May News & Events

Classes & Projects

Three Great Lectures by Guest Susan LeBlanc

When: Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Where: OEA/Uniserv Building located at 2495 S. Pacific Hwy. Medford

Susan LeBlanc will lecture twice in the morning:

Understanding Emigration & Immigration at 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. $20.00 per person.

German Ancestry Explained at 11:00 to 12:00 p.m. $20.00 per person.

Call (541) 512-2340 or email to reserve a spot in these classes.

The Best Kept Secret–World Vital Records on the Internet

Genealogy Program for the Public starts at 1:30 p.m. Susan’s topic is free, public welcome.

Susan LeBlanc is an Accredited Genealogist. She is a 2005 graduate of BYU- BGS/BA; focus in family history. 1985 BYU – AA in Spanish; research and translation skills. Susan began researching her family history over thirty-five years ago. She is a native of Portland, Oregon. For the past thirteen years she has volunteered in the LDS Family History Center in Milwaukie, Oregon. She graduated from Brigham Young University in 2005 with a Bachelor of General Studies degree with a focus in Family History and in 1985 with an Associates of Arts degree in Spanish. She also received the BYU certificate for research in North America. In her work, she has gained extensive experience in using the LDS Family History Library and working in online databases. Working to create accurate and complete family histories is one of her specialties. She enjoys helping others research, lecturing, teaching classes and translation work in Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish. In 2010 she became an Accredited Genealogist through ICAPGen.

Mysteries in Our Backyard Project

Co-sponsored by the Southern Oregon Historical Society and the Rogue Valley Genealogical Society

The Untold Story of Uncle Charles Street

by Anne Billeter

Charles Street, a Medford massage therapist, was told by his father, William Ernest Street, that Charles was named for his uncle Charles, who went off to World War II at the age of 18 and did not return. The implication was that he died in the war. Charles knew no more about his namesake, who the family never talked about. Could we find out?

Charles Street is not an uncommon name and Street is a difficult surname to search. Luckily his father’s first name was Eric, which is not as common, and his mother’s name was Edna. He also had a brother Eric. He was most likely born in California, probably in Santa Cruz County, and if he was 18 when the war started, he should be in the 1930 census. This was more challenging than expected. The family appears in the 1930 census in Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz County, CA:

Street, Everett D. Head 43 TX New Zealand New Zealand

Edna C. Wife 38 WV WV WV

Charles H. Son 4 5/12 CA TX WV

Eric D. Son 1 6/12 CA TX WV

Eric Street, who was born in New Zealand in 1897, appears as “Everett” born in Texas! Two of his sons, Eric D. and William Ernest, are in the California Birth Index on, but Charles’ birth was not found.

Charles H. Street, born 1923, residing in Santa Cruz, enlisted 6 May 1941 in San Francisco, in the regular army infantry for the Philippine Department. (U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946,  (extracted 7 March 2012.) This record also reports he had one year of high school and was single, 71″ in height and weighed 174 lbs. The location is a good match. The birth year is off by 2 years, which fits with the 1 year of high school. The assumption is that he was 16 and lied about his age in order to enlist, a very common occurrence. He appears next in World War II Prisoners of War, 1941-1946 at, as an infantry Corporal serving in the Philippine Islands, detained by Japan. The report date was 7 May 1942, a year and a day after he enlisted. The latest report date was 14 Dec 1944. His status category was “Executed, Died in Ship’s Sinking or Result of Ship Sinking, or Shot While Attempting Escape.” In other words, he died by one of those methods. A search of the U.S. Veterans Gravesites, ca. 1775-2006 at  listed him with birth date 3 Apr 1923 (his family states his birth date was actually 4 Apr 1925), death 14 Dec 1944, interment date 14 Feb 1952 at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St. Louis, MO. The interment date and location are mysterious, as the family lived in California and the interment date is 8 years after his death date.  Entries on the website, Find a Grave , provided the explanation: Charles H. Street is one of many POWs who were victims of the Palawan Massacre. The large marker at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery is engraved with a long list of names, including Charles H Street CPL USA. An adjacent marker provides information about the “Palawan Massacre.” The record on Find a Grave states:

Palawan Massacre

“During World War II, in order to prevent the rescue of prisoners of war by the advancing allies, on 14 December 1944, the Japanese herded the remaining 150 POWs at Puerto Princesa into three covered trenches which were then set on fire using barrels of gasoline. As prisoners tried to escape the flames they were shot down. Some escaped by going over a cliff that ran along one side of the trenches, but were later hunted down and killed. Only 11 men escaped the slaughter and between 133 and 141 were killed. The site of the massacre can still be visited. The massacre is the premise of the recently published book, Last Man Out: Glenn McDole, USMC, Survivor of the Palawan Massacre in World War II, by Bob Wilbanks, and the opening scenes of the 2005 Miramax movie, “The Great Raid.”

Last Man Out provided much more detail than nephew Charles Street expected to find. His uncle is mentioned twice and the manner of his death is described. McDole had dug himself into the prison camp’s garbage dump, a huge pile of garbage and refuse which had accumulated during the years of the prison camp, and was full of vermin and maggots. He heard someone digging into the garbage: “It was Corporals Charles Street and Erving Evans who were digging frantically to find refuge…Street couldn’t take it any longer. He panicked and jumped up, heading for the water. There was the crack of a rifle and the young corporal from Santa Cruz, California died just short of water’s edge.” (Last Man Out: Glenn McDole, USMC, Survivor of the Palawan Massacre in World War II, by Bob Wilbanks, McFarland & Co, 2004.)

Charles Street enlisted when he was 16, was captured when 17, was a prisoner of war for more than two years, and was killed escaping from a massacre at the age of 19. His mother never recovered from the his death. His younger brother William Ernest named his son Charles after his revered older brother, but never talked about him. Nephew Charles Street treasures these details of his namesake’s life and death and believes his father would have been relieved to know the manner of his brother’s death.

Charles H. Street
4 April 1925- 14 December 1944

Genealogy Conferences 

At the genealogy program preceding the General Meeting on April 15, Connie Miller, Andrea Patterson, Melinda Henningfield, and Barbara Basden shared their experiences at genealogy conferences from previous years.  All four had attended the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy in the past and talked about the types of classes available there. Melinda and Barbara had attended IGHR held at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, and all had attended National Genealogical Society Conferences. Provided below is information about the conferences mentioned during their presentation. In addition to the conferences discussed at the meeting,an upcoming event you should not miss is Genealogy Fest on July 28 sponsored by the Genealogical Council of Oregon at the Lane Community College campus in Eugene. This year’s featured presenters will be Thomas MacEntee, known for organizing Geneabloggers and an entertaining speaker on tech topics and John Phillip Colletta, also a popular speaker, who teaches writing techniques and immigration research. Here is the link to the Genealogy Fest information.

Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy 2013. For next year, Institute is January 14-18, 2013 with a welcome social and check-in on Sunday, January 13, 2013. The Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy is organized into 10-12 subjects, called tracks. The foremost experts in the field for each subject provide students with at least twenty hours of in-depth instruction on their topic. The format allows coordinators and instructors to build on the understanding gained from each lecture, building a foundation rather than giving scattered information. Students leave with a much deeper understanding of the topic at hand. While a few tracks are offered each year, most rotate.  We highly recommend staying at the conference hotel, the downtown Salt Lake City Radisson — a Salt Lake City block from the Family History Library.  Tuition is $350 for UGA members and $400 for everyone else. You MUST be logged in to the members area of the website prior to registering to receive the member discount. It is highly advisable that members check their logins before Saturday, June 4th, and that new members join prior to Saturday as well. These tuition prices are applicable through October 31, 2012 when the early-bird registration expires. (Non-early-bird tuition is $400 for UGA members and $450 for everyone else.) Two payment options have been provided: pay online with your credit card via PayPal or pay via check through the mail. Your place in the course is reserved upon checkout.  Classes at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy end most days about 3:00 PM to allow registrants time to apply their new skills while researching at the Family History Library. Evening classes are also offered each day at 7:00 PM and 8:15 PM. These classes are outside the main tracks and cover ad-hoc topics. They are available for $10/class and are open to the public.  Below is a listing of the tracks for 2013:

•Course 1: American Research and Records: Focus on Localities with Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FUGA, FMGS

•Course 2: Bridging the 1780-1830 Gap: From New England to the Midwest (and Points in Between) with D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS

•Course 3: Researching Your English Ancestors: Beyond the Parish Register with Apryl Cox, AG

•Course 4: Advanced German Research with F. Warren Bittner, CG

•Course 5: Researching in Washington D.C. without Leaving Home with Richard G. Sayre, CG, and Pamela Boyer Sayre, CG, CGL

•Course 6: A Genealogist’s Guide to the Internet Galaxy with Thomas MacEntee

•Course 7: Principles of Forensic Genealogy with Melinde Lutz Byrne, CG, FASG and in partnership with Boston University

•Course 8: Producing a Quality Family Narrative with John Philip Colletta, Ph.D., FUGA

•Course 9: Advanced Genealogical Methods with Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D., CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS

•Course 10: Advanced Evidence Analysis Practicum with Angela McGhie and Kimberly Powell

•Course 11: Problem Solving with Judith Hansen, MLS, AG

Below are links to websites with information about other conferences that were mentioned during that April 15th program:

Institute for Genealogical and Historical Research (IGHR) held at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama —IGHR

National Genealogical Society (NGS)Conference held in Ohio during May 9-12, 2012 — go to this website to read more about it — NGS Conference 

Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference (FGS) August 29-31 in Birmingham Alabama, the first day focuses on resources for genealogical societies —FGS Conference (It’s not too late for this one!)

Building News

“Building Excitement”

Early March 2012-After board approval, Charleen Brown, Colista Bailey and Carolyn Beron completed the purchase of the new library building and signed loan documents. The building at 3405 South Pacific Highway now belongs to the Rogue Valley Genealogical Society. Here is our press release,  “The Rogue Valley Genealogical Society, Inc. (RVGS) today purchased a new building for the Jackson County Genealogy Library, at 3405 South Pacific Highway, Medford, Oregon. This building will provide almost 5400 square feet for the library, classes, meetings, and offices. RVGS membership and library use has been growing 10% each year, and interest in family history is at an all-time high. Remodeling and painting should be finished by July 2012. A major fundraiser “Building Excitement” will kick off the campaign to defray the costs of the purchase and remodeling. The library and society will keep P.O. Box 1468, Phoenix, Oregon 97535 as the mailing address. If you are interested in a naming opportunity or wish to contribute to the fundraising campaign, please contact the Society at that address. All contributions are most welcome and appreciated.” Please mail your donations to the Phoenix address or donate using a credit card by going to the.  When you donate online, you can designate how funds are to be used or if your donation is given in memory of or in honor of another individual on the last web page where you confirm your transaction.

The Board of Directors met and voted on some of the expenditures to get the project started. Asbestos removal was approved, legal, attorney, filing fees, electrical, new sheet rock, paint, $5000.00 worth of insulation and pre-wiring, All expenditures were approved.

The Design Committee met to talk about the initial ideas for the design of the library. Anne Billeter went to the building and took measurements, then drew out preliminary plans to give to architect Bob Seibert to finalize. Anne Billeter and Bob Seibert are working on the final design and layout of the library. Thank you to Bob for donating his time and efforts.

Al Beron, acting as contractor, started calling on other professionals to get quotes on the asbestos removal, new roof, gutters, electrical, heating, and air conditioning.

Carolyn Beron called on Energy Trust to see if we are entitled to incentives for work done. An ad to sell carpeting then in the building was placed on Craig’s List. Carolyn then started a comprehensive budget for all areas of the purchase and remodeling construction costs. Carolyn also scheduled the Chamber of Commerce Opening Ceremony events.

Charleen Brown and Colista Bailey mailed the annual fundraising letter to all members. Donations are now being received for this “Building Excitement” project; a list of donors is included in this issue of eNews.  A huge “thank you” goes out to all those who answered the call for funds or donations of particular items. To date, we have received pledges for donation of the new carpet and installation, flag pole holders, a new refrigerator for the kitchen and a new kitchen sink, paint, re-roofing, also stacking chairs for the meeting room. Andrea Patterson is selecting the carpet she and Jack will be donating, choosing interior and exterior paint and trim colors, and color and type of roofing material. Decisions, decisions, decisions! A list of donors who designated funds for specific items in the new building will be included in next month’s newsletter.

Demolition began on the new building. The asbestos company removed all the asbestos from the building and then our wonderful “demolition crew”, masks on their faces, started the demolition, taking out the unnecessary walls, tile, pillars and equipment. They discovered an ant’s nest, the biggest one anyone had ever seen. With the biggest ants anyone had ever seen! Many dump runs with personal pickup trucks were made by the awesome demolition crew. The demolition process was largely completed by May 1.

The hood, fire suppression system, grease trap and old carpet were sold for $1500.00 total. They have been removed from the building by owners of Las Palmas Mexican restaurant. The fan on the roof has been left until later removal when the roof is replaced. The walk–in freezer and coolers could not be rescued and have been demolished. The mold is being removed from the areas around the walk in freezers and coolers.

Stan Bartell and employee, Bryce, from Phoenix Auto Center at 611 N. Main Street in Phoenix came to help with the demolition. Stan and Bryce used a bobcat to take out walls, saving the demolition crew many hours of work.

Our current library was put on the market for sale. “For Sale by Owner” ads were placed in the newspaper and the Oregon Legal Journal. Carolyn Beron made up the flyers and placed the ads.

In the planning stages for July and August is the move into the new building. Gathering boxes and organizing the move will be Library Director Anne Billeter. Volunteers definitely needed! Contact Anne at with the move.

Andrea Patterson, Connie Miller, Marie Fulbright and Carolyn Beron are planning the celebration and public awareness events for the upcoming year. Please mark your calendars:

Friday, September 21, 2012 Ribbon-Cutting and Grand Opening Reception with tours starting at 3:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M. Invitations will be sent at a later date. You can

Save the Date now, adding the event to your calendar.

Saturday, September 22, 2012 Open House all day with tours being given of new library.

October 25, 2012 8:00 A.M. Medford/Jackson Chamber of Commerce Greeters Meeting.

November 6, 2012 8:00 A.M. Phoenix Chamber of Commerce Greeters Meeting.

December 7, 2012 8:00 A.M. Ashland Chamber of Commerce Greeters Meeting.

cSpecial meetings will be scheduled to decide the procedure for vacating and cleaning the 95 Houston Road building, select a roofing contractor, finalize the design of the building and determine pre-wiring of the building for computers and other equipment.  The next section of the eNews lists people (not a complete list!) who have helped out so far.  Thank you very much and if your name is not included we will honor your help in a more durable way as the building nears completion.  Please note that people who donated $$ to become Life Members and Life Benefactor members must await passage of the proposed motion to alter the by-laws.  Current by-laws stipulated that funds contributed for extended membership programs must largely go to the Endowment Fund.  If the changes in the by-laws are approved then the funds can largely be diverted to the building fund or to other funding categories.

Contributors to the New Building: Work, Time, and Expertise

Al Beron

Warren Brown (bookshelves)

Chuck Eccleston

Jack Patterson

Andrea Patterson

Wayne Henningfield

Melinda Henningfield

Colista Bailey

Connie Miller

Alan Marion

Stan Bartell (not sure of his last name? loaned the bobcat)

Bryce (Stan’s employee?) (worked with bobcat, too)

Roger Roberts

Dick Raffenspherger

Bob Seibert

Anne Billeter

People providing/bringing water/lunch/food:

Anne Billeter

Carolyn Beron

Melinda Henningfield

Andrea Patterson

Roanne Lyall

Contributors to the New Building: Donations

Thank You!

Silver Club (0-$49)

Richard Croly

Arlene Pugh — In memory of Leona Borough

David Hogan

Angela Bergelt

Roanne Lyall

Patricia Glidewell

Barbara Shrewsberry

Gayleen Hanscom

Betty Hayes

Arthur Bigelow

Edmund Dews

Rich & Nancy Aubin

Carolyn Craig

Charlene McKnight

Larry Henderson

Sharon Freeburne

Gold Club ($50-$99)

Mary Anne Bryne

Brian Gorham

Patt Spielbusch

Stacy Dawkins

Betty Drake

Steve Kious

Hugh Barnhill

Linda Hildreth

Margaret Shreader

Geoge Busby

Pam D’Allira

Karen Asche

Ron& Gloria Bartlett

Century Club ($100-$999)

Betty Miller

Al & Carolyn Beron

Betty Miller

John Ferrell

Darlene Brown -for mentoring by Tom Sayre

Carol Wilder

Karen Scott

Winfield & Clare Frazier

Linda Carr

Frank & Deirdre D’Antonio

Ruth Gerety

E. Kendall Clarke

Barbara Middaugh

Jackson & Carolee Jones

Dorothy Throne

Wanda Perdue

Judy Mallchok

Gene & Donna Brewer

Chuck & Edith Carlson

Otis & Georgia Blankenship

Sybil Russell

Beverly Calkins

Sallie K. Riehl

Helaine Noble

Carol Barker

Duane Murray

Mary Amaro

Flo Bohnert

Michael Phillips—In honor of Aileen Koster

Audrey Berry

Bon Dysart

Evan & Dorothy Pruitt

David & Carol Rugg

Roberta Ortega (Life Membership Pending)

Diamond Club ($1000 and over)

Gene & Charlotte Henry — Life Benefactor Membership Pending

Anne Billeter– Life Benefactor Membership Pending

Chuck and Colleen Eccleston

Proposed Changes in By-Laws


Permits a Large Portion of the Funds from Life Memberships and Life Benefactor Memberships to be
Diverted to the Building Fund or Other Funding Categories


Pursuant to Bylaws Article XVIII the amendment described in this notice below shall be reported to the General Membership on Tuesday April 17th and again on Tuesday May 15th, 2012 and resubmitted on Tuesday June 19th, 2012 for ratification as recommended by the RVGS Board of Officers and Directors at it’s rescheduled meeting on Tuesday April 3rd, 2012.



The RVGS Board of Directors desires to offer Life and Life Benefactor memberships subject to the following terms and conditions:

PURPOSE: A Life or Life Benefactor membership shall be a one-time payment to RVGS sufficient to support annual membership for the duration of the member’s life and to provide long-term financial stability to the organization through the Endowment Fund or other Funds designated for the specific use and benefit of the Library and Society.

CONDITIONS: Life and Life Benefactor memberships shall be available to an individual of any age; the fee is not refundable and may not be transferred without the specific approval of the Board.

FEE: The Life Membership fee is a minimum of $500, $300 will be deposited to a restricted life membership account and the balance ($200 omitted) will be added to the Endowment Fund or other Funds as stipulated by the donor. The Life Benefactor Membership fee is a minimum of $5,000, $300 will be deposited to a restricted life membership account and the balance ($4,700 omitted)) will be added to the Endowment Fund or other Funds as stipulated by the donor.

ADMINISTRATION: A restricted life membership account will be administered by the Treasurer. At the beginning of each fiscal year $30 for each Life and Life Benefactor member will be transferred from the restricted life membership fund to the general Dues Fund to support membership. If a Life or Life Benefactor member dies before his/her restricted life membership funds have been depleted, the balance will be transferred to the Endowment Fund. If the Life or Life Benefactor member is alive after his/her restricted life membership funds have been depleted, no additional funds will be transferable by the Treasurer to the general Dues Fund and no additional membership fee collected from the Life or Life Benefactor member.

RECOGNITION: In addition to the benefits of annual membership, Life and Life Benefactor members will receive special recognition in the BUD/Digger. The name of a Life Benefactor shall be added to a Life Benefactor member plaque displayed in the Library. (Life benefactor membership will also include voting rights as a Life Trustee on the Board of Directors if in attendance at any Board meeting.omitted).

Internet & Website News


What’s New at the Library

Patron computers at Jackson County Genealogy Library provide access to a number of subscription sites including, Fold3, American Ancestors, Genealogy Bank, and World Vital Records. World Vital Records was purchased last year by My Heritage. The following is a list of resources on that website that resulted in part from that change in ownership. MyHeritage Family Trees is a huge resource for those of you looking at compiled family trees.

On World Vital Records

MyHeritage Family Trees – over 400 Million Records

• New: All 1940 USA Census Images

• New: 1940 USA Census Index – now in process

• New: Over 500 Million UK Records

• More than 4 billion historical names

• Birth, marriage, and death records

• Millions of newspapers dating back to 1739

• Millions of tombstone photos

• Hundreds of exclusive online databases

• Vital Records from 16 countries

• Social Security Death Index

• Thousands of yearbooks

• Millions more added each month

On the Jackson County Genealogy Library Website

Dave Basden, webmaster, recently uploaded thousands of new names and photos under the Cemeteries link on the our website. See the example photo to the right.  Many thanks to the cemetery team volunteers headed by Vern Weaver, Leo Kimm, Yvonne Turpin, and others for their continuing work on this project. Other recent additions to the website include Death Certificate Index for 1958 added on the Vital Records, Birth Records for 1911-1926 added on the Vital Records; Obituaries indexes updated through June 2011 on the Obituaries link: Birth and Wedding/Anniversary announcements added through 2011 on the Vital Records link.

Indexing & Accessing the 1940 Census

If you haven’t already done so, please sign up to help index the 1940 Census through the Rogue Valley Genealogical Society.  Here is the link to that website. Once there you can easily download software to your computer and watch videos demonstrating the indexing process.  Please help get records from Oregon indexed!  Impatient to search unindexed 1940 Census records?  Visit JCGL!  On the desktop of each of the patron computers you will find a complete collection of census images for Jackson County, Oregon — thanks to Bob Pocan who downloaded those images for you.  In addition, at the left end of the Bookmarks Toolbar near the top of the screen in the browser you can can access a link to  enumeration district maps provided for you by Steve Morse on his One-Step Website. If you know the street address of the family you are looking for you can find it on the map, then search the census images for the enumeration district where the family dwelt in 1940.

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