Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Sonora CA - part 1

While I was on my December vacation my friend Sheri Fenely and I took a day trip to Sonora to see what we could find on my 2nd great grandfather David Watson and his family.  I knew the Watson family had spent some time in the mining town of Chinese Camp and I was on the hunt for anything I could find in this area. Here is my relationship to David Watson:
 Prior to going to Sonora I had contacted Charlie Dyer at the Carlo M. DeFerrari Archive and Record Center and he emailed me a index list of what was available for David Watson. I was totally surprised he had this inital information at his fingertips. Here's an excerpt of what he provided me.  You can imagine how excited I was for our Sonora visit. 
When we arrived Charlie had the documents already on a table for us. That’s what I call customer service. I’ve prepared myself that this may not be how all my ventures go, but what a nice start.
So today I’m  going to share a couple of the items I received on our visit.

Estray Affidavits-
I was a little unclear what this meant so I looked it up.
         Estray: in law, is any domestic animal found wandering at large or lost, particularly if the owner is unknown.
        Affidavit: a written statement confirmed by oath or affirmation, for use as evidence in  court.

So back in the day if someone found a stray animal it was important to report that you had found the animal as you didn’t want to be accused to stealing it. It turns out that David Watson was the person who assisted with the appraisal of animals.  The transcription below was done already by someone at the Archives.  
You'll notice I'm practicing noting my sources :-)

Legal Record
Certificate of Appraiser/Estray Affidavits
Arch 1764/Record 0038
Obtained by Susan Saunders-King on Dec 12, 2013
Wanted Posters-
I was thinking these would be big posters like the one in the movies, but they are about the size of a post card.  In these cases not looking for people but missing animals. These two cards were in a book with a ton of other wanted posters.    
Wanted Posters 1903
Arch 4619/Record 0112  & 0129
Obtained by Susan Saunders-King on Dec 12, 2013

I also received some other documents but I need to do some more research before I share. These are documents involving a suite over money loaned to be paid back from money made from a mining claim.

So more to come~


  1. Susan, what a treasure trove of information! You will probably find so much more local material, too.

    This is so exciting to see your documents shared online. Looking forward to reading more!

    1. Thanks Jacqi, I appreciate all your support!

  2. Susan, this blog is wonderful! Your inclusion of images of original materials makes this so interesting. Thank you for engaging in this amazing project! Truly, I want to Uber-encourage you!! I will be reading! : )

  3. Thanks Martha, I think this will be a fun adventure!

  4. Susan, this is great. Thanks for taking an interest in the family and doing all this work. Hope I get to meet you soon!

    Steve Saunders (your "second" cousin I believe, right?)
    Trinidad, CA