L-AGS color logo

The Livermore Roots Tracer

Volume XXIII Number 2

May 2003

Editors: Debbie Pizzato and Mildred Kirkwood

Web Editor: Vicki Renz

The Roots Tracer is a quarterly publication with articles of interest to the genealogist. Members are encouraged to submit articles of general interest. Queries are free.
It 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

Membership News President's Message Catalog - L-AGS
Genealogy Pamphlet File
The Master Genealogist Future Programs Study Group
Family Tree Maker Group L-AGS Tape Library L-AGS Seminar
Civil War Letter of 1864 Who Am I? In Memoriam - Linda Libby
Livermore Valley History Livermore Presbyterian History Sutro Saturday Hours Discontinued
Life in the Past Lane -
Wendell Jordan
East Alameda County
Death Index Project
Letter Writing Campaign
G.R.O.W. Things to File Library Notes
Seminars Colossal Colon Tour Roots Tracer Staff


Membership News

2003 Membership Chair Jane Southwick

Welcome to Our New Members

Dorothy Bridges Mary Duncan Susan Junk
Marie Schweickert Kathleen Volpe Rex Whisnand

Membership Report As of April 10, 2003

Membership Types and Number

Total Individuals

Individual Members



Family Members



Life Members






Honorary/Charter Members



Honorary Members



Total Memberships




Return to Table of Contents


President's Message

President Dick Finn

I continue to be amazed by all of the activities that our L-AGS members are involved in. George Anderson and his crew have just finished indexing all of the genealogy materials in the hanging folders at the Pleasanton Library.

David and Jolene Abrahams and another group are working hard in preparing for our joint seminar with the local LDS churches in November. David also leads groups indexing some very interesting valley records. While our effort to index the pre-1905 California death records from microfilmed Alameda County records is on hold again, David has discovered other materials that we can index (mortuary records, for example) to generate a pre-1905 death index.

One of our most energetic members, Wilma Myers, and her husband Bob, are moving to Arizona. We will miss Wilma. She has been a sparkplug with new ideas. She also has been a contributor to The Roots Tracer with some very interesting articles. Another couple we sure will miss in an active roll in L-AGS is George and Harriet Anderson. They will be retiring from active leadership which has included being Webmaster, Roots Tracer spell master, co-leader of the FTM group, Pleasanton Library Genealogy Docent, past L-AGS President, publisher of L-AGS books, and active in most undertakings of L-AGS. I understand that between them, George and Harriet have written or edited over 30 books and articles on genealogy. They have their own website. We sure are going to miss George (some people call him the L-AGS energizer bunny) and Harriet and wish them the very best. I am very happy to say that Doug Mumma and Vicki Renz have accepted the positions of Webmaster and Assistant Webmaster. We are fortunate that Larry Renslow will continue on as our Web Postmaster.

As I wrote above, we have projects underway (under the leadership of David Abrahams) to index Livermore-Amador Valley records for deaths and funerals. We hope to start indexing local church records for baptisms, marriages, and burials. We have a number of other projects that we are thinking about, including resurveying all of the valley cemeteries. If you can help with any of these projects or think of others we might be involved in, please contact any board members.

Return to Table of Contents


Catalog of the L-AGS Genealogy Pamphlet File

George Anderson <gwajr-at-comcast.net>

This new publication on our website was compiled by Lois Barber, Caroline Foote, Frank Geasa, Mary Maenchen, Vicki Renz, Del Warren and George Anderson.

A link to this new page is found under "Local Libraries and Family History Centers" on our home page at <http://www.L-AGS.org>.

The pamphlet file is a collection of documents ranging in length from one page to several hundred pages. For one reason or another, these documents are not suited for shelving with the reference books in our collection at the Pleasanton Library. There is some wonderful stuff hidden in these files. For instance, how about "Canadian Census Listings," 268 pages? Or, "Sven, you vant to meet yure roots? Yew betcha," a newspaper clipping. Or, "Here’s looking for you, Sweetheart: Tracking down old pals."

One feature of this file is a collection of the class notes and handouts at L-AGS meetings. For instance, "Deciphering Old Handwriting - Study Group, March 2001," 100 pages.

The pamphlet catalog is included in the pages covered by our site-wide search engine. As an example, I looked for "betcha," appearing in the title of an article mentioned above. The search engine found the article, as well as the name "Pauline Betchart," the next of kin listed in one of our cemetery publications.

The new catalog is also being printed on paper, with a 1500-entry index. The paper catalog will be kept on the library counter by the pamphlets, for ready reference. It will also be offered for sale by our Publications Chair, Donna Fleckner. Send your request to her at publications@L-AGS.org.

Return to Table of Contents

Old sailing ship

Tri-Valley TMG Users Group

By Kay Speaks

The Master Genealogist, Version 5, has recently been rated the overall number one genealogy software by author Bill Mumford, creator of the popular Genealogy Software Report Card. It is a wonderful tool for the serious and beginner researcher.

One of the tips recommended by professional researchers is to chronologically sort research data and read it from start to finish. The goal is to know your focus person so that he or she is more than just dry dates and facts. You want to be able to visualize his life events and then determine your next research task.

One of the most useful features of TMG is the ability to see at a glance the many events associated with a person’s life, the personal and witnessed events, their children, their siblings, and their image. You determine the way you want to view this screen. I’ve provided two different screen shots as an example.

Screen shot #1

In the first example, in the upper portion of the detail box, is the focus person’s name, Frank Alexander, his lifespan, his parent’s names and their life span, the number of his children from all spouses, and his surname Soundex code. Below this section is an area reserved for the details of Frank Alexander’s life events listed in sort date order. You will note TMG allows for unlimited entries for various events in a person’s life. For example, you may have a primary name used for your reports and still maintain as many other name variations as you find during your research from census records, bible records, etc. When there are multiple entries for a specific type of event, the researcher selects the primary one to use in reports, which is indicated by an asterisk (*) located to the left of the event. To the right of an event is an optional column that indicates the age of Frank at the time of the specific event. The "M" column is used to indicate a memo was added and the "S" column represents source detail availability.

Screen shot #2

You may personalize your TMG layout to show a photo of your focus person or any other scanned document. The screen below the image indicates Frank’s children’s birth and death years, their gender and their spouse. The check mark to the left of the birth year indicates this is a child of the last viewed spouse and the arrow indicates this child has descendants. The box below the children section is used to indicate similar information about Frank’s siblings.

TMG has many default events defined, but you may create as many new event definitions as you wish. Want to track medical conditions in your family? You could create a medical event tag. TMG does not limit the types or number of events you may use. With the ability to customize and add data capture fields within TMG, you can make the software conform to your personal research needs.

The Tri-Valley TMG Users Group meets on the third Thursday of each month, 9:00 a.m. to noon at 7077 Koll Center Parkway, Suite 110, Pleasanton, CA. A map to this meeting place is available on our web site.

Return to Table of Contents

Slide projector

Future Programs

From Mary Dillon

The General Meeting topics for the next 3 months will be:

June 10: What L-AGS has to offer members / L-AGS booth at the Alameda County Fair.

July 8: Member Sharing. Come and tell us about your successes and brick walls.

August 12: Daughters of the American Revolution presentation.

Return to Table of Contents

Dalmatian puppies

Study Group

Kay Speaks, Leader

Are all your missing ancestors starting to look the same? Need some help with your research? The Study Group focuses on techniques, methodology, tips and general topics to enhance your knowledge of genealogy research. A different topic is covered each month, with handouts and samples provided.

If you have successes to share or brick walls to climb, this is the L-AGS group for you! Do you have a passion for genealogy that isn’t shared by your family and friends? Do you get that "here they go again" look when you start talking about your family history? Experience the friendship and support that go hand-in-hand with a genealogy society study group – when someone has a positive experience in their research we all share the excitement and experience!

Planning a Research Trip to San Francisco

Guest Speaker: James Smith

May 15, 2003

As you know, we are very lucky to live in the San Francisco Bay Area with its many rich genealogical research resources. We are the envy of people around the globe.

Our May guest speaker is James Smith, a sixth generation Californian and a fourth generation native of the City of San Francisco. Jim is an experienced genealogical and historical researcher with published credit in the books When All Roads Led to Tombstone by W. Lane Rogers and Wendy Lawton’s Almost Home and Ransom’s Mark. His work on San Francisco genealogical research began in 1992. He was a significant contributor to NORCAL-L and CASANFRA-L until 2001. Jim currently focuses his energy on his publishing career and continues his lookup work as part of the NorCal Library. Jim’s genealogical web postings include:



We hope you plan to attend this exciting presentation. A map to the church is available on our web site at <www.l-ags.org/mocho.html>.

Return to Table of Contents

Looking at computer

Family Tree Maker Focus Group

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 p.m. at the Livermore Adult Education Facility, Room 8 (note change), 543 Sonoma Avenue, Livermore. A map to the school is available on our web site at   <www.l-ags.org/sonoma.html>.

Most of our group are FTM users (from beginners – even those who have not yet installed FTM – to experts) who discuss problems and solutions, share successes, answer questions, and in general help each other with the Family Tree Maker software. At recent meetings we have talked about using shortcuts in FTM to input data, generating different types of 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 generating PDF and GEDCOM files.

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 ftm.chair@L-AGS.org. Contact Dick for information about topics to be discussed. Visitors are welcome and there is no charge to attend. Bring your questions, comments, and handbook and if you have a laptop with FTM installed, you might bring it also.

Return to Table of Contents

Video cassettes

L-AGS Tape Library

by Kathleen Young

Our tape library currently has 48 cassette tapes and 23 video tapes. A special thank you goes out to those who have donated tapes over the past year: Mildred Kirkwood, Ron Fugazzi and Jim Burt of Comcast-Channel 26.

The new titles include:

L-2: Livermore-Amador Genealogical Society 25th Anniversary
Members share memories of how the organization was formed and about past events.

L-15: The Lyster Project
Information and techniques gathered in researching the Lyster family as that family traveled from Ireland to New South Wales to San Francisco and finally to Dublin, California is shared. A wide variety of records were used and many may be helpful for researching your own ancestors.

V-17: An Evening with Dr. Grace Devnich: Livermore Medicine in the Old Days
Dr. Devnich talks about coming to Livermore in 1948 to set up a medical practice with her husband, and about the many hospitals in the valley.

V-18: Historic Pleasanton Downtown Stroll 1850-2002
With Charles Huff, Architect/Historian. An armchair stroll without the "blisters." A well presented history with photos from the past and present.

V-19: Family Tree DNA Presents: Genealogy by Genetics Through the Eyes of Our Customers
L-AGS member Doug Mumma is featured.

V-20, V-21: Family Tree from the History Channel: "Time Machine"
An overview of why it’s important to know about your ancestry and some sources to find the answers.

V-22: Livermore - A Documentary by Rachel Raney and David Murray
A comedic film. It inspires you to write about your own home before you bury those memories and can’t quite dig them up!

V-23: Family Tree Maker Version 9 Instructions
The most widely used genealogy program. It presents a good introduction and demonstration of what the program can do.

To ensure our library continues to grow, members who have outgrown cassette and video tapes from past conferences are encouraged to donate them to the library so that they may be shared with other members. There is also the possibility of doing a 50/50 purchase with L-AGS as we have done with the CDs in our Pleasanton Library collection. This could be available for future purchases of conference tapes that would be of interest to the membership. Please contact the Board or Robbie Robinson with suggestions.

(Editor's note: The complete list of audio and video tapes in our collection is available on this web site at http://www.l-ags.org/audio.video.html.)

Return to Table of Contents


L-AGS Seminar

By David Abrahams

L-AGS has been asked by our friends at the LDS Church to co-sponsor a genealogy seminar with them later this year. The date has been set for November 8, and it will be at the LDS Church facility, 950 Mocho Street, Livermore.

The committee, under the leadership of Jolene Abrahams (L-AGS) and Warren White (LDS), has begun to meet to plan this event.

We want to have speakers who will talk on beginning and intermediate genealogy subjects. There will also be displays and classes regarding the latest computer technology and software for genealogists. At this time, we are still looking for speakers. If you know of anyone who you think will give a good talk on a relevant subject, please contact Jolene at 447-9386.

The committee will keep you posted as we get closer to the date. We will need more help as time draws nearer, so if you would like to volunteer to help us, please call Jolene. We are sure there will be something for everyone at this seminar!

Return to Table of Contents

Tennessee flag

A picture of the flag for the Confederate 3rd East Tennessee.
It is in the Tennessee State Library & Archives.

Civil War Letter From C. C. Smith, 1864

From Connie Pitt

(Editors Note: We realize that some of the language in this letter is not politically correct. We do not intend to offend any person or group by publishing it. However, we feel that it does reflect the attitude and language usage at the time of the Civil War, giving us a broader understanding of the time period.)

One of my second cousins had this letter and I just recently received it. We are not sure of the relationship of C. C. Smith but his sister, Hettie, could be married into the family line of Gills in Southern Kentucky. More research needs to be done on this.

Nathan McLean was a Brigadier General and wrote a report on the skirmish in or near Georgia that C.C.Smith was part of. The original report is in the Cornell University Manuscript Library.

This historically important letter shows us the horrors of war in 1864.


Camp of the 3rd O N C McLean

Neer Light House Parish

July 5th, 1864

My Dear Sister Hettie

??????????????? The glorious old fourth has passed and gone and we as a nation know not whether to rejoice or be downcast. We can rejoice that our army is yet unbroken and is yet passing the enemy, but we may well sorrow at the loss of so many lives.

I spent my Fourth very different from my usual custom I generaly yeil to make all the noise and uproar possible: but this time I was glad to get away from the horrid, pop of the carbines and the roar of the cannon and be with brother’s John and Joseph.

The Cav Corpse is now all together, and John is at Head Reg. You may believe he is nicely fir(n?)ed, He has a Corp’ and eight men under him a large tent, and plenty to eat, there is more respect shown him than any Cap’ in our Reg’ Joseph and I took dinner with him yesterday, we had a fine meal, for dessert he had Apple Dumplins with dip over them.

When I last wrote home we were about starting on a raid sinc then I wish I could give you a correct account of each day by its self but would have time nor room, but I will say I have passed through what I hope I may never be called upon to pass through again, we lived on three days rations ten days, stealing somthing from our southern brothrens. Some days we feasted on fride ham (taken from Reb:smoke house) stude onions (from Reb: gardens)and slap jacks (from Reb meal bag). Others we eat raw onions and ham uncooked, while still others we eat nothing, which was the only meal we did not steal (or you may apply any other epithet you please).

We marched in overcoming every thing burning bridges railroads and tobacco and robbing smoke houses corn barnes, and private houses and finily mounting a Troop of Nigras on their Masters horses, which troop hundred joined, on foot, of both sexes, from the crippled old man of seventy to the infant in its mothers arms striving to keep up with a raiding lead force.

Some of the Mothers would carry her infant until she would become tired when she would lay it down at the foot of some tree to perish, others would carry them to camp and smother them in a blanket, while still others were reserved to be thrown into the bushes at the last stampeed. This may be hard to believe but I tell it not from hearsay, but I saw it with my own eyes.

Often we had penetrated almost to Georgia and had accomplished our object we turned our horses heads home and tired and worn out we marched all day and at night for once since we left home were alowed to lay down and sleep and Oh how sweet. The next day we marched all day and most of the night were so tired we said we will shurly have rest to night, but no far from rest on this earth.

Some did rest from their wils on earth others, were placed in ambulances to have their wounds racked over ruff roads and those that had passed the terrible ordeal with sad hearts and tired limbs to press forward. That night there was the heavyest or one of the heavyest fight of the war. There was three or four killed and twenty two wounded from our Reg’.

the next day Gen Wilson (for he was our commander) led us up to about twenty Regs’ of the enemy and stopped us for two hours within gun shot of two heavy lines of infantry, and let the Reb’ Gen. carry out his flanking movement at pleasure, when he found he was thurougly surrounded retreated, as best he could and sent word to the 3rd O V 6th N Y to get out the best they could

The Doctor and myself went to the ambulances. we found them all correlled and the horces taken off, which well men had mounted leaving the wounded in the hands of the enemy. The wagons wer all on fire and piles of ammunition was being consumed. We waited there until every thing had gone, before we started and it was the hardest thing I ever did was is take the hands of those wounded boys and say good by.

When we mounted our horces and rode in the rode the Rebs’ were coming in our rear double quick there was nothing between us them

The Doctor put spurs to his horce and I followed. When an officer of our army put a problem in my face and ordered me to hold or he would shoot me, but one thousand pistole would not have stopped me I brushed it one side and on I went we turned into a lot to our left to get from the terrible jam of our moving troop (which by the way were not moving at a less rate than a lead run and went on, untill we came to a ditch about twenty feet wide by ten deep banks strate up and down, there happened to be a little drean where our horce could go down in case of immergincy but there were a hunderd and fifty men collected right now to the left.

My little pony caried me through and you may imagine how much I think of him. That night as soon as we got within our pickits we laid down and having had any thing but a little raw ham for two whole days and slept. Doctor said he had been in some pretty tight places but that was the neerest being captured he even was By the way, I should state we run five miles without breathing. The Doctor was all the time uneasy for fear I would be captured, he did not seem to think of himself, if at any time on the Raid he got any thing to eat no matter how hungry he was if he thought I wers hungry he would come and give me half. The more I know him the more I love him. The next day we were half starved marched into breast work [definition: building temporary fortifications] where lousy nigras had lain, given half days ration, which we had to make last two days and were told to defend them. We are now in pretty good quarters, and we are going to stay here, sometime

Hettie I have passed through all this and way about six or eight pounds more than I did when I started. Wilson finily got out, having gone one hundred and the Rebs’ were coming double quick all we could do was not to wait for more men but charge in which we did and often floundering and floping and riding into and down we reached the other side (wher set a nigra baby all alone yeling at the top of its voice to complecx the confution) then it was a run for dear life for there the balls flew. I saw a horce and rider at the right of me boath fall stone dead. We rushed on got into the woods, went about a mile when I found my selves with the 3rd O [( or Q)] hatless, overcoatless and swordless, but alive, unhurt and with the Doctor.

We then marched on very quick for some miles when we come to the bloody railroad but not a Reb was in site, nor was there a shot fired until we were across about two miles and thought we were safe when bang bang right in our rear told us our danger. the cry went Forward in front and that whole mas went forward at the dead run and you can not imagine what a crushing jam there wers horces who had not the strength went down and their rider was crushed. For no one turned to the miles farther than we did.

Hettie tell Mother I received her letter of June 19th when I returned from the raid and one from you also which I espected to find of later date but low and behold it was May 4th you see where some of my letters went to. Give My love to Mother and tell her I hope I may be able to come back to her somtime. John will go, in twenty five more days, out of the army. Joseph I think will be able to go in two or three months, I do not think the war will not be over in two years.

we yet have a mighty work before us and that is the time when I go. Give my love to all of Ediths family and tell them all to write to me. How much I wonder how you all are Hettie I must close this letter I have written it with a very poor pen. Good by.

From, your affectionate brother

C. C. Smith

Joseph sends his love

Return to Table of Contents

Question mark

Who Am I?

By Linda Garrett

A daughter, a mother, a sister, a wife....
A few of the titles that describe my life.
An American with a heritage from many a land.
I research my roots so I can understand........

I'm a detective of sorts, a descendant of many,
A family historian of my modern day clan.
Sorting through names and dates and places
Reaching my goal to understand.........

I'm the end product of those who have been.
They live through me, they were my kin.
My smile, my tastes, a certain stance....
Inherited from an ancestor perchance?

The question, "Who am I? was answered long ago.
John Quincy Adams said it, and I believe it's so.
His words profound, in my heart they stir,
"Who we are.......is who we were."

Return to Table of Contents

Vase of flowers

In Memoriam

By Jon Bryan

It is sad to report that L-AGS member Linda Libby passed away on Friday March 14, 2003. We will miss her. Linda and husband Mark were special volunteers at our Genealogy Booth at the Alameda County Fair each year.

The Tri-Valley Herald carried this obituary on page Local-6.

"Linda Libby enjoyed sculpting, cooking and gardening

Livermore - Linda Libby, a homemaker, died Friday, March 14, 2003. She was 56.

Mrs. Libby was born in Glendale on Oct. 4, 1946. She lived in Livermore for 23 years and loved to play Bunco. She was a former president of Love a Doll Club. Active in the schools of her children, she was a Girl Scout leader and also helped with Boy Scouts activities. In addition to cooking and gardening, Mrs. Libby was an artist who worked with sculptures.

Mrs. Libby is survived by her husband of 29 years, Mark Libby; daughter, Erica Libby of Livermore; sons, Thomas Libby of Berkeley and David Libby of Livermore; and sisters, Charlene Murray of Seattle and Gloria Jean Alfson of Sparks, Nev.

Visitation will be from 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Callaghan Mortuary, 3833 East Ave., Livermore. Funeral services will be at 1 p.m. Wednesday at Callaghan Mortuary.

Burial will be private at Memory Gardens Cemetery. Memorial gifts can be made in Mrs. Libby's name to Hope Hospice, 6500 Dublin Blvd., Suite 100, Dublin 94568."

Return to Table of Contents

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 on the Board of Directors of the Livermore Heritage Guild.


In the last quarter of the 19th Century farmers in the far east end of Livermore Valley were discovering some unusual natural phenomena. In boring a water well, one farmer hit a gas pocket, and fearing a fire that could destroy his crops, promptly filled it in. Rumors of possible gas and oil strikes persisted for years.

A noted geologist, visiting here in 1885, predicted that "oil would never be found in paying quantities in this vicinity because the strata is so inclined that oil drains toward the San Joaquin Valley and cannot accumulate here." Despite this dire prediction, prospectors walked the territory to locate likely spots where oil might be discovered.

By 1900 enough evidence of oil sands had been uncovered to attract investors. Oil exploration companies sprang up like modern day dot com’s. The Alameda Oil Company was formed; the Pleasanton Oil Company attracted some investors; the Livermore Oil Company did likewise; the Alisal Oil Company was another start-up. The Alameda wells usually turned out to be artesians with good quality water.

The Fifteen-Three Oil Company began operations in Section 15, Township 3E just before 1900. Optimistic prospects abounded from the beginning. A second well was started. The media reported that the well was down nearly 1000 feet. Indications of oil looked good and the company was "confident of striking oil in large quantities and of a superior quality."

But a year later, the Fifteen-Three was in trouble. The company had issued assessment notices to its stockholders. Delinquent notices went out to those who ignored the call. So the company re-called the stock of those who refused to pay. Another year went by before Fifteen-Three management issued another assessment notice. It was obvious by this time the company was in trouble. Fifteen-Three was finally declared defunct in 1908, and its equipment sold. The property owner sued because the company had not fulfilled its agreement to fill in the well holes and restore the premises to their original condition when operations ceased.

Meanwhile, wildcat exploration began in the Midway area. More news of enthusiastic prospects was circulated. The new Midway-Altamont field is on the verge of oil discovery, the Livermore Herald reported. For several years, reports that "oil indications continue good" and "there is renewed activity in local fields" kept making media headlines. A real strike was never made.

Return to Table of Contents


Livermore Presbyterian History

We have copies of  125 Years, A History Of The First Presbyterian Church, Livermore, California 1871-1996 by Julia A. Kleineke. This publication has been expanded and updated by Garrett B. Drummond. If you would like a copy for a donation of $5.00 plus any shipping costs, please contact Dick Finn.

Return to Table of Contents


Sutro Saturday Hours To Be Discontinued

From Martha Whittaker, Reference Librarian
Sutro Library, 480 Winston Drive, San Francisco CA 94132
415-557-0421; fax: 415-557-9325

As of May 1, 2003, the Sutro Library will no longer have Saturday hours. Budget cuts require discontinuing those hours.

Return to Table of Contents

Rolled-up newspaper

Life in the Past Lane

By Jon Bryan

Continuing the Saga of Wendell Jordan and Family

Sometimes when we are researching using newspapers about one of our ancestors, we will find news articles about an accident, death, obituary and funeral, followed by reading and settling the estate. To find all of these types of articles for one individual is rather unusual. Often we find only one or two of these different categories of newspaper articles.

Last quarter in Roots Tracer we read about the accidental death of brewer Wendell Jordan who was scalded in a vat of malt in 1901. In this case the accident and death were in the same article. That article mentioned Mrs. Jordan (but not her first name) and a daughter Ada. What else might we be able to learn about them? What genealogical tools and databases might we use to find more information? Where were they buried?

I input "Jordan" into the search engine on our L-AGS website at <http://www.l-ags.org>, and found about 17 matches. The 1880 Federal Census for Murray Township shows (self) Wendell Jordan, age 42 and single, a brewer who was born in Bavaria. The next entry is a brother Conrad Jordan, age 35 and single, a butcher who was also born in Bavaria. Please let me know if you find information about this Conrad Jordan.

Under the Jordan family plot in the Roselawn Memorial Park on pages 19 and 20 (still using our search engine), I found:

Jordan..........Wendell Sep 22 1837-Jan 17 1901
Jordan..........Gertrude E. Apr 9 1858-Dec 26 1941
Jordan..........Marvel K. Nov 2 1890-Mar 7 1891 Johnson.........Reuben nd
Johnson.........Mary nd
Johnson.........Louis nd

Might the maiden name of Mrs. Jordan have been Johnson? Were these three Johnson names relatives or friends of the Jordan family and what were their ages?

The Roselawn Cemetery burial records show: Jordan, Gertrude (Abt 1858) 26 Dec 1941 83y 2-7-
6 F Hamilton & Riley Oroville Ada Jordan, Ashes Buried In Plot

The Schellens references show: Jordan, Wendell, 1874, Livermore Brewery, 65:153, 157, 168, 171, 179, 194, 205

When I input "Wendell" rather than "Jordan" into the search engine, I found about nine matches. When the references include "Index J," they are more likely to include a Jordan.

The local newspaper index by Bunshah (CD-ROM - I, 1899-1929) also gives us some clues. Jan 26, 1901 2.2 Jordan, Wendell <obituaries>.

"Last Sad Rites.

Held Over the Remains of Wendell Jordan Last Sunday.

The funeral services over the remains of the late Wendell Jordan took place at Masonic Hall Saturday afternoon at 3 o’clock after a brief service conducted by at the residence by Rev. Arthur Hicks. The services were conducted by Mosaic Lodge, No. 218, F. and A. M., of which lodge deceased had long been a member. The casket reposed on a platform in front of the Worshipful Master’s station surrounded by floral pieces. All the remainder of the space had been devoted to seats which were occupied by friends of the departed and by the time set for the beginning of the service there were no longer any seats left and a number of late comers were compelled to stand. Although the services were conducted by the Masons, the Eastern Star, Odd Fellows, and Hermann Sons had large delegations present. The music was furnished by a special choir. The Masonic service was solemn and impressive in the extreme. Upon the conclusion of the ceremony those present were given an opportunity to view the remains as they filed out.

The remains were taken to San Francisco Sunday morning accompanied by delegations from the various lodges, the Fire Department and a number of friends and were cremated at the Odd Fellows Crematory. The ashes were brought to Livermore Tuesday and interred in the family plot in the Masonic cemetery.

The floral tributes at the funeral were the most numerous and costly ever seen at a funeral in Livermore."

Return to Table of Contents

California outline

Eastern Alameda County Death Index Project

David Abrahams

About a year ago, L-AGS was invited to participate in an Internet project to index all deaths in California prior to 1905. The reason 1905 was chosen is because before that time, there were no requirements to file death records with the state of California. The only records that were kept were either by mortuaries or undertakers, or by other local entities.

This article is a short "status report" of where we are today with the indexing project.

At the outset, it was difficult to determine what records were, in fact, available to us. However, after some investigation, it was discovered that we did have quite a lot of records in the Valley.

For example, we have the Funeral Records of Graham Mortuary, of Livermore, from 14 January 1878 to 27 February 1893, on our web site. Barbara Bunshah, Curator of the Livermore Heritage Guild Museum, told me that this was compiled by the late Ross Hansen. These records have been converted into the data base format provided by the Internet project leaders.

We were introduced to the Callaghan Mortuary records when Sonya Gividen gave a talk on the value of mortuary records at our Study Group a few months ago, and again at the L-AGS meeting this past April. As a result of the Study Group lecture, members of L-AGS are now in the process of indexing the Callaghan Mortuary records! At this time, we have completed the earliest two books of records that Sonya could find. The first book, a ledger, shows the name of the decedent and the date of death or funeral and who ordered or paid for the funeral. This book covers 1895 through 1897. The second book, also a ledger, starts with 1917 and 1918, but jumps to 1923 through 1926. The information in this book is similar to that of the first. Some of the records indicate where the burial took place.

Now our volunteers are in the process of indexing six boxes of individual ledger sheets that cover the years 1927 through 1939. The information in these boxes is again similar to what we found in the early ledger books. But more of these records indicate where the individuals were buried.

We have been able to correlate some of the data from the Mortuary records to the information in the L-AGS cemetery books. In some cases, there was no burial place indicated in the Mortuary records, but we have been able to add that information from our books!

Concurrent with all of this, we now have access to the Obituary Index created by Barbara Bunshah. This Index covers obituaries published in the three local newspapers between 1875 and 1929: the Herald, the Echo, and the Enterprise. We may be able to add more information to the death index from the obituaries found in these newspapers, thus creating a very useful set of data for our fellow genealogists and historians.

I am sure that as time goes on, we will discover more and more data regarding early deaths in the Livermore - Pleasanton - Dublin area.

Return to Table of Contents

Writing letter

Letter Writing Campaign

By Kathy Redmond

In the fall of 2001, I began a letter writing campaign to everyone listed in U.S. phone books with my father’s surname. Being new to genealogy research and having few living relatives, I felt this could provide me with some useful family information. With pen and paper in hand, I made one or two pilgrimages a week to my local library. As if on a mission, I made my way straight to the telephone book area. Before the holidays, I had worked my way through all the major city phone books and most of the minor ones. Then the real "work" began. I had collected 50 people with my father’s surname. Preferring handwritten to typed letters myself, I decided to hand write these inquiry letters. I also felt that I would get a better response because handwritten letters seem more personal.

I sent out these 50 letters from September to November of 2001. The response varied greatly, from no response to many e-mail, phone or letter responses. I received some valuable genealogy information. The most interesting was a privately published family book, contact with a fifth cousin here in town, published essays from a great uncle I never knew about and answers from an 84 year old cousin-in-law, who has a wealth of genealogy to share.

My efforts to uncover some of my father’s family history took time, patience and lots of stamps, but without my letter writing campaign, I wouldn’t have reaped the gems of family history that I now possess.

Return to Table of Contents


G. R. O. W.

Genealogy Resources On the Web –
The Page That Helps Genealogy Grow!)
Compiled by Frank Geasa

This Maine State Archives site has online indexes of state marriages (1892-1996) and deaths (1960-1996) as well as a link to several indexes of early Maine county court records.
If one of your ancestors may have been an apprentice in Edinburgh, Scotland during the period 1583-1800, you might find him listed in this Scottish Records Society online register.
This unique site offers an online search list of the Polish soldiers buried in cemeteries in France from World War II. Although the site is in French, the individual formatted records are easily interpreted and the information in some cases is extensive.
The Missouri Office of the Secretary of State has an online database of some 185,000 records of births and deaths prior to 1909. The data in these abstracted records is fairly extensive.
If you always wanted a photo of your ancestor’s store or home in New York City, this may be your chance. In 1939-41, that city photographed every taxable building in the city. Copies of any of these photos are now available for purchase by the public at this municipal site.
If your family research includes the UK, you might want to visit this site that contains family history links by region within the UK.
This Minnesota Historical Society site has an online index that can be searched for deaths occurring in that state during the period 1906-1996.
The archives of the New Brunswick, Canada government has many digitized databases online, including several city directories, BDM, land grants and loyalist soldiers from the American Revolution.
If you have colonial ancestors from Connecticut, you might want to search the digitized version of "The Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut, 1636-1776" at this University of Connecticut site.
A site with links to many useful local genealogical sites is that of the Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador.
If your ancestry includes the northern Friesland area of the Netherlands, you will want to visit this site explaining the introduction of surnames to the area. It also includes a list of the surnames registered in 1811 as well as lists of emigrants from the area.
Kentucky deaths (1911-1991) and marriages as well as divorces (1973-1986) can be searched online at
The digital archives project of the State of Delaware includes many interesting online databases. Included are naturalizations, coroner’s inquests, slavery papers and several other unusual items.
The State of Georgia archives offer an online list of Revolutionary War soldiers who were given land grants by that state.
An online index of deaths in the state of Idaho for the period 1911-1951 can be searched at

Return to Table of Contents

Filing cabinet

Things to File

by Vicki Renz

Legacy Magazine

There is a new magazine out that should be very interesting to family historians. We all have mementos and heirlooms that we wonder what to do with – how to display them and how to share them with our families and friends. This is the mission of "Legacy: Turning Family History into Art." I purchased the inaugural issue last fall at a local scrapbooking store and was impressed with the quality of the content and of the magazine itself.

It is published by Stampington & Company who publishes other inspirational art magazines. This magazine is "devoted to creating family heirlooms for tomorrow…by showcasing arts and crafts inspired by family history." It features papercrafts, fabric arts, memorabilia and mixed-media art made by readers and contributors. There are scrapbook pages, handmade books, art-to-wear, and home décor items such as family photo pillows, picture frames and quilts. All the artwork incorporates personal mementos, including family photographs, letters, awards, invitations and other keepsakes.

Contributors include Maureen A. Taylor, Bev Kirschner Braun and Emily Anne Croom, who are well-known in the genealogy world, as well as artists who are known for incorporating family memorabilia in their works.

Regular departments include:

Heirlooms for Home
Paper Trail: Journaling for Posterity
Generations: Discovering Your Roots
Remembrances: A Reader’s Tribute

There are also several sections in every issue:

Book Reviews
New Product Reviews
Sample Instructions
Beginning Basics for Stamping, Papermaking, Genealogy, Scrapbooking and Computer Talk
Workshops and Other Events
Resource Guide

You can see sample pages and subscribe at their web site <www.stampington.com/html/legacy.html>.

I am certainly not as talented as the artists featured in this magazine, but it is inspiring to see how family mementos are used in their art. I’m inspired to continue the album I began about two years ago with photos of my grandmother and her sisters.

MindStretch Puzzle

This puzzle is from the 2002 MindStretch Calendar with daily puzzles by Terry Stickels, published by Dorset Press. Used with the kind permission of Mr. Stickels. Answer is at the bottom of this article.

Fill in the blank in the following puzzle:

Donna is the daughter of Donnetta. Donnetta is the granddaughter of Donnetta’s sister, Donnita. Donnita has never met Donna. Donnetta is the ________ of Donna’s mother.

Quick Tips from Ancestry Daily News for Reading On-line Census Records

From Ancestry.com Daily Newsletter

Smaller Images Can Be Easier to Read

While trying to interpret an Ancestry.com census image screen, I tried various magnifications, but to no avail. Then, I printed it out and forgot to arrange it so that the specific image I wanted took up a whole page. However, though the image was smaller than I intended, I realized I could now read the previously undecipherable text.

I also look elsewhere in the text for similar letter configurations in words or names that are more obvious. Sometimes, putting the text aside for a little break makes the difference.

Susan Hopkins, Urbana, Illinois, April 8, 2003

Stay Away From the Computer

The tip from Susan Hopkins about printing small versions of an image to read them more clearly reminds me of an observation I’ve made while trying to read words in computer-scanned (bit-map) images.

The eye-brain connection is a curious beast. When blowing up images to fill the computer screen, individual pixels at the highest magnification are naturally "boxy" which attracts the brain’s attention, making identifying letters harder. However, standing back from the computer screen 10-20 feet removes the "boxiness" impression and can sometimes make the words almost magically appear.

Christopher M. Gould, April 10, 2003

Answer to Mindstretch Puzzle - The word that goes in the blank is "name."

Return to Table of Contents

Student with book

Library Notes

By Judy Person

There's a site for US city directories, a Genealogy Research Associates site, that has listings of places that have city directories, by location. For example, I looked up CA, then Whittier, and found some at National Archives (presumably at Laguna Niguel) and some at the Family History Library.

Here are notes from the genealib forum <genealib@lists.acomp.usf.edu> which is mostly information for genealogy librarians, but has lots of other bits and pieces, too:

"In the Familysearch, I’ve had success finding people in the 1880 U.S. census that I could not find by their surname or likely variants, by doing a search which I limited to a particular state, county, and town or township by entering a first name only and state of birth, while leaving the surname field empty. In a couple of cases this found the family with a variant surname spelling not previously considered. In one case I found that a middle name had been used by the census taker as the surname." -- Michael Kirley, Los Angeles Public Library

Claire Kluskens of the National Archives in Washington, D.C. announced that NARA’s 1930 Census Microfilm Locator (1930 CML) has been online since last spring at http://1930census.archives.gov/. This will allow folks to do geographic searches to get the Enumeration District of an address. This is a simplified version of T1224, to make geographic searches easier.

Some BYU alum wrote that the new IGI (International Genealogical Index) is online, and will not be issued on compact disk. This means that data will now be updated frequently, possibly monthly.

For those doing Portuguese research, there is a resource nearby: Portuguese Library, Supreme Council of UPEC, 1120 East 14th Street, San Leandro, 94577.

Last quarter, a big group of L-AGS members met at Pleasanton Library to "purge" (librarians call it "weed") our newsletter and magazine collections. George Anderson has updated the lists. Among the things removed were the paper copies of the New England Historic Genealogical Society Quarterly and the National Genealogical Society quarterly, which we have on CDs. The paper copies, as well as some gifts which we did not need, will be offered to L-AGS members, then to genealib members.

The National Archives magazine, "Prologue," published a Summer 1997 issue called Federal Records and African American History, with lots of rich-sounding articles. This is now out of print, but may be read online at the NARA site: http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/special_issue.html.

Many of you know that we’re trying to acquire AncestryPlus (at least) for library use, which is Ancestry.com but allows two users at a time to use it in the library. We have agreement from the Friends of Pleasanton Library to cover the $2268(!) annual cost, but the city must supply probably wireless "wiring" to connect to the library’s computers, which we hope will happen soon.

The previously suggested buying list is waiting approval of the L-AGS library budget. It will cost much less since AncestryPlus includes many of the costly items, like the UK and Ireland Parish Records, PERSI, etc.

Books we have received and sent for processing last quarter are:

Pioneer Women Book of Honor, Phase 2. A gift of the local Daughters of the American Revolution.

A Checklist of French-Canadian Genealogical Works at the Minnesota Historical Society Reference Library.

Getting Started in Jewish Genealogy. by Gary Mokotoff and Warren Blatt.

Beginning Franco-American Genealogy, by the Reverend Dennis Boudreau.

Swedish Genealogical Resources, by the Minnesota Genealogical Society.

The Librarian’s Guide to Genealogical Research, by James Swan. This one we’re offering to the library reference staff first.

Return to Table of Contents


Upcoming Seminars and Workshops

By Mildred Kirkwood

May-26-June2, Pittsburgh, PA - NCGS Conference, Information at (703) 525-0050 or http://www.ngsgenealogy.org

June 20, National Archives, San Bruno – Military Part 1, Revolutionary War to Civil War. Call Rosemary Kennedy at 650-876-9009 to reserve space.

July 11, National Archives, San Bruno – Military Part II, Spanish American to Viet Nam. Call Rosemary Kennedy at 650-876-9009 to reserve space.

July 24-26, San Rafael – Pennington Research Association Annual Meeting. Cyndi Howells is keynote speaker. See www.penningtonresearch.org   for details.

August 1, National Archives, San Bruno – Census records research. Call Rosemary Kennedy at 650-876-9009 to reserve space.

Sepember 3-6, Orlando, FL -  Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference, "A World of Hidden Treasures." http://www.fgs.org/

October 1 - 11, New England/Canada Cruise. – 10 day cruise, Boston to Quebec, on Royal Caribbean . Genealogy lectures by George F. Sanborn, Jr. and David Allen Lambert, both from the New England Historic and Genealogical Society. Contact All Cruise Travel at 800-227-8473 or www.allcruise.com   for further information.

October 11, Auburn, CA – Placer County Genealogical Society Annual Seminar. Details to be announced.

October 12, Los Angeles, CA – Genealogical Society for Hispanic Americans will hold their annual Fiesta in conjunction with the Mexican Cultural Institute at Olivera Street.

October 18, Foster City, CA – San Francisco Bay Area Genealogical Consortium Conference, focusing on California research and ethnicities, will also offer lectures and workshops in preservation and beginning research. Crowne Plaza in Foster City. Contact: CathT@aol.com.

November 8, Livermore, CA – L-AGS Seminar to be held at the Mocho Street LDS Church. Details to be announced in the next Roots Tracer.

Return to Table of Contents

Colossal Colon

The Colossal Colon Tour

By Mildred Kirkwood

This isn’t pure genealogy, but colon cancer is an inherited condition. I have lost 2 uncles and a good friend to colon cancer. It’s a terribly painful condition. I hope you will go to the exhibit and, most importantly, schedule a colonoscopy with your doctor if you haven’t had one in the last 10 years. To see more about the exhibit, go to www.preventcancer.org/colossalcolon/.

The Colossal Colon is a 40-foot long, 4-foot high replica of a human colon. Visitors who crawl through the colon, or look through the viewing windows, will see healthy colon tissue, colon disease, polyps and various stages of colon cancer. The Colon was modeled after a real colon taken from colonoscopy film footage and is extremely lifelike.

The Colossal Colon is the creation of Molly McMaster, a 26-year-old cancer survivor, at the suggestion of Katie Couric, who lost her husband to colon cancer. Molly received help and support from the clinical and educational staff of the C.R. Wood Cancer Center at Glens Falls Hospital, Glens Falls, N.Y.

The Colossal Colon Tour is free to the public!

When -
Wednesday, June 25, 2003 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Thursday, June 26, 2003 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Friday, June 27, 2003 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, June 28, 2003 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Where - Justin Herman Plaza, San Francisco

Volunteer ?

Interested in volunteering for the Tour in San Francisco individually or as an organization? Many volunteers are needed to make the Tour a success in San Francisco and help is needed to spread the word that the Tour is on its way!

Return to Table of Contents

Staff meeting

Livermore Roots Tracer Staff

Editors  Mildred Kirkwood
 Debbie Pizzato
Proofreading  George Anderson
 Vicki Renz
Printing/Distribution  Eileen Redman
Staff Contributors
Computer Interest Group Jim Lathrop

 Family Tree Maker Group

 Dick Finn

 Livermore History

 Gary Drummond
G.R.O.W  Frank Geasa
Life in the Past Lane  Jon Bryan
Study Group  Kay Speaks

 Seminars and Workshops

  Kaye Strickland
Things to File  Vicki Renz
Library News  Judy Person
Tri-Valley TMG User Group  Kay Speaks

Return to Table of Contents

[ Roots Tracer Menu ]  [ L-AGS Home Page ]

Last modified 10may04.0547 gwa