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24 June 2017

The Essence of One Man's Life

Evelyn Johnson Hardin

By Georgia Lupinsky

 “…She has become the essence of my life and I plead with you for her hand as for life and all that makes life dear.”

So wrote Frederick Sterling Sherman (1853-1935) in a beautifully worded letter dated December 17, 1893 to Lemuel S. Hardin, father of Evelyn Johnson Hardin, the woman he hoped to marry.  Mr. Hardin did, indeed, give his consent!

The letter is part of a treasure trove of Sherman material in our Manuscript Collection, much of which was the basis for Frederick S. “Rick” Sherman’s The Ancestry of Samuel Sterling Sherman and Mary Ware Allen, the latest book published by the California Genealogical Society (CGS).

Writing of his grandparents, Mr. Sherman states that it is believed they met at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, “where Evelyn’s Aunt Nellie (Ellen Hardin Walworth), gave an address that was influential in launching the National Archives of the United States.” She was a favorite niece of her Aunt Nellie who was also one of the founders of the DAR.

Evelyn’s father on one occasion wrote of his daughter, “her peculiar weakness is to be a belle, as her mother was before her, and she is mistress of the feminine arts that make men adore her.” Seventeen years older than his bride-to-be, Fred was “obviously smitten by her charm and beauty” and the two wed some six months after Fred Sherman’s letter, on May 13, 1894 in Fort Hamilton, Long Island, New York, where the Hardin family lived.

Ellen Hardin Walworth
The couple later established roots in California, first moving to La Jolla, and then settling permanently in Coronado. Later generations of the family have also lived in California and have made contributions to their communities. This is exemplified by Frederick “Rick” Sherman’s valuable work for CGS as a Past President, a Chief Researcher and Benefactor as well as a highly respected member of the University of California, Berkeley’s faculty.

Rick’s lasting contribution, his book, illustrates how we as family historians might approach the telling of our family story. Letters, diaries, journals and newspaper articles can unveil previously unknown stories or take us into the thoughts and emotions of a real human being, not just an ancestor listed on a pedigree chart.

Looking for different ways to crack your own family’s genealogy mysteries? Get Rick’s book and discover avenues you might not have explored.  Reading like a great novel, it chronicles one American family’s amazing story. Copies may be purchased on our website and if you’re a CGS member you will receive a 25% discount.

Copyright © 2017 by California Genealogical Society

21 June 2017

A Visit to the California Statewide Museum Collections Center

by Kathryn M. Doyle

California State Park Archives
4940 Lang Avenue
McClellan, California 95652

Earlier this year I accepted an invitation to tour the Statewide Museum Collections Center in McClellan, California. I tagged along with California Genealogical Society President Linda Okazaki and Tynan Peterson and visited the sprawling facility located about seven miles northeast of Sacramento. The day began with specific goals: execute research plans, tour the vast warehouse, and enjoy genealogy camaraderie. We accomplished all three.

California State Parks Archive Exhibit Hall and Lobby

The main entrance opens to the archives exhibit hall where artifacts representing California’s diverse heritage are on display. The images and objects highlight the “professions that identify, study, and care for them.”

Visitors check in at the reception area of the main lobby to obtain a badge and locker. (Handbags, backpacks, food/drinks are not permitted beyond the lobby.) Researchers may bring laptops, scanners, cameras, and phones into the research room. No pens are allowed, but the archive provides pencils and paper. Protective gloves may be required when handling fragile materials.

Researchers must request materials in advance and preschedule a time to use the facility by contacting the archives by phone or email. Appointments are available Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m. The research room is closed during lunch and on all state holidays.

Linda in the research room.
A Little History 

Officially, California has required the preservation of historically significant materials since its inception. An 1850 law mandated the preservation of “all public records, registers, maps, books, papers, rolls, documents, and other writings... which may be interesting, or valuable… to the government or people of the state.” The California State Archives is the repository of state records with permanent retention value.

By 2001, the state parks decided that more of their materials should be preserved and a separate California State Parks Archive was approved. Under the auspices of Victoria Yturralde, archivists visited parks throughout the Golden State to collect historically important materials.

Artifacts were housed in various places around Sacramento until suitable quarters could be located. The Museum Collections Center opened at the former McClellan Air Force Base, now McClellan Park, in 2013.

Cameras are not permitted beyond the research area so I don’t have images to share. But you can get a sampling from KQED’s The Treasures Living in the California State Parks Warehouse.

“There’s no point in saving the material if no one ever gets to see it.” 
—Archivist Lola Aguilar

Linda Okazaki and Archivist Lola Aguilar

While it remains a goal to process all holdings, to date only twenty physical collections from the California State Parks Archives have been fully described and catalogued at the Online Catalog of California (OAC). According to Archivist Lola Aguilar, these represent only about 5% of the total. The creation of Finding Aids for historical parks are the highest priority. 

The Photographic Archives consists of more than 350,000 images in various formats, "covering a broad range of California subjects." 

The California Genealogical Society will be hosting a field trip to the collection on Tuesday, August 15, 2017, for a limited number of attendees. Register now.

© 2017 by California Genealogical Society

20 June 2017

Want to see Judy G. Russell? Time is Running Out.

July 5th is the last day to get the early bird price to see Judy G. Russell, The Legal Genealogist, for an all-day genealogy seminar so don’t delay and book your seat now.

We’re hosting the internationally recognized expert in law and genealogy on September 23rd for an all-day seminar in Berkeley.  She has an amazing ability to help you understand how the law both impacted your ancestors’ lives then and how now those laws can help you with your family history research. 

Included with the ticket price are four lectures, including the sought after "ABCs of DNA" that is suitable for all researcher levels. You'll also enjoy a catered buffet-style lunch.   

Who is The Legal Genealogist?

With her law degree as her calling card, Judy has become one of the most respected genealogists speaking around the country.  It’s this keen insight into how the law affected our ancestors that sheds light onto our collective past.

She has her own acclaimed blog, The Legal Genealogist, to which she continually adds amazing content that helps both the new and experienced genealogist. 

Judy is both a certified genealogist (CG℠) and a certified genealogical lecturer (CGL℠). You can learn about her numerous credentials at her Association of Professional Genealogists page.

Want to know more about her?  Check out my interview with her from a previous blog post and see why you should join us in Berkeley on September 23rd for her seminar.  Remember to book by July 5th to receive early bird pricing!

Copyright © 2017 by California Genealogical Society

14 June 2017

Thursday, June 15th only - Warrior's Parade, California Genealogical Society's Library Hours

The library will open at Noon on Thursday, June 15th instead of our usual 10am start time due to the Warriors Celebration Parade that will come down Broadway.

However, we're glad to see you after 12pm.  So go enjoy the parade and celebrate the Warrior's 2017 NBA championship!

Copyright © 2017 by California Genealogical Society

13 June 2017

Need more ways to research genealogy online?

Join California Genealogical Society member and The California Nugget editor Janice Sellers as she presents “Read All about It! Using Online Newspapers for Genealogical Research” on Saturday, July 8th, from 1:00 to 3:00 PM.

How can it help me?
Newspapers are valuable in genealogical research because you can find information about births, marriages, deaths, moves, business, naturalizations, court cases, and more. Millions of pages of the world's newspapers are now accessible online, but there is no one place to find them all.

Janice says, “One of the first times I taught this, a friend of mine was in the classroom, but she ran out of the room in the middle of the class. When the class was over I found her in the library at a computer. She told me she was so excited by the the techniques I had described to look for her relatives in the newspaper that she couldn’t wait for the end of class to start!”

This class gives an overview of what is available online and techniques to help improve your chances of finding information about your relatives. Sign up today and see what you’ve been missing online!

About the Speaker

Janice M. Sellers is a professional genealogist and the founder of Ancestral Discoveries. She specializes in Jewish, black, dual citizenship, and newspaper research and offers translation (French, Spanish, Russian), editing, and indexing services.

Janice holds a B.A. in foreign languages (French, Spanish, Russian) from the University of Southern California, edits three genealogy publications, and serves on the boards of the African American Genealogical Society of Northern California and the San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society. She is also a member of Association of Professional Genealogists, Council for the Advancement of Forensic Genealogy, Genealogical Speakers Guild, and California Genealogical Society.

Copyright © 2017 by California Genealogical Society