What comes to your mind when you hear the words historic county records? Darkened warehouses? Moldering paper? Dusty shelves? How about stories of tragedy, courage, and compassion?
Old records filled with surprises.
Since the middle of January, I've had the honor to work with three current or former students from the University of the Pacific taking an . . . → Read More: Surprises on the Trail of Dusty Old Records
I thrive on research. I never know what insights I might gain as I wander from book to book and document to document. But sometimes I don't want to wander. I just want an answer, and I don't want distractions: I want it now.
Government records housed at the San Joaquin County Historical Museum.
Enter the computer. . . . → Read More: More Help for Historic Researchers
Let's say you want to find out how wide the right-of-way is for a road somewhere in San Joaquin County that was created in 1890. What historical sources would you consult? You're right if you said "the county supervisor's records." Where would you go to view them? You get bonus points if you said "the San . . . → Read More: Where Have All the Records Gone?
I like to travel on airplanes. But my attitude would change if I discovered they had a nasty habit of falling apart in midair. In-flight disintegration would surely be a public relations nightmare for any airline or airplane manufacturer and probably shatter the confidence of customers. So it was with efforts during the 1930s to build . . . → Read More: Stockton’s Stillborn Aircraft Industry
Are you dreaming about a white Christmas? I'm not—not in California's Central Valley, anyway. In my view, the words "snow" and "San Joaquin County" usually don't belong in the same sentence.
Giant snowman, Stockton, California, Jan. 1, 1916.
But that doesn't mean they're totally unacquainted. The San Joaquin County Historical Museum holds more than twelve thousand photographs . . . → Read More: A White Christmas?
Aren't old family photos fun? Pictures of relatives from the past can put flesh and bones on the skeletons of otherwise dry, meaningless names. They can also bring back pleasant memories and reawaken our sense of belonging.
If only we knew. Unidentified football player, possibly from Lodi High School, during 1940s.
But they can also be all . . . → Read More: What’s in a Name?
Understanding the past can be hard. Sometimes, we accidentally make it even harder with mistakes that send us sailing off the charts.
Last week, I came across an interesting postcard in the Museum's collections. It dates from the early years of the twentieth century and features a baby posing innocently without a stitch of clothing. Here's the . . . → Read More: Naked Babies in the Mail
How many women motorcyclists can you remember seeing? Not many, I'll wager. My own eyes were opened about five years ago after learning that one of my nieces motorcycled to and from classes each day while attending college in southern California. Every other motorcyclist I see nowadays seems to be female.
Lodi mayor Mabel Richey (right) . . . → Read More: The Lodi Comets
Have you ever wanted to meet your doppelgänger, the person who supposedly looks just like you? I'm not convinced I have one, though a number of friends once told me that some guy in college looked just like me—from behind. How about meeting someone who shares your first and last names? That seems more likely, though . . . → Read More: Celebrity Names in San Joaquin County
Have you ever wondered what the past sounded like? That's right, sounds from the past—before there were cars, airplanes, and radios. Human voices, animals, birds, and nonmotorized vehicles like wagons and carriages dominated the soundscape. But there were also choirs, bands, and pianos, and they sang or played music we don't hear often today.
A time . . . → Read More: Sounds from the Gold Rush Era