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)