Recent Posts

21 May 2017

Here Where You Stood : The Journey of a Japanese Artist and His Immigrant Ancestors

Linda Okazaki, Ted Okazaki, Aisuke Kondo
Photo by Jane Lindsey

Aisuke Kondo
is a Japanese contemporary artist based in Berlin. Recently, he spent some time at the California Genealogical Society (CGS) learning about his great grandfather, a Japanese immigrant who was incarcerated first at Santa Anita Assembly Center, and then Topaz War Relocation Authority Camp in Utah.

Aisuke’s family history is compelling. His American-born grandfather was attending college in Japan when WWII broke out. He was conscripted into the Japanese Army and lost his American citizenship. 

Aisuke provided correspondence, documenting the efforts by his grandfather to have his citizenship reinstated. Sadly, the documentation also included letters from the U.S. government denying that request. CGS President, Linda Okazaki, reviewed the documents in Aisuke's possession, and also made recommendations for further research. Ted Okazaki assisted with the nuanced translations related to the history of the time frame. 

There currently is an art exhibit in Los Angeles (closing May 28) that focuses on the incarceration Aisuke Kondo's great grandfather.

Linda Okazaki and Aisuke Kondo, reviewing documents
Photo by Ted Okazaki
Whether your ancestors lived in California, Berlin, Japan, or someplace else, it’s always worth visiting the California Genealogical Society to make some ancestral discoveries.

Copyright © 2017 by California Genealogical Society

18 May 2017

Society of Mayflower Descendants in the State of California, Inc.

Welcome to Your New Home!

Pat Friesen, Governor of the California Mayflower Society
Linda Okazaki, President of the California Genealogical Society

The California Mayflower Society has a new home, directly across the hall from CGS! How exciting it is to have such a rich resource just steps away from our own library. After residing on Fourteenth St. in Oakland for 17 years, they officially moved into their present location on March 29.

Linda Okazaki, Pat Friesen, Richard Kehoe
Photo by Carolyn Schwab

Many genealogists have a sense of pride when they document that elusive ancestor. Others want to join a lineage society, such as the Daughters or Sons of the American Revolution. For those who have an ancestor who sailed on the Mayflower, there is truly a sense of history and connection to the past.
The California Mayflower Society is affiliated with the larger General Society of Mayflower Descendants, located in Plymouth, MA. Each state has a state society. There also is a group in Canada and in Europe. Applicants must prove their lineage to one of the 51 passengers who had descendants and survived the journey on the Mayflower, arriving in Cape Cod in 1620. There are about 2500 members in California. The state society has an elected Board of Assistants holding about 5 meetings a year and a bi-annual membership meeting. The meetings alternate between northern and southern California. Prospective members pay an initial fee to join, after which there are annual dues of presently $40.

The California Society has 13 colonies, 7 of which are located in northern California and 6 are in southern California. Each colony has its own elected officers and holds meetings throughout the year usually at a local restaurant with lunch and a speaker. Both the California society and the general society have quarterly publications, for members only. 

Photo by Linda Okazaki

This is the only Mayflower library for the state, and is open on Mondays from 9:30am-2pm, Thursdays from 10am-4pm, and other times by appointment 510-451-9599. It is always a good idea to call ahead before planning your visit. 
Carolyn Schwab, Dianne Sweeney, and Pat Friesen
Photo by Linda Okazaki
Just like the California Genealogical Society library, the California Mayflower library is staffed entirely by volunteers. The collection primarily contains New England-based histories, vital records, family histories, and newsletters. Although open to the public, the library caters to those seeking membership. Dianne Sweeney, also a CGS member, currently serves as the librarian. Carolyn Schwab is actively scanning all their records.

Pat Friesen, the current “Governor” of the California Mayflower Society, is a long-term member of the California Genealogical Society, and avid genealogist. Pat discovered her Mayflower ancestors (John Alden and Priscilla Mullins) quite by accident while researching her family history at Sutro Library a number of years ago. Her initial interest in joining “Mayflower” was simply to hang a certificate on her wall. At the time, she was president of the Marin County Genealogical Society and went to her first Redwood-Empire Colony meeting. Pat was hooked and later became historian (most other organizations call this position registrar). Pat became co-historian in 2000, and has remained in that position ever since. There are three other co-historians: Linda Longley, Myrtle Savage, and Ken Whittemore.

Pat enjoys helping others with their genealogy and has even been leading an annual research group to Salt Lake City for the past 30 years. Though her term as Governor ends this June, she looks forward to helping more people with their lineage applications.

Be sure to stop by their new library sometime soon. Since both libraries are open on Thursdays, you might plan to make a day of it and visit both places. Bring your friends, plan on having lunch in one of the new restaurants in vibrant uptown Oakland, and find some ancestors along the way. An open house is being planned for sometime this Fall.

Linda Okazaki is a descendant of Edward Fuller and his son, Samuel. Her Mayflower application is in progress.

2201 Broadway, LL3, Oakland, CA 94612-3031

Mondays from 9:30am-2pm
Thursdays from 10am-4pm
Other times by appointment


Copyright © 2017 by California Genealogical Society