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19 July 2019

Changes at the Top

An update to our members:

CGS President Vicky Kolakowski has decided for personal and professional reasons that she needs to resign her role as President. Per the CGS Bylaws, Vice President Jim Sorenson has assumed the role of President. Speaking for the Board of Directors, Jim thanks Vicky for her past years of service to CGS and hopes that she will be able to maintain some involvement with CGS in the future, as her time allows. We wish her the best in her endeavors.

Copyright © 2019 by California Genealogical Society

18 July 2019

Summer Thursday Evenings at the Library

In case you missed it: our library is open late on Thursdays in July and August! More time for research, and we offer FREE classes by a variety of our members.

Talks kicked off last week with Robert Jackson speaking on "Discovering Your German Roots." This is a 3-part series, with classes continuing July 18 & 25. Check the listing for more details.

On August 1, Stewart Blandón Traiman discusses "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Genealogy."

And Maureen Hanlon offers tips on research using "Historical Newspapers" on August 8. 

The classes are all free, but size is limited; please follow the link to register your attendance.

Parking is free after 6 p.m. in downtown Oakland, and North Oakland is hopping with new restaurants within blocks. Grab a friend and come on down!

All our events can be found listed on the CGS Facebook page
or on our website:
or at (search for California Genealogical Society)

Copyright © 2019 by California Genealogical Society

17 July 2019

Our Library Collections: South Dakota

Hand-drawn map of Fort Randall in
South Dakota
One in a series highlighting some of our holdings at the Library in Oakland. For a fuller listing of books, journals, and more, consult the CGS Library catalog in WorldCat.

Our South Dakota books begin with six volumes of South Dakota by the Department of History Collections in Brule County. Chapter One is a history of Brule County. That is followed by chapters on individuals and a variety of topics. Volume 23 published in 1947 has chapters on Ferries on the Big Sioux River, Hand County, and Newspapers of South Dakota. Each chapter is long – for example, the chapter on Father Christian Hoecken is forty pages, so unlike some of the autobiographical sketches our collection holds, these are quite substantive. These books are really packed with a lot of genealogical information and are something anyone with South Dakota roots needs to look at.
These five volumes are Dakota Territory and South Dakota
We have five dense volumes titled History of Dakota Territory by George W. Kingsbury, each with a San Francisco D.A.R. bookplate. They were published in 1915. The table of contents, 19 pages long is somewhat unique in that for each chapter there is a brief summary of the contents of the chapter. This set of books provides an excellent history of the state and is very well illustrated so is another tremendous resource.

We have a nice set of four books that were compiled by Ronald Vern Jackson. The set includes the 1860, 1870 and 1880 censuses plus the 1880 Mortality Schedule.
This centennial book includes articles
written by multiple authors

Our hard copy book collection includes a few books focused on specific counties in South Dakota. One of these is Lawrence County Dakota Territory Centennial, 1861–1961 by Mildred Fielder. It contains a series of articles written by different authors on a range of topics such as mining, dairying, lumbering, transportation, education, churches, sports and more. 

Historical Collections from Deuel County follows the format of many of our bicentennial books. It provides a history of the county followed by short bios for many individuals in chronological order. This particular book is very well illustrated. At the beginning of the book they included individual plot maps for each township with the names of original landowners. These are clear and easier to read. 
Betsy Uven 1884 is one of the many biographies
found in Historical Collections by Deuel
Photos of Native Americans
in one of our South Dakota books

Copyright © 2019 by California Genealogical Society

13 July 2019

More July Highlights: Going Deeper with FamilySearch, July 20

    Experienced genealogist Jane Knowles Lindsay leads a seminar, "FamilySearch: Beyond the Search Boxes." She will provide an in-depth look at the resources available through, including:
    • How to utilize the extensive catalog to discover material
    • Using the WIKI to aid in your research
    • Discovering ways to utilize the unindexed historical records
    • Finding assistance for your research questions on the Help tab

    The class is held Saturday, July 20, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Oakland Family History Library.

    To register and for more details, go to EventBrite.
    All our events can be found listed on the CGS Facebook page
    or on our website:
    or at (search for California Genealogical Society)

    Copyright © 2019 by California Genealogical Society

    11 July 2019

    Our Library Collections: Tennessee

    King Mule (no relation) and his Queen,
    Mule Day, Columbia, TN,1949 from
    the Fodor's travel book.
    One in a series highlighting some of our holdings at the Library in Oakland. For a fuller listing of books, journals, and more, consult the CGS Library catalog in WorldCat.

    Tennessee is another state packed with my ancestors so I am very happy to find that we not only have copies of Ansearchin’ News, the journal of the Memphis Genealogical Society, starting in 1957 right through the current issue – we even have an empty box labeled 2019-2021 waiting on the shelf. This is the first time I’ve seen an empty box ready to receive future publications. The most current edition is sixty-two pages and packed with well-written and illustrated articles.  

    A couple of books caught my eye because they are somewhat unusual. The first is a Fodor’s travel book published in 2006. We don’t have many travel books in our collection but of course, they are very handy for providing maps and background information needed when researching on site. It includes a chapter on the history and culture of Tennessee and separate chapters that cover each of the areas within the state.

    The other somewhat unusual book is Tennessee Divorces 1797–1858 by Gale W. Bamman and Debbie W. Spero. This seems like an odd topic to decide to devote an entire book to but for some I am confident you will find this to be a great reference.

    One of the somewhat unusual books in our
    Tennessee collection
    I also found Bible Records and Marriage Bonds compiled by Jeannette Tillotson Acklen, President of the Nashville Chapter, Colonial Dames of America, published 1933. This book mentions my third and fourth great grandfathers in the wills of Isaac and Mary Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln’s grandparents. It also contains several Drakes in the index that I need to follow up on later.

    I know I am biased but I really think our Tennessee collection has several exceptional and unusual books. For example, Nineteenth Century Tennessee Adoptions, Legitimations, and Name Changes by Alan N. Miller. This is not the sort of book that I’ve seen for many other states–I guess people from Tennessee are just exceptional.

    We have Genealogical Abstracts from Tennessee Newspapers 1803-1812 by Sherida K. Eddlemon – a Heritage Books publication, 1989. The index lists several entries for Drake so I will have to come back to this book as well.
    Fodor's travel guide for Tennessee has
    lots of helpful information
    Finally, we have History of Tennessee, Containing Historical and Biographical Sketches of Thirty East Tennessee Counties, published in 1887. This book focuses on the places where my Stover-Drake-Ward ancestors are from …. And I’ve never looked at it before. Keep in mind that I’ve traveled to Tennessee twice and have looked at practically every book I came across but I have never seen any of the books mentioned in this blog post. It just goes to show that our library is a tremendous resource. If you have any doubts about my claim you should come down and see for yourself.

    Copyright © 2019 by California Genealogical Society