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23 September 2016

Meet Arlene Miles: Genealogist, Board Member & Library Manager

Photo by Kathryn Doyle
If you haven’t met Arlene Georgia Schroeder-Miles, a long-time volunteer here at the California Genealogical Society & Library, then let me introduce you.  A native New Yorker, she’s been a San Franciscan since 1984, when she and her husband, Ted Miles, moved out west...and has put a smile on everyone’s face ever since.

How she serves the society
Arlene is now serving as both our current Library Manager and newly confirmed board member, representing the concerns of the library committee.  Our highly regarded former librarian and board member, Henry Snyder, appointed her. 

As the Library Manager, Arlene manages a group of volunteers dedicated to maintaining and growing our stellar collection of books, manuscripts and vertical files.

Arlene has excellent organizational and management skills. Her credentials include an Associate Degree in Library Technology from City College San Francisco.

Prior to retiring and becoming a volunteer with us, she served as an assistant librarian at the Bay Area Air Quality Management District before becoming the Records Manager at the Environmental Protection Agency.

What led her to the California Genealogical Society?
Retired and looking for something to do, she joined the California Genealogical Society in 2007 hoping to continue her genealogy research.

What was her first experience with genealogy?
“In the fourth grade, there was an assignment to draw a pedigree of three generations.  Of course I started with me...those were the instructions. I added my parents, then grandparents and found some hints that maybe there were more people in the family tree...”

What’s your perspective on genealogy?
“I have been adding bits and pieces to both our trees since joining CGS on the opening day of the library at the present location.  I like to ‘pay it forward’, by helping others to research and record their families.”

“After meeting Ted (the best thing that ever happened to me), getting married and moving west, I discovered he had a similar interest in genealogy, the rest is a history in the making...”

In addition to her volunteer work at the society, Arlene likes to collect postcards of places she visits, and enjoys the outdoors, especially walking at San Francisco’s beautiful Lands End park.

Look for her if you’re in the library.  Stop for a chat and I bet you’ll come away with a laugh and a smile.  Arlene, you’re another reason why people love the California Genealogical Society.  Thank you!

Copyright © 2016 by California Genealogical Society

16 September 2016

FGS 2016 Genealogy Conference News

by Kim Cotton, FGS delegate
Want to know what happened at this year's Federation of Genealogical Society’s conference in Springfield, Illinois?

Awards and certificates of appreciation were handed out to various volunteers and society members. Highlights include a new award category for service, named the “Lou D. Szucs Service Award” after the well-respected genealogist and first recipient, who has mentored many with a generous spirit.

Judy G. Russell, JD, CG℠ , CGL℠ was awarded the Director’s Award for her efforts for Preserve the Pensions. Judy is a cheerleader for worthy causes within genealogy and the California Genealogical Society should be proud that we’re hosting her for our fall 2017 seminar.

Due to a generous anonymous donation matched by, the Preserve the Pensions campaign has reached its goal. If you’re unfamiliar, the Preserve the Pensions campaign aims to digitize the pension records from veterans of the War of 1812.  Many of our members donated independently to this worthy genealogy cause. Everyone in the genealogical community should be proud, as the resulting digitization efforts will provide an illuminating collection of documents, freely accessible, that would have been lost to future generations if not for our actions today.

Want to attend a future FGS conference?  The locations have been finalized and I encourage you to pencil them into your travel calendar. FGS conferences are open to the public and members of all member societies. If you are a board member or part of the committee leadership at a genealogy society, then you are invited to attend Focus On Societies Day, dedicated to society business topics, as well as other special conference events. Since many national speakers attend, the classes are amazing and provide an excellent alternative or addition to the National Genealogical Society (NGS) conference in any given year.

Here are the upcoming locations:

  • FGS 2017 National Conference - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • FGS 2018 National Conference - Ft. Wayne, Indiana
  • FGS 2019 National Conference - Washington, D.C.
  • FGS 2020 National Conference - Kansas City, Missouri

For more information about the conference dates and venues, or if you’re looking for ideas on society management, then definitely browse their resource-packed website.

You’re all caught up now, but if you have a question for your FGS delegate, email me.  

Hope to see you around the library or at the next genealogy conference!

Copyright © 2016 by California Genealogical Society

14 September 2016

Wordless Wednesday: Vertical Files Grand Opening

If you missed the Vertical Files Grand Opening hosted by Pat Bonderud and Linda Darby this past Saturday, then enjoy these photos from that wonderful day.

What's the vertical file collection?  
Approximately 2,000 files of newspaper clippings, newsletters, correspondence, reproduced records, compiled family charts, research notes and many other interesting items. You never know what you’ll find in this eclectic collection. The contents of these files have been contributed by members and non-members over our 100+ year history. 

How do I search it?
We have an online Vertical File database that includes: a title (usually a surname), brief description of the contents, timeframe, and geographic location for each file.

Happy hunting!

Arlene Miles, our newest board member, cuts the ribbon
and opens the vertical file to everyone.
Photo: Ron Madson

Our vertical file curators: Pat Bonderud & Linda Darby
Photo: Shannon Reese
L to R: Linda Okazaki, Arlene Miles, Linda Darby & Pat Bonderud
Photo: Ron Madson
Linda Darby
Photo: Ron Madson

Copyright © 2016 by California Genealogical Society

30 August 2016

Ready for the Board?

by Karen Lemelin

The Nomination Committee is seeking candidates for the California Genealogical Society (CGS) Board of Director nominations for 2017-2018.

Corresponding Secretary Karen Lemelin will chair the 2016 committee with general members Chris Pattillo and Nancy Cork.

The committee seeks nominees for several openings on the board of directors.  Chairperson Lemelin said, “ We are seeking enthusiastic, energetic candidates with a passion for genealogy to assist CGS as we approach our 120th anniversary to continue to strengthen and build our organization.”

Nominees must be CGS members. 

If you are interested or know someone who might be a good candidate, please email Karen Lemelin or call at 510-333-8116. 

The California Genealogical Society's bylaws specify the annual creation of a Nominating Committee in Article VII, Section 1: Nominations and Elections.


Section 1. The Nominating Committee shall consist of at least three (3) members to be named not less that ninety (90) days prior to the Annual Business Meeting. The President shall appoint the Nominating Committee. The chairperson of the committee shall be from the Board of Directors and additional committee members from the general membership. 
Section 2. The Nominating Committee shall submit its report to the Board of Directors and the Board shall give timely notice of nominations to the general membership prior to the Annual Business Meeting. 
Section 3. Following the Nominating Committee’s report to the membership at the Annual Business Meeting, the floor shall be open to additional nominations, provided nominees have given consent to serve if elected. 
Section 4. Nominees shall be members in good standing in the Society. 
Section 5. Members in good standing who are present at the Annual Business Meeting shall elect the Directors. A plurality vote shall elect. 
Section 6. If there is only one candidate for an opening, the ballot may be dispensed with by general consent and the election held by voice vote.

Copyright © 2016 by California Genealogical Society

29 August 2016

Genealogical Treasures Revealed September 10th: Come see what you’ve been missing!

by Linda Darby

Come to the Library to check out our Vertical Files Grand Opening hosted by Pat Bonderud and Linda Darby, September 10th, from 12pm to 12:30pm. Light refreshments will be served.

Our 2,000 files include newspaper clippings, newsletters, correspondence, reproduced records, compiled family charts, research notes and other interesting items. You never know what you'll find in this eclectic collection.

Photos by Maureen Hanlon
Both members and non-members have contributed the contents of these files over our 100-year history. 

To make your search easier, we have an online Vertical File database index that includes: a title (usually a surname), brief description of the contents, time frame, and geographic location for each file. A few examples include:

    1856 Ogle County, Illinois marriage certificate for Philo Wood and Almira McKinnery.
    1925 Iowa Adjutant General's Certificate regarding James Strain's (of Crawfordville, Iowa) military service in the Civil War.
    1911 statement by Mrs. E. J. Grady of New Jersey regarding Alexander Desnoyers, her grandfather, who had resided in Quebec.
    O’Bryant surname:  Research material including marriage and death certificates, charts and photographs from Kenneth G. Felton of Castro Valley, Calif. in his quest to find M. A. Bruer who married James Ira Nelson in Dec. 1891.
    Mesa surname: Death certificate and obituary for Frank Mesa (1835-1910); photo of daughter, Lucy M. Mesa (1875-1944) with vital information; Lucy Mesa’s death certificate and wedding announcement; and death certificate for Harry Durand Wilkinson (1876-1946)
    Miller surname:  Marriage records of the Miller family, 7 pages. Includes the Miller family Bible records, plus marriage certificates for Clement H. Miller & Alice W. Davis, and Samuel Miller born 1801.
    The History of the Bibber Family at Harpswell, Maine by Rev. Chas. N. Sinnett, Fayette, Iowa [1913].

Please Register for this FREE Event. We hope to see you there!

Copyright © 2016 by California Genealogical Society