Wednesday, September 30, 2015

George S. Kashishian

Long Beach’s sidewalks contain impressed “signatures” of many pavers who plied their trade in the city. If your ancestor owned a construction company or worked for one of those cement contractors, our “Sidewalk Signatures” series will be of interest to you. In older sections of the California Heights neighborhood district it’s impossible to walk far without encountering this distinctive rectangle:

photo: QHGS

George S. Kashishian was a native of Turkey. He came to Long Beach in 1909, and lived here at 2832 E 6th Street with his wife Pearl during the 1920s. Mr. Kashishian was a contractor who paved many streets in our city. The Southwest Builder and Contractor of April 1920, lists one of his projects as follows: “Long Beach—G. S. Kashishian, 2832 E. 6th St., was awarded the contract for improving Corto Place between Broadway and Obispo Ave. at 24c sq. ft. for one course concrete paving, including grading; 53c lin. ft. cement curb and 21c sq. ft. cement sidewalk.” 

Later in life, Mr. Kashishian owned and operated an oriental rug company at 401 E. Carson Street in Long Beach. His obituary in the Long Beach Independent Press-Telegram of September 10, 1969, tells us that, “he helped build the old Poly High gym, installed the first terrazo [sic] sidewalk in front of Buffum’s [department store], and was said to have been the first to utilize transit-mixed cement in Long Beach. In 1946 he gave up cement and building contracting to devote full time to the rug company.”

RESEARCH NOTE: Find out more about the Kashishians by reading Jim Kashishian’s brief history of the family at Jim is George’s grandson.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Future Generations Will Thank You

We are often encouraged to write family histories of our ancestors, and the computer programs we use make this easy to do in a basic, no-frills way. But what about you? What about your story?

image: loc

The most common response to those two questions above is, “But my life isn’t very interesting.” Well, if you are lucky enough to have a memoir, a stack of letters, or a diary that belonged to one of your ancestors, you know how thankful you are that a relative in the past described his everyday, “uninteresting” life so that a descendant living in the future could connect with him across centuries. 

Be that bridge to the past for your own grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren. You’ve worked hard compiling an accurate genealogy to leave to your descendants, so tell them who you are—believe me, they will want to know, and they will thank you for sharing details about your life.

WRITING TIP: Begin writing about yourself by answering the questions you so often ask older members of the family when you interview them. 
About Genealogy lists 50 common inquiries at
If you need guidance writing you own story, consult at 
Don’t put this off—do it today!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Change Direction!

Are you working on a family line that has become “impossible?” Have you searched every online source without results? Do you keep looking at the same things over and over, trying to find a hint or a clue?

photo: QHGS Blogger’s Family Archives

Genealogy is very much like trying to solve a crossword puzzle at one sitting: eventually, definitions seem to make no sense. After taking a break, meanings are suddenly revealed and the puzzle can be completed; so, take a break! Leave that family alone for awhile. Work on an unrelated line. The sources you discover and the things you learn while you’re researching them may help you unravel knots in your “problem family.”

RESEARCH TIP: Lisa Alzo has suggestions at to help you consider alternative ways of looking at your problem relatives.


Sunday, September 27, 2015

Reexamining Your Information

Look at the word “research” carefully, and you can see that one of its meanings is “search again.”

Don't be like some family historians who become so caught up in the pursuit of data that they rarely if ever revisit the information they have already collected. Review your data on a regular basis—once every six months or once every year.

Why do we want to review and re-search our own data?
1. As we learn more about our ancestors, relationships between family members become clearer. 
An example of this can be illustrated by one of your QHGS Blogger’s discoveries. I originally found my grandfather’s uncle on a page of the 1880 census. Surnames of the surrounding families meant nothing to me at the time. However, within a year I had found the maiden name of my grandfather’s mother and the maiden name of his uncle’s wife; and, when I reviewed that 1880 census page, family relationships became obvious. In fact, my grandfather’s own grandmother was living next to his uncle!
2. As more information is digitized, the questionmarks and gaps on your family tree might be filled in by another search online: what wasn’t there six months or a year ago, may well be available now. Review family lines you haven’t worked on for awhile to see if there are any puzzles that you might now be able to solve. 
3. New information that you have discovered may indicate that previously assumed truths are far from reliable. Look at all of your information carefully at least once a year to make sure you are following the correct family line back in time.

RESEARCH TIP: Begin the year by printing new family group sheets from your computer program for every family, even ones you haven't worked on lately. Read them as though you were looking at them for the first time, and you may spot information that you missed previously.     

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Public Domain Images

Don’t despair if you have no pictures of your ancestors’ home towns. Look for photographs on Wikipedia pages that reference the cities where they lived, click on the pictures, and use them to add interest to your genealogy.

post card: Hartford, Connecticut 1914 illustration on Wikipedia

The example above is an image in the Public Domain. It is available on the Wikipedia entry for Hartford, Connecticut. A map of Hartford, published in 1877, is also on that same Wikipedia page.

RESEARCH TIP: Be careful—not every image on a Wikipedia page is licensed for free use in the Public Domain. Different types of licenses require different ways of sourcing this material. Always click on the blue “More Details” button (it’s on the lower right-hand side of the image rollout) to find a description of the license as well as the usage requirements involved.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Carlos Wilkins

Long Beach’s sidewalks contain impressed “signatures” of many pavers who plied their trade in the city. If your ancestor owned a construction company or worked for one of those cement contractors, our “Sidewalk Signatures” series will be of interest to you.

photo: QHGS

Carlos Wilkins was a cement contractor who laid sidewalks in Long Beach during the early 1900s. In the 1922 Long Beach City Directory he is listed like this: “Wilkins Carlos (Ellen) cement contr h 927 Linden av.” Born in Wisconsin in 1858, he married Minerva Ellen Haworth in 1883, and he was enumerated in the 1900, 1920 and 1930 censuses in Long Beach. In 1910 he moved for a short time to Pomona, California, where he worked as a chauffeur, giving rides to people in his 1916 Chevrolet touring car. Carlos died in Long Beach on March 25, 1934. He was buried in Sunnyside Cemetery and his tombstone has been photographed by a volunteer at Find A Grave.

RESEARCH NOTE: Information for this article came from the FamilySearch website, the Find A Grave website, and from California Automobile Registration 1921, Volume 5, available on the Internet Archive at

Thursday, September 24, 2015

City Directories: Divorces

Have you been unable to find a divorce record in probate court records online for one or more of your ancestors? Try looking in a directory where they resided. A few old city directories have Population Statistics sections that include divorce listings.

In the example above, no final decree date is given; but, you can narrow the parting down to an inclusive year (in this case, May 25, 1905 to June 1, 1906).

RESEARCH TIP: If an ancestor is married in one census and enumerated as a widow or widower in the next, and, if you have been unable to find a death record for the deceased spouse involved, you might suspect a divorce occurred rather than a death. Divorce carried a stigma in our early culture, especially for our female ancestors; so, check out city directories for the years between censuses to see if a divorce is listed.  

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Confused about Cousins?

Our computerized genealogy programs automatically calculate relationships for us: 1C2R, 5GG, 3C; but, what do these abbreviation mean? How closely related are the people who populate your family tree?

 image: Library of Congress Music Division

There are several ways to calculate relationships, and the best visual aids are cousin charts which come in a variety of designs. You can find them online at the websites listed below.

About Genealogy has a large chart at
Boris Brooks has a smaller one at
Life Hacker has a cousin chart organized like a pedigree at
Cyndi’s List has a catalog of charts at

RESEARCH TIP: Articles about these relationships can be found at “What Is A First Cousin Twice Removed?”, and “Cousin Confusion” 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

What’s in a Nickname?

Many of our ancestors are identified by a formal name in one census and by a nickname in the next census. This can cause confusion and leave you wondering if you have the right family. 1900’s Francis may be “Frank” in 1910 and “Franny” in 1920.

photo: QHGS

A good example of this is your QHGS Blogger’s grandmother, Mary Wilhelmina Little. Mary was never called anything other than “Minnie” during her lifetime. The only place where her formal name “Mary Wilhelmina” appears is on her baptismal record.

RESEARCH TIP: If you have been wondering which nicknames go with which formal names, here are a few resources to help you find out.
About Genealogy: 

Monday, September 21, 2015

What’s in a Name?

Our ancestors did not have have their names changed at Ellis Island; but, they often changed their names themselves soon after arriving in the United States.

photo: QHGS

Some of them shortened long surnames that were difficult for their new countrymen to spell. For example, Sobczynski became Sobek over time. Others Anglicized their surnames completely. A common example is the change of Wisniewski to Cherry. A few of our ancestors Anglicized both their given name and surname. As a result, an Italian named Guglielmo Cavalcante could have become William Rider, and a Hungarian named Vilmos Erdos might have been known as Billy Forester.

RESEARCH TIP: If you have an immigrant ancestor whom you have been unable to find on ship manifest lists, consider that he may have entered the United States under a different name. 
Use the following websites:
to search lists of given names and surnames from many languages.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

William Benton West, City Inspector

We know that Long Beach’s sidewalks contain impressed “signatures” of many construction companies and contractors who plied their trade here; and, a recent Sunday stroll in the Belmont Heights neighborhood revealed a surprise: our City inspectors sometimes added their names to cement projects as well!

photo: QHGS

William Benton “W. B.” West was listed in the 1922 and 1923 Long Beach city directories this way: “Wm B West (Faith Jones) st insp City h 1718 Linden.” William was born in Iowa. He married Abby Faith in Humbolt, Iowa, in 1903, and he died in 1935 in Upland, California. He was enumerated in the 1920 U. S. Census while living in Long Beach with Faith and his children. Find A Grave lists him among those interred in Union Cemetery, Humbolt, Iowa.

RESEARCH TIP: The website may help you locate relatives who are not listed on larger genealogy sites. A useful, short tree for W. B. West was posted there, and, using it, your Blogger was able to find corroborating information about him.   

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Sister Societies

Questing Heirs is a wonderful genealogical society, but we are not the only club in Southern California devoted to studying family history—far from it. Our sister societies meet in Torrance, Whittier, Yorba Linda, Huntington Beach, Burbank, Mission Viejo, and several other cities in the greater Los Angeles area; and, each one of them is a genealogy resource that we treasure. In fact, your QHGS Blogger will be attending a meeting of the Whittier Area Genealogical Society today!

 logo: WAGS Whittier Area Genealogical Society

Genealogy clubs are just like people: they start out young and vibrant, and they age slowly over decades. Some of them become productive contributors to their communities, and some simply become complacent, doing the same things in the same ways, over and over again. If your club is looking for new ways to conduct meetings, new interfaces to connect with younger people, and new projects to engage members, try visiting other societies in your area to learn what they do. There’s nothing like experiencing first-hand how another genealogy club handles its meeting agenda, organizes its membership drives, and chooses its program speakers.

SOCIETY NOTE: If you have volunteered for a genealogy club position you have not held before, contact the people who hold that position in other societies near you, and ask for help. Genealogists are always ready to lend a hand, give advice, and help you do a good job.     

Friday, September 18, 2015

William L. Greenleaf

Long Beach’s sidewalks contain impressed “signatures” of many pavers who plied their trade in the city. If your ancestor owned a construction company or worked for one of those cement contractors, our “Sidewalk Signatures” series will be of interest to you.

photo: QHGS

William Leland Greenleaf was a cement contractor who laid sidewalks in Long Beach during the 1920s. When he registered for the WWI draft on September 12, 1918, he was working for the Adamson Concrete Co., but soon after he started his own firm. In the 1923 Long Beach City Directory he is listed as living at 1805 Erie Street. He married Juanita Fielder in 1931, and, during the Great Depression year of 1935, he was a packer for the Dalton Coffee Company here in Long Beach. William L. Greenleaf died in 1954.

RESEARCH TIP: When you research a stranger, look at many possible sources for information; then, apply the research techniques you have learned to your own immediate ancestors.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

City Directories: Vital Records—Marriages

Not all old city directories had Vital Records sections; but, if you have been unable to find a marriage record online for one or more of your ancestors, try looking in a directory where they resided.

If you can find your ancestors’ marriage listed in a city directory statistical table like the one shown above, the bride’s maiden name will be included as well as the groom’s name and the date of the marriage.

RESEARCH TIP: Search city directories for your ancestors as single individuals. Then find the first listing of them as a couple. This will give you a “date window” of one or two years where you can search for their marriage date.  

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

City Directories: Vital Records—Births

Not all old city directories had Vital Records sections; but, if you have been unable to find a birth document for one of your ancestors, try looking in the city directory where his parents resided.

The date of birth and the sex of the child is often listed along with the parents’ names in tables like the one shown above. Your QHGS Blogger has used city directory birth records to find dates unavailable elsewhere.

RESEARCH NOTE: Statistical tables like these are not primary sources, but they can lead you to a birth certificate filed with the city, county or state. And, when the directory is for a city in a state that did not begin to record births until after the date of the directory, a list like this may be the only document you find to prove a birth date in your family’s history.  

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

City Directories: Vital Records—Deaths

Not all old city directories had Vital Records sections; but, if you have been unable to find a death record online for one or more of your ancestors, try looking in a directory where they resided.

Even if there are no pages like the one shown above—pages specifically given over to death records—the death date of your ancestor might be listed in the main body of names and addresses in the directory published the year following his death. For example, if your relative died in 1921, he would be listed among the living residents in the 1921 directory; but, in the 1922 or, possibly, 1923 directory, his date of death could appear next to his name.

RESEARCH TIP: Directory companies collected address information from residents and published issues at different yearly intervals. Look at the top of the page shown above. You are reading a list of deaths which begins on June 1, 1905, and ends on May 31, 1906. Be careful reading such inclusive lists, and make sure that you understand which months go with each year.


Monday, September 14, 2015

Genealogy Podcasts

Think you’ve exhausted “the usual” learning opportunities by watching webinars, reading books, and attending seminar lectures? Want to know what you can do to learn even more about genealogy?

Men Listening to a Radio Broadcast 1910:

Listen to genealogy podcasts on your cell phone or computer! Webinars, with their images and slide shows, are similar to TV; and, podcasts, with their hosts and invited guests, are just like radio. Keep up with the latest genealogy news, learn about specialized topics, and discover historical background by listening to some of the podcasts listed below. 

“The Genealogy Guys Podcast” with George G. Morgan and Drew Smith is the longest-running, regularly-produced genealogy podcast in the world! They aired their 10th-anniversary show a week ago. Listen at

“Extreme Genes Family History Radio” is a roundup of weekly news with guests, questions from listeners, amazing stories of research, odd DNA discoveries, and more. You can listen at

“The Genealogy Gems Podcast with Lisa Louise Cooke” recently celebrated 1.5 million downloads. The show is available on iTunes and also at

“African Roots” producer Angela Y. Walton-Raji covers news of interest to African American genealogists, Civil War enthusiasts, and Native American researchers. Listen to her podcasts at

“The Forget-Me-Not Hour” on blogtalkradio is hosted by genealogist Jane E. Wilcox. It features interviews with genealogists and discussions about genealogical topics of interest. Listen on demand at

Library and Archives Canada offers podcasts like “Digging Into the Past: Family History in Canada.” Connect with LAC via RSS or iTunes, or choose your show and listen at

The Library of Congress offers many podcasts at

The National Archives of the United Kingdom offers podcasts (yes, there are some webinars listed, too) on the media portion of their site. “Tracing Railway Ancestors,” and “The Victorian Poor in their Own Words” are just two of the programs available at

RESEARCH TIP: Most podcasts are free to download, and, if you subscribe to them, you’ll never miss an episode. Just enter “genealogy” in the search box of your podcast app, and you’ll be amazed by how many different programs are available. Choose the one(s) you want to receive every week, click “subscribe,” and you’re done!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

H. Henry Clarke, City Inspector

We know that Long Beach’s sidewalks contain impressed “signatures” of many construction companies and contractors who plied their trade here; and, a recent Sunday stroll in the Belmont Heights neighborhood revealed a surprise: our City inspectors sometimes added their names to cement projects as well!

photo: QHGS

The impression shown above shares the sidewalk with a contractor’s “signature.” Your QHGS Blogger wanted to find out who “H. H. Clarke” was; so, some sleuthing was done in the 1922 Long Beach City Directory which provided the following information: “H. Henry Clarke, an inspector for the City street department, lived at 1450½ Olive Street with his wife Sarah J. Clarke.”

RESEARCH TIP: Many directories contain lists of policemen, firemen, and various other city employees in their front pages. If your ancestor had a city job, be sure to check these pages to find his name again listed under the department heading where he worked.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

How Fierce Was That Blizzard?

Long Beach has been in the grip of a week-long heat wave, and that got your QHGS Blogger to think about weather and how hurricanes, droughts, and devastating floods affected our ancestors.

The hurricane of September 1938, shown on the weather map above, gave my father plenty of work. He was an engineer and photographer for the Bureau of Public Roads during the Depression; and, one of his jobs was documenting damage done by this hurricane to the highways in Connecticut. Your Blogger still has these photographs, so I know that his stories of finding huge boats from Long Island Sound as far as 2 miles inland were true. But—how does one find out if the blizzard of 1906, the one your grandmother always referred to as “The Storm of Aught Six,” was really as bad as she said it was? Where are the records that prove a “big flood in 1882” wiped out the family farm and sent your relatives on their Westward migration to California?

If you have family stories that describe severe weather, you can find out about historic weather conditions online:
“Weather History—Historical Weather Data and Storm Timelines” has six links to North American, Canadian, and European weather history sites at
“Researching Our Ancestors’ Weather at Family Tree Magazine” is at

RESEARCH TIP: If you are puzzled by a seemingly sudden move that your ancestors made, be sure to look in weather records. A drought, a tornado, a flood, a prairie fire, or a forest fire may have been the catalyst for their relocation. 

Friday, September 11, 2015

Herbert G. Schiewe

Long Beach’s sidewalks contain impressed “signatures” of many contractors who plied their trade in the city. If your ancestor owned a construction company or worked for one of those cement contractors, our “Sidewalk Signatures” series will be of interest to you. 

photo: QHGS

Herbert “H. G.” Schiewe was a cement contractor working in Long Beach when his daughter was born. Her birth record from 1924, posted on the FamilySearch website, gave the following information: “Father: Herbert G. Schiewe, age 22, born Oregon; Mother: Aileen Etta Holman, age 22, born Idaho; both living at 4140 Colorado Avenue in Long Beach; father’s occupation cement contractor.” Herbert died in 1948. He is buried with his wife in Skyline Memorial Gardens Cemetery, Portland, Oregon. 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

City Directories: Census Substitutes describes their 1890 city directories as “census substitutes.” Although it is especially useful to have names and addresses from 1890 due to the lack of U. S. Federal Censuses from that year, actually the description can apply to all city directories online.

Why? Because, once you have found your relative’s address listed in a city directory, you can use a special section of that directory—the “Street Guide” sometimes called the “Householder’s Guide”— to find out who lived next door! Look up the street name and find your ancestor’s address; then, look at everyone living on the street. This may lead to discoveries like, “Wow! I never knew Aunt Jennie married her husband before her sister and brother-in-law moved to St. Louis—and I had no idea that she and Herbert moved with them—I thought they came to Missouri much later on.” Try using the “Street Index” section like a census, and see what you find!

RESEARCH TIP: If your ancestor is not listed in a city directory in the main section of town residents, don’t give up. Look at the page that lists “Additional Names and Removals Too Late for Classification,” to see if he moved into town too late to be included in the main body of information. If he isn’t there, look at the page that lists “Migrations or Removals from the City” to see if he moved away during the preceding year.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

City Directories: Occupations

Does an old city directory list your ancestor as  a “gasftr” or a “mess”? Did he sell or make “agri impts”? Maybe he was a “propr” or a “solcer”.

You can decode these odd-looking listings by finding the “Abbreviations” page of the directory!

RESEARCH TIP: Our ancestors plied many trades that no longer exist. Go to “Old Occupations Explained” at to find a detailed list of these jobs. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

City Directories: Names, Addresses, and Much More

Genealogists use city and/or county directories to find out where their ancestors lived during a particular year; but, there’s much more information waiting to be discovered between the covers of these books. What else can a city directory tell us about a relative in addition to that first entry which gives us the residential address, the occupation, the wife’s name (sometimes!), and the business where he was employed? It may offer a picture of where he worked!

 image: Wikipedia

The illustration above comes from an advertisement in the 1908 Syracuse, New York, City Directory. If your ancestor happened to be employed by the Bartels Brewing Company in 1908, wouldn’t you like to have a drawing of the industrial plant where he worked? Engravings and pictures of company buildings can often be found in the business and/or advertiser’s index sections of old directories.

Here are three websites where you will find more information about using city directories in creative ways:

RESEARCH NOTE: We will be exploring other kinds of information contained in city directories during the month of September; so, keep reading to discover more examples of surprising content in these resources. And, if you have found something really amazing in a city directory, please share your discovery by leaving a comment on the QHGS Blog for all to see. 

Monday, September 7, 2015

QHGS Wishes All a Happy Holiday

Labor Day became a federal holiday in 1894. Where were your ancestors living that year? Were any of them present in 1929 at the Firemen’s Labor Day parade, pictured below?


An excellent source for Labor Day history and media is the website. Go to and watch videos of old film footage that show Labor Day marches from the past.

RESEARCH TIP: When you imagine that one of your ancestors may have attended an event described in old newspapers or pictured in old photos, history becomes a much more interesting subject.  

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Pinkney Wallick, City Inspector

We know that Long Beach’s sidewalks contain impressed “signatures” of many construction companies and contractors who plied their trade here; and, a recent Sunday stroll in the Belmont Heights neighborhood revealed a surprise: our City inspectors sometimes added their names to cement projects as well!

photo: QHGS

The impression shown above shares the sidewalk with a contractor’s “signature.” Your QHGS Blogger wanted to find out who “P. Wallick” was; so, some sleuthing was done in the 1922 Long Beach city directory which provided the following information: “Pinkney Wallick, an inspector for the City, lived at 904 Atlantic with his wife Mary B. Wallick.”

RESEARCH TIP: Remnants of your city’s past lie all around you—keep your eyes open for clues at all times.

Saturday, September 5, 2015


The blogger would like to share two resources with you that were used to help someone who sent an email request for assistance to QHGS this past week—a request which concerned dates for a death and a marriage that had occurred in North Dakota between 1900 and 1913.

map image: Courtesy of the University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin

Now, if you’ve tried to research your relatives in that state, you know North Dakota resources are not easy to find. We tackled the problem in this order:

1.), usually our first stop on the research trail, had no North Dakota marriage or death records online at all, and only 2,000 births had been indexed so far. It did offer the 1915 and 1925 state censuses; but, those dates were too late to solve any problems raised in the email. 

2.) A quick look at, usually our second stop on the research trail, revealed a similar situation: no North Dakota birth, marriage, death, or newspaper databases were online. There was an 1885 state census available; but, that date was too early to solve any problems raised in the email.

3.) So, where did we go online to find the information? To the North Dakota GenWeb Project at This FREE site provides genealogy researchers with links to all things North Dakota: museums, libraries, genealogy clubs and historical societies, history books, oral history projects, school censuses, cemetery books and transcriptions, and the ND GenWeb Archives which contain hundreds of transcriptions made by volunteers. 

4.) Once we linked up to the North Dakota GenWeb Archives, at, we selected the county we wanted and discovered an index to the Highland Home Cemetery published by the James River Genealogy Club that held an answer to part of the request for help. This index had been transcribed and put online by volunteers in 2007. An old death register that had been transcribed in 2001 gave even more information: the middle name of the decedent, both of the parents’ names and their birthplaces, the mother’s maiden name, and the decedent’s date of death. There were also transcriptions of old marriage records, put online in 2004, and one of them answered the second part of that request for help.

RESEARCH TIP: Use the U. S. GenWeb!!!! And if you have a really difficult problem that you cannot solve, email us and ask for suggestions or help at

Friday, September 4, 2015

Works Progress Administration

Long Beach’s sidewalks contain impressed “signatures” of many construction companies, contractors, and government agencies that plied their trade in the city. If your ancestor owned or worked for one of those cement contractors, our “Sidewalk Signatures” series will be of interest to you.

photo: QHGS

Wikipedia tells us that, “the Works Progress Administration (renamed in 1939 as the Work Projects Administration; WPA) was the largest and most ambitious American New Deal agency, employing millions of unemployed people (mostly unskilled men) to carry out public works projects, including the construction of public buildings and roads.” WPA imprints on Long Beach sidewalks and curbs were common in the California Heights neighborhood before the current repaving project removed them.

RESEARCH TIP: It’s obvious that city directories help us find where our ancestors lived; but, once we’ve found the address, we should keep looking at subsequent years in the directories—especially during the Great Depression—not only to see if the family moved, but also to find out if the breadwinner of the family changed jobs! My grandfather is a good example: the 1935 Jacksonville, Florida, city directory gives his profession as “agt Gulf Life Ins Co,” the 1936 edition lists him as “salesman,” and by 1941 he is a “foreman WPA.”

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Our Upcoming Meeting on September 20

At our next meeting we will be inaugurating our new meeting place, learning about French-Canadian genealogy, and welcoming CSGA Representative Sue Roe who will present our Society with the CSGA Publications Award.

Join us at 1:15 p.m. for a genealogical adventure, a celebration, and a beginner class.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Buildings and Murals

The Long Beach earthquake affected our city in many ways. Ruined school buildings became great rebuilding projects for the WPA, and many libraries were decorated with beautiful murals.

photo by USGS: John Muir School

One website that chronicles New Deal building and beautification projects in Long Beach is called The Living New Deal. Find it at Then explore that site further by accessing to look at murals.

RESEARCH NOTE: Nothing brings home the effect of initial devastation in our city better than articles from our home town newspapers. Reading these issues will bring you closer to your ancestors’ experiences during the 1930s in Long Beach.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The CSGA Blog

We all know how difficult it is to find records that are “recent” (within the last 100 years); so, if you or your ancestors experienced any part of the Great Depression, and you’ve been wondering where to find more information about the 1930s, be sure to check out “FDR’s Alphabet Soup.” This is a series of posts on the California State Genealogical Alliance Blog that describes 19 agencies created during the Great Depression. Each post gives hints on how to use the agencies’ records to augment your genealogical research. The articles, written by Cath Madden Trindle, are jam-packed with information and helpful links—a historical treasure trove that everyone should explore. Visit to access past monthly posts.

photo: Civilian Conservation Corps NARA

In addition to the agencies listed above, eleven more are on the CSGA Blog.

RESEARCH TIP: Yale University has devised an inter-active map at which links U. S. locations to NARA photographs from the Depression years 1935 to 1945. Take a look to see if you can find pictures of your ancestors’ towns or areas! Many thanks to the CSGA Blog for alerting your QHGS Blogger to this resource.