Santa Cruz Good Times

Saturday
Sep 20th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

History Buff

newsGT sits down with 2010 Historian of the Year Marion Pokriots
When I meet 2010 Santa Cruz Historian of the Year Marion Pokriots at her Scotts Valley home, where she’s lived since moving to the area in the 1950s, I find the dining room table stacked with volumes chronicling her own rich history. The books she’s authored, including “Some Early Santa Cruz Families: 1797-1847,” “The Joseph Majors Story,” “The Hitchcock-Patterson Saga” and the most recent, titled “Remembering Scotts Valley,” are piled alongside research projects or booklets she “just puts together” like one about Mount Carmel Cemetery and a scrapbook of press clippings by and about her from over the years.

We sift through the materials, journeying through her extensive adventures deciphering Santa Cruz County history, arriving at a thick packet of research on David Morrill Locke—a New Hampshire man who made his fortunes selling water to California gold miners and used it to settle on 1,100 acres in Scotts Valley. The project was for a Santa Cruz County history class she took in 1984 at Cabrillo College taught by esteemed local “history dude” Sandy Lydon. Her foray into the legacy of Locke launched her into an endless exploration of other notable Santa Cruzans from years past.

“That [project] really was my initiation into historical research and it was such fun I just continued,” she says. “One thing would lead to another.” Locke steered her to the Bolcoffs, then to the Majors and eventually to the Castros—all prominent early Santa Cruz families—which then sparked her fascination with the Californios and the families who lived here before it was part of the United States of America.

This volume of accomplishments, as well as her involvement with local history organizations, has won Pokriots the title of 2010 Historian of the Year through the Museum of Art and History. Notably, she has been a member of the Santa Cruz Genealogy Society since the 1970s and of Researchers Anonymous, a group of local historians, since it was founded more than 15 years ago.

Pokriots was interested in genealogy long before she took Lydon’s class and got hooked on local history, having inherited a hankering for family lineages from her mother, who took up the habit after her father passed away. “My father would always say, ‘Marion, don’t ever get into genealogy,’” Pokriots remembers, laughing. “That was because she got really into it and he was just left alone.

“Once you get into it, you are just really addicted to it,” she continues; now speaking from her own experience. “You have to find out what happened—who and what date. It becomes a hobby you can’t let go [of]. There’s always something to do, something to find. It never ends.”

This ensnaring hobby became a career for Pokriots over the years (“I don’t have any letters after my name, but I do it as a profession,” she quips), and she is still for hire to do family genealogies as well as property histories. “I like doing property histories because you never know who might have owned that land,” she says. Even an old building can impart knowledge of generations of people with stories worth knowing—and it’s the families, and the individuals within them, that she finds most fascinating. “People and their relationships are just … wow,” says Pokriots. “So I don’t really read novels anymore. This is more exciting than anything in a novel.”

But genealogies aren’t just full of colorful characters and timeless family drama—they’re key pieces of a larger historical tale, but perhaps (and most excitedly, for Pokriots) the kind “they didn’t teach in high school and college.”

“I learn so much history by delving into families,” says Pokriots.

All the talk of family histories got me thinking about my own and how little I really knew. Her genuine interest shining through, Pokriots asked about my family names and the nations of my ancestors. And before I knew it, she was helping me fill out my own genealogy chart.

Do you ever feel like a detective? I ask. “Oh, definitely,” she says. “It’s more fun than being a detective, I think, because there are no criminals involved … well, hopefully.”

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Catwalk on the Wild Side

Meet the artists and designers behind this year’s edition of FashionART, SantaCruz’s most outrageous fashion show

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Watch List

From Google to the government to data brokers, why your privacy is now a thing of the past

 

The Peace Equation

Sunday is the United Nations’ International Day of Peace, a global peace-building day when nations, leaders, governments, communities and individuals are invited to end conflict, cease hostilities, creat 24 hours of non-violence and promote goodwill. Monday is Autumn equinox as the Sun enters Libra (right relations with all of life). The Soul Year now begins. We work in the dark part of the year (Persephone underground) preparing for the new light of winter solstice. Tuesday to Wednesday is the Virgo new moon festival. We know two things about peace. “The absence of war does not signify peace.” And “Peace is an ongoing process.” In its peace-building emphasis, the UNIDP, through education, attempts to create a “culture of peace, understanding and tolerance”. Esoterically we are reminded of the peace equation: “Intentions for goodwill (and acting upon this intention) create right relations with all earth’s kingdoms which create (the ongoing process of) peace on earth.” At noon on Sunday, in all time zones, millions of participating groups will observe a moment of silence for peace on earth. Bells will ring, candles will be lit, and doves released as the New Group of World Servers recite the Great Invocation (humanity’s mantram of direction). To connect with others around the world see www.cultureofpeace.org    Let us join together with the mother (Virgo). Goodwill to all, let peace prevail on earth. The dove is the symbol for the day.
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Sweet Treats

Local cannabis bakers win award for cookies

 

What fashion trends do you want to see, or not see?

Santa Cruz  |  High School Guidance Counselor

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Santa Clara Wine Trail

My memories of growing up in England include my mother pouring port after Sunday dinner—and sometimes a glass of sherry before dinner. My family didn’t drink much wine back then, but we certainly made up for it with the port and sherry.