Wednesday, July 4, 2012

New Online Vital Records for Stockton

FamilySearch continues to digitalize its microfilm collection. Here are some records that will interest California and San Joaquin County researchers.

“Registers, records and certificates of county birth and death records acquired from county courthouses. This collection contains some delayed birth records, as well. Some city and towns records are also included. Records have not been acquired for Contra Costa, Imperial, Kern, Kings, Modoc, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Siskiyou, Solano, Tulare and Ventura counties. This collection is being published as images become available.”

For SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY you will find so far:
These are images of the original certificates, not the retyped fancy forms they sell you today. And they are FREE, which is a price you can't beat.


I certainly hope they add more San Joaquin County records to this online collection. If you check the FamilySearch catalog of microfilm under San Joaquin County Recorder as author, you will see more years listed for Stockton and records for Lodi, Manteca, Tracy, and the other parts of San Joaquin County.

I also found gaps in this collection. I found my Aunt Maymie's death certificate in 1916, but not my grandfather's death certificate in 1917. I looked for George H Tinkham's death certificate for March 9, 1945, and it wasn't there, neither in the index nor the images. Mysteries abound. You take what you can get and say thank you.

A Sad Accident, But a Typical Death Certificate:

A Typical Birth Certificate:

Monday, July 2, 2012

5,000,000 Names in 24 Hours

The goal – index 5,000,000 names in one day. The time – July 2, 2012, starting at 12:01 a.m. UTC (that's Greenwich Mean Time to us old people) or 5:01 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time with 24 hours ahead. FamilySearch indexers around the world were asked to do an extra batch or two to break the record set April 30th of 4.9 million records indexed in a day.

Indexers shared their enthusiasm in English and in Spanish on the FamilySearch Facebook page.

And the results?

We've passed 10 million records!


Indexed Records: 7,068,719

Arbitrated Records:3,011,615

TOTAL RECORDS: 10,080,334

Indexers/Arbitrators Participating: 45,104

Read more and see updates at

You don't have to be a member of Facebook to read the page.

If you haven't looked at the 1940 Census lately, you will be surprised to see that only 16 states still need indexing. The others are either up and running with indexes or in the final stages of getting there. The map at shows current progress. Just click on a state to search.

And I must say, that as I compare FamilySearch indexing to Ancestry's, FamilySearch is much more accurate.

(Images are linked from the home page and Facebook page. 
All right belong to them.)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Stockton Newspaper Obituary Index Now Online

The Stockton Newspaper Obituary File, 1850-1990, is now available
to search and view at

Thanks to all of you who helped with the indexing at, the Stockton-San Joaquin County Public Library's Stockton newspaper obituary index is now online and searchable by name and date.  Give yourselves a big pat on the back!  And thanks beyond measure to the wonderful people at FamilySearch. 

While Stockton newspaper obituary entries can be found by using the opening search screen at, it is easier to locate an obituary date or image by going directly to the obituary index at

or by going to the California databases and choosing from the list:

“California, San Joaquin, County Public Library Obituary Index, 1850-1991”

The Central Library Reference Staff and library volunteers maintained the Stockton-San Joaquin County Public Library Newspaper Obituary File on 3 by 5 cards over several decades. Since Stockton newspapers were usually regional papers for the foothill counties of Tuolumne, Amador, and Calaveras County as well as for all of San Joaquin County, death notices from all of these counties may be encountered in the index.

The original card file still resides at the Chavez Central Library, though it can now be searched and viewed online. There are some cards in the file that were added after the 1991 microfilming.

The amount of indexing and the detail varied through the years with the availability of staff and volunteers. Below is an indication of what is included by time periods.


Extensive but not complete indexing includes citations to specific newspapers. This indexing was all done in retrospect.

The type and amount of information on each card varies widely. An early card may indicate where a person died or mention relatives. Occasionally, early papers will give vague information such as “Mrs John Smith” or “infant son of Mr and Mrs John Smith.”

Indexing is limited to a random collection of important politicians, government officials, business people and celebrities whom the staff thought might generate or answer reference questions in the future and to obituaries that were pulled for obituary requests that had been made by the public through the years.

Names and death dates were pulled from the local Stockton paper, but no specific article is cited except for random selections as noted above. Occasionally age and place of death are included in the entry.


Citations to articles in the Stockton Record are listed.


Newspaper obituaries and funeral notices were clipped from the newspaper and mounted on cards. Indexing is close to complete for this period.

The index was closed after 1990 when the Library's newspaper index went online. Obituary citations from 1991-2001 were in this online database, but it is not currently available.

The database description mentions 1991 as a closing date for the index, but there are only two obituaries for 1991 included.

Below is a sample citation to a newspaper obituary explaining its parts:

SDI May 12, 1932; 3:3    =    Stockton Daily Independent, May 12, 1932; page3,:column 3.

Newspapers Mentioned in the Index:

Stockton Times Mar 16, 1850 – Apr 26, 1851
Stockton Journal Aug 1850 – Dec 1852
San Joaquin Daily Republican May 14, 1851 – Dec 13, 1862
San Joaquin Weekly Republican Jan 6, 1855 – Nov 15, 1856
Stockton Daily Independent Aug 1861 – May 18, 1940
Stockton Daily Evening Herald July 3, 1865 – April 2, 1885
Stockton Daily Evening Mail Feb 10, 1880 – Oct 24, 1917
Stockton Weekly Mail Aug 1, 1885 – July 3, 1915
Stockton Evening Record April 8, 1895 – June 22, 1895
Stockton Daily Evening Record June 24, 1895 – Mar 1, 1904
Stockton Evening Record Mar 2, 1904 – May 5, 1969
Stockton Evening and Sunday Record May 6, 1969 – June 22, 1975
Stockton Record June 23, 1975 – Mar 5, 1994
The Record (Stockton, Calif.) Mar 6, 1994 to present

Abbreviations Encountered in the Index:

Daily Indep Stockton Daily Independent
Eve Mail Stockton Daily Evening Mail
Herald Stockton Daily Evening Herald
Mail Stockton Weekly Mail or Stockton Daily Evening Mail
SDI Stockton Daily Independent
SJR San Joaquin Republican
SR Stockton Record or The Record (Stockton, Calif.)
StevR Stockton Daily Evening Record
St. Indep. Stockton Independent
Stkn Ind. Stockton Independent
Times Stockton Times
Weekly Mail Stockton Weekly Mail

If the name you are looking for is not encountered in the index, check the California Death Index, the Social Security Death Index, or the books printed by the San Joaquin Genealogical Society that reproduce early Stockton City and San Joaquin County death indexes. Then view the newspaper microfilm. 


Obituaries in the The Record (Stockton, Calif.) between 1997 and 2006 were indexed at Rootsweb. Go to . Use Stockton Record and a name as keywords in your search.

California Death Index 1905-1939 at – Browsable microfiche images

California Death Index 1940-1997 at or

Social Security Death Index, approx. 1960 to present, at or
(The person must have been a Social Security recipient, and a death benefit must have been collected by a survivor.)

The Record newspaper has online copies of obituaries on its website, , from 2000 to present. Under NEWS in the menu bar, choose AREA DEATHS/OBITUARIES. Enter a name in the search box, ignoring the date box.

Notice that if your search is broad, maybe only a last name, you are given a list of years from which to choose on the right. You may get many results. Look for the name you want, or look at each likely date in the entries for 2005 and earlier.

Since all obituaries for a particular date may be grouped together in EARLIER entries (2005 and before), you should use your computer's search function, CTRL+F, to enter the surname of the person you want to find in EACH DATE's list of obituaries.

Some of the earlier obituaries have been edited and are not always correct, but they do indicate a newspaper date to check.

Tell us your success stories in using this index.
  Send a comment.

Monday, May 14, 2012

It's Now or Never

California volunteers rock! In just about a month (California was not one of the first states available for indexing) we have indexed 50% of the1940 census for our state. Since according to my World Almanac California had a population of 6.9 million people in 1940 that means  that each of 3.45 million names have been indexed by two people for quality control.

We are approaching the end of San Francisco today. So, if you haven't started indexing, and you want to help with San Joaquin County, you have to jump in now. I would be willing to bet that it will become available tonight or tomorrow and be done well before next Monday rolls around.    It might not even last more than a day or two.

The following states are already indexed and searchable by name at

Colorado, Delaware, Kansas, New Hampshire, Oregon, and Virginia

Another twelve states are fully indexed and just have to complete arbitration and the computer work to put the index online.

For all other states, browsing is fairly easy. Census takers had modern handwriting that are usually easy to read. You can scan a page very quickly looking for the names you want.

At or or you can choose a state, county, and location and browse the enumeration district images from there.

Familysearch and Ancestry describe each enumeration district to help you choose. has county maps from 1940 with enumeration districts (poorly) outlined as another way to find the ED you need. You will find a link to the maps after you choose state and county from the drop-down menus. You can look at the maps or download them. It is fun to see a 1940 map in itself, whether or not you are using it for the census information.

An alternate route is Steve Morse's 1940 Census In-One-Step that helps you find the right enumeration district using street addresses or 1930 enumeration districts as a guide:

From Steve's site you can link right into the viewers for any of the sites that have the 1940 census available for free.

Find out who talked to the census taker, who completed high school or college, and how much money they made in 1939.   (A 1940 dollar is worth about $16.50 today.  or )

It's all there.  What fun!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

1940 US Census Community Project

ON APRIL 2, 2012, NARA will provide access to the images of the 1940 United States Federal Census for the first time. Unlike previous census years, images of the 1940 U.S. Federal Census will be made available as free digital images.

Upon the release,  the 1940 U.S. Census Community Project - a joint initiative between,,, and other leading genealogy organizations -  will coordinate efforts to provide quick access to these digital images and immediately start indexing these records to make them searchable online with free and open access.

As soon as the images are ready for San Joaquin County, society members and others will be able to join the project we adopted for indexing - all the residents of San Joaquin County .

For those who have not indexed before using the FamilySearch indexing program software, you are encouraged to download the indexing program located HERE.  After installing the program, try indexing some other projects so you will become familiar with the process.  It is really quite easy.  One batch to index will consist of around 40 lines (one census sheet).  This can be done at your convenience at home any time of the day or night in your jammies.  You can index as many batches as you wish—one or many, it all helps.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Member Spotlight- Jacqi Stevens!

Our first SJGS  member to be featured is Jacqi Stevens, who joined our organization last October. She is listed as a follower on this blog site, with links to her excellent, entertaining blog on genealogy, “A Family Tapestry”.
Last fall, Jacqi became acquainted with Sheri Fenley.  They found out they had much in common, both being San Joaquin County writers of genealogy blogs. Jacqui became involved in the  San Joaquin County Obituary Indexing Project, a collaboration of volunteers from organizations including  our SJGS and the Historical Society. The digital images are now on the site, thanks to all the work these volunteers put in.

Jacqi enjoys researching her own and her husband’s ancestry, as well as being a writer. She is also involved in a consulting business with her husband and daughter. In the past, Jacqui worked in government and social services, public administration, and as well as home schooling.

Reviewing her blog will help you understand her discoveries and thoughtful observations about her family history.. While her mother’s line has been well researched, with European heritage traced back to the 1500’s, her challenge now is researching her father’s line (from Poland) and her husband’s maternal line (Irish). While she has made great strides, she has also hit some brick walls that she hopes to resolve.

Last summer, Jacqi and her husband journeyed to Chicago and met with relatives who shared old photos, and memorabilia of the family. Included with the material was an old certification of a Irish baptism from three generations back,, which surprised her since she had seen that information before from a different source. A while back, Jacqi had been contacted by an ABC sportscaster, concerning  possible common heritage and he shared a letter from an Irish priest to certify that same baptism!  His family’s roots were from Ireland and his branch of the family had settled in Canada, where he was born.

Jacqi would love to share ideas on genealogical research in Chicago, Ireland ,Canada (Ontario and Western Provinces), Poland)  with other members of our organization. She also is planning to write a memoir about her father-in-law, who was in the Navy in WWII, and looks forward to doing more genealogical indexing and preservation work.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Call To Action -

The Federation of Genealogical Societies posted the following information on its blog regarding the need for all genealogists to take action now to fight Congressional attempts to close access to the Social Security Death Index (SSDI):
The Records Preservation and Access Committee has created a Call to Action Kit to support the Stop ID Theft NOW initiative.
Access the kit at
If you have questions concerning the Social Security Death Index and its possible loss as a resource for the genealogical community, please check all the resources available in the kit including:
  • Educational videos and FAQ sheets.
  • Form letters that you can use to contact Congress and let them know you do not support removal of the Social Security Death Index.
  • And ways to spread the word to other members of the genealogical community.

Member Spotlights-getting to know each other!

As a relatively new SJGS member,as well as a board member, I see an interest and desire among  members for more interaction and  to become better acquainted with each other. I feel that most members would love to share what they have found in their genealogical research, to be helped or offer help in genealogical research , and to more easily discuss and suggest what activities they would like to see this organization provide.

First of all, I commend Sheri Fenley for proposing and setting up this blog, which creates the ability to have great member inter-communication. Let's all support this blog, contribute, read, and thus make a more dynamic, interactive SJGS.

To further this goal, I am inviting all members of our San Joaquin Genealogical Society to be interviewed for a "Member Spotlight" posted on this blog. (Possible topics: tell a little about yourselves, about your  genealogical research and goals, any interesting family history stories, ideas and discoveries, you might want to share, what you need help on, etc). Our membership ranges from beginners who are just starting to research,  to experts, who have extensive genealogical information on their ancestors. (I, personally, would  especially would love to start with interviews of newer members/ beginners, to find out how our society members can help them.with their goals! )

 Volunteers for interviews are welcome,, or if you would like to recommend another member to be interviewed, please let me know. I am sure all of you have some interesting ideas, information,and stories to share.
If you would like to e-mail me some information for a Member Spotlight, that would be great!  I will send you a draft of the write-up before posting it, for your approval.
My e-mail address is
I would appreciate any comments, suggestions on this. Thanks!

Lori Calhoon

Friday, February 17, 2012

Welcome To The San Joaquin Genealogical Society Blog!

Welcome to the brand-new blog of the San Joaquin Genealogical Society located in Stockton, San Joaquin County, California.   The purpose of this blog is to communicate information more timely and efficiently and to encourage and promote interaction with you - the membership.

Up at the top of the page are a number of tabs, including FAQ About Blogs.  Make yourself at home - click on each one of the tabs for more information about the society.

In the weeks and months ahead, we plan to share information about our meetings, events, and other exciting projects. We hope you will become a regular visitor!   If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave a comment below.