Monday, January 29, 2018

Monday Genea-pourri, Week of January 22-28, 2018

Randy Seaver of Genea-Musing started this meme and I loved the idea. Genealogists are great at documenting our ancestors’ lives but not so great documenting our own. I’ll write about what I’ve been doing the past week.


1. Genealogy Courses

This week I atteded Rick Sayre’s Advanced Land Tools: Maps class at SLIG (Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy). We had five full days of classes and a banquet on Friday night. I learned so much about how to accessed maps online and offline, how to overlay old maps onto Google Earth, and how to plot land both on paper and in a program called DeedMapper. Check out my blog posts about my SLIG experience.

 The week wasn’t just about class. I made some new friends, visited with old friends, read through several of the BCG certification portfolios, and purchased some new genealogy books. I got in some exercise each day walking back to the hotel from the library each afternoon.
Some of the CGS members present at SLIG

My partners in the archives class. Jane was my roommate.
Elissa Powell and me

Tina and me
Laura Lee and me
Dennis, me, Faye, Alex & Jeri (Jim looking on)

2. Blogs
I posted several blog posts about the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy using the hashtag #SLIGExperience. Each of the posts were entered in a contest.

I also posted this week’s post for 52 Ancestors. The theme this week was who we’d invite to dinner. Check it out here.

Returned home on Saturday aboard Southwest. Our trip was pretty quick and we arrived almost thirty minutes before the scheduled arrival. 

After being picked up, we stopped by to visit with my friend's granddaughter and seeing her new baby.

Copyright © 2018 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

SLIG 2018-Wednesday


The theme for our Land class today was online maps. We learned about many different websites that house lots of images of maps. Some great sites are:
  • Library of Congress
  • National Archives
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • Bureau of Land Management
  • USGS
  • David Rumsey’s Historical Map Collection

to name a few good sites. State archives, libraries, and historical societies are also other great sites for historical maps.

Screen shots of two sites we visited in the Family History Library lab:

David Rumsey's Map Collection

BLM website
Here’s a map I found that was interesting—wish I noted which site I found it!

This depicts the San Francisco Bay

Another classmate and local genealogy society (California Genealogical Society).

Laura Lee and me
 I’m so excited by what we’ve learned so far!

Copyright © 2018 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

SLIG 2018-Tuesday


The second day at the Advanced Land Tools: Maps was fantastic! After learning all about migration routes, we worked on land platting. With protractors and rulers, and the land description, we were able to plat it out. It’s not so hard. Reminded me a lot of high school geometry class (which was my favorite math class).

After learning to do it on paper, we went to the Family History Library computer lab and learned how to plat the same land using a program called Deedmapper. It’s a program I definitely want to buy.

I walked back to the library, stopping first at the Salt Lake City Visitor’s Center and the gift store there. They have lots of neat stuff – some with “Salt Lake City” written on it, some candy treats, some jewelry, and books. Check it out.

After dinner, I visited the Ancestry Pro Genealogists open house and had fun socializing with lots of SLIG participants and Ancestry employees. I even met a member of my local genealogy society I have never met before.

Copyright © 2018 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, January 22, 2018

SLIG 2018-Monday


My syllabus and name tag
along with this year's lapel pin
I’ve completed first day of Advanced Land Records: Maps with Rick Sayre as the Coordinator. We also met our other instructors: Melinda Kashuba, Kimberly Powell, and Jerry Smith.

The morning was an overview of what our week will be, plus Rick gave us an introduction to mapping America and a lesson on land division.

After lunch we headed via bus to the Utah State Archives, where Melinda led a discussion about how to read maps and then we met in small groups to look at and analyze a few maps. Luckily we received a list of what to make notice of and to think about how the maps could help us genealogically.

My team: Linda & Jane
One of our maps we analyzed

It was much fun seeing the variety of Utah maps that the archives have in their collection. I really love hands on activities.

Copyright © 2018 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past. All Rights Reserved.

Monday Genea-pourri, Week of January 15-21, 2018

Randy Seaver of Genea-Musing started this meme and I loved the idea. Genealogists are great at documenting our ancestors’ lives but not so great documenting our own. I’ll write about what I’ve been doing the past week.


1. Blogs
Got caught up, writing future blog posts, since I would be in Salt Lake City for eleven days. This post was started and was added to during the week, to be published on Monday, January 22. Two posts were published on the 15th:
·         Mam-ma’s Southern Family: “Happy 7th Blogiversary!”
·         My Trails into the Past: “Monday Genea-pourri, Week of January 8-14”

I also published a post for the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.” The theme was longevity and I wrote about my grandmother and her uncle, who both lived to 100ish.

2. Genealogy Courses
I am working on the curriculum of an intermediate course I’m teaching for California Genealogical Society in May. It will be five classes and I have created an outline draft of my plan for the upcoming Events Committee meeting on Saturday, which I am unable to attend. I plan to work on the curriculum while riding Amtrak to Florida in February. I have a portable table and I set up my laptop in our sleeping car room.

Sunday, I picked up my name badge and syllabus for the SLIG (Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy) course Advanced Land Tools: Maps. I'll write more about the course next week.

3. History Center
I had a lot of queries to answer at the Contra Costa County History Center. One called for getting a deed from the County Recorder’s office. Boy, it’s not a good idea to go there on the day after a holiday. It was busier than I’ve seen it. Another query wanted to know about the warehouse built by McNear in  Port Costa, and still another about the publisher of the Walnut Creek Kernel. Interesting stuff to research!

4. Family History Library
Had a partial day on Wednesday and full days on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. I worked at writing up the research report for my client. Newspapers, digital films, and microfilm images have been wonderful sources in filling out their lives. I have also seen many genealogy friends who have come early to do research.
Me, on the 2nd floor
I flew to Salt Lake City from Oakland on Wednesday. I had a window seat and got a few shots of the bay and Mt. Diablo. The whole Central Valley was socked in with fog. There wasn’t much snow of the mountains in the Sierras. The flight itself was pretty normal until it was time to land. Just before we were to land on the runway, the pilot took off again and circled around. We got a good view of the city as we landed from the south.
Mt. Diablo above the fog
Nice & clear in Salt Lake City
The weather Wednesday and Thursday was very nice—‘sweater weather.’ Friday was much cooler and windier, and by the evening it started snowing. When I woke on Saturday morning, I could see the trees covered in snow—like a picture postcard. Walking on Sunday morning to church was dry but the snow on the tree branches were very pretty.
just west of the Joseph Smith Building

Interior of the Cathedral of the Madeleine
I haven’t been active with any sporting activities besides walking, but I have been enjoying watching the Australian Open tennis tournament on television. With the time difference, the games are broadcast during prime time. I only miss the last games, usually played by the best men players, because by eleven o’clock I’m ready for bed. I’m looking forward to more tennis next week.

Copyright © 2018 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

SLIG 2018-Sunday


That’s what I’m writing about this week—my experiences at the 2018 Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. We had a great kick-off Sunday night with a welcoming reception with nice hors d’oeuvres. After introducing the SLIG staff and then all of the instructors for the 14 courses, we were treated to entertainment.

I am taking Course 12: Advanced Land Tools: Maps. It is coordinated by Rick Sayre, cg. After quickly looking at the schedule, I can see that this will be a great course.

This is my sixth SLIG experience. I love learning about a subject in depth. I love seeing old friends and meeting new ones. I look forward to the energy at SLIG Central.

Better go to bed early—the week starts tomorrow!

Copyright © 2018 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Monday Genea-pourri, Week of January 8-14, 2018

Randy Seaver of Genea-Musing started this meme and I loved the idea. Genealogists are great at documenting our ancestors’ lives but not so great documenting our own. I’ll write about what I’ve been doing the past week.

Although I was under the weather last week, I did work on the families that are part of my case study. I got an answer back from the Catholic church in Anaconda along with images of the baptism. It was just the one entry with no headings, but it was easily enough to figure out what the columns represented.

On my portfolio work, I’ve made the decision that I’ll have to renew and extend another year. I enquired on how to do that, and now must send in another $75, which will give me until March 2, 2019 to finish up. The reason I have to extend, is even though I have about six weeks still on the clock, I have planned trips to Utah and Florida planned which will use up most of that time. My plan is to go back to working on it in earnest once we are back from vacation.

We had a Certification Peer Group meeting on Friday. We discussed our progress (or lack of).  I was under the weather and didn’t get as much done as I wanted. We also discussed more of North Carolina Research. Four of us will be at SLIG (Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy) next week and will get together for a meal, I’m sure.

On blogging: My post for 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks last week was on my favorite photo. I couldn’t decide on one, so added a second photo. I also wrote a post for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun about my Lancaster line.

I worked the desk at the California Genealogical Society Library in Oakland on Friday. I had three customers in person and two on the phone. It was a busy day. Then on Saturday, the society celebrated their 120th birthday with a party at the Annual Meeting. There was a potluck lunch and birthday cake.

Lastly, I participated in an International German GenealogyConference meeting for the Speaker team, taking the minutes. We have a good group and it’s getting close for the call for papers to go out. Wednesday was the DearMyrtle “Mastering Genealogy Documentation Study Group.” We’re almost done with the book.

We attended the celebration party of the 50th anniversary for my husband’s cousin, Marguerite & her husband Paul. Their children pulled off a nice party with a catered buffet dinner, lovely desserts made by her nephew, Ben, and a great slide presentation of their years together. We stayed the night at a hotel so we didn’t have to drive home late at night.
Cousins at the party
Copyright © 2018 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 2: Favorite Photo(s)

I am working on this year-long prompt, hosted by Amy Johnson Crow. I will write each week in one of my two blogs, either Mam-ma’sSouthern Family or at My Trails Into the Past. I’m looking forward to writing about my children’s ancestors in new and exciting ways.

This week the theme is "Favorite Photo." I don't know how anyone can pick just one favorite photo. I'm a photographer and I have many favorite photos that I've taken. I could never pick just one.

I also have a large collection of photos taken by other family members. There are many favorite photos among those, depending upon who is the subject. I could write dozens of posts entitled "My Favorite Photo of XXX." (Hmm, now that might be a very good idea....)

So for this week, I'm choosing one of my favorite photos taken of my youngest daughter and me. I'm not in many photos, since I'm usually the photographer. I have to remember occasionally to hand the camera to someone else so I can be in the photo, too.

This photo was taken while she attended Creative Play Center preschool. It is a cooperative preschool and parents volunteered once a week, plus we might have other jobs, too. I was the scheduler of the volunteers for our class. One of the parents was the photographer. I don't remember who it was. Our prints don't have a photographer's name imprinted on them. They are just copies made from the camera developing store.

The photographer posed us outdoors in the playground, which is located in back of the school. The school is actually a house that has been added to over the years. Besides play equipment, there are lots of trees that shade the backyard nicely.

I don't remember the date, as Margaret could have been either in the A.M. class or the P.M. class for older children. I think what I love most is the expression on her face. She really loved the camera. I also like the photo being black & white, as it reminds me of photos of long ago.

Now I cannot leave out my other daughter, Elizabeth. So I have added a second favorite photo.

I took the girls one afternoon to Nancy Boyd Park and shot photos of them on the old style playground equipment. Elizabeth loved the monkey bars best and the higher they were, the better. Both girls had a great time posing for me and I'm glad now I used black & white film.

Copyright © 2018 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Monday Genea-pourri, Week of January 1-7, 2018

Randy Seaver of Genea-Musing started this meme and I loved the idea. Genealogists are great at documenting our ancestors’ lives but not so great documenting our own. I’ll write about what I’ve been doing the past week.

The memorial service for my aunt, June Stewart. It was held at Bonaventure Church in Clayton. First there was a rosary and then a Mass. I read the second reading. Father Aiden gave the homily. He thought of my aunt like a second mother. The Mass was very enjoyable because a large portion of the choir was there. I love singing. After the service, there was a luncheon of sandwiches and salads in the parish hall. It was so nice visiting with my cousins and their children. Afterwards, Bonnie arranged for family to have dinner at La Veranda Café in Clayton. It was a delicious Italian meal and wonderful to catch up with more of my cousins. My cousin, Bonnie, made the day very special.

Here is a 2007 shot of my dad, Bill, with his sisters, Lorene, June, and Virginia,
and his cousin, Mary (to his immediate right). Mary is the only one left now.
Cousins Gigi and Bonnie at the reception
Finally got together with Norman’s brother for Christmas exchange. We had a lovely ham dinner together.

My portfolio work is moving along. During the Christmas break I had researched a title company to do some land research in Todd County, Minnesota for me because I never heard from the Recorder’s Office on my previous request. I wrote out the email but saved it in the drafts, waiting for the new year. Then I thought I should try the County Recorder’s Office one more time. Well, persistence paid! I received the land records I requested on the same day. I now know the final outcome of the homestead land of Jeremiah Sullivan. This will be helpful for my case study.

I also sent out other requests for some baptismal records from the Catholic church in Anaconda and marriage record from Portland. The church in Portland emailed me right back and after a bit of back and forth, she sent an image of the marriage record. Another score!

We had a Certification Peer Group meeting on Friday after being on hiatus for a month. It was very good seeing everyone. Most everyone had been either very busy during the month or very sick, and didn’t get much done. I probably got the most done, primarily because all of my regular activities were also on hiatus, which gave me lots of time to work on the portfolio.

I am also participating in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, started by Amy Johnson Crow. This year, we will have some prompts which will make this a little easier. She gave us five prompts already and I have mapped out what or who I’m going to write about. I will use both blogs to work through this project.

Active Activity
The biggest physical activity I did this week was the walk along the Franklin Hills in Martinez, from the high school all the way to Jane Moore’s house for the 30th Annual Waffle Party on New Year’s Day. The first hill from the high school is a doozy. It is very steep, but luckily this year, it was dry. The kids from the high school call the hill “nazi hill” when they are forced to run up it.

The views from the top are worth the hike up. It was a “spare the air” day so it was very hazy when looking toward the east and south, but the view northward toward the Carquinez Straits was clear. I hiked with four friends and there were others on the trail, taking in the first day of 2018.
Vickie, Elaine, Jamie, me

Mt. Diablo in the smog - Spare the Air Day

View of the straits before going down to Jane's
Of course, what goes up much come down, and the trail down to Jane’s house was also very steep. The waffle party was in full swing when we got there. Because it was the last one, there were many more people there than last year. I don’t eat wheat and dairy, so I ate a few oranges and drank orange juice. All in all, it was a great day to start the new year!

Copyright © 2018 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun -- Your Best Find of 2017, and Research Challenge for 2018

Randy Seaver’s Genea-Musing has another challenge for us.
Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission Impossible! music) is to:
1)  What was your best research achievement in 2017?  Tell us - show us a document, or tell us a story, or display a photograph.  Brag a bit!  You've earned it!
2)  We all have elusive ancestors.  What research problem do you want to work on in 2018?  Tell us where you want to research and what you hope to find.
3)  Put the answers in your own blog post, in a comment to this blog post, or in a Facebook or Google+ post.
2017 Finds
Oh, I wished I had kept track of all of my good finds. I’ll have to do better this year!

I found good stuff on my Gleeson, Sullivan, and Lundquist families by researching from home, researching on location in South Dakota, and by having others do research or record pulls for me at recorder’s offices, historical societies, and courthouses. Since I am using this information for my certification portfolio, I don’t want to talk about the details here yet.

I did not extend my ancestry back another generation. However, I sent away for or obtained some other nice and interesting records this past year.

1.  Personnel file for my great aunt, Beryl Johnston Russell. I wrote two blog posts about what I found.  “Beryl Johnston Russell Taylor Worked for the Feds” and “Beryl Russell Worked in Greece.”

2.  I sent away for the detailed World War II draft information on my two grandfathers and my father-in-law. These were the WWII draft cards for the young men. They are now being digitized and put online, but I also got the images of the Classification record which showed when they took the physical and were drafted.  Here is the story of William C. Hork’s card. I also received the records for Tom J. Johnston and George J. Gorrell.

3.  At the National Archives in Washington, D.C., I pulled the Homestead papers for William C. Gleeson and sister, Margaret T. Gleeson. They obtained land in Harney County, Oregon. Because I took photos, I can see any color that might be on the documents. 
Notice of publication - see the blue ink?
Here's an image of his signature:
Signature of William C. Gleeson
I also got the Civil War Pension file for Joseph W. Gorrell, the brother of Amos Gorrell, our direct ancestor.  See the all the different colors on this file jacket? There are different color inks.

Jacket - Civil War Pension file for Joseph W. Gorrell
Goals for 2018
Besides turning in my certification portfolio, I want to: 
  • organize the files I have for the Lundquist and Nilsen families so I can send them to my aunt to be interspersed with the files she already has. Before I send, I want to make sure I have scanned the important documents.
  • analyze and input into RootsMagic all of the records I collected last year.
  • scan more documents and photos.

I especially would like to find the parents of Samuel Johnston (1816-1879), from somewhere in South Carolina.

Copyright © 2018 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 1: Start

I am working on this year-long prompt, hosted by Amy Johnson Crow. I will write each week in one of my two blogs, either Mam-ma’sSouthern Family or at My Trails Into the Past. I’m looking forward to writing about my children’s ancestors in new and exciting ways.

This first week is about “Starting.” How did I get started in this ever addicting activity? Susan Swindell, who was my two daughter’s babysitter, took a yearly trip to Salt Lake City at the Family History Library. I couldn’t understand how she could spend six days in a library doing genealogy research from the time it opened until it closed.

So she took me to Sutro Library in San Francisco. This library is part of the California State Library but has resources that are great for genealogists. At the time it was in its own building, but now it is on a floor of the library at San Francisco State University.

There she showed me how to look up census records on microfilm. I started with the 1920 census, as it was the latest census we could view at the time. This was in the 1990s; we didn’t have online census images yet.

I scrolled through the images on the microfilm of the soundex, and suddenly I found my grandfather, William Cyril Hork. He was listed as Cyril Hork but I just knew that was him living with his mother, a brother, and a sister. I got the census roll next and made a copy of the actual census page, as you can see here.

1920 U.S. federal census, Ravalli Co, Montana, Hamilton, ED 182, sht 12b, family 315, Julia Hork.
I next looked for him in the 1910 soundex and then census records until I found him living with his mother, and brother and sisters. 
1910 U.S. federal census, Ravalli Co, Montana, Hamilton, ED 86, sht 19b, family 405, Julia A. Hork.

At the end of the day, I told Susan that I wanted to go to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City next year. That was like 25 years ago and I'm still deep into this. I manage to spend some part of every day working on genealogy.

I really loved the research, especially the hunt. It was always the part of research l liked in college: finding the information, but I was never good at writing the paper. Doing this year-long mean will change that.

Copyright © 2017 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Monday Genea-pourri, Week of December 26-31, 2017

Randy Seaver of Genea-Musing started this meme and I loved the idea. Genealogists are great at documenting our ancestors’ lives but not so great documenting our own. I’ll write about what I’ve been doing the past week.

I got mentioned in two blogs on the same day! Judy G. Russell thanked me for taking her bird watching and a drive up to the top of Mt. Diablo last September.  Gena Philibert-Ortega mentioned my suggestion in her blog post on the GenealogyBank blog post. She wrote about New Year’s resolutions and I had suggested “Create something to share with your family to ensure your research lasts to the next generation.”

I was behind in my client’s work and got out his research report to him on Thursday. He is liking the stories that I find and authorized the continuation. One of his line of ancestors were from Massachusetts. This is a new area for me. For the next round, I’m returning to another line that were still in California and work on them awhile, while I read up on New England (specifically Mass. and RI.) research. Might be good reading on the train trip in February.

Work was done on the Case Study for the BCG certification portfolio. I thought I was further along. It might not be such a challenging case after all. We’ll see as I get it written up. DNA will make it stronger, for sure. I’m also thinking I’m not going to finish this in time for the deadline in March. I’ll probably need to extend. I’ve discovered some records I need, that I must reach out to the original repositories to get them. I might even need to hire a title researcher to get the land records I need.

Nature Activity
The Nutall’s woodpecker is enjoying the suet this week and sometimes the chestnut-backed chickadee comes, too. The other feeders are full of lesser goldfinches and house finches, and the ground full of towhees and white-crowned sparrows.
Lesser Goldfinches
Nutall's Woodpecker
Active Activity
Only one day of pickleball and one day of yoga. I’ve developed a cold and was moving a bit slower, with much less energy to make the Friday pickleball. Got in a few walks. It is so different walking without our dog, Sidney. He certainly kept us moving a lot faster. (He had certain trees, bushes, poles, etc. that he had to sniff or pee on.)

We had a late Christmas celebration with my daughter and her boyfriend up in Sebastopol on New Year’s eve day. Brunch at her restaurant was delicious. It was quiet there, so we were able to stay longer and visit. After lunch, we walked around until Elizabeth had to get ready for work. Norman’s brother, Brian, was supposed to come, too, but there was some illness in their family. We’ll reschedule for another day. We left before it was dark and I took this shot looking west across Mare Island at sunset.

Had a nice breakfast with Beth, my long-time friend from school days. We usually meet for breakfast between Christmas and New Years to exchange simple gifts. We also attend a half dozen or so San Francisco Giants games during the season and have traveled together to GRIP a couple of times in the past (where we traveled by car afterwards seeing whatever sights fancy us. Need to do that again soon).

Finally, my aunt, June, died this week on 28 December. She was born in 11 June 1926. She was my father’s sister, just four years older. She was also my godmother. She reminded me most of her mother, my Nana. She was loving, friendly, giving, and a devout Catholic. She helped me most with my genealogy journey of her family and was always interested in what I found. She will be greatly missed. Love you, Aunt June. Rest in peace. You can read her obituary here

My aunts, June and Virginia, and me
Sending 2017 into 2018
This past year has been very memorable. I met many people in person, that I have been friends with on Facebook, when I attended the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy in January, the Southern California Jamboree in Burbank, California in June, the International German Genealogy Conference in Minneapolis in July, and the APG Professional Management Conference in Washington, D.C. I spent ten days driving around three states (MN, SD, & IA) conducting genealogy research for the Gleeson, Sullivan, and Lundquist families. Thank you, Yvonne, for keeping me company. I taught several classes for local genealogy societies and presented at several genealogy societies. I participated in two DearMyrtle Hangouts as a panelist.

My husband and I traveled through 21 states on our trip to Seattle, Chicago, New Orleans, and San Antonio last spring. We visited cousins in Conway & Hot Springs, Arkansas, in Mission, Texas, and Joliet, Illinois.  We also traveled by plane in February to New York City to visit our daughter, Margaret, and then on to Guatemala for a tour with Norman’s brother. Finally in the fall, we traveled in 9 more states on a train trip between Washington, D.C. to Boston, through a stop in NYC.

Goals for 2018: travel to Florida; finish my certification portfolio; organize and scan Nilsen & Lundquist files to add to the papers going to the California State Archives; improve both my pickleball game and my bird identifying skills.

Copyright © 2017 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past. All Rights Reserved.