27 March 2015

First Families of San Joaquin County Certificate Program


The San Joaquin Genealogical Society and the San Joaquin County Historical Society have partnered to offer First Families of San Joaquin County Certificate Program.

This project has been a long time in coming.  I don't usually like to toot my own horn, however - TOOT, TOOT, TOOT!
I have worked for over a year to make this happen.  Many thanks to Dave Stuart (CEO) and Leigh Johnsen (Archivist) from the San Joaquin Historical Society and Jacqi Stevens and Harvey Williams from the San Joaquin Genealogical Society.  The project wouldn't even have got off the ground if not for these wonderful people.

There are three categories of First Families that your ancestor may qualify for:

FOUNDING FAMILY:  Settled in San Joaquin County before 1860.
PIONEER FAMILY: Settled in San Joaquin County between 1860 and 1880.
CENTURY FAMILY:  Settled in San Joaquin County after 1880 but before 100 years fro the current year.

We hope to identify pioneers and early residents and to honor their lasting contributions to the history of San Joaquin County by recognizing their descendants who submit genealogical information.

All applications and documentation submitted will be housed in the San Joaquin County Historical Museum Research Library to preserve your family's history and will be made available for public research.

For each qualifying ancestor, an 8 1/2” x 11” certificate, suitable for framing, numbered and signed, will be issued.   $10 for members of the San Joaquin Genealogical Society or San Joaquin County Historical Society; $15 for non members. 

For instructions and application form, click HERE.

15 March 2015

"The Most Beautiful Woman in California"

This statement was quoted in the San Francisco Call (23 November 1908) from the artist Charles Dana Gibson (Gibson girls) when he saw Anna Delpino Peters at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco.


Anna was one of the charter members of El Toyon Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution.  Anna's mother, Anna Forman Peters was the organizing Regent.  Anna's sister, Genevieve Peters was also a charter member.

Anna Forman Peters was the wife of J.D. Peters one of the wealthiest men in San Joaquin County.  He was a grain merchant, banker, land developer and owner a fleet of steamships.  Their children, J.D. Jr., Genevieve and Anna, spent much of their teen and young adult years back and forth between Stockton and San Francisco.  They were part of what was then called “The Smart Set” - people who were among the very wealthy and were socially prominent. 

Genevieve, though maybe not quite as pretty as her sister Anna, held her own when it came to popularity amongst her peers.  


Genevieve was engaged to be married to a man named Arthur Duncan.  One week after the date to be married was set, she broke off the engagement citing religious differences.  The same evening she attended a dinner that was held in honor of the broken engagement.  Exactly one year later, she married Dr. Clarence Logan Six and they had three children:  John Logan Six, Robert Forman Six and Genevieve Six.  Robert Forman Six was the CEO of Continental Airlines from 1936-1981.  He was married twice, both times to actresses – Audrey Meadows and Ethel Merman.  Genevieve Forman Peters Six died at the age of 48 on 17 May 1926 in Stockton, San Joaquin County, California.

While working as a volunteer in a San Francisco hospital, Anna Peters met James Callery Jackman.  James was a Captain in the Marine Corp and was hospitalized from being gassed during World War I.  Anna nursed him back to health and they were later married.  They did not have any children.  Anna DaPino Peters Jackman died at the age of 88 on  15 June 1974 in Santa Clara County, California. 

The only son in the family, J.D. Peters followed in his father's footsteps and was a successful grain merchant and land developer.  He married Jessie Fillmore and were very happy until the year 1908.  

All the staff involved were fired immediately from their positions.  To this day, the crime has never been solved.

14 March 2015

This One Should Make You Chuckle

So I came across this article I wrote for "The Catholic Gene" blog back in 2011.  It really is way too funny not to share it with you here.  So for those who may have missed it 4 years ago -

St. Vincent de Paul


For my first post to The Catholic Gene I am going to tell you about St. Vincent de Paul. I have to tell you that there is more to this guy than meets the eye. Just look at that face – that twinkle in his eye. There aren’t many portraits of Saints that make me smile like this one does. He even died with a smile on his face. You can see for yourself the next time you’re in Paris. Just go to the Vincentian Chapel at Rue de Sèvres and have yourself a visit with St. Vince. Maybe he looks happy because he didn’t die a gruesome, horrible martyr’s death.




The boring hard facts are that Vincent de Paul was born at Pouy, France on April 24, 1581. He was ordained a priest on September 23, 1600. Vincent devoted himself entirely to works of charity. Vincent died in Paris on September 27, 1660 and was canonized in 1737.

 In 1633 he founded the Sisters of Charity who wear the coolest habits and coronets.


I’m certain that it was this order of nuns, the Sisters of Charity, that TV Land had in mind when they created The Flying Nun. I think I will contact the Pope and petition for another cause for St. Vincent for surely he is the patron saint of flying nuns as well.



And finally we thank St. Vincent for the inspiration behind the creation of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. Founded in Paris, France in 1833 and brought to America in 1845, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul brought us the THRIFT STORE! Who among you hasn’t been in a St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store? The stores have been around a lot longer than I imagined. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is the oldest charity in Chicago. It opened its doors in 1857. Philadelphia’s opened in 1861 and Baltimore, Maryland in 1865.

Because I am a most thorough and meticulous researcher, I recently went on a Pilgrimage to all the St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Stores withing a 100 mile radius of my home here in Stockton. I am happy to report that there are exactly 23. In the spirit of St. Vincent (being charitable, that is) I will share with you the treasure of all treasures that I found in the St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store in Pacific Grove, California.  You’re welcome.



Disturbing, yet hideously tacky in a delightful sort of way

Thank you St. Vincent, you’re my kind of saint!

11 March 2015

When Racking Up A $1500 Bill For Lingerie Can Put You In The Insane Asylum

March is Women's History Month and I have a story for you.

An ongoing project of mine is researching the charter members of my DAR chapter here in Stockton, California.  The ladies who organized the El Toyon Chapter were considered "High Society" and as such they were constant fodder for newspapers.  




Take the case of Mary Ada Fraser, daughter of Philip Barry Fraser, who was president of the Farmers and Merchants Bank.  

In 1898 Mary's mother died a tragic death.  It seems that Annette Parker Fraser had been standing to close to the fireplace when her dress caught and she went up in flames.


When in 1900 her father remarried a young widow, it seems Mary objected strongly to this marriage and started acting out perhaps to embarrass her father, punishing him for remarrying. Her behaviour was such that one night at midnight the asylum carriage, attendants with straps and handcuffs, took Miss Fraser from her home to the madhouse. 

From the Stockton Independent Daily:

A father and brother seemingly bending every influence which money and position can exert to keep a girl in a madhouse and the State Insanity Commissioners apparently striving to keep the public in ignorance of the facts, is a summary of the investigation conducted by the State Insanity Commissioners into the case of Mary Fraser, now restrained of her liberty at a private insane asylum.

The investigation which was begun yesterday at the instance of the girl's cousin, Mrs. James, has developed into a star-chamber proceeding, astounding in nature and apparently one-sided in its effects.  The friends of the unfortunate girl wanted the testimony taken down in shorthand in order to use, if necessary, in court proceedings.  This was denied them.  when the principal witnesses - those who could impart relevant testimony - came from the star-chamber, they announced that they had been solemnly sworn to secrecy.  News of this procedure has served to set public sentiment against P.B. Fraser, the father, and Albert Fraser, the brother.  The question naturally is asked "If there is nothing to conceal, why this secrecy?

It is understood  the distinct conviction of the commission is that the girl, on account of her eccentricities, as developed during the investigation, was a proper subject for parental watchfullness and even restraint.  However, these matters are regarded as outside the scope of the commission.  Local attorneys have raised the point that the Lunacy Commission has no jurisdiction in such cases but insist that the matter should have been brought before the Superior Court on habeas corpus proceedings and a jury should decide whether or not the patient is insane. The Commission takes the opposite view of the case and sections of the California Insanity Law of 1897 that state that the Commission has authority to discharge a patient are quoted to uphold its actions. 


From the evidence gained by the Lunacy Commission in its secret session, it was learned that Miss Fraser had fallen into habits of extravagance only possible from one of unbalanced mind:  that she had in one year contracted bills for underwear alone amounting to $1500, that she had persistantly disobeyed her father.  The members of the Commission believe that Miss Fraser is of a highly nervous disposition that she has been very much unstrung and that she should properly be placed under a certain degree of restraint.  The action of the State Commission in Lunacy had found that P.B. Fraser, the father of the young woman has acted rightly in detaining her but she should not be placed in an insane asylum - a partial victory for both sides in the controversy.

So after all this, Mary's father still retained guardianship over her.  Philip Fraser went to the asylum and tried to convince his daughter to be transferred to another sanatorium in Pacific Grove. She flatly refused and told her cousin and aunt of her father's plan.

They retained the legal services of Ex-Governor of California, James Budd (who happened to be the son of Joseph Budd, the presiding judge over the matter) and a writ was served on Fraser and the asylum which compelled them to produce Miss Fraser in court the following morning.


The option of receding from their position or defending it in court put a new phase upon the case and changed any plans which the father and brother may have previously formed.  Fraser agreed to relinquish his guardianship in favor of Mrs. R. B. Parker, the girl's grandmother and that it was understood that there would be no opposition to the young lady's competency.

Judge Joseph Budd declared in court the next day:

"Mary A. Fraser, was not, and never was an insane person.  The true cause of her dentention was the tyrannous determination on the part of P.B. Fraser, her father and Alfred P. Fraser, her brother, to forcibily compel her to conform to their wishes in the matter of certain family differences.  She was imprisoned for the purpose of discipline and revenge."

This incident divided the socialites, with the majority of them sympathetic towards Mary Fraser. Some of the prominent society people subpoenaed for the investigation to testify in Mary's behalf:

Mrs. Lucinda Budd (wife of the presiding judge and mother of Mary's attorney ex-governor James Budd)

Miss Mabel Clary (her brother was a law partner with Alfred Fraser, brother of Mary Fraser)

Mrs. Ada Orr (Mary's aunt and wife of Nelson Mills Orr who owned the Stockton Independent Daily)




27 February 2015

100th Anniversary of the Panama Pacific International Expo in San Francisco


One hundred years ago, San Francisco was the site of the Panama Pacific International Expo.  It was held to celebrate the completion of the Panama Canal and the rebirth of San Francisco after the devastating earthquake in 1906.  Eleven exhibit palaces sat on 635 acres of land on the San Francisco waterfront. Twenty-nine states had pavilions on display. The outbreak of World War I caused many foreign countries to withdraw from the Exposition but 25 still managed to send exhibits for their pavilions.

19 million people visited the Expo during its run from February to December in 1915.  It was the only World's Fair / Expo that was entirely funded locally. The Bay Area had an abundance of wealthy residents. When New Orleans’ exposition committee announced in early 1910 that it had pledges of $200,000 to make a fair happen, San Francisco’s elite responded with a gala at the Merchants Exchange where $4 million was pledged. By the time the House of Representatives was prepared to choose between the two cities in January 1911,  San Francisco guaranteed a world’s fair with $17.5 million in civic and state funds to get things started. New Orleans couldn’t come close to matching this amount. San Francisco was awarded the right to hold the 1915 exposition.



The ten major exhibit halls formed a large rectangle surrounded by several courtyards. The Exposition's most spectacular structure was the Tower of Jewels, which occupied the center of the large rectangular area. Standing 43 floors high, the Tower's exterior was decorated with more than 100,000 glass beads of various colors, which were strung on wires so they would blow in the wind. To enhance their shimmering effect, tiny mirrors were placed behind the beads.




On the east end of the rectangle stood Machinery Hall. Its enormous eight-acre interior was so large that an airplane could fly through it. With three bays each 75 feet wide, 101 feet tall and almost 1000 feet long, was the largest wooden structure in the world for its time. In the Palace of Transportation, a Ford motor plant produced 18 cars a day, displaying the marvel of the assembly line.




In the Joy Zone,  one could find the Aeroscope.  For 25 cents, fairgoers entered a two-level, 120-person passenger car attached to the end of an enormous steel arm that was slowly raised by an enormous counterweight to a height of 235 feet. For 10 minutes, visitors had spectacular views of the fairgrounds and city.  There was also a five-acre model of the Panama Canal itself, demonstrating the locks and trains which guided ships between the two oceans. Visitors rode around the model on a moving platform, listening to information over a telephone receiver.



The first transcontinental telephone call was made minutes before the official opening of the Expo.  The historic call was initiated by Alexander Graham Bell who was in New York and included Theodore Vail, the president of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company in Jekyll Island, Georgia, President Woodrow Wilson in the White House and Bell’s assistant Thomas Watson in San Francisco.




The first ever Woman Voters’ Convention in the world occurred in September of 1915 at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition.

27 December 2014

The Wedding Veil - A Christmas Wish Comes True!


Yes, the image above is exactly what you think it is.  The long sought after photo of Jeanette Augusta Meier on her wedding day wearing the veil that 48 brides in my sister-in-law's family wore on their wedding day.  My SIL and her mother had created a very special scrap/story/photo book that contained photos or portraits with family narratives of each bride with one exception.  They were missing a photo of Jeanette Augusta Meier.  

After exhausting resources available to me online, I reached out to every Jewish Genealogical or Historical Society, I blogged about it, I put it on Facebook, Google+, Twitter and the word got out.

It was a member of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Oregon, Sura Rubenstein, who heard about the hunt for the photo, located the image above and sent me an email.  The link Ms. Rubenstein sent me was from the NewsBank website.  I didn't have a subscription so all I could do at that point was view the image.  The University of Oregon Libraries website hosts the Historic Oregon Newspapers website and it is there I found the image above.  

Not only is it a full-length photo of Jeanette Meier wearing the veil, notice if you will that her attendants are also pictured framing Jeanette's photo.  They are all cousins of the bride except for the maid of honor who is her sister-in-law.  What an unexpected bonus!

Noting that the publication was "The Sunday Oregonian", I was curious why in all my searching through the Portland, Oregon historical newspapers online, I missed this.  My best guess is because the caption under Jeanette's photo appears "handwritten," not like the typeset of the rest of the paper and perhaps the OCR didn't pick this up.  Or perhaps my search was too narrow, focusing only on the "Oregonian."  Had I done a little more research on newspapers from Portland, Oregon, I would have found that the publication had quite a few different names:  "The Sunday Oregonian," "The Morning Oregonian," "The Weekly Oregonian" and "The East Oregonian." 

The scrapbook is now completed and will accompany the veil as it continues to be passed down through generations of brides.  My sincere appreciation to everyone in helping to make this simple, but very special wish come true.


Image provided by:  University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, OR

14 December 2014

Unusual Records of Death - Mourning Paintings

Mourning paintings took many forms, including watercolor on paper, silk, or ivory, and needlework of silk, cotton, or wool threads on a linen ground.  They were the tedious and exemplary work of schoolgirls, completed both as an academic exercise and as a reinforcement of the religious, literary, and historical teachings of the day.


Hurlbut Family Mourning by Sarah Hurlbut

Lemuel Hurlbut was a farmer from Newington, Hartford County, Connecticut.  He died 15 August 1808.  The other two memorials are for Hurlbut children T.H. and Hannah.


Affectionately inscribed to the memory of BENJAMIN WITT 
who died April 17 1818 Aged 68 years

This painting was done in memory of Benjamin Witt of New Braintree, Worcester County, Massachusetts,  died on April 17, 1818, at the age of 68



Masonic mourning painting for Rev. Ambrose Todd 
by Eunice Pinney


Ambrose Todd was the rector of St. Andrew's Church in Simsbury, Hartford County, Connecticut.  He was a member of the Morning Star No. 28 Lodge in East Windsor, Hartford County, Connecticut.

A school painted memorial by Lydia M. Daggett 
of Providence, Rhode Island

This painting is inscribed with the words:

"Consecrated to the remains of John Daggett who was born Sept 9th 1800 and died July 5th 1803. And an infant child aged 10 hours who was born June 5th 1818." 


Sacred to the memory of Mr. Nathan March

This painting was done in honor of Mr. Nathan March who died in 1811 at the age of 39 in Worcester, Worcester County, Massachusetts.  The painting has been handed down through time with a letter identifying the little boy on the left.




By Sally Caldwell Woods


In Memory of John Caldwell son of Capt. Seth and Mrs. Cath. Arline M. Caldwell, who died October 14th, 1822. Aged 2 years and 9 days.



Artist unknown

Left:  To the Memory of Thomas May aged 10 days
Middle:  Affectionately Inscribed to the Memory of Lucy C. May aged 4 years and 8 months
Right:  To the Memory of April May aged 6 weeks


Artist Uknown

Captain Jonathan Foster was born in Haverhill, Essex County, Massachusetts on October 11, 1727 and died there on July 28, 1813.  He was an officer in the Revolutionary War.  He married Rebecca Doorman and they had 6 children.Jonathan and Rebecca are buried at Mount Vernon Cemetery, Boxford, Essex County, Massachusetts.


A Memorial for Isaac Dillingham by Lucretia Winslow

Isaac Dillingham was born on March 27, 1777 in Harwich, Barnstable, Massachusetts, married Abigail Winslow there, and died there on December 30, 1807.  The artist, Lucretia Winslow was the sister of Abigail Winslow Dillingham.


Brewster Family Memorial ca. 1805

This was painted in memory of Augustus, William and Mary Brewster of Windham, Connecticut.


Windham County, Connecticut ca. 1815

Sacred to the Memory of Mr. Oliver Ingals who was drowned April 10th 1815 aged 45 years 

Sacred to the Memory of Jared Ingals who died July 2nd 1812 in the eighth year of his age


ca. 1810 New England

In Memory of Alice Child, Honaree Child, Julia Child, Laura Child and Charles Child.



by Mary Ann Cowan ca. 1825

This was painted by Mary Ann Cowan in honor of her mother Eliza Kirkpatrick Cowan who lived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


Memorial for Diadama by Eunice Pinney  1816

"In memory of Miss Diadama Pinney who died January 22nd AD 1816 aged 19 years.


Artist unknown ca. 1807

To the Memory of Rev. Enoch Pond who departed this life August 6, 1807 aged 51 years.



11 December 2014

Ear Candy - Genealogy Podcasts, Radio Shows and YouTube



The Urban Dictionary defines ear candy as "sounds that elicit a pleasurable response from the listener."

For most genealogists, these sounds are podcasts that teach us about everything genealogy.  Colder weather keeps us indoors for the most part,  so why not cuddle up with a set of earphones and get your genealogical education groove-on!

While this list (which is in no particular order) is by no means all inclusive, it should keep you busy for quite awhile. 



"Mondays With Myrt," "Wacky Wednesday," "Mastering Genealogical Proof" online study groups, "Genealogy Game Night"


Now that Marian Pierre-Louis has landed a great gig with the Legacy Family Tree Team as their new Social Media Marketing Manager, I hope that she will still have time to continue with her podcasts.  She is such a great host and interviewer!


George Morgan and Drew Smith are the hosts of the longest running regular weekly podcast in the world!  The one hour show is full of genealogy news and information.


Lisa Louise Cooke is called "The Queen of Genealogy Podcasts" and for good reason - she hosts 4 different shows!


Scott Fisher has created a new and different type of show for radio, aimed at showing how fun and interesting family history and genealogy can be. Genealogy is a topic that a lot of people are into and each week Scott talks about amazing finds and connections people make.


Jane Wilcox is well-known for her radio show and has now joined the team of contributing editors of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record.  The Record is a peer-reviewed scholarly journal of great distinction in continuous publication since 1870 and is published quarterly by the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society.




Bob Packett loves to tell stories of the real people behind the often sterile descriptions found in history texts. His conversational style, filled with anecdotes, quips, and humor, will bring to life the characters of history.

And many, many more!

THE SEEKER - Linda Hammer
GENEALOGY ON DEMAND - Shamele Jordan
TALKING HISTORY PODCAST - Organization of American Historians
OPAL PODCASTS - Online Programming for All Libraries History and Genealogy Programs
GENETIC GENEALOGY VIDEOS - International Society of Genetic Genealogists
GENEALOGY NEWS - Patty Roy
THE GENEALOGY RADIO SHOW - Lorna Moloney
MOCAVO FIRESIDE CHATS - Michael Leclerc
THE HISTORY OF ENGLAND - Dave Crowther
GENIES DOWN UNDER - Maria Nothcote
AFRICAN ROOTS PODCAST - Angela Walton-Raji
MY SOCIETY - Federation of Genealogy Societies
MAPLE STARS AND STRIPES - Sandra Goodwin



04 December 2014

Twelve Days of Christmas with Surnames

The people over at Crestleaf are having a Scavenger Hunt using surnames found on their website.  The prize for the most creative is $250!  Here is my entry:



On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
A Partridge in a Peartree


There are 3220 with the surname of Partridge and 60 with the surname of Peartree.


On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Two Turtle Doves

Only 6 with the surname of Turtledove.


On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Three French Hens


Only a partial for this one -  20,832  with the surname of French.


On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Four Calling Birds


This one I had to split up -  5 with the surname of Calling  and  too many to count with the surname of Bird.

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Five Golden Rings


Only 3 with the surname of Goldenring.


On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Six Geese a Laying


I found the surname of Geese.


On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Seven Swans a Swimming


There are surnames of  Swan  and   Swim.


On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Eight Maids a Milking


With no surnames of Maids or Milking, I will use the name of Maidens.


On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Nine Ladies Dancing


Had to improvise with surnames of Lady and Dance.


On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Ten Lords a Leaping


I found the surnames of Lords and Leap.


On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Eleven Pipers Piping


There are oodles with the surname of Piper.


On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Twelve Drummers Drumming


There are 450 people with the surname of Drummer and 21 with the surname of Drumming.


I know it's not part of the song, but I was very amused to find quite a few with the surname of GRINCH!