Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Genealogy Progress

(Family photo at California Adventure, March 2009, L to R: my parents, my brother and his kids, and our four kids)

I have been spending hours since school ended entering my family research into the genealogy software, Roots Magic 4, that my parents purchased for me. Their 45th anniversary is this Saturday, and as our gift to them, I want to get as much research as possible on both sides of the family entered into the program and then printed and bound in a binder for the party. We'll have family members from both sides of the family attending the party on Saturday afternoon, so I want to be as complete as possible with the more recent family members as well as the generations in the past.

I have traced my paternal grandfather's family back to 1732 in Germany. My maternal grandmother's family is going to require a great amount of untangling as there are so many of them in one area that I'm not sure who is whom. Fortunately, two of her brothers are still living in Orange County (Dana Point, I think), and I hope to see them this summer and get their help in sorting out their branches of the family tree.

I'm working on my mother's side of the family this week. Over a year ago, I Googled my maternal grandfather's family as they were a rather well-known architectural firm here in San Diego in the 20's and 30's who designed several San Diego landmarks (Balboa Stadium, the old Police Station, the North Park Theater, etc.) and many family homes, schools, firehouses, etc., as well. And as I checked them out, I discovered an incredible resource: in 1984 a woman named Karna Webster wrote a Master's thesis at University of San Diego (where I received my own Master's degree and also taught there after graduating, so my library card is still active) on the Quayle family of architects, and she did painstaking research on my family who came to San Diego in 1900. I checked out the unpublished thesis from the library and photocopied a great deal of it; she had interviewed the descendants of the older brother (the senior partner of the firm), and my family is descended from the younger brother, the junior partner. Through her invaluable research, I have been able to trace William Quayle, their father who first started the architectural firm, to the Isle of Man where he was born on Christmas Day, 1835. Very cool stuff. I definitely need to find Karna Webster and thank her. I have also been able to research my maternal grandmother's family as well, tracing them also back to the mid-1800's.

So I'm entering all of this information into Roots Magic 4, the newest version that came out just a couple of months ago. I can also scan in and add photos and make pages for each person in our family tree. I have barely scratched the surface, but I am having so much fun; researching is definitely in my blood. My brother-in-law has apparently traced back my husband's side of the family to 1850, so when I can, I'll add in his research to the program as well.

This is my "big project" for the summer, and I'm enjoying every keystroke. :)

Tuesday night update: I "Googled" Karna Webster and found a possible e-mail, address, and phone number. I e-mailed the address, asking if she was the one who wrote the thesis on the Quayle architects, and tonight she responded that yes, she was, and sent me her phone number (which matched the one I found earlier). And guess what? She lives a mere 35 minutes away from me in La Mesa, the city in which our church is! I'll be calling her tomorrow to thank her and ask her a few questions about the veracity of some family stories about landmarks the Quayle Brothers Firm alledgedly designed. Yay!


Jane D. said...

I am really enjoying hearing about how you are getting on with this Susanne, well done!

Susanne Barrett said...

Thanks, Jane - I appreciate your enthusiasm. I don't want to be boring everyone. :)


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