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17 January 2017

Ready for a Genealogy Party?

by Janice Sellers
Image courtesy of Janice Sellers
Are you familiar with the San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society?  It's one of the great genealogical societies in the Bay Area.  It has an upcoming indexing project that will help genealogists researching their San Francisco ancestors, and you can be part of it.

San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society
Jewish Records Indexing Party
Sunday, February 19, 2017, 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m.

Oakland FamilySearch Library
4766 Lincoln Avenue
Oakland, CA 94602

Pay it forward, fellow genealogists! If you've ever enjoyed finding records easily by using a search form on JewishGen, FamilySearch, Ancestry, or many other genealogy sites, you have been a beneficiary of indexing. Indexing is the result of volunteers reading images of old records and typing the information into a searchable format.  You know how FamilySeach has an annual worldwide indexing event to make a big push on transcribing their online records?  We're doing the same kind of thing, but on a smaller scale.

The San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society has taken on the task of creating an index for the old burial records from San Francisco's Sherith Israel synagogue for the 1850s through 1906. We expect that these records will uncover currently unknown death dates for this period, one that is notoriously difficult to research due to record destruction after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire. So we need REAL PEOPLE to read the records and type the information into Excel spreadsheets.

We will provide the snacks, computers, and instruction on this valuable and essential service. The records are handwritten, but we'll help you learn how to read them. If you can't stay for the whole afternoon, we will be happy to have you for as long as you can help. We will be giving out prizes for most records entered, longest time spent working, and a few more categories we have yet to think of. Don't miss this opportunity to make burial records accessible to genealogists around the world! The ancestors you find may be your own!

We would like to have an idea of how many people will be coming (so we can buy the right amount of food!), so please send a message to to let us know that you'll be there.

Copyright © 2017 by California Genealogical Society

11 January 2017

Next Issue of the Nugget Is Almost Ready

Antonia Maltos Davis, great-grand-aunt of Linda and Stella Allison
Janice M. Sellers, the new editor of our genealogy journal, The California Nugget, is happy to announce that the next issue is almost ready and should be going to the printer soon.  As this is her first issue, there's definitely been a learning curve, finding out about all the people and procedures involved.  But she has a great team working with her, and things have been going pretty smoothly.

Two things that will be new with this issue are a message from the president, in place of the previous message from the editor, and a regular column on genealogical methods by Certified Genealogist® Rondina Muncy.  In addition to those, here are some teasers on the articles you will find:

Stella and Linda Allison wrote about their great-grandfather's sister, a Mexican immigrant to San Francisco who moved up economically from her beginnings in Mazatlán.  Scott McKinzie used DNA and old-fashioned paper research to determine who his grandfather was.  Joe Reilly and Tim Cox have stories about their relatives who served and died in World War II.  Kathleen Javdani dove into research on her great-grandmother, trying to find if the information in a family narrative matched reality.  And Carolyn Ervin wrote about memories of her own great-grandmother, whom she was fortunate enough to meet shortly before the latter passed away.

This is officially the Fall 2016 issue.  Janice came on as editor at the end of September, and she wanted to make sure that the Nugget maintained its tradition of quality, so rather than rush to have it out in November, we've delayed it a little.  The Spring 2017 issue will probably be pushed back a month, and by November we should be back on our regular schedule for the Fall 2017 issue.

Copyright © 2017 by California Genealogical Society

07 January 2017

From Our Manuscript Collection: Joaquin A. Silveira

Joaquin A. Silveira
by Georgia Lupinsky

Have you checked our Manuscript Collection’s searchable database which is available on the California Genealogical Society website? You might find a surname you've been researching and uncover material that will further your research.

This month we highlight the story of Joaquin A. Silveira as revealed in a scrapbook donated to the Manuscript Collection by the Silveira family. Articles within the scrapbook tell how Mr. Silveira built a successful life in the United States and contributed to his Bay Area community.

Born at Ribeira d’Areia, St. George, Azores Islands on October 17, 1873 to a wealthy dairy farmer and his wife, Joaquin Silveira set out in 1891 for California. He arrived in San Francisco with only a ten dollar gold piece left in his pocket, speaking only his native Portuguese. Soon he made his way to Benicia, where he found work on a ranch milking cows.

After a few years in California, he went into the dairy business and began to sell his eggs and butter along a route in West Oakland. In 1906 he opened the American Creamery in Oakland. It eventually became the largest institution to supply dairy products in Alameda County and Richmond on a wholesale and retail basis. In that same year he became a stockholder in the Portuguese American Bank of San Francisco and in 1911 was elected President of the bank. At that time he was the youngest bank president in America.

Next, Mr. Silveira was a commissioner of and primarily responsible for providing funds for the Portuguese Pavilion at the 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition. In 1934 he was awarded the Military Order of Christ by the government of Portugal for his public service and philanthropic efforts in behalf of American citizens of Portuguese birth or descent.  A long-time resident of Oakland, he died May 2, 1947 and is buried in Mountain View Cemetery.

To find out more about our collection, visit the CGS website, select the Databases tab in the upper right hand corner on the home page. Under “Databases Free to All” click on the “CGS Manuscript Collection Index” and a current copy of the database will appear for the reader’s review. The database is organized by:  title, geography, timeframe, description and surname.

If you find a collection that is pertinent to your research, call to make an appointment with a member of the Manuscript Collection Committee or the Desk Duty volunteer to view items, as this is a closed stack collection. We have many wonderful research resources for the genealogy community and look forward to seeing you soon!

Copyright © 2017 by California Genealogical Society

06 January 2017

It’s that time of year again: Annual Membership Meeting on Jan 14th

Who:  Members of the California Genealogical Society

What:  Annual Membership and Business Meeting - preceded by social hour and potluck lunch

When:  January 14, 2017 from 11:30-3:00 pm; meeting starts at 1pm

Where:  2nd Floor Conference Room at 2201 Broadway, Oakland

What happens before the meeting?
The meeting will be preceded by a social hour and potluck lunch, so please bring a dish to share. We're providing the dessert and beverages.

Meeting schedule
The meeting will begin promptly at 1:00. The meeting agenda includes brief committee reports, approval of the 2017 budget, presentation of the slate of nominees, and electing the Board of Directors for 2017.

Happy New Year to everyone!  We hope to see you there.
Copyright © 2017 by California Genealogical Society

19 December 2016

Great Finds at the Library

by Lorna Wallace, Member & Volunteer

As a long-time Desk Volunteer at the California Genealogical Society’s Library, I would like to encourage you to come in and use our wonderful library resources in Uptown Oakland to search for your ancestors. 

Whether you come in-person, or request a “look up” via the Research Committee, our library catalog is the place to start.  If you start with Research, then it's best to send an email first and ask what can be done for you. However, I recommend that you “play” with our catalog, which is part of WorldCat, because you may be surprised to find what we have!

Let's start a search
As an example, if you were interested in the first topic in last month’s eNews, Thanksgiving and Pilgrims, you could search our catalog using the “subject keyword” for “pilgrims” or “Plymouth”, which for me brought up 143 and 79 hits from the catalog, respectively.  Sticking with the theme, when I used “Puritans” as a subject keyword, I got 308 findings which included books, microfilm, maps, and over 200 article titles! 
I hope I’ve given you a reason to try a search in your favorite topics and see what you can discover.  Want to understand what's actually happening when you search our catalog using WorldCat?  Try WorldCat's tutorial page and soon you'll be a search expert.

We hope to see you in the library exploring our great resources in 2017!

Copyright © 2016 by California Genealogical Society