Recent Posts

26 June 2017

Want to get started using your DNA results for genealogy?

You’re not alone.  Almost daily we read about some breakthrough or connection being made using someone’s DNA.  Sometimes it’s helping us see connections that either didn’t occur to us or seems unlikely, but nonetheless the thread is there. 

The ABC’s of DNA
Some of you may already be a fan or you might be unfamiliar with her, either way Judy G. Russell, aka The Legal Genealogist, is an internationally recognized expert in the fields of genealogy and law and is presenting an all-day seminar at the David Brower Center in Berkeley on September 23rd.  It’s conveniently located in downtown close to the BART and with ample parking nearby.  Early-bird pricing available through July 5th.

One of the courses she’ll present is a wonderful primer class on DNA: ABC’s of DNA. Don't know which test to take? Not sure about the differences? This is your opportunity to hear one of the best introductory DNA lectures around. It's a don't-miss experience, capping off a day of lectures from one of the most sought after genealogists in the field. 

This lecture is a great way to get started on the genetic genealogy bandwagon. You’ll add some skills to your genealogy toolbox, and learn which test to take in order to add to your genetic family tree. 

Judy G. Russell, The Legal Genealogist
It’s not just DNA --- you get a full day of genealogy
We'll start off the day with a lecture about Facts, Photos and Fair Use: Copyright Law for Genealogists. It’s another incredibly important topic to understand before you begin writing, publishing, or presenting. Every genealogist should know about copyright law. 

After a beverage break (coffee, tea, juice), our second morning lecture will be about Martha Benschura - Enemy Alien . Did you ever wonder why someone would have been considered an Enemy Alien? Do you have Enemy Aliens in your family tree? If you do, how do you find out more?

Our catered buffet lunch by Greenleaf Platters will be a perfect time to catch up with old friends or to collaborate with colleagues. 

Judy will really liven up the afternoon with her lectures on Rogues, Rascals and Rapscallions: The Family Black Sheep. Have you got one?  Must of us have them in our families, and describing their adventures can really liven up your family’s history tales!

Then last, but most definitely not least, is the eye-opening ABC’s of DNA

Join us and enjoy a full day of genealogy, see some old and hopefully meet some new friends, and feel the excitement as we welcome The Legal Genealogist to town.  Tickets are selling fast, so don't wait.  We hope to see you there!

Copyright © 2017 by California Genealogical Society

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