Posted in Arizona, Arizona pioneers, History, Podcasts

Celebrating with a Fun Podcast

Well, On Granny’s Trail just topped 16,000 views, so to celebrate this random achievement, I decided to share a fun podcast with you from Stuff You Missed in History Class that will help you learn a little more about the Western States.  Stuff You Missed in History Class researched the true story and presented their findings in this podcast.

The Baron of Arizona, starring Vincent Price and Ellen Dres
The Baron of Arizona, starring Vincent Price and Ellen Drew (This is the movie version, not the podcast)

It’s called “The Peralta Grant and the Baron of Arizona,” and is quite entertaining.   It’s about a determined would-be swindler and how he nearly acquired an enormous portion of Arizona for himself.  Genealogists will be interested in his creative forgery and the prodigious amount of  “proof” he produced to claim his grant.

And to think my ancestors might have ended up with this guy (James Addison Reaves, not Vincent Price) as their landlord!

Vincent Price as the Baron of Arizona
Vincent Price as the Baron of Arizona

You can also check out the link to the blog post about this podcast for a few more resources on the topic.

Enjoy the podcast, and thanks for following On Granny’s Trail!


Posted in Arizona, Familysearch, Websites

Wild West Digitized: Arizona records

This is second in a series of posts about the digitized records available at Familysearch.  I hope you’ve had a chance to explore the California records I listed, and that you made some new discoveries.  So far, there are only 7 collections of Arizona records, but they include some essential ones:

Arizona digital collections at Familysearch as of 18 Jul 2013
Arizona digital collections at Familysearch as of 18 Jul 2013

Arizona Deaths, 1870-1951 is not as current as the database online at because the Familysearch source is microfilm, and the source is the government records which are added to each year (50 years back due to privacy). However, if you are looking for someone in that range, you will get an image of their death certificate in Arizona Death, 1870-1951:

AZ death certificate
Sarah Matilda Colborn (Pomeroy) death certificate, 1926

Here is the death certificate of my ancestor, Sarah Matilda Colborn who was married to Francis Martin Pomeroy. It’s nice to have a vital record for someone born in 1834.  If you found a death certificate for someone who died in the 1870s you could conceivably have direct evidence of a birth date in the 1700s.  (Of course it would be secondary vs. primary direct evidence, but still – not bad!) And who wouldn’t want to discover or verify an individual’s parents’ names—especially the mother’s maiden name? There’s nothing like a good death certificate to thrill a genealogist, and to get you back another couple of generations on your pedigree chart!

Here is a record from Arizona, Births and Christenings, 1909-1917 for a child born to Sophia Isadore and Frank T. Pomeroy in 1914:

Arizona Births and Christenings, 1909-1917
Arizona Births and Christenings, 1909-1917

While this is an abstract rather than an image, it does give a film number for further reference.  Also, the record collection pre-dates Arizona statehood (1912) by 3 years, which is notable.

So all you folks with Arizona roots, have at it!  I know I’ve already found a bunch of records I need to connect to folks in my Family Tree.

Posted in Arizona

Now that’s a mustache!…Franklin Thomas Pomeroy

Every once in a while I like posting photos of my ancestors that I enjoy (the photos, I mean)…Here is one of Franklin Thomas Pomeroy, my great-grandfather, since we just celebrated his 142nd birthday.  So distinguished and dapper.  Check out the ‘stache.

Franklin Thomas Pomeroy, 15 Sep 1870 – 4 Nov 1954

He was born 15 Sep 1840 in Paris.  Well, Paris, Bear Lake, Idaho that is.  He died 4 Nov 1954 at Mesa, Maricopa, Arizona.  He married the middle gal in the On Granny’s Trail banner above (Sophia Isadora Morris) on 28 ar 1893 and later went on to serve as a State Senator in Arizona.

Frank T. Pomeroy campaign card, Arizona State Senate (front)
Frank T. Pomeroy campaign card, Arizona State Senate (back

I kind of like the bow-tie and handlebar mustache look in his wild younger days, but he looks very distinguished as a senator, too. I think he and Dora were a great match.

Posted in Arizona, Letters, World War 1

“…our mess citts full of fairly good grub…”

This is the first in a series of letters I will be posting—letters which were written by WWI Private Allen Lee Millard Gooch to his family back home in Duncan, Arizona.  Part of his military service record was already posted in previous weeks.  Letters are a wonderful resource for genealogists, as you will see. For a closer look, just click on any of the images. The letter has been transcribed for you at the end of the post.

A.L. was drafted, and entered into service 25 Apr 1918.  Here is the first letter in the collection, written—so aptly—from Camp Funston, Kansas (not exactly summer camp, but sounds like one!) on 1 May 1918:

A L Gooch WWI letters 1 May 1818 p1
A L Gooch WWI letters 1 May 1818 p2
A L Gooch WWI letters 1 May 1818 p3
A L Gooch WWI letters 1 May 1818 p4

Transcription of letter from Private Allen L. M. Gooch to his parents, 1 May 1918, Camp Funston, Kansas, letter in possession of Dayna Gooch Jacobs, King City, California. Envelope missing. Transcribed by Dayna Jacobs. [slashes in the transcription indicate line breaks]


May .1. 18

Dear Parents and All:

As my arm is / a little better will / write a little. Am / rather tired tonight / this is our second / day drilling and they / sure put us through / We are at Detantion / camp no 2. Where we / get our first grade / training.  expect to stay / here about three week then go back to Funston / to the Barricks where / it will be a little / more comfortable.  There / is eight in each tent / get up at 5:45 in the / morning, take our cots / out side scrub the / floor, line up for / the roll to be called / to breakfast get / our mess citts full / of fairly good grub / come back to our tents / and eat, go back and / wash our dishes, Then / then [sic] march to the drilling / grounds and / play afew athletic / games for exercise / then get bussy.  I / didn’t think I could / stand it the first / day I was so sore /  from vaxinations. /  But I feel good today / and don’t think it / will be as hard as / I thought for I know / I can stand it if / others do.  And all / that worrys me is / you folks at home.

I am goeing to take / out a ten thousand / dollar insurance which / will cost me about $6.00 / per month and if / I get killed you / will draw $57.50 a / month for 20 years / the government is giving / dependant Parents $10.00 / a month where the / soldier will give $15.00 / of his wages.  And I / am goeing to try to / get that don’t know / if I can or not.  That / will be 10 apiece for / you and paw and / 15 from me will be / $35.00 a month that / will help you live / and will leave me / about 8 or 9 dollars / for tobacco that’s all / I kneed.  So dont / worry about me I /will do just what / others is doing, the / best they can.  As I / want to go to bed / will close and write / you latter.  Write / me offen for I don’t / have much time. /

With lots of Love

Your son

Use this address

Private Allen L. M. Gooch

47th Company

164th Depot Brigade

Detantion Camp No.2

Funston, Kansas

To read other letters in the series click below:

1    2    3    4   5    6    7    8    9    10    11    12    13    14

Posted in Archives and Libraries, Arizona, Four Corners, Friday Finds, Indian traders, Research tips, Websites

Friday Finds: Northern Arizona University Cline Library – Special Collections

Four Corners Research

Western States researchers have some great archives and libraries to tap into, and each week I highlight archives, libraries and collections I have found valuable, along with some of my finds there.

Anyone doing research in the Four Corners area (Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico)  will want to take a look at the Northern Arizona Cline Library’s online collections , as well as doing some on-site research. It has some real gems in its Special Collections.  These include:

TIP:  On the homepage search by keyword, or try “advanced search” and select only the collection you want to search within.

Northern Arizona University is located at S San Francisco St, Flagstaff, Arizona 86011.   (928) 523-901

Colorado Plateau Archives

The Colorado Plateau Archives, one of the collections above, is an online exhibit for the   images, documents, oral histories, videos, and more for the region encompassing the Four Corners area of the United States.

It includes:

  • Arizona Memory Project
  • Arizona Champion-Coconino Sun Newspaper Index (1887-1894)
  • Arizona Champion-Coconino Sun Newspaper Obituary Index (1883-2003)
  • Manuscript Inventory
  • Over 1 million photos
  • Vertical files

United Indian Traders Association Oral History Project

Part of the Colorado Plateau Archives contains the United Indian Traders Association Oral History Project. This is an especially valuable collection.  These are transcripts of interviews done with traders, and they are rich in information about the history of the area.  There is also a huge collection of photographs, all searchable by keyword.

Interviews of particular interest to me as a researcher are the March 30, 1999 video interviews with Joe Tanner <>  and J.B. Tanner, who were sons of Ruel Lehi “Chunky” Tanner, grandsons of Joseph Baldwin Tanner, and great-grandsons of Seth Tanner.  These are available online, and Joe talks a lot about the early Tanner history in the Four Corners area.  I am descended from Ruel’s sister Annie Marie Tanner.  There are also interviews with Russell, Jay, and Ed Foutz, who are descended from Joseph Lehi Foutz—another Great-great grandfather of mine.

Arizona Archives Online

NAU is part of the “Arizona Archives Online”

This is a great way to search multiple archives and libraries at once.  There are currently 14 institutions throughout the state of Arizona that contribute content to Arizona Archives Online.  I will highlight some of the collections in these archives in future posts:

  • Arizona State University Libraries, Department of Archives and Special Collections
  • Northern Arizona University, Cline Library Special Collections and Archives
  • University of Arizona Library Special Collections
  • University of Arizona Libraries. Center for Creative Photography.
  • Arizona State Museum
  • Museum of Northern Arizona
  • The Arizona Historical Society: Northern/Southern/Papago Park Divisions
  • Sharlot Hall Museum
  • Arizona State Library, History and Archives Division
  • Arizona Historical Foundation
  • Lowell Observatory Library and Archives
  • Heard Museum Billie Jane Baguley Library and Archives
  • Peggy J. Slusser Memorial Philatelic Library