Santa Cruz Good Times

Monday
May 25th
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

 

Gate Openers

Up-and-coming artists like Ryan Bingham are a great reason to show up early to the Santa Cruz American Music Festival

 

Gemini Sun, Pentecost, Shavuot—Enlightenment and Gladness

As the sun enters Gemini on Sunday, sign of speaking, communication, thinking, inter-relations, writing and understanding languages, the feast days of Pentecost & Shavuot (Catholic and Jewish festivals) occur. During Pentecost’s 50 days after Easter, tongues of fire appear above the heads of the disciples, providing them with the ability to understand all languages and all feelings hidden in the minds and hearts of humanity. It’s recorded that Pentecost began with a loud noise, which happened in an upper room (signifying the mind). The Christ (World Teacher) told his disciples (after his ascension) when encountering a man at a well carrying a water pot (signs for Age of Aquarius) to follow him to an upper room. There, the Holy Spirit (Ray 3 of Divine Intelligence) would overshadow them, expand their minds, give them courage and enable them to teach throughout the world, speaking all languages and thus able to minister to the true needs of a “seeking” humanity. Pentecost (50 days, pentagram, Ray 5, Venus, concrete and scientific knowledge, the Ray of Aquarius) sounds dramatic, impressive and scary: The loud noise, a thunderous rush of wind and then “tongues of fire” above the heads of each disciple (men and women). Fire has purpose. It purifies, disintegrates, purges, transforms and liberates (frees) us from the past. This was the Holy Spirit (Ray 3, love and wisdom) being received by the disciples, so they would teach in the world and inform humanity of the Messiah (Christ), who initiated the new age (Pisces) and gave humanity the new law (adding to the 10 Commandments of the Aries Age) to Love (Ray 2) one another. Note: Gemini is also Ray 2. Shavuot is the Jewish Festival of Gladness, the First Fruits Festival celebrating the giving of the 10 Commandments to Moses as the Aries Age was initiated. Thus, we have two developmental stages here, Jewish festival of the Old Testament. Pentecost of the New Testament. We have gladness, integrating both.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Off Her Meds

Kristin Wiig runs wild—and transcends her sketch comedy roots—as a truly strange character ‘Welcome to Me’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Flats Bistro

Pizza with an artisan twist comes to Aptos Beach

 

What’s your take on Santa Cruz locals?

Santa Cruz locals are really friendly once you know them. I think a lot of them have a hard time leaving, and I would too. Ryan Carle, Santa Cruz, Biologist

 

Soquel Vineyards

If Soquel Vineyards partners Peter and Paul Bargetto and Jon Morgan were walking down the street wearing their winning wine competition medals, you’d hear them coming from a mile away. This year was particularly rewarding for the Bargettos and Morgan—they won two Double Gold Medals and five Gold Medals at January’s San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

 

Enlightened Flavors

Squash & Blossom’s artisanal alternative-flour delights, beet kvass from Cafe Ivéta, and the Santa Cruz Baroque Festival