It doesn't look like this forum is checked often, but I feel the need to update some information in my original post anyway.
We are pretty sure that my grandfather Alva Lawrence Van Sickle was born in either Montcalm Township, MI or in that county and his birthdate was 11/10/1895. Lawrence is a maybe for my great-grandfather, not a certainty. Alva's obit in 1945 said that he was "educated in Michigan and Arkansas, and became familiar with the building trades working as a carpenter". Family lore has him working as a carpenter on the Littlerock, CA WPA Irrigation Project (Littlerock Dam)in the '30s.
Alva was married to Alexandria Keith Scott in Golden CO on March 15, 1914, and they farmed on a homestead in Park Co. Colorado until 1926 when they came to California. There are no records that the homestead was patented (BLM records).
They had 7 children: Margie, Gloria, Violet, Russell, Dolores, James(my father), and Charles Anthony (Stormy).
Alva's mother according to family lore was Inez Lopez, his father's first wife. The obit showed Russell as the mother's maiden name, so it is likely that Inez and my ggfather separated early. Alva had a younger half-brother named Neal Van Sickle, and another named Leon(?)Bernhard, apparently Inez' son from her second marriage. Alva was apparently not close to either one.
There may be some more information I can get from the few remaining relatives, but the above is the best I can get for now.