L-AGS color logo

The Livermore Roots Tracer

Volume XXIV Number 1

February 2004

Editors:  Mildred Kirkwood and Debbie Pizzato, rootstracer@l-ags.org

Web Editor: Vicki Renz, webmaster@l-ags.org

The Roots Tracer is a quarterly publication with articles of interest to the genealogist.  It is published in February, May, August and November. Members are encouraged to submit articles of general interest. The deadline for each quarterly issue 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.

Queries are free. Please send your queries to querymaster@l-ags.org.

Table of Contents

Member News President's Message Computer Interest Group
Family Tree Maker Group New Phone Number for National Archives Emergency Telephone Numbers
L-AGS Tape Library Precious Book Returned to Family New Dublin Library
Were Your Ancestors Born in Virginia? Overwhelming Cousin Mary Meander Leadership Puzzle
Microsoft Settlement Mt. Diablo Helped Put California on the Map Do We Still Need Societies?
Life in the Past Lane Livermore Valley History G.R.O.W.
Meander Leadership Puzzle Solution Quote Seminars
In Memoriam Roots Tracer Staff


Member News

2004 Membership Chair Jane Southwick, membership@l-ags.org

Welcome to Our New Members

Toni North Ruth Ann & Thomas Devlin Charles W. & Diane Wiedel
William O. Vierra

Membership Report As of January 15, 2004

Membership Types and Number

Total Individuals

Individual Members



Family Members



Life Members






Honorary/Charter Members



Honorary Members



Total Memberships




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President's Message

Incoming President, Jolene Abrahams, president@l-ags.org

Greetings everyone and a Happy New Year. I am truly looking forward to the next two years in serving you, the members, as the Livermore-Amador Genealogical Society President. Several new ideas have been given to me by members that sound interesting. And while that is good we must keep in mind the present functions and committees that we should maintain.

We have some Chairmen who would like to try something different in L-AGS. So we will have some positions open soon and I would like each and everyone of you to consider being a Chairman or job share with someone.

Our biggest concern is having an Editor for The Roots Tracer. There will be a February 2004 edition but no guarantees after this month. I have the utmost confidence that all of you will help me and L-AGS for the next term. Thank you.

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Laptop computer

Computer Interest Group

Jim Lathrop and Dick Finn, cig@l-ags.org

The CIG meets at 7:30 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of each month (except November and December) at the Livermore Adult Education Facility, 543 Sonoma Avenue. In the summer months we meet at the LDS church on Mocho Street.

The purpose of the group is to assist members with computer related problems and share advice, information, (and horror stories). Recently we have had programs on drawing programs, photo software, computer viruses, and Power Point presentations . We hope to have programs in the future on search engines, scanning, and storage-organization techniques. Members are encouraged to suggest topics of interest, and suggestions for speakers are always welcome. Any genealogical computer related subjects from software, to hardware, to web sites is appropriate.

Members with computer problems are encouraged to discuss their problems, and may call one of the mentors listed in the Members handbook or send a request for help (or a solution) to CIG@L-AGS.org. For information on CIG, please e-mail or call either Jim (443-4640), or Dick at (447-9652).

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Looking at computer

L-AGS Family Tree Maker Group

Dick Finn, Acting Leader, ftm.chair@l-ags.org


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 11, 543 Sonoma Avenue, Livermore. URL for a map to the school: http://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 generating different types of charts that show specific information and generations, and exploring some of the many options available.

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 loaded, you might bring it also.

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Phone on sign

New Phone Number For The National Archives, San Bruno

By David Abrahams

According to their web site, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), San Bruno Branch, has a new phone number.

For all genealogical and general research, the number is 1-650-238-3501.

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Emergency Telephone Numbers

by Jolene and David Abrahams

Due to the medical emergency we had during the January L-AGS meeting, we thought it would be appropriate to write the following information regarding the use of phones when out and about.

Since many of us now carry cellular telephones with us, it is appropriate to know how to use these phones to reach the police departments and fire departments when there is an emergency.

Currently, if you dial 9-1-1 on a cell phone in the Bay Area, you will be connected with the California Highway Patrol (CHP) dispatch center in Vallejo. The dispatchers here have no way of knowing your location!

Legislation was recently passed requiring that 9-1-1 cell phone calls are to be routed to the agencies within a specific distance of the cell towers. This process is happening now around the Bay Area and state of California. While it won't guarantee your call being received by the exact jurisdiction, you will definitely be closer to the proper agency.

Linda Trudeau, a L-AGS member and a dispatcher with the Milpitas Police Department, said that her agency has now received some of these newly routed calls, and that the system works.

Linda also suggests that we always be aware of our surroundings, the street names, intersections, highway designations and directions, and addresses of the homes of family and friends. We can all be easily overcome by an emergency, and instantly forget where we are and lose focus. As a dispatcher Linda said it is the dispatchers' job to pinpoint our location, using addresses, landmarks, building descriptions and whatever else we can think of, at the moment. As genealogists we work with details; we need to be mindful of these same facts in our everyday life.

When calling in an emergency, do your best to give an accurate location. If you aren't sure, let the dispatcher know; they have other tools they can use to help you. It may seem they're not moving fast enough when gathering information to send help your way, but rest assured, their co-workers are already beginning to send the help while they are still on the phone with you.

Mary Dillon said that if you are in the Livermore, Pleasanton, Dublin, and San Ramon areas, and you need to call for help on your cell phone, you should use one of these phone numbers:

    Livermore - 371-4909

    Pleasanton - 931-5122

    Dublin - 462-1212

    San Ramon - 973-2779

She has programmed them into her cell phone in case she has a problem while out and about the Valley.

If you are at a regular phone, and you dial 9-1-1, you will be connected with the local dispatchers. They will ask you for all the necessary information. But they also know where you are calling from, since their computer monitors display the location of the phone.

Our thanks to Linda Trudeau, Lori Codey (Fremont Police Department) and Mary Dillon for their input into this article.

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L-AGS Tape Library

by Kathleen Young

Two more videotapes have been added to the tape library. They are tapes of the General Meetings in August and September 2003.

V-26: Documentation of Revolutionary War Ancestors

Pat Moore, Jane Everett and Glynice Pomykal, L-AGS members and members of the Josefa Higuera Livermore Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, share what it takes to join the DAR. Good documentation begins with organization. Look at your pedigree chart and identify ancestors from the right time period. Research proofs of acceptable military, civil or patriotic service. Submit an application with appropriate birth, marriage and death records and acceptable primary documentation.

V-27: A Time to Remember – Recording Your Family History

Ray McFalone, an estate-planning attorney, shares information on the techniques and questions he has been using to make personal history videos for hospice patients as a hospice volunteer. Everyone has a story that arises from a lifetime of experiences that may be lost forever unless care is taken to preserve them.

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Precious Book Returned to Family

by George Anderson

Our fellow L-AGS member, Beth Rauch, has an interesting volunteer job with Friends of the Pleasanton Library. When book donations come in to FOPL for their twice yearly book sales, Beth searches through them - thousands and thousands of them - for any that are rare or valuable. These are then set aside to be sold at a price higher than the usual book sale price of $1.00. Her efforts really pay off for FOPL.

Last year Beth found a 1918 book that was different. On the Internet, another copy of the book was priced at a modest $10, but in this copy there was an inscription and a pasted-in news clipping from 1933 that told a sad and dramatic story. The inscription and parts of the news story are reproduced here.

Beth decided that, although the book might bring in a few dollars to FOPL, it would be a priceless gift to descendants of Lucille Stout or Mrs. Roblee. She asked me to try to locate one of these relatives. I posted announcements about the book to the Stout and Roblee message boards on RootsWeb, to the Cattaraugus and Erie County, New York, GenWeb sites, and to a lost-and-found-heirloom Web site. Within 24 hours, William Roblee of Cattaraugus County answered the query on the Stout message board. He said that Mrs. Merle C. Roblee was his grandmother and that he remembered her telling about the incident. He said that she was afraid of water after that event. I sent the book to him and he responded promptly, repaying the shipping costs twice over and thanking me repeatedly. Other responses to my postings came in later. I referred them all to Mr. Roblee.

There are thousands of message boards on RootsWeb/Ancestry.com and on Genealogy.com. They can be very effective in contacting unknown relatives - in casting your bread upon the waters, so to speak. To locate a board that might be of interest in your research, go to: http://boards.ancestry.com/mbexec?htx=main&r=rw.

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Dublin Library

New Dublin Library

by Jon Bryan

The new Dublin Library might be called "a Look at Tomorrow." It not only has a wonderful architectural design that should attract "all youngsters" up through age 120, but speedy (T1) Internet access with 40 new Internet stations (computers) connected to planet Earth. And we haven’t even mentioned the collection, programs and other services. It has been called a high-tech and relaxing library with about 65% more books than the old library.

The new Dublin Library opened in early April 2003, after delays, cost overruns and other difficulties. The gala celebration was on April 13, 2003.

You can learn more about the new Dublin Library on their Internet website at http://www.aclibrary.com/branches/dub/dublinhome.asp.

The Dublin Library is located off Dublin Boulevard on Civic Plaza at 200 Civic Plaza in Dublin, CA 94568 with telephone 925-828-1315. Note that on the north side of Dublin Boulevard, this same road (Civic Plaza) is called Sierra Court! The library website also includes a Yahoo map which may make this easier to understand. The Civic Plaza is just west of the Dublin Sports Grounds.

Please check with the website or library for their hours. They are presently only open 43 hours per week, compared with 62 and 65 hours per week at the libraries of Pleasanton and Livermore, respectively. Wednesday may be the best day because the hours are longest (10 AM to 8 PM). Friday is the worst day because the library is closed. Fortunately, "mail slots" can be used for returning borrowed items anytime - 24/7!

You can find photos of the new Dublin library at http://www.cauchi.com/leftframe.html courtesy of Bobbi and Jerry Cauchi of Cauchi Photography of Dublin. For more details please see http://www.cauchi.com. This website is a work in progress with their stock photos including other themes from both Dublin and San Ramon. You may want to click on one of the photos and enlarge it for easier viewing. Using "Previous, Home or Next" may be helpful.

When so many state and local entities in California are experiencing the financial pinch, the City of Dublin has made this library an exception in so many ways. An article by Alan Elias in the Valley Times (3/13/2003 :A6) called it the "first new library building in Alameda County in approximately twelve years." Earlier Brooke Bryant wrote for the Tri-Valley Herald (9/29/2002) that the new library was planned to cost $18.2 million and would have about twice the space and three times the number of computers.

What might the reaction be of Virginia Smith Bennett, who was the first City Librarian and the Dublin historian? We don’t know because, sadly, Virginia passed away. She would likely view it with high praise. But we might also ask L-AGS member Katherine Volpe, who just happens to be Virginia’s daughter! L-AGS member Judy Person also once worked with Virginia at the Dublin Library.

Kiley Russell interviewed Dublin’s Mayor Janet Lockhart and wrote about it in The Valley Times (4/13/2003:A11) in an article titled "New Dublin library opens with gala tonight." Kiley wrote that this library was designed for a city of 60,000 persons or roughly twice the size of Dublin.

In the same article Kiley reports $11.6 million of the funding came from the City’s Public Fund (developer fees), $4.6 million from the City and $2 million from Dublin Ranch. To me this suggests Dublin is paying for their library in spite of tight funding in the Alameda County Library system!

The library has no sign-up sheets (yet!) for Internet stations but they limit their computer usage to one hour per day through their library card system. If I want to use it for two hours one day, it might be quickest to take Gail’s Alameda County Library card along, too. So far, I can report that I have not seen all these 40 computers busy. Sign-up requirements may be added later as more patrons discover the new Dublin Library and the city grows!

You can get an Alameda County Library card by simply filling out a form with your name, address, telephone number and driver’s license number and you will be given the card after the data is put into the computer. No Social Security number is required.

You can just sit down at one of their 40 computers and use them if you have an Alameda County Library card. If you have a problem, you will probably want to ask one of the librarians. Others may prefer the "Internet docents available by appointment" approach.

How many books can we find under the subject: genealogy? Their Internet card catalog shows that the Alameda County Library system currently has 349 books listed under the subject "genealogy." Restricting this set by using "Limit this Search" (at the top of the screen) and selecting "Where is the item located" as Dublin gives 147 current matches. Note that some are in the reference section where they must be used in the library. If you need some additional information for searching the Internet catalog you may find help under "Hints on Using the Catalog." You also might ask a librarian by telephone, Internet or the best way - in person!

The website "Research Center" has the interesting heading, "Genealogy and Family History." This indicates that "Ancestry Plus" is available at the Library. Clicking on "Genealogy Collections and Libraries" links you to a list of archives and libraries. Clicking on "Resources for California and Bay Area History & Genealogy" has a link to our L-AGS website along with other nearby societies.

How many books and DVDs can one check out? Many more than I want to carry in one trip. Apparently the Alameda County Library card will limit you to a total of 70 books and 20 DVDs (note that DVDs, CD-ROMs and tapes are all counted together for the total of 20).

I hope to see many L-AGS members exploring and using the newest library in our Valley. Remember that this probably won’t last for long if things go as planned. According to Gail and her information sources at "Friends of the Livermore Library," the new Livermore Library will open in May 2004 or later.

My thank you goes to reference librarian Sandy Silva and her librarian colleagues who answered my many questions at the new Dublin Library. Thank you "City of Dublin" for being bold enough to provide this new library for all of us.

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Were Your Ancestors Born in Virginia between 1728 and 1863?

It could mean he or she was born in any part of:

Illinois from 1781 to statehood in 1818

Indiana from 1781 to statehood in 1816

Kentucky from 1775 to statehood in 1792

Maryland from 1775 to statehood in 1792

North Carolina from 1728 to 1799

Ohio from 1778 to statehood in 1803

Pennsylvania from 1752 to 1786

Tennessee from 1760 to 1803

West Virginia from 1769 to 1863

FROM: Mary McG in Tennessee as shown in Rootsweb.com (Belmont County, Ohio), via "Mt. Diablo Digger" of the Mt. Diablo Genealogical Society, Special Summer Edition.

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Overwhelming Cousin Mary

By Frank Geasa

Sometimes the side benefits of genealogy are almost as rewarding as finding the information itself. In May of 2001 I made the acquaintance via the Internet of a 4th cousin, Elizabeth O, who, with her family, lives on a large sheep and cattle station on the southern island of New Zealand. We share a set of 3rd great grandparents, John Connell and Ann Wade, farmers in Birch-grove Townland, Hollyford, County Tipperary, Ireland. We corresponded via e-mail and we even exchanged pictures of our Connell 2nd great grandparents. She sent me one of her 2nd great grandfather Anthony and his family and I sent her one of my 2nd great grandmother Mary and her family. Anthony and Mary were brother and sister, children of John and Ann. In her correspondence Elizabeth told me of an elderly Irish cousin she had met while visiting Hollyford, a Mary S, who had been quite helpful to her. She suggested that if I were ever to visit Tipperary, I should contact Mary S.

By coincidence my wife and I were planning a trip to England and then Ireland that September. We were making this trip with one of my first cousins, Pat B and her husband Dave. While in England Pat and Dave introduced us to Philomena R and her husband Luke who live outside London. Philomena is a 2nd cousin to Pat and me, but not on the same side of the family as Elizabeth O and Mary S. At one point during our visit Luke was showing Pat and my wife Sonia photos of a vacation cabin he and Philomena had recently purchased in Hollyford. I was sitting across the room and heard him mention a neighbor there, Mary S. Was this, I wondered, the same Mary S that Elizabeth O had suggested I visit? We quickly determined that indeed it was.

After leaving England, the four of us traveled to Dublin to join a weeklong tour of the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland. Upon completion of the tour, as planned, we rented an auto and headed to the city of Cashel in County Tipperary. Cashel would serve as a home base from which we could visit several cousins we had met on previous trips and, as it turned out, quite a few more we were to meet this time. So many in fact that, during introductions, Pat’s husband Dave jokingly took to introducing he and my wife as the non-blood relatives.

On our first trip to Ireland in 1996 we had met a cousin Kitty C, an elderly lady who could be a poster girl for Irish hospitality. She introduced us to other cousins, answered numerous questions on our heritage and took us to visit the farm my 2nd great-grandparents started working back in the 1840s. Kitty grew up on this farm and her brother and his son now own and operate it. She also gave me the picture of those grandparents, a copy of which I’ve already mentioned exchanging with Elizabeth O in New Zealand. I knew her mother’s surname was the same as Mary S’s and asked her if she knew Mary S. She said she did, but didn’t elaborate beyond that.

A couple of days later we were invited to visit Kitty’s brother Michael on the farm. We picked Kitty up at her home and after an enjoyable visit at the farm, asked if she would be interested in driving the 15 or so miles around the mountain to Hollyford with us to see if we could visit with Mary S. She indicated she would and off we went to find Mary S’s house. Unfortunately after finding the hill on which Mary S supposedly lived, Kitty didn’t recognize any of the gated houses as being Mary’s. After stopping at 2 houses with no one home, we decided to stop at a machine shop we had passed by at the bottom of the hill and ask for directions. Kitty, not understanding what we were doing, thought we were giving up on finding Mary and got quite excited for the first time. Soon however, with directions, we arrived unannounced at Mary’s door.

With everyone else in the car, I got out, knocked on the door and the conversation that followed went something along these lines:

Me: Please, are you Mary S?

Mary S: Yes I am and who might you be?

Me: I am Frank Geasa and I believe we are related. Three people have referred me to you.

Mary S: Related you say? Three people you say? And who would they be?

Me: The first is Elizabeth O.

Mary S: (very skeptical) I know Elizabeth and she lives in New Zealand. You sound like a Yank. How do you happen to know her?

Me: (long explanation of how Elizabeth and I met via the Internet and how we shared common Connell ancestry).

Mary S: (still skeptical) Oh! And who would the second one be?

Me: Philomena and Luke R.

Mary S: (back to very skeptical) Not my neighbors up the hill, Philomena and Luke?

Me: The same.

Mary S: But they are in London now. That is where they live most of the time. How would you know them?

Me: (long explanation of how I am related to Philomena on the other side of my family.)

Mary S: (A little less skeptical but still not sure) OK. And there is a third one you say? Who would that be?

Me: Kitty C.

Mary S: (now excitement is overcoming the skepticism) You know Kitty too???

Me: I not only know her but she is here with us.

At this point Mary S is beside herself and peering intensely to see if Kitty is in the van. Kitty is also completely beside herself and is frantically trying to open the sliding door on the side of the van. With a little help from Dave she finally manages to get it open and nearly falls out of the van in her excitement. For the next few minutes we are treated to the sight of two elderly ladies hugging, embracing and excitedly dancing around the yard. We soon learned the reason for the celebrating. As Kitty explained, she and Mary S are double cousins related the same way on both sides of the family. Growing up they had been close friends. Unfortunately, although the distance isn't far, neither of them can drive around the mountain any longer and it had been quite a few years since they had last seen each other.

During a very pleasant visit I did obtain some good family information from Mary S. The introduction however, was priceless.

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Original puzzle

Meander Leadership Puzzle

by George Anderson, Club Nerd


Get to know the leadership of L-AGS!

A Crossless Word Puzzle

The names of 34 active L-AGS members - officers, committee heads, committee members - from 2003 and (as of January 15) in 2004 are buried in this puzzle. Start at the upper left-hand corner and follow the meandering path through the entire 450 cells. The path can go right or left, or up or down, but not diagonally. There is one space between names and one space between given and last names. Every cell is visited once and only once. Hint: the names along the meander are in alphabetical order by surname. Don't peek now, but the answer is farther down this page.

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Legal scales

Microsoft Settlement

by Mildred Kirkwood

Are you eligible to be part of the class action suit?

For information and claim forms, go to www.microsoft-calsettlement.com, call 800-960-5660 or write to:

Class Counsel
P.O. Box 2837
San Francisco, CA 94126-2837.

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mountain scene

Mount Diablo Helped Put California on the Map

By Mildred Kirkwood

When I researched land records in Modoc County, California, I was surprised to find that they were surveyed in relation to Mt. Diablo. I would have thought Mt. Diablo was too far away to be the reference point. Then I saw this article and thought it would be interesting to our readers.

Excerpted from Nilda Rego’s, "Days Gone By" column in the Contra Costa Times, May 18, 2003. Printed with permission of Nilda Rego.

In 1851, Samuel King, Surveyor General of the United States for California, ordered Col. Leander Ransom to establish an east and west base and north and south meridian line on Mount Diablo’s highest point. California, now a state of the union, needed "an initial point" for surveyors to measure past and future property lines. Ransom climbed the mountain and erected a marker on July 18, 1851.

Ransom’s job had just begun with the placing of the marker on the highest point of the mountain. Next, he had to extend the east-west and north-south lines. But the ridges, spurs and crevasses made it impossible. Sometimes the heat was unbearable, and often fog and clouds obscured the flag he had planted on the top of the mountain. It took Ransom and his crew of five men until September 2 to complete the job.

"The scarcity of water during this, the dry season was a serious drawback on our operations. We often traveled for miles without meeting with it, and as a consequence we had either to pack or cart it four or five miles for drinking or cooking purposes, or place our camp at a considerable and inconvenient distance from our work. Wells of water are among the comforts and conveniences that are to be in this portion of the state.

Running water in creeks or brooks is seldom met with, and the only points, with very few exceptions, where water is to be found is far up the deep canyons or ravines formed by the mountain ranges.

The want of suitable timber proved another serious difficulty, and even where it was found you seldom met with a limb or branch more than 2 feet in length which was tolerably straight. As a consequence, we had to pack or cart a great proportion of the posts used in our work for several miles."

And then, of course, there was the wind.

"..nearly every tree in the valleys or on the hillsides has bowed before the blast and leans to the southeast."

Because of California’s size and shape, it took three initial points to establish property lines. In addition to Mount Diablo, initial points were established on San Bernardino Mountain in San Bernardino County in 1852 and on Mount Pierce in Humboldt County in 1853.

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Question mark

Do We Still Need Societies?

Donna Potter Phillips says emphatically yes, and explains her reasons.

In this exciting Internet age, will the local genealogical society go the way of rotary dial telephones, number two pencils and CPM computers? Will the need disappear for those living in a given area, and who want to do genealogy, to come together, work together and learn together? Can aspiring family historians learn on their own everything they need to know - every skill necessary - to further, enhance and complete their research?

My answer, gleaned from reading and interviews, is a resounding "No way!" I asked several friends if we still needed genealogy societies and all were passionate with their affirmative answers.

In the words of former president of the New York Italian Genealogical Society Bernard Montanari, "It's like being educated... there are those who are self-educated and get the information eventually or those who go to school and get the information directed at them." Or, in the words of Amy Johnson Crow, CG, "Genealogical societies often have the most intimate knowledge of the records in an area, and they know what gaps exist in the records due to courthouse fires, floods, etc. Societies also know about accessibility to the records - which ones are held locally, which have been moved to archives, and which are closed to the public. If you are seeking obscure sources, check with the local society."

As Juanita McBride, the librarian for my local genealogical society, pointed out to me, "genealogical societies are locality based… they know of more people, more resources and have more knowledge of that area than anybody else and any other resource."

Can you really think that sitting in your pajamas, using your little gray mouse and surfing the Internet until the wee hours of the night will bring you all the answers you seek in your genealogy? Will the Internet teach you what to do with what you find and how to build upon what you learn? And will trying to fill all your genealogical needs on the Internet take the place of meeting with, working with, learning from and sharing with other like-minded folks? Will all the books and resources that you need to compile your family history be available to you via the Internet? "No Way!" is my answer to all of these questions.

I haven’t even mentioned the wonderful homemade cookies and brownies that come to meetings. Food for the tummy and food for the mind are available at monthly meetings of the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society as members bring treats for the "coffee, cookies and sharing time" before the meeting. Who can guess how many come for the goodies and stay to be taught?

Goodies aside, the reasons to have and support genealogical societies can be listed in categories: opportunities to learn, opportunities to serve, opportunities to preserve and opportunities to have fun.

Opportunities To Learn

Genealogical societies provide fellowship, sharing, classes, learning, networking, seminars, workshops, opportunities and knowledge. They provide for the beginner and the seasoned genealogist; in genealogical societies there is something for everyone of every level.

Since societies are locality based, they know what records exist for that area, for what time periods, where those records are housed and if they are available. They know about special collections unique to that area, including local resources that will never be found via the Internet. Members know of small, private museums and collections. They know who keeps some specific group of old records at their home because that person is just not ready to give up these things yet. They know about ethnic resources and events. They know which churches will allow walk-in access to their records, but would never allow extracting or filming of their records. They know that while the Society library does not have such-and-such a record, the local Family History Center has a big in-house collection of those records.

Societies are geared to learning. They have regular meetings with speakers and programs planned to increase genealogical knowledge. They compile, print and distribute publications that carry local records, information and how-tos for the membership. They hold regular classes (including beginners, advanced, computer, special field and ethnic research classes), workshops and seminars. They volunteer at and staff such places as the local genealogical library, local archives and local museums. They are non-profit organizations, dedicated to group benefits and learning.

In addition to this, the societies themselves maintain records, and keep a library in most cases. The library holdings of a local genealogical society will include both local-emphasis materials and general genealogical materials. Librarians for genealogical societies are always gathering materials... Ask them if they would like "these old books that you found in the dumpster" and they will squeal with delight.

Societies also keep members up-to-date on the newest happenings in the field of genealogy, and the newest resources to become available. Society members are not just told about new resources, but they are taught about new resources

Opportunities To Serve

Service to others, anytime, any place and anywhere, is divinely appointed. To be a helper to mankind, in any capacity, is to enrich you. Genealogical societies offer unlimited opportunities for all kinds of service. In the guise of conducting meetings, classes and workshops, societies offer leadership and teacher training. Board members and society teachers are often leaders in their community.

Societies offer even the least among their membership the opportunity to grow through service. Those who prepare the coffee and cookies at a meeting, those who sign-up to help with the local public television pledge drive, those who help the librarian catalog and shelve the incoming books, pamphlets and periodicals, those who man the society booth at the local county fair ... all serve and are enriched by the service. Outreach services for group projects are always available, as are members who will go to the public schools to help the teacher with a special, genealogy-oriented project. Members will go to retirement homes to assist with oral history projects, or to clean up a damaged cemetery.

Opportunity To Preserve

Genealogical society members often gather weekly at courthouses, libraries or archives to extract local records. These records are then published for all to use... and they are not always published online. Members work with local libraries to add specialty items to their holdings and collections, and work with other preservation groups in the area to take oral histories, find the hidden tombstones in neglected cemeteries and lobby for record preservation at the local, state or provincial and national level.

Believing in the idea that groups have a responsibility to preserve records and records' access for future generations, society members work with local churches, fraternal organizations, veteran's organizations and other groups to preserve and make available their records within the framework of stipulations that the donating organization imposes. They know that records useful to genealogists can show up anywhere, and when an organization is about to dump their records, members rush to the rescue. Finally, members often participate in reenactments and living history demonstrations, thereby preserving the "old ways." These events help make the connection between cultural history and family history.

Opportunity to Have Fun

Last but not least, genealogical societies provide wonderful opportunities to have fun. When you research on the Internet in your jammies in the middle of the night and talk to your cat, he doesn't really care. When you come to a genealogical gathering, on the other hand, everybody wants to share and listen to stories. You can only have such fun networking in person - talking with others and immediately finding out about a new record or making a cousin-connection. Happy person-to-person interaction is vitally needed for the mental health of every individual.

Doing off-line research generally provides more opportunities for exercise, and society activities are no exception. We can park blocks away from meetings (instead of the indoor parking garage), we can tromp cemeteries for a variety of reasons, we can join the group manning the highway rest stop and it is certainly exercise lugging books back and forth to the library.

Former FGS president Curt Witcher, FUGS, summed it up well when he said: "Genealogical societies are the first line of defense in the battle to preserve our historical documents in a format that will ensure accessibility for generations of researchers. Their members are the daily users of the records and will feel the first effects of restricted access. It is a tremendous responsibility to keep a watchful eye on what is happening at the local, state and national levels."

A zillion kinds of genealogical information may be available on the Internet, but it is the humble working members of local genealogical societies who provide the information to the Internet. Your little gray mouse won't find it if it's not there, and it won't be there without a person putting it there and that person usually is a genealogical society member. And even if you find "good stuff" on the Internet, will you know how to apply that knowledge to your family history, and build upon that knowledge to find more? A genealogical society will provide the opportunity to learn how to "do" every aspect of family history with face-to-face and hands-on teaching. You won’t get that from the Internet.

I have long taught that yes, you can do genealogy in a closet (meaning all by yourself, alone, at home). And some folks must do it this way as they are confined to their homes for any number of reasons. But for most of us, doing genealogy with the help and fellowship of other like-minded folks is way more productive, way more satisfying and way more fun. There will forever be a need for the humble genealogical society.

FROM: Family Chronicle magazine, December 2003. Reprinted with permission.

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Life in the Past Lane

By Jon Bryan

Big Game Hunter

This article from the Livermore Herald of December 14, 1901, reminds us that we should not fire a gun any time where we cannot see where the shot might hit. At the time, this story probably occupied many barber and beauty shop conversations both in our valley and well beyond.

"Found Bigger Game - Adolph Fuchs Encounters a California Lion While Hunting Quail

Adolph Fuchs had an experience last Friday evening that he will not soon forget.

He was hunting quail near his home in the Livermore mountains, about twelve miles south of town. About sundown he ran onto a bevy and it was growing dark, so he decided to take a flock shot in order to secure enough birds for supper. He stood under an oak tree and as he fired he was surprised to hear a crashing in the branches above his head, and a moment later a huge mountain lion landed on the ground within a few feet of him and started to run. Mr. Fuchs drew a bead on the animal and pulled the trigger, but the cap snapped and the animal was soon out of shotgun range. It took some time for the young man to realize in what close quarters he had been with such a fierce animal crouching above him, and also in endeavoring to despatch [dispatch?] him with a quail shot.

No lions have been known to be ranging in that locality for many years, although a pair have had their lair near the old Faville place, about 15 miles further back in the mountains, for a long time."

Judgment against Southern Pacific Railroad

This story repeats the familiar idea that using lawsuits to gain money may only profit the lawyers involved on both sides. What might the $700 award (that wasn’t) amount to in today’s dollars? Using the "Inflation Calculator" linked under "Currency/ Foreign Exchange" from our L-AGS website at http://www.l-ags.org $700 gives a value about $13,500 (about a factor of 19) for the years 1905 and 2002.

This article was found in the Livermore Echo newspaper of June 5, 1905. It was extracted from the Pleasanton Times column.

"The judgment of the case of Samuel W. Eliot, who was given a judgment by Judge Ellsworth, against the Southern Pacific Railroad Company for $700 damages some time ago, has been reversed by the Supreme Court in a lengthy decision written by Judge Angellotti and concurred in by Judges Van Dyke and Shaw. The facts in the case are that the plaintiff bought a round trip ticket from Pleasanton to San Francisco in 1894 and after going to San Francisco on the ticket was unable to return during the life of the ticket on account of a strike on the railroad. He attempted to return later on the ticket but was put off at San Leandro and sued the company for damages, which were given him by Judge Ellsworth in the sum of $700. This, however, as before stated, has been reversed and Mr. Elliott will not receive anything."

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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.

Livermore Newspapers

The town of Livermore had two newspapers in the last quarter of the 19th Century. The Herald was the successor to the Enterprise beginning in 1877. The Echo was established in 1885. As the reader will see, an element of humor managed to brighten up the news.

Livermore Herald, March 20, 1877

The town of Livermore is laid out into regular streets crossing each other at right angles, and each bearing (or supposed to bear) a name. But we would defy anyone not gifted with second sight to, from our observation, discover what the name of any particular thoroughfare may be. Except in one or two instances, there are no street signs whatever. This is not as it should be. The cost of a complete set of street guideboards would not be great, in comparison with the benefit to be derived therefrom. Let the Town Council take some action in regard to this matter.

Livermore Herald, October 8, 1880

All the old street lamps have been retired to private life, and replaced by the new patent tubular lamps, which are vastly superior. The new lamps are chimney-less, give a brilliant light and do not blow out, even in the hardest wind. The cost of the ten new lamps was $80.

Livermore Herald, April 22, 1881

Marshal Hilton and Night Police Sagar made another raid on the opium den near the depot on Saturday last, and secured four Chinamen in the act of smoking the juice of the poppy. They were locked up over Sunday, and on Monday morning brought before Justice Graham. They all plead guilty and were fined ten dollars each under the Town opium den ordinance. Two of the Celestials, Ah Low and Ah Hing paid their fines and skipped joyfully away; but Ah Ginn and Ah Cheong refused to pungle and will draw rations at the Town's expense for ten days. It is therefore plain that this den was not broken up by the first arrests.

Livermore Herald, October 6, 1881

Livermore now has twenty-two saloons and eight other places where liquor is sold - the largest number attained since 1875. An old toper remarks that the only plausible theory regarding the increase is the establishment of a Lodge of Good Templers (a temperance organization) in our midst.

Livermore Herald, February 21, 1882

People are saying that the grape industry has added greatly to the tone of Livermore society.

Livermore Echo, August 10, 1894

The number of pupils in attendance at the High School has increased to sixty-two, with a prospect of several more within the coming week. The large attendance makes it impossible for two teachers to give to pupils the individual attention to be desired, and we understand there is a probability that the Trustees will shortly engage another. They should certainly do so.

Livermore Echo, December 22, 1898

The Ladies Brass Band will give a Grand Concert at the Farmers' Union Theatre on Friday evening, January 13th, 1899. The young ladies are making rapid progress in the art of music-making and their concert ought to be well worth attending.

Livermore Herald, August 10, 1901

Judge Taylor sent Chris Powers, a typical hobo, to the county jail for thirty days last Friday for stealing some chickens from John Twisselman. Powers is an old man. He admits that he has spent the greater part of his life in jail, and was indignant because the judge did not give him a longer sentence.

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G. R. O. W.

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


If your ancestors were in Ontario Province, Canada during the late 1800s, you may want to visit this McGill University site, which has digitized township maps and allows searching for individuals as well as searching for location maps.


If your Virginia ancestor served in the military you may want to search the many Library of Virginia online indexes of Virginians who served in the military through the years. Among these are various bounty, pension and casualty lists.


This site has an unusual online list, that of German alien nationals who registered with the government in Arizona during World War I. The site has an easy link to the National Archives (NARA) and the files of these individuals. These files contain considerable personal data.


The Chester County Archives (Pennsylvania) site has many unusual online search lists including fugitive slave petitions, indentured servants, naturalizations and World War I soldiers.


If you are of Finnish ancestry, this site of the Finnish Government's Institute of Migration currently contains over 480,000 records. Search on registers of passports, ship passengers and reference records. The site is in English.


You can search the burials in the 15 cemeteries of the Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis, Missouri at this site. Nearly a half million burials are listed.


An online list of Funeral Homes in the U.S. can be found at this site.


If your ancestry goes back to the Shetland Islands, you will want to visit this site with a searchable surname list, information on a DNA project and other interesting items.


The following site offers links to newspapers, magazines and other media all across the world.


If your heritage includes German ancestry from the Brooklyn, New York area, visit the site of the German Genealogy Group, which features surname matching, indexes of records for 2 Roman Catholic churches and good links to other German genealogy sites.


This site dedicated to African American genealogy offers record and surname searches, forums, good links and much more.


This National Archive link lists the U.S. World War II casualties alphabetically within state. Information includes the next of kin. http://www.archives.gov/research_room/arc/wwii/navy_marines_coast_guard_casualties/table_of_contents.html

The Texas General Land Office has available an online search of a land grant database of over 445,000 records. The database is organized by county and can be searched using several different parameters.


An ongoing transcription project of burials in Santa Barbara County, California can be searched at


This Newfoundland Grand Banks site has transcriptions of census, baptism, marriage, and passenger records plus much more.


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Puzzle solution

Meander Leadership Puzzle Solution


Officers, Committee Heads and Committee Members for 2003 and (as of January 15) 2004

These are the 34 active L-AGS members in the same order as in the puzzle. Please express your appreciation for their efforts when you see them. You can join this illustrious group by asking Jolene (925-447-9386) where L-AGS needs help, and by telling her what you are willing and able to do.

David Abrahams California State Genealogical Alliance Rep, SF Bay Area Genealogical Consortium Rep, Indexing Project Leader, FHC Docent, Seminar Parkie Parkison Facilities Manager
Jolene Abrahams President 2004, Historian 2003, Seminar, California State Genealogical Alliance Rep, SF Bay Area Genealogical Consortium Rep Judy Person Library
Lois Barber Refreshments 2003, Historian 2004 Connie Pitt Library Docent
Jon Bryan Alameda County Fair Leader, E-Bulletin, Tracer, Library Docent Debbie Pizzato Tracer Editor
Diana Carey First VP, Programs 2004 Eileen Redman Tracer
Mary Dillon First VP, Programs 2003 Larry Renslow E-Mail Postmaster
Gary Drummond Tracer Vicki Renz Webmaster, Tracer
Jane Everett DAR Rep, Query Master Robbie Robinson Library
Dick Finn President 2003, FTM Group, Library Docent, FHC Docent Marie Ross Recording Secretary
Donna Fleckner Publications Joyce Siason The Master Genealogist Group
Frank Geasa Business Manager 2004, FHC Docent, Tracer, Library Docent Jane Southwick Second VP, Membership
Anne Homan Publicity Kay Speaks Study Group, The Master Genealogist Group
Mildred Kirkwood Tracer Editor Kaye Strickland Corresponding Secretary 2003
Jim Lathrop Computer Interest Group Stan Strickland Business Manager 2003
Pat Moore DAR Rep Leo Vongottfried Alameda County Fair Leader, LCAC, Library Docent
Doug Mumma Webmaster Arleen Wood Corresponding Secretary 2004
Wilma Myers Programs, 2002 Kathleen Young Tape Librarian

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From Erma McCue

People who grow up without a sense of how yesterday has affected today are unlikely to have a strong sense of how today affects tomorrow.

Lynne V. Cheney

FROM: Genealogical Proverbs and Quotations, in Everton’s Genealogical Helper, July-Aug 1994.

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Compiled by David Abrahams

February 21: Genealogical Society of Stanislaus County workshop. LDS Church, 731 El Vista, Modesto. Registration at 9:30 a.m., $10.00 by mail if postmarked before February 11; $15.00 at the door. For further information, contact Ellen Reesh, e_reesh@pacbell.net  or 209-577-0967.

March 28 - April 4: California Genealogical Society (CGS) annual trip to Salt Lake City. Call CGS at 510-663-1358 for further information.

April 24: Sonoma County Genealogical Society Seminar. Internationally acclaimed genealogist Elizabeth Shown Mills. Location: Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, Santa Rosa. For further information: www.scgs.org, or call 707-537-1684.

May 8: Silicon Valley Family History Seminar. Jointly sponsored by Santa Clara County Genealogical and Historical Society and Silicon Valley PAF Users Group.

May 19 - 22: National Genealogical Society Annual Conference & Genealogy Exhibit 2004 will be held in Sacramento, CA. The conference is hosted by the Sacramento Valley Genealogical & Historical Council. For further information see www.ngsgenealogy.org or www.sacvalleygenes.org.

August 8 - 14: California Genealogical Society (CGS) trip to Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, Indiana. Contact Laura, laurajs@pacbell.net, or 510-843-5512, or Jane Lindsey, janelindsey@comcast.net or 925-284-7804.

National Archives Workshops, 2004, Pacific Region of the National Archives and Records Administration, San Bruno.

All workshops will be held at the National Archives and Records Administration, Pacific Region, 1000 Commodore Drive, San Bruno. To register and reserve a space, contact Rose Mary Kennedy, rosemary.kennedy@nara.gov or 650-238-3488. Fees are $15.00, payable in advance. All workshops taught by Rose Mary Kennedy, Genealogy Specialist.

February 20: Census Records Research, 9:00 a.m. - Noon.

June 18: Passenger Arrival and Naturalization Records Research, 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m..

July 16: Military Service Records Research, Part I, Revolutionary to Civil Wars, 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

August 20: Military Service Records Research, Part II, Spanish American War to Viet Nam, 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

September 17: Census Records Research, 9:00 a.m. - Noon.

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In Memoriam

Robert Gest enjoyed woodcarving, gardening and genealogy

LIVERMORE - Robert Gest, a 46-year resident of Livermore, died Tuesday, January 13, 2004 at age 73.

Bob was born February 20, 1930, in Kennewick, Washington. He attended the Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon, then worked for three years at General Electric in Hanford, Washington. There, he married Marguerite Hunt in 1952, with the ceremony performed by her father, Stanley Hunt. Their son, Daryl, was born in 1955.

They moved to Livermore in 1958, when he transferred to General Electric in Vallecitos. He worked there for 35 years as a nuclear chemist. A member of Cedar Grove Community Church, he also belonged to the Livermore-Amador Genealogical Society and the California Woodcarvers Association. He enjoyed woodcarving, gardening and genealogy.

He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Marguerite Gest; his son, Daryl Gest; his brothers, Rex and Donald Gest; and one grandchild, Chelsea Gest.

Services were held at Saturday, January 17, at Cedar Grove Community Church, 2021 College Avenue, Livermore.

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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

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

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Last modified 10 February 2004 vlr, 10may04.0547 gwa