Sunday, August 24, 2014

Goal Check-in

Time for A Goal Check-in

Here are the things I planned to do in 2014:

·         Write a book about the Mariani family.- DONE
·         Update my website with all new features. – DONE
·         Visit Sacramento- 1) 2nd great grandparent's house; 2) Roots Cellar Library. – I am planning to attend the Sacramento Archives Crawl in October.  This will get me to #2 and I’ll research before then on where the Hulse House is located.  Perhaps combine those OR just visit Hulse House during a business trip.
·         Write a book about my dad and my personal history.- This will be a multi-year project.  I want to get all the writings I do have into Scrivener the remainder of this year.
·         Take classes at National Institute for Genealogical Studies.  This requires money.  Once I have enough to spend, I will continue my classes.  I took one class so far this year.  I hope to take a lot more next. Moving this to 2015.
·         Write a book about Miles Price.- I am moving this to 2015.  I have the pension file to transcribe and I just don’t feel like it this year.
·         Find out more about Miles Price’s parents. – Not sure where to start on this one.  Putting it to 2015 for now.
I’m adding one, since I’ve put off a few. 
·         Organize my home office, including working in Scrivener, getting Dragon Naturally Speaking to work, and putting items in boxes away to files and scans.


Debbie’s Master List of Genealogy Things to Do

Lucas County, Iowa where my Conner and Price families lived
Capa, South Dakota where my grandfather lived.  Preferably WITH my grandfather.
Haakon County, South Dakota where my 2nd great grandfather had a homestead
Sacramento- 2nd great grandparent's house
Sacramento- Roots Cellar Library
Massachusetts- New England Historic Genealogical Society
Massachusetts- Plymouth again
Indiana- Allen County Public Library again
San Francisco- Sutro Library
Salt Lake City- Family History Library
Motor home the Civil War route that Miles’ took
Carluke, Scotland
Go on a genealogy cruise

Write a book about my dad- in progress
Write a book about Miles Price
Write a book about the Mariani family- in progress
Complete a genealogy scrapbook
Enter footnotes to Duke’s book
Write a 5-generation book of the kids' ancestors
Write my personal family history book- in progress
Picture book of Christmas decorations
Revisit blog posts and update to provide source info

Roots Tech
FGS conference
NGS conference

Find out more about Miles Price’s parents
Take classes at National Institute for Genealogical Studies
Learn to do presentationsOngoing
Learn Photoshop
Learn inDesign
Learn how to do a for-family podcast
Update my website with all new features
Map and pin where ancestors were from and lived

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Who is Vera and Why Did I Write About Her Chicken Wings?

A lot of people are asking me what my book is about.  Is it about ancestors?  No.  Is it about cooking.  No.  So what is it about?

On July 10, 2011, I wrote this for this blog:

In my recipe box, there is a recipe of Vera Mariani’s called, “Mrs. Scott’s Delicious Cake.”  I remember Vera making this cake many times.  It strikes me as prophetic that the cake I think of as Vera’s is actually Mrs. Scott’s.  Who was Mrs. Scott? When did Vera taste her cake, find it delicious, and get the recipe?

As I pondered on this one day, I realized that there may be a day far in the future when my children’s children’s children see my recipe for “Vera’s Tuscan Chicken” and wonder who this Vera was.  There isn’t a Vera to be found in our family tree, so they will wonder about this Vera, just as I do about Mrs. Scott.

I then wrote a short two or three paragraph story about Vera, with no intention of taking it further.  I just wanted a note in my recipe box so that there would be no unanswered questions.  However, after writing those paragraphs, I figured I should tell how I knew Vera.  That made me tell the story of the Mariani Ranch.  Which made me tell the history of Vera's dad.  And brothers.  And then their children.  And so on until I had found Louise Mariani and written a book, which I was able to present to her on her 100th birthday:

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Louise Turns 100 *AND* Book Release!!!

Today is the day!  It’s the day that our beloved Louise Mariani turns 100!  And in honor of that, I’ve decided that today is the day I release the book about her family.  Louise has been such a wonderful addition to my life since I found her just under a year ago and because I adore her and this book is for her, I decided to always remember this day.  The day she turns 100!

Louise has lived in San Francisco almost all of her life.  She had a brief stint in New York, but quickly returned.  She is so vibrant and healthy and she attributes that to walking 40 San Francisco blocks every day for several decades.  

Louise is my treasure and I hope she enjoys the book.

(Photo courtesy of Marc Mascot Photography)

If you’d like to purchase it, the link is below.  It's a hardbound book and so a bit pricy at just under $30, but proceeds go to purchasing copies to put in the local libraries.  I want to make sure that if anyone else ever wants to learn of the Marianis, they find my book and me, so that we can say hello!

Thank you for 100 lovely years, Louise. This post, and this book, is for you!

Vera's Chicken Wings and Peas, by Deborah Conner Mascot

Thursday, August 7, 2014


My blog has gone woefully neglected for the past couple of years really.  I can't tell you all the things that have gone on in my life, as this forum is too public, but suffice to say that there have been deaths, sicknesses, a fire, and family issues.  I have put the locusts on the calendar as pending, because surely they are coming any day now.

But in the face of all of this, there has been some good.  The children are wonderful.  They are my saving graces, those two.  My older keeps me steady as she is so steady already at 11.  She's got a good head on her shoulders and it frightens me a little that she will end up like me:  independent and yet everyone will always depend on her.  I

My younger keeps me smiling.  He's still young enough to say silly cute things and yet old enough to also be quite insightful.  He keeps me filled with love.  No matter what, I can say, "My son loves me."  No matter what.  And that is a true gift that I rely on each and every day.  It is a wondrous thing to be able to experience the truly unconditional love of a little boy.  

I also managed to write a book.  A book about the Mariani family and I am quite proud of it.  I believe that throughout I've had the help of my dad from Wherever he is.  I've had odd assistance when it was most needed and strange insight when I was at a stopping point.  So it's been nice to have Dad close by.  Even if it's really not him.  (I just wish he'd help with some of the big stuff instead).

But now that the book is done, I have goals to revamp my website and blogs.  I want to have a Homeschool Blog for next year, a genealogy blog and then a family blog, as well.  I may merge the homeschool and family blog, though.   We shall see...  But the point of this is to ask you to please not give up on me.  I will  be back.  With a plan and a vengeance! 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

A Rossatti’s by Any Other Name…

The San Francisco Mariani family traveled to their ranch in Portola Valley via horse and buggy from the Menlo Park train station, often stopping at a pub for a refreshment on the way.[1]
This is of Stefano Mariani and his family at The Wunder.  This photo was captioned on the back in unknown hand, “Now ‘Alpine Inn’ on Alpine Road in Portola Valley. It’s about 2 ½ miles from Mr. Mariani’s former ranch. Picture was taken between April 1907 when it was bought and 1919 when Mr. Mariani took ill.”[2]

The Alpine Inn Beer Garden, as Rossatti’s is now called, opened in 1851. With the gold rush bringing more settlers to Santa Clara Valley to farm, the earlier settlers had to move on. These early settlers, Californios, went to the outer areas such as Portola Valley. The former mayor of San Jose, Felix Buelna, settled on 95 acres in 1852 and opened a “casa de tableta,” a gambling house at the corner of Alpine Road and Arastradero Road. This was right along the route from the Santa Clara Valley to the coast.[3]

The pub changed hands and names many times through the years. Stanton’s, Schenkel’s, The Wunder, Schenkel’s Picnic Park, Rossotti’s, Zotts (short for Rossotti’s), and Alpine Inn, to name a few.[4]

One of my favorite little-known facts about the Alpine Inn is that on August 27, 1976, researchers from SRI International in Menlo Park brought their mobile radio laboratory to the roadhouse, set up a computer terminal on a picnic table, and sent a long electronic report. The world’s first internet transmission. [5]   As an elementary school student, I remember having a field trip to SRI.  They had a machine that showed you questions on a television screen, such as your name and your favorite food.  You answered them by typing on a typewriter that was connected to the television.  It then printed out on paper a few sentences about you.  Debbie ate tacos for lunch.  We were amazed at the magic. And it started at Rossatti’s.

[1] Mariani family tradition, Deborah Conner Mascot, compiler, (handwritten notes, 2010; privately held by Deborah Conner Mascot, Livermore, CA); Vera Mariani memories, reported by Harry James Conner, 2010
[2] Stephen Mariani, photograph; ca 1909, digital image, privately held by Deborah Conner Mascot, Livermore, CA. Original photo held by Deborah Conner Mascot in Livermore, CA as gifted by the estate of Harry James Conner and scanned in Livermore, CA by Deborah Conner Mascot in June 2013. 
[3]Staiger, Steve, “Echoes of Alpine Inn’s Early Days,” Palo Alto Weekly (, 24 January 2001.
[4] Staiger, “Echoes of Alpine Inn's Early Days,” 24 January 2001. 
[5] Portola Valley Past and Present (, “ A New Claim to Fame for Zots,” 17 February 2013.