Recent Posts

25 February 2018

Hot Off the Press!

The Winter issue of The California Nugget is out, with an array of goodies to explore.

In “The Many Names of Hew Din,” Grant Din traces the journey of his Chinese immigrant ancestor, illustrating along the way resources and techniques for those researching Chinese Americans.

Also, certified genealogist Rondina Wallace outlines a “backdoor” entry to NARA microfilms which can help researchers glean more information from this vast collection.

Sheila Benedict’s “California Historic Missions” gives background on the missions and the records they kept, and explains how to access the information they contain.

We also have the next installments to three stories begun in the Fall 2017 Nugget: “Joel Burlingame: A 19th-century Life” by Barry Hinman; “A Tribute to May (Teruko) Ishimoto” by Norm Ishimoto; and Lavinia Schwarz continues the saga of untangling her family lines in New Orleans, Cuba, and Haiti with “Reading Records Right.”

Thanks as always to editor Janice Sellers and the many volunteers who produce the Nugget. And remember, we are always looking for more interesting articles on genealogy and history. If you have an idea to submit, please contact

Copyright © 2018 by California Genealogical Society

21 February 2018

Passing the Baton

genealogy, California Genealogical Society
 by Shannon Reese & Jennifer Dix

We want to let you know about a few changes coming up at The California Genealogical Society (CGS). Shannon Reese is stepping down as Blog Editor, after almost 2.5 years of heralding our society's story.  He will continue to focus on bringing relevant stories on genealogy and history to our Facebook and Twitter channels.

Shannon Reese, genealogy, Adolph Sutro
Shannon having fun with Adolph Sutro,
San Francisco History Days
Shannon joined CGS in January 2011 and has held many volunteer positions, from the research committee to chair of the previous PubMark (Publications & Marketing) committee.  He was also on the Board of Directors for many years. 

He’s been poking around in his family tree since 1996 and has learned countless stories about his diverse ancestors. Shannon’s also a firm believer in the power of DNA genealogy research. His mysterious Virginia ancestor, Sally Reese, has recently been accepted by the Leftwich family after years of trying to prove a connection.

Shannon is redirecting most of his energy towards new ventures at Chartwell Content, a marketing and writing firm, but plans to be a blog contributor from time to time as well.  We thank him for his service!
Jennifer Dix, genealogy
Jennifer Dix,
 New Blog Editor

Our new blog editor, Jennifer Dix, has lived in the Bay Area since 2000, and became a member of CGS several years ago. 

She worked as a newspaper reporter and editor for 20 years before turning her focus to genealogy. Her own ancestry includes early New England settlers and Mormon pioneers (among others), but her interests are wide-ranging. 

She enjoys exploring California’s incredibly rich history and looks forward to learning and sharing more with you all.

Copyright © 2018 by California Genealogical Society

19 February 2018

Capital Campaign Successful

The 2016-18 capital campaign is now officially over as of February 18, 2018 – the actual date of the Society’s 120th anniversary. As chair of the campaign I want to thank everyone who made a donation and helped us raise over $402,000. This money is invested in our Sherman-Haughton Fund and will continue to help augment the society’s financial needs for the next 100 years.

I, and committee members Jane Lindsey and Sandy Fryer, also want to thank everyone who helped us during the campaign. Lois Elling who designed special graphics for the campaign, Shannon Reese who helped with writing and editing blog posts, and Stewart Blandon who promoted the campaign in our eNews. Kathie Jones kept us up to date with monthly financial reports. Linda Okazaki was a tremendously helpful sounding board, and the Board of Directors who reviewed and acted on our ideas.


Chris Pattillo, CGS Capital Campaign Chair

Copyright © 2018 by California Genealogical Society

31 January 2018

Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) 2018!

The California Genealogical Society (CGS) was well represented, 17 members, at this year's Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, otherwise known as #SLIG2018! 

The 17 Genealogists were...

Ron Arons (Instructor), Sheila Benedict, Sandi Benward, Jan Brandt, Kim Cotton, Vanessa Crews, Lisa Gorrell, Stacy Hoover, Laura Lee Karp, Victoria Kolakowski, Linda Okazaki, James Russell, Joanna Shear, Jacqi Stevens, Jeffrey Vaillant, Tina Wikner, and Carolyn Williams

and they took 7 Courses...

Advanced Methodologies, Advanced Land Tools, Early English Records, Repositories and Archives, Great Lakes, Swedish and Finnish Records, and Writing.

We had a blast in Salt Lake!  
Send in your pictures and we will add to the mix! 

Copyright © 2018 by California Genealogical Society

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