NorCal Genealogy

This section of the blog belongs to you, folks.  Please use it to connect and share what you know about long-time families from the North Coast.  Put a family name or question in the comments section (or send me an email to and I’ll create a page on the family name.

It will come up in internet searches that way and hopefully folks will check in periodically and keep sharing info with each other.

My regards to you all.


46 Responses to NorCal Genealogy

  1. Kym Kemp says:

    Cyrus Cole was a bootlegger who lived out towards Petrolia. He was supposedly a writer of fiction too. I would love to know more about him. His father was William Marion Cole. Cyrus was born in1874 in Mendocino.

    • Constance says:

      Wylackie john was my great great grandfather

      • Lynette says:

        Hi there,
        I will dig and get back to you if I find anything…

        • Constance Gregg says:

          My great grandparents were charlie wathan Susie mace Mendocino county California.
          My grandmother Louise a wathan Mendocino county California my mother carol Francis Santa Rosa California all pomo Indians. Round valley Mendocino county

  2. Nicole Log says:

    Hi, my name is Nicole and I’m a History student at HSU. I’m going to be doing a research paper on the history of the oil industry and what effect the discovery of oil had on the settlement of the Mattole Valley, as my 3rd Great Grandfather, Charles Aaron Johnston, was one of the first settlers in the area and played a large part in the industry at the time. I’m actually related to many of the Langdon’s, Johnston’s and Lawsons of the area around that time.

    If anyone has any information, whatsoever, about the early settlement of the Mattole region, especially anything that involves the discovery of oil (or any of my family members, for Genealogy purposes), I would love to hear from you!

    Thank you so much!
    Nicole Log

  3. olmanriver says:

    Nicole, you have contacted Laura Cooskey at I assume? She wrote a great paper on the Oil history of that area.

  4. Nicole Log says:

    Ooooh, no, I will definitely contact her! I have an excellent article about the oil history of the area that somebody sent to me for genealogy purposes, but I’m not sure who the author is. I wonder if it’s the same one. I’ll definitely contact her. Thank you so, so much!

  5. Hello, Mike Worthen here. My great-grandfather William Shuster worked for Mr. Carson and at the Carson Mansions. I see you have found my Uncle Merle’s incredible collection 🙂 My grandmother is a historian of sorts and is the author of the book entitled, “A Castle in Fairyland” She is 101 yrs. old in a few months and doing fantastic still. Wonderful blog! Keep up the great work. ~MIke

    • Lynette M says:

      Hi Mike,
      So glad you found your way here (and a bit jealous that you have such strong family ties to the area).
      That is amazing about your grandmother.. I hope you are asking her questions.
      I would want to know the mundane things. How and how often did they wash clothes.
      What was the recreation.
      There was no tv. Did she get tired of reading?

      Ok, silly, I know. but just the everyday life stuff would be cool for me to hear.

      In any case, I hope you’re able to take advantage of her unique perspective.

      • Mike Worthen says:

        Hello, and thank you, Lynette. I forgot to mention that Evelyn is the oldest living graduate of HSU and soon after became a school teacher in Bridgeville so I imagine that occupied a lot of her time. Our friend Ed Baldwin worked at the Carson Mill and is a wealth of knowledge and a good soul. You should come join us on Facebook where I have contributed countless hours contributing historical pictures (some of which I owe you a thanks) but I believe that it would be well worth your time to browse through the hundreds of posts. Just a thought. Ed would be happy to answer some (basic) questions as well and he also worked at a site that is now where the Samoa bridge is located but most of us (2500+) are of a younger generation. My grandmother Evelyn was also the author of another book on local history that depicted her teaching days in Bridgeville (but is unfortunately out of print) I have a copy or 2 left. It is entitled, “The Unfolding Drama of Bridgeville. (A Former Stagecoach Town). Just today I found some artifacts that are for sale that were found on Gunther Island and wonder how it is possible? Here is some info on one of the objects: Item: Type: Provenance: Price
        MHTO900 A very rare and nicely Found by Dr. H.H. Stuart (1937) 950.00
        polished black steatite on Gunther Island in
        Cooking Bowl having some Humboldt Bay, CA
        edge nicks but still intact Ex: Charley Mitchell
        Well, that’s all for now. Have a nice day and will hope to talk with you later, ~Mike.

  6. Thank you for this site. Is this type of inquiry appropriate here?

    My question is something obscure maybe olmanriver might know about: i am looking into a Millard Ebern Means, who was the nephew of Davey Wright of Wilder Ridge, by way of his half-brother– Davey’s mother Emeline Shinn Means Wright’s first husband, Joseph Means’, son (Millard Fillmore Means, b. 1857, Iowa). I have tried to trace the son (Davey’s nephew) Millard Ebern Means, and find him on at least one census claiming to be Indian (Native mother, father fr. Missouri). His father Millard F. Means was living in South Fork (Eel River) in 1880, and Millard E. was born in 1883. That same year, a woman Annie at South Fork married Ebern Louis Parker, the well-known Garberville-area packer. She had a Parker child in 1883. So, what i’m wondering, is if Millard E. Means was born in the South Fork Native/white community of a woman who perhaps didn’t know for sure the father… so he is named on the one hand for Millard F. Means, but on the other, for Ebern Parker… although it could have merely been that Ebern was a respected or well-liked man, so the child was given his name as a middle name. It’s just that both Ebern and Millard Means are such unusual names, when i found that both Means Sr. and Ebern were at South Fork in the early 1880s, i thought Aha, a connection… but to which man for the young Millard E. Means? (Also, MEM lists his father as being from Missouri, which i think is where Parker was from, while MF Means was consistently listed as born in Iowa.) MEM in 1900 was living on Wilder Ridge with his uncle Davey and aunt Isabella Cathey, and later on in San Quentin and the Washington State Pen.

    The question is, who were Millard E. Means’ parents?
    Don’t go digging too far, i have already spent a lot of time on this question that i’m not sure is that important… just wondering if anyone else had looked into this Means family already, and had a clue off the top of their head. (The tree is not helpful beyond what i already know.)

    • Lynette M says:

      Hey Laura,
      Of course it is appropriate here.
      I am actually in the (slow) process of setting up another blog just for NorCal genealogy. My new page/section idea didn’t work very well.
      I’ll try to get it done soon and will post your info above. You never know what somewhat out there might have, info wise.

      I hope things are good in your little area of Humboldt.


  7. Oh gosh, i could contribute some genealogy stuff. It’s a lot of information seldom organized into legible “trees,” however. Many in the drafting process. If you find an easy-to-use, easy-to-read system, i will try hard to fill spaces with info.

  8. Searching for family info in Rio Dell..My great grandfather Otto Hoffman and wife Anna Smith Corning lived in the ferrymans house next to the Eel River in Rio Dell. Otto died in a drowning accident in 1890…his widow Anna, remarried to Frank Schuler who owned and operated the same ferry and General Store in Rio Dell. Thank-you, Crispin Tilden

  9. Brian Hogan says:

    Okay, last week I photographed and posted every grave marker in Blue Lake Cemetery at
    A big job, three trips to Blue Lake, and I am glad it’s done. I hope it is of service.

    • Anonymous Researcher says:

      That is awesome!

    • Sara says:

      Thank you so much for doing this!
      I found that website while searching for ancestors in the Shasta County area and the dates and full names provided by the grave markers really helped fill in some gaps in information.
      I’m sure you efforts to document the markers will help someone else.

  10. Just another curious amateur says:

    Brothers Martin and Johannes Larsen, both listed in that great Humboldt County History book of 1915 had dairy cattle somewhere between 1911 and 1933. Martin was my great-grandfather.

    Martin, I have heard, died in 1933 because a cow broke his leg. He is buried in Arcata.

    Johannes may have just gotten pneumonia and died in 1935. His son John was a barber in Eureka or Buckport and died in a motorcycle accident in the same year as his father. They are buried near Martin but without markers.

    How would someone look up where they lived? And what happened to their wives (and any other children)? Are there newspaper archives from the early 1930s? City directories?

  11. Denise Homer says:

    Looking for information on Camp Grant between 1949-1954. Cecil Davis had a house in Camp Grant which burned to the ground and he moved into another residence there with his wife and son.

  12. Andrew Ward says:

    I am an historian at work on a book about 19th century California history and I have been looking in vain for documentary evidence of the death of “Old Greenwood,” aka Caleb Greenwood, the trapper and pathfinder. I have found references to his death in 1849, 1850 and 1853, in Sonoma County, El Dorado County, or even in Nevada near Humboldt Sink. They all say he was buried in an unmarked grave and that his son (and according to one account, a daughter) were with him when he died. Has anyone ever come upon a newspaper account of his death, or any other hard evidence relating to the date and circumstances of his death? The date of his birth is just as murky, as he liked to exaggerate his age by claiming he was born in 1763, which would have made him his father’s contemporary, whereas it appears he was born between 1780 and1783.

    • Patricia Burrell says:

      Have you tried the Held-Poage Library in Ukiah? I am an historian and used to frequent that place in search of bits of information. Haven’t been there in several years because I now live in the Midwest, but I believe you might find a gold-mine of information there.

  13. Kiki Atkinson says:

    Snagged your picture of my grandmother, Mercedes B Cloney Atkinson, Save the Redwoods. She was born in Humbolt County 1984, she is on the far right in the image…Suffragist and always the activist. Do you have a date for the image?

    • Lynette M says:

      I’m afraid I post all I have so if it isn’t on there, I must not have a date.
      SO glad you found the photo tho. That’s wonderful. And thanks for letting me know.

  14. Carrie Clark says:

    I’m trying to find information on “Wailacki John Wathen”, now hes the father of my grandmother Isabelle Wathen. ive heard some stories that he was a murderer, & into the slavery business. then I’ve been told that he was adopted into the Wailacki tribe (which I find highly impossible) one of my aunts who wish to be recognized as a full blooded indian she being the Chairperson for my tribe has had a Pinoleville history book forged to state that he was a native man which I highly doubt. has anyone heard any stories regarding this man in the Covelo area? I’m tired of being lied to about my great grandfather… I would like to know any information good or bad…

    • spyrock says:

      in last of the west, frank asbil says his father and uncle found a white man living with the wylackie and took him to round valley where he worked for george white. indians did adopt white people into the tribe back then. i had an ancestor captured at the battle of long island and given to the shawnee who took him to ohio. they adopted white captives to replace lost relatives in battle. they had a choice, be burned at the stake or run the guantlet. if they survived the guantlet they were blooded into the tribe. the same thing goes on today with gangs. do a dna test, then you would know for sure if any european stuff shows up. good luck, spyrock

    • Constance L Gregg says:

      My grandmother was Louisa Wathen

  15. Looking to find information about Alexander Lamb My great grandfather my grandmother was Mary lamb Owsley I know he own a lot of land on Redwoodhouse Rd and had business in Rohnerville and had some great horses any information would be of value thank you in advance Leonard Owsley

  16. drmccrea says:

    What a wonderful site, Lynette! My brother, Mike, and I are 4th or 5th generation Humboldt Countians. My great grandfather, John T. Tracy and his wife, Lodema, moved from Bandon, OR to Arcata in the 1880’s or so. He was a brick maker. The house just outside the Arcata cemetery has a pond. That’s where he dug the clay for his bricks. My grandmother, Lottie Tracy Kennedy, lost two of her brothers or sisters when they drowned in that pond. She was bron in about 1883 or so–I’d have to look up family records to find the exact date. One of her brothers, James Tracy, and his wife were surf fishers in the Arcata area for years. Another, Lawrence Tracy, guided hunters into the local mountains to hunt bear. And one more bit of history, Kneeland Prairie is named after John A Kneeland (I believe that’s the correct first name), a distant relative of my grandfather, R. L. Kennedy. If you would like pictures and articles from old newspapers as I run across them, please let me know.

    Thanks much,
    Don McCrea
    San Rafael

  17. Lori Amen says:

    AMEN William Frederick, William Thomas

  18. alfred Doten says:

    I believe John Tracy poored the concrete steps in front of the Chapman House at 10th & J about 1952. My Grandmother told me “It’s Mr. Tracy who is doing the new steps” ?

    Alf Doten

  19. John Hutchins says:

    Does anyone have a photograph of a home at 3304 J st in Eureka. In 1925, my grandfather, Oscar Fleck and grandmother Sylvia Bock were living there, likely in rented rooms. Sylvia had two young boys with her. Since that time, that section of J st has been abandoned and is now the location of the United Congregational Christian Church.

    • John Hutchins says:

      Additional information: My grandmother, Sylvia Bock was born Sylvia Kennedy. Sylvia’s paternal grandparents were Humboldt County residents, Lydia Kneeland (sister of John Allen Kneeland) and William Thomas Kennedy. Her maternal grandparents were also Humboldt County residents, William Albert Murphy and Elizabeth J. Prigmore. Sylvia was born in Humboldt County in 1897. Her parents were Gilbert Gilson Kennedy and Elizabeth “Lottie” Ellen Murphy.

      • Lynette says:

        I apologize for taking so long to get back to you ! I don’t have any photos that I know of, but you may want to check out Humboldt State/now Cal Poly’s online archive. Just search J Street- or the Shuster aerial shots. You might get lucky….

  20. Bonnie Fields says:

    My grandfather was John David Wathen and my great great grandfather was Wylakie John Wathen.

  21. Benjamin Smith says:

    My mother Bonny Smith’s father was Stephen Sidney Smith, oldest of the 5 sons of Pearl Valentine, who was oldest (?) of the many children of Rosa (daughter of A.A. Hadley) and Rolla Ray Schoonover Landergen of the Upper Mattole. Because of how many children my ancestors used to have and the intermarriages, it is hard to keep track of all my relatives. Those I do know include Briceland (Rosa and Rolla’s daughter Mary married Carl Briceland), McClintocks, Shinn.

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