We were loaned the latest Gateway computers on a high-speed DSL line with super fast connection times. I did want to say that some of our volunteers came back up to nine times. Several signed up for one day, but came back the next day because they had so much fun. Next year we want to stay open longer hours but we need your help to do so. See you all at the fair next year!

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Slide projector

Past and Future Programs

President Dick Finn

The L-AGS Program Committee, under Mary Dillon, continues planning our general meetings with a mix of "how to do genealogy" with programs featuring family and local history. In the last couple of months we had Dr. Grace Devnich speak to us on what she found as she researched the history of medical services in Livermore. You wouldn't believe how many hospitals were here, twelve, and the duels that took place.

Our June meeting was "Sharing your Finds and Tips." This has been very popular because many of us brought in some very interesting items that have great meaning to our families. In July we had local architect Charles Huff speaking to us about the Old Time Families of Pleasanton.

Over the next few months we look forward to Malvern Sweet talking about Life in the Altamont, Jim Concannon on his Family From Ireland to America, and Anita Gandolfo sharing memories of her family and the Rock House History. All of these families played major roles in the history of our valley. Invite a friend to hear from people who were a part of this history.

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Pre-1905 Indexing Project

President Dick Finn

The Pre-1905 California Death Indexing Project was started in San Diego County in mid 2001. Now there are over eighteen California county indexes on RootsWeb, more than twenty counties are being transcribed, and many other county records are waiting to be ordered pending funding. The project has grown so fast and has received so much support that volunteers in some counties have started to index the birth and marriage records. When finished, this will be a great aid to those looking for pre-1905 records. It was about 1905 that the state took over control of records; before that it was up to each county. Because of some unforeseen circumstances, the delivery of documents has been on hold the last few months, but now it looks like the program will soon be back in full swing.

We at L-AGS are waiting for the copies of the death records that we are going to transcribe. Hopefully they should arrive soon and we can get to work. For our efforts we would not only be able to see and search the files on RootsWeb but will also receive a CD for our use. For more information and to use the records that have been transcribed, please go to http://www.rootsweb.com/~cabf1905.

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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, 543 Sonoma Avenue, Livermore. During the summer, meetings are held at the LDS Church, 950 Mocho Street, Livermore. For information call Dick Finn 925-447-9652, e-mail computer@l-ags.org.

General Meeting: 2nd Tuesday (except July), 7:30 p.m., at Congregation Beth Emek, corner of College Avenue & South M Street, Livermore. For information call Mary Dillon, 925-462-3018, e-mail program@l-ags.org.  

Study Group: 3rd Thursday, 7:30 p.m., at the LDS Church, 950 Mocho Street, Livermore. For information call Kay Speaks, 925-580-7638, e-mail study.group@l-ags.org.

Tri-Valley The Master Genealogist Group: 3rd Saturday, 9:00 a.m., at Kay Speaks' office, 7077 Koll Center Parkway, Suite 110, Pleasanton. For information, call Kay Speaks, 925-580-7638, e-mail tvtmg@l-ags.org.

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 call Jim Lathrop, 925-443-4640, e-mail computer@l-ags.org.

Other Area Genealogy Societies General Meetings

Contra Costa County Genealogical Society: 2nd Thursday of each month, 7:30 p.m. at the Concord/Walnut Creek Family History Center, 8700 Concord Boulevard, Concord. Web site: www.geocities.com/heartland/plains/4335/cccgs/cccgs.html

East Bay Genealogical Society:  2nd Wednesday of each month, 10 a.m. at the Dimond Branch of the Oakland Library, 3565 Fruitvale Avenue, Oakland. This location is subject to change. Web site: www.katpher.com/EBGS/EBGS.html

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

San Joaquin Genealogical Society:  3rd Thursday of each month at 1:00 or 7:00 p.m. at Brookside LDS Church, 800 West Brookside Road, Stockton. Web site: www.rootsweb.com/~sjgs

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

San Ramon Valley Genealogical Society:  3rd Tuesday of each month (except August and December), 10 a.m. at Danville LDS Stake Center, Stone Valley Road at Smith Road, Alamo. For information, call Barbara Dittig, 925-648-9364 or e-mail bdittig@aol.com.

Santa Clara County Historical and Genealogical Society:  3rd Thursday of each month, at 7:00 p.m. (except August and December) in the community meeting room of the Santa Clara City Library temporary facility, 3345 Lochinvar Road, between Pomeroy and Bing, Santa Clara. Web site: www.katpher.com/SCCHGS

Stanislaus County Genealogical Society:  3rd Tuesday of each month (except July and December), 7:00 p.m., at Trinity Presbyterian Church, Covell Hall, 1600 Carver Road, Modesto. Web site: www.cagenweb.com/lr/stanislaus/gssc.html

Tracy Area Genealogical Society:  4th Thursday of each month at 7:00 p.m. at the Lolly Hansen Senior Center, 375 9th Street, Tracy. Web site: www.rootsweb.com/~catags

Local Historical Museums

Livermore Heritage Guild History Center: Carnegie Building, 2155 Third Street, Livermore. Rotating exhibits on local history. Publications available for purchase. Open Wednesday through Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free admission. Web site: www.lhg.org

Amador Livermore Valley Historical Society Museum: 603 Main Street, Pleasanton, in the old town hall. Exhibits and photographs show life styles of yesteryear. Publications available for purchase. Open Wednesday through Saturday, 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Sunday, 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.

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Trillions of Ancestors

Webmaster George Anderson

We've often seen the calculation that gives the number of our ancestors as we go back and back in time. We have two parents, four grandparents, eight great-grandparents, etc. If we go back 10 generations we have 1024 ancestors; for 20 generations we have about a million; for 30 generations about a billion; and for 40 generations about a trillion.

But all the humans who have ever lived number less than 10 billion! The explanation for this contradiction is that our ancestors have married each other by the thousands and millions in the remote past. We may have had a trillion ancestors 40 generations ago, but not a trillion different ancestors.

This phenomenon, the pruning of our family tree to look like a Lombardy poplar instead of a spreading oak, is called "pedigree collapse" or "coalescence."

Scientists who study population genetics have done a great deal of research on this subject. An article by Steven Olson in the May 2002 issue of The Atlantic Monthly (found at http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/2002/05/olson.htm) describes some startling results of their studies:

Olson based these statements on the work of Joseph Chang, professor of statistics at Yale University. Chang's paper, "Recent Common Ancestors of All Present-Day Individuals," can be found at http://www.stat.yale.edu/~jtc5/pubs/Ancestors.pdf.

The first part of Chang's article is quite readable; later, when he presents the formal proofs of his conclusions, he is off into the mathematical stratosphere. But here is a fun experiment that you can do to bring home the essence of pedigree collapse. You need a pencil, a sheet of lined paper and a pair of dice. Imagine that many years ago there was an island on which six couples lived. Down through the years, the generations remained distinct, and the population in each generation remained at six couples.

Near the top of your paper put six dots in a row and number them 1 to 6. This is Generation 1.

  1 2 3 4 5 6
Generation 1 * * * * * *

Eight lines below that, put six more dots but do not number them. This is Generation 2. For each dot in Generation 2, throw the dice, and write the numbers from each die above the dot.

If the number is 1, put it one line above the dot; if a 2, two lines above, etc. For each couple in Generation 2, we are randomly choosing the husband's parent couple and the wife's parent couple from Generation 1.

  5     5    
  4 4   4   4
    3 3   3  
Generation 2 * * * * * *

Now repeat this process. Put 6 more dots for Generation 3 eight lines below the previous dots. Throw the dice for each couple in Generation 3. This time, do not record the die face number, say 4, but use that number to find the 4th dot in Generation 2 and read the two numbers above that dot. Record these two numbers above the Generation 3 dot, eliminating duplicates. Do the same for the second die.

  6 6       6
  5   5 5 5 5
  4   4 4 4 4
  3 3 3 3   3
    1 1      
Generation 3 * * * * * *

Now we have chosen the grandparent couples for all of the Generation 3 couples. Probably by this time there will be some anomalies. Each Generation 3 couple can have at most 4 numbers above it, but some may have fewer. If there are fewer, cousins have married and the collapse has begun! It could even happen that brother has married sister, not taboo on this make-believe island.

Keep repeating this process and watch for the first time that the same number appears above every one of the couples in the latest generation. That will probably happen by about Generation 3 or 4. If that repeated number is, say, 5, it means that the 5th couple in the original generation is the "most recent common ancestor" (MRCA) of all of the couples in the current generation. Keep repeating the process and watch for the first time that all of the numbers above all of the couples in the current generation are the same. When that point is reached, and it will be reached with certainty, then all the progenitor couples whose numbers are in that list are common ancestors of everyone in the current generation. Some of the progenitor couples will probably be missing; their descendancy has winked out forever.

Now imagine that instead of a population of six we had a population of one million or one billion. According to Professor Chang's model, the same thing will happen, but it will just take longer. Not as long as you might think, though. If the constant, randomly mating population is N, the number of generations back to the MRCA is the logarithm of N to the base 2.

For a population of one million, the MRCA generation is 20, or about 500 years. For one billion population, it is 30 generations or 750 years. The time when everyone was either an ancestor of all in the current generation or an ancestor of none is roughly twice that for the MRCA.

So Charlemagne, who lived 1200 years ago, is the ancestor of us all, but the traceable, provable ancestor of none! And you are my Nth cousin, where N is probably less than 20.

I have programmed Professor Chang's model on my Macintosh. My simulations agree with his. Because the simulations involve random selections, I had to do multiple trials to get statistically valid results. That's where it gets hairy! To do 250 trials for the population=4000 case, I had to run my poor Mac overnight!

For a population of 4000, the MRCA appears at about 12 generations, and the all-or-nothing common ancestors appear at about 22 generations. Of course, the mathematical model is idealized. But the main conclusions are being accepted as true. Humans really do become related to each other very quickly - in centuries, not in millennia, and not never, as some believe. Just think of the churning in England. In succession there were the Picts, Celts, Romans, Saxons, Vikings and Normans. If they did not interbreed, willingly or otherwise, it would defy all human nature. Hello all you cousins. Let's have a reunion!

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Old trunk

From the Attic

My Great Grandfather's Legacy
Submitted by Hal Norris

Click on the photos to see enlargements

I didn't become interested in genealogy until I already had a family of my own and started working on my wife's family tree. Nobody in my family had ever shown an interest.

My father was the youngest of three sons. He was the most successful in business, but the family heirlooms were passed down to the oldest son. After the oldest son passed away, I always admired a pair of Civil War swords that hung over the mantel. They were in the open and not protected at all. I was bold enough to request the swords if my uncle's second wife would ever see fit to give them up. After a few years passed, the swords and two discharge papers were given to me. I apparently was the only one that showed any interest in the family heritage.

After receiving the swords and papers, I sought to find a way to preserve them for the future. The swords were finally properly mounted and housed in a plastic box. This was learned by Proctor's in Livermore by calling museums to find the proper way to display the swords.

The discharge papers were enclosed with the same background material as the swords.

My great-grandfather served twice in the Civil War according to the discharge papers. He was a farmer and served as a volunteer for 9 months when he was 19 years old. The second time, a year after his first discharge, he served as a volunteer in the cavalry. This second service was to be for one year, but he was discharged after serving about 9 months, at which time he was 21 years of age. The discharge papers also list his height, complexion color, and hair color. It also lists his birthplace. This was stated as two different cities for the same birthplace, but they were very close.

Now, I have three sons and will be faced with the problem of passing on these treasures. The swords and papers should be kept together, so who gets them? Hopefully one of my three sons will display an interest in genealogy in time. I also have five grandsons, so these heirlooms should be around for some generations to come.

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Question mark

Why write articles for the newsletter?

Editor Mildred Kirkwood

Several issues ago, I wrote an article about my LaFleur/Couc/Montour ancestors. I just wrote about them because I thought they were interesting and strange. However, I got a response I didn't expect.

Someone was searching for the Couc name on the Internet. She found my article on the L-AGS web site and sent me e-mail. She gave me several new sources for research, including a very interesting chat room, where various people are discussing some of the stickier points of interest about this family. There is a fascinating biography of my earliest Couc ancestor in North America, Pierre Couc dit LaFleur and his Algonquin wife, including the murder of their daughter.

Please note, though, that she found my article only because I included the name of the person in the title of the original article. If I had not done that, the Internet search would not have found it. The title of articles should include the name of the subject, the geographic area and the dates involved. PERSI also indexes articles under these items, and a searcher may be looking for any one of them.

So, writing an article for our newsletter has turned out to be very productive and interesting for me. I recommend it to everyone. You may be as lucky as I was.

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Robinson Family Bible

By "Robbie" Robinson

Not too long ago, while I was scanning the Robinson surname list, I came across a submittal that indicated they had a family bible that belonged to Nancy Jane Robinson Romine. Since this happens to be my grandfather's sister, I replied. They let me have the bible at their cost and I paid to have it shipped.

In addition to several birth and death dates I did not have, it had a newspaper clipping pasted inside the front cover. This story was about a delegation from the Confederate camp in Simpson County, Kentucky, together with relatives and friends of Jerome Clark, known throughout Kentucky as "Sue Munday," who went to the country graveyard where he was buried, exhumed his remains and re-interred them in Greenlawn Cemetery located in Franklin, the county seat.

The article went on to say that "Sue Munday" was a member of One Armed Sam Berry's band of guerillas, which operated a good deal of the time in that county during the Civil War.

On October 8, 1863, the band was on their way to Harrodsburg when they held up a stage at the watering trough at Shakertown, and there compelled a union soldier, a brother of the late George W. Robinson, to accompany them there.

They held the town in terror for an hour or more and then the citizens began firing at them. The band galloped their horses out Perryville Street, Robinson being still with them. As they rode down the street, a jeweler named Comstock fired at Sue Munday and killed his horse. Quick as a flash, Munday turned and shot Robinson, the Union soldier, and jumped on the horse as Robinson fell from the saddle.

Later, the men were captured and tried by Federal authorities. Sue Munday and Henry McGruder were hanged in Louisville.

Our family had always claimed that John C. Robinson, my great grandfather, was killed by guerillas while coming home on leave during the Civil War.

Now we finally know what really happened to him. Needless to say, this bible was worth every penny to me.

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Melungeon Heritage
Revealed Through DNA

After centuries of speculation about their ethnic origins, a multiracial group in southern Appalachia known as the Melungeons may finally have some real answers about where they come from. Kevin Jones, a biologist at the University of Virginia's College at Wise, completed a two-year study of Melungeon DNA and announced the results to the Melungeon Heritage Association last week. Among 150 people studied, 5 percent of Melungeon DNA is of African descent, 5 percent is Native American and 90 percent is Eurasian.

Previously, it was thought that European men intermarried with Native Americans and African-Americans to produce the Melungeons. Now Jones plans to research genetic links between Melungeons and unusual diseases, such as familial Mediterranean fever.

Reprinted with permission from Family Tree Magazine Email Update, copyright 2002 F&W Publications Inc. To subscribe to this free weekly e-mail newsletter, go to http://www.familytreemagazine.com/newsletter.asp. For a free sample copy of the print Family Tree Magazine, America's #1 family history magazine, go to http://www.familytreemagazine.com/subscribe_mag.html.

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Computer Interest Group (CIG)

Computer Chair Jim Lathrop

The CIG meets monthly on the fourth Thursday of each month, except November and December. During the summer we are meeting at the Livermore LDS church on Mocho Street. We will be back at the Livermore Adult Education Building, 543 Sonoma Avenue, Livermore, in September.

In the last few months we have had speakers on computer security, making family history videos with Ken Burns, and identity theft.

Coming up will be speakers on interviewing people on video, preserve some of those family stories, self-publishing a family history record, and scanning and processing those old photos. We also try to provide time for help on computer problems. We are always looking for suggestions on topics of interest to members.

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At computer

L-AGS Family Tree Maker Focus Group

President Dick Finn

The L-AGS Family Tree Maker (FTM) Focus Group meets during the school year the first Thursday of the month at 7:30 at the Livermore Adult Education Facility, 543 Sonoma Avenue, Livermore. URL for a map to the school: http://www.l-ags.org/sonoma.html. During the summer months we will be meeting at the LDS Church, 950 Mocho Street, Livermore. URL for a map to the church: http://www.l-ags.org/mocho.html.

We are primarily a group of FTM users (from beginners, even those who have not yet installed FTM to experts) who discuss problems and solutions, share successes, answer questions, and help each other with the Family Tree Maker software. At recent meetings we have talked about using shortcuts in FTM to input data, generating charts that show specific information and generations, showing some of the work we have done using FTM including producing our own low cost family history books, and the pros and cons of the newest version of FTM.

All persons interested or potentially interested in Family Tree Maker are invited to attend. For information on our group please call Dick Finn at 925-447-9652 or e-mail him at rwfinn@pacbell.net or George Anderson at 925-846-4265 or gwajr-at-comcast.net. Contact Dick or George for information about topics to be discussed. Visitors are welcome and there is no charge to attend.

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Tri-Valley TMG Users Group

TVTMG Chairs Larry Renslow and Kay Speaks

The Master Genealogist (TMG) is the complete family history project manager for Windows used by many professionals because of the multiple ways of handling the various types of information found in researching.

The Tri-Valley TMG Users Group meets the third Saturday of each month, 9 a.m. to 12 noon, 7707 Koll Center Parkway, Suite 110, Pleasanton, CA. This is across from Gate 12 of the Pleasanton Fairgrounds. The first hour is instruction and answering questions. The balance of the time can be spent in working on your own information or having further discussions.

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Cancelled stamp

Sincerely, Lydia Gove Dwinnell

Submitted by Program Chair Mary Dillon

Part 1 of a letter written by Lydia Gove Dwinnell to her sister, Mary Gove, May 19, 1838, describing her wedding trip from Boston, Massachusetts to her new home in Spring Prairie, Wisconsin.

Milwaukee, May 19, 1838

How does my "Little Sister Mary" do today? I should like much to know, should like to see her, too, if I could conveniently, but I suppose it will do no good to waste paper about that which will not interest anyone; so I will begin to tell you about my own dear self. I do not know but you will feel disappointed in not receiving my journal, but please excuse it. I wrote frequently until I got to Buffalo, but was obliged to write with a pencil, and concluded on the whole that I would give it up, and charge my memory with everything of importance, presuming you would like a regular built letter quite as well as one written by piecemeal on board the boats. I will relieve your anxiety by saying that I am safely landed at Milwaukee after a prosperous journey, in good health and fine spirits, and then go back and give you some particulars.

We left Boston on Monday at past one p.m. (by stagecoach), arrived at Providence at 4, found George (Lydia's brother) and Mrs. Brown waiting for us. George had put a part of our freight on board the steamboat for N.Y., but we did not find him at the depot and went to a tavern, presuming the goods were not on board. When we learned how it was, we took the railroad for Stonington, Conn. where we arrived early in the eve, and there took a boat for N.Y.

By this route we escaped Point Judith and were not sick at all. I was very sleepy before leaving the cars, and took my berth as soon as I could after I got on board the steamboat, where I slept soundly all night, in spite of crying children, sick passengers and all the variety of noises which are sworn enemies to Nature's sweet restorer.

I rose about 5 o'clock in good health - we were then about 15 miles from N.Y., I should think: the prospect from the deck was extensive and the scenery beautiful beyond description. I could not help wishing sister Mary was with us, to admire the green fields, pleasant groves and splendid mansions which we were constantly passing. We landed at N.Y. at half-past six, left the boat at 7 for the Atlantic Hotel in Broadway.

After breakfast Ashley (husband, Solomon Ashley Dwinnell), went out on business, leaving Mrs. B. and myself to get along alone. We became tired of staying there, and as we were near the Battery, determined on a walk. So we tied our bonnets on and started off.

There were people, thousands I presume, on the Battery and Castle Garden waiting for a steamship to leave the harbor. We waited also and saw it leave. There were a great many people at the Tavern when we went there - so many that we could find no place to lay our heads at night; so we moved to Pearl St. where we found good accommodations. There we waited for George to come with the remainder of the goods. He arrived on Wednesday morning - went on board the steamboat Illinois at 5 p.m. There we found two Ladies Cabins filled with women and children. Almost every woman had one or more young musicians, whose notes were so soothing that I soon forgot from whence I was or whither bound.

We passed West Point and the Highlands before morning. Next day was cloudy and rainy, and our prospect, of course, limited; but not content in the cabin, I put my shawl and cloak on and staid on deck with my husband. We found a seat on the leeward side of the boat where we could see both shores. There is much of the beautiful and romantic on which to feast the eyes in passing up this fine river. Several elegantly built houses surrounded by forest trees, others by a plat of green grass, presented a very imposing appearance.

Ashley inquired several times if I would not like a home in one of those beautiful mansions, but received a negative answer. I was on my way to the log cabin and wished to go there. O, how I wish I was there this moment!

We arrived at Albany at 12 o'clock on Thursday and took passage on board the line boat Sandusky (on the Erie Canal) for Buffalo. After our goods were on board, I took a walk with Ashley to see the city. I did not think it very beautiful. Near the State House and Capitol it is pleasant, but most of the streets which I saw were filthy, the porkers run at large. I saw also cows in the streets. There was a disappointment about the horses which were to draw our boat and we did not leave Albany until Friday morning - slept on board, however. Soon after leaving Albany, we began to go through locks, and during the day passed 21. At the 2nd, Ashley, Mrs. B. and myself left the boat for a walk, kept the tow-path for a while, but finding that we gained upon the boat, rambled into the fields, visited the cahoes falls, and returned to the 13th lock, where we were obliged to wait nearly hour for the boat to come up; then jumped on board; and the weather was so unpleasant afterward that I did not get off to walk but once and then did not walk more than one mile.

We had a good deal of rain while on the canal, but contrived to make it pleasant in the cabin; had no passengers except our little company (save a few who were traveling a few miles) until we reached Utica. The scenery on the bank of the Mohawk is wild and romantic; the hills in this region are as high as in N.H., but not as rough.

Crossed the river twice in an aqueduct; passed considerable distance on the canal where the bank on the north side was from 10 to 70 feet high, as near as we could judge. It seemed impossible that a channel could have been cut through the strata of stone of different kinds. We passed one stone of a square, or I should say of a cubic, form about three feet in diameter which was beautiful. The middle was a light slate, surrounded by a regular stripe of a very dark color.

In some places there were a great number of Irish laborers widening the canal, and villages of mud hovels which told only of poverty and degradation.

We reached Fort Plain, 72 miles from Albany, in the P.M. of Saturday. The rains had raised the rivers which feed the canal to such a height as to render it necessary to shut the guard locks to prevent too great an abundance of water from flowing into it, and we were obliged to stop some hours sooner than was intended. Here we remained until 12 o'clock on Sabbath night. Other boats in the same situation started out on Sabbath morning (the Sandusky does not run on the Sabbath).

On Wednesday we passed one of those boats and I think it did not overtake us again before we reached Buffalo. Ashley went to meeting at Fort Plain in the morning alone; the weather was unpleasant and the roads rather muddy, but I went in the afternoon. This is a small village; there are 2 churches - Presbyterian and Methodist, I believe.

We were at Utica on Monday at 7 p.m., stopped 2 hours, took a short walk in the city. The streets are clean and wide and some of the buildings very handsome. I think on the whole it is as pleasant as any city we have passed.

Tuesday morn we found ourselves at Rome, 125 miles from Albany. On looking out I found we had got into the region of log-houses, and had abundant opportunity to gratify my curiosity by gazing at the exterior. They do not look precisely as I expected - rather better; but I will defer a description until I get home, when I hope to be able to give a more definite one than I can at present. We passed a great number during the day and judging from the appearance of the country around them I presume they will be inhabited by at least one more generation. The land is low and marshy, but generally covered with timber, which is its only recommendation.

We were at Syracuse at twilight; had not time to visit the salt works at Saline which we intended to do. Were at Rochester at 10 o'clock Thursday morning, did not leave until nearly night; visited Genesee Falls, the scene of Sam Patch's last act of folly. Our Captain's family live at Rochester. He took his wife and 3 little ones on board and brought them to Buffalo - those were the only children we were troubled with on the canal and they were very good. Two other ladies joined us there; one stopped at Buffalo, the other has gone to Chicago as a teacher.

We arrived at Buffalo Saturday morning. It is rather slow traveling on the canal, but our accommodations were better than I expected, we had pleasant company, good health, and time passed much pleasanter than I anticipated. We learned on reaching Buffalo that the steamboat Thomas Jefferson was going out at 8 in the eve, bound for Chicago. We had intended to spend the Sabbath at Buffalo, but should have been obliged to wait some days for a passage and thought best to go in the Jefferson.

This letter was written on a single sheet of paper, folded once, making a double sheet 7" x 9". A blank space 5" x 5" was reserved on the back of the last page for sealing and addressing, as there was no envelope, and the letter was addressed to:

Miss Mary H. Gove
Roxbury, Cheshire Co.

And marked "Paid" in the lower left-hand corner. The figure "25" was written on the corner where we now place the stamp, indicating that 25c was paid for postage. The letter was folded into a scant 5" x 3" size and sealed with a red seal.

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History book

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 a member of the Livermore Heritage Guild.

A Hindu Ashram in San Antone Valley

A group of 12 spiritual seekers of the Vedanta School of Philosophy appeared in San Antone Valley in August 1900. The land to which they had come had been given to the Society some years before, and was located near the end of Mines Road in Santa Clara County.

The purpose of the group was to find a spot void of civilization where each could do meditation leading to a realization of universal forgiveness, tolerance, and to a striving for truth that led to individual divinity. The development of the religious retreat was given to one Turiyananda by Swami Vivikananda, a prime mover of the settlement.

To begin with, there was only a cabin and a shed on the property, and the nearest water supply was six miles away. Through diligent effort, the disciples soon created more cabins, set up tents and erected an altar adorned with pictures of Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivikananda, both prominent leaders in the Society.

The settlement was now called the Shanti Ashram. Once the ashram was functioning, Swami Vivikananda returned to India where he died a few years later. After his departure, interest in the retreat waned, but each summer a party of novitiates, mostly ladies, would arrive to recharge their spiritual batteries, and so the population rose and fell.

A new swami, Trigantiti, was assigned to the ashram. He kept up the tenets of his beliefs. The religion was said to be a combination of theosophy, spiritualism, Mohammedism and Christianity. The Swamis claimed to have psychic powers, but their chief belief centered around the transmigration of souls.

The life a man leads, according to these worshippers, is never bad, but the general tendency is upward and the better the life, the better the animal to which the soul goes after the death of the body.

It was taught that marriage was shunned: a man must be alone and have plenty of time for contemplation, as marriage would hinder spiritual advancement.

Members of the ashram were vegetarians. Staples in the diet were rice, beans, potatoes and canned vegetables, no meat or animal products.

News about the ashram appeared intermittently in the local papers. Swami Trigantiti fell victim to a bomb thrower in San Francisco in 1914. He left an estate valued at $60,000. The next year, when his will was read, it was learned he had bequeathed the ashram and its improvements, to "the people of the universe." The court ruled that it belonged to the State of California, and the Public Administrator took charge of the property and its assets.

A member of the Vedanta Society soon started an action to recover the estate, claiming it was merely held in trust by the Swami. Little else is known about the fate of the Shanti Ashram. Was the Society able to successfully appeal the court ruling? How long was the ashram active? What was the total number of visitors? Were there other swamis assigned here? All that is known is that the ashram buildings burned in 1952.

A more complete account of the Shanti Ashram is found in Robert W. P. Cutler's, Red Mountain, available locally at the Livermore Heritage Guild History Center and at Goodenough Books, Livermore, CA.

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Rolled newspaper

Life in the Past Lane

Past President Jon Bryan

Why were they so negative and writing about a "last vintage?" The Eighteenth Amendment to our Constitution would become law in 1919. Also known as National Prohibition, it would be 14 years before the Twenty-First Amendment would reverse this law in 1933. What kept the grape growing and wine-making skills alive during this time? I have heard that growing and making of sacramental wines for churches was one of the legal ways! You can guess about the illegal ways.

The Livermore Herald of Oct. 21, 1918:

Valley's Last Vintage Drawing to a Close

Lack of Sugar in Grapes is Cause of Delay in Picking

What is probably destined to be the Livermore Valley's last vintage is drawing to a close. It has been a notable vintage in many ways. The heavy storm of September 12th and 13th was disastrous to the vineyards in the southern part of the valley, where the yield bade fair to be the heaviest in the history of the grape industry of the valley, extending over forty odd years. The heavy rainfall and the long-continued damp weather following caused the grapes to crack and mold and caused great loss, especially in the Zinfandel, Folle-Blanche and Columbar varieties. In the parts of the valley where the gravelly soil prevails the yield was lighter and the damage much less.

In all sections of the valley, however, there was a lack of sugar in the grapes due to the damp, foggy mornings and the dampness in the soil which caused new growth to start on the vines. This has caused much delay in harvesting the crops and while the situation is better at present conditions are by no means satisfactory to the winery men.

The vineyard men have been getting good prices for their grapes, $45 a ton being the prevailing price. Since the first few weeks of the season, there has been no marked scarcity of pickers. The growers are paying good prices, which have attracted considerable outside help and there would have been very little delay but for the lack of sugar. The growers and winery men alike have made up their minds that this is the valley's last vintage, but they share the fear that the bone-dry amendment may carry and shut off the market for this year's wines.

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Shelf of books

Library News

Librarian Judy Person

Not the newest news, but our Board has agreed that some books in our collection should be made available for checkout. Some have been chosen, and are awaiting processing. If you know a title that you think should be on the circulating shelves, let George Anderson or Judy Person know.

We recently received some new books, but the only one already processed is The Weekend Genealogist: Time-saving Techniques for Effective Research, by Marcia Yanizze Melnyk. Sounds like a good one for most of us. It is available to check out.

I'll report the names of the others as they become available. Remember that you can check on the availability of all the books online at Pleasanton Library www.ci.pleasanton.ca.us/library.html (there's a link on the L-AGS website). This may be a real time-saver, and more comfortable, too, since I see a lot of patrons using the catalog computers at the library. Librarian or not, I think it's easier to have access to authors, titles, AND subjects when I can't remember what that book was that I wanted to look up.

Members of the New England Historic Genealogical Society can instantly check the 1847-1994 back file of NEHGS Registers (the quarterly) online, tapping into such things as surnames, plus The Great Migration Begins 1620-1633; Massachusetts Soldiers in the Colonial Wars; Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850 (6 towns) and more. Members of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society can research the entire back file of the New York Times newspaper online, as well.

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Guidelines For Genealogical Self-Improvement and Growth

Recommended by the National Genealogical Society http://www.NGSgenealogy.org/comstandself.htm

Faced with ever-growing expectations for genealogical accuracy and reliability, family historians concerned with improving their abilities will, on a regular basis:

Study comprehensive texts and narrower-focus articles and recordings covering genealogical methods in general and the historical background and sources available for areas of particular research interest, or to which their research findings have led them.

Interact with other genealogists and historians in person or electronically, mentoring or learning as appropriate to their relative experience levels, and through the shared experience contributing to the genealogical growth of all concerned.

Subscribe to and read regularly at least two genealogical journals that list a number of contributing or consulting editors, or editorial board or committee members, and that require their authors to respond to a critical review of each article before it is published.

Participate in workshops, discussion groups, institutes, conferences and other structured learning opportunities whenever possible.

Recognize their limitations, undertaking research in new areas or using new technology only after they master any additional knowledge and skill needed and understand how to apply it to the new subject matter or technology.

Analyze critically at least quarterly the reported research findings of another family historian, for whatever lessons may be gleaned through the process.

Join and participate actively in genealogical societies covering countries, localities and topics where they have research interests, as well as the localities where they reside, increasing the resources available both to themselves and to future researchers.

Review recently published basic texts to renew their understanding of genealogical fundamentals as currently expressed and applied.

Examine and revise their own earlier research in the light of what they have learned through self-improvement activities, as a means for applying their newfound knowledge and for improving the quality of their work-product.

©2002 by National Genealogical Society. Permission is granted to copy or publish this material provided it is reproduced in its entirety, including this notice.

Dick Finn, L-AGS president, is interested in your thoughts as to how we can become better amateur genealogists and how that, in turn, will improve the services L-AGS can perform for our members. You can reach him with your comments at 925-447-9652 or rwfinn@pacbell.net.

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Oklahoma flag

Oklahoma Veteran Records No Longer Public

Fears of identity theft have prompted another state to remove records from public view. As of July 1, 2002, Oklahoma County Clerks can no longer allow genealogists or other researchers to see U.S. Department of Defense Form 214 records, which document military veterans' status and eligibility for benefits.

You can only access these records if you are the veteran, the veteran's spouse or child, a guardian with power of attorney, a Department of Defense representative, a funeral director or other person authorized by the court to do so. In recent months, California, Texas and Maine have also removed vital records from public scrutiny because of concerns about identity theft.

Reprinted with permission from Family Tree Magazine Email Update, copyright 2002 F&W Publications Inc. To subscribe to this free weekly e-mail newsletter, go to http://www.familytreemagazine.com/newsletter.asp. For a free sample copy of the print Family Tree Magazine, America's #1 family history magazine, go to http://www.familytreemagazine.com/subscribe_mag.html.

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Filing cabinet

Things to File

By Lois Barber

Memory Medallion

Can you imagine visiting a cemetery and being able to read, see, and even hear details about that family member, friend or famous individual? Modern technology can now provide the capability to leave a message for future genealogists. For more information visit www.memorymedallion.com, or see Family Chronicle, July/August 2002, page 5.

Ancestral Multi-Generational Photographs

Almost every family has a photograph that includes three generations. Photographs with four generations are obviously much less common. At Family Chronicle, we are interested in reader pictures, which include four or more generations. We have heard of, though not seen, family photographs of as many as six generations.

We are inviting our readers to send us photographs where four or more generations of a family are shown together at one time. We will feature them in an upcoming article with a working title of "Ancestral Generations of Our Readers," so please include a few details on the family that we will include as a caption to the picture. We would prefer that the pictures be e-mailed to photos@familychronicle.com. They should be scanned at 300 dpi and sent to us in a compressed JPEG format. We will accept copies of photographs, but please do not send originals. Color photocopies of black and white or sepia-tone photographs are acceptable, since regular black and white photocopiers do not reproduce well. They should be sent to either address: Moorshead Magazines Ltd., 505 Consumers Road, Suite 500, Toronto, ON, M2J 4V8 Canada or Family Chronicle, PO Box 1111, Niagara Falls, NY 14304-1111. Please send photographs to arrive by 31 August 2002.

From Family Chronicle, July/August 2002, page 4.

Search Engine

Looking for something new and different? Try Teoma. It offers three kinds of results for each query. On the left of the result page are "relevant web pages" that are similar to what other engines produce. On the right are two other kinds of results: "Refine," a list of "suggestions to narrow you search," and "Resources," which are "link collections from experts and enthusiasts." Try it at http://www.teoma.com.

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G. R. O. W.

(Genealogy Resources On the Web - The Page That Helps Genealogy Grow!)

Compiled by Frank Geasa

This site offers a listing of the 1930s city directories available at the Family History Library, which might assist you in using the 1930 U.S. census. The film numbers for ordering them for loan through a local Family History Center are also given.

The National Archives of Canada now has the 1901 census online. You must know the location you are looking for and some aids are provided to assist you in this.

An index of naturalizations records in King County, (Brooklyn) New York for the period 1907 - 1924 compiled by the Jewish Genealogy Society of Long Island is available for search at

A similar index for Nassau County, New York is offered by the Italian Genealogy Society at

If your ancestors were Norwegian, this site offers good links, including one with on-line capability to search the 1865, 1875 and 1900 Norwegian Census.

Having trouble with the Norwegian naming conventions? This site may be helpful.

This site provides a guide on how to find an obituary or other information from newspapers in various libraries.

A database of over 125,000 World War I service cards has been transcribed and made available for online search by the Missouri state archives.

If you are interested in Cherokee Indian genealogy you will want to visit this Chickamauga-Cherokee site offering many useful links and free look-ups.

If you are starting your research in Italy, this is a useful site to guide you with many good resource links and with various search lists.

An unusual site, it lists Parish Clerks and other officials such as Church Wardens, Sextons, etc., in England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Northern Island, The Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. Organized by county, it often includes comments and sources.

The site of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service offers, among other things, a list of the entry points from Canada into the US that are generally associated with the St. Albans List. The site also has interesting information on Chinese immigrant files.

Do you have trouble distinguishing between a second cousin and a second cousin once removed? If so, you might find the relationship chart and explanation at the following site helpful.

Do you wonder if your ancestor was a POW during the American Civil War? You can search for both Union and Confederate prisoners at http://pacivilwar.com/pow/.

If you are wondering if there is a city directory for a U.S. location and date you are interested in and where you might find a copy, this site might help: http://www.uscitydirectories.com/.

If you think your ancestor might buried in a national cemetery, you might want to visit http://www.findagrave.com/surnames.html.

You can also search the 85,000+ burials at the Los Angeles National Cemetery online at http://www.interment.net/data/us/ca/losangeles/lanat/index.htm

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Upcoming Seminars and Workshops

By Corresponding Secretary Marie Ross

August 24 - Grass Valley, CA - Nevada County Genealogical Society presents Hank Jones speaking on four different topics at the First Baptist Church, 1866 Ridge Road, Grass Valley, CA. For information, see the web site at www.rootsweb.com/~cancgs.

September 14 and September 28 - Oakland, CA - California Genealogical Society presents "Beginning Genealogy" with Bette Kott, 9:30 a.m. to noon. For the beginner or someone with paper management questions. Preregistration required. $15 for members, $20 for others. Form available at their web site www.calgensoc.org under "Special Events" or call 510-663-1358.

September 24 - Sacramento, CA - Sacramento German Genealogical Society offers "Documentation: Keeping Records That Are Accurate, Retrievable, and Free of Doubtful or Incomplete Information," by Chuck Knuthson, at St. Mark's United Methodist Church, Lusk Drive at St. Mark's Way, Sacramento (east of Country Club Plaza), 1 to 3 p.m. No fee. Contact MBorger548@aol.com or MiltKelly@Novato.net.

October 5 - Tracy, CA - Tracy Area Genealogical Society hosts an auction/seminar fundraiser at the Lolly Hansen Senior Center, 375 9th Street, Tracy. For information, contact Jan James at ljjames@inreach.com.

October 19 - Oakland, CA - California Genealogical Society presents Gordon L. Remington, FUGA, FASG, with three lectures on finding your big city ancestors, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Includes book signing, wine reception, silent auction, and door prizes. James Irvine Conference Center, 353 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza in the Dalziel Building, a block from the CGS Library, Oakland, CA. Topics include: Needle in a Haystack: Urban Research Techniques; A Spurious Odor: Case Studies in Genealogical Fraud; A Rich Legacy: New York State Probate Records. Limited to 100 participants. Registration form available at their web site under "Special Events" at www.calgensoc.org or call 510-663-1358.

October 20 - Oakland, CA - California Genealogical Society presents a follow-up to their seminar. An opportunity to schedule a 20-minute "One-on-one" personal consultation with Gordon L. Remington to secure help or direction in solving knotty research problems. Appointments required. $20 per consultation. Registration form available at their web site under "Special Events" at www.calgensoc.org or call 510-663-1358.

October 22 - Sacramento, CA - Sacramento German Genealogy Society offers "Marriage in Germany: A Look at Practices from 1500 to 1900," by Roger P. Minert, at St. Mark's United Methodist Church, Lusk Drive at St. Mark's Way, Sacramento (east of Country Club Center), 1 to 3 p.m. No fee. Contact MBorger548@aol.com or MiltKelly@Novato.net.


March 22 - Sonoma County Genealogical Society - All-day seminar with Sharon DeBartolo Carmack, CG, FUGA, at Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park. Topics will be: Flesh on the Bones: Putting Your Ancestors into Historical Perspective; From Yawner to Page Turner: Writing a Compelling Family History; The Silent Woman: Bringing a Name to Life; Cryptic Clues in the Bone Yard. Pre-registration recommended. $18 for members, $22 for non-members, $25 at the door. Send registrations to Audrey Phillips, 96 Eastside Circle, Petaluma, CA 94954-3609. Also check their web site at www.scgs.org.

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Work group

Livermore Roots Tracer Staff


Mildred Kirkwood
Debbie Pizzato
Vicki Renz


George Anderson
Cassie Wood
Vicki Renz

Printing & Distribution

Joyce Siason
Eileen Redman

Staff Contributors

Gary Drummond - Livermore History
Frank Geasa - G.R.O.W.
Jon Bryan - Life in the Past Lane
Kay Speaks - Study Group
Jim Lathrop - Computer Interest Group
Dick Finn - Family Tree Maker Group
Judy Person - Library News
Kay Speaks - Tri-Valley TMG User Group
Marie Ross - Seminars and Workshops

Thank you to Lois Barber for her past contributions to the Things to File page.

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Library cart

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 modified 10may04.0547 gwa