Recent Posts

20 May 2016

Got my DNA results. Now what?

written by Lisa Gorrell

Do you also have questions about your DNA results?

Recently, I learned a lot by watching a new webinar on Legacy Family Tree Webinars, called “Watch Geoff Live: DNA.” You can find the webinar here

In this video, Geoff showed how he decided whom to have tested using Ancestry DNA. He tested his grandparents for autosomal DNA and the results show matches up to the 4th-5th cousin level. 

He then had a DNA expert, Diahan Southard, take him through his results page at  Diahan explained each of the sections in the DNA results page: Ethnicity Estimates, DNA Matches, New Ancestor’s Discoveries, and DNA Circles.

Geoff had a genealogical question he wanted to answer. Watch the webinar to see how close he came to answering his DNA question.

You can also learn more about Geoff’s results by reading his blog post about the experience.  Be sure to read the comments too because these added to my knowledge as well.

For myself, I previously hadn’t paid any attention to some of these parts of my own DNA results page because I didn’t understand their purpose.  After watching the webinar, I now feel much better about how to view my results.

Unfortunately, this webinar is no longer free, but I believe it is worth the $9.95 purchase price for a download. You can also subscribe to the webinar series by purchasing either a yearly subscription at $49.95 or a monthly one at $9.95. 

Once you subscribe, then you can then watch any of the other webinars in the library. There are also several additional webinars on DNA.   I think it’s well worth the money if you want to know more about genealogy and DNA.

Copyright © 2016 by California Genealogical Society

17 May 2016

Laura Spurrier publishes in NEHGS' Western Massachusetts file

Have you heard?  Long-time California Genealogical Society member Laura Spurrier added one of her relatives to the New England Historic Genealogical Society's Western Massachusetts Families database.  For those of you not familiar, it's quite an honor to be included.

Laura Spurrier,
photo courtesy of Kathy Watson, 2010 
Laura says, “NEHGS, the oldest and possibly fussiest genealogical society in the country, decided to start a series on families in western Massachusetts who stayed put instead of migrating further.  Members were invited to write about ancestors who were in Hampshire or Berkshire County in 1790.”

Laura has a long-term brick wall named Oliver Bartlett and over time has looked at many Bartlett families in the Hadley area.  There seemed to be almost a dozen, many using the same given names.  Church records burned and other records are sparse.  

When she learned about the project, she realized she had enough data about one family:  that of Daniel Bartlett, b. 1754.  Ironically, he can't be proven (yet) to be Oliver's brother, and NEHGS requires proof.  

Laura's article, "Daniel Bartlett, Hadley, Hampshire County”, is online on AmericanAncestors' database in the file labeled Western Massachusetts.  You will need to be a current NEHGS member to access it. 

The article will also appear in print as part of Volume 3 of Western Massachusetts Families in 1790, scheduled for publication sometime in 2017.  

Congrats Laura!

Copyright © 2016 by California Genealogical Society

05 May 2016

They are NextGen

Meet Katie and Laura, two of our volunteers

In order to thrive, genealogical societies must continually attract new members. We need to embrace changing technologies, unusual resources and new volunteers. Sometimes, that means engaging the newly retired. After all, baby-boomers are retiring in droves. Not only are they our newest members, but they are usually our newest volunteers. 

We also need to embrace the youngest genealogists, and not just those under 65 or even 50, but the young adults who will bring our organizations into the future. 

At the California Genealogical Society, most of our steadfast volunteers are between 65-80 years old. We also have a significant number of members and volunteers well over 80. In contrast, we have far fewer younger members. That's because younger adults are busy in different ways. They may be working, raising young children, attending college, or perhaps all three. They might only be able to volunteer on Saturdays, or from home, or on summer breaks. But we can't ignore them; they are the future of genealogy, and the future of our societies. 

What is your society doing to attract younger members and volunteers? Are you friendly? Do you make them feel welcome? Do you value their time constraints? Or their skills? Do you use text messaging, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to communicate? Do you remember when you were the youngest member of your society? How does your group support the next generation of genealogists?

Two of the younger members of the California Genealogical Society are Katie and Laura. They are engaging, warm, funny, and tech-savvy professional women. They are genealogists who teach classes and volunteer on our events team. 

They are NextGen

And we are so lucky to have them onboard. 

Copyright © 2016 by California Genealogical Society

03 May 2016

Apologies on Behalf of #EastBayGives

Dear members, volunteers, patrons, and supporters of the California Genealogical Society,

For the past several weeks, we have shared information about the May 3 event, #EastBayGives. This one-day event was an opportunity for non-profits in Alameda and Contra Costa counties to raise both funds and visibility. We all were looking forward to this unique community experience, which was part of the larger, Give Local America.

Unfortunately, the online fundraising platform, Kimbia, failed in the early hours of the event. The repercussions of this collapse were felt by non-profit organizations across the nation.

Despite the problems, our supporters have remained loyal. I appreciate the enthusiasm of so many people who attempted to donate to the California Genealogical Society. Kimbia has announced that they will extend the giving opportunity through May 4. If you wish, you may still contribute through #EastBayGives. However, you are also welcome to donate directly to our organization via our website.

Thank you very much for your support and patience.


Linda Harms Okazaki
California Genealogical Society

Copyright © 2016 by California Genealogical Society

27 April 2016

Wordless Wednesday: #EastBayGives' genealogy supporters

We've got #EastBayGives supporters everywhere!  Even Judy G. Russell, The Legal Genealogist, pitched in to help.  Check out who else is a supporter below.  We'd love to have you become one too.

Our goal from East Bay Gives is to raise $10,000 for a new microfilm/microfiche reader for the library. It should make genealogy research faster and easier for all of us.

What's East Bay Gives anyway?  It's a community-wide, one-day online giving event.  It's specifically designed to help local non-profits both raise contributions and increase their visibility through the combined marketing efforts of over 500 organizations.

Please give on May 3rd and help us reach our goal.  

Judy G. Russell
Kathryn Doyle
Katie Welka
Laura Manion
Lisa Gorrell
Adrienne Tomkins 
Jane Ordway Carman
Kim Cotton
Mary Mettler
Todd Armstrong

Copyright © 2016 by California Genealogical Society