March 2010

Some of you may know I have an interest in genealogy. One of the bet things to come out of reality TV is Lisa Kudrow’s new show with, “Who Do You Think You Are?” Oprah featured the topic yesterday on her show. I have to catch up on the Sarah Jessica Parker episode because a friend is her and Matthew Broderick’s assistant in New York. I love a great detective story, and genealogy sure provides an endless supply.

This info from the International Genealogical Society was forwarded to me by the great Southern California Genealogical Society in Burbank. Go visit when you have a chance and see where your story takes you.
The tune-in numbers for the first episode of Who Do You Think You Are? are in, and they look promising! More than 6.85 million viewers tuned in to watch the show (including many of you!), making it the No. 2-rated show that hour.

 This Friday – Emmitt Smith

This week’s episode is one you don’t want to miss. Tune into NBC this Friday at 8/7c as former NFL football player Emmitt Smith sets out to discover his slavery roots. In this episode, look for the Monroe County Courthouse in Monroe County, Alabama, and the Mecklenburg County Courthouse in Mecklenburg County, Virginia. Lisa Kudrow calls Emmitt’s episode “unbelievable” and the most compelling of the seven.

Check out more at

Last Week’s Episode

For those who missed it – last week’s episode featured Sarah Jessica Parker, who learns that her 4th great-grandfather John S. Hodge was among the hundreds of thousands who tried to strike it rich by heading West during the 1849 California Gold Rush. Unfortunately, Sarah discovers John S. died soon after settling in El Dorado County, California. Sarah also pays a visit to Massachusetts and meets with researchers at the New England Historic Genealogical Society and Massachusetts Historical Society, who reveal that one of her ancestors was accused of witchcraft in 1692 during the infamous Salem Witch Trials. Luckily, Sarah finds out that the court surrounding the trials was dissolved just before her ancestor was accused, so she was never tried.

 If you missed the episode, watch it here.

 More about the Sarah Jessica Parker Episode

Interested in learning more about how the team of genealogists involved in the first episode located Sarah’s 4th Great-Grandfather John S. Hodge? Would you like to offer members of your organization or interested newbies a better understanding of the research process? Take a look:

Go-to resources: Census records, obituaries, published histories, more primary records

How they helped: Sarah Jessica Parker’s family tree presented a unique challenge – Sarah herself was certain her family was comprised solely of recent immigrants. Researchers, however, determined this was incorrect, tracing the family of her great-grandmother, Lillian Hodge, back to its early American roots.

 Resource #1: census records

Researchers turned to census records to follow the Hodge family back through time. In the 1860 U.S. Federal Census, great-great-great-grandfather, John Eber Hodge, is a young boy living at home with his widowed mother.

Resource #2: obituary

Who was John Eber Hodge’s father? Researchers located an obituary for John Eber, dated 1908. His father, John S. Hodge, is mentioned in the obituary along with the note that John S. died on his way to California in 1849. Returning to census records, a John Hodge, who matches the description of John Eber’s father, is found in 1850 in El Dorado County, California. Occupation: miner.

Resource #3: published histories

But which is correct? Did John S. Hodge die in 1849 or did he abandon the family to strike it rich out West? Researchers focus on records about 49ers to learn more about the California Gold Rush. And then they strike family history gold: “We found a letter written by someone in Ohio to John S. Hodge, which had been published in a book,” says Natalie Cottrill of ProGenealogists, who appeared with Sarah Jessica in the episode. “One of my colleagues tracked down the original set of letters, which provided more details, including information about John S. Hodge’s 1850 death.”

Resource #4: more primary records

Estate and other documents further confirmed that the ancestral John S. Hodge and the California miner John Hodge was the same individual.

Why the discrepancy?

The 1849 death date is from a published obituary, not a primary source. Obituaries are compiled from information offered at the time of a person’s death, second-hand or even later. It’s likely that details in John Eber Hodge’s obituary were relayed by a friend or relative of John Eber, not John Eber himself. The person who reported the obituary facts may have relied on stories he or she had heard from John Eber Hodge, who himself had never met his father. Slight discrepancies in dates and other information are quite likely in secondary sources, which is why locating original records is so important.

Here are some shots from the gallery this weekend. Michelle Mierz (of the Star News and Mickie’s Zoo blog) was out in her belly dancing glory to liven things up.

Thanks to all my pals who came to see the show. Doug and Debbie Smith, Brian and Cynthia Brophy, Rebecca Rasmussen, Jennie Webb, Lizzie Harding Wilkins, Ray Constantine, Frank Culbertson, Lillian Abel, Maria Spasoff and Paul Johnson, John Eide and Trish Carlisle, Lori Oshatz, Paul Ali and daughter Lily, and most of all, my aunt Jan who drove down from Oxnard with her friend Lillian.

Unfortunately my cold got worse as the night went on so I spent all of today in bed sounding like a foghorn.

Let’s remove the temptations.

Lieutenant Steve McLean at the Altadena Sheriff’s Station has asked that the following advisory be posted . . .
Altadena continues to experience a high number of burglaries and thefts from vehicles.

You are your own best defense.

Please do not leave your vehicle without checking to make sure that there are no cell phones, MP3 players, GPS devices, Bluetooth devices, expensive sun glasses, wallets, handbags, computers, PDA’s, satchels, backpacks, briefcases, currency or coins visible, and do not walk away from your vehicle without confirming that you’ve locked the door to at least slow down the person who wants what you’ve left visible in your vehicle.

Every day people are calling the Sheriff’s Station asking to make a report because they’ve now been victims themselves.

Please encourage everyone you know to park vehicles in garages and to lock up – out of sight – any and everything that will give criminals a reason to open the door or to smash your windows to take the gifts you’ve left for them.

Your vehicles aren’t safe even if they’re parked in your driveway.

These criminals span all age groups from teens to older adults and if you find yourself still saying to yourself that it won’t happen to you, guess again . . .

Want to talk to people who have been victims?  They also thought it couldn’t happen to them.


I spoke with Ben McGinty about this idea back in January, and here are the details via Mickie’s Zoo:



There is a $35 fee to be listed on the map and promotion of the event, and a donation of a piece of your art for the fund raiser benefit silent auction.

The only prerequisite is that the public can access your studio easily and that your studio lies within the town of Altadena

The event will kick off Friday evening June 25TH, 6PM till 11PM with the opening of the silent auction show which will be available for bidding through the weekend.

Tickets will be $8 per person, and will include a map to the participating artists studios

The gallery will open at 9 AM Saturday for the sale of the maps and viewing and bidding on the silent auction. Artists studios to open by 9:30AM. The gallery and artists studios will close at 6pm.

Sunday the gallery will reopen at 9AM with the artists studios opening at 9AM. The tour will end at 3PM Sunday, Whereas the closing event at the gallery will commence.

The silent auction will close at 5PM At this time the highest bidders can purchase the art. Artists are encouraged to attend the Friday night and Sunday afternoon events.


We here at Gallery At The End Of The World look forward to your participation in uniting our fellow artists and neighbors, strengthening our need and desire to making and surrounding ourselves with art!

For more information please contact Ben at:
626 794-4888
or e-mail