16 October 2012

Tribune Tuesdays: Amply Rewarded

From: The Oakland Tribune, 09 March 1912, Page 16, Column 1


LOST-On Washington st., rear wheel of bicycle. Finder will be amply rewarded by returning to 1115 Broadway, No. 19.

09 October 2012

Tribune Tuesdays: Trio of Bold Thieves

From:  The Oakland Tribune, 09 March 1912, Page 5, Column 2

Young Burglars Will Be Put on Probation for Stealing Old Weapons

For entering several residences in Grand avenue and stealing a collection of ancient and antique weapons, wrenches and tools, three small burglars have been taken into custody by the Oakland police and turned over to the detention home, to be investigated and placed on good behavior. The trio of bold thieves is composed of the following: Johnny Fearton, aged 9 (captain); Tony Malutto, aged 9, and Willie Anselmo, aged 10 years.

The three were arrested by Inspector Richard Quigley and turned over to the detention home.

The loot of the boys consisted of an old-fashioned flint lock pistol, a naval officer's cutlass that had seen service in the Civil War, a M[?] creese, a Philippina bolo and several Japanese and Chinese knives. Six wrenches were taken.

02 October 2012

Tribune Tuesdays: Forgot He Had a Home

From: The Oakland Tribune, 06 March 1912, Page 3, Column 6


Superior Judge W. H. Waste was convinced this morning that E. R. Armstrong, of 1937 Berkeley way, Berkeley, should be placed in the Napa asylum when he appeared in court for an examination as to his sanity and said that he did not remember having been in the room yesterday. He also forgot that he had a home and friends, failing to recognize both for so long that his brother R. R. Armstrong finally swore to a complaint.

25 September 2012

Tribune Tuesdays: Dashed from Window to Death!

From: The Oakland Tribune, 09 March 1912, Page 1, Column 7

Instantly Killed in Fall
Passers-Bay on Street See Fatal Drop From Third Story
Aged Man's Skull Crushed When Body Hits Cement Pavement

Patrick Higgins, a porter, aged 7? years, fell fifty feet to the cement sidewalk from a third-story window of the Clarendon House, Seventh and Washington streets, at 11:45 o'clock this morning while washing the window, and died instantly of a crushed skull.

He is believed to have been killed accidentally, although there were no witnesses who noticed how he happened to fall. Several persons who were passing on Seventh street when he struck the pavement saw his body hurtling through the air. A few minutes before the fatal accident, Mrs. Mary Marshall, the housekeeper, instructed Higgins to attend to some work other than washing the windows which, she says, is usually done by a regular window washer.

The back of Higgins' head was crushed like and eggshell and a curious crowd instantly surrounded his body. Policeman C. G. Gargadenee notified the police and coroner's office.

Higgins was a former saloonkeeper of Memphis, Tenn., and had been employed as a porter at the Clarendon House, of which C. A. Cammas is proprietor, for two years. He resided at the National House and had no known relatives in this state.

04 September 2012

Tribune Tuesdays: Woman, Dog-Lover

From: The Oakland Tribune, 06 March 1912, Page 2, Column 1

Hold Funeral of Woman, Dog-Lover

ALAMEDA, March 6--Mrs. Mary Dillman, known as "the dog woman," was buried today from an Alameda undertaking parlor, after her body had been kept by an Oakland undertaker pending the expected arrival of the woman's husband from the East.

Dillman has not appeared or sent word and the responsibility for the burial was assumed by Mrs. J. Kreft of this city, with whom Mrs. Dillman formerly lived. Mrs. Dillman died in the East Bay Sanatorium from the effect of injuries received when she was run down in Oakland about three weeks ago by W. G. Davis of Alameda, an automobile dealer. She was a great dog-lover, and had twenty canine pets at the time of her death. The dogs have since been chloroformed by the humane society as there was no one to look after them.

Mrs. Dillman was living in Fruitvale at the time of her death, having left Alameda after the court ordered her to get rid of her dogs as a sanitary measure, the board of health causing the woman's arrest.

28 August 2012

Tribune Tuesdays: Refrain from Attacking

From: The Oakland Tribune, 06 March 1912, Page 11, Column 2

Promises to Care for Family He Mistreated

W. F. Gillespie, arrested for beating his wife and mother-in-law, was released from custody this morning by Judge Mortimer Smith on his promise to refrain from attacking his family and to work for the support of his wife and four children. The case was continued to April 6, and Gillespie placed on probation till that date on the request of his wife, who declared that his assistance was absolutely essential to the support of the family.

21 August 2012

Tribune Tuesdays: Beaten by Highwaymen

From: The Oakland Tribune, 06 March 1912, Page 10, Column 5

Victim Beaten by Highwaymen
Amil Anderson is Attacked by Thugs and Beaten Unmercifully

Leaping upon Amil Anderson of 1749 Eighty-first avenue without warning, as he passed the corner of East Fourteenth street and Eighty-first avenue, last night, two highwaymen knocked the man down and beat him mercilessly. The two men gave Anderson no chance to turn over his money, but attacked him and after knocking him to the ground, kicked and beat him until he was unconscious. Nothing was taken. The attack occurred at 930 o'clock last night.

Thefts reported to the police are as follows:

James McNamara, 1309 Regent street, Alameda, pockets picked while on county line car on San Pablo avenue, leather purse containing $9.50 taken.

H. A. Powell, 2703 Dwight way, Berkeley, furniture valued at $20 taken by burglars from house at 921 Myrtle street.

Earl Pedlar, 675 Eleventh street, overcoat stolen from Oakland high school.

O. F. Woods, 424 Third street, garments valued at $25 taken from room.

Mrs. H. Wilson, 483 Ninth street, room entered, garments valued at $30 taken.

14 August 2012

Tribune Tuesdays: Little Trips into the Country

From: The Oakland Tribune, 06 March 1912, Page 3, Column 7

Objects to Way He Obtained Free Rides

The novel method of obtaining buggies and cabs and automobiles to go out on many little trips into the country by representations that he was the agent of a well known firm of Oakland, is declared by Roy Garrrison [sic] of 2720 San Pablo avenue, to have been practiced by Walter L. Howe of 1610 Bonita avenue, Berkeley, for the past few weeks. Garrison had Howe arrested on a technical charge of violating an ordinance as a result of the alleged custom of the man, and the case was called before Judge Samuels this morning. Howe pleaded not guilty and the case was put over till tomorrow for further hearing.

18 July 2012

Finding The Rancho

Now that I own a house (finally!), I get to start the fun of looking into the history of the land upon which I live, and the area I now call home. Our new neighborhood is in the SF Bay Area, but has a legacy of rural living that is still in tact... something which my husband and I found very attractive given our two young kids, four two chickens (another story for another time), and our new dynamic duo of pygmy goats.

Anyways, the area in which we live, according to our grant deed, was once part of the Rancho Las Juntas, the only rancho in Contra Costa County to be granted to a "gringo," who went by the name of  William Welch. I found a great post on Contra Costa History that gives the full history on Welch and the land he owned here. Of his original 13,293 acre holding, we are now the proud owners of one acre!

According to the article,

The Rancho Las Juntas was formally granted to William Welch by Governor Manuel Micheltorena on February 21, 1844. This grant was for three leagues of and, as surveyed by the United States Government, contained 13,292 acres. The Spanish settlers recognized its boundaries as El Arroyo de las Nueces (walnut Creek) on the East, the Straits on the North, El Arroyo del Hambre (Alhambra Creek) on the Northwest, La Cuchilla del Reliz (the ridge of the Reliz) on the West, and Las Juntas (the junction of streams) on the South.

To approximate the borders of the original rancho, I used the information on the CoCoHistory article along with the East Contra Costa Historical Creek Map to get a sense of Welch's rancho (zoom out to see the full estimated rancho borders):

View Rancho Las Juntas in a larger map

Anyone versed in California research knows that the way in which Mexican land grants were written--using vague, transitive physical markers that neighbors agreed upon as borders--made settling ownership of land difficult once the more substantive land description requirements of the United States were expected. Many families (including Welch's) spent the years after statehood in court fighting off the invasion of squatters, combating illegal claims of ownership to their land, and enforcing the boundaries of their ranch.

Because Welch passed away relatively young, his name doesn't resonate through Contra Costa and California history the way some of his cohorts' did. But he seems to have been an impressive man all the same!

13 July 2012

Where We Live

Well, I remember when the 1940 census release seemed like a "far off in the distance" event, but now that it is out, getting indexed and getting online, I'm really appreciating having a nearer bridge into family history than the 1930 USFC.

Found my mom's family in a tenement apartment in Milwaukee's Third Ward:

Of course, Ancestry had the name indexed wrong, but I was able to call Mom and narrow down her location in 1940 thanks to her strong memories of her neighbors. Got some great reminiscence stories while we wandered virtually around her old neighborhood... everything from being sent with a jug over to the family saloon across the street for some beer, to her first cigarette and first crush on a boy.

Mom and her mom had only arrived in the US from Italy in 1934, so nigh 6 years on, they were still very poor--but my grandfather was a hardworker, and they never lacked for food or clothes. They were, rather, comfortably poor; as Mom puts it, "we didn't realize how poor we were."

According to the census, my grandfather Salvatore (or Sam, as he called himself in the States), made about $1250 in wages in the previous year! Not bad, I guess, for a clerk at a fruit store.

Across the country, my Dad was growing up in quite different circumstances, one of two children born to a naval pilot and his wife. Stationed in Seattle, Washington at the time, they were enjoying a fine rental house on an open Seattle street, and even had a live-in "servant," bearing the memorable name of Hazel Finkbonner (who appears on the next census page):

Dad's upbringing as the son of a pilot (later a Captain) was quite different than that of my mom's. My grandfather Jones ( known as "Doc"-- why is for another post) reported wages of about $5,000 for the previous year... almost four times as much as my other grandfather!

Unfortunately, thanks to Dad's dementia, I can't ask him much about his Seattle days (they moved around a lot as a military family), but I do recall him telling me that his most notable memories of Seattle included a nearby cherry tree which captivated his 9 year-old attention. Yet another opportunity to learn more about my family robbed by a very pernicious disease.

Of course, it's been taking me a while to get around to my genealogy work. It would take you a long time, too, if you just recently bought a new house that looked like THIS inside:

Ugh! Hopefully by the time of the 2020 census, this place will look halfway decent!

Actually, about 6 weeks of ownership and the floors have all been redone, the wallpaper removed and walls decently painted, the roof redone and the windows replaced. Only 4,685 things left on the list, but it will make a good story for the kids some day... "remember how this place used to look?"

19 January 2012

Finding Release: Taming Information Overload

After a particularly stressful 2011, I've taken the cue that I need to divest myself of the many things in my life that are weighing me down, whether tangible (ala' my midsection) or less so (my messy desktop).

So I've been paying particular attention to things that stress me out. Particularly when they are intertwined with things that I happen to enjoy. And in doing so I recently figured out that something I enjoy--reading genealogy blogs-- and the way in which I enjoy them--via Google Reader--was really giving me steam.

You see, besides the genealogy blogs, I was subscribed to innumerable cooking, parenting, investing, financial, crafting, lifestyle, real estate, writing and couponing blogs. As you can imagine, my Google Reader was overflowing with information, articles, tips, resources, blah blah blah that I, for some reason, felt beholden to subscribe to, lest I fall short of the perfect person with the beautiful life that reading all of these blog posts would surely turn me into.

I love a good read, but every morning when I first sat at my computer, my Google Reader seemed to be screaming at me:

1000+ Unread!!!!!!

Now, I take my responsibilities seriously, so I would conscientiously page through the posts, one by one, looking for intellectual or practical enlightenment, until my eyes glazed over, and I had spent my few hours of babysitter-sponsored free time consuming the content of others, and not producing a damn thing--poor form for a freelance writer. Not to mention that I was more ornery, slovenly in posture and outraged at my lack of productivity after the fact than I was before.

So I did what anyone in their right mind would do.

I shut off the spigot.

That's right. I had over 200+ subscriptions to various blogs, amassed throughout the past four years.

And I unsubscribed from them all.

And just for one moment, I could hear the beautiful sounds of silence.

But, of course, I need to be in the loop. I can't miss out on hot and heavy genealogical discussions like who posts the most interesting fevered rantings on citations, or whether or not my backyard chickens are practicing genealogy as a hobby or simply as amateur professionals.

So I began to recreate my subscription list, based upon two things:

1. The blogs I recall reading, and recall enjoying. That was about ten.
2. The blogs from which I had recently starred posts. This added about ten more.

Everything else, I either can't remember ever reading, or they never did me any good, so good riddance!

In the two weeks since I staunched the flow, I find that I look forward to my morning Google Reader list, instead of fearing it like I used to.

Good posts from authors I like on topics that I enjoy aren't swamped into oblivion by posts from hundreds of otherblogs in which I don't have any real interest. And after about fifteen minutes of reading, I am greeted by a beautiful sight, that lets me tackle the rest of my day with a cheery heart and a non-stressed brain:

10 January 2012

Genealogy Resolutions- The 2012 Edition

The title to this blog post may be a little disingenuous, seeing as how I don't put much stock into resolutions. Case in point, last year I was supposed to run in my first official 5k, and while I gave it my best shot, I'm still fatter and more out of shape than I was at this time last year! Why? Life. Life intervenes, and the best of intentions (and resolutions) get pushed to the side.

This year, my personal resolutions (which I have no moral imperative to keep, by the way) include running my 5k. This is the third year running (no pun...) that it's appeared on my list. And while the pursuit of it keeps me on the treadmill (and yes, I CAN run 3 miles, although it takes me about 45 minutes), who knows if I'll make it. One year I had a baby. A 5k was asking too much. Last year, I broke my toe, which slowed me down, as you may imagine.

At any rate, here I am. This year, I'm angling to do the 5k all over again. And much like the 5k, there are some genealogical resolutions hanging around my head like sticky cobwebs. I'll try in 2012 to get this stuff done, but who knows what'll happen... break my thumbs and havenospacesinanyofmyblogposts, probably.

So here we go:

1. Finally fix all of the fudged citations from my 2010 migration from PAF to FTM. It's only been two years, and I only have a few thousand people in my database. You'd think this would be simpler.

2. Publish another article in a genealogical journal. Last one was in 2008, which was back when my son took two two-hour naps a day, and I had lots of time to sit around. Now I have a preschooler and a toddler and cheerios in my slippers. Prospect for getting this one done? Depends upon whether or not the babysitter quits on me!

3. Create to-do lists for each direct ancestor, then follow up on those to-do lists. I love lists, but sometimes I love making them more than I do completing the tasks on them. We'll have to see if I can move past the prepping stage, and get into a rolling boil on this.

4. Attend at least one genealogy seminar, meeting, webinar or conference. Last year I managed to volunteer for Ancestry Day in SF, which was great. And I know that I'll be registering to go to NGS in Vegas in 2013 (yay!)... so I think the will is there, it's all about scrounging up the way.

5. Reorganize my paper research files. Right now everything is split between folders and files. I'm realizing from the number of times that I shut the file drawer in disgust or stomp away from the bookcase that having both wastes my time, because I never know in which area my files are. Right now I'm leaning toward folders, because I like the portability.

6. Organize my digital files. They're on the computer, in surname folders. But they're not tagged, they're not named in any one convention, and I don't have any easy way of knowing what photos I have. I hate re-discovering things that I already have on my hard drive!

7. Get in more research time. This is one of those nebulous ones, but I'm trying to make 2012 more about working on the things that I love. Last year's rebirth into the working world (via my freelance writing) was great, but it sapped all of my research time. More balance is what I need, and I can rationalize it all away by saying that I'm building fodder for my forthcoming genealogy journal article... whatever that may end up being.

I'll check in on April 1st to see if I'm totally fooling myself with my resolutions this year. Probably, but hey.... maybe I'll have been extra busy working up a sweat on the treadmill!