Genealogy Made Easier

Some of the most tenacious people I know are genealogists. I have the honor of working with genealogists all the time here at the San Joaquin County Historical Museum. Piecing together tiny bits of biographical data from hundreds of different sources can be rewarding. However, I also know from personal experience that it takes lots of . . . → Read More: Genealogy Made Easier

Stockton’s Stillborn Aircraft Industry

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

A White Christmas?

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?

Do Museums Make People Smarter?

Can museums make you smarter? A team of researchers based in Arkansas thinks they can. But what about California? Those of us who live in San Joaquin County have some handy tools in our own backyard that can help us answer this question for ourselves.

Having fun getting smarter: Pioneer School at the San Joaquin County . . . → Read More: Do Museums Make People Smarter?

Celebrate Christmas with Festival of Trees

Even Scrooge would get in the holiday spirit gazing at the more than seventy beautifully decorated unique Christmas trees at the San Joaquin County Historical Museum's twenty-second annual Festival of Trees.

Ho, Ho, Ho! Santa with three happy visitors, 2011.

This family event will be held December 7 and 8 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at . . . → Read More: Celebrate Christmas with Festival of Trees

What’s in a Name?

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?

The Long Walk

"Dad, are we almost there?"

Remember how boring it was to ride long distances in the family car when you were a kid? Except for the excitement of violating that invisible boundary in the back seat that separated you and your brother. But that had its downside, too.

Maintenance supervisor Mike Mason discovers how heavy the . . . → Read More: The Long Walk

Helen Dewar: Local Girl Makes Good

Who can resist a good biography, especially when the subject excels at her calling? It doesn't matter whether that person lived long ago or more recently. The story becomes even more compelling when the subject is homegrown and makes a positive impact on the world.

A couple weeks ago, one of the Museum's patrons introduced me to . . . → Read More: Helen Dewar: Local Girl Makes Good

Market Hunting in the San Joaquin Valley

Remember Passenger Pigeons? Probably not. The last one died in 1914, a casualty of mass deforestation and overhunting. An estimated three to five billion lived in North America when Europeans arrived, but their numbers plummeted over the next three centuries. Perpetuation of this once–numerous bird apparently wasn't a matter of high priority.

Duck hunter in the . . . → Read More: Market Hunting in the San Joaquin Valley

ValleyFirsts! Exhibition Opens

Here's an idea for your next party: Ask guests to name five "firsts" in San Joaquin County. (Prime yourself beforehand by reading the blog entry for July 24, 2013, below.) Afterward, watch local residents beam with pride as they point to milestone after milestone.

John C. Frémont (1852), leader of first American mapping party to . . . → Read More: ValleyFirsts! Exhibition Opens