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08 January 2010

A Visitor From New Zealand

Helen Geary of Christchurch, New Zealand was trying to track down a "V. Deubler" researching surname DUNCAN who she knew from various Internet postings must be a relative living in the U.S. She located a genealogist named Verne Deubler who lived in the Bay Area and contacted him and was pleased to learn that while Verne wasn't the "V. Deubler" she was seeking, he had come across her DUNCANs and knew a bit about the family. Verne kindly agreed to do some digging and to meet with Helen when she visited the United States.

What Helen didn't know when she arrived at the CGS Library to meet with Verne in September was that the helpful stranger was a past-president and long-time board member at the California Genealogical Society. Verne is also the society's most constant volunteer – logging in several days each week – handling email, working on indexing projects and overseeing the day-to-day "running" of the society. I can't count the number of times I've heard President Jane Lindsey say that she couldn't have served her office without Verne's assistance.

Verne Deubler and Helen Geary

Verne collected an envelope full of goodies for Helen including newspaper articles, obituaries and patent applications of the Duncan and Humes families. Helen's gg-aunt, Mary A. Duncan, of Dunedin, New Zealand, settled with her family in San Francisco and married Robert Deniston Hume (1845-1908).

 Robert Dennison Hume

Hume was a salmon canning pioneer and a member of the California Genealogical Society. His biography and photograph are found in A History of the New California: Its Resources and People by Leigh Hadley Irvine. One of Hume's fishing vessels was named for his wife – the Mary D. Hume is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Helen had street addresses for two Duncan homes that she was eager to visit and I knew exactly where one of them was since I pass it quite frequently. I was able to drive her there and to Mountain View Cemetery for photographs. We easily found her Duncan plot after a quick stop at the cemetery office.

A former Duncan family residence.

I promised Helen that I would locate her second address on Randolph Avenue and take photographs of the Edwin Duncan home. The proof is posted here and I am happy to report that I met the current owner and she has traveled to New Zealand and visited Christchurch. How's that for coming full circle?

Photographs by Kathryn M. Doyle, Oakland, California.