PFINGSTEN: Escondido volunteers helps residents rediscover their roots (2024)

In the Pioneer Room of the Escondido Public Library are generations of records —- sad stories, family photographs, high school football scores and farmers-almanac stuff reaching back through the history of North County.

But for one afternoon this week, “generations” will be the key word.

On Saturday, Escondido native Ginger Kullman will lead a free genealogy workshop, teaching visitors how to track down everything from ancient bloodlines on the internet to local histories that may be stashed on yellowed newsprint in the Pioneer Room.

Because the library subscribes to, Kullman will give attendees a primer to that online database, as well.

“I’ve been doing my family genealogy for over 30 years,” Kullman told me last week. “This class is basically for those who are just beginning, or are interested in new ways of finding information about their families.”

In Kullman’s case, there was plenty to dig up —- a little white church about half a mile north of Harrah’s Rincon, for example.

“It’s kind of falling apart now, but my grandfather built that church over 100 years ago, using wood that he hauled from Palomar Mountain,” she said.

That’s the kind of thing that makes this library volunteer’s workshop especially valuable to anyone with roots in Escondido.

“We’ll go through the Pioneer Room and look at some of the resources there, plus use the computers and go to some of the free web sites that are available for doing research,” she explained. “We’re trying to help people find information they didn’t know about their families.”

She said the Pioneer Room itself represents a treasure-chest of facts that have never been digitized and therefore may only reside in that one room.

“It has a lot of the history of this local area —- specifically Escondido —- and they have books on genealogy, as well,” she said.

“Both my mother and I were born here in Escondido,” said Kullman. “I’m to the point where, the more skeletons I can find, the better I like it.”

The workshop is scheduled from 2:30 until 4 p.m. at the Pioneer Room in the Mathes Community Center, 247 South Kalmia Street. Reservations are required, and can be made by calling Kullman at 760-745-6633.

Next stop: By the time you and I are sitting down to our Thanksgiving dinners, Aaron Linsdau will be halfway across Antarctica, if all goes according to plan.

I profiled Linsdau in my “In Person” column this summer, when the Carlsbad software engineer was dragging a tire around the city to train for the trek. Covering some 1,450 miles to the South Pole and back, he’ll tow 300 pounds of gear and drop packages of food and stove fuel to keep himself alive on the way back to Hercules Inlet.

He is attempting to become the first American to ski from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole and back unsupported, and last week he wrote to say that he is on his way to Chile at the end of this month.

Linsdau has spent his recent weeks in Jackson Hole, Wyo., where he has worked up to eight hours a day towing that tire up Old Pass Road, which rises from 6,400 to 8,400 feet in elevation in the space of four miles.

It’s the closest he could find in the continental U.S. to Antarctic conditions, and he plans a pit stop in San Diego this week before flying out of Los Angeles on Oct. 22.

“The first possible day on the ice will be Oct. 29,” he wrote.

So I know it is a little early, but add this to your Thanksgiving list: that you are not in a place which is trying to kill you. (Insert your in-law pun of choice here.)

Blanchard honored: They’re calling it an “OceanLeaf,” but for Marjorie Blanchard, the award has more to do with jewelry than the sea.

A San Diego nonprofit group called Somali Family Service will honor Blanchard on Wednesday night for her service to the region’s growing Somalian refugee community.

According to a statement distributed by the organization last week, she will be recognized for her volunteerism with Project Refuge, which assists refugees from East Africa, including Somalia, who endured severe persecution in their homelands before settling in San Diego.

The Escondido resident will receive the Innovation Award for mentoring African women involved in an upstart jewelry-making enterprise in San Diego.

“Marjorie uses her business expertise to help the women make, market and sell their products so that both the clients and Project Refuge can become more financially independent and self-sufficient,” the statement read.

Send your items to Tom Pfingsten at (760) 689-9451 or

PFINGSTEN: Escondido volunteers helps residents rediscover their roots (2024)


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