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    In every family, someone ends up with “the stuff.” It is the goal of The Family Curator to inspire, enlighten, and encourage other family curators in their efforts to preserve and share their own family treasures.

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    Entries in california (4)


    Spotlight on the Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society "Homeless" No More

    Sahyun Library |

    A REAL Card Catalog available for those so inclined! At the Sahyun Library

    This past weekend I had the pleasure of presenting Caring for Keepsakes: Top 10 Family Heirlooms to over 200 members of the Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society, and receiving a personal tour of their fabulous new genealogy library.

    Sahyun Library |

    Entrance Patio to the Sahyun Library with new addition to the left.

    With over 600 members, the SBCGS is a busy and society, and it's obvious they know how to get things done! When I arrived the meeting was already in full swing with six or more tables hosting focus group sessions. This was followed by a lively and informative general meeting featuring the recent Picnic in the Cemetery and enjoy slides of the living history reenactments performed by society members.

    The meeting showcased new books available in their bookstore and a Half and Half program that helps double the library's  buying power -- new books are featured in photos and a short description and members can help "buy" the book for the library by contributing half of the book's cost. Great idea! These books are temporarily shelved in a "New Books" section of the library so donors can easily find them, before being moved to their permanent location on the shelves.

    Following the meeting and my presentation, I enjoyed lunch with several members and a tour of the new Sahyun library. "Homeless" no more, the SBCGS has put down roots at the historic Sahyun property near downtown Santa Barbara and expanded the existing buildings to accommodate a library, meeting rooms, and computer lab.

    Sahyun Library |

    Sahyun Library and Computer Lab

    Dr. Melville Sahyun was a Santa Barbara medical pioneer noted for many patents and prescriptions, including Visine. Mrs. Sahyun was a local historian with an interest in early California history, and in 1998 the Sayhun family donated the one and a half acre property to the SBCGS to be used as a family history research library. The property includes the Sahyun's 1880's Victorian home, and several bungalow-type buildings that formerly housed Dr. Sahyun's offices and laboratories.

    Dr. Melville Sahyun Office |

     Former office of Dr. Melville Sahyun; Photo of Dr. and Mrs. Sahyun

    SBCGS volunteers spent hours renovating the property to accommodate their fast-growing book collection, now numbering over 25,000 items. The new computer lab boasts PC and Mac computer stations and a digital copy stand for member's use. I also saw the new digital microfilm reader/scanner that will be used by members in a flagship scanning project to digitize Santa Barbara County vital records and other local documents.

    Sahyun Library |

    My tour guide Louise at the copy stand.

    Sahyun Library |

    I'm jealous of this machine!

    Read more about the Library and visit the SBCGS website. The Sahyun Library is open four days a week; the card catalog is available 24/7 for online searches. My tour guide, Louise, noted that the library has especially strong collections of New England, Pennsylvania, and Southern U.S. Collections, as well as a relatively large selection of New Zealand and Australian books, thanks to the travels of a society member. 


    Celebrating One Door of Faith

    This is only one door of faith in our family history. 

    Dear Photograph,
    35 years ago today we stood in the same doorway. See you again, God willing.

    Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church, Montecito, California
    July 24, 1976/2011 

    The website started it all. Return to the scene of an old photograph and take the picture again -- but superimposing the original image in place. It takes a bit of trial and error to get it just right, but the results are a kind of photographic time machine.

    This weekend, Mr. Curator and I returned to Santa Barbara to revisit old haunts. First stop was noon Mass at the church where we were married.

    July 24, 2011

      Looks like we said "I do." 

    Note: This post was first published at The Family Curator on 24 July 2011.


    Elyse Doerflinger and A.C. Ivory Receive Suzanne Winsor Freeman Student Genealogy Grant 

      A.C. Ivory and Elyse Doerflinger 2012 Grant Recipients

    College students Elyse Doerflinger of Los Angeles, California and A.C. Ivory of Salt Lake City, Utah were introduced at the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree Friday, June 8 as the 2012 recipients of the Suzanne Winsor Freeman Memorial Student Genealogy Grant.

    This is the second year that the grant has been awarded to young genealogists in a program that aims to assist students seeking to advance their genealogical education. Doerflinger and Ivory each received a $500 cash award to assist them in pursuing their genealogy goals.

    Meet Elyse Doerflinger

    Elyse Doerflinger presenting at SCGS

    Elyse Doerflinger is a senior at Cal State University, Dominguez Hills majoring in Liberal Studies for Elementary Education. She is currently working in the elementary classroom, and would like to teach kindergarten after receiving her teaching credential in 2014.

    Elyse brings her love of children and education to the genealogical community through her involvement as an instructor for the SCGS Kids’ Camp pre-conference event, and through her live and video presentations on topics as diverse as organization, research and involving kids in genealogy.

    Family secrets about long-forgotten siblings sparked Elyse’s interest in her family history and genealogy. She has been blogging at Elyse’s Genealogy Blog since 2008, hosts a YouTube channel featuring her personalized videos, and is active on FaceBook and Twitter.

    Stop by and meet Elyse, a rising star in genealogy today:

    Elyse’s Genealogy Blog

    Elyse’s YouTube Channel

    Elyse on FaceBook  Genealogist Elyse

    Elyse on Twitter  @genealogistelys

     Meet A.C. Ivory

    A.C. Ivory with his mother, Monica, at the SCGS Jamboree Gala

    A.C. Ivory is a junior studying Communications with an emphasis on New Media at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. He presently works for ProGenealogists Research in Salt Lake City and aspires to continue working professionally as a Certified and Accredited Genealogist.

    In addition to his work with ProGenealogists, A.C. is a frequent speaker at conferences on the topic of Mac Genealogy and Genealogy Software. He enjoys using technology to streamline his research and shares ideas on his personal blog,

    A.C. first became interested in genealogy in 2006 and was pleased to help others discover their own family history while serving on his mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Alberta, Canada.

    Take time to connect with A.C. and meet a rising star in genealogy today:

    AC Ivory Blog

    Ivory Family Association Blog

    AC on FaceBook – ac.ivory

    AC on Twitter -- @acivory

    About the Grant

    The Suzanne Winsor Freeman Memorial Student Genealogy Fund was established in 2010 to assist young genealogists seeking to advance their genealogical education. Suzanne Freeman was a life-long volunteer who worked with many youth organizations; she also developed a strong interest in family history, and was a frequent attendee at the SCGS Jamboree. At the time of her death in Tucson, Arizona August 28, 2010, Suzanne was still searching for elusive Winsor cousins. More information about the grant program is available at or by contacting Denise Levenick, daughter of Suzanne Freeman and Grant Committee Chair at swfgrant (at) gmail (dot) com.


    Family Home Tour Update, in Which Together We Enjoy a “Happy Crappy Day”

    Memory is a strange thing. Recently, my sister and I joined my mother and her sister on a “Family Home Tour” of their old homes in Orange County. For many families, this would involve two or three stops for photos and then adjournment for lunch. Our day was quite different.

    Grandfather Brown was a house painter and wallpaper hanger by trade, and found a steady market in exchanging work for housing. For the family of four, this meant frequent moves to a new home, sometimes around the corner or down the block, at other times a bit further away.

    Mom made a list of the homes she remembered, numbering them in order from their early years in California until the house that she “was married from.” She was able to name 13 houses.

    Her sister, two years older, made a similar list. Auntie named 15 houses.

    We knew it would be an interesting day when we started off. It was typical Los Angeles June Gloom, cloudy in the morning with a promise for afternoon sunny skies. As we navigated the freeways from Pasadena to Orange County, Mom casually remarked,

    “Well, it sure is a ‘Happy Crappy Day.’ That’s what your Aunt Lucy used to call a day like this, ‘A Happy Crappy Day’ not good for anything except playing cards and drinking.”

    I nearly crashed the car. Oh, this was going to be a very interesting day.

    The Aunt we would be meeting was the third-grade school teacher Aunt, not to be confused with Aunt Lucy of the “Happy Crappy Day.” Auntie would never be caught playing cards and drinking in the middle of the day; in fact, she might play cards, but iced tea is her drink of choice. She never forgets a birthday or special occasion and she makes me want to be a better Aunt to my nieces and nephews. She is, in one word, “Wonderful.”

    We met Auntie and my sister in Santa Ana and spent some minutes working out our route. After determining that we would not be going to their earliest homes in Anaheim, it seemed prudent just to get in the car and hope someone could navigate us to the first address.

    After a few rough starts involving wrong turns and misremembered landmarks, my sister quietly deployed her iPhone GPS. The site of the first house is now an apartment building, although modest houses across the street are witness to an earlier neighborhood character.

    The fun really started on North Broadway, now a busy commercial avenue. Both Mom and Auntie remembered the house numbers where they lived, and we even had a photograph of one place with the address written in pencil on the back. The problem was that the photo just didn’t look much like the present day structure. We couldn’t figure out how the porch was remodeled to look like it does today.


    1424 North Broadway, Santa Ana, CA, ca 1941

    1424 North Broadway, Santa Ana, CA 2010

    Across the street, however, between the motion of buses and cars we caught a glimpse of the house both sisters remembered fondly. I would remember it too! The grand Victorian is a bit tired, but still the best looking old building on the block.


    1315 North Broadway, Santa Ana, CA 2010

    From Broadway, we proceeded to Ross, Halesworth, Willard Junior High (now a modern bunker-style school), Santa Ana Bible Church, 17th Street, and then on to the City of Orange where they lived for nearly six years.

    As we attempted to pinpoint each address, it became clear that memory is a very funny thing. Mom remembered the houses by events and people – the Anaheim flood, a visit from step-sister Lucy, boys picking her up for a date.

    Auntie, on the other hand, recalled each address by what school she attended and what grade she was in at the time. Often, she even knew the name of her teacher.

    When the two sisters didn’t agree on an address, or location, the stories became richer and more colorful as one attempted to “out-remember” the other. I circled some blocks so many times, I am sure the man sitting on his porch reading the paper thought we were checking out the neighborhood for a burglary. My sister was a good sport and jumped out of the car to snap photos when a consensus was finally made.

    After twelve stops and nearly as many photos, we were all brain-tired and thought we had done a good day’s work. We managed to find most of the places on both lists, and to come up with some questions for Part 2.

    Last stop on the Family Home Tour, lunch at PJ's Abbey in Orange,
    California, former First Baptist Church of Orange where
    Mom and Auntie attended popular musical programs.

    Next, I attempt to reconcile the home lists made my Mom and Auntie with old letters from the Family Archive.

    All Photos from the Kinsel Family Papers, privately held by Denise Levenick.

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