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12 June 2009

Member Spotlight: Marston Watson

One of the speakers at the upcoming Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree is CGS member Marston Watson who will be presenting "Internet Research: Joys and Pitfalls."
Watson comes from a long line of genealogists and was introduced to the pastime as a very young child when his father created a typewritten genealogy from the hand written notes and pedigree charts of Marston's grandfather and developed a clever way to reveal the next pedigree chart by cutting rectangular bars on each page with a razor blade.

But it wasn't until 1991 when he noticed one of the names on his chart in a book by Frederick Weis, Ancestral Roots of Certain American Colonists that he was hooked on genealogy forever. He learned about his royal ancestor, Governor Thomas Dudley and began recording his ancestor’s data on an early version of Roots III. Today he uses TMG and his genealogy has grown from about 300 names to over 30,000, including six more royal lines.

His thirst for uncovering his family genealogy led to the discovery of Mayflower lines, colonial physicians, colonial governors, sixteen more Revolutionary War ancestors, and participants in the colonial wars. Each of these discoveries led to his acceptance in the related hereditary societies.

A member of the Sons of the American Revolution since 1967 and past president of the San Francisco Chapter, Watson was one of six compatriots to receive the prestigious Minuteman Award at the NSSAR Congress on Monday evening, July 6 in Atlanta, Georgia. It it their hightest honor and no more than six candidates are selected each year among 28,000 members.

His SAR California membership of nearly forty-two years includes his election as Oakland Chapter (now Thomas Jefferson Chapter) president and state secretary in 1968, state vice president in 1969 and state president in 1970.

Marston and wife Kathy joined the California Genealogical Society in 1993 and have been desk duty volunteers at CGS for many years. Kathy currently also serves on the computer and website committees. They are very much involved at the national level of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion as co-editors of the Journal. They have both been invested into the Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem and traveled to the Holy Land in November, 2007. He is the Grand Editeur of the national journal and she is the Grand Webmaster for the Order.

A native of Cambridge, Massachusetts, Watson spent his youth there and in Houston, Texas and completed his last two years of high school in Burlingame, California. He received his bachelor degree from the University of California at Berkeley.

He was a freelance writer for eighteen years with the Contra Costa Times and was a columnist there for eight years on the subject of job search. Marston has contributed articles to a number of national genealogical publications including The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Mayflower Descendant and SAR Magazine. He has written several books on royal ancestry and other genealogical volumes.