Sunday, December 20, 2009

Happy Holidays!

TO and FROM the Santa Barbara County Genealogical Community!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

SBCC Adult Ed Winter Genealogy Classes

Registration began Dec 10 for the Winter Session of Genealogy Classes thru Santa Barbara City College's Adult Education program. Actual Classes begin January 19th but don't wait! Classes fill up quickly for these popular courses, co-sponsored by Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society.

New for the Winter Session is "Researching Your English Family Roots", taught by popular Santa Barbara genealogy maven, Janice G. Cloud on Mondays, from 10 a.m. to Noon, at the Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society's Sahyun Library (316 Castillo St. Santa Barbara).

Over 10 weeks, Jan will show us how to begin our search for English roots with records that can be found here in the US. Then we'll cross the pond (virtually) to learn how to use civil registrations, censuses, parish registers, and probate records to bring those British ancestors back to life.

Returning from the Fall schedule is Beginning to Intermediate Family History Research, taught by Louise Matz. These popular evening classes are held on Tuesday's from 5:15 to 7:15 p.m. at the Wake Center, Rm. 26.

This "hands on" class is great for those just starting their research or those returning to their roots tracing. Louise will cover the records that help you find your ancestors and will also show how to use internet resources, and advanced strategies in your searches.

Also returning in the Winter is "The Wednesday Class", Jan Cloud's ever popular Intermediate/Advanced Family History Research class. As always, emphasis is on problem solving and methodology, and you'll always learn something due to the variety of problems brought to the class and the collective knowledge of experienced classmates in attendance. This informative session meets from 10:00 a.m. to Noon at the Wake Center, Rm. 26th. Class size is limited to 70 and as you know if you've attended fills up quickly.

Registration must be done "online" at

See SBCGS's website for detailed information about the classes.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Mystery, History, Ancestry

Mystery, History, Ancestry
Winter Reading Possibilities

I like mysteries and historical fiction — especially ones where the settings are in a country where I’ve traveled — or plan to visit.

Recently I read two books that were so good I’m still thinking about them. Both were historical fiction; both had some elements of mystery; and — frosting on the cake — both had genealogy elements woven into the plot.

The first book is Tracy Chevalier’s The Virgin Blue. It is the story of Ella, an American woman who moves to rural France and becomes obsessed with uncovering her family’s French past; and Ella’s ancestor, Isabelle, a woman living in 16th century France during the persecution of the Huguenots. The two intertwined strands eventually converge as Ella discovers the truth about Isabelle’s fate. It combines vivid historical fiction with a genealogical detective story which uses an old Bible, civil records, church records, and lots of serendipity (far-fetched?) to pull the stories together. Chavalier also includes amazing descriptions of both France and Switzerland. She is the author of The Lady and the Unicorn and Girl with a Pearl Earring.

Some related URLs and a few books from the SBCGS S
ahyun Library:

History of the Huguenot Emigration to America, Vol. I, II Baird, Charles W. 929 W2 BAI v. 1-2
Huguenot Ancestry Currer-Briggs, Noel 929 H2 CUR
Huguenot refugees in the settling of colonial America / Gannon, Peter Steven 973.2 H2 GAN

The second book is The Heretic’s Daughter by Kathleen Kent. Kent is herself a tenth-generation descendant of Martha Carrier, one of the first women to be tried and hanged in Salem in 1692. This book is a fantastic and very personal perspective of what happened at the Salem Witch Trials. Kent weaves dramatic secrets throughout the mesmerizing family saga which is told through the eyes of Martha’s nine-year-old daughter, Sarah.

In Kent’s own words: “I'll never forget the moment I discovered that the stories my mother and grandmother had been telling me about an ancestor who had been hanged for being a witch were true. I first heard about Martha Carrier, one of the first women to be tried and hanged in Salem in 1692, when I was a child of about eight or nine. I grew up with stories of my mother's family, the Carriers, and their involvement in the witch hysteria: the trials, the imprisonment, and, in Martha's case, the hanging.”

This book might motivate some of us to take an incident from our historical past and create a best-selling novel out of it! Maybe I should return to Salem and do some on-the-spot research — for my great-uncle proclaimed that we were descendants of Sarah Morey, another young woman questioned for witchcraft.

In the appendix, Kathleen Kent suggests books for further reading. One of them was already on my shelf, unread: In the Devil’s Snare: The Salem Witchcraft Crisis of 1692 by Mary Beth Norton. It’s a scholarly look at the causes of the Salem witch trials. I’m reading it now — although much slower because, although fascinating, it makes me want to take notes for the upcoming exam. (For the author’s genealogical connections to the Salem Witch Trials, refer to the Acknowledgments on page 427.)

Some URLs for more information: (NEH funded; outstanding site!)

Submitted by Diane Sylvester

Friday, October 2, 2009

Family History Month Kick-off Event

It's Family History Month in Santa Barbara County!
America, A Nation of Immigrants

Newly arrived immigrants, Cari and Lydie - with official Ellis Island Health Inspection documents - welcomed members and guests of the Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society to a Family History Month Open House at the Sahyun Library, on Wednesday, September 30.

And, what an afternoon it was! The official City of Santa Barbara proclamation was read by Mayor Marty Blum and presented to President Art Sylvester.

Joining Mayor Marty Blum in congratulating SBCGS was Eric Friedman, Supervisor Salud Carbajal’s aide.

Members and guests had the opportunity to look up ancestral information using the Society’s research resources, enter the name of their immigrant on the Wall of Honor, and listen and enjoy Irish music and stories by the musicians of Foggy Dew: Gary Jensen, Willie Quinn, and Aoife Quinn.

Guests enjoyed platters full of heritage cookies and
pitchers full of homemade lemonade.

We especially recognize and honor our hard working volunteers who made the event a huge success.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Fall Clean up Day 2009 at Sahyun-A Success!

Twenty good natured workers picked up brooms, dust rags, squeegies, and ladders to get ready for the Fall season of family history research and workshops at the Sahyun Library.

Jim Friestad, Fall Clean up Day Organizer, reports all the items on his "to do" list were fulfilled, and most before noon (good thing, as it was really least for Santa Barbara).

Thanks to all who joined in the fun (and donuts) and for those of you who missed can look forward to Spring Clean up Day 2010!!!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Back to "School" Clean Up Day!

Our ancestors were often called upon to pitch in and perform a little community maintenance on the "one room" school or civic center or library.

This coming Saturday, August 29th, is your chance to experience that worthwhile endeavor at the Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society's Sahyun Library at 316 Castillo St.

The doldroms of summer are over and the new "Academic Year" of research is upon us. Time to clean windows, replace light bulbs, re-affix fallen signs, identify items for a garage sale (or E-bay) and generally get ready for a new season of research and new visitors.

Jim Friestad, our major domo of the Library's facilities, will be the leader for the day's work details. Rumor has it that Marj Friestad, who knows that a happy belly and caffeine makes for a productive worker, will ensure we're be supplied with....something yummy.

Lots of hands will produce quick, yet satisfying, results! Contact Jim ( if you have an area of expertise; otherwise just show up at 9:00 a.m. this next Saturday (August 29th) at the Sahyun Library (316 Castillo St) and experience the joy -- and sugar rush -- of a community cleansing...there may even be tunes!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Simi Valley Ladies Research in the Sahyun Library

Five researchers, members of the Genealogy Group of Simi Valley Senior Center, spent the day on Friday, August 13, 2009, researching in our Sahyun Library. Ethel brought her handy portable scanner to scan pages of books rather than photocopying them. Regina, a member of the SBCGS, researched on our computers using the Internet. Sondra, Kathy and Judy pulled many books off the shelves. They promised to return soon to put in some more time in the stacks.

There were several librarians on staff that day to assist the visitors------ Jan and Mary, Dorothy, Ruth, and Marnie in the morning, and Connie and Dorcas in the afternoon.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Friday August 14 ~ 6 - 10pm "Sleepless at the Sahyun"

We had so much fun last month, we're doing it again!

No "Amazing Chase" this time (it is August, after all) but we will have Pizza, munchies, soft drinks, tea, and best of all....collegial fellow genealogical enthusiasts to offer a hint or two, and celebrate your breakthroughs with you!

Bring someone who is just beginning in their roots quest and we'll help them get started on those pedigree charts, family group sheets, or a tutorial on Internet genealogy.

Or for you experienced -- but stymied -- researchers bring a few GWs (or maybe a Benjamin!) and enter the raffle for a chance to win a dedicated one hour of Research Assistance with our own Janice G. Cloud, a renowned genealogist that we are so lucky to have in our midst.

Given our cramped space and the dearth of computers, we're limiting space this time. (Good thing we're expanding our library!) So, you'll need to RSVP to Diane Sylvester as spaces are limited:

Or call 967-1742.

See you this Friday for another "Sleepless at the Sahyun"!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Vines, Wines & Family Lines - #2 in Series

Fearless Food & Wine Pairing

Speaker: Fred Brander & Bob Dickey
Price: $10 SBCGS members and guests
$20 for non-SBCGS members

Sunday, Jul 26th 3:00–5:00 p.m.
Sahyun Library 316 Castillo Street, Patio

News Flash: Fred Brander, early Pioneer of Santa Barbara Wine Industry, joins VW&FL tour guide Bob Dickey, Sunday July 26th 3 ­ 5:00 p.m. at the Sahyun Library Patio.

C. Frederick "Fred" Brander was born in Argentina, but moved to Santa Barbara at a young age, just in time to help establish the "modern" Santa Barbara wine industry. The family owned Brander Winery was founded in 1975, produced its first Bordeaux varietal wine (Sauvignon Blanc) in 1977, and captured the first Santa Barbara Gold medal for a wine in 1978. Winemaker Fred Brander is as knowledgeable about the world of wines, and the history of the Santa Barbara wine industry, as anyone in the entire county. With a degree in chemistry and an early member of Santa Barbara chapter American Institute of Food & Wine (founded in 1981 by part-time local resident, the late Julia Child) Brander has successfully made wine, that is always enjoyable with food, for over 30 years.

Bob Dickey has, with zeal & curiosity, participated in practically every aspect of wine growing and making, and has augmented his enthusiasm by attending viticulture and enology classes at Alan Hancock College and UC Davis. For five years, Bob co-hosted - with Gabe Saglie - "The Grapevine Show," a very popular radio talk show. He is chief photographer for Wine & Dine SB, teaches classes and leads tours on wine, and writes on wine for He photographs all the Santa Barbara County Vintners' Association events, is the Central Coast Photographer for The Tasting Panel; supplies wine photos to about two dozen publications and paints wine-related subjects.

RSVP by July 23 to Dorothy Oksner
Send your check to Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society
(put "VW&FL#2" in the memo)
P.O. Box 1303
Goleta, CA 93116-1303

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Moving the Cherry of the Rio Grande

Have you actually seen our Cherry of the Rio Grande? (That's not the Rio Grande in Texas, but in Brazil, and the Latin name is Eugenia agregata.) If not, you can now view our beautiful tree on a video made June 30, 2009 by the News Press . In addition to shots of the tree, you'll also see footage about the plans for the new addition to our prestigious library.

The tree had been boxed and over the past six months had become acclimated to the box. On July 15, the 65,000 pounds of tree with box was lifted by crane and transported to its new home closer to Castillo Street. The photo was taken on July 16. It was quite an undertaking. A video of the move is posted on YouTube. Read more about the move, the history of the tree, and the reason for the move on edhat in an article written by President Arthur Sylvester.

Sleepless in the Sahyun, July 10, 2009

About 24 of us were sleepless and researching in the Sahyun from 6:30 to 11:30 p.m. Pizza, coffee and cake gave us the energy to work into the night.

A challenging research game offered prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners. A raffle drawing for an hour of research time with Professor Jan was awarded.

1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners at the finish line.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Mabel Doris O'Dell Floyd 1922-2009

Today a few of us said goodbye to our quilting and genealogy friend, Doris Floyd. Doris lived the good life as attested to by her children and the friends who also came to say goodbye. Some of the quilts Doris made were hung on the railings around the rotunda at the cemetery. It felt like Doris was surrounding us.
Doris was a member of Daughters of the Revolution [DAR], Daughters of Union Veterans in Iowa [and in Santa Barbara she was President of Tent #22 in 1992], United Daughters of the Confederacy, the Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society, and a host of other organizations. Doris was a 5th and 6th grade teacher having earned her teaching certificate in Missouri where she was born. She taught Adult Education classes in sewing and quilting in Santa Barbara. Here are some of the really beautiful quilts she made.