Tuesday Tales From the Road – Pennsylvania

by Kathryn Doyle (8/12/2008)

CGS member Mary Mettler is still on the road. Installment number three includes photographs:

Pennsylvania just drives me nuts! What I would do for birth, death, baptism, marriage and decent military records! I spent 4 days in the Lancaster County Historical Society in a vain attempt to find Capt William Scott’s parents. I used wills, land records and Orphan’s Court records to build all the Scott families and managed to eliminate all the Williams. I had a great lead in that Capt William Scott, Abraham’s nephew was one of two executors. Drat! I went to the will and no Capt Wm Scott! He also has a cousin, John. Well, every Scott family starts out with the first two sons named William and John!

Kevin Shue, the great genealogist at LCHS really got into it and was phoning his friends in the Archives in Harrisburg, all to no avail. The pension application did say he was “living” in Lancaster County at the time of the Rev War, so perhaps he was born elsewhere. Even though I am depressed, I perked up today as I looked at my findings. I did get quite a bit of information on his first wife and her family, so all was not lost. It did underline for me why I always want to have a few “sure things” to help out, when things are tough.

Kevin Shue and Mary, courtesy of Mary Mettler.

I drove over to Carlisle on Saturday and took a first swing through the Old Graveyard where William Scott and his two wives were buried, when the gravestones were read in 1898. He is not on their Rev War list (not too surprising, as his service was in Lancaster County not Cumberland County), so no nice marker. I searched for an hour until the spiders started crawling up my pant legs! I’ll wait for my nephew, Dave’s arrival tomorrow, as he is always lucky with graves. Also the Cumberland County Historical Society will be open, and maybe they have a map of the graveyard. The recent book which published the 1898 readings said that many of the stones have disappeared or been relocated. More frustration? We will also drive toward Mechanicsburg to find the graves of Capt John Lamb, my first Patriot. At least I know there are probate and land records for John Lamb and his father, Samuel Lamb. Hopefully, William Scott will have some, too! Oh well, no one said it was easy all the time!

BTW, I had a nice 4th of July weekend in Akron, Ohio with two sisters. A niece and her daughter came down from Cleveland, and we had ribs and watched the fireworks. I stayed Monday to have lunch with three high school friends. And, the weather has been pretty good! Very little rain and not too hot – have gotten all my morning runs in. I did take time to see President Buchanan’s home in Lancaster, as it was right next door to LCHS. And Molly Pitcher is buried in the Old Graveyard in Carlisle. I learned she got her nickname from the pitcher of water she always carried while she nursed the troops.

Mary Pitcher monument, courtesy of Mary Mettler.

I miss not having you guys to discuss genealogy issues with. I’ll be glad to see Dave tomorrow, but we won’t have enough time to cover everything. We have CCHS, the town records, the Harrisburg Archives and the Carlisle Military Institute to cover, as well as the graveyards. I’m afraid I will have to stop again on my way home. Oh, and neither Lancaster nor Carlisle Hist Soc will let me use my scanner! They charge 50 cents a copy, and I think they want the revenue. I offered to pay them that amount for each page I scanned but no deal. No problem in Illinois or SLC. Kent Memorial Library in Suffield has said okay, too. Bummers in PA!

From your roving reporter,

Read the entire series:
Part One: Salt Lake City
Part Two: Indiana
Part Three: Pennsylvania
Part Four: More From Pennsylvania
Part Five: Washington D.C.
Part Six: Suffield, Connecticut
Part Seven: Vermont
Part Eight: Dorset, Vermont
Part Nine: West Point and Back to Pennsylvania
Part Ten: Some Final Thoughts From Home

Honored at Alltop

by Kathryn Doyle (8/11/2008)

Featured in Alltop
The California Genealogy Society and Library blog is honored to be among the top genealogy blogs listed on the new blog news site, Alltop.com.

Guy Kawasaki (of Apple® fame) announced the creation of Alltop in March of this year calling it “an online magazine rack that displays the news from the top publications and blogs.”

New categories are continually being added but it wasn’t until this month that “genealogy” was included. It seems that the footnote Maven made the request and now the genealogical community has its own page. So, thanks fM, and thank you to Alltop for including the CGSL blog on this one-stop-shopping site for genealogy news. Check it out at http://genealogy.alltop.com/.

A Photograph of Bygone Days

by Kathryn Doyle (8/10/2008)

There is one rather distinctive photograph that you can’t help notice when you pay a visit to the California Genealogical Society and Library. Antique autos and a streetcar with its network of overhead wires tell you right away that this is a scene from a different era. And while time has marched forward some seventy-eight years since the image was created, the bustling Oakland street corner in the photo is in fact the same one on which the CGS library now stands. The photograph shows the large signs that shield the construction site from passersby and announce “Ready October 1st” and “New 8 Story Home of Breuner’s!”.

To be precise, the photograph isn’t actually inside the library, but is displayed in the hall just outside the entrance to the society suite. And though the story it tells is pertinent to its placement, what makes this particular photograph special is its size.

The blown-up photograph is a wall mural in the hall beside the elevators on the “lower level” of the Breuner Building. It serves as an impressive welcome to visitors to the basement location of the society.

The California Genealogical Society moved to its present location in the historic Breuner Building in March of 2007. At the time, Annalee Allen, well-known Oakland Tribune historical landmark columnist, program coordinator of the Downtown Oakland Walking Tours and author of Oakland Postcard History and Selections from the Oakland Tribune Archives, reported:

The society’s new home is an eight-story reinforced concrete building with a distinctive variegated sea-green glazed terra cotta front facade, constructed in 1931 to house the John Breuner Company Furniture Store. Other noteworthy features of the building include Art Deco motifs, and a pair of stylized figures crafting a chair located over the front entrance. Locally prominent architect Albert Roller designed the structure, according to history files.

The Breuner’s Furnishings Web site states that the company pioneer was a German cabinetmaker turned gold miner, who “founded the company in 1856 in Sacramento, California when he realized selling to gold miners was more lucrative than mining gold for himself.” The company expanded and opened stores in San Francisco and Oakland. According to Allen,

Several decades later, Breuner’s sons Louis and John Jr. moved operations to 22nd and Broadway — despite the onset of the Great Depression — to join fellow retailers H.C. Capwell and I. Magnin, and the grand and elegant Paramount and Fox Oakland movie palaces, records show. By the 1950s there were seven stores in the Breuner chain, in Stockton, Richmond, Berkeley and Vallejo. In the 1970s, the Oakland flagship store on Broadway was closed and sold off. It later underwent a major renovation by new owners and reopened as commercial offices in the late ’70s. For the time, it was considered an innovative adaptive reuse.

Today a flag pole sits atop the building instead of the large neon “Breuners” sign. The only reminder of days past is the large mural photograph on the wall outside CGS.


1. Wall mural photographs, Breuner Building, Oakland, California, Kathryn M. Doyle, 31 July 2008.
2. Annalee Allen, Historical Building to House Society, Oakland Tribune, April 22, 2007, Accessed at FindArticles.com, 08/08/2008. Update Link broken; Accessed at NewsModo 3/3/2010.
3. Exterior photographs and illustration, The Breuner Building, digital images, e-mail from Christopher C. Curtis, Metrovation Brokerage, Oakland, California.
4. Annalee Allen, Genealogical Society Marks 110 Years of Researching Family, Oakland Tribune, Feb 24, 2008, Accessed at FindArticles.com, 08/08/2008.
5. Breuners Company History, The Breuners Home Furnishings Web site, Accessed 08/10/2008.
Written for the Fourth Edition of Smile For The Camera ~ A Carnival of Images which takes its word prompt from the Ace of Hearts. I Smile for the Camera