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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wordless Wednesday



Photograph courtesy of Ron Madson, Oakland, California, 7/13/13.

Copyright © 2014 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Committee Spotlight: Library

Library Committee Chair Henry Snyder

2014 Library Committee Members:
Henry Snyder (Chairman), Janet McDonald, Kristi Wessenberg, Shirley Hoye, Arlene Miles, Carrie Fruzza, Gibran Roth, Nancy Schlegel, Marcelle White.

Libraries are out-of-date. The internet has made libraries obsolete. These statements appear more frequently as the use of digital resources grows. No one can deny that the internet has become a powerful force in making information available but not everyone is ready to give up the ability to personally hold and examine the resource they are consulting. Library Committee members agree with the need for the existence of libraries and at the same time acknowledge that online access is also crucial. Every single committee member interviewed emphasized how dynamic and important the library is not only for society members but for anyone doing genealogical research.

As an introduction to the committee, a few facts about the library itself will make clear the reasons for their dedication. If you have not looked through the catalog (available online via the website), you are missing the chance to explore a collection offering a wide range of research materials. According to Committee Chairman, Henry Snyder, there are 13,400 items in the online catalog. A quick browse of the catalog reveals numerous enticing sources whether your family history has roots in California, elsewhere in the U.S., or in other parts of the world.

In the more than 100 years of its existence, the library has been located at several sites in San Francisco. The original collection was destroyed by fire during the 1906 earthquake and had to be recreated from scratch. In the years following it shared locations with a number of different institutions and organizations such as the Sutro Collection Library, the San Francisco Public Library, the Sons of the American Revolution Library (in the War Memorial Building) and the California Historical Society before moving to two locations of its own in San Francisco and eventually to its present home across the bay in Oakland.

The committee has been fortunate to have had the expertise of professional librarians over the years and continues to attract enthusiastic volunteers who tend to the ongoing tasks needed to keep the library functioning. According to Dr. Snyder, “A major accomplishment this past year was the processing to completion of all the books, and problems awaiting attention on the shelves behind our desk. They are all cleared out! Moreover, we cleaned up three drawers of cards, all pulled because of some cataloguing issue. The backlog dated back to 2005.”


Shirley Hoye and Arlene Miles

There is a lot going on constantly behind the scenes at the library. Volunteers tackled an extensive manuscript collection whose contents were mostly unknown and which was unavailable for regular use. Although it is not yet part of the online catalog, the collection is searchable and available to researchers at the library. Another volunteer made the first lists of the microfilm and microfiche collections from which the online catalog entries for this collection were created. There is a wide range of information such as passenger and immigrant lists, military records and much more available on microfilm and microfiche. A current project needing volunteers involves cataloging the vertical files, 2 or 3 page documents that are stored in filing cabinets and which contain a wealth of information on innumerable topics. Along with scrapbooks there are composite volumes that group together unrelated materials like pamphlets, family Bible records and cemetery records. It is necessary to separate and catalog all these items to make the information in them useful and searchable. If you enjoy the hunt for historical treasure, this is a great project to volunteer for. Former committee member Jane Lindsey says that she has been told that the CGS library contains material that can be found nowhere else. There are many more “little gems” awaiting discovery.

However, not all of the library collection is unique; duplicates of existing items and material not relevant to the mission of the library have to be moved on to free up needed space. To help solve this problem, the eBay project was created. Marcelle White, who headed this project last year, reports that “Since the end of February 2013, almost 300 books have been sold, raising about $6,000 for the library.” She also registered CGS with PayPal’s “Giving Fund” program, which helps nonprofits keep more of the profits from eBay Sales. Thanks to the efforts of Marcelle, Henry Snyder, Arlene Miles, and Shirley Hoye, CGS is now a “top-rated seller” on eBay and ships books all over the U.S. and even to France. Direct sales are another part of this effort. According to Henry Snyder, “We have sold several thousand dollars’ worth of books at two meetings – our event with the New England Historic Genealogical Society and at the Ancestry Day extravaganza. The proceeds fund all our acquisitions and other library needs.”


Marcelle White and Arlene Miles
The combination of regular library tasks and special projects makes it possible for volunteers of different skill levels to make significant contributions as part of the Library Committee. Many volunteers are active in more than one area at a time. Long-time volunteer, Arlene Miles, manages the serials as well as assisting with or managing a myriad of other essential projects. Arlene and Shirley Hoye are at work doing a long overdue shelf list check to make sure everything on the shelves is in the online catalog. Carrie Fruzza has joined the team and has taken over some of the responsibilities for serials allowing Arlene to help in other areas. And there are still many projects to be done. One project that needs volunteers is checking the publications of California county historical and genealogical society publications against the CGS library resources to see what we need to acquire. Not many members are aware that the library owns pedigree charts recorded on long rolls of paper. These have just been unrolled and need to be reviewed and analyzed before they can be useful. For aficionados of maps, there is a whole map case that has to be organized. You do not have to be a professional librarian to help; the role of the library itself is diverse and there is a need for many different kinds of talents to assist in keeping it vital and relevant.

Copyright © 2014 by Kathryn Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Introducing the New 2014 Directors

The California Genealogical Society is pleased to introduce five members who have consented to serve and have been elected to the Board of Directors in 2014. They are Felicia Addison, Tim Cox, Edi Daly, Glenn Koch, and Marcelle White.

Felicia Addison became fascinated by an older sister’s school project and decided at age twelve that she would one day pursue family research. Twenty-seven years later a television commercial for Ancestry.com was the final bug that bit her with an incredible passion for genealogy. By profession, Felicia has been a Customs House Broker for more than twenty years. This profession assisted her in research during traveling for work with being stuck in hotels all over the country with a laptop, internet and awesome room service, which is perfect for the hobby of genealogy! Felicia has been a member of The African American Genealogical Society of Northern California (AAGSNC) for five years where she’s served on the Outreach and Program committees and is currently the Treasurer.


Tim Cox has been a family historian and genealogist for more than 25 years. He is a member of numerous genealogical societies across the country. His volunteer duties at California Genealogical Society (CGS) in Oakland, CA have included being the Education and Events coordinator 2010-2012 and advisor for 2013; co- planner of Ancestry Day 2011 & 2013; Registration Coordinator for Ancestry Day 2011 & 2013; organizer and co-facilitator of Writing Your Family History; and facilitator of the monthly RootsMagic special interest group since 2011. He has been an active member of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) since 2009; and has attended local, regional, and national conferences for Family History Expo; Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS); National Genealogical Society (NGS); Genealogy Jamboree; APG Professional Management Conference; and RootsTech. His genealogical education includes courses with National Institute on Genealogical Research (NIGR); National Institute for Genealogical Studies (NIGS); and Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG). Tim has given multiple presentations at CGS, and other local genealogical societies, and more recently, at Their Roots Are Showing and Ancestry Day 2013.


Edie Daly has served as Interim Treasurer since August 20, 2013. She is currently employed as a senior accountant for MBS Accountancy Corporation and is completing a B.A. in Accounting and will be pursing her C.P.A. shortly. She is a certified QuickBooks pro-advisor. Edi recent works with non-profits of various sizes will assist with current and future needs of CGS. She has extensive accounting and management experience and is also one of the Chief Financial Officers for California Health Collaborative, a large non- profit.


Glenn Koch started genealogy in the eighth grade when his English teacher assigned him a research project. Originally from Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, Glenn is the ninth generation of his family in the same county. Glen is also a collector of antique postcards, specializing in cards of San Francisco. He also collects San Francisco related vintage photography. Glen is the author of two books, San Francisco Golden Age Postcards and Picturing Long Beach Island, New Jersey. He also co-authored a 250-year history of the church congregation where he grew up.

For ten years he served on the Board of Directors of the Lehigh County (PA) Historical Society, filling various positions. He is the founder of the Allentown (Pa) Preservation League, a citywide historic preservation organization. He was also one of the founders, and lead proponents, of the Beach Haven historic district on Long Beach Island, New Jersey. He is currently the moderator of the Berks County (Pa) Genealogy group on Facebook. He is a graduate of Muhlenberg College, in Allentown, Pa. with a B.A. in Human Resources Administration. Glenn is a Senior Underwriting Consultant for Aetna, Inc. of Hartford, CT.


Marcelle White has been fascinated by family history ever since junior high, when she received a copy of a distant family member’s genealogical study and reels of old audio recordings with great aunts and uncles. She has been actively investigating her family lines for the past fifteen years, and especially enjoys related projects, such as transcribing collections of family letters from the late 1800s through the 1930s. “It’s been wonderful to work with these materials and to find ways to make them available to a wider audience. They really make history come to life.”

Marcelle has been involved in the nonprofit world for more than 20 years – as a volunteer and as an employee. For the past 12+ years, she’s created free Web-based information resources for family of children with learning disabilities. Through this work she’s come to appreciate the ever-expanding ways information can be shared and new audiences reached. Marcelle has been a member of the California Genealogical Society since 2009. Since early 2013, she’s been helping the Library Committee raise funds through eBay sales, and she looks forward to finding ways to increase the awareness of CGS and to expand its membership. She has a B.A. degree in English and American Literature from UC San Diego.


Copyright © 2014 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG)
Monday, January 17, 2014
Radisson Hotel, Salt Lake City, Utah


Julia Redmond, Eva Goodwin, Tim Cox,  Linda Okazaki, Patricia Healy, Jeffrey Vaillant. Not shown: Corey Oieson

Photograph courtesy of Heather Choplin, North Carolina Genealogical Society.


Copyright © 2014 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Saturday Field Trip to the San Francisco Public Library


Saturday, February 1, 2014
11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

San Francisco Main Public Library
100 Larkin Street
San Francisco, 94102

For members only!

Join Past-president Jane Lindsey for an encore tour of the areas of genealogical interest at the San Francisco Main Public Library. Attendees will gather at 11:00 a.m. outside The San Francisco History Center on the sixth floor and split into two groups for a tour led by San Francisco City Archivist Susan Goldstein and library staff.




BART will be the transportation of choice. Travel to the Civic Center Station and walk towards the large blue medallion painted on the wall, then up the stairs or escalator. The library is across the street.

After the tour, members will gather to learn about the online catalog and the many San Francisco records the library has recently digitized through Archive.org and FamilySearch.org and how to access them.

Eventbrite - Field Trip to San Francisco Public Library




If you don't already have a San Francisco library card this will be a great opportunity to get one. Residents of California with identification may obtain one for free. Applications are available at the Main and must be submitted in person. Detailed information is available at the library website.

Attendees may want have lunch together. The Mint Café is located on the lower level of the library. Café Asia at the Asian Art Museum is close by.




This field trip is organized for members of the California Genealogical Society. Non-members interested in participating are encouraged to become members. The maximum group size is forty members.

Eventbrite - Field Trip to San Francisco Public Library


Photographs of the San Francisco Main Public Library by Sameer Vasta, October 24, 2006, Creative Commons License.


Copyright © 2014 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Research Inspiration at the the San Francisco Special Interest Group

Saturday, January 18, 2014
10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

California Genealogical Society Library
2201 Broadway, Suite LL2
Oakland, CA 94612

The San Francisco Special Interest Group (SIG) will start the new year with a question: "What inspires your genealogy?"

Come and share what inspires you to do family history research.

Member Cathy Paris will talk about the how she has translated her research data into creative videos kid-friendly books. Cathy uses her blog Is Meets Was to share photos and stories and connect with family around the world.

Cathy Paris is an independent writing and editing professional. Cathy joined the California Genealogical Society in 2008. She has served as a member of the society's board of directors and as chair of the Publications and Marketing Committee. Cathy oversees the publication of the society's books using Lulu.com.

The California Genealogical Society sponsors Special Interest Groups (SIGs) for members to pursue the study of a particular geographical research area or genealogy discipline. The San Francisco SIG meets on the third Saturday of every month from 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.


Copyright © 2014 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

Volunteer Appreciation Brunch
Saturday, December 14, 2013







Photographs courtesy of Arlene Miles and Jane Lindsey, 12/14/2013.

Copyright © 2014 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

eNews January 2014, volume 8, number 1

The January 2014 eNews, volume 8, number 1, has been published and emailed to members and friends.

The new year brings a new editor to the eNews. Marcelle White has been involved in the nonprofit world for more than twenty years and has extensive experience writing and editing newsletters. She has been a member of the California Genealogical Society since 2009 and has been serving as a volunteer on the Library Committee. Welcome, Marcelle!

The eNews features timely information about the California Genealogical Society and our upcoming events. Each edition also includes "Suggested Links From the Blogosphere" and a photo feature: "California Ancestors."

This month we honor Jim Sorenson's great-great-great-grand uncle, Henry Clark Wright. By researching his ancestor's brother Jim found the information needed to break through a genealogical brick wall and and bring insight into his ancestors' lives in upstate New York.



Henry Clark Wright, 1797-1870

Past issues of the eNews are available at the eNews archive.

A mid-month issue of the eNews will be emailed on January 15, 2014. To receive a copy, please join our mailing list.

California ancestor photograph courtesy of Jim Sorenson.

Copyright © 2014 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library.