Recent Posts

25 April 2017

A Seven-Day Caribbean Cruise and Genealogy – The Best of Both Worlds

by Tim Cox

To kick off the celebration of our 120th anniversary, The California Genealogical Society (CGS) is excited to announce that we are going on a genealogy cruise, from February 11 – 18, 2018.  We’ll be on board the Celebrity Silhouette.  This cruise departs from Ft. Lauderdale, FL and visits ports in Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, and St. Maarten.


Our guest speakers will be The Genealogy Guys, George G. Morgan and Drew Smith. They will teach classes in our private classrooms on days we are at sea and conduct private consultations to help you with your genealogy questions.

What could be better than taking a vacation, staying in 5-star accommodations, visiting tropical ports of call, and being with other genealogists for seven fun-filled days?  Your companion who may not be interested in genealogy will be able to enjoy all on-board ship activities while you are expanding your knowledge!

What can you expect on a genealogy cruise?
  • A cruise is similar to attending a three- to four-day conference but without getting overloaded with too much information, only to forget most of it when you return home.
  • On sea days, attend classes and have a private consultation with The Genealogy Guys or experienced CGS genealogists.
  • While in port take a guided tour and learn about Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, and St. Maarten, go to a local beach, or stay on the ship and sit by the pool, shop at your choice of stores, gamble in the casino, or find a nice quiet place to enjoy a good book or great conversation.
  • Each evening, enjoy a gourmet meal and a stage production, gambling, or relaxing.  You can dress up for dinner or wear your casual vacation attire.
For more information about this cruise, see our online brochure.
Incentive to book now
If you pay your $250 per person deposit before April 28, you can take advantage of some special amenities, such as a classic beverage package, on-board credit of $150, prepaid gratuities, or unlimited Internet package.

Booking a cruise is different than registering for a class or research trip.  All reservations will be made with our travel consultant, Herb Tinley.  Call him to get more information and to make your deposit.  His phone number is on the online brochure.

Please join us on our inaugural cruise in 5-star accommodations!



Copyright © 2017 by California Genealogical Society

21 April 2017

Volunteers…the heart of CGS!


by Kathleen Beitiks

National Volunteer Week will be celebrated April 23-29, giving the California Genealogical Society (CGS) the opportunity to extend a big THANK YOU to members who donate their time and talents to our 119-year-old organization. Volunteers are the heart of CGS and we couldn’t do it without them. 

As the Volunteer Coordinator for the CGS, once a month I tally all of the hours that volunteers to CGS contribute to our organization and I am continually blown away by the numbers.

My tallies always come up with more than 500 hours a month, but truth be told, there are plenty more hours that don’t always get counted. In my conversations with volunteers, I always come across people who say, “Oh, I didn’t log in those calls I did from home because it only took me a few minutes,” or “l love doing this, so I never think of adding it to the sign-in sheet.”
Life Member and long-time Volunteer:  Jim Sorenson
Photo courtesy of Jane Lindsey
Why Volunteer?
Once I read an article about “why” people volunteer and it contained a list of 70 reasons. As you can imagine, the reasons ranged from “for fun!” or “to pass on what I have learned to others (and learn something myself!)” or “to meet new people” to “because someone asked me!”

When I asked a friend why she decided to volunteer for another organization, this was her reason: “My husband retired and he was driving me crazy at home all of the time.” OK, so maybe that doesn’t fall under the “altruism” category, but it just goes to show you that everyone has his or her own reason for volunteering.

How has volunteering for CGS evolved over the years?
CGS has been around since 1898 and many people do not realize that at one time it had paid staff members. So, it makes me even more impressed with our team when I realize how much work our volunteers have taken upon themselves to keep our organization thriving.

We have all different types of volunteers: those who commit once a month or once a week, those who are available for individual events, those who want to work from home and some who want to be on call.

What kinds of things do our volunteers work on?
Here is a partial list of the areas: Book Repair, Capital Campaign, Desk and Patron Services, Education Programs, Events, Finance, Investments, Library Services, Manuscript Collections, Membership, Outreach, Publications and Marketing, Research & Look-ups, Strategic Planning, Technology, and our Website.

Increasingly, we have been hearing from volunteers who want help, but would prefer to “Job Share.” For instance, the “Events Coordinator” position is a good candidate for job sharing. It’s an opportunity to help CGS coordinate events that educate our members about different aspects of genealogy and even bring in revenue so we can offer more services.

THANK YOU AGAIN to all of our volunteers at the California Genealogical Society – and to those of you who want to learn more about ways you can become a member of our team – just shoot me an email!
Kathleen Beitiks, Volunteer Coordinator
Photo courtesy of Linda Okaazaki



Copyright © 2017 by California Genealogical Society

30 March 2017

Untold Stories: A Champion for Children's Rights

by Georgia Lupinsky



This month we highlight the powerful and inspirational story of Nellie (Patterson) Baldwin that was found among the papers of CGS Past President John Ellis Hale that are now part of our manuscript collection.  She was his maternal grandmother.

Her early life
Born 11 June 1865 in Muskegon, Michigan to Robert Burnside Patterson and Mary Graham Miller, she was a bright student, finishing the three-year high school program in Ludington, Michigan when she was fifteen. The school added another year, so she went back in 1882, at age seventeen and became the first and only graduate of the four-year program.

Afterwards, she taught school in the area for several years. Her teaching experience shaped her outlook towards children, which would come into play in her later years.   

Her next chapter takes shape
In 14 September 1887 she married Edward Lewis Baldwin in Ludington and the couple moved to San Francisco about 1890.  Nellie became active in a variety of women’s clubs, serving as state chairman of Civics in the General Federation of Women’s Clubs from 1906 to 1908 and as President of the California Club from 1908 to 1910.

After her husband’s death in 1912, Mrs. Baldwin managed her husband’s business, the Ferry Drug Store, known as “the first drug store from the Ferry” at 20 Market Street that was, “found to be a convenient store by the trans bay and tourist trade. By her careful supervision she increased steadily the prestige of the store.”

A noble purpose blossoms in San Francisco
In November of 1919 members of various civic and women’s clubs endorsed Mrs. Baldwin as their candidate for appointment to the Board of Education, their purpose being to have the next vacancy filled by a woman who has taken “an ardent interest in the welfare of the children of the city.”

 A leader in women’s social work, she served as Chairman of the Probation Committee of the Juvenile Court for twelve years.  And, on August 7, 1920, an article appeared in the San Francisco Examiner entitled “S.F. Woman is Juvenile Judge.” Mrs. Baldwin had the distinction of being one of only five women “ex-officio” judges in the nation. This announcement appeared in other newspapers nationwide. 

The Seattle Daily Times stated, “every city of any size now has its women attorneys, but the appointment of women to the bench is still rare enough to attract wide attention.” Each Thursday morning Mrs. Baldwin heard cases in which girls were involved and worked hard to keep juveniles out of the mainstream of criminal courts.

Later in life Nellie lived with her daughter and son-in-law, Marion and William Morrell Hale, on Ashby Avenue in Berkeley and died there 10 September 1945. Her grandson believed her teaching experience and her concern for children helped him through difficult times in his young life.

How to use our manuscript collection
To learn more about our collection, please visit our website, then select the Databases tab in the upper right hand corner on the home page. Under “Databases Free to All” click on the “CGS Manuscript Collection Index” and a current copy of the database will appear for the reader’s review. The database is organized by:  title, geography, timeframe, description and surname.

If you find a collection that is pertinent to your research, call to make an appointment with a member of the Manuscript Collection Committee or the Desk Duty volunteer to view items, as this is a closed stack collection. We have many wonderful research resources for the genealogy community and look forward to seeing you soon!


Copyright © 2017 by California Genealogical Society

29 March 2017

Capital Campaign Update


Report from the Capital Campaign Committee
By now members should have received a mailing about the Capital Campaign. We hope you will consider being a part of this effort. We are on our way towards reaching our goal of raising $1.2 million and providing financial stability for our society for many years to come.  

How the idea got started
The idea to have a campaign began in fall of 2015. The CGS board appointed a committee who has been working on campaign strategies. The silent phase is now complete with almost $350,000 raised. Recently a mailing was sent to all members.

Over the past few months, the committee has posted several articles about what we’ve been doing including encouraging members to become life members. All money received from life memberships goes directly into the Sherman-Haughton Fund (formerly known as the Endowment Fund).

Why it’s needed
We hope you have read the material in the mailing and understand how important the campaign is to assure the continued success of the society. Our goal is to grow our existing financial “safety net” so that CGS will be prepared if we undergo challenging times as we did during the 2008 recession.  

Our goal to raise $1.2 million is an enormous endeavor.  We have confidence that our generous members will come forward with what they can donate to assist us in reaching this goal!


Here are some ways you can help us reach our goal:
  • Donate $1,000,000 and have the library named after you.  For example, it might be called The John & Mary Smith Library of the California Genealogical Society.
  • Contribute over $100,000 and you will have the opportunity to have your genealogical research done and/or published. If this is something you might consider, please contact Jane Lindsey.
  • Make a donation of $10,000. If 20 members gave $10,000 each, then that would raise $200,000.
  • Become a life member for $1,200. If 100 members become life members that would raise $120,000.
  • Donate $100. If all 1000 members gave $100, then that would raise $100,000.
  • Encourage others to join CGS. If we gained 100 basic memberships $4,000 would be raised.  If we gained 100 family memberships, we would have another $5,500.
Please remember that no contribution is too small!  We appreciate your support.  Thank you.

Capital Campaign committee
Chris Pattillo, Chair
Jane Lindsey
Sandy Fryer




Copyright © 2017 by California Genealogical Society