Monday, October 31, 2011


Photo by klynslis

I'm not sure exactly how I decided to finally take the plunge and start blogging.  I really thought it would be too much work for someone who was just beginning to research my family and that no one would pay much attention to what I had to say.  Try as I might to ignore it, there was a little nugget out there taunting me - what if someone actually read it and turned out to be a relative?  Could that happen?  I'd heard of it happening to others but I just couldn't imagine it happening to me.

Over the last year or so I've found a few cousins through ancestry and it was defintely a high point.  They were eager to share information with me and I loved every minute of corresponding with them.  I come from a really, really small family so when I find a new relative, it feels like I've hit the jackpot.

But nothing compared to the comment left on my blog last week.
I am from the Waller line. Through Caroline waller, E. L. Waller's daughter. She married Joseph G. Foster. They stayed in this area. I assumed E.L. had until i found this post tonight. I just started this side a month ago. I am very close to where they lived here. Please get in touch with me. I am very excited to get with you.  wow, amazing!

Remember Emery. Waller, my 3rd great grandfather?  It's a long story but I thought Caroline Waller was Emery's sister, not his daughter.  But after sharing information with my new cousin she helped me realize that Caroline was, indeed, his daughter and the older sister to my 2nd great grandmother, Rebecca Waller.  Which makes us 4th cousins, 1x removed!

And the cherry on top is that she lives in DeWitt County, the place where I researched this summer.

So even though finding a cousin wasn't the only reason I'm blogging, there was a part of me that always hoped someone would find me.  I wanted to be one of the success stories bloggers talk about.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Byron Hot Springs

This is the newest addition to my vintage postcard collection - Byron Hot Springs Hotel.

The top caption reads: The beautiful hotel at Byron Hot Springs, Contra Costa County, California.  THE CARLSBAD OF AMERICA.

The bottom caption reads: Rates $4 and $5 per day, including three meals.  FREE mineral baths - mineral swimming pool - solariums.  Delicious food - real comfort - delightful atmosphere.  World renowned mineral waters and baths.  55 miles from San Francisco - paved highway all the way - S.P.R.R. direct to Springs.  (Established 1868)

Why is this important to me?  My great grandfather, Louis Schwartz, died at Byron Springs, California on May 23, 1893 at the age of 59.  While I know quite a bit about Louis, the last three months of his life are a bit of a mystery to me.  I know that he retired in Santa Cruz and moved to Byron Springs in search of health.  But then the trail is cold.

While looking for postcards, I stumbled across this one and it led me to a little research about Byron Hot Springs which led me to a historian for the area.  We've been in contact and she has hospital records from that time period.  And, she's agreed to help me with some research!

I hope to learn even more about Louis and, specifically, about his death.  Stay tuned.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

SNGF: Ancestors GeneaMeme

This meme comes from Geniaus

The Ancestors' Geneameme

The list should be annotated in the following manner:
Things you have already done or found: bold face type
Things you would like to do or find: italicize (colour optional)
Things you haven’t done or found and don’t care to: plain type

You are encouraged to add extra comments in brackets after each item 

Which of these apply to you?
  1.  Can name my 16 great-great-grandparents
  2.  Can name over 50 direct ancestors
  3.  Have photographs or portraits of my 8 great-grandparents
  4.  Have an ancestor who was married more than three times
  5.  Have an ancestor who was a bigamist
  6.  Met all four of my grandparents (I met all 5 when including my step grandfather)
  7.  Met one or more of my great-grandparents (spent 12-14 years with two)
  8.  Named a child after an ancestor (although I didn't know it at the time)
  9.  Bear an ancestor's given name/s
  10.  Have an ancestor from Great Britain or Ireland
  11.  Have an ancestor from Asia
  12.  Have an ancestor from Continental Europe (LOTS)
  13.  Have an ancestor from Africa
  14.  Have an ancestor who was an agricultural labourer
  15.  Have an ancestor who had large land holdings (not sure what "large" means)
  16.  Have an ancestor who was a holy man - minister, priest, rabbi
  17.  Have an ancestor who was a midwife
  18.  Have an ancestor who was an author
  19.  Have an ancestor with the surname Smith, Murphy or Jones (Jones as both first and last name)
  20.  Have an ancestor with the surname Wong, Kim, Suzuki or Ng
  21.  Have an ancestor with a surname beginning with X
  22.  Have an ancestor with a forename beginnining with Z
  23.  Have an ancestor born on 25th December
  24.  Have an ancestor born on New Year's Day
  25.  Have blue blood in your family lines
  26.  Have a parent who was born in a country different from my country of birth
  27.  Have a grandparent who was born in a country different from my country of birth
  28.  Can trace a direct family line back to the eighteenth century
  29.  Can trace a direct family line back to the seventeenth century or earlier
  30.  Have seen copies of the signatures of some of my great-grandparents (great great great)
  31.  Have ancestors who signed their marriage certificate with an X
  32.  Have a grandparent or earlier ancestor who went to university
  33.  Have an ancestor who was convicted of a criminal offense
  34.  Have an ancestor who was a victim of crime
  35.  Have shared an ancestor's story online or in a magazine (Tell us where)
  36.  Have published a family history online or in print (Details please)
  37.  Have visited an ancestor's home from the 19th or earlier centuries (the city in one instance   and have seen the home on the internet in another)
  38.  Still have an ancestor's home from the 19th or earlier centuries in the family
  39.  Have a  family bible from the 19th Century
  40.  Have a pre-19th century family bible

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sentimental Sunday: Sig Levy House

1549 Echo Avenue, Fresno, CA

This home was built in 1934 by Taylor-Wheeler.  It was built for my grandparents, Sig and Loraine Levy, and was the home my father grew up in.  He was 7 when they moved in and the family owned the home until 1982 when my grandmother passed away.  We spent so much time in this home as kids and I have so many memories of our time in Fresno staying in this home.

I remember the little room adjoining the garage where Grandpa Sig kept all of his gadgets.  We loved to explore with him and we'd always leave with some sort of treasure.  And I remember the big field behind the citrus orchard behind the house that was as big as a football field - I can just imagine my dad and his brother back there tossing the football around.

Philco, 37-650
I remember my dad's bedroom with the photos of Dad in his track uniform and many of his awards.  My sister and I would lie on the floor, listening to the antique radio, and coloring in our Babes in Toyland coloring book.
That house must have been the talk of the neighborhood with the modern ammenities inside.  There was a little niche in the hallway upstairs that held a little radio unit and there were some "call" buttons located throughout the house.  I have a vague memory that it was something like an intercom system so the maid could be called to come upstairs while she was downstairs.

And the basement!  While it was dark and a little creepy to enter, there were more treasures there.  Dad had a great collection of little army men that we'd drag out and play with for hours.  But don't leave a mess - Grandma wouldn't have liked that!

Even my oldest daughter remembers this home as she was lucky enough to visit her great grandmother several times before she died.  She has a memory of hiding crayons behind the paneling in the office/den where we watched TV.  Isn't it funny that we both have memories of crayons in that house?

How I wish I'd asked more questions when I was there.  Can you imagine the secrets that house heard in almost 50 years?

Gordon, Robert,
Loraine and Sig Levy
Behind the house, approximately 1948

Saturday, October 1, 2011

SNGF: List your matrilineal line

This week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun from Genea Musings

1) List your matrilineal line - your mother, her mother, etc. back to the first identifiable mother. Note: this line is how your mitochondrial DNA was passed to you!

2) Tell us if you have had your mitochondrial DNA tested, and if so, which Haplogroup you are in.

3) Post your responses on your own blog post, in Comments to this blog post, or in a Status line on Facebook or in your Stream at Google Plus.

4)  If you have done this before, please do your father's matrilineal line, or your grandfather's matrilineal line, or your spouse's matriliuneal line.

5)  Does this list spur you to find distant cousins that might share one of your matrilineal lines? 

Here's mine:

Geraldine Martin - 6/8/1928, Fresno, CA - still living
Clara Maxine Fitzgerald - 1/22/1903, Fresno, CA - 2/27/1987, Fresno, CA
Mabel Viola McAboy - 6/6/1883, Clinton, IL - 11/12/1966, Fresno, CA
Rebecca Moriah Waller - 2/7/1845, Warren County, OH - 10/23/1928, Fresno, CA
Rebecca Parker - 10/10/1814 - 2/13/1845, Warren County, OH

That's it for the women on this branch of the tree. 

I have not had my DNA tested.

I would love to find cousins from this branch.  If you're out there, please leave a comment!

Alvarado Street

Remember when I wrote about The White House, the Gunzendorfer family mercantile which was located on Alvarado Street in Monterey, California?

I'm now the proud owner of my first vintage postcard which shows Alvarado Street in about 1905.  Somewhere on this street stood The White House! 

As my dad used to say, now I can visualize what it looked like!