CSGA Upcoming Meeting @ Jamboree

icon-jamboreeThe California State Genealogical Alliance will be holding it’s annual meeting at the upcoming Southern California Genealogical Society’s Jamboree.

When: Friday, June 5, 2015
Time: 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
Where: Burbank Marriott, Parlor 123

This meeting is open to everyone. Please bring your lunch and join us! Light refreshments will be provided.

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Orange County 2015 Family History Fair

FamilyHistoryFlyer2015

Join hundreds of participants at this fun and informative event and learn from top instructors in the genealogical world. The annual Orange County 2015 Family History Fair will be held on Saturday, April 18, 2015, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., at the Orange County FamilySearch Library, 674 Yorba Street, Orange, California.

Presenters at this year’s Family History Fair include:

Session 1 ~ 10:10 to 11:10 a.m.

Jamie Mayhew; Marilyn Pope; Dawn Thurston; Jean Wilcox Hibben, PhD, MA, CG; Hal Horrocks; Joe Leavitt; Mimi Lozano Holtzman (Somos Primos); Linda Serna

Session 2 ~ 11:20 a.m. to 12:20 p.m.

Jamie Mayhew; Marilyn Pope; Dawn Thurston; Jean Wilcox Hibben, PhD, MA, CG; Myla Collier; Letty Rodella; Merrill White; Joe Leavitt

Session 3 ~ 1:20 p.m. to 2:20 p.m.

Don Garcia; Gary Shumway, PhD; Merrill White; Butch Hibben, CLA; Bob Shaw; Elna Katherman; Hal Horrocks; Linda Serna

Session 4 ~ 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Don Garcia; Gary Shumway, PhD; Richard Hartman; Butch Hibben, CLA; Hal Horrocks; Linda Serna; Bob Shaw; Jean Wilcox Hibben, PhD, MA, CG

Session 5 ~ 3:40 p.m. to 4:40 p.m.

Marilyn Pope; Richard Hartman; Jean Wilcox Hibben, PhD, MA, CG; Butch Hibben, CLA; Bob Shaw; Elna Katherman; Linda Serna; Carl Jacquier

For registration and details on speakers/topics at all five sessions:  http://www.ocfamilyhistory.org/

 Submitted by: C. Luijt

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The Calaveras Genealogical Society 2015 Spring Seminar

Janice M. Sellers will be the presenter at the Calaveras Genealogical Society 2015 Spring Seminar. The seminar will be held on Saturday, April 18, 2015, from 9:50 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., at the LDS Church, 400 Bret Harte Drive, Murphys, California.

The four talks that Janice will be giving are as follows:

  • Reconstructing Family Information When You Start with Almost Nothing: A Case Study
  • Get Me to the Church on Time: Finding Religious Records
  • Where There’s a Will: Probate Records Can Prove Family Connections
  • They Wouldn’t Put It on the Web If They Didn’t Want Me to Use It: Copyright Issues for Genealogy

For registration and more information: http://calaverasgenealogy.com.

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FDR’s Alphabet Soup: Records From the Great Depression

SSA – Social Security Agency

1934 – Present RG 47

Cath Madden Trindle

Drawn by climate and activity, thousands of elderly Americans flocked to southern California during the roaring twenties. Their comfortable living came to an abrupt halt as many lost their savings and retirement incomes when the Depression crashed down.

Controversial then and now, the Social Security Act passed in 1935, promised benefits ranging from $10 to $85 per month. Supporting this level of benefits required a tax rate of 2% (half paid by the worker and half by the employer) on the first $3,000 of wage income. The first checks arrived in households in 1940 with a maximum payout of $41.20 per month.

But the SSA was not the only suggested pension plan for citizens. Doz-
ens of plans were proposed, over eighty in California alone. Some
were suggested before the SSA passed, some were suggested as amendments and some were considered as supplements to what had already passed.

The most popular proposal was the Townsend Old Age Pension Plan. It was proposed in 1934 by Dr. Francis E. Townsend (1867-1960), a retired Long Beach physician.

CaptureThe plan was simple. Each person over the age of sixty who was retired (there was a “fully” retired test) and had a past life free from habitual criminality would receive a monthly pension of $200. They were required to spend the money within thirty days thus restoring “the proper circulation of money.”

No contributions were to be collected from the beneficiaries. There was no obligation to work and pay taxes for a number of years. It was possible for a person who never worked a day in their life would be entitled to a full ʺretirementʺ pension under the Townsend Plan.

There was no means-test, poor and rich alike would collect the same $200 payment regardless of any current or past taxes they had paid to the government. And the beneficiary had to spend the entire pension payment each month as it was received–it would be illegal to save even a penny from the benefit.

The funds would be supplied by a 2% federal sales levied ʺon the gross value of each business, commercial, and/or financial transaction,ʺ to be paid by the seller.

Within two years of the publication of the plan, as stated in a letter to the editor in a Long Beach, California news-paper, there were over 7,000 ʺTownsend Clubsʺ with over 2.2 million members actively working to make the Townsend Plan the nationʹs old-age pension system. Regional and National Conventions were held, the walls reverberating with the clubs anthem “Onward Town-send Soldiers.”

Public opinion surveys in 1935 found that 56% of Americans favored adoption of the Townsend Plan and in 1936 Townsend delivered petitions to Congress containing 10 million signatures in support of the plan. However, fiscally unworkable, the plan was not adopted. The Social Security Administration website has a synopsis of the plan (The Townsend Plan’s Pension Scheme) that discusses the fiscal implications. You will also find a link to the full text of the Congressional hearings. You can find a guide to records held in the National Archives at Guide to the Townsend National Recovery Plan, Inc. Records 1934-1960.

To put that $2400 a year in perspective, my father-in-law at the age of 29 earned a salary of $1,545.70 as a teacher in a Long Beach. He did not reach the lofty income of $2,400 before he joined the army in 1942 and in fact his income in 1952 just topped $2,500 as a salesman of audio-visual equipment to schools.

Another proposal, specifically for California’s elderly, was Willis and Lawrence Allen’s “Ham ‘n’ Eggs”. It was based on Robert Noble’s California Revolving Pensions Plan which had promised to pay the elderly $25 every Monday morning. The Allen brothers, started out working with Noble, but soon suggested a different plan that omitted any involvement by Noble. Their plan offered to pay every unemployed person over fifty $30 every Thurs-day. Like the Townsend act this plan suggested a tax of 1¢ to 2¢ a week on unspent funds as an impetus to keep the money moving in the economy.

The plan was to be funded by a 3% gross income tax on Cal-ifornia Individuals and businesses. Although denounced by economists as irresponsible, it was placed on the 1938 ballot as an initiative. Although defeated, it received more than 1,430,000 votes. In fact it might have won if the corrupt practices of the Allen brothers had not come into the open shortly before the election.

Read more at The Battle for Ham and Eggs – San Diego History; California pension plan, Ham and Eggs, October 1938 – LA Times Blog.

You can read more about the History of Social Security on the SSA website.

Originally Published in the CSGA Newsletter May-June 2013

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FDR’s Alphabet Soup: Records From the Great Depression

Miscellaneous Agencies

Cath Madden Trindle

Before delving into the genealogical wonders of WPA records in a future issue, it is worth mentioning some of the “other” Alphabet Soup agencies and boards set up during the Franklin Roosevelt administration.  Whether your ancestor was an employee of the agency or one of those regulated by its mission you might find wonderful background information and perhaps a lucky few will find actual information on an ancestor. Many FDR agencies are still active today.  See the CSGA Blog for other agencies not covered in this series of articles.

CAB 1938-1985.

NARA RG197  cab

The Civil Aeronautics Board was created to regulate the economic aspects of United States air carriers, to help establish foreign air routes and services and to investigate civil air accidents. It was preceded by the Aeronautics Branch (1926-1934) and the Bureau of Air Commerce (1934-1938).   It absorbed the Bureau of Air Mail, Interstate Commerce Commission (1934-1938), the Civil Aeronautics Authority (1938-1940) and the Air Safety Board (1938-1940).  The Civil Aeronautic Board’s authority was abolished effective 1 Jan 1985 with authority going to the Federal Aviation Administration.  Read more at History of FAA and it’s predecessors

CCC 1933-1948. 

NARA RG161

The Commodity Credit Corporation was created to make loans to promote ccc carrying and marketing of agricultural commodities.   In 1948 the Commodity Credit Corporation Charter Act (62 Stat. 1070) placed the federally chartered corporation under the Department of Agriculture. Information on the records held by NARA can be found in Norman D. Moore’s “Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the Commodity Credit Corporation,” NC 98 (Feb. 1965) ask your local NARA branch for a copy.

FLSA 1938   

NARA RG155.2  

The Fair Labor Standards Act, enacted in 1938, was the last major piece of New Deal legislation intended to reform the economy, and it is still with us today. This law established the minimum wage, which at the time was twenty-five cents an hour. It also set the standard for the 40-hour work week and banned the use of child labor.  Enforcement is by the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor.

  • San Francisco has 76 cubic feet of WHD Region 9 (AK, AZ, CA, HI, ID, NV, OR, UT, WA) case dated from 1939 to1971.

NLRB 1933 – present    

NARA RG25  

nlrbThe National Labor Relations Board  was created by the National Labor Relations / Wagner Act of July 5, 1935. It replaced two earlier boards: the National Labor Board (NLB), established August 5, 1933, and a first NLRB, established on June 19, 1934. When the National Industrial Recovery Administration (NIRA was declared unconstitutional in May of 1935,  the first NLRB ceased to function. The second NLRB, was tasked with determining the unit of employees appropriate for collective bargaining, conducting elections for employee representatives, and to force employers to end specified unfair labor practices in industries other than the railroads and airlines. Functions have subsequently been modified by the War Labor Disputes Act of June 1943, the Labor Management Relations / Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 and the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure / Landrum-Griffin Act of 1959. All three boards utilized a system of regional boards to deal with labor controversies in the field.

NRPB 1939-1943  

NARA RG187

The National Resources Planning Board was created by the Executive nrpbOffice of the President, Reorganization Plan No. 1 of 1939,  to advise the president on the development of national resources in cooperation with state and regional planning boards.  It replaced the Federal Employment Stabilization Board (1931) and absorbed the functions of the National Planning Board of the Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works (1933) and various successors. The NRPB planned public works, coordinated Federal planning relating to conservation and efficient use of national resources, and encouraged local, State, and regional planning. The NRPB was abolished by an act of June 26, 1943. 

Regional offices primarily acted as clearinghouses of planning information, carried out the Board’s activities in the field, and coordinated regional, State, and local natural resource planning activities.

  • NARA San Francisco has 52 cu ft of records from NRPB Region 8 (Pacific Southwest – AZ, CA, HI, NE, UT).  Records include drainage basin committees and State planning boards. Records include correspondence, clippings, issuances, printed materials, reports and maps.
  • Finding Aid – Virgil E. Baugh, comp., Preliminary Inventory of the Regional Offices of the National Planning Board, PI 64 (1954).

Originally Published in the CSGA Newsletter Jan-Feb 2014

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