Tuesday, June 25, 2013

El Camino College Unveils Digital Archive

If your ancestor grew up in the South Bay area of Los Angeles County, perhaps he or she attended El Camino College, a community college located in Torrance.

The recently unveiled ECC Digital Archive (officially known as the El Camino College Student Media Digital Archive Project) provides online access to many resources in which you may find interesting tidbits about your ancestors’ experiences at the school. Included in the archive are all yearbooks and issues of the student newspaper and magazine from 1947-2012.

Browse publications or search by name or subject to see what turns up!

Digital image, Denise Spurlock, 2013.

© 2013 Denise Spurlock, Ancestral Trees Research

Sunday, November 11, 2012

City of Torrance Veterans Memorial

On 19 March 2002, the City of Torrance, California, dedicated its Veterans Memorial. Located at the corner of Maple Avenue and Torrance Boulevard, the memorial is a lasting tribute to Torrance citizens who made the ultimate sacrifice to their country. An alphabetical list of those memorialized appears below.

"Let me not mourn for those who have died fighting, 
but rather let me be glad that such heroes have lived."
General George Patton

Louis Alvarez
Joseph Anzak, Jr.
Bernard Bailey
Olin Barkdull
Rudolph Beranek
Rudolph Bernasconi
Arnold Bliefernich
Ralph Brightfield
Kenneth Brooks
Clent Brown
Claude Bruce
Gary Bruhn
Bryson Burkholder
James Byrne
Archie Caraway
Paul Carder
Michael Carter
Thomas Carter
Dario Chavez
Ernest Coburn
George Coburn
Morrison Cotner
Donald Craw
Douglas Crawford
Ricardo Crocker
Bert Crossland
Raymond Cruize
Leon Culverhouse
Dan Cunningham
James Daniel
Francis Dietlin
Thomas Dilkess
Michael Dixon
Robert Dodson
Miguel Duarte
Bobby Edwards
Charles Eisenacher
Edward Ernst
George Escobar
Anthony Eversull
Matthew Ferrara
John Fess, Jr.
Nestor Flores
John Foley
John Foster
Perry Franklin
Micah Gifford
Stephen Grant
Gary Grubbs
Jose Gutierrez
Chelsea Hamilton
Thomas Haslet
Robert Hatter
Isaac Heath
James Herlett
Alan Hill
John Hill
Ernest Hill, Jr.
George Isbell
Jesse Johnson
Frank Jones
Herman Jones
James Judge
Mark Judge
Terreace Kandler
Michael Kessel
Bryce Kindrick
William Kirkpatrick
Lupe Lara
Stephen Lewis
Anthony Lugo
Louis Madore
Eugene Markwell
Thomas Martin
Wallace Matayoshi
Danny McMinn
Ruben Merkel
James Mitchell
Garlan Moody
Joseph Mullen
Larry Munoz
Forrest Mutschlek
John Nestor
James Newton
Robert Noble
William Nunn
Richard O'Brien
Vladimir Obidine
Arthur Parker
Raymond Pennington
Milo Plunkett
Theron Price
Thomas Price
James Prowten
Gary Purcell
Fred Quaggin
Floyd Ramsey
Paul Ratliff
John Reynolds
Robert Richardson
Everett Richhart
Larry Robillard
Tony Roomsburg
Paul Sanderson
Warren Sapp
Clarence Scheibler
Williamm Schoolcraft
Robert Searle
Eugene Shaner
Akira Shimatsu
Gregory Simonian
William Sleeth
Addison Smith
Christopher Smith
Edgar Smith
Francis Snee
Robert Stambook
Alex Stewart
William Stewart
Gregory Stone
Eugene Strieker
Rodney Strobridge
Osamu Tamura
Ted Tanouye*
Yukiwo Tanouye
William Tarrance
Richard Thayer
Royce Tidwell
Frederick Tiffany
Kenneth Tudor
Leonard Vorhis
George Walker
Ronald Wanbaugh
Richard Washer
Earl Watson
Frank Webster
Norman Wensel
Walter West
Theodore Weymouth
Ivan Wilcox
Larry Williams
Thomas Williams
Walter Wissel
Brian Wood
Charles Works
Thomas Wright

*Congressional Medal of Honor

© 2012 Denise Spurlock, Ancestral Trees Research

Monday, July 16, 2012

Infographic - California in the 1940 Census

Thanks to Archives.com for preparing this infographic about California in the 1940 census!

1940 census archives.com

© 2012 Denise Spurlock, Ancestral Trees Research

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Countdown to the 1940 Census: Population Explosion!

With just four weeks to go until the release of the 1940 US Census, I thought it might be fun to look at a comparison of population statistics for Southern California for 1940 and 2010..

In 1940, California was the fifth largest state with just over 6.9 million residents; by 2010, the population of 37,253,956. That’s over a 500% increase in 70 years! Los Angeles County alone now has a larger population than some states.

In 1940, there were 44.3 people per square mile in California; it 2010, that number rose to a whopping 239.1 people per square mile. But California still ranks only #13 in population density. Density is much higher in the eastern states.

Los Angeles ranked as the 2nd largest city in 2010, but it had not even ranked in the top ten U.S. cities until 1920. In 1940, it was the 5th largest city. Another Southern California city—San Diego—ranked in the top ten in 2010, as the 8th largest city in the country!

Here’s a comparison of our Southern California population, by county, in 1940 and in 2010:

1940 Population
2010 Population
% Increase
Los Angeles
San Bernardino
San Diego
San Luis Obispo
Santa Barbara

The populations of some counties are still relatively small, but most now boast millions of residents!  Did your parents or grandparents live in Southern California when the 1940 US Census was taken? What do (or did) they think of the population growth that has taken place?
Note: In preparing this post, I found an interactive graphic posted by msnbc.com that will let you look at changes in state populations and population density from 1910 to 2010. It’s interesting to play around with.

 © 2012 Denise Spurlock, Ancestral Trees Research

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Obtaining Vital Records in Los Angeles County

Entrance to LA County Recorder's Office
Digital image, Denise Spurlock, 2011.
Birth, marriage and death records for Los Angeles County are housed at the County Recorder’s Office located at 12400 Imperial Highway in Norwalk. Hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Los Angeles County provides both certified and informational copies of vital records. If you do not meet the requirements for a certified copy, you may request an informational copy. The only difference is that the informational copy is stamped “informational” across the face of the certificate so that it cannot be used to establish identity. For most genealogical purposes, informational copies are adequate.

If you have all the required information (dates, names, etc.) and want to order a copy of a certificate, I recommend using VitalChek; it is easy to use and, in my experience, turnaround time is 10–15 days. I have also found that if you order more than one certificate, you pay the VitalChek fee for only one.

Los Angeles County also permits viewing of vital records and indexes that are not exempt from public inspection from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. This can be a great alternative to purchasing an informational certificate; you can make a transcription instead! There is no charge unless you request that the clerk pull more than five records.

Records available for viewing include births prior to 1905 and from 1964–present, deaths from 1877–present, and marriages from 1852–present. Random searches are not permitted; an application must be completed for each record to be searched and identification shown to the clerk. After submitting the application, you will be allowed to search the indexes for the information needed for the clerk to pull the document (certificate number or marriage book/page). There are restrictions on use of the information; these are listed on the application.

Before placing an order for a certificate or visiting the Recorder’s Office, be sure to review the information posted on the agency’s website for hours of operation, applicable fees, restrictions, etc.

Happy searching!

© 2012 Denise Spurlock, Ancestral Trees Research

Monday, January 16, 2012

Are You Looking in the Right Place?

When California was admitted to the Union in 1850, Southern California consisted of only four counties: San Diego (which was huge!), Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo. Take a look at this map from the California State Association of Counties website:

From 1850 to 1907, six additional counties were created. If you are not finding a particular record in one county, perhaps you should be looking in the parent county. Although it does not list all the boundary changes that have taken place over the years  (click here for that), the chart below may be helpful in determining what other counties to check:

County Seat
6 Aug 1907
San Diego
El Centro
2 Apr 1866
Tulare; Los Angeles
Bakersfield 1874-present
Havilah 1866-1874
Los Angeles
18 Feb 1850
Los Angeles
11 Mar 1889
Los Angeles
Santa Ana
11 Mar 1893
San Diego; San Bernardino
San Bernardino
26 Apr 1853
Los Angeles
San Bernardino
San Diego
18 Feb 1850
San Diego
San Luis Obispo
18 Feb 1850
San Luis Obispo
Santa Barbara
18 Feb 1850
Santa Barbara
22 Mar 1872
Santa Barbara

There have been no changes in the location of the county seats, except in Kern County, and I don't believe you'll find what you need in Havilah!

Museum, Kern County Court House, Havilah, California; photo from Wikipedia.
  1. “California County History,” California State Association of Counties  (http://www.counties.org/default.asp?id=5 : accessed 12 January 2012).
  2. “California County Creation Dates and Parent Counties” FamilySearch Research Wiki, (https://www.familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/California_County_Creation_Dates_and_Parent_Counties : accessed 12 January 2012)

© 2012 Denise Spurlock, Ancestral Trees Research

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tuesday's Tip - Riverside and San Diego Newspapers Online

The following Riverside and San Diego newspapers have been added to the historical newspapers collection available, by subscription, at GenealogyBank:

  • Riverside Daily Press, 5/20/1938-10/1/1942
  • (San Diego) Evening Tribune, 7/1/1925-1/25/1935
  • San Diego Union, 3/1/1908-7/8/1934

Newspapers are a wonderful source of information about our ancestors' lives. I was excited to find references to my grandfather's employment as a watchmaker for J. Jessop & Sons and an advertisement for his watch-making school in the San Diego papers.

By Lewis Hine [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Disclaimer: I have a paid subscription to GenealogyBank. I also have an affiliate agreement. If you click on the GenealogyBank link above and subscribe to their service, I receive a small commission. You pay the same price for a subscription as if you had visited the site on your own.

© 2012 Denise Spurlock, Ancestral Trees Research