Thursday, August 29, 2019

My Dad. Member of the Tech Pep Staff in High School

Did you know that's yearbook collection is free to search until September 2nd? I already have access to Ancestry, but I began looking through their yearbook collection after seeing several genealogy friends posting yearbook photos on Facebook that they had found on

I inherited several of my mom's school yearbooks, but none of my dad's yearbooks. So, it's been fun to find photos of my dad in Ancestry's yearbook collection.

I found this great photo of my dad, Jan Albert Iverson, in the 1955 Benson Polytechnic High School yearbook. I didn't know he was a member of their Tech Pep Staff. What a fun find!

I added the arrow and the boxes in this photo after I downloaded it from Ancestry. The red arrow is pointing to my dad. Here's a close-up of him.

My dad was a senior in high school in 1955. I've found and downloaded other fun pictures from this yearbook, which I will share in future posts.

Have you searched the yearbook collection at yet?

Thanks for stopping by!


© 2019 Copyright by Jana Iverson Last, All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, August 21, 2019


I received the following press release today ~


(21 August 2019)--In a historic move, the boards of the National Genealogical Society (NGS) and the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) announced today their intent to merge. The two organizations, both non- profit leaders in the dynamic genealogy industry, will form one consolidated group that will continue to operate as the National Genealogical Society. Both boards approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) earlier this week, and jointly announced the news at the Opening Session of the FGS Family History Conference in Washington, D.C., this morning.

Leaders of both organizations believe this merger will serve the genealogy community by improving support of both individual members and societies in the pursuit of genealogical excellence.

The organizational structure of NGS will be modified to increase functions that support genealogical societies and family organizations. Digitization projects of genealogical importance such as the War of 1812 pensions will continue. The two organizations will continue to operate independently while all details of the merger are completed, no later than October 1, 2020.

Faye Stallings, President of FGS, said: “We are excited about this opportunity to combine with a premier organization that has been in operation since 1903. This will allow for improved and expanded services to help support societies.” Ben Spratling, President of NGS, commented, “We look forward to continuing the strong legacy of FGS as a ‘gathering point’ for family historians and societies all across the nation.”

Founded in 1903, the National Genealogical Society is dedicated to genealogical education, exemplary standards of research, and the preservation of genealogical records. The Falls Church, Virginia, based nonprofit is the premier national society for everyone, from the beginner to the most advanced family historian, seeking excellence in publications, educational offerings, and guidance in research. It also offers many opportunities to interact with other genealogists.


Media Contact: 

Kathryn M. Doyle
Phone: 510-388-6477

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

A Christmas Card from Aunt Juanita

Back in June, I published a post about my Grandpa Debs Webster's blue notebook. He had taken this small blue notebook on his trip to Mexico in 1955. In this notebook my Grandpa Debs wrote notes about family history. He must have been asking questions about his family history while on his trip. I'm so glad he did that because it has helped me a lot as I've researched our shared Mexican ancestry.

On one of the pages, Grandpa Debs wrote concerning a "Juanita Guzman." Here's the page from his notebook where that information is found. I've put a red square around the information about Juanita.

Here's the transcription:

Juanita Guzman
Tia Juanita Guzman (Aunt Juanita Guzman)
2° gran (2nd degree great. Could this mean 2nd great-grandaunt?)
253 N. West Lake Av.
Los Angeles 26, Calif.

As I mentioned in my previous post about Grandpa Debs' blue notebook, I have been researching Juanita Guzman. I also mentioned in that post that I have a sweet card that Juanita sent to my Grandpa Debs. Here's that sweet card. I'm so glad that it was kept all of these years and that I was able to inherit this precious family history treasure.

As you can see, it's a Christmas card. Unfortunately, it doesn't have a date on the card and I don't have the envelope, so I don't know what year this card was sent to Grandpa Debs. But, it is so sweet! Juanita wrote:
From your Aunt that would like to meet you.
Juanita Villatoro Guzman
Apparently, Aunt Juanita and my Grandpa Debs hadn't met in person yet when this card was sent. I don't know how or when Grandpa Debs first contacted Aunt Juanita. He wrote her address in his blue notebook. Perhaps he wrote a letter to her, or tried to find her phone number and called her. I wish I could have talked to Grandpa Debs about Aunt Juanita.

Having Juanita's address in the blue notebook has been very helpful in my research about her. I've created a private family tree on Ancestry for her family and have been able to find information about her. She was married twice, had five children, and she had been adopted from Mexico and brought to the United States in 1923. I've also found her United States Petition for Naturalization document, which includes amazingly helpful information, including her birth date and place and her address at the time, which is the same address that was written by my Grandpa Debs in his notebook. The document states that Juanita was born in Arriaga, Chiapas, Mexico on June 24, 1906. That clue and the fact that she signed her name as "Juanita Villatoro Guzman" on the Christmas card are big clues.

I also found out that Guzman is Juanita's 2nd husband's surname. And her first husband's last name was Pancobila. So, Villatoro must have been a maiden name. I say "a" because in researching my Mexican ancestors, I have found that children often had two last names - their father's and their mother's. For instance, my great-grandmother's name was Esther Matus Villatoro. Her father's name was Nicanor Matus and her mother's name was Raymunda Villatoro. Esther was born in Arriaga, Chiapas, Mexico and so was Juanita. And both have the Villatoro surname. So this is an important clue.

Unfortunately, I still don't know exactly how Juanita is connected to our Villatoro family. I still don't know who her parents were. I hope I can find these vital pieces of the puzzle in the near future.

Thanks for stopping by!


© 2019 Copyright by Jana Iverson Last, All Rights Reserved



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