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30 March 2011

Wordless Wednesday

At the library on Monday, March 21, 2011
Dr. Henry Snyder and Mary Morganti, Director of Library and Archive, California Historical Society




 

Photograph courtesy of Jane Knowles Lindsey, Oakland, California.
 
Copyright © 2011 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library

28 March 2011

How Our Genealogy Society Does Outreach

Board directors of non-profits should be ambassadors to the community. A successful genealogical society has a board whose members connect with neighborhood groups and local organizations and articulately voice the society’s mission and programs. It's just as important for societies to reach out as it is for them to invite new members in.

So far this year, two directors have represented the California Genealogical Society in community events.



On Saturday, February 19, 2011, past-president Jane Lindsey spoke at the Phi Beta Kappa Northern California Association 25th Annual Asilomar Conference. Jane presented her talk “Genealogy is Not Just for Genealogists” to more than 100 members from the Bay Area and beyond who attended the group’s three-day President's weekend event.

Jane was asked to participate after a recommendation by CGS member Janiece Nolan who had arranged Jane to speak to her Rotary group a few years ago. Janiece knew that her Phi Beta Kappa colleagues would enjoy the talk and Jane jumped at the chance to spread some genealogy-love.


On Saturday, February 26, 2011, director Craig Manson spoke at the Black History Month Program at Bethany Baptist Church in Oakland. Craig spoke at our own Black History Month event last year. He is the well-regarded author of the Geneablogie blog.



Craig sent these comments:
I had a wonderful time at the Bethany Baptist Church event. Although the program started a little bit later than expected, they put on a great event. They honored heroes of their community, including a lawyer, a judge, a local parks official, an artist, and several others; the intent was to make a point that I presciently had covered in my presentation: history is made every day and not just necessarily by people who appear in the books.


Kanika Brown, one of the Bethany organizers, approached us about participating in their event after we met last October at the Pleasanton Family History Expo.

Both of these February speaking opportunities came as a result of previous outreach events. That's "networking" and it is absolutely the best way to get the word out about your genealogical society.

Is your genealogical society's board reaching out to your community?


Photographs courtesy of Judson Goodrich and Kanika Brown.


Copyright © 2011 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library

25 March 2011

Update on CGS Projects with FamilySearch Indexing

The California Genealogical Society and Library is partnering with FamilySearch Indexing on its second Partner Project – the U.S., California 1852 State Census. The project is classified as “Skill level: Intermediate” and is “recommended for volunteers who are familiar with the indexing process and comfortable using various system features. The documents are old and some of the handwriting is difficult to read.”

FamilySearch is indexing the 1852 California census even though this record set is available on Ancestry.com. Once this project is complete, there are some San Francisco record sets in line to be indexed, including records of San Francisco citizens of German descent who were required to register during WWI. The San Francisco Public Library has information about the Alien enemy registration affidavits, 1918. There are several other sets to follow that will greatly assist San Francisco researchers.

Heading up the 1852 State Census project for the society is one of our new members – Maureen Stephan. Maureen joined CGS last year after she visited the library during a family vacation to San Francisco from her home in Kansas:

It was the best vacation we've ever had! We did and saw so many wonderful things. We walked up and down Lombard Street a couple of times, went on a cruise on the bay, saw the tiled steps, went on a walking tour of Chinatown and an architecture tour of downtown San Francisco, drove up to Twin Peaks and looked out over the city (we were lucky - no fog!), rode the cable cars – and ate at In-N-Out Burger for the first time (loved it!).

The Stephan family.
One day I went to the CGS Library while my husband took our two daughters up to Sacramento (my oldest daughter was born at Mather AFB) where they went to Old Town and the train museum. I had a great time at the library – everyone was so helpful. I found a couple of things about some of my relatives who used to live in San Francisco.
Maureen is able to coordinate the project for CGS from her home in Kansas for the same reason that our members can index from where ever they live. If you don’t yet have an indexing account with FamilySearch, find out how easy it is with the two-minute test drive. Follow the instructions to download the indexing program to your computer.

Once have an indexing account with FamilySearch, you will need to “join” our group. If you have any problems, either with joining the group or indexing, email Maureen and she will guide you through the process.
I'm honored to have been asked to coordinate the California 1852 state census project, and look forward to helping on more projects!  –Maureen Stephan


Copyright © 2011 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library

21 March 2011

New Member Book – The Nilson Family: From Jönköping to America

I can't imagine a more satisfying feeling than holding your just-published genealogy in your hand. It's got to be so much better than the genealogy happy-dance we all do when we find a long-lost someone or we break down a brick wall. Luckily, belonging to an active genealogical society means that some well-organized members get the job done and bring their finished tomes to the library to share their success (and donate a copy). That's what happened at the March board of directors meeting when our newest board member and recording secretary, Lisa Gorrell, brought a copy of The Nilson Family: From Jönköping to America.

Lisa Gorrell
The Nilson Family is the story of four siblings who came to the United States from Åsenhöga, Jönköping, Sweden in the 1880s and two generations of their children and grandchildren. The book describes a total of forty-three descendants with narrative stories and photos. Lisa also included information about the parents and the two siblings who remained in Sweden.

Lisa did most of the research on her husband's maternal family online, using Ancestry, FamilySearch and Genline, as well as that old standby – writing many letters. She started the project four years ago with some help from her husband's aunt who had a collection of family documents. Family members provided additional information and their stories as well. The Nielson Family is fully documented and has an every name index. 

The Nilson Family: From Jönköping to America

Lisa designed the book layout using Adobe InDesign and she chose to have it printed by BYU Print and Mail because they offered an option to print both black-and-white and color pages.
Congratulations, Lisa!


Copyright © 2011 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library

18 March 2011

Judy Avery's Report from London and Who Do You Think You Are – Live 2011

There seems to be no doubt that NBC's You Do You Think You Are? is having an impact on interest in genealogy in the U.S. but we are several years behind the U.K. where the show started in 2004 and where the mother-of-all genealogical conferences just finished its fifth year. CGS member Judy Avery attended her second Who Do You Think You Are – Live! in London and sent this report.

After a wonderful visit in February 2010, here I was again, at the Who Do You Think You Are – LIVE! 2011 exposition in London! It’s billed as the “world’s largest family history event” and fills the Olympia Conference Center with sponsors such as Ancestry.co.uk, the Society of Genealogists, FamilyTree DNA, FindMyPast, FamilySearch, and many other vendors and local family history associations. A group of thirteen of us from the New England Historic Genealogical Society had a great week packed with genealogy and history.

First of all, we had an unforgettable tour of CNN London television studios, thanks to NEHGS member Jim Boulden. It was the same day events in Libya were changing by the minute and the studio was filled with eager young people rushing between offices, typing, watching four monitors at once, and editing footage. We heard the man in charge of CNN’s extensive plans for the royal wedding in April, who told us that four billion(!) people are expected to watch the ceremonies worldwide.  A tidbit – the wedding of William and Kate is not a “state wedding” since it doesn’t involve the next heir to the throne. Therefore heads of state are not on the invitation list as they were for Charles and Diana’s wedding.

We were lucky to hear George Redmonds - there is no one like him for knowledge of English surnames, geography, history, folkways, and language. He is fascinated with pre-Tudor England when there wasn’t a concept of a nation and no common language, only regional dialects. Custom and living memory were relied on instead of parish registers and statutes. George said in the 13th and 14th centuries people didn’t have a single name as is popularly thought. In the records there are thousands of “by-names,” which weren’t inherited. He gave examples of by-names which were descriptive of occupation (William Whitebrow, plasterer), physical attributes (Simon Doggeschanke, Nicholas Saddebely) the morally and physically challenged (William, son of Dokefot; Thomas Neverathom).

George and Ann-Marie Redmonds

Author Roger Thompson entertained the NEHGS group with stories of researching for his many books on colonial New England. He has a history of 17th century Charlestown, Massachusetts coming out soon. Nick Bunker, a former reporter for the Financial Times, recently published “Making Haste from Babylon: The Mayflower Pilgrims and their World.” He told us about the importance of the beaver fur trade to the early colonists and the extensive inland trading routes used by native tribes to bring furs to the coastal settlements.

Parish Church of St. Andrew Undershaft with "The Gherkin" in background.

In a break from the drizzle, we had a rare sunny day for a walking tour of parish churches within the compact City of London, led by John Titford. They are sandwiched between old or modern office buildings and most are small and serene inside. Favorites were the Temple Church, setting for “The Da Vinci Code,” and St. Bride’s Church, whose spire is the inspiration for tiered wedding cakes.


St. Stephen Walbrook, built by Wren.

In the evening we had a tour of the College of Arms where we were welcomed by Thomas Woodcock, Garter King of Arms. What a privilege to be allowed into the inner sanctum, lined with ancient books illustrating coats of arms through the centuries. These are not digitized or copied in any form – the original hand-painted books. 

College of Arms

Now on to an exhausting and fascinating two days at the fifth annual WDYTYA – LIVE! exposition! Fortunately we had “jump passes” on opening day which let us go right in. Everyone there was so friendly, eager to hear questions and offer suggestions. People lined up for a popular section called “Ask an Expert” where you could have fifteen minutes to discuss your questions with a genealogist. I got some helpful advice on looking for records of a British soldier in the 1800s. From another booth I bought a paperback Your Ancestor’s Life in Textiles to give insight into life working in the cotton mills of Lancashire. Brenton Simons and Gary Boyd Roberts were having a great time checking out several booksellers’ stalls to make additions to the NEHGS library.

NEHGS Booth with Josh Taylor, Meriwether Schmid, Gary Boyd Roberts

A visit to the Huguenot Society of London booth was a highlight for me, where I asked about a 17th century ancestor in London. They immediately did a search on their laptop and found several references to him. Later in California, I got an email saying there was even more in the files and offering to send me copies. Needless to say, I thought a membership was well worth it.

Family Tree DNA was a big presence and featured talks every hour in their area on this evolving field. A lot of it is still over my head, but I keep thinking if I listen to enough lectures, I’ll finally get it! Their Family Finder test is used to predict if two people have a common ancestor within 3 or 4 generations. It’s the test for finding half-siblings or for adoptees and goes across M-F lines. Another talk was about the National Genographic Project, started in 2003 by the National Geographic Society, and Family Tree does the testing for it. It’s useful for anthropological studies, migration patterns and deep ancestral background. An important point – National Genographic keeps its samples for five years but Family Tree DNA preserves your sample for 25 years. You can transfer your results easily from National Genographic to Family Tree – so I’m going to do that soon. Family Tree is going to start offering upgrades to test for 111 markers.

Maureen Taylor was identifying pictures in the photo booth and reported business was booming. I wish I could have gotten around to all the booths for local history societies or vendors of maps and charts. What a treat the week was for travelers and genealogists!
– Judy Avery

Photographs courtesy of Judy Avery.


Copyright © 2011 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library

14 March 2011

Workshop: Two DNA Lectures by Steve Morse on April 30, 2011

Saturday, April 30, 2011
1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

California Genealogical Society Library
2201 Broadway, Suite LL2
Oakland, California

Perennial favorite Steve Morse returns with two lectures on DNA.

From DNA to Genetic Genealogy: Everything You Wanted to Know But Were Afraid to Ask
The study of genetics that started with Gregor Mendel's pea experiments in 1865 has now entered the genealogy field with Megan Smolenyak's coining of the term "genetealogy" in 2000. To understand the genealogical aspects requires an understanding of some of the basic concepts.

This talk introduces genes, chromosomes, and DNA, and goes on to show how DNA is inherited. That knowledge of inheritance can be used for finding relatives you didn't know you had, learning about your very distant ancestors and the route they traveled, and determining if you are a Jewish high priest (Kohan). Examples presented include Genghis Khan's legacy, the Thomas Jefferson affair, and the Anastasia mystery.

Genealogy Beyond the Y Chromosome: Autosomes Exposed

Classical genetic genealogy deals with the Y chromosome and the mitochondrial DNA. The Y chromosome test is for males only and traces the direct male lineage. The mitochondrial DNA test is for everybody and traces the direct female lineage. Recent advances in genetic genealogy make it possible to trace all lineages by testing the autosomes. Although the autosomes can be used to find ethnic mixes as well as recent cousins, it has some limitations.


This workshop is limited to forty participants and is a free benefit of membership. Non-members fee is $20.00 (non-refundable) and can be applied towards membership on the day of the workshop.

Preregistration is required. Walk-ins will not be admitted. Registration confirmations will be sent to the first forty participants to register. Additional names will be collected and placed on a waiting list in case of cancellations.

Register online.

Stephen Morse is the creator of One-Step Webpages for which he has received both the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Outstanding Contribution Award from the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies, Award of Merit from the National Genealogical Society, first-ever Excellence Award from the Association of Professional Genealogists, and two awards that he cannot pronounce from Polish genealogical societies.

In his other life Morse is a computer professional with a doctorate degree in electrical engineering. He has held various research, development, and teaching positions, authored numerous technical papers, written four textbooks, and holds four patents. He is best known as the architect of the Intel 8086 – the granddaddy of today's Pentium processor – which sparked the PC revolution 30 years ago.

Copyright © 2011 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library

11 March 2011

What You Missed: German Research Workshop with Shirley Riemer

Things have been busy this year at the library. Tim Cox and his crew have been cooking up classes and filling the society calendar with offerings to help genealogists with almost every aspect of their research. Workshops that focus on a particular ethnic group have been especially popular so it was no surprise that Getting Started in German Genealogy on January 29, 2011, was a sell-out.

Instructor Shirley Riemer received rave reviews from attendees.

Shirley Riemer

Mrs. Riemer's sense of humor and style of presentation are entertaining, as well as being very instructive. She covered a great deal of material while making it easily accessible, and provided very helpful printed material. –Anonymous

Great presentation! Not only informative but enjoyable! Great sense of humor! –Erin Flory

The presenter was funny and informative, she covered a lot in the time that was allowed. –Patti Melvin

Shirley had a great sense of humor, which is always a plus. She is an excellent presenter. I've been telling anyone who will listen about the talk. –Chris Pattillo

She covered a lot of areas of great frustration in researching German ancestors. I was really impressed with her knowledge. –Carl Mueller
By the numbers:
  • Total registered: 40
  • Cancellations: 6
  • Waiting List: 1
  • No Show: 2
  • Non-members registered: 7 (Fees collected: $140)
  • Total in attendance: 43 (including three longtime members not registered)
  • Total evaluations returned: 21


    Tim received several requests to have Shirley back again. He's already negotiating for her return later this year.

    The workshop was the first in the new space adjoining the library. Most people enjoyed the room and commented about it in the evaluations. But while our speaker and her talk got only accolades, feedback from the evaluations told us that some things need improvement.

    There were some issues voiced about the lack of air conditioning, no microphone (it seems to be broken), noise from the fans, and chairs being too close together. All of these issues have been reported and are being addressed.


    Photographs courtesy of Ellen Fernandez-Sacco, 1/29/2011, Oakland, California.


    Copyright © 2011 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library

    09 March 2011

    Honored to be Honored Again!

    Family Tree Magazine 40 Best Genealogy Blogs 2011

    The July 2011 issue of Family Tree Magazine is out with its list of the 40 Best Genealogy Blogs of 2011. I'm thrilled to report that the Local and Regional Research category includes the California Genealogical Society and Library blog. Sunny Jane Morton wrote this very kind description:

    In November 2007, Kathryn Doyle launched this blog after determining that her society needed to "go virtual or perish." Certainly the society is experiencing a long and healthy life, if its active blog and extensive website are its vital signs. Local events and member stories are top topics.
    Sunny is quoting my very first blog post – An Experiment – from November 2007 when I was quoting David Rencher and his talk on Societies Going Virtual. I think it is fair to say that genealogy bloggers have had a lot to do with how far into the future we have come!

    There are five winning blogs in each of eight categories as follows*:

    Everything

    Cemeteries

    Technology

    Heritage Groups

    Research Advice

    Local and Regional Research

    New Blogs

    My Family History


    Many thanks to readers who voted, to the magazine staff and to the Family Tree 40 Panel who lent their expertise in formulating the blog categories and qualifications (and whose blogs were excluded from consideration).

    One of the blogger panelists is "far-flung" (as he calls himself) member Thomas MacEntee, author of Destination: Austin Family and GeneaBloggers. The other Family Tree 40 panelists are Lisa Louise Cooke, DearMYRTLE and Randy Seaver.

    Two other CGS members are among the Top 40 – Amy Coffin and Elizabeth O'Neal.

    Congratulations to all!


      *Links reprinted here with permission of Thomas MacEntee of Geneabloggers.


      Copyright © 2011 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library

      Wordless Wednesday

      Judy Zelver and Laura Lee Karp
      Saturday, February 19, 2011




      Photograph courtesy of Tim Cox, Oakland, California.

      Copyright © 2011 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library

      07 March 2011

      Forever Remembered: Writing Your Autobiography with Francine Brevetti

      Thursday, Apr 21, 2011
      1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

      California Genealogical Society and Library
      2201 Broadway, Suite LL2
      Oakland, California 94612

      Francine Brevetti, noted journalist, author and biographer will show you how to make the writing of your autobiography easy. Whether you want to leave a legacy for your children or simply thirst to be known – writing your own life story is a great way to savor the richness of your life. In fact, most people shrink from this task. It seems too overwhelming. Francine Brevetti will show you how to make writing your autobiography simple, delicious and illuminating.

      In this workshop you will learn how to:
      • Organize yourself to accomplish this project
      • Stimulate memories of the the important moments of your life
      • Discover a discipline to write and keep writing
      • Come to look at your life in a new light
      • The rudiments of research
      You’ll leave with:
      • A template that will help you organize your material.
      • Suggestions for tools to use in this healing work.
      • The opportunity to share some of your own memories.
      Best of all: You'll get started!

      This workshop is limited to forty participants and is a free benefit of membership. Non-members fee is $20.00 (non-refundable) and can be applied towards membership on the day of the workshop.

      Preregistration is required. Walk-ins will not be admitted. Registration confirmations will be sent to the first forty participants to register. Additional names will be collected and placed on a waiting list in case of cancellations.

      Register online.

      Francine Brevetti, a native of San Francisco, is a longtime journalist who started her writing career in the late 1970s with America's oldest daily, The Journal of Commerce. In she moved to Hong Kong where she freelanced for almost thirteen years as a business writer. During that time wrote a guidebook to China and she contributed to American, British, Australian and Asian English-language dailies, magazines and trade journals. In 1997, she returned to San Francisco where she still lives. She secured a commission to write the history of America's oldest Italian restaurant, Fior d'Italia. The book The Fabulous Fior – over 100 Years in an Italian Kitchen sold well and is now out of print.

      She worked as a business reporter for the Oakland Tribune from 1998 to 2008. She has been writing clients biographies for several years and conducts workshops teaching people how to write their own.


      Copyright © 2011 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library

      03 March 2011

      eNews March 2011, volume 5, number 3

      The March 2011 issue of the eNews, volume 5, number 3,  has been published and emailed to members and friends. As always, the eNews features timely information about the California Genealogical Society and our upcoming events. Each edition also includes Suggested Links From the Blogosphere and a photo feature: California Ancestors.

      This month, in honor of St. Patrick's Day, we pay tribute to Mary "Mollie" Donlon Flynn, Irish grandmother of our member Mary Caroline Chunn.

      Mollie Donlon Flynn (1899-1989)
      This family is the focus of the Donlons of Dublin exhibit at the Dublin Heritage Center in Dublin, California, from April 20 to June 24, 2011.

      Past issues of the eNews are available at the eNewsARCHIVE.

      The April 2011 issue will be emailed on March 31, 2011. To receive a copy, please join our mailing list.


      Copyright © 2011 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library

      02 March 2011

      March Membership Meeting and Book Launch with Nancy Peterson

      Saturday, March 12, 2011
      12:00 p.m.

      California Genealogical Society Library
      2201 Broadway, Suite LL2
      Oakland, California

      It's been looked over, checked, examined, proofed and proofed again. Review copies have been mailed out and it looks like we may make the April 18, 2011 publication date. Raking the Ashes: Genealogical Strategies for Pre-1906 San Francisco Research, second edition, by Nancy S. Peterson, is almost here!

      Celebrate with us as we launch our newest publication at the March membership meeting. The festivities will start at noon. We will have a special pre-publication price for members who come and order an advance copy.

      After a short membership meeting at 1:00 p.m., Nancy will present a talk, "Climbing Over, Under, Around and Through Lost Records."

      Nancy Simons Peterson is a Stanford graduate and certified genealogist and the author of numerous articles. She won the Society of Genealogists Scholar Award in 2003. Her narrative genealogy Guarded Pasts: The Lives and Offspring of Colonel George and Clara (Baldwin) Bomford was the winning entry in the 1998 National Genealogical Society Family History Writing Contest and is used as an example of quality work in the NGS Quarterly style on the Board for Certification of Genealogists Web site.

      Nancy's search for her maternal San Francisco ancestors led ultimately to the publication of the first edition of Raking the Ashes in 2006 to coincide with the centennial of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire.


      Copyright © 2011 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library

      Wordless Wednesday

      Publications/Marketing Committee
      Facilitated Meeting with Laura Febus
      Tuesday, February 1, 2011




      Photograph courtesy of Dick Rees, Oakland, California.


      Copyright © 2011 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library

      01 March 2011

      Blogging 201: Learning More Features on the Blogger Platform

      Saturday, April 16, 2011
      11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

      California Genealogical Society and Library
      2201 Broadway, Suite LL2
      Oakland, CA 94612-3031

      After his successful blogging class in January, Craig Siulinski is back with a second hands-on workshop for genealogy bloggers who want to further their skills and learn more about the blogger platform.

      Spend time with Craig:
      • Reviewing and choosing Gadgets for the side bar
      • Placing images and links into posts
      • Covering the various choices that the Settings offer
      • Learning how to set up Google Reader to follow other blogs of interest
      Time will be allowed for creating interesting captions and story lines for your next blog post.

      This workshop is limited to twelve participants and is a free benefit of membership. Non-members fee is $20.00 (non-refundable) and can be applied towards membership on the day of the workshop.

      Preregistration is required. Walk-ins will not be admitted. Registration confirmations will be sent to the first twelve participants to register. Additional names will be collected and placed on a waiting list in case of cancellations.

      Register online.

      Craig Siulinski has been an Oakland resident for ten years. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Education, and has been a mathematics educator for many years. He has been involved in the study of genealogy and oral histories since 2007 when he decided to search for his paternal great-grandparents. Craig is the author of two blogs: August Legacy documents his family history and genealogy research; Jack and Pauline is devoted to oral history.




      Copyright © 2011 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library