Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Arizona Territorial Records are now Online and are Free to Arizona Residents

Arizona State Archives has worked with Ancestry.com to digitize family history records and make them available online for free to Arizona residents. Anyone in other states also can view the online records but must pay for the access on Ancestry.com. The available records include the Arizona territorial census records covering the years from 1864 through 1882. The records provide information such as name, place of residence, age, nativity, and occupation of over 85,000 Arizona residents between 1864 and 1882.

The online records are available free of charge to residents of the state at: https://www.azlibrary.gov/arm/research-archives/archives-resources/ancestry-arizona. This access requires a free Ancestry.com Arizona account. To set up your account, simply go to the web page and enter your five digit Arizona zip code in the space at the bottom of the page.

The same records are also available to everyone at www.Ancestry.com although a normal Ancestry.com subscription is required for non-residents of Arizona.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Wrap up from the December General Meeting

Victor Valle presentation of "A Curse of Tea and Potatoes: A Genealogy of Recipes" was well received by the many members and vistors alike.

V ictor Valle, a journalist, professor, and culinary researcher, was our featured speaker. He spoke about his book, Encarnacion’s Kitchen. His presentation focused on Encarnacion Pinedo who had come from an educated family. As a resident of San Francisco, California, Encarnacion worked with a local printer to get her cookbook to her supporters in 1898. He stated that Herbert Bolton and others had been quick to dismiss the contributions of women in the history of early California. (1) Cookbooks from the 19th century contained advice, important dates, opinions and other historical information often overlooked by traditional researchers, such as Bolton.
Valle noted that the cookbook documented what early Californios and others were eating from the region and how Encarnacion improvised when certain spices or items were unavailable or in short supply. We learned that San Francisco was a place with poor food options. English food, for example, was totally undesirable to Encarnacion and other locals who believed in using herbs, spices and local sources for healthy living, something missing in English and other cuisines. With the absence of refrigeration and the presence of a short growing season, Encarnacion and others learned how to pickle, dry and preserve foods
for appropriate events, including picnics, a favorite pastime of Californios who loved
Valle also noted that Encarnacion was a smart businesswoman who was proud of
publishing the cookbook in her native Spanish language AND getting people to
subscribe or pay in advance for the cookbook. Valle reminded us that paper was expensive and print
shop owners refused to lose money. For Encarnacion Pinedo to convince a printer to take a risk on her
cookbook venture perhaps says a lot about her confidence, character and motivation. While San
Francisco was changing rapidly, Encarnacion Pinedo stood firm in being proud of her culture, cuisine and
belief that good food could still change the world even as her culture was being pushed aside.
If Valle, too, is correct, food can change the world by promoting peace, love and community.
Food can bring people out from isolation and provide cheer in the worst of times. Victor Valle’s book,
Encarnacion’s Kitchen is available on Amazon. Valle, a Pulitzer-winning journalist, never disappoints.

(1) Herbert Bolton was an American historian who studied the Spanish American Colonial Period and later became the founding director of the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Holiday Sale on DNA testing on now for a limited time

DNA tests can help you find family, break through brick walls and trace your lineage through time. Family Tree DNA is a leading DNA testing company and is now offering a significant sale on many of its products for a limited time:
Family Finder autosomal test will find Family Finder Matches and Ethnic Percentages: $59
Family Finder plus Y-chromosome for 37 markers (for males only): $188
Family Finder plus Y-chromosome for 67 markers (for males only): $278
Family Finder plus a Full Mitochondrial Sequence – for both males and females, an mtDNA test that traces your maternal line: $228

Y-chromosome test with 37 markers (for males only) to test your father’s male ancestry: $139
Y-chromosome test with 67 markers (for males only) to test your father’s male ancestry: $229
Y-chromosome test with 111 markers (for males only) to test your father’s male ancestry: $319

mtDNA test with HVR1+HVR2 to test your mother’s female ancestry: $79
mtDNA test with Full Sequence to test your mother’s female ancestry: $179

You can learn more at https://www.familytreedna.com/products.aspx.

It is that time to renew your membership

It is that time of the year where we ask our members to renew their membership and/or to give or support a friend/ relative a gift membership to our organization, Genealogical Society of Hispanic America- Southern California (GSHA-SC). Donations to our organizations are also welcome to help sway the cost of running a 501(c)(3) non profit California organization which was founded to promote Hispanic genealogical and historical research with a focus on, but not limited to Colorado and New Mexico, as well as Mexico, Arizona, California, and Texas, thereby expanding awareness and knowledge of individual culture, history, and traditions.

GSHA-SC General Meeting, Elections and Pot Luck for December 3rd, 2016

Special Presentation:
“Encarnación’s Kitchen: Mexican Recipes from 19th Century California” Presented by Victor Valle
Victor Valle will be cooking up a storm! He will stir up the most amazing story of Encarnacion Pinedo who published for her readers in San Francisco, California, the first Spanish language cookbook in 1898. Often ignored by historians, cookbooks have aided in the preservation of culture. Cookbooks often included letters, memoirs, photos, and journals. Valle blends in the elements of family, genealogy, and history. Valle, well known for his storytelling skills, will present a program which he developed to pull the amazing Encarnacion Pinedo from near obscurity and place her in the cultural spotlight where she belongs.
Victor Valle began his distinguished career as a journalist at the Los Angeles Times. He later went on to teach at various universities, such as Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and California State University. He also did additional research, writing, and lecturing as a Harvard fellow. Valle became interested on the impact of Mexican cuisine on the California Gold Rush. His research illustrates how food served as a way of keeping families together in spite of isolation, political upheavals, and hostile forces. He and his wife Mary Lau Valle have written two award winning books, Recipe of Memory and The Life and Recipes of Encarnacion Pinedo.

Election of our 2017 Board of Directors is coming! Please attend our December 3, 2016 Holiday Meeting to vote. It’s not too late to add your name to the hat to run for any office position, or to be on a committee.

And Holiday Pot Luck
What’s for Lunch on December 3? It’s a Potluck!
In the past, we have enjoyed tamales, enchiladas, delicious casseroles, pozole and more. We need mostly entrees and a few healthy salads, too. Desserts are also welcome. We will provide the drinks and paper goods. This is your opportunity to share with GSHA-SC your favorite cooking recipes. We do not have a stove at the SCGS Library where we meet in Burbank, so please bring a crockpot to keep your foods warm.

Please email the name of the food item you want to share in the great spirit of Christmas and the
holidays to Rita Vega-Acevedo at rvacevedo@att.net. Please remember to bring your checkbook. Consider buying a book as a gift for the holidays. We are also happy to collect your dues for 2017. Dues help us continue to provide great speakers and events throughout the year. More importantly, sign up to be a volunteer!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Continuing Education: Memoir Writing

One of the skills every family historian should develop is the ability to write about themselves and about their ancestors. Although talent cannot be taught, skills and craftsmanship can be developed. Classes in memoir writing are given in many communities at their senior centers—it is now “trending” to write your memoir. Once you are comfortable with writing about yourself, you can then begin to write about your other family members, using your research to weave stories about those your barely remember or those you never met. Your stories may persuade other family members to join you in searching for your ancestors and making their lives come alive for future generations.

What is a memoir? And how is it different from an autobiography or biography? According to most sources: A memoir is a collection of memories that an individual writes about moments or events, both public or private that took place in the author's life. The statements made in the work are understood to be factual. While memoir has historically been defined as a subcategory of autobiography since the late 20th century, the genre is differentiated in form, presenting a narrowed focus. Like most autobiographies, memoirs are written from the first-person point of view. Published memoirs have exploded in the last 10-15 years, and some have been accused of containing information about events that never took place. Many authors are using memoir writing to add fictional details to their life story that will make the published book more marketable. An autobiography is a self-written account of the life of a person. It tells the story of a life—the author’s life, while memoir tells a story from a life, such as events and turning points from the author's life.

A biography is written by a third person and is a detailed description or account of a person's life. It entails more than basic facts (education, work, relationships, and death). A biography also portrays a subject's experience of these events. Unlike a profile or curriculum vitae, a biography presents a subject's life story, highlighting various aspects of his or her life, including intimate details of experience, and may include an analysis of the subject's personality. Biographical works are usually non-fiction, but fiction can also be used to portray a person's life.

I recommend memoir writing and autobiography because it is important to document our own lives and leave our descendants with our own view of our lives. Otherwise, we are either reduced to just the facts (dates & events) or our children or grandchildren's impression of who we were. Often their memories of us are not written down and like most oral history it changes and becomes distorted over time. How often have you searched for information on an elusive ancestor only to discover the name you were given is incorrect and their place of birth or death is wrong? I know NOW that my grandmothers were more than just tiny women who gave birth to many children in the early 1900s: one was married at 15 and was noted for her laughter and a marriage that lasted over 50 years. My second grandmother had a career before her marriage at 25, divorced in her 40s and returned to the workforce to support her children as a single mother. She spent her spare time the final twenty years of her life teaching the Bible in Spanish and English. I wish they had left diaries or a packet of letters describing their activities. I wish I could have interviewed them. So, if we want our descendants to have a glimpse of the "real person" or even a "total picture" we should be writing about our own lives. Although you may believe your life to be so ordinary that there is nothing to write about, to your grandchildren and other family members and descendants, it will be a step into history. Just think, your personal memories of life growing up in the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s and 1960s will be treasured.

Copyright 2015 by Donie A. Nelson

Monday, October 31, 2016



When the Spanish Conquistadors dropped anchor in “The New World” more than 500 years ago, they discovered natives that seem to mock death.
The bizarre Aztec ceremonies had been practiced for at least 3,000 years. But the Spaniards were unfamiliar, deemed it pagan blasphemy, and banned it.
The ritual was Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. Today it is a national holiday in Mexico on November 1 and 2 and has enjoyed soaring popularity throughout the United States.
And it is NOT Halloween, although there are similarities. Day of the Dead focuses on celebrating the memories of loved ones that have passed on.
While customs vary widely, the idea is the same: friends and relatives go to cemeteries to celebrate their loved ones. They paint their faces to resemble skulls, build altars at the gravesides and decorate them with bright orange marigold flowers, candles, photos and memorabilia.
The pre-deceased often sit on blankets next to gravesides and feast on the favorite foods of their dearly departed friends. Toys are brought for children who have passed and bottles of tequila or cerveza (beer) for adults. The libations are often poured onto the grass above graves for the deceased to enjoy. Pan de muerto, a sweet egg bread often decorated with white frosting to look like twisted bones is passed around. Candied sugar skulls, with the names of the dead person written on the forehead, are eaten by loved ones. Often the proceedings last into the next day.
Their hope is to encourage visits by the souls that have passed so they will hear the prayers of the living. Celebrations are joyful and often humorous, as the living share funny events and anecdotes about the departed.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Digging Deeper into Mexican Church & Civil Registration Records Nov 5, 2016

The long history of formalized record keeping in New Spain and Mexico provides a wealth of information for researching Mexican ancestors. Church records date back to the early Spanish Colonial Era, and civil registrations went into effect shortly after Mexican Independence. These records are often described as the best family history records in the world due to the wealth of genealogical information typically included in these records.
Learn how to find and analyze Mexico civil and church registration  collections to build out your Mexican family history.
Even a non-Spanish speaker can be successful at this research.

  • Date & Time: Saturday, 5 November 2016 (11:00am – 12:30pm)
  • Location: Orange County Public Library, Laguna Niguel Branch Library. 30341 Crown Valley Pkwy Laguna Niguel, CA 92677. Phone: (949) 249-5252.
  • Cost: Free

Target Audience: Those who have already identified their ancestral hometown(s) in Mexico.

Instructor: Colleen Greene, GSHA-SC Member

Saturday, October 22, 2016

“FindingYour Roots in Mexico: Research Methods” November 5, 2016

Please join John Schmal, GSHA-SC member, in another of his latest presentation/workshop to be held Saturday, November 5, from 1-2:30pm in West Los Angeles.

Join us in Training Room 1 for “Finding Your Roots in Mexico,” a combined lecture – workshop to help people learn how to trace their roots in Mexico. Veteran genealogist John Schmal will show attendees how to access the records of their Mexican ancestors online and give them pointers about how to use that information once you have located it. Using a 45-page PowerPoint, John will point out some of the potential problems that arise with Mexican research and how to navigate those problems to get the results you need. Bring your family group sheets and pedigree charts to get the best results.

A graduate of Loyola-Marymount University, John P. Schmal is an historian, genealogist and lecturer, specializing in Mexican genealogy. He is the coauthor ofMexican-American Genealogical Research: Following the Paper Trail to Mexico, which he co-authored with Donna Morales. He has done extensive research on families from the states of Aguascalientes, Jalisco, Zacatecas, and Chihuahua. He is a lifetime honorary member of GSHA-SC and a board member of the Society of Hispanic Historical and Ancestral Research (SHHAR).

WHEN: Saturday, October 29, 2016, 1 – 2:30 P.M. WHERE: Los Angeles Family History Library Address: 10741 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, California 90025 Training Room 1 Free of Charge For more info, contact Library Phone: 310-474-9990; Email:lafhlcontact@gmail.com

“Fundadores de Mexico: Tracing Your Spanish Ancestors in Colonial Mexico” October 29, 2016

Please join John Schmal, GSHA-SC member, in his latest presentation/workshop to be held Saturday, October 29, from 1-2:30pm in West Los Angeles. This event focuses on tracing your Spanish Ancestors in Colonial Mexico.

“Fundadores de Mexico” is a unique presentation that will discuss ways in which people can trace their Spanish ancestors in Mexico and, hopefully find out where their ancestors and their surnames originated in Spain or Portugal. This unique presentation consists of a lecture, followed by a workshop where the lecturer John Schmal will show people some of the resources for learning about Spanish settlers who came to Nueva España (New Spain). We will also discuss important research tools for learning about where your Spanish surnames originated in the Iberian Peninsula. It is important to state that, while you may be able to find out where your ancestral surnames originated in Spain, you will need to trace your own Mexican ancestry to prove your own connection to the Spanish settlers of the 16th and 17th centuries. The following week (Nov. 5) we will present “Tracing Your Mexican Roots: Research Methods” at the same location to discuss general Mexican research. John Schmal is an historian, genealogist, and lecturer. John has B.A. Degrees inHistory (Loyola Marymount University) and Geography (St Cloud University). John is a lifetime honorary member of GSHA-SC and a board member of the Society of Hispanic Ancestral Research (SHHAR). He conducts research on Mexican and German families, as well as California and Colonial American research.

WHEN: Saturday, October 29, 2016, 1 – 2:30 P.M. WHERE: Los Angeles Family History Library Address: 10741 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, California 90025 Training Room 1 Free of Charge For more info, contact Library Phone: 310-474-9990; Email:lafhlcontact@gmail.com

Friday, October 21, 2016

Bowers Museum, a visit to celebrate Viva La Familia Fiesta : Saturday, October 8, 2016

Members of GSHA-SC joined together on October 8, to celebrate Viva La Familia Fiesta at the Bowers Museum in Orange County. There they saw the many exhibits that helped celebrate the Hispanic and Indian influence that were on displayed. The group celebrated the fiesta by walking to the nearest fast food place across the street where they enjoyed a meal together.

Such as the following:

California Legacies: Missions and Ranchos--(1768-1848)features objects related to the settlement of Alta California through Spanish land grants, life at the California Missions and the wealth and lifestyles of the first families who flourished under Mexico's rule of California known as the Rancho period. The collection originating from Orange County's missions and ranchos includes the first brandy still to be brought to California, a statue of St. Anthony that originally stood in the Serra Chapel at Mission San Juan Capistrano,a dispatch pouch used by Native Americans to deliver messages between missions, and fine clothing, paintings and daily use objects. A must-see for California students and residents alike.

Ceramics of Western Mexico--Encounter Pre-Columbian Art from the western Mexican states of Colima, Nayarit and Jalisco.
Visitors learn about West Mexican shaft tombs and the cultures who used this means of burying their dead. A selection of the ceramic figures placed inside shaft tombs to accompany the deceased in the afterlife are on display. The exhibition includes artworks that depict imagery from daily life, that show the intensity of West Mexican figurative work and that are naturalistic in form like the famously plump Colima dogs.

First Californians--Bowers' extensive permanent collection of Native American art and artifacts in stone, shell, plant fiber (through spectacular basketry) and feathers.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Results of San Diego Research Meeting

Twelve attendees were eager and present at the 15 October 2016 Hispanic Saturday meeting.
The meeting started with our normal round table discussion where everyone told the status of their
genealogy research. The main focus of the meeting was research and results about records from the
State of Jalisco and Sonora. Seven of attendees had ancestors from Jalisco and/or
Sonora which created a lively discussion about people’s research with Jalisco/Sonora records.

The group administrator, Ceasar Chavez, presented some of the research that he volunteered to do the genealogy of the Mayor of Chula Vista, Mary Salas for the Chula Vista Genealogy Society’s Family History Day on 22 October, ala "Who Do You Think You Are" type presentation. Her ancestry roots on he paternal side is from Jalisco and her maternal is from Sonora. Mr Castro's goal was to find the names of all thirty-two 3rd great-grandparents. He explained that he was somewhat successful with the Jalisco baptism records, since they provided both the parents and grandparents names. He was able to find the names of all sixteen 3rd great-grandparents on Mary's father’s side. However, the Sonora records were not as good and he was only able to find the names of eight (half) of her 3rd great-grandparents on her mother’s side. Thus proving that all records are not equal. 

The next meeting will occur in February 2017. Time and date will be announced in January.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Saturday, October 29, 2016 10 am—2 pm

DNA Interest Group at the SCGS

“Visualizing Your Autosomal DNA Results:
The Autosomal DNA Segment Analyzer”

Presented by Don Worth

The ADSA is a free chromosome browser that depicts all of your matching DNA segments on each chromosome and lets you visualize triangulated groups using colored graphics. It makes it easier to perform segment triangulation by highlighting groups of your matches who share a common ancestor.  Mr. Worth is a retired Assistant Vice Chancellor of Administrative Information Systems from UCLA and is currently on the executive board of the Ventura County Genealogical Society. A $5.00 donation is suggested for attendance. Individualized help is available for those who want to order DNA tests or need help interpreting their results. For individual help, please bring your DNA results and password if needed. Lunch is brown bag or pizza for an additional $5.00.

For more information 
Contact Bonny Cook, Alice Fairhurst or Kathy Johnston at dna@scgsgenealogy.com

Southern California Genealogical Society Library
417 Irving Drive, Burbank, CA

Friday, October 7, 2016

San Diego Hispanic Research Day 15 Oct 2016

The next Hispanic Saturday meeting will be October 15, 2016 at 1pm at the San Diego Central Library in the Commission Room on the 9th floor. This will be the last meeting of the Year. To find the meeting, walk straight out of the elevator and you will see the Commission Room. It is on the East side of the building overlooking the San Diego trolley line.

The meeting will be a normal round table talks to share family genealogy status. Ceasar Castro, meeting Coordinator, will talk about records from Jalisco and Sonora and how to research in the Jalisco and Sonora records.

We also like to mention that the Chula Vista Genealogical Society is having a Family History Day on October 22. Attached is a flyer of the event for those who are interested in attending. It will be at the Chula Vista Civic Library on the corner of 4th and F Street. Cesar Castro will be in attendance since he was selected to prpare and present the Mayor of Chula Vista, Mary Casillas Silva’s genealogy
at noon. Everyone is welcome to attend and it is free.

Monday, October 3, 2016

170th Anniversary of the Battle of Dominguez Hills AKA the Battle of the Old Woman’s Gun

October 8 & 9, 2016
10am – 4pm

“If it were not for an elderly woman named Ignacia Reyes and the cleverness of Captain Jose Antonio Carrillo, the Mexican-American War Dominguez Hill Battle would have been lost!”

This historic battle took place between October 8 and 9, 1846 during the Mexican-American War near the home of Manuel Dominguez.  Fifty Californio troops suffered no casualties as they successfully held off an invasion of the Pueblo de Los Angeles by some 200 United States Marines.

With only 50 troops, Carrillo was able to fool 200 U.S. military troops into thinking they were out-numbered with strategic use of horses, lances, and only one cannon which had been hidden by Ignacia Reyes behind her house. Since that cannon contributed greatly to the victory, the battle was dubbed “The Battle of the Old Woman’s Gun” in Reyes’s honor.

This is a FREE event featuring exhibits, food, music, dance, children’s activities, such as tortilla making, cattle roping, gold panning, etc., and a tour of the Dominguez Homestead.

The Dominguez Rancho Adobe is California Historical Landmark Number 152, and in 1976 was placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of the Interior. The Friends of Rancho San Pedro operate the adobe ranch home as the Dominguez Rancho Adobe Museum. (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Dominguez Rancho Adobe Museum
18127 S. Alameda St., Compton, CA
 (Near the 91 and 710 [Long Beach] Freeways)

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Announcing a Genealogy Conference in Sacramento, CA for our Northern California members

For all of our members in Northern California, there is an Mexican Genealogy Conference in the Sacremento, California area, which is sponsored by the Nueva Galicia Genealogy Society (NGGS) of Sacramento. They are offering this one day conference for persons exploring their Mexican/Spanish/American genealogies.  For those who do not know Nueva Galicia was the Spanish description of an area in central Mexico composed of the states of Jalisco, Zacatecas, Nayarit, Colima and Aguascalientes. For more detail, please see the attached flyer.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Viva La Familia Fiesta : Saturday, October 8, 2016

Please join us for our annual Viva la Familia Fiesta. By popular demand, we are headed to Orange County!  We will meet at the ticket booth at 10:15 am. Each person will be required to purchase their own admission to the museum and pay for parking. We encourage everyone to carpool. Parking lots around the museum cost approximately $6 per vehicle. General Admission $15, Seniors 62 or older $12, students $12. The price does not include admission to special exhibitions.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Information on the Riverside-San Bernardino Chapter of the Old Spanish Trail Association

The newly formed Riverside-San Bernardino Chapter of the Old Spanish Trail Association will have it's first meeting, Tuesday, September 20, 2016 at 7:00 pm. The meeting location is 3985 University Avenue, Riverside, California. ... All interested are welcome to attend.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Hispanic Saturday – 27 August 2016 meeting follow up

We had a special guest speaker, Harry Crosby at our 27 August 2016 Hispanic Saturday meeting. The meeting was held in the Neil Morgan auditorium at the San Diego Central library and we had 51 attendees. Harry Crosby is a noted author on early California history. The title of his presentation was California during Spanish Control, 1697-1821. He discussed the early history of Baja California and the people who established Baja California. He also provided the names of some of the early soldiers that came to California. He cited that the establishment of California was different than mainland Mexico because of the Jesuits. The Jesuits had an agreement with the King of Spain that they would establish settlements in California and that they would cover all costs. Part of that agreement gave the Jesuits complete control of the management of California. As a result the Jesuits selected the solders that came to California rather than the Mexican government.

The next Hispanic Saturday meeting will occur on 15 October at 1pm at the San Diego Central Library. It will be the last meeting for this year. Attendees need to go to the 9th floor to find out which room has been assigned for the meeting.
By Ceasar Castro, Outreach Coordinator

Wrap up on the Maritime Presentation

The meeting on August 27, 2016, Alan Kemp, maritime historian gave an indepth talk on "Dangerous Exploration to Alta California in the 1700's". His presentation focuses on the maritime experience of Spanish sailors during the Spanish Colonial period and how the Spanish ships changed the course of history by providing a lifeline to Spanish explorers and mission settlements in California.

A bout fifty people attended our special event at the El Sereno Public Library in Los Angeles.
Alan Kemp’s presentation included diagrams of Spanish ships; famous drawings by foreign artists from the de la Perouse ship expedition. The drawings were of encounters with Franciscans and Native tribes at the Mission San Carlos (now Mission Carmel). These visual records continue to enthrall and intrigue us. In them we see a primitive mission, a tile factory, and converts lined up to welcome visitors.

We learned why sea travel was dangerous. Ships faltered, ships disappeared, and sailors died of scurvy, including sixty on the San Carlos ship, one of three ships from the famous 1769 expedition which landed at San Diego. Father Junipero Serra and renowned military men Gaspar Portola and Fernando de Rivera were entering Alta California for the first time and making history.

Hurricanes in New Spain were a big problem and headache for the Spanish government. Kemp said that it took the Spanish government and sea commanders time to understand the weather cycles and ocean current patterns from New Spain to the Alta California coast. Delays in repairing, building, and supplying ships often meant more risk to the crews who often encountered fierce storms or hurricanes on the high seas. Within time, this problem was resolved by more disciplined planning. Additionally, commanders did not follow a straight linear sea path up the Alta California coast which seemed logical and quicker. “It was not,” said Kemp. Commanders realized that they made better time by avoiding the strong southward currents. Instead, they traveled west in a half circle pattern and then veered east closer to their destination.

Life for sailors was difficult, pay was low, food was substandard and sailors’ rations included rum. Sailors slept on hanging hammocks, worked four hour shifts and then slept four hours. Hammocks were shared by crew members getting off duty. Franciscans and Chaplains had slightly better quarters and could follow their own work and sleep schedules. Pages received the lowest pay, commanders, the highest.
There was little room on board ship for supplies, perhaps the equivalent of two semi-trucks parking at a Ralph’s market. There were no piers to unload supplies. Sometimes it took up to 58 small boat trips to unload supplies. For this reason, the Spanish government later approved an overland expedition in 1775 led by Juan Bautista de Anza. Kemp noted that ship travel remained a safer, but more expensive choice, since Sonora was not a safe place to travel by land due to Indian insurrections. These tribes included the Pimas, Seris, Apaches and others. Constant raids were the reason why many towns in Northern Mexico became depopulated in the 18th century.

Kemp discussed the cordial relations that existed initially with the Chumash in the Santa Barbara Channel who had some things in common with the Spanish sailors. Both had the opportunity to trade and inspect each other’s sailing vessels. In some respects, the Spanish realized that the Chumash were a force to contend with, especially when it came to building canoes and being successful as fisherman and At San Blas, the maritime port near Tepic, Mexico, navy crews provided a lifeline to the missionaries, the military and the Spanish settlers of Alta California. The ships also took on passengers on the return route. Passengers included missionaries who were retiring or became too ill to continue working on the frontier. Father Serra and others sent mail to their religious orders or leaders in Mexico City. San Blas eventually was forced to close around 1810 when New Spain sought independence from Spain. The closure of the San Blas naval base meant that the missionaries, military and settlers were on their own. Help was not coming. This became their next challenge. After Mexican independence, Kemp noted that trade restrictions were lifted and commerce from the United States and other countries began to flood into California. For some settlers, they adapted and tried to retain their culture. For others, such as the missionaries and native tribes, life became difficult.

By Rita Vega-Acevedo, VP Programs & Education

Friday, August 26, 2016

Next General Special Meeting, Saturday, August 27, 2016 3-5 pm

Please join us for our next special meeting on August 27, 2016 from 3 to 5 pm where our presenter Alan Kemp will talk on "Dangerous Exploration to Alta California in the 1700's". This presentation focuses on the maritime experience of Spanish sailors during the Spanish Colonial period. The speaker, will give us an overview of the importance of Spanish ships: how they changed the course of history by providing a lifeline to Spanish explorers and others in California. This reliance on a seaborne connection with the Spanish Empire also had profound impact on social, political, diplomatic and economic development. He will share his research of what life was like for the captains, for the sailors, and how team work was essential to staying alive. He will explain why the California coast was one of the most dangerous routes even for veteran crews. His topic will educate and encourage us to learn more about this fascinating segment of early California history.
Please join us at the El Sereno Library, Community Room, 5226 Huntington Dr. Blvd, Los Angeles, CA (Directions to the El Sereno Library—323-225-9201).

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Genealogy Garage DNA Presentation

Full house at the Genealogy Garage today. Thank you Cheti Mello for an introduction to DNA research at the LAPL downtown.

Friday, August 19, 2016

GSHA Annual Meeting August 6, 2016

For those who couldn't attend the conference or the Annual Meeting, here is the video of the meeting.. It's very informative and worthwhile for all members to hear. It would be wonderful if all annual meetings were videotaped. Video provided by Secretary Izabel Perez

Thursday, August 18, 2016


A Twofer: Enlisting Family Members to Help You

Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed with your research? Have you thought of enlisting one or more
of your family members to help you? If not, you are missing out on a support system—and you are depriving your family members of the joy of family history research.

Below are some tips on how to involve your family. And the twofer? If they are younger than you, you might be recruiting more youthful members to join your genealogy society!

Pinpoint the techies: Anyone under 40 probably knows a lot about computers, scanners, social media,
the Internet, etc. Here are some jobs they can do:

• Scan family photographs and documents

• Input your research information into your genealogy software program (you do have one, right?)

• Set up a family Facebook page or Web site

• Handle your e-mail correspondence

Any budding writers in your family?

• Send them a family photo and the facts about that person, and request that they write one to two paragraphs for you to share in the family newsletter

• Ask them to help create a family newsletter

Who are the party-givers in your family? Give them a job:

• Organize a “mini reunion”: one day, potluck, bring family photos (Be sure the family scanner is on hand to scan the photos or documents before they leave—and be sure to get names, dates, etc. so the photos can be identified.)

• Organize a family “breakfast meeting”: once a month on the same weekend (1st, 2nd, last, whichever) at the same low-priced restaurant. Whoever can come, shows up. It keeps the family connected—and you can share your latest research findings.

Who are the travelers/tourists in your family?

• Enlist them to take photographs in the old hometown, at a family cemetery, at a battlefield, etc. Provide them with the background of the site so that they get curious about (and connected to) your family’s past.

• Request that they check out the local historical society, courthouse, or other repository to get first-hand information so that you can follow up. Connect with grandchildren, nieces, nephews, etc. If they are teenagers or younger, their parents are probably overextended and would appreciate a “date
weekend” or some personal time without the kids. Offer to be the granny/nanny and take one or more of those kids to an age-appropriate, family-history-oriented event. It could be a cultural festival, a visit to a historic site—if it’s connected to your family’s history, all the better. Spend a few hours at the library browsing its photo collection or pictorial publications focusing on historic sites, or in your home as they help you sort family photos and you tell them the most exciting stories of their ancestors. Many genealogists confess that the stories told by the senior members of their
family are what inspired them to research when they became adults.

Be a good genealogical gardener: Plant some seeds! Get assistance! Pay the research forward!

Donie Nelson specializes in establishing outreach programs for genealogical societies. She is currently the editor-in-chief of Nuestras Raices, a national quarterly journal for Hispanic researchers. This article is
©2015 Donie Nelson; all rights reserved.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Autosomal DNA Test on sale right now!!!!!

Check out the low low price for an autosomal test "Family Finder" at FAMILYTREEDNA regularly at $99 plus shipping now $69 plus shipping. Savings of over $30!!! Now is the time to have your Parents, Grandparents, cousins get tested!

Friday, August 5, 2016

Photos from Aug 6th Meeting

Donie Nelson gave an interesting talk on "FAMILY STORIES: Secrets, Lies, & Surprises", where she explained that in her family there are secrets, mistruths or lies that have an underlying surprised to them. The examples she gave told about stories hidden by family members which brought dull facts to life.  She stated that every family historian discovers at least one hidden story and the longer you research, the more you will find!

Next meeting to be held is on 6 Aug 2016

Please join us for our next meeting on August 6, 2016 from 10 am to 4 pm where our presenter Donie Nelson will talk on "FAMILY STORIES: Secrets, Lies, & Surprises". Please join us at the Southern California Genealogical Society Library, 417 Irving Dr., Burbank, California (directions: 818-843-7247).
All families have secrets, all families tell lies and someone is always surprised. Every family historian discovers at least one; the longer you research, the more you find! Stories hidden by family members bring the dull facts to life and can be the lure to involve other family members in doing research. In this PowerPoint presentation veteran genealogist Donie Nelson reveals the surprising stories she uncovered!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Do you know where you descend from?

This is an interesting video that we all need to see to understand where we all come from thru our DNA. There are several companies out there who do anaylsis, this is just one of them. Maybe this could lead to a better understanding of others and their ways if we knew where our ancestors came from. To view hit here

Friday, July 1, 2016

Did you back up your Genealogy Files?

It is the first day of the month. It’s time to back up your genealogy files. Then test your backups!

Actually, you can make backups at any time. However, it is easier and safer if you have a specific schedule. The first day of the month is easy to remember, so I would suggest you back up your genealogy files at least on the first day of every month, if not more often.

Of course, you might want to back up more than your genealogy files. Family photographs, your checkbook register, all sorts of word processing documents, email messages, and much more need to be backed up regularly. Why not do that on the first day of each month?

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Is Your Missing Ancestor a Jailbird? - Genealogy Garage

Hope you will join us this Saturday at the Central library of the LAPL when one of our favorite workshop leaders, Barbara Randall will share a topic: "Is Your Missing Ancestor a Jailbird?" for Genealogy Garage.

Genealogy Garage is this Saturday June 18th, from 11 am-1 pm.

The presenter, Barbara Randall, is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) & the Genealogical Speakers Guild, will disclose how to explore legal and penal system records that may reveal the hidden past of a missing ancestor or relative, who may be a convicted criminal.

Workshops assist family researchers at all levels of expertise. No matter where you are researching and whether you are a beginner or have been researching for years, here is an opportunity to “tune-up” your current research skills or learn something new about family history research. Genealogy Garage workshops are held at the Central Library of the LAPL in the History & Genealogy Dept. on Lower Level 4, accessible by escalator or elevator. Genealogy Garage is held near the main reference desk; just ask the library personnel for our location. Other items to bring: pedigree charts, family group sheets, pens/pencils, paper, and/or your laptop computer.

Stay after the tour for personalized attention. Directions to Central Library and parking info available at http://www.lapl.org/central/. Park UNDER the library, entering at 524 Flower St. just off 5th Street. You need a LAPL card to receive the $1.00 Saturday parking rate. Apply for the card at your local LAPL or at the Circulation Desk when you arrive. Just bring identification.

Show your library card to get your parking ticket validated at the Information Desk before returning to your car. Please travel light. This is a public building—it is NOT recommended that you leave computers, purses or other personal items unattended while researching.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

TLC has Renewed two Genealogy television programs

Genealogy is coming back to TV. TLC has renewed “Who Do You Think You Are?” and “Long Lost Family” for additional seasons.

TLC announced on June 9th that the network will have additional seasons of both “Who Do You Think You Are?” and “Long Lost Family.” Both series averaged over 1.8 million viewers.

We will announce the new seasons when they become available.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Hispanic Saturday San Diego

Please join us on Saturday, June 11 at the San Diego Central Library for

"The Importance of Citing Your Sources
and the Genealogical Proof Standard"

Presented by Mona Hernandez

1pm - 4pm
330 Park Boulevard
San Diego, CA 92101
Directions: 619-236-5800
Ask on the 9th Floor Genealogy Library in which room 
the Hispanic Saturday group is meeting

Mona Hernandez has been researching her family in New Mexico and Colorado for many years. On her maternal side she descends from the founding Hispano families of Nuevo Mexico dating back to 1598 and on her paternal side she traces her ancestors to Chihuahua and Durango, Mexico, which includes a paternal great grandfather who may have come from the British Isles. She is a founding member of the Genealogical Society of Hispanic America Southern California and currently serves on the board of GSHA-SC as VP Communications. For the past three years, she has been responsible for the production and editing of their newsletter, Huellas del Pasado. She is also the editor of Herencia, the journal of the Hispanic Genealogical Research Center of New Mexico. Her research has been published in the genealogy journals of Nuestras Raices (GSHA), Herencia (HGRC), and the New Mexico Genealogist (NMGS.)

She has published over 10 articles all pertaining to history and genealogy. She has also given PowerPoint presentations, including the one she is giving today: The Importance of Citing your Sources and the Genealogical Proof Standard.

Central Library Underground Parking: First 2 hours free with validation for library users. Cash only.

Offsite Parking in the Area: Public parking spaces are also available within walking distance.

Your host/expert Ceasar Castro has been researching his ancestors in Baja California since 2008. He has a master’s degree from Purdue University and is a member of the San Diego Genealogy Society, the Chula Vista Genealogy Society, the Southern California Genealogy Society (SCGS) and the Genealogical Society of Hispanic America–Southern California (GSHA‐SC).

Ceasar Castro castro.baja@gmail.com

Visit Ceasar’s blog (castrobajacalif.blogspot.com)

Hope to see you!

This event is co‐hosted by the Genealogical Society of Hispanic America–Southern California (GSHA-SC), the San Diego Genealogical Society (SDGS) and the San Diego Central Library.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Livestreaming at Burbank Jamboree

So here’s an option for folks who can’t be at the Southern California Genealogical Society’s Jamboree and DNA Day this year.

There’s a livestream of many of the sessions. It is free but you will have to register before hand to be able to view the sessions.

The Friday, June 3, sessions to be livestreamed are:

• 1-2 p.m. PDT: James M. Beidler presenting German Immigrant Waves: Contrasts and Sources

• 2:30-3:30 p.m. PDT: Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL, presenting Problems and Pitfalls of a “Reasonably Shallow” Search

• 4-5 p.m. EDT: Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FMGS, FUGA, presenting Tracking Migrations and More: The Records of Old Settlers Organizations

• 5:30-6:30 p.m. PDT: George Goodloe Morgan presenting Principles of Effective Evidence Analysis

The Saturday, June 4, sessions to be livestreamed are:

• 8:30-9:30 a.m. PDT: Lisa A. Alzo, MFA, presenting Getting Started with Eastern European Research

• 10-11 a.m. PDT: Cyndi Ingle, presenting Be Your Own Digital Archivist: Preserve Your Research

• 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. PDT: C. Fritz Juengling, PhD, AG, presenting German Names: Their Origins, Meanings, and Distribution

• 2-3 p.m. PDT: J. H. Fonkert, CG, presenting Using Military Pension Files to Fill Gaps in Family History

• 3:30-4:30 p.m. PDT: Thomas Wright Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS, presenting Maximizing Your Use of Evidence

• 5-6 p.m. PDT: Michael D. Lacopo, DVM, presenting German Genealogy on the Internet: Beyond the Basics

The Sunday, June 5, sessions to be livestreamed are:

• 8:30-9:30 a.m. PDT: Peggy Clements Lauritzen, AG, presenting The Firelands, the Connecticut Western Reserve and the Ohio Territory

• 10-11 a.m. PDT: Tessa Ann Keough, presenting Avoiding Shiny Penny Syndrome with Your Genealogy

• 12:30-1:30 p.m. PDT: Barbara M. Randall, presenting All Aboard: Staying on Track with Your Research

• 2-3 p.m. PDT: Debbie Mieszala, CG, presenting U. S. Passport Applications

And you still have to register in advance for the free livestream for the Friday-Sunday, June 3-5, 2016 SCGS Jamboree.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

GSHA-SC Calendar online

Introducing GSHA-SC calendar to the web site, which is on google for your convenience to know what events are upcoming. To view it hit here It is also located on the left hand column under Calendar of Events.

Monday, May 9, 2016

PBS’ “Genealogy Roadshow” Season 3 Premieres May 17

The following announcement was written by the folks at PBS:

ARLINGTON, VA; APRIL 19, 2016 – From possible links to the accused in the Salem Witch Trials to heroes of the Wild West, PBS’ GENEALOGY ROADSHOW uncovers more family secrets in the series’ third season, which premieres Tuesday, May 17, 2016, at 8:00 p.m. ET and airs Tuesdays through June 28 (check local listings). Part detective story, part emotional journey, GENEALOGY ROADSHOW combines history and science to uncover fascinating stories of diverse Americans this season in and around Albuquerque, Miami, Houston, Boston, Providence and Los Angeles. Each story links to the larger regional (and often, national) history, to become part of America’s rich cultural tapestry. See a season three clip here.

Below are descriptions for each of GENEALOGY ROADSHOW’s six episodes this season. For images and screeners, please visit PBS PressRoom.

Albuquerque – The Old Airport Terminal
Premieres May 17, 2016 at 8:00 p.m. ET
A team of genealogists uncovers fascinating family stories at the Old Albuquerque Airport Terminal. A woman seeking a connection to a Native-American code talker learns that a missing branch of her family tree has been searching for her; a man is shocked to find out just how deep his New Mexican roots go; a woman finds out that her ancestor’s life was straight out of a Wild West tale; another questions her family connection to the explosive Trinity Test; one man is linked to a famous comic book heroine; and a woman looks to verify family lore about a connection to Pancho Villa.

Miami – History Miami Museum
Premieres May 24, 2016 at 8:00 p.m. ET
At the History Miami Museum, one woman suspects she is related to Pocahontas; another explores the mystery of her Cuban roots, uncovering her grandfather’s secret past; a man learns more about his Filipino heritage and the impact of World War II on his ancestors; the team reveals how the history of the tragic Tuskegee experiment changed a woman’s family forever; and a woman comes to the Roadshow thinking her ancestor was a villain, only to learn he was a hero.

Houston – Downtown Houston Public Library
Premieres May 31, 2016 at 8:00 p.m. ET
A woman seeks to find out if her roots in Texas are as deep as the character she portrays in her historical re-enactments; at the Julia Ideson Building of the Houston Public Library, the Roadshow team investigates the notorious Andersonville prison; a man wants to know if his African-American ancestors fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War; a woman uncovers her link to a prominent figure in Texas history; another learns of her connection to the Cherokee Freedmen; and one man traces his roots to the conflicts that shaped early American history.

Boston – Faneuil Hall
Premieres June 14, 2016 at 8:00 p.m. ET
At an iconic Boston landmark, Faneuil Hall, a team of genealogists unravels the haunting mystery of one woman’s ties to the Salem Witch Trials. Another woman seeks to understand her family’s connection to the historic orphan trains; a woman seeks to find out whether the Great Boston Fire of 1872 or the small pox epidemic claimed the lives of one branch of her family tree; for one man, the team researches a link to the founders of Boston; and one woman learns that her family’s remarkable route went from the Caribbean through Ellis Island.

Providence – Providence Public Library
Premieres June 21, 2016 at 8:00 p.m. ET
At the Providence Public Library, the passport of a woman’s ancestor reveals how her family survived the Holocaust and ended up halfway around the world; a woman discovers more about an African-American relative who served in World War I; experts unlock the mystery of one man’s Amish ties; a woman discovers how deep her roots run in the New England whaling industry; a Rhode Island macaroni company takes a woman all the way back to Italy; and one man’s search for his ancestor reveals a scandal that made headlines.

Los Angeles – Union Station
Premieres June 28, 2016 at 8:00 p.m. ET
A team of genealogists uncovers fascinating family stories at Los Angeles Union Station. A woman questions her family’s connection to the legendary Hollywood hot-spot, Schwab’s Pharmacy; another seeks a connection to one of the first African-American college graduates; a woman’s family tree is wrapped in a genealogical web that has captivated the Roadshow team for years; one man’s ancestor lived in the right places at the right times, finding himself connected to historic events and iconic companies; a woman discovers a scoundrel in her family tree; and a Roadshow host shares a unique insight on the Ellis Island immigration experience.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Long Lost Family I Knew I'd Never See My Mom Again

Reunited with facts and extra scenes- Chris Jacobs & Lisa Joyner help long lost families: one man hasn't seen his mom since he was 6, when she walked into a grocery store and never came out; a 54-year-old adoptee hopes to meet her biological family. To view it, it here

Friday, May 6, 2016

ABC 20/20 showing tonight brings forth information on Three Siblings Abandoned As Newborns By Same Mom At Separate Times Meet For First Time

Genetic genealogist CeCe Moore is helping two half siblings, Janet and Dean, search for their biological mother when she stumbles upon someone else... See the story presenting on Friday May 6th on ABC, 20/20 .

Unbelievably, three babies were found abandoned within a five mile radius of each other over a five year period of time and DNA testing at AncestryDNA revealed that they all share the same mother. 

Announcement of upcoming General Meeting

Mark your calendars to attend the next general meeting on May 7, 2016. It will prove to be educational to those in attendance. We expect a pack house so come early.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Upcoming GSHA-SC General Meeting

Saturday May 7, 2016
10 AM-4 PM
Southern California Genealogical Society Library
417 Irving Drive, Burbank, CA
818-843-7247 or http://www.scgsgenealogy.com

"Deciphering the letters of DNA and
how DNA has changed the world of Genealogy"
Presented by Cheri Mello

Which DNA test kit should you purchase and how many markers should the kit contain? What are the differences between the various DNA tests? What do the results mean? Please join us as we explore the fascinating field of DNA.

Cheri Mello’s presentation will take us from A to XY & Z. She will explain why a female’s DNA test results differ from a male’s. She will talk about haplogroups and how chromosomes define us. This presentation serves as a stepping stone to the Genetic Genealogy Conference on Thursday, June 2, sponsored by the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree in Burbank. DNA test kits will be available for sale at the Jamboree.

Cheri Mello received her Master’s degree in Education from California State University at Los Angeles, and was a National Board certified teacher in the subjects of Math and Humanities. She has over twenty years’ experience as a genealogy researcher, and is currently overseeing five DNA projects. She is also involved in Portuguese-Azorean genealogy. Mello will discuss the interconnection between Spain and Portugal, including how Sephardic Jews were initially welcomed in Portugal after the 1492 expulsion from Spain.

Hope to see you.