Genealogy Announcements

Member Jacquie Beveridge reports in honor of the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War (April 9), Fold3 is making its Civil War records collection available, free through April 30. If you’ve been wanting to search U.S. military records, take advantage of this great opportunity.  Start searching Civil War records here.  Run a search in the collection, and when you click to view a record, you’ll be prompted to set up a Free Basic Fold3 membership (or to sign in to your current account).

Members Jacquie Beveridge and Merilee Mulvey attended last month’s seminar on Finding Irish and Scots-Irish Roots in Medford.  They had an enjoyable learning experience and came back with great information.  By special permission, SGS has been allowed to share the seminar handout here.

In addition, Jacquie lists the following links for others who may be researching Irish genealogy:
Bibliography for Eighteenth Century Migration
National Library-Family History 1
National Library – Family History 2
National Library – Family History 3

Timeline for the Plantation of Ulster

NAI Guide to Genealogy
National Archives General Guide
National Archives Help Notes

National Library Help Notes
PRONI Help Notes
Historical Timeline



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SGS April 15 Meeting

This month’s meeting of the Siuslaw Genealogical Society features the 30 minute film ‘Interviewing Kin and Mining Home Sources’. This is one of a new DVD series now available in the library.
Following the video, there will be a discussion of upcoming programs for SGS, and a sneak peek at an idea for a series of programs for next year.

APRIL 15, 2015
7:00 p.m.
Siuslaw Public Library, Bromley Room

The public is invited!

The Siuslaw Genealogy Society’s monthly business meeting will follow the discussion.


It is with great sadness we report the recent passing of SGS member Joyce Harris. She passed away suddenly last month in Benson, Arizona. According to member Pat Ness, “Joyce was very enthusiastic about genealogy and her family history research”.

SGS Treasurer Pat Rongey who is involved with the Deadwood Cemetery revitalization project, reports the group received a grant from Western Lane Community Foundation for software and computer equipment. The group has mapped the graves, continues to do grounds improvements and will begin replacing missing and temporary grave markers. They invite the public to a Memorial Day – Heritage Day event with ‘Pioneer’ actors, historic displays and demonstrations.

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Jim Barrett, A Feature Story

Jim Barrett A self professed ‘history nut’, stamp and coin collector, Jim Barrett has had a remarkable past. At first glance one might think him just an ordinary man but within a few minutes into our interview, I found him to be quite the opposite. In spite of what could have been a devastating childhood overcoming illness, he continued to embrace all that life had to offer. You see, Jim’s mother contracted tuberculosis (TB) while he was young. Over a 9 year period, beginning in 1932 she was in and out of TB sanatoriums 7 different times. During those intermittent periods when she was able to live at home, Jim and his father were her caregivers. Whenever he played outside or down the street, Jim recalls keeping a sharp ear out for the jingle of her bedside bell, which would signal him to quickly return home.

At age 8 medical tests determined Jim had latent tuberculosis. During 1946 – 1947 he was confined to hospitals in San Leandro, CA then admitted to the Arroyo Del Valle Sanatorium in Livermore, from 1949 – 1950, the same sanatorium his mother had been in 17 years earlier. Rather than looking back at the experience as depressing, Jim describes those years in his new home as ‘fun and adventurous’. He enjoyed the camaraderie among his fellow patients, accompanied by the prescribed treatment of “total bed rest, good food (lots of it) and fresh air.” Two or three times a month, his father would come by bus or borrowed car to see him. He recalls one such visit:

“From my open porch bed in North Building, I could see him striding up the hill one day balancing a large carton on his shoulder. By his mischievous grin I knew that this was no ordinary surprise. Turning the box over, two live crabs landed on my bed and began to race around. After capturing them he took them down to the main kitchen and talked the cooks into cooking them for my dinner that night.

After I was admitted to Highland [hospital] my dad had moved and was living in a watchman’s cabin on an Oakland pier over San Francisco Bay, and had netted the crabs from his bedroom window. On another occasion he brought our dog to visit.”

(Source: ‘Life at Arroyo Del Valle Sanatorium 1949/1950″, Jim Barrett)

In 1952, Jim was fortunate to be part of an antibiotic test group at the Weimar Sanatorium, which resulted in a successful treatment that cured his TB infection. Upon his final hospital release, he returned to work as a lifeguard at the Hayward Plunge Municipal pool for 10 years, followed by a 23-year career at the Water Department.

Jim attributes his interest in genealogy to the frequent bedside chats with his mother during her years of illness. He listened to family stories about his maternal grandparents who came from England, his paternal grandmother from Ireland, and his grandfather, who was a first generation American Irish. About his paternal kin, Jim knew only the names of his father’s parents and not much else, as the family preferred to be ‘quiet’ about their history. Many years later motivated by curiosity, Jim began doing family research and learned his paternal great grandfather (Patrick Hamilton Barrett, b. 1841, Ireland; d. 1927) brought his first wife Elizabeth Singleton and daughter Ellen to the U.S. from Ireland in 1865. He later became a San Francisco Customs House Inspector in 1880.

Jim encountered challenges during his family research, such as the 1906 San Francisco fire and earthquake which destroyed many records, including the 1890 census records. However he had a breakthrough on a trip to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, when he purchased a CD of the “1890 Great Register of Voters for San Francisco”, and located voter registration cards filled out by both his great grandfather, and grandfather (John Barrett, b. 1868). In another recent find during an internet search, Jim stumbled upon a book containing a 1920 picture of the great grandfather he never knew.

Other sources of family history includes a family plot in Colma, CA he remembers visiting in his youth. He has since obtained death certificates for all of the 14 family members buried there and has been able to confirm family names and relationships through their cemetery records.Letter-Envelope

As a stamp collector, Jim was often a recipient of unusual stamps from acquaintances. One such stamp was in fact an 1842 letter which folds into an envelope. Instead of a printed stamp, the 12 ½¢ postage is hand written on the envelope. Click the arrow to hear Jim explain the significance of the postage:

Jim brought the (A. Thompson) letter to a Siuslaw Genealogical Society meeting last year and inquired as to whether anyone was interested in doing further research on it. Never to turn down a genealogy challenge, SGS member Pat Rongey researched the letter’s addressee. She was able to locate a great great grandson who now resides in Seaside and sent him a copy of the 1842 letter. As it turns out, Mr. Thompson (the letter’s addressee) left his wife and daughter on the Clatsop Plains to make his fortune in California during the Gold Rush era. His wife’s account of her trail experience tells of his demise:

In the fall of 1848, when gold was discovered in California my husband went, as did many others, to seek gold, but never returned. He was murdered by the Indians near Mormon Island on [the] American River.

(Source: Crossing the Plains in 1845, by Mrs. Miriam A. (Robinson-Thompson) Tuller, Glendale, Oregon Pioneer Assoc. Transactions, Number 23, 1895)

Not far from Sutter’s Fort, the area became known as Murder’s Bar on the Middle Fork of the American River.


Jim Barrett first joined the Siuslaw Genealogy Society in about 1997. He has been doing family research for several decades and maintains a great interest in military history.

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Genealogy Trivia Night and OPB Documentary

The March 18th Siuslaw Genealogy monthly meeting will feature a Night of  Genealogy Trivia.  Each question will lead to a discussion of  various issues in genealogy.  This is sure to be a fun and interesting evening!

MARCH 18, 2015
7:00 p.m.
Siuslaw Public Library, Bromley Room

The public is invited!

The Siuslaw Genealogy Society’s monthly business meeting will follow the discussion.

Siuslaw Genealogical Society member Merilee Mulvey informs us of this can’t miss OPB documentary, scheduled to be televised MONDAY (3/16), 10 p.m. and again on WEDNESDAY (3/18), 3 a.m.
“Between 1873 and 1934, the Belgian shipping company Red Star Line transported approximately two million immigrants—many of Jewish descent—from Antwerp to New York. This film reveals how, and why, so many left everything they owned and built a new life on the other side of the ocean.”

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Genealogy Society Announcements

Member Mike Allen calls attention to The Ulster Historical Foundation’s annual series of lectures at various locations in the U.S.   Anyone interested in finding their Irish and Scots-Irish ancestors should look over the schedule by clicking the link below.
Tour Info

Thank you to Dan Webb of Waste Connections for sharing their exhibit space with us at the upcoming Green Fair, May 2 at the Florence Event Center.   Siuslaw Genealogical Society members will be on hand to show our Recycle Program efforts and provide information on family research.  Green Fair info.

Thanks go out to members Pat Rongey, Pat Ness and Debbie Wakimoto for participating at the Florence Indoor Garage Sale last month. They spent a day at the Event Center and contributed part of their sale proceeds to SGS. They also answered genealogy questions and provided a presence for the Siuslaw Genealogical Society.

Next Meeting:
MARCH 18, 2015
7:00 p.m.
Siuslaw Public Library, Bromley Room

Stay Tuned for Details!

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SGS February Meeting – Feb 18

The February 18th monthly meeting will feature guest speaker Mark Brennan, who will provide a presentation on the Siuslaw Pioneer Museum and Library.

FEBRUARY 18, 2015
7:00 p.m.
Siuslaw Public Library, Bromley Room

The public is invited!

The Siuslaw Genealogy Society’s monthly business meeting will follow the presentation.
The SGS Recycle Program was acknowledged on the Power of Florence’s website in their January 18th  post.  Read the post here.

The Florence Green Fair is scheduled for May 2, 2015 at the Event Center.  Stay tuned for more information!


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SGS Announcements

The Lock-in planned for President’s Day is cancelled. We will be having a program and regular SGS meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 18th.  The featured speaker will be Mark Brennan, discussing  the Siuslaw Pioneer Museum and Library.

An all day seminar on Finding Irish and Scots-Irish Roots will be held at the Jackson County Genealogy Library. Find out more at their website.

I was reading Dick Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter and found this interesting article about Armenian historical materials being accepted by the NEGHS. I thought the membership might like to read it . . . don’t know if any of our members have Armenian ancestors, but it’s worth letting everyone know about it!”  Read the article.

. . . .  Also from Merilee,
Another recent article in Eastman’s Newsletter discusses what one can do with original genealogical material they want to contribute for the general public to be able to access.” Read Where to Donate Records to Make Them Available to Everyone’.


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