Recent Posts

20 September 2017

Capital Campaign – Starting Strong


by Chris Pattillo, Chair, Jane Lindsey and Sandy Fryer

As we write this article we are thrilled to announce that we have met our initial goal to raise $350,000 during the early phase of the capital campaign. This addition to our fund alone will generate over $30,000 of income per year. Money that will help cover the shortfall in annual operating expenses of the California Genealogy Society (CGS) when needed. 

So far, the response to the campaign has been gratifying. Over 112 individuals have made contributions to the campaign as of August 31st. The amount of the average donation is $2600 and the median donation is $100. Individual contributions have ranged from one figure amounts to six figure amounts. 

There are myriad reasons why our members and non-members have chosen to support CGS during this capital campaign. One non-member made a $25,000 donation because she appreciated the help she received researching her family history.  

How you have given
Looking at the donations by categories we have 5 donors who have given $10,000 or more, 4 individuals made donations in the $5000 to $9999 range, 8 gave $1000 to $4999, 6 gave amounts in the range between $500 and $999, 6 others gave $250 to $499, 56 are in the $100 to $249 bracket and an additional 40 people gave $100 or less. Every gift helps us reach our goal.



Our members have responded to the campaign in various ways:
*  Donating through our website’s DONATE tab or by sending a check in response to the   campaign mailing sent earlier this year. 
*  Becoming a Life member to support the campaign. 
*  Listing CGS as a beneficiary in their will or personal trust. 
*  Providing a tax-deductible donation through their IRA or 401K .

We are grateful and THANK everyone who has contributed. All those who have contributed to the campaign are helping ensure that the society will be in a position to continue helping people research their family history for years to come.  

CGS has given so much to so many – now it is time to give back. Members tell us they appreciate the lectures, field trips, workshops and casual camaraderie they find with fellow members. They appreciate the one-on-one help they receive at the library and on research trips. We should not take CGS for granted. Genealogical societies like other non-profits are vulnerable to rising expenses and tough economic times. If we want the society to be around for the long term, we need to support it.   


Graphic designed by Lois Elling

If you have not already made a donation to the campaign, right now is the perfect time to do so. You can mail in a check or visit our website to use a credit card. Go to the donate tab where you will find a check box for the Capital Campaign with a link to PayPal. Or you can use one of the tax saving mechanisms that other members have used.  

We deeply appreciate everyone who has given to the campaign but there is more to do to achieve our ambitious goal of raising $1.2 million in honor of the 120th anniversary of the society. For those who made a donation to the campaign in 2016 please consider making an additional contribution that will provide a tax deduction for 2017.

This Capital Campaign will officially end in February of 2018. Become a part of the campaign, and make a donation today.  

Thank You.


Copyright © 2017 by California Genealogical Society

15 September 2017

You're Invited! Judy G. Russell's Sept 23rd genealogy seminar in Berkeley


Maybe you won't feel like jumping for joy, but some of us do!  Only 21 tickets are left for the event on Saturday, September 23rd (Doors open at 9 am - lectures begin at 9:45 am and last through 4 pm).  It's sure to be a wonderful day of genealogy with the incomparable Judy G. Russell

Judy's an engrossing and down-to-earth lecturer that really knows how to educate and entertain a crowd.  The California Genealogical Society is really excited that the event is only a week away!


What do you get for your money? 
4 great classes, including the ABC's of DNA, buffet-style lunch and assorted beverages throughout the day. Ticket prices are $115 for members and $140 for non-members. 

The seminar is being held in the ADA accessible, Goldman Theater at the David Brower Center in downtown Berkeley.  This beautifully finished theater features natural bamboo walls and plush raised theatrical seating.  Key features include a hi-definition digital video and custom designed sound reinforcement by Meyer Sound.

Added bonus: it's 1 block from the Downtown Berkeley BART station or use The David Brower Center's on-site parking garage (only $17/per day)

Schedule
9:45 Facts, Photos and Fair Use: Copyright Law for Genealogists
Understanding what is and isn't copyrighted and what genealogists can and can't use is the key to staying out of trouble and to protecting our own work. Learn about what copyright is, and what it isn’t.

11:00 Martha Benschura – Enemy Alien
Not all our ancestors were naturalized. The ones who didn’t suddenly became suspect when war divided their native countries from their new residences, creating the kinds of records genealogists love.

12:00 LUNCH

1:00 Rogues, Rascals and Rapscallions: The Family Black Sheep
Playing detective in court records can unmask those black sheep every family has – and it’s fun! Learn to understand the criminal process in both federal and state courts and how to find the records to put meat on the bones of the skeletons in your family’s closet.

2:15 ABCs of DNA

New to the idea that DNA can help with genealogy? Learn about the three major test types - YDNA, mitochondrial (mtDNA) and the new autosomal DNA testing - and see what each offers to the genealogist.

What else? 
  • There is a door prize, donated by the Southern California Genealogical Society and Family Research Library for a free Southern California Genealogy Jamboree 2018 registration.
  • We'll also have one auction item, a library card catalog---pretty cool, huh?
Sign-up today.  We can't wait to see you there!


Copyright © 2017 by California Genealogical Society

06 September 2017

An Aerial Photo Solves a Family Mystery

 
by Cassie Arnold

My mother recounted a funny and puzzling story from my grandmother that just never added up until I found an old aerial photo of Hayward posted in the Oakland History group on Facebook. It’s amazing sometimes what we uncover when we investigate our family’s stories.

Setting the Scene 
My grandmother spent much of her childhood in an orphanage run by an order of French nuns in Lowell, MA. When her family was reunited in Berkeley, she was a very attractive young woman happy to be free of supervision of the sisters. At Berkeley High School she immediately set her sights on the best looking boy in school. They were married in May 1931 when she was 18 and three months pregnant. 

My grandmother's maiden name was Mildred Frazier.
Her married name was Mildred Murphy. She eventually
 married again and died with the name Mildred Klefsky.
However, she always went by the first name “Marie”.
Photo labelled, "Dec 1930, 18 years old".

While my grandmother was still pregnant with my mother, she and one of her sister-in-laws were staying with their mother-in-law. My grandmother was there because my grandfather was off at college; I don’t know why the sister-in-law was there, but probably because her husband was away for work. 

Regardless, they were staying at a house my great great grandfather owned on Lewelling Boulevard in Hayward. Apparently the two girls were bristling under the supervision of their mother-in-law, so one day they over-powered her, tied her to a kitchen chair, took her pin money and rode the streetcar up East 14th Street to 150th. 

They did what?  
My brother-in-law is a pretty good amateur genealogist and history detective. He was intrigued by this story too, so he tracked down some historical maps for us. We couldn’t find anything along the entire length of 150th Avenue that would be of interest to two young women. Well, at least nothing worth risking the wrath of your mother-in-law over. 
I quizzed my mother again, but she insisted it was on 150th Avenue. Hmm...


A Link Provides the Clue to Oakland’s Forgotten History
I was stumped. Then I got a link to these historic aerial photos. At the intersection of 150th and East 14th I found a raceway! The Oakland Speedway had opened in February of 1931 and hosted Indy cars and (I’m sure of more interest to my grandmother) their drivers until 1936. Now the property is the Bayfair Mall. 

Since the girls were spending the summer of 1931 at Lewelling, so the new raceway probably was a very compelling diversion. I’m not sure I would judge it compelling enough to commit felonious involuntary imprisonment, aka tying up my great grandmother, but my grandmother was always a bit wilder than me. 

All’s Well That Ends Well
And apparently there were no significant consequences from the episode. It was already established that my grandmother and great grandmother were never going to be the best of friends, which helped sow the seeds for future genealogy brick walls, but that’s for another day.

The untold story is that my great grandmother might have been happy to be free of the girls for the day! 


About the Author


Cassie Arnold is an Alameda-based business and financial writer as well as a second-generation Oakland native. She is working on a history of Oakland / Berkeley from 1919 to 1941 from the perspective of her maternal ancestors. 

Copyright © 2017 by California Genealogical Society

28 August 2017

Why I Donated to the Capital Campaign: Ken Haughton

Ken and Beverly Haughton

Our third in a series of blog posts entitled, Why I Chose to Contribute to the Capital Campaign focuses on life member and donor, Ken Haughton.

Ken has given generously of his time and money for over 39 years to California Genealogical Society (CGS).  He was CFO for many years and has served on our board of directors. Ken also started our endowment fund and trained our current Investment Committee members, Chris Pattillo and Jim Sorenson.  He now serves as a sounding board to our investment committee.

Here are a few questions that I asked him on why he chose to financially support our society:

By contributing to the Capital Campaign, what do you hope to accomplish? The economy of the United States is somewhat temperamental.  A slump could affect the income from membership in a negative way.  It is important to keep the organization active and vital, no matter what happens, so that it can continue to preserve all forms of family history for future generations.

You have many organizations to choose from when considering a donation, what made you choose us? Well, history has an effect on history.  I have had many positive interactions with the Society and feel it should continue to perform in that manner with many more folks.

How does donating to CGS extend your personal legacy or the legacy of California Genealogical research? Providing facilities and assistance goes a long way toward extending the legacy of the Society and if it is healthy, this effect is multiplied.

How did CGS' genealogical resources help your research efforts? It's hard to enumerate all the ways it has helped me.  The Library and all of it resources have led me to any number of discoveries.  But most of all, the community associated with it has led me on with questions and suggestions (and general advice).

What would you say to those contemplating a donation to the Capital Campaign? This is an honest and solid society that provides an unbiased look into history on the personal level.  Anything to help this objective is worth the effort.  Besides, it's fun.

The idea behind the Capital Campaign
The California Genealogical Society's Capital Campaign kicked off this past February with a goal of raising $1.2 million dollars. The goal was created to coincide with the beginning of our 120th Anniversary in 2018. 

The money raised from the Capital Campaign will help ensure that our society will remain a leader in genealogy and give us the necessary financial cushion to weather various storms in the future.

A committee chaired by Chris Pattillo was created to lead this effort. Chris also has the considerable help and talent of both Jane Lindsey and Sandy Fryer to ensure that the campaign will be a huge success.

Are you interested in donating to our Capital Campaign?  Please contact Jane Lindsey or Chris Pattillo with any questions.  They would love to hear from you.  Thank you.




Copyright © 2017 by California Genealogical Society

25 August 2017

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words


by Georgia Lupinsky

A Birthday Photograph
The day of Samuel Sterling Sherman’s 99th birthday found him surrounded by an abundance of flowers (pictured above) as he received numerous wishes for a “Happy Birthday” from those he had known in various parts of the country throughout his life. 

As Frederick S. Sherman relates in The Ancestry of Samuel Sterling Sherman and Mary Ware Allen, his great-grandfather, born 24 November 1815 in West Rupert, Vermont, told his own life story in an autobiography dictated when he was 95 years old, with an addendum provided four years later.

In that addendum Dr. Sherman even explains the genesis of the birthday photo accompanying this article. Between 1855 and 1859 Samuel Sherman served as President of the Judson Female Institute in Marion, Alabama. Now, over fifty years later, the students, faculty and alumnae of that institution had shipped vines and flowers from the South and he writes that though the “many rare and southern flowers had suffered much from the long journey, they were still interesting to northern eyes.” It occurred to him to decorate the large bay window with these flowers  and to take a photograph of it that would give pleasure to the donors. Thus a “flashlight picture was taken of the window with myself entering upon the ninety-ninth year of my age, and holding the Judson telegram in my hand.”

Years in the South
At the age of 19 Samuel entered Middlebury College, but a bout with typhoid fever in his junior year prompted him to seek a warmer climate. Learning of a position at the University of Alabama as a tutor in Latin and Greek, he made an adventurous trip South via Savannah and Macon, Georgia, Montgomery and Selma, Alabama. After three years at the university, he was asked to undertake the founding of a college in Marion and at the age of twenty-six, became the founding president of what became Howard College, now Samford University outside of Birmingham, Alabama. Other positions in education included leadership of the Brownwood School in LaGrange, Georgia and the presidency of Judson Female Institute in Marion, Alabama. 


Life in the North
By 1859 Mr. Sherman had come to believe that civil war was inevitable and moved his family north to Milwaukee. However, he retained a lifelong affection and concern for his Southern friends. 

In 1867 Sherman and associates established a tea, coffee and spice business which he pursued for the rest of his business career. “The company was profitable, in part due to a novel baking powder formulated by Great-grandfather, who had always been especially interested in chemistry.” After the great Chicago fire, Mr. Sherman moved to Chicago and continued his business there with his sons, Frederick and Henry, as partners. At this point in his long life, Chicago became his most permanent home, as he still had thirty-five years ahead of him. Though dealing with various physical disabilities in his last few years, Mr. Sherman remained mentally bright until the end of his life, dying on 22 November 1914.

Postscript
Great-grandson Frederick S. (“Rick”) Sherman and his wife Pat paid an unannounced visit to Judson Institute in 1956, one hundred years after his Great-grandfather started his work there and wrote that “the enthusiasm and kindness with which we were greeted, we shall never forget. Their memory of their old friend and champion was as fresh as though he had just walked out the door.”

May Rick’s words encourage you to walk in the steps of your ancestors and to find what a satisfying experience that can be.  Those wishing to immerse themselves in the wonderful research and writing of Frederick Sherman may purchase the The Ancestry of Samuel Sterling Sherman and Mary Ware Allen on our website. Members receive a 25% discount.



Copyright © 2017 by California Genealogical Society