Recent Posts

31 July 2019

Touring the Bancroft

UC Bancroft Library, with the Campanile in background
One of the many benefits of joining CGS is access to special members-only events, including tours of historical sites and research repositories. Last week, more than a dozen society members enjoyed an instructive walk-through of the marvelous UC Bancroft Library, the University of California's primary special collections library. While the library holds manuscripts and artifacts dating to ancient times, it is best known for its collection of Western Americana--not just for California, but materials ranging from the Rocky Mountains to Hawaii, as well as from Mexico and Central America. Curator Theresa Salazar was our guide.


Upper level and entrance to the Heller Reading Room
Organizer Lorna Wallace (at right, in pink top)
and other CGS members enjoyed our personal tour!
Photos by Kathy Ikeda

Copyright © 2019 by California Genealogical Society

25 July 2019

A Toast to Georgia Lupinsky

Georgia Lupinsky (center), flanked by Pat Bonderud
and Linda Darby, was celebrated and thanked for her 10 years
as Manuscripts Committee Co-Chair

On July 19 we celebrated Georgia Lupinsky and her many contributions to the CGS library. Since 2009, Georgia has served as co-chair of the Manuscripts Committee with Virginia Turner. Georgia and Virginia took over from Linda Darby and Pat Bonderud, who did the initial organization of the CGS Manuscript Collection, a massive body of family histories, research, and loose papers donated to CGS over its 120-year history. (The searchable index to the collection is available on our website.) “I was most impressed with the way Georgia competently took over the manuscript collection," said Linda. "She did a great job of organizing all the material, was a pleasure to work with, very collegial, cooperative and very diplomatic.”

Georgia has also written for our blog, sharing some of the interesting stories she's uncovered working on the manuscript collection. They include a history of early children's welfare advocate Nellie Patterson Baldwin, and a surprising incident in the life of Swiss immigrant Martina Kurrer, said to have narrowly escaped death on a train to California thanks to a portentous dream.

Asked about highlights of her time as a volunteer, Georgia immediately cited her work on The Ancestry of Samuel Sterling Sherman and Mary Ware Allen. Based on the extensive research of late CGS president Frederick "Rick" Sherman, the book tells the stories of nine generations of the Sherman family as they moved from New England and Kentucky westward to California. "Georgia was absolutely invaluable on this project," recalled past president Jane Lindsey, who coordinated the undertaking. "She reviewed all of Rick's documentation, helped to label hundreds of scanned photos, and reviewed every detail of the manuscript. She was such a pleasure to work with; such a capable and competent volunteer." Georgia also did the detailed Finding Aid of the Sherman Collection for the book and has since created Finding Aids for the Covell and Hale collections.

No gold watch at this retirement ceremony, but we all shared a delicious chocolate cake and Georgia left with a beautiful bouquet of yellow roses. In the language of flowers, “yellow roses are used to convey a number of emotions, with friendship being the main one. The color yellow is often associated with the Sun, known for its warmth. Akin to this, the yellow rose also emanates warmth, affection and joy. When you want to show someone you care, present her with a bouquet of yellow roses” – a sentiment clearly shared by all who attended Georgia’s celebration.

Copyright © 2019 by California Genealogical Society

19 July 2019

Changes at the Top

An update to our members:

CGS President Vicky Kolakowski has decided for personal and professional reasons that she needs to resign her role as President. Per the CGS Bylaws, Vice President Jim Sorenson has assumed the role of President. Speaking for the Board of Directors, Jim thanks Vicky for her past years of service to CGS and hopes that she will be able to maintain some involvement with CGS in the future, as her time allows. We wish her the best in her endeavors.

Copyright © 2019 by California Genealogical Society

18 July 2019

Summer Thursday Evenings at the Library


In case you missed it: our library is open till 8 p.m. on Thursdays in July and August! More time for research, and we offer FREE classes by a variety of our members.

Talks kicked off last week with Robert Jackson speaking on "Discovering Your German Roots." This is a 3-part series, with classes continuing July 18 & 25. Check the listing for more details.

On August 1, Stewart Blandón Traiman discusses "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Genealogy."


Maureen Hanlon offers tips on research using "Historical Newspapers" on August 8. 


August 15: Therese Hart-Pignotti and Dawn Kosmakos lead a DNA roundtable.


August 22: Keith Montgomery talks about using Genome Mate Pro to keep track of your DNA information.


August 29: Jane Lindsey presents "Beyond the Search Boxes on FamilySearch."


The classes are all free, but size is limited; please follow the link to register your attendance.

Parking is free after 6 p.m. in downtown Oakland, and North Oakland is hopping with new restaurants within blocks. Grab a friend and come on down!

All our events can be found listed on the CGS Facebook page
or on our website:
or at EventBrite.com (search for California Genealogical Society)

Copyright © 2019 by California Genealogical Society

17 July 2019

Our Library Collections: South Dakota

Hand-drawn map of Fort Randall in
South Dakota
One in a series by CGS member Chris Pattillo highlighting some of our holdings at the Library in Oakland. For a fuller listing of books, journals, and more, consult the CGS Library catalog in WorldCat.

Our South Dakota books begin with six volumes of South Dakota by the Department of History Collections in Brule County. Chapter One is a history of Brule County. That is followed by chapters on individuals and a variety of topics. Volume 23 published in 1947 has chapters on Ferries on the Big Sioux River, Hand County, and Newspapers of South Dakota. Each chapter is long – for example, the chapter on Father Christian Hoecken is forty pages, so unlike some of the autobiographical sketches our collection holds, these are quite substantive. These books are really packed with a lot of genealogical information and are something anyone with South Dakota roots needs to look at.
These five volumes are Dakota Territory and South Dakota
We have five dense volumes titled History of Dakota Territory by George W. Kingsbury, each with a San Francisco D.A.R. bookplate. They were published in 1915. The table of contents, 19 pages long is somewhat unique in that for each chapter there is a brief summary of the contents of the chapter. This set of books provides an excellent history of the state and is very well illustrated so is another tremendous resource.

We have a nice set of four books that were compiled by Ronald Vern Jackson. The set includes the 1860, 1870 and 1880 censuses plus the 1880 Mortality Schedule.
This centennial book includes articles
written by multiple authors

Our hard copy book collection includes a few books focused on specific counties in South Dakota. One of these is Lawrence County Dakota Territory Centennial, 1861–1961 by Mildred Fielder. It contains a series of articles written by different authors on a range of topics such as mining, dairying, lumbering, transportation, education, churches, sports and more. 

Historical Collections from Deuel County follows the format of many of our bicentennial books. It provides a history of the county followed by short bios for many individuals in chronological order. This particular book is very well illustrated. At the beginning of the book they included individual plot maps for each township with the names of original landowners. These are clear and easier to read. 
Betsy Uven 1884 is one of the many biographies
found in Historical Collections by Deuel
Photos of Native Americans
in one of our South Dakota books


Copyright © 2019 by California Genealogical Society