Laughter and Superstition During an Earthquake

Though Thomas Jones was born in Australia, my Grandma swore that he was a typical Irish man.  I don’t know where his parents were born, so I’ll have to take my Grandma’s word for it.  He married into an Irish family.  Perhaps it wore off on him.

On the fateful morning of 18th of April 1906 near five in the morning, my Great Grandmother Margaret (Jones) Jackson was getting breakfast ready for the family.  She tended to her baby, John, just a couple of weeks old.  Her husband, Harry Jackson, and her father, Thomas Jones, were off getting ready for the work day.

At 5:12 am, an earthquake hit the city of San Francisco.  Pandemonium struck the neighborhood where my relatives lived.  Houses crumbled, streets cracked, people screamed in pain and terror.

Inside the Jackson Jones household, Margaret scrambled to get everyone out the door.  She grabbed the baby and was ready to leave when she noticed her father was missing.

She ran back to his bedroom and opened the door.  There was Thomas holding a gigantic vanity mirror.  Margaret yelled at him to hurry before the house fell down on their heads.  Thomas looked at her in despair, “Maggie, if I drop this mirror it will bring me seven years bad luck!”

Margaret just shook her head.  She helped her father find a safe place for the mirror, and ran out the door.

While mayhem brewed across San Francisco, my Great Great Grandfather was stuck in his bedroom trying to decide if he should run for his life and risk seven years bad luck or save that mirror and wait it out!


Reading and Commenting on Genealogy Blogs

One of my challenges from the Genea Blogger Games was to find a new genealogy blog, then leave a comment. This seemed like a pretty easy thing to do until I realized that their were a gazillion genealogy blogs!

At first, I roamed the web aimlessly. I thought I might find a blog related to Hawaii, Azores, or the San Francisco Bay Area that I could find something interesting on. I didn’t have any luck. It reminded me that there aren’t that many people researching in Hawaii and California. At least, they aren’t writing about their research.

I decided to go to Randy Seaver’s website as he always has recommendations. I found an article referenced for the Ancestor Search Blog. I clicked on the link and read the article on, a real estate website that might help genealogists find ancestral homes.

I went to and looked for E. 25th Street in Oakland, CA. What a surprise! I’ve been researching this street using Google Street View. I’m working on matching photographs to addresses and then to the relatives who lived there.

The house at 1948 E. 25th Street left me scratching my head. I could not decide if the house was turn of the century or a more modern replacement. I found that house in Zillow! And, guess what, it was built in 1906. It’s the original building, though perhaps renovated.

My relatives lived there ca 1920-1930. In the 1930 Census the houses on that street were valued at about $2000-$3000. I wonder what my ancestors would think if they knew their humble abode was now going for over $300,000 bucks!

I absolutely had to leave a comment to let the blog owner know that they had made my day. Knowing that this house is from the early 1900s helps me to date some of the other houses I wasn’t sure of.

A challenge met and I learned something in the process.


When Turkeys Sleep

My Grandma was a very young city bride. She grew up in Oakland, California. While her parents kept some animals, it was very much city life.

During the depression, my Grandma and Grandpa made the decision to leave Oakland for the Salinas Valley. Grandpa could find work on one of the sugar beet or other produce farms. Grandma could find some work in town.

My Grandma did her best to adapt to her new life. She had many things to learn in her new country surroundings.

My Grandma and Grandpa sometimes went to play cards at one friend’s house. As this was a rural area, their house did not have indoor plumbing. The bathroom was an outhouse across the yard. In the middle of the card game, Grandma had to use the outhouse. When she didn’t return, they all set out to look for her. There they found Grandma lying in the yard under a tree looking quite shaken up. They all began to laugh. My Grandma had no idea what hit her but the others soon clued her in.

As she was walking to the outhouse, a turkey had fallen out of the tree and landed on her head knocking her to the ground. That day, my Grandma learned that turkeys sleep in trees. To this day, my Grandma laughs hysterically whenever she tries to retell this tale. Beware of falling turkeys everyone!