Recent Posts

12 December 2017

Wordless Wednesday: Institute for Genetic Genealogy in San Diego

(L) Member Katie Welka spoke at the genetic genealogy conference in San Diego representing
Living DNA.  Here she is with the incredibly talented, genetic genealogist CeCe Moore.

Linda Okazaki with Katie Welka

Linda Okazaki and Sharron Newhouse

Photos provided by Linda Okazaki

Copyright © 2017 by California Genealogical Society

08 December 2017

Meet the Board Nominees

by Karen Lemelin

In case you missed it, (Karen's report was just published in our California Genealogical Society's December eNews), then we wanted you to know "who's who" for board nominations, officers and existing board members for 2018. Enjoy! (Ed.) 

Nomination Committee Report 2018

Committee Chair: Karen Lemelin
Committee Members: Chris Pattillo and Nancy Cork

The Nomination Committee is proposing four new board nominees for the 2018-2020 term. The new nominees are James Russell, Chris Pattillo, Nancy Cork and Marisela Meskus.

Continuing in their first terms are Rich Kehoe and Arlene Miles.
Continuing in a second term is Kathie Jones.

Proposed nominations for their second terms are Vicky Kolakowski, Stewart Traiman and Maureen Hanlon.

Proposed nomination for a third term is Felicia Addison.

Linda Okazaki, after serving as President for three years, will assume the board position of current Past President. replacing Ellen Fernandez-Sacco. 

Karen Lemelin and Nicka Smith have termed out after serving three terms.

Todd Armstrong, Therese Hart-Pignotti and Shannon Reese have stepped down from the board in the past year.

About the new board member nominees

James Russell grew up in Connecticut and lives in Berkeley. His paternal ancestors arrived in New England in the seventeenth century and his maternal ancestors had emigrated from Bohemia to Manhattan by 1880. No direct ancestors ever lived west of the Hudson River. His personal areas of concentration are New England, New York and Central Europe. James has done extensive primary research in these places, and has attended institutes at SLIG, IGHR, Gen-Fed and GRIP. He reads Czech, German, Russian, French, Japanese and Latin. He has a BSFS (Georgetown), an MA in Slavic linguistics (Chicago), a PhD in anthropology (London - SOAS) and is very interested in DNA-related issues. James is on the CGS Finance Committee, is a representative to FGS and has participated in CGS-sponsored events for the Japanese-American community in the Bay Area.

A member of CGS since 2004, and previously on the Board, Chris Pattillo is currently the Chair of the Investment Committee. Chris completed two terms as a commissioner on the Oakland Planning Commission, retired from her landscape architecture practice and is ready to rejoin the Board. During her first term as a Board member, Chris wrote the Investment Policy and helped update all of the job descriptions. She also served as Facilities Chair. In 2015 Chris volunteered to co-chair the first Capital Campaign which will conclude in February 2018. Chris has taught classes for CGS and recently gave a talk about her 2017 Genealogy Journey. She has had articles published in The California Nugget, the CGS blog, the Watauga Genealogy Society magazine, as well as a newspaper in Albany, Texas. Chris has presented her Power Point talk, Preserving Your Family History, at local retirement facilities and plans additional presentations throughout the Bay Area to promote the California Genealogical Society.

A box of old family photographs inspired Nancy Cork to begin researching her family's history. After 23 years of gathering records, she still has questions about her family, but now at least they are different questions: not so much the who's and the when's, but the why's and the how's. Born in New York and raised in Minnesota, Nancy has been living in the Bay Area for 35 years. A student of history and a lover of books, she has been volunteering for several years in the CGS Library, where she manages the periodicals subscriptions. Nancy served on the Nominations Committee for two years and enjoys helping with the publication of The California Nugget.

Marisela "Merry" Meskus became interested in genealogy after a family trip to the Dominican Republic in 2004. Her father was born in the Dominican Republic and her mother's family originated from Mexico. She enjoys telling people that she is a first-generation American as well as a second-generation, third-generation, and fourth-generation Californian. Marisela was born in Merced and graduated from the University of California, Merced with a BA in History. She moved to the Bay Area to attend San Francisco State University and obtained an MA in Linguistics in 2015. She joined CGS in April 2017 and took advantage of all the classes and SIGs before deciding to volunteer. Planning to become a professional genealogist, she enjoys coming to the library to learn from members who are as passionate about the subject as she is.

Copyright © 2017 by California Genealogical Society

06 December 2017

Wordless Wednesday: California Genealogical Society Volunteers' Holiday Open House


Copyright © 2017 by California Genealogical Society

04 December 2017

Annual Appeal: You Make Our Society Amazing

"I want to thank each and every one of you that have donated or have volunteered in some way this year. Without your incredible dedication, none of this would be possible,” says out-going President, Linda Harms Okazaki. 

Why is the money needed? 
Membership fees only cover 40% of The California Genealogical Society’s operating expenses; most of the rest comes from special events and tax-deductible donations from members like you.  

Treasurer Kathie Jones stated, "The cost of real estate in the San Francisco Bay area continues to be our number one expense for the society---meaning our rent consumes about 70% of our budget." If you haven’t already done so, please consider contributing to the society.

Our library, with thousands of volumes, is one of the premiere genealogy libraries on the West Coast, and is one of the main reasons that many of you joined the society.  We also learned through our member survey results that The California Nugget, our biannual genealogical magazine, is another huge draw for our members.

2018 Goals 
This year, the goal was again set at $15,000 to help us continue offering quality trips, classes, events and speakers for you, such as a first-ever event by the indomitable genealogy lecturer Judy G. Russell, The Legal Genealogist

Judy G. Russell with Linda Okazaki

We had a great turnout for her all-day seminar that received rave reviews from the attendees. Linda said, “It was a delight to have Judy talk to us about everything from copyright to enemy aliens, and from black sheep in the family to DNA." 

Linda also wants to remind you to check your mail to see if you have received the Annual Appeal letter that was sent out in mid-November. Don’t forget that there’s a 2017 tax deduction created by contributing before year-end.

How much have we raised?
Here’s the latest numbers: so far we have raised 41 percent — $6,200 — of our $15,000 goal. We’re currently on-track to meet it (thank you all). However, we still need your help to reach 100%.

What’s ahead in 2018?
Member Lisa Gorrell will lead our 18th annual genealogy research trip to Salt Lake City in April and on March 3rd we will play host to the amazing Blaine Bettinger, also known as The Genetic Genealogist.  We hope you’ll consider one or both of these amazing genealogical experiences. Visit our Eventbrite page for registration.  

Both of these exciting offerings help us raise needed funds for the society and library. We also have an interesting and constantly evolving slate of classes for you to choose from in the New Year.

Our genealogy community is amazing 
In order to ensure that our society remains a leader in the genealogy field (in February, we'll reach our 120th anniversary), your help is needed. 

You may be aware that we also have our Capital Campaign that has been raising money all year and will come to a close in Feb 2018. If you’ve contributed to this effort, then let me be the first to say “thank you”.  I want to stress that the Capital Campaign is for our long-term security, but our Annual Appeal is for our day-to-day expenses. Either way, the money will be put to good use. 

Even with all the constant, rapid advances in technology, we’re managing to stay current and remain a relevant resource for scholarship, education and community because of your generosity.

Please donate today.

You make our success possible.

Thank you. 

Copyright © 2017 by California Genealogical Society

30 November 2017

The Great Eight: Celebrating our 2018 Anniversary with Our Members' Genealogy Stories

by Maureen Hanlon

Eight great-grandparents...1898...2018. All these eights! 

Come celebrate the 120th anniversary of The California Genealogical Society (CGS) with some birthday cake and sharing of our members' stories on Saturday, January 13th. After the Annual Member Meeting, all are invited to stay and hear wonderful stories from three of our members. 

*Our Annual Member Meeting and Birthday Party with a delicious cake will take place before the presentation (beginning at noon). All are welcome, just bring a dish to share and enjoy in a wonderful potluck with your fellow members.

Nancy Ukai, Stewart Traiman and Mary Caroline Chunn will tell us about the lives of their great-grandparents which span from Nicaragua to San Francisco, Japan to Ireland, and beyond. Believe it or not, this diverse group has surprising things in common. 

Who knows...the strategies they used to track their ancestors might help your research too. Please register on Eventbrite to save your seat, room limited to 50 people. We hope to see you there! 

Interested? Here are the event details:
Saturday, January 13, 2018 from 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm
Location: Sherman Room, 2201 Broadway, Oakland, CA
Cost for member: $0
Cost for non-member: $30

About the Presenters

Nancy Ukai is a Berkeley-based writer, researcher and mother of two. She attended UC Santa Cruz where she studied Japanese and anthropology and then lived in Japan for 14 years, working as a Fulbright English Fellow, a weaving apprentice at a Buddhist temple and as a journalist for Newsweek and the Asahi in Tokyo.  Nancy has a master’s degree in the philosophical foundations of education from Rutgers and media anthropology from the University of London. 

In 2015, Nancy helped lead a grassroots protest against a public auction of Japanese American concentration camp artifacts. In researching their provenance, she became interested in the storytelling power of objects.  She is project director of a 2016 National Park Service grant award to produce a digital display of 50 objects that explore the human stories of the Japanese American wartime incarceration. 

Genealogy has been an obsession for Stewart Blandón Traiman for 30 years. He began by interviewing family about his roots in Nicaragua. He is still hoping to prove the family legend of escaping the Spanish Inquisition. When he married Leland Traiman 27 years ago, he took on the new adventure of researching Ukrainian and Polish Jews. Stewart has researched his children's origins back to the colonial United States. 

Stewart was born in San Francisco, graduated from Stanford Medical School and practiced as an Internal Medicine Physician until 2005 when he saw more interesting opportunities in the world of Electronic Health Records. He now works as a Clinical Informatist at Alameda Health Systems. In January 2014, Stewart became a volunteer with CGS as the editor and publisher of the monthly electronic newsletter (eNews). Stewart serves on the CGS Board as Recording Secretary. 

Mary Caroline Chunn was born in Ventura where all four of her mother’s grandparents were pioneers.  She has lived in Camarillo and Vernais, a small farm town in San Joaquin Valley. Mary Caroline was educated at San Jose State. In 1975, a few years after her daughter was born in Merced the family moved to the Bay Area.  

A few months after her mother died, one of Mary Caroline’s second cousins gave her an 8-page maternal family tree full of strangers to her. In 2009, after a lecture in Los Gatos by Kenyatta Berry, she had Kenyatta do research on her father’s side. Successes included finding two patriots in the American Revolution. Mary Caroline then switched her attention back to the maternal family tree, contacting members one by one, in no particular order. In 2014, she married a third cousin on the last page! 

Copyright © 2017 by California Genealogical Society