Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Genealogical Society Announces New Publication

Genealogical Society Announces New Publication

LIVERMORE, California—August 30, 2011—The Livermore-Amador Genealogical Society (L-AGS) announces the publication of Early Records of the Presbyterian Church of Pleasanton, California.

L-AGS recently finished transcribing and indexing nearly 500 original handwritten records of the Pleasanton Presbyterian Church from 1891 to 1942. The new publication includes a register of baptisms, marriages, and deaths, as well as a detailed index. It also includes a list of pastors through the ages, church history and transcription of the church’s 1876 founding documents. This publication should be of interest to family historians conducting Alameda County genealogy research. 

Richard Finn served as project leader and worked with Emily Bailey and Marilyn Cutting to transcribe the historical records. George Anderson created an index and served as publisher. The cover art is from a 1995 watercolor painted by Charlotte Severin, an award-winning Bay area Plein Air artist. Her works are displayed in public and private collections in the United States and many foreign countries. 

The recent publication marks the organization’s 25th genealogy-related public service project to transcribe and publish early historical records of eastern Alameda County. The Early Records of the Presbyterian Church of Pleasanton, California and other L-AGS publications are available for free at Or, they can be purchased at

Title: Early Records of the Presbyterian Church of Pleasanton, California.
Paperback: 40 pages
Publisher: Livermore-Amador Genealogical Society (August 2011)
Lulu ID: 11076740
Dimensions (inches) 8½ X 11
Retail Price: $8.12 (Paperback), $1.19 (File Download)

The Livermore-Amador Genealogical Society was formed in June 1977 by students in a Livermore Adult Education Class. The purpose of L-AGS is to help beginning genealogists get started, to exchange information with fellow members, to learn more about sources available for genealogical research, and to undertake genealogy-related public service projects. To learn more about L-AGS visit

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Contact: Mary Dillon, President
Livermore-Amador Genealogical Society
P.O. Box 901
Livermore, CA 94551-0901
(925) 462-3018
Email Mary.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Until I spent the weekend with my 92-year-old grandfather, I assumed that the epitome of one’s past, present and future was reflected in the children.  But after being with Grampa, it’s definitely him more than my two little ones that shows me this.

Grampa reminds me of what I used to be:  a little girl drawing pictures of flowers and writing, “I LOV YUO GAMBA” in squiggle crayons.  Grampa reminds me of what I am:  a 44-year-old woman who needs to remember that being 44 is just a number.  Grampa reminds me of my future: if I take care of myself, I’ll hopefully be 92 and working and taking care of a house and running circles around my 44 year old grandchildren.

Grampa taught me so much this weekend about our family history, about him, and even about myself.  I think it’s a rare treat for a family historian to come home from a family visit with her 92-year-old Grampa with 485 scans, 602 stories, and a lifetime of memories.

Thanks, Grampa.

Grampa and his sister Harriet

Monday, August 15, 2011

Motivation Monday: Goal Check-in

Not much has changed since last month.  Still working on the same things, but added a couple of genealogy projects for my local societies.  That’s been really fun! 

Here is a suggestion to societies out there:  If you want more members to help, just ask!  Sometimes we don’t know we have skills that would be useful.  And if you don’t ask, we won’t speak up, because we simply don’t know.

·         Write up what I know of John Shelton.- Not done yet. 
·         Write up what I know about Laura Wilkinson.- Check.
·         Write up what I know about William Mason Conner.- Still working on it.
·         Fill in some blanks about Thomas Conner.- Still working on it.
·         Write the Mariani history as I know it.- Still working on it. 
·         Source all of the above.- I’m sourcing as I go.  Easier that way.
·         Begin a family newsletter for descendents of William Mason Conner.- Began a Facebook page and designed the format of the newsletter, but I won’t do the first newsletter until the book is done. (see above)
·         Find descendents of William Mason Conner.- found some on Facebook and sent emails on others.  Next is regular mail.
·         Teach a home school class on family history for young children.- planned out and just waiting for the Fall.
·         Toss all of the above to 2012's list when I find something really exciting on some other line that wasn't on The List.- Check!  Found a cousin/relative in Scotland, so we are working on that side right now.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sentimental Sunday: Pan-Am Flashbacks

I was fast-forwarding through commercials the other evening when I experienced a flashback through my whole body.  I felt like I was transported to another time.  I quickly pressed replay to see what it was that set me off. It was this:

A commercial for a show called Pan-Am.  I hadn't seen that logo since I was a child when Dad worked for them for a decade or so.  Back then I saw it on everything.  Our duffel bags.  Mom and Dad's winter coats.  Our toothbrushes.  The notepads we drew on.  The pens we drew with.  Etc. On E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G.   That logo was more familiar to me than I even could explain in words.  And yet, if you asked me to describe it, I wouldn't be able to.  It's a logo that is a FEELING more than a THING.  And now they are making a show about it.  I can’t decide if I should set the DVR or slap my forehead in horror.  So I think I’ll do both.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Finding Living Cousins

I think I need a new template…

Dear Blank,

While listening to Geneabloggers’ radio and subsequently summertime songs on the hangout, I Internet stalked you and found this address.  I believe we are cousins, both descending from Blank.  You descend from his son Blank and I from his son Blank. 

Please send me any pictures, stories, documents, etc. that you have.  I want it all.  So that I can write about it on my Blog.


52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History: Jobs

My very first job, besides the massive amount of babysitting that I did, was at Lockheed Martin in the Missiles and Space working 4 hours a day, 3 day s a week and making $5 an hour.  Not bad for a 16-year-old.  I got the job through the work-life program at school.  I remember going for the interview and getting the job.  It was my very first interview and I had NO CLUE.  I have no idea why they picked me- the other candidates must have come straight from the Smoking Hill or something…

The department I worked for studied sun spots.  We had a satellite that sent us data from the sun.  In addition to her tasks, I was in charge of storing the back-ups of the data.  This was in the days of terminals that connected to a massive system that couldn’t even do half as much as my phone does now.  But in those days, I’d go down to the computer FLOOR and rewind the giant spools of tape and replace it with another.  I’d label them and put them in storage.

I also printed out the data from the spools.  They printed on computer paper- the kind that is one long paper that accordion folded and had the tear-ff holes on the sides.  These would be dated and logged into enormous binders.  Sometimes I would be assigned the task of finding sun spots in the data.  I admit to sucking at this, so I rarely spent time at it.  On the afore-mentioned printouts, there were zeroes and ones.  Whenever there appeared to be a pattern change, I would highlight that area.

I was also allowed to use the terminals to type school papers, which was pretty exciting since there weren’t word processors then- just typewriters (which I also sucked at).  I believe the computer “floor” used an extremely awkward and ancient version of WordStar.  And then just BASIC programming to make it work.  All this computer experience at the time, though, did give me an edge at school where the math teachers, who were in charge of the brand new “computer lab” didn’t actually know how to use computers…

Friday, August 12, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History: Water

I had a Water entry all planned out where I was going to tell you about family trips to Santa Cruz, swim lessons in Minnesota, and my encounter with a past life regressionist who informed me of my fear of water.  However, since this is about me and I get to choose, I’m going to instead tell you about our recent trip to the beach in Maine.

To begin, I first have to tell you about our dear friends from Ohio.  We met on the internet through a mommies email group of women all pregnant and due the same month as my daughter.  Sheri and I bonded.  When our girls were five, our families met in Chicago one year and it was almost too good to be true that ALL of us got along.  Since then, we’ve shared a family vacation in California, I’ve been to Ohio a couple of times (and brought my daughter with me once!).  In our co-genealogy work, we’ve also discovered that we are cousins.  My 5-year-old son has dubbed us FUZZINS (they are friends who are also cousins).

This year was another co-family vacation, but in Maine.  We rented a beautiful beach house in Kennebunkport, just a short distance from Goose Rocks Beach.  The house itself had a nice third story loft area that we decided would be a nice place to banish allow the kids to play.  The second floor had two baths, 2 bedrooms with twin beds, a master bedroom and another large room with a queen bed.  The bottom floor had a dining room, a kitchen, and living room and a front room.  The perfect amount of space for our two families.  We were afraid by the description that it was going to be too far from the ocean, but it’s literally right around the corner and we could hear the waves while we were sleeping.

Goose Rocks Beach was also perfect.  There were enough people there so that you knew it was fun, but not enough to call it crowded.  At low tide, you can walk out to an island that is inaccessible a high tide.  There were also several of Signa’s favorite areas where she found hermit crabs, sea snails and other living critters.  The waves were gentle enough that Will could play in them, but strong enough that he WOULD play in them.  Marc and I even joined our friends in boogie boarding one hot afternoon.

The water was amazing.  So different from what I’m used to at the Pacific Ocean’s Santa Cruz beach.  It was warmer and clearer.  I had never been in an ocean where I could see my feet through the water.  Some days the water was colder than others, but all in all, it was definitely warmer.  And I definitely liked it that way!  I loved lying on the shore and jumping in when I needed to cool off.  I loved watching Will frolic in the ocean, punching, jumping and screaming at the waves.  I loved seeing Signa run off with Daddy with her empty bucket and come back all smiles with a bucket full of “friends” (that would then die in said bucket throughout the heat of the day…).

But most of all, I loved being with my Fuzzins.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Jackpot: William Mason and Agnes Alexander

So in my jackpot from yesterday, here is what I got:

Translation (and it is a translation, as this was difficult to read) from the bottom record:
From 26 March, 1838, St. Cuthbert's Parish Records:
William Mason, labourer, residing in [8..12] West Maitland Street and Agnes Alexander also residing in same place both in this parish, daughter of the late Robert Alexander victual dealer* in Corstorphine have been three** several times duly and regularly proclaimed in order. Marriage in the parish church of Saint Cuthbert’s and no objections offered.  Married this day by the Reverend Doctor David Dickson.

*  I love the OPR scanners, as when I googled “Niduar Dealer” (which is what it looked like) I got a hit for a PDF of a similar Irish document where the words were clearly, “Victual Dealer” in the actual document.  So it wasn’t just me who saw that.  And then looked up "victual dealer” and it’s a grocer.  Gggggrandpa Mason was grocer.  One of eight in the town, according to the Statistical Accounts of Scotland, Edinburgh. ( , p. 222)

** This “Three” is not a typo.  It’s found all over the place on this page and others I googled and is very clear.  What does it mean???  “have been three several times” does NOT make sense…

Here is the church.  It was rebuilt in 1888, but they (i.e. Wikipedia) says that it was rebuilt with the same proportions just larger.

I also found this, which is, “Memorial to Reverend David Dickson”. 

      In memory of the Rev. David Dickson, D.D., who died 28th July 1842 in the 63r year of his age, and the fortieth of his ministry in this church and parish.  An accomplished scholar and theologian, sound in doctrine, earnest in exhortation, in labours unwearied : acute in argument, expert in business, affectionate, generous, affable and accessible to all.  Taking an active part in every Christian and benevolent enterprise, he possessed in a high degree the public confidence and esteem, and was beloved by each family of his flock as their councilor and comforter, their faithful and familiar friend.
      This piece of sculpture designed to represent an incident of almost daily occurrence in his lif has been erected by a number of his parishioners to express their veneration for his character and to perpetuate the rememerance of his kindness to the poork the widow, and the fatherless.
      Charles Handyside Ritchie, sculptor, erected 1844.

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History: Spring

I can’t think of a story about spring that doesn’t include the word “cleaning.” My family was big on spring cleaning and my job was always windows.  I’d mix up a big metal pail with vinegar and water and dunk in newspapers to do the wiping.  

We’d pack up the winter wear and bring out the summer clothing, holding back just a few winter favorites that we knew we’d wear to extinction.

The beds and curtains would be striped and beaten with a mop on the back porch to get all the dust out.

The daffodils would be in bloom and all would be clean and sparkly.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wisdom Wednesday- Scotland’s People is WAY More Fun than Vegas

Earlier this week, I read about the promotion on ScotlandsPeople for oversees customers.  They are giving away 30 free credits.  I ran over there (figuratively with my fingers and mouse) and got my free credits.

I’ve spent a lot of time on Scotland’s People in the past, but to buy credits is an ordeal.  I have to get denied by my bank (they see my account and know there is no possible freaking way that I can afford to be in Scotland), get my account suspended, wait for the bank to call before I use any money (on SP or elsewhere), and then wait for my account to be activated and redo the order.  So I only do it when I really, really need something. 

Or when someone gives me 30 free credits. 

If you haven’t been on the site, they have original records that you buy with credits.  It’s 1 credit to look at the search results and 5 credits for an image.  So it’s a bit like a slot machine with two times to ante up: the first gives you some odds and the second can be a jackpot or a bust.

You sit down at a slot machine Type your information in the search boxes.
Pull the handle Click search.
The wheels spin cursor turns into a sand-dial.
You get some cherries and oranges It tells you how many matches you have.
That’s when the real gambling starts.  You pick one and spend your five credits.

And you waste 5 credits. 

Or... up pops your 4th great grandparents’ marriage information from the parish record…


P.S. I'm now down to my last 6 credits... one search and one image... It's burnin' a hole in my pocket...

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History: Illness & Injury

When I was five, I decided to play popcorn stand with my bicycle.  I upended it and spun the wheels and gleefully made up a song about making popcorn for the circus.

And then I put my middle finger in the spokes.

And had to go for stitches.

I cried all the way there, not because it hurt, but because we were in public and I had my towel-wrapped middle finger raised high in the air, flipping off everyone we passed, which I knew was Super Bad™.