Agnes Marie Mattson is my husband’s great-grandmother. She kept a newspaper clipping diary from 1928-1931. You can read more information about the diary at this link: Diary Prologue.
This clipping, hand dated Feb 1928, refers to Nancy Malone. Nancy was married to Charles Britton Wells (Frank Gingg’s grandparents). Agnes’ first husband was Frank Gingg. I had to check twice to make sure I had the correct person because Charles and Nancy had a daughter named Carrie Bell Wells.
This clipping is full of information to research. I need to follow-up to identify the grand children. I also need to check the Santa Rosa Newspapers for 1881-1885 for any references to the Malone and Wells family.
There is also at least one error in this clipping. The baby was actually a girl. My husband’s grandmother (Shirley Gingg, 1927-2003) was born six months before the visit.
Mrs. C.B. Wells Here On Visit With Relatives
Mrs. C.B. Wells is here for a visit with relatives and is delighted to make the acquaintance of her youngest great grandchild, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Gingg of Benton street. Mrs. Wells first came to California shortly after the Civil War and was a resident of Santa Rosa from 1881-1885. The oldest of her grandchildren is thirty-eight years, and the age of her eldest great grandchild is seventeen years.
Mrs Ellen Wells of this city is a relative also. The visitor will spend several weeks here and will renew many old acquaintances.
Agnes Marie Mattson is my husband’s great-grandmother. She kept a newspaper clipping diary from 1928-1931.
This clipping is about Agnes’ younger brother, Carl (1913-1996). The clipping is hand dated as 1928.
BOY. 15. SAVED FROM DEATH IN RUSSIAN RIVER
Seized with cramps in deep water, Carl Mattson, 15-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. J Long of 2 Wright street, San Francisco, had a narrow escape from drowning yesterday afternoon in the Russian River at Vacation Beach, near Guerneville, when his brother, Albert, 18, and Albert Saaransen, 19, plunged to his rescue.
The boys, who are vacationing on the Russian River, were swimming at the beach. Mattson swam out into deep water and was seized with cramps before he could return to the beach.
He shouted for help and was able to keep afloat after going down once until the other two boys reached him.
He is a brother of Mrs. Frank Gingg, of this city.
This is a google map of of Vacation Beach, California. Carl and Albert most likely visited their sister in Santa Rosa on the way out to their vacation.
My husband’s great-grandmother, Agnes Mattson, married Charles Frank Gingg as a young woman. After moving to Santa Rosa, California, Agnes kept a newspaper clipping diary. The diary is a book with lined blank pages. The newspaper clippings were glued onto each page. Many clippings have the month and year written next to the item of interest. The Diary begins in 1928 and ends somewhere about 1931.
From what I can tell, most if not all of the clippings are related to family, friends, or acquaintances of Agnes. I recognize names in 80 percent of the clippings.
I am going to post photos of the newspaper clippings. They offer an interesting insight to the world Agnes lived in.
This is a google maps street view of the home the Gingg’s lived in while the diary was created. The home is just north of Downtown Santa Rosa. It sits on an east-west street between downtown and the Santa Rosa Junior College campus.
There was an envelope of photo negatives in the genealogy papers my husband’s Grandma Shirley collected. The outside of the envelope was dated 1933. There were several different types of negatives and based on the age of Grandma Shirley in the photos they were taken anywhere from 1925-1933. I believe this photo of Shirley and Frank Gingg (ca.1932) was taken in front of the home at 485 Benton Street. The shape of the front door stairs and wood porch supports match closely.
I have identified a passport application for my husband’s great-great-grandfather, John Pope. The passport identifies the date John Pope was naturalized in San Francisco, California. I am currently on a quest to see if I can obtain a copy of the original naturalization paperwork or certificate. You can read about my progress in my last post – Yes, No, Maybe…
Last week, I drove into San Francisco to continue my research at City Hall. My first stop was actually across the street at the Superior Court of San Francisco. While I know the original was destroyed in the fire following the 1906 Earthquake, I also know that many people refiled their naturalization paperwork as “restored” records. MAYBE.
A search done by the records clerk showed my John Pope did not file a restored naturalization. While I was there, I went ahead and ordered copies of his probate packet and one for his son, John Rudolph Pope. These are kept offsite and will be available for viewing next week. The clerk in the records room were incredibly helpful and knowledgeable.
Next I walked across the street to City Hall. My first stop was the Recorder/Assessor’s office. While they do not hold naturalization paperwork, I have found in the past the clerk’s in this office are the most knowledgeable in the building about who holds what and where. I also cross checked the book/page number with them for the clue I found from John’s grandma Shirley. Then note indicated a copy of the naturalization had been filed with the Registrar of Voters. They did not have the said book/[age combination but pointed me downstairs to the Office of Elections.
The person in the office of elections was a more recent addition to the office. He was kind enough to go ask others in the office to see if the book and page from the clue were kept in their office. He returned to inform me that those records were old enough that they did not have them anymore. NO.
I came home with a mixed bag of outcomes. I am happy to get to see the probate files next week but I was totally bummed my initial MAYBE had not worked out. I decided to keep at my exhaustive search for available records. It was time to do some research into where else a copy of the naturalization paperwork or certificate would need to be filed to meet a requirement for something else.
This led me back to the Passport Application I found online. The application states:
I was naturalized as a citizen of the United States before the Superior Court of the State of Calif at San Francisco on the 30th day of March, 1904, as shown by the accompanying Certificate of Naturalization; that I am the identical person described in the said Certificate….
The digital copy of the Passport Application is just that – a copy. It need to get my hands on the original. I have made inquiries to the National Archives in Washington, DC where the passport applications are held. They informed me there are passport applications that do have additional paperwork attached. The new plan is to add a research trip to NARA while visiting my parents in Virginia this summer. So I am back to MAYBE.
Genealogy research moves at a slow steady pace most of the time. Sometimes research can move in leaps and bounds and then come to a screeching halt. In those cases, I hope you were wearing your seat belt! The whiplash of excitement and frustration can leave you dazed.
Today is the perfect day to tell you what I have learned in the last week. It was more of a seatbelt kind of week. It all started with DNA test results. All three DNA tests I ordered with the New Year’s sale had results posted last Monday, April 10th. For each account, I quickly logged in to view matches and estimated origins. I also created a gedcom file for each person to upload to their family tree.
I decided to take a quick look in Family Search and Ancestry.com before uploading the gedcom files to ensure I had the most complete tree possible for DNA matches to view. The first search was for the DNA profile for my husband’s grandfather. The family tree I have for him is on the limited on the paternal side. Grandpa John’s grandfather was the entryway ancestor on this line. John Pope (Poppe) arrived in the United States from Germany in the early 1880’s. By the late 1880’s he is living in San Francisco and owns a brewery with his partners.
To my surprise, there was a new hint for John Pope (1862-1917) at Ancestry.com. It turns into a jackpot moment! The hint contains a passport application from 1909.
The passport application confirms John Pope was born 3 April 1862 in Sandbostel, Germany. It also gives us new information that he immigrated to the United States about the 10th of April 1881 aboard the SS Salir from Bremen. The application also states John Pope had been living in San Francisco since 1889. The biggest jackpot was John Pope listed he had become a naturalized citizen in the Superior Court of San Francisco on 30 March 1904. YES!
After my celebration dance at the dining room table, I took the time to analyze each piece of information. This is when my YES turned into a NO. It also ties into why today is a good day to tell this story. Today, April 18th, is the 111th anniversary of the 1906 Earthquake in San Francisco. The 1906 earthquake killed approximately 3,000 people and left over 80% of the city in ruins after the fires broke out. Most genealogists who do research in this area divide their research into before and after 1906 due to the fires and the documents which were destroyed.
The naturalization papers filed in 1904 are most definitely gone.
I was still really excited to share this new document with Grandpa John this past weekend when we visited for Easter. On Saturday, my husband spent some time with his grandfather assisting him with some computer issues. While they were occupied, I took the Pope binder off the shelf to browse. Grandma Shirley was a genealogist and did an incredible amount of research in the pre-internet days. She left 3-ring binders for each family with all the research she had accomplished. About 10 years ago I scanned everything in the binders to ensure the information is not lost in case of disaster.
I realized flipping through the binder this weekend, I had not done a complete job of scanning documents. I had scanned all the certificates, newspaper clippings, photos, etc. I did not scan the handwritten notes in the pockets of the divider pages. This was a major mistake.
In the binder divider, I found this sheet:
These undated handwritten notes are in Grandma Shirley’s handwriting. They clearly state the original filing of the naturalization paperwork. They also state the papers were re-filed with the courts in San Francisco on 26 March 1908. MAYBE…
The rest of this week I already have planned but next Monday or Tuesday, I will be in San Francisco trying to get copies of the re-filed naturalization paperwork. It has been a fun ride in the last week. I am glad I had my seatbelt on. Hopefully we will continue this story by returning back to YES.
This week I was so grateful to present “Genealogy Blogs:How They Can Help Your Research” to the Napa Valley Genealogical Society. The members of the society were so welcoming and friendly. It was such a wonderful experience! If you are ever in the Napa, California area be sure to stop and check out their library! They have over 8,000 books and maps.
My presentation covered what a blog is, how to find blogs to read, RSS readers, and a look at creating your own blog. At the end of the presentation, one of the members of the society asked a very innocent question. “Does your website have follow and share buttons?” While pointing out the subscribe buttons at the top of my widget bar, I was stunned to realize I had never added share buttons.
It was a great suggestion to have a share button on my website. Share buttons allow a reader to click and share the blog post on their own Facebook, Twitter, or other social media platforms.
For me, this is a chance to connect to someone who does not currently read my blog. I just wrote a blog post about how amazing Facebook Friends can be. What if a reader shares a blog post on their Facebook feed and that connects me to a distant cousin?! Jackpot!
So today I have officially installed social media share buttons to my website. A huge “Thank You” to the woman with the question. I think my website is a little more friendly today thanks to your keen eye.
This past Wednesday, January 31, 2014, my grandmother, Roberta Fleming passed away peacefully with her family around her.
She was known by many names including Mom, Grandma, Aunt Roberta, Birdie, and the Silver Fox. A couple of years ago when my children, her great-grandchildren, were born we added another name, Gigi. It was her short hand for Great Grandmother. She wanted a fun grandma name.
My grandmother was born Roberta Irene Mitchell to Dudley Moses Mitchell and Opal Blanche Strickler on January 10, 1931 in Topeka, Kansas. She was the youngest of five children with one older sister, Loretta, and three older brothers, Raymond, Delbert, and Kenneth.
Her family moved to Hutchinson, Kansas during the Depression. Grandma stayed there until she attended X-Ray Technician school in Topeka, Kansas. While at school, she met my grandfather, William Henry Lawbaugh. They married in 1950. The couple starting raising their family in Pratt, Kansas with their first three children. They relocated to the Anaheim, California area in the late 1950’s. There they added to the family a set of twins. In 1964, Bill Lawbaugh passed away leaving his wife with 5 children. Roberta went to work to provide for her family.
In 1973, Roberta married James Fleming. They joined their families Brady Bunch style, five from her side in addition to the four children Jim had. They lived in several cities in Los Angeles and Orange counties. I have many memories from my childhood of them being together. In fact, I learned how to swim in their pool when they lived in Downey, California. After their time in Downey, they moved to the desert, living in the Cochella Valley.
After Jim Fleming passed away in 1994, Grandma moved back to the beach. She loved the ocean and was at home in San Clemente, California. This was during my college years in San Diego. At least once a month I would make the 45 minute drive north to spend the weekend with her. We had so much fun together!
All of the facts above do not capture the entire picture. My grandma was fun and feisty. She LOVED her children. It would not be a complete day without a Crown Royal and cigarette, even her dog enjoyed cocktail hour with a piece of ice. Her house was never quiet, either the news channel was on the TV or she was playing her beloved big band music. She loved to dance. Our family has the great memory of dancing the night away at my cousin’s wedding this past summer. While she was not interested in researching her family herself, she was always willing to tell me stories of her childhood and what she remembered of others in her family. Grandma was a horrendous driver. We were always offering to chauffeur her places. She was an avid Bridge player. The drawer of her coffee table has many sets of playing cards and bridge score sheets. Grandma was very neat and clean. You were always careful to make your bed and clean up after yourself at her home. Most of all Grandma loved being with her family. Holidays were always big affairs with lots of food and football. Most Sundays were spent with family on the beach. The beach was a slice of heaven for my grandma.
I could go on and on. She is going to be so greatly missed. I have to take comfort in how she taught us all to be a family. I know that although she is no longer at the head of the family, we have each other.
Last week my family took a second trip to Southern California this summer. Since we had visited my paternal grandfather’s grave on the last trip, I made a point to stop at my maternal grandfather’s grave this time around. Even though I have driven past the area many times, I had never been to the cemetery before.
I am so happy we took the time to stop and pay our respects. Not only did I get the chance to tell my children stories about their great-grandfather, I also took a picture to post to Findagrave.com.
When we arrived at my grandmother’s house and I told her we had visited Bill’s grave, the stories started. I learned my grandparents met when my grandpa was at X-Ray Technician school in Wichita, Kansas. One of her friends in the dorm, Dee Dee, was dating a man who worked for my grandfather. Dee Dee set them up.
The night of their first date my grandmother was very sick but decided to go out anyways. She walked to the lobby of the dorm to meet my grandfather for the very first time. When she saw him, her heart jumped into her throat. The next morning the school called my great-grandmother to the school because my grandmother was so sick. When my grandma woke up and saw her mother she said, “I met the man I am going to marry!” My great-grandmother thought it was just the illness talking but sure enough a year later my grandparents married. The rest is history!
Our family recently took a trip to Southern California. It was a mix of work and pleasure. The first day, my husband had a business meeting in Corona, California. While my husband was busy, I took the kids to the next town over to visit my Grandpa. My paternal grandfather, Jay Capelli, was buried at the Riverside National Cemetery when he passed away in 2009.
The last time I was at the cemetery was the day my grandpa was buried. When I arrived at the administration building, I was pleasantly surprised to find a computer kiosk outside. I was able to quickly look up my grandfather’s information. The computer printed a map of the cemetery with the location information on it. Finding the headstone was very easy.
I had a lot of fun telling my girls stories about my grandfather. My older daughter was especially interested in the story of Grandpa coming to the United States on a ship when he was 5. My daughter is 5 and had so many questions. The girls were very excited to find out that my grandpa enjoyed camping just like they do. My younger daughter brought her prized Mickey Mouse doll with her. She was mostly concerned that my grandpa knew who Mickey Mouse was. She was thrilled that not only did my grandpa know who Mickey was, he had been to Disneyland (aka Mickey’s house). We ended out time with the girls doing a crayon rubbing of the headstone.
As many of you know, I am a member of the Marin County Genealogical Society. Although I do not have an ancestors who come from my county, part of my husband’s family has lived in the area since the 1950’s. There are many resources in our county to find old photos including the Marin County Genealogical Society, Anne T. Kent California Room at the Marin County Public Library, The Marin History Museum, and the Novato History Museum.
There are just under 2,000 members in this group. The page encourages you to post photos from your own collection or ones you find that are in the public domain. I was surprised how active the page is. It is also kind of addictive. I am always curious what is going to get posted next. One thing is for sure- it is an amazing view into the past!
If you have any ancestors from Marin or just want to look at some great photos, you should check out this page and join the group!