Thursday, November 26, 2015

Questing Heirs Wishes All a Happy Holiday 

May your family gathering be filled with good cheer and with many stories of “the Old Days.”

image: The Graphics Fairy

Who knows—you might have a genealogical breakthrough at the Thanksgiving table!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Byron Wallace Hicks

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

Byron Wallace Hicks was the son of William Soloman Hicks (born January 1, 1833 in Bodmin, Cornwall, England) and Rosetta Tear (born October 16, 1839, in LeRoy, Ohio). Byron was born September 20, 1877, in Warren, Illinois, and he married Gertrude L. Copeland in Vulcan, Michigan, on November 1, 1904. He graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, with a B.S. on Civil Engineering and was a contractor for waterworks, railways, and highways in the Midwest for many years. Byron and Gertrude came to Long Beach in the 1920s with their children, and he continued his contracting profession here. The 1928 Long Beach City Directory lists them like this: “Hicks Byron W (Gertrude L) cement contr h 2364 Atlantic av.” In the 1930 census we find Byron widowed, living with his daughter Lucy. He is described as a “contractor street paving.” Byron W. Hicks was married again in 1933 to Alma M. Brister. He died in Long Beach on June 6, 1947. Clues in his obituaries reveal that he was a Mason (he had a Masonic funeral service) and that he probably attended St. Luke’s Episcopal church in Long Beach (the officiating pastor at his funeral was the Rev. Perry G. M. Austin, D. D., who was rector at St. Luke’s during the 1930s and 1940s). He is buried in Elmwood Cemetery, Warren, Illinois.

RESEARCH NOTE: Sources for this sketch:;; LBPL; The Alumni Record of the University of Illinois 1913, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign © 1913; Long Beach Independent, Long Beach, California, 8 June 1947; Santa Ana Register, Santa Ana, California, 14 November 1933; Journal-Standard, Freeport, Illinois, 13 June 1947. 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Our November Meeting 

If you didn’t make it to our November 15th meeting, you missed a great presentation: Chris Elia’s virtual tour of the National Archives in St. Louis.

photo: QHGS

Chris told us how the National Archives protects its documents and showed us what she found there during her two-day research trip, not only for herself, but for other members of Questing Heirs as well. Chris enlarged her slides so that everyone in the meeting room could see each document clearly, and she explained how she photographed many of the documents. Thank you, Chris, for taking us all on a wonderful adventure at NARA.

RESEARCH NOTE: There are NARA branches in several U. S. cities. Our own Southern California Branch is located at 23123 Cajalco Rd., in Perris, California 92570. Telephone: (951) 956-2000.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

How to Find Digitized Newspapers 

Newspapers often tell us where and when our ancestors were born; they provide elaborate descriptions of marriage ceremonies; and they print those florid obits we love to find. But that’s not all we can discover in their pages. Graduation exercises, school plays, county fair prizes, visits by other relatives from far and near, legal notices of tax arrears, fraternal lodge meetings, participation in sports teams, church socials—town newspapers chronicled every event in our ancestors’ lives.

image: Wikimedia Commons

Which of the following two sentences makes you feel that Patrick Hanlon was a real person? “In 1901 Patrick Joseph Hanlon played baseball on the local businessmen’s team,” or “One of the most interesting events of the ball game between the Fats and the Leans was when the Hon. P. J. Hanlon caught a swallow as it passed over center field thinking it was a fly ball.” The first example comes from an automated genealogy program biography. The second example comes from a newspaper article in the May 31, 1901 issue of The Sioux County Bee, which describes the ball game, inning by inning (the Fats won, 21 to 16). If you want to make your genealogy more interesting, use newspapers to do so.

Thousands of small town newspapers were published during the 18th and 19th centuries, and many of these papers are now available online. Some companies require subscription fees to access what they have digitized, while other organizations offer their newspaper images for free.

Begin with Wikipedia’s article about online newspaper archives. It tells you which repositories offer their images for free and which require payment to view their images online. It also tells you about newspapers at library sites and lists newspapers from all over the world from Algeria to Venezuela. External links to other collections of old newspapers are at the end of the article which is available at

The Ancestor Hunt has a good collection of links to connect you with newspapers at

Historical Newspapers and Indexes On The Internet is available at

Historical Newspapers Online is at

The Library of Congress has browsable newspapers listed by state at

If you are looking for newspapers published outside the United States, search the world’s historical newspaper archives at Elephind

ICON’s page links to past, present, and prospective digitization projects of historic newspapers. The focus is primarily on digital conversion efforts, not full-text collections of current news sources, but it is an interesting website to visit if you want to know about future projects being planned at

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Marsha H. Rising

On May 10, 1986, the Questing Heirs Genealogical Society of Long Beach presented a seminar which featured well-known genealogist and author Marsha H. Rising.

photo: QHGS

Marsha gave four lectures: two talks focussed on “Problem Solving Techniques,” one taught us how to get results with “Successful Genealogical Correspondence,” and the last, “Evaluating Genealogical Sources.” explained how we should rank our sources by their importance and accuracy.

Marsha H. Rising was a Certified Genealogist who wrote many books which are still available online today. Google her name to find them. She was active in many genealogical societies and associations: FGS and the National Genealogical Society being just two examples. Marsha passed away in 2010, but her website is still active at You can find links to her publications and helpful hints for genealogical research there.

RESEARCH NOTE: The way we “do” genealogy has changed a lot since Marsha gave her “Successful Genealogical Correspondence” lecture in 1986, teaching us how to get results from well-written inquiries using a pen, paper, envelope and stamp. But the basics of good genealogical research remain the same: a concise request followed by a “thank you” when someone provides the information you ask for, will usually get results.  

Friday, November 13, 2015

John Christian “J. C.” Houck

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

The son of Fred Hou[c]k and Lizzie Weipert, John Christian Houck was born in Ludington, Michigan, on August 15, 1888, and died in Los Angeles county on August 19, 1968. He registered for the WWI draft in Utah while working for a copper company; and the “old man’s” WWII 1942 draft card found him in Long Beach, working as a contractor. 1920 and 1930 censuses list J. C. Houck in the Long Beach/Signal Hill area, and his entry in the 1940 census describes him as a cement finisher living at 1425 E. 56th Street in Long Beach with his wife Minnie. His name appears in many of our Long Beach city directories under the heading “Cement Contractors.” 

RESEARCH NOTE: Sources for this sketch come from,, and the LBPL. 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

November Elections at Annual Meeting 

Sunday, November 15, is our QHGS Annual Meeting. After Christine Elia gives her presentation, we will be electing officers for our 2016-2017 Board of Directors.


Members in good standing will vote for the following candidates:

Secretary – Christina McKillip
Treasurer – Michael Powers
Director-at-Large – Deborah Boughman

Nominations for the office of First Vice-President will be accepted from the floor.

Please attend the Annual Meeting and make your voice heard. Every member of QHGS is important, and we want to hear your suggestions and comments re: our programs and events for 2015, so we can make 2016 even better.  

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Questing Heirs Wishes All a Happy Holiday 

Wikipedia tells us that, “Veterans Day is an official United States public holiday, observed annually on November 11, that honors military veterans, that is, persons who served in the United States Armed Forces. It coincides with other holidays, including Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, celebrated in other countries that mark the anniversary of the end of World War I; major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect. The United States previously observed Armistice Day. The U.S. holiday was renamed Veterans Day in 1954.”

photo: QHGS Blogger’s genealogy archive

The photograph above shows WWI Army soldier Louis R. Zito. Louis arrived in the United States from Corleto Perticara, Italy, at age 10 in 1905 with his mother and siblings. He received his U. S. Citizenship at Camp Devens by serving in the Army during WWI. He saw service in the 301st Field Artillery Regiment, part of the 151st FA Bde., 76th Infantry Division. The 76th Division was a National Army division consisting of men from the New England states and northern New York. The division camp for the 76th was (then) Camp Devens, Mass. The 76th was deployed to Europe in July 1918. Due to heavy casualties taken by US forces at St.Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne, the 76th was used as a “depot division” supplying replacements for decimated units already on the line. The 301st FA Regt. was re-assigned to the 3rd Depot Division, part of the 5th US Army Corps in France. This regiment, which originally was organized as a 75mm howitzer outfit, was returned to the US in January, 1919.

RESEARCH TIP: How many veterans are on your family tree? Do you know about the regiments, brigades, divisions, companies, etc. each veteran fought with? Research your veterans’ service histories to find out more about their lives.   

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Dr. George K. Schweitzer

Thirty years ago on May 11, 1985, the Questing Heirs Genealogical Society of Long Beach presented a seminar which featured well-known chemist and genealogist Dr. George K. Schweitzer.

image: QHGS Archives

The session opened with a meeting of the California State Genealogical Alliance which was followed by Dr. Schweitzer’s presentations about military history and sources. Photographs in our scrapbook from this seminar show what an entertaining speaker Dr. Schweitzer was—he dressed the part, donning military garb from each era he discussed! We have photos of him wearing a Revolutionary War soldier’s uniform and two photos of him as Civil War soldiers—one from the North and one from the South. All attendees had a great time and learned a lot.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Tips for Successful Interviews 

Thanksgiving will soon be here. Getting people to sit down at the table isn't hard, but getting them to share their stories isn’t always as easy. That’s why family gatherings during the winter holidays are ideal situations for contacting relatives to set up times for interviews in the new year.

 image: “Grandfather’s Stories” Wikimedia Commons

Some stories may arise spontaneously as two people stand side-by-side at the kitchen sink, one washing and the other drying the dinner dishes; but most come by following basic strategies for successful family interviews. Listed below are several websites you may consult to learn how to do family interviews, when to do them, and what to ask:

RESEARCH TIP: While you are at it, why not introduce yourself to future generations who may wonder about the person who gathered all of their family stories together? Answer the questions yourself, and include your write-up with the family genealogy that you are compiling.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Howard Thomas Keltie, 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

Howard Thomas “H. T.” Keltie was a Long Beach City Inspector. In the 1914-1915 Long Beach City Directory he was listed like this: “Keltie Howard T city insp h 1738 E 4th.” In 1922 his wife May was included with him in the directory, and he was described as “insp public service dept”; and, his 1935 entry shows that he and May had moved to 3614 E 3rd Street. Howard and May also appear in the 1910, 1920, and 1930 censuses in Long Beach. The California Death Index says Howart [sic] T Keltie died on 6 July 1935, and you can see a photograph of Howard and May posted on the Howard Thomas Keltie public family tree at

RESEARCH NOTE: Sources consulted for this post:, FamilySearch, and the Long Beach Public Library. 

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Orange County Archives

Your Blogger attended a lecture this morning given by Chris Jepsen, Assistant Archivist at the OC Archives. Chris presented a “Behind the Scenes” look at what the Archives actually has in its many collections; and the breadth and depth of those holdings amazed everyone present.

photo: © Asfandyar at en.wikipedia

Archival records begin in 1889, the year Orange County separated from Los Angeles County, and they continue up to the present day in some cases; so, put the Orange County Archives on your list of genealogical repositories to visit. They are located in the old courthouse building at 211 West Santa Ana Blvd., Santa Ana, CA 92701. 

For more information, and to access digitized images from the Archives, go to

RESEARCH TIP: If you have been unable to find obits for Long Beach family members who retired to Orange County in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, this is the place to look!  

Friday, November 6, 2015

Edward C. Woodruff

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

Edward C. Woodruff was described in the 1920 census as a cement contractor living in Long Beach at 2502 14th Street with his wife Jessie. In the 1921 Long Beach City Directory he is listed at the same address: “Woodruff Edwd C (Jessie E) cement contr h 2502 E 14th [st],” and, he is also listed in the business section of that directory under “Contractors—Cement.” The September 9, 1921, issue of Southwest Builder and Contractor mentions him, too: “Long Beach—Ed. C. Woodruff has been awarded a contract at 45c lin. ft. cem. curb and 18c sq. ft. sidewalk on Mira Mar Ave. from Colorado St. to Fourth St.”

RESEARCH NOTE: Ed Woodruff’s sidewalk signature is unusual because the city inspector’s stamp appears neatly placed between each impression. If you wish to know more about “P. Wallick, Inspector,” read his profile which was published two months ago on the September 6 blog post. 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

November and NARA – Research Adventures 

QHGS member Christine Elia traveled to Saint Louis recently, and while she was there she researched military records at the National Archives.

image: QHGS

If you have ever wanted to research records housed at a NARA branch, this is the presentation for you! On November 15th, beginning at 1:15 p.m., Chris will tell us about her preparation strategy and how she requested record files before she left California. She will also tell us what she found and how she helped others with their research.

RESEARCH TIP: Remember—members of your local genealogy club can be just as knowledgable in their chosen fields as nationally known speakers are in theirs; so, don't be afraid to ask the person sitting next to you at a meeting for help. You might be researching the same surname and not know it!    

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

You Can Make a Difference!

The War of 1812 Pension Digitization Project website says, “the Pension Records from the War of 1812 are among the most requested documents at the National Archives. Unfortunately, these fragile documents are in urgent need of digitization.

image: loc

“In support of this monumental task of digitizing 7.2 million pages, has provided a dollar for dollar matching grant, so every dollar you contribute will make four more pages accessible and free for everyone.” With that in mind, please go to Preserve the Pensions and contribute:

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Norman Edgar Wright

Thirty-two years ago on May 21, 1983, the Questing Heirs Genealogical Society of Long Beach presented a seminar which featured well-known genealogist Norman Edgar Wright.

photo: QHGS Archives

Mr. Wright, who passed away in 1996, was an Associate Professor at Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. An author of several books, he is best known for the volume Building an American Pedigree: A Study in Genealogy which is still available today on the Amazon website. In 1983 he gave two lectures to QHGS seminar attendees: “Migration Routes and Settlement Patterns” and “Naturalization and Citizenship.”

RESEARCH TIP: Many of Mr. Wright's books have been digitized and are available on the FamilySearch website. Click the “Books” tab, type his name, Norman Edgar Wright, in the search box, and read to your heart’s content.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Who Done It?

Eileen A. Souza, is a Maryland genealogist who researches in Anna Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Frederick and Howard counties for clients. On her Old Bones Genealogy blog she writes about her discoveries.

Her entry of July 29, 2012, caught my eye because Eileen wrote, “Since my youth, I have been an avid reader of the mystery genre…so I began researching the mystery book market for genealogy-related mysteries….For those of you who also enjoy reading mysteries, I would like to share these discoveries.” This year Eileen posted “Genealogy Mysteries—Expanded and Updated” on her blog at
If you enjoy reading mysteries and doing genealogy, check out this amazing list!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Gravestones: But Wait—There’s More!

Always walk completely around a tombstone to get all of the information on it. Many have additional names on the back. The photo below shows the front of a gravestone in Mount Saint Benedict Cemetery, Bloomfield, Connecticut:

photo: KMG

The photo below shows the back of this stone:

photo: KMG

Names on this side of the gravestone are a daughter and son-in-law of the people memorialized on the other side.

RESEARCH TIP: Don't forget to examine the sides and the top of old grave markers—you may find additional names carved there.