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14 January 2020

Report from the Annual Membership Meeting: New Board Members and More

We held our Annual Membership Meeting last Saturday, January 11, and were happy to see a good turnout for the election of Board members and reports from our various committees. Among the items covered were the new website, soon to be launched; the Society's current financial health; and upcoming events and classes.

President Jim Sorenson made some short remarks and noted that while we here in Oakland often refer to the California Genealogical Society "and Library," our organization's legal name has been and remains simply the California Genealogical Society for business purposes.

We thanked Past President Vicky Kolakowski for her service, and gratitude was also extended to departing Board members Felicia Addison and Nancy Cork. Then membership voted in the new slate of nominees: Jim Sorenson, who has been serving as interim President since July, was confirmed as the new Board President, and Maureen Hanlon as Vice President. We also confirmed three new nominees to the Board. Meet Grant Din, Theresa Murphy, and Joanna Shear:

Grant Din
Grant Din has been interested in genealogy ever since a cousin told him forty years ago that he was in the 36th generation of Gongs! Since that time, he has researched his and many families' immigration histories, including when he was on the staff of the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation. He has worked in the Bay Area nonprofit sector his entire adult life. He completed Boston University's Certificate Program in Genealogical Research in 2015 and enjoyed being a part of the team that researched the six Chinese seamen who survived the Titanic for the film "The Six."

Theresa Murphy
 Theresa Murphy has been researching her ancestry since 2016 when she traveled to Ireland to visit her family's homelands and meet newly found cousins. She has been a member of CGS since 2018. Since joining CGS, she expanded her research to her New England ancestry with the help of one of our members. Theresa is a native of Oakland and spent her professional career as a CPA in auditing, consulting, and systems implementationsskills which have proven invaluable in genealogy research. She is currently serving on the Website Committee, assisting in the development of our new website, and is teaching a workshop on creating a family history book.

Joanna Shear
 Joanna Shear joins the Board Officers as Corresponding Secretary. She was born in Boston, grew up in Missouri, and landed in the Bay Area 21 years ago. A member of CGS since 2016, she has a BS in physics from Indiana University, an MSE in industrial engineering from Georgia Tech, and has completed Boston University's Certificate Program in Genealogical Research. She was first drawn to genealogy by an unknown name on a mysterious engraved silver chalice, which led to a reunion for family separated by the Holocaust. Eleven years down the road, she is deep into the history of her Jewish ancestors as they moved within Europe and emigrated to other continents. She now also uses DNA to go beyond the documentation and trace new family connections. As her research for family and others has grown into new areas, so has her dedication to making genealogy open and accessible to all.

We're very excited to have Grant, Theresa, and Joanna on the Board. We know they will bring new perspectives and skills to further advance the Society.

The meeting was followed by a delicious potluck and celebratory cake (thank you, Kathleen Beitiks!), and then several CGS members shared their family memory booksand in one case, a large full-color family tree poster. Chris Pattillo stood by with a watchful eye on her phone timer, making sure presentations were kept to three minutes, and a good time was had by all.


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