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17 January 2018

Want to Build Your Skills for Successful Family History Research?

Whether you are a beginners or an intermediate genealogist, then you should plan to join genealogy instructor, Pam Brett, for this 4-part series sponsored by the California Genealogical Society! What the course about?  It's designed for family history researchers who want to build a strong foundation of genealogy research skills to avoid wasted time and unreliable family trees.  Who wouldn't want to accomplish that?

Pamela Brett will cover six key family history research skills, including how to:
  • Know which records to look for
  • Find relevant records
  • Document the results of the search
  • Evaluate the sources you use and the records you find
  • Analyze the results of your research
  • Write a well-reasoned statement of your conclusions 
This course will be held at the Oakland FamilySearch Library over four separate, Wednesday evening sessions. These session dates and times are:

March 07, 2018    6:00pm to 8:30pm
March 14, 2018    6:00pm to 8:30pm
March 21, 2018    6:00pm to 8:30pm 
March 28, 2018    6:00pm to 8:30pm

Class details
  • In-class group exercises and optional homework assignments will provide participants to practice skills with a wide variety of genealogical records found in a many different places including online websites.
  • Class handouts will include basic strategies and cautions, as well as useful websites to use in your research.
  • It is strongly recommended that participants plan on attending all four classes as the skills are presented in a sequential pattern.
Registration information
  • This course will be held at the Oakland Family Search Library.
  • Pre-registration is required. Class size is limited so register early. 
  • Register early to confirm your seat. Walk-ins will not be admitted.

About the Instructor

Pam Brett's interest in genealogy started over 40 years ago at the birth of her first child, but it wasn't until 1999 when she began serious pursuit of her family history. Most of her ancestors came to America early and moved often leading to research in 31 states and the District of Columbia.

In this series, she hopes to share skills acquired from many years of beginner's mistakes to help participants to focus their personal goals and to acquire new understanding of the lives of their ancestors. 

Join Pam this March and work on strengthening your genealogy foundation. She hopes to have you in her class!

Copyright © 2018 by California Genealogical Society

16 January 2018

A Special Evening Event with Noted Genealogy Author, Bill Cole

Join us on Thursday, March 8th, and be a part of a unique celebration between the California Genealogical Society (CGS) and the California Historical Society (CHS)! Our two genealogy and history-focused organizations are hosting a special event at CHS' headquarters to celebrate our shared history and collaborative missions. Access to CHS' genealogical collections viewing and current exhibits, and a special speaker, Bill Cole will be highlights of the evening. You must pre-register for the event. Free for CGS members or only $5 for non-members.

Interested in California history?  You won't want to miss this event!
Bill Cole will talk about a fascinating only-in-California event, the 1864 Bullion Bend Stagecoach Robbery. This amazing Wild West caper occurred during the Civil War’s final year. It was front-page news that captured the country’s attention.

These incredible events unfolded right in our backyard, from San Jose to Sacramento to Placerville. Genealogist Bill Cole, a relative of one of the perpetrators, dug deep into the California State Archives to uncover the full story. The treasure trove of information he found tells an amazing story, where fact is truly stranger than fiction.

About the Speaker
Bill Cole, M.A., is a passionate genealogist who has vigorously pursued his family history since 1980. His genealogy exploits include being the first person to document the English parents of his immigrant 8th great grandfather from the 16th Century. He has uncovered ancestors born at sea, a shipwrecked survivor pardoned from a death sentence who survived Jamestown, two Mayflower ancestors, multiple Revolutionary War patriots on both sides, and  other fascinating characters – including one involved in a California stagecoach robbery.  

Bill is a member of the Mayflower Society and the Vice President of the Sacramento German Genealogical Society. He recently served on the International German Genealogical Partnership’s International Conference Executive Committee.

California Historical Society
678 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
Need directions or suggestions on how to get there? Visit their website.

5:45 pm - Doors open with a reception, CHS' genealogical collections viewing, and access to CHS' current exhibits.

6:45 pm - Bill’s talk begins at “Bullion Bend: Confederate Stagecoach Robbers, Murder Trials, & the California Supreme Court -- Oh, My!”.

8:45 pm - Event ends
Exhibit information
Alexander Hamilton: Treasures from the New-York Historical Society

The extraordinary life and prolific career of Alexander Hamilton (1757–1804) continue to captivate the American public more than two centuries after his death. Drawing from the    collections of the New-York Historical Society and JP Morgan Chase bank, this exhibition presents original artifacts and documents—many never before seen on the West Coast—that illuminate Hamilton's role in shaping the legal, economic, and political systems at the foundation of the modern United States.

Meanwhile out West: Colonizing California, 1769–1821

At least 300,000 indigenous people lived in Alta California, as it was once known, when the Spanish Crown asserted sovereignty over the territory in 1769. In the ensuing five decades, Spain left an enduring imprint on the Native peoples, the landscape and on California's cultural heritage. This exhibition explores the period through manuscripts, books, paintings, and artifacts from the California Historical Society's collections.

Join us on March 8th and help us make this a celebration to remember!

Copyright © 2018 by California Genealogical Society

08 January 2018

Capital Campaign: Help Us Finish Strong

by Chris Pattillo, Capital Campaign Chair


Today our Sherman-Haughton fund has $384,390 more than it did before the campaign began. Wouldn't it be great if we could reach $400,000 by the time our Capital Campaign ends on February 1st?

The official kickoff of the first ever California Genealogical Society (CGS) Capital Campaign was February 2017, nearly a year ago. The Campaign Committee (myself, Jane Lindsey & Sandy Fryer) reached out to our membership as well as to individuals and philanthropists who have an interest in preserving family history. Our goal was to raise $1.2 million in honor of the 120th anniversary of the society. We did not succeed in reaching this lofty goal but have succeeded in raising an incredible $384,390. This is an amazing number for an all-volunteer organization to raise!

Where does the money go?
Our investment committee has managed our funds prudently, so for the past ten years our portfolio has grown by an average of 9.4% a year. These funds provide financial security for our society, and provide us with the ability to offer more services to our membership.

Why am I sending you another Capital Campaign Appeal?
As you may know, revenue generated from membership fees, seminars, classes, and research trips does not cover our annual expenses. Every year we rely on our members’ generous donations in response to the Annual Appeal and prudent withdrawals from the Sherman-Haughton Fund to supplement the budget shortfall. Our expenses, particularly the rent, continue to increase every year. Have you contributed yet?

Long-term goals and financial stability go hand-in-hand
The Board and Campaign Committee want CGS to continue to be a leader in family history. We want to offer value to our members by providing nationally known speakers and state-of-the-art educational programs for beginning to advanced researchers. We want to do more to enable our long-distance members to have better access to the society by offering participatory webinars and by digitizing our records and making them available online to members.
Here are 2 easy ways to make a donation:

Mail or drop off a check at the library:
2201 Broadway LL2, Oakland, CA 94612-3031
Write checks to: CGS – Capital Campaign


DONATE on our website,

Why I believe in this campaign
Family has always been important to me—it’s my anchor and enabler. CGS feels like an extension of my family. I value how being part of the society has helped me with my research—every visit to the society I learn something new from another member. I hope you share this feeling and will support CGS financially today with a donation to the Capital Campaign and always through donations in response to the Annual Appeal. The money donated to the Capital Campaign goes directly to the Sherman-Haughton fund.

Thank you.

Copyright © 2018 by California Genealogical Society

30 December 2017

Putting It All Together

Do you know how valuable you are to The California Genealogical Society (CGS)?  Our member-volunteers are why our genealogy society and library exist.  From our first president, Dr. Edward Stephen Clark, in 1898 to our current president, Linda Okazaki, our society is filled with dedicated volunteers that are always pushing for genealogical excellence. You are now part of this heritage and we want you to know how your society can help you.

Visit the library
One way to help is to remind you to visit our research library. It is an amazing resource to historians and family history researchers alike.  Have you been to the library lately? Just a reminder that we're located in Oakland's Uptown District and the area is hopping with great restaurants, cool coffee shops and wonderful stores that are filled with the energy from the neighborhood. Luckily, we're in the middle of it all!  

Full of surprises
One of the unsung heroes of the library is our Manuscript Collection. It is comprised of 108 linear feet on the shelves, as well as loose papers, research and family histories that have been donated to our library over its almost 118 year history.  We are forever grateful to volunteers Pat Bonderud and Linda Darby for cataloguing and organizing this treasure trove. The incredibly helpful and insightful Georgia Lupinsky and Virginia Turner are now the volunteers who manage our collection. They created a thirty-page inventory (in pdf format) available for download our website.

This searchable database provides a synopsis of each collection, providing enough information to help you determine if further examination of a manuscript is beneficial to your own research. Individual collections may be viewed at the Library by appointment.

Another way we can help you search for research materials is to use our online Library Catalog. I think you'll be amazed once you start looking at what's available to assist in your genealogy search.

Our Capital Campaign Needs Your Donation
Even with all of the free labor given by our volunteers, we still need money to continue our mission. Between high real estate costs in the Bay Area, continual upgrades to our computer equipment, offering high quality speakers and classes, along with keeping our library filled with new resources (including online databases), a group of long-term volunteers realized the society needed a committee dedicated to raising long-term funding for CGS. So earlier this year, the Capital Campaign was born

Chris Pattillo (Chair), Jane Lindsey and Sandy Fryer began raising money that will help cover the shortfall in the annual operating expenses of CGS.  Think of it as a substantial rainy day fund that lets us all benefit by having access to great classes, seminars, plus all of our online and library resources.  

How you can contribute:
*  Make a donation on our website or send a check.
*  Become a Life member to support the campaign. 
*  List CGS as a beneficiary in your will or personal trust. 
*  Provide a tax-deductible donation through your IRA or 401K .

There are many ways to donate, so choose what works best for you. 

Questions? Send an email to Chris Pattillo or Jane Lindsey. They're waiting to hear from you.

Become a part of the campaign, and make a donation today.  Thank you for your continued support.

Copyright © 2017 by California Genealogical Society

27 December 2017

Happy New Year, Genealogy Fans!

Happy New Year! As we end 2017, the California Genealogical Society & Library would like to extend a warm "thank you" to our members, volunteers and visitors throughout the year. Our genealogy community continues to grow and evolve by focusing on the future of genealogy while honoring our past.

We hope you had the chance to enjoy our collection of manuscripts, maps, and books or that you participated in one of our classes, events, field trips or seminars in 2017.

2018 is our 120th Anniversary and February 12th is the kickoff 
Come to our Annual Meeting and Birthday Celebration on January 13th and meet new members, see old friends and learn what's happening in the new year. 

In addition to our Jan 13th meeting, you can look forward to our Saturday classes as well as plans for two guided research trips, three off-site events and several field trips. Visit our Eventbrite page to get the latest classes and events on offer. 

Blaine Bettinger, The Genetic Genealogist, will be here on Saturday, March 3rd in Berkeley for an unforgettable genetic genealogy seminar focused on DNA. There are only a few tickets left, so get your seat while you can.

Another great learning option is to get involved with one of our Special Interest Groups (SIG's). The topics covered are Family Tree Maker, San Francisco History and RootsMagic, with a few more in the works.

Checklist for 2018
Visit: In addition to our classes and events, please remember to visit our resource-packed genealogy library to take advantage of our varied collections

Volunteer: Volunteer and help us make the society even better, we have many jobs in need of good people. 

Donate: Your generosity helps us cover the cost of real estate, genealogical resources and many other expenses - thank you.

2018 promises to be an exciting year, so join us as we search for our ancestors and discover something new!

Copyright © 2017 by California Genealogical Society