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Taft Genealogical Society Newsletter

May 2001 Volume 3 Number 3

Word from the president:

A letter to all Taft Genealogical Society Members and others. Just to let you know, they tell me that I am lucky to be here. As of Sunday April 22. I had a little downfall. I went into the ER room here in Taft and got excellent care; they transported me to Memorial Hospital to their ER room. This all started at 1:18 am Sunday got to Bakersfield about 8:00 and my heartbeat was very slow, it went down to 18 beats per minute. There they put a temporary pacemaker in my body that brought my heart back to normal. Monday evening they put a permanent one in and now am recuperation here at home feeling fine but weak, so much for me; as for the club, don’t forget the trip to the Burbank Library remember we will leave from the Mormon Church parking lot be there about 7:30 May 19th hoping for a good group to be there remember our next meeting will be May 15th at 6 PM at the library hope every one can be there. I would like to Thank Sharon Winn for taking my place at the library on Tuesday and Thursday evenings as I miss being there. We are hoping for a new reader-printer at the library as the old one has died and we need one.

The Taft Genealogical Society wishes at this time to thanks DONNA JACKSON for our new webpage on the internet and here is that address:

Now I want all members, new and old alike, to be sure and use it. If you have any thing of interest on the whole Westside area be sure and send it to either one of the three of us that is on the site and we will see that it is put on the site. I think this was a great idea of Donna Jackson to take upon her self to do for the good of the Society That will put us world wide so keep your computer in good working condition and keep up with us. As you can see there is quite a bit of information there already. If you have any queries please send them to Donna Jackson at Any other early news of the area send that to her also, just to remind you of our e-mail address here they are

Fred Thomason Larry Lyon

Larry Lyon

Queries – like bottles tossing on the ocean

By Donna Potter Phillips, Heritage Quest, March/April 2001

When you ask, most working family historians will quickly tell you that they love to use queries. But they’ll just as likely and just as quickly tell you that they hate to use queries.

I think genealogists love to use queries because there is something in all of us that likes the idea of putting a note into the ocean in the romantic high hopes that we’ll hear from somebody living in a far distant land. Placing queries in paper publications or online forums is a bit of the same thing. We write the query, we send or place the query, and we sit back and wait for answers.

And that’s why genealogists hate queries – sometimes the answers are so long in coming. Or when they come they only tease but do not answer the question you asked.

No matter whether you love or hate queries, one facet of doing genealogy is to effectively use queries. Correctly using genealogical queries is principle all teachers present in the first one or two Beginning Genealogy classes. So let’s learn more about writing and placing genealogical queries.

To define the word, Webster’s says that a query is a question, an inquiry, or to question something. A genealogical query fits that description. As we study a family group form for a problem ancestral family, we have questions – Who are his parents? Where did they come from? Where did they die? The list could be endless. Or we might question a fact that is already typed onto the form – Wherever did Cousin Karen get that date? Why does she think Great-grandma died in Cape Girardeau County, Missouri? The symbol "IOOF" was on his tombstone, and what does it mean.

What constitutes a good, well-written query? Is this a good query in your opinion?

I am researching my great-great grandfather, Charles Phillips, who lived in Georgia. His son Charles moved west. Please help?

This query writer needs help all right, but not the kind she or he thinks. To write an effective genealogical query just remember The Rules of Bees:

Using the above rules, here is that awful query re-written:

Seeking information on Charles Robert PHILLIPS, born 1872 in Georgia; married Lillian ______ in 1895. According to the 1900 census, they were living in Clayton, Payne County, Oklahoma; by 1910 they were living in Waukegan, Lake County, Illinois. In 1910 they had Margaret, age 9, born in "Mexico"; Charles A., age 3, born in Ohio, and James A., age ˝, born in Illinois. Charles Robert PHILLIPS died in 1938 in Seattle, King County, Washington. His son, Charles Alexander PHILLIPS, is whom I seek. He was born 31 July 1906 in Toledo, Ohio; he died in 1961 in Seattle. Can you help me with this family?


I encourage the addition of your phone number and/or email address. The idea is to connect with a cousin as quickly as possible, right?

Once you have a well-written query, the next step is to place this query where it will be seen by the person having the information you seek. I say that tongue-in-cheek, for wouldn’t we like to know exactly where that might be! Consider that as a worthwhile goal, and since you do not know where that distant cousin (the one having the information) will be, you must put your query EVERYWHERE.

Using the tried-and-true methods, send your query to:

One newer wrinkle on this is to type up that query on 8.5x11 paper; make 100 copies, and send these copies to be placed on the freebie table at a genealogical society’s seminar in your target area. Or perhaps the freebie table at one of the two national genealogical conferences. That exercise is rather like tossing a bottle in the ocean, but with a greater probability of a return!

In this 21st century, the best place, currently, to post your query is on the Internet. There are dozens of query forums on the Internet, and likely millions of folks checking them regularly for answers and clues. If a second cousin once removed shared ancestry with Charles Robert Phillips, and saw my query, wouldn’t they tumble all over themselves in haste to answer?

To learn about these "dozens of query posting sites" on the Internet, I suggest that you begin with the Heritage Quest Query Center at This site allows you to search by surname and location. When I typed in HAWKINS (another family surname I am researching), I quickly saw that there were seventeen "hits." Each "hit" is a posted query from somebody. You can both read the query on the screen and click to find the submitter’s name and/or email. You can also submit a query to this site; follow the directions given on the screen at the site.

Another of my favorite query sites, and one that is just as easy to use, is found at Here, too, you can read queries posted by others, reply to these queries, and post queries of your own. It is all easy to do; just follow the directions given at the site. And it’s free, as are most query sites on the Internet.

At is a site currently hosting nearly 80,000 message boards on a variety of topics. You may post to a specific surname board, or to a geographic location board, or to a specialty topic like "War of 1812," [or] "Oklahoma Land Rush."

Cyndi Howells offers a list of 24 query sites at her site, Go to this site, then scroll down to "Queries & Message Boards." I suggest that you consider posting your query online at all applicable query sites, and the list at Cyndi’s site is a great place to learn about these many sites.

Some words of caution: nothing annoys seasoned online genealogists more that a newbie person posting a query in an incorrect place. An example of this would be to post my above query on a "California-queries-only" page, or a query page for only the BENDER surname. First, reading the directions for using a particular query page, before you post a query, will save you this embarrassment.

Do make sure that the subject line for your query is concise and really defines the information that you seek. "Seeking Great Grandfather Phillips" is not very likely to get results, but "PHILLIPS, Charles R. 1872-1938, GA>TX.>WA," is not only an eye-catcher but shows at a glance what you seek.

Sign your Internet queries with your name and email address. Some email programs do not show the address of the sender, and to connect with somebody is the objective of posting the query in the first place, right? Depending on how desperate you are, you might include your phone number.

So love ‘em or hate ‘em, queries have been a big part of genealogy since day one and still remain an important tool for genealogists. I strongly encourage you to use queries as a way to find the answers to the questions you have about your ancestors.

By the way, somebody really did answer that query I wrote on hubby’s Phillips family. After ten years of working on the problem, I followed my own advice and put that query in every single place I could think of. Within months I had a phone call with the welcome message, "I think I can help you." Eureka!

Catching a draft

By Richard L. Hooverson, Heritage Quest, March/April 2001

If your ancestor served in the military he may have been a draftee, rather than a volunteer. The draft was used during several wars, but it was seldom equitable. During the Civil War the Union allowed drafted men to pay a $300 commutation fee or purchase a substitute. Many men were rejected because of illness or injury and their medical records are in Record Group 110, which is arranged by Congressional Districts as they were in 1863. The Confederacy excused the owners of twenty or more slaves, and their overseers, and had exemptions in several other categories. The Selective Service Act of World War I registered 24 million men, of whom 17 million passed the induction tests, and eight million applied for exemptions. In 1940, the United States instituted a peacetime draft that remained in effect throughout World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. During World War II, the War Manpower Commission established policies concerning the draft and many men were exempted to serve in civilian organizations (the War Production Board had more than 200,000 bureaucrats) or work on farms or in war industries. This draft ended on 27 January 1973, the day the Vietnam peace accords were signed and the U.S. converted to an all-volunteer military. The registration requirement was suspended in April 1975 but was resumed in 1980 by President Carter in response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

Catholic research

Many of the areas in which our ancestors settled were heavily influenced by the Catholic Church. This was the case in Quebec, in French settlements along the Ohio and Mississippi Valleys, in parts of Maryland, in Spanish Florida, in Louisiana under French and Spanish administration, and in the Spanish Southwest (Anglo colonists in Texas during the Mexican era pledged adherence to the Catholic faith). Finding an ancestor with a Catholic background requires that the location of records be identified, particularly those for the sacraments of baptism, confirmation (done at about thirteen years of age), matrimony, and the liturgical funeral celebration. These are maintained at either the parish or diocese level. The ancestor’s parish will likely have been the church nearest to his or her home, but frontier areas were often served by priests from a mission church until the Catholic population was sufficient to establish a new church. Records of these missions may be at the parish of the visiting priest.

Researcher should be aware that copies of records for sacraments received later in life, such as marriage, were traditionally sent to the church where the person was baptized. If the ancestor’s church is no longer in existence some historical research is required because the records may have been transferred to the diocesan archives. Many dioceses have web sites that include their history and a directory of their parishes. The Local Catholic Church and Family History and Genealogical Research Guide site at lists dioceses by country. The Official Catholic Directory (New Providence, NJ: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, published annually) lists every U.S. diocese alphabetically and by city. Each listing includes a summary of the counties and parishes in its jurisdiction, and the parish listings include the name of the priest and the address. Virginia Humling’s U.S. Catholic Sources: A Diocesan Research Guide (Salt Lake City, UT: Ancestry, 1995) also lists various resources, including the addresses of dioceses.

Club Minutes—April 17, 2001

The meeting was called to order at 7 PM. Discussion of club Web site. New business: Helen Pennell donated a census microfilm of 1920 census of Tallapoosa and Walker Counties, Alabama. [Thank you, Helen] Plan for a trip to the Burbank Genealogy Library were set for May 19, 2001, departure from the FHC parking lot at 7:30 AM. Larry Lyon and Esther Livingston are trying to get guest speakers for another seminar and classes. Please email queries to Fred Thomason,, or Donna Jackson,, for our newsletter. Esther shared that the local museum has some old maps of Kern and Los Angeles counties. No Old business. Meeting adjourned at 7:45 PM. Ten members were in attended.

Submitted by Sue White

Figure the Birth Date

Using the 8870 formula to ascertain a birth date can be a tremendous

help to genealogists, when checking gravestones or death record dates.

If a gravestone or death record shows that person died May 6, 1889 and

he was 71 years, 7 months, and 9 days old, but no date of birth listed,

in order to correctly arrive at the birth date one has only to use the

8870 formula to quickly arrive at the date of birth, rather than taking

time to count backwards.

18890506 (died May 6, 1889)

substract - 710709 (age 71 years, 7 months, 9 days)


substract - 8870 (constant)

18170927 (born September 27, 1817)

[ date (died May 6, 1889) 18890506

subtract 710709

result 18179797

subtract (constant) 8870

date result 18170927 or

born: September 27, 1817]

Queries – Data Needed


Looking for information on my 2nd Great Grandfather Jacob LYON, born abt 1784. Need birth place and date. Father was Humberston LYON of 1765. My Jacob married a Jennie MAJORS, of Maryland, on 17 June 1802 in Maryland. I also need her parents’ names and dates.

Larry Lyon 409 Warren Street Taft, Ca. 93268


[Continued on next page]

Looking for the parents of Joseph NOEL who married Milanda DIEBLER, or of any spelling found the, living in Wiliamstown, Dauphin Co., Pennsylvania. Need her parents’ names and dates also.

Larry Lyon 409 Warren Street Taft, Ca 93268

Need information on a Jesse SAND of Ohio born abt 1827 in Ohio. Married a Rebecca JOHN of Ohio, abt 1844. They lived in Harrison Perry Co., Ohio. Need parents of both, place and dates.

Larry Lyon 409 Warren street Taft, Ca. 93268

Thanks to our Web Designer—MzJackson


Fellow Researchers,

I would like to welcome you to our New Taft Genealogy Web Page

We have got the Midway Cemetery records on line, I have some of the pictures

scanned, now just need the time to get them up on the page.

The West Side Cemetery records are almost complete. Geez we have alot of people out there.

I have noticed that a few people that I know are not there. I know they have died as I have been to their funerals. So if you find someone that you really know they are suppose to be there and they are not let Larry ( or Fred ( know as they can do research and fill in the empty gaps for us.

If you would like to have your e-mail name linked to a family member do let me know, I have added a few that I knew. They are in the "R" "T" and "J" section. Just e-mail me the name and your address.

I am currently working on the early obits from the area. Such writing of the obits is so very enjoyable reading. They will most likely take a couple of weeks as I seem to read more than I type.

The address for those who don't have the site is

the words taft_ca_index have an underscore line, the one above the - key.

Donna Jackson


[Editor—Please be sure to check out our Web page. Donna Jackson has done a tremendous job getting all the data set up in the html language so that it can be uploaded to the Web page. Roses to you, Donna!]





























































Taft Genealogical Society

PO BO 1411

Taft, CA 93268