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16 June 2020

Website Content Committee: Pedigree Charts Project

Chris Pattillo writes:
If you have not already seen the video about our Pedigree Charts project made by Ron Madson, you can see it by clicking on the link. Ron is one of a number of CGS volunteers who are working with the Website Content Committee to put more source material on our website. The idea to do this is one of the many good suggestions that were put forth by our members during the Strategic Planning process.  
Ron Madson in his studio with the equipment he is using to
photograph two volumes of pedigree charts

This project began over one hundred years when some of the founding members created pedigree charts and had them bound into books. We have two volumes of CGS Pedigree Charts on the back wall where the oversized books are shelved. These books are beautifully done. They are eight-generation charts written in ink. In addition to birth, death and marriage dates and places, some charts include photographs, obituaries and newspaper clippings.
These books were made ca. 1920
The Pierson Worrall Banning Chart was completed on
September 13, 1916
Years later other volunteers indexed the names from these books. They extracted the data and typed it onto 3x5 cards. Each card provides the individual’s name, the name of the chart it appears on, and what volume and page that chart appears on.
Other volunteers typed the data from the charts onto 3x5 cards
We are now converting the data on the 3x5 cards into a searchable database so that members can easily search for an ancestor online. Once the project is complete our members in other states and countries will be able to easily access this wealth of records without having to come into the library.

Our current team includes Stewart Traiman, who scanned about 8000 index cards, and Theresa Murphy, who created a data entry spreadsheet, a completed sample and instructions for how to index the data. Kathleen Beitiks is identifying and coordinating a team of volunteers who have agreed to do the indexing, and as the data comes in John Ralls will be putting it up on the website. I have had the pleasure of leading this team effort and keeping us all focused on the end goal.
One of about 200 8-generation pedigree charts that Ron is
photographing. Note: this is my iPhone snapshot. Ron's
photos will be much better.
Ron Madson agreed to take high-quality photographs of each tree – about 200 of them. He has an impressive set of equipment and is using Adobe Lightroom to organize and edit the photos.

Many of the charts have photos attached
The Banning chart includes this obituary
If you are interested and have time to help with the indexing please contact me at or Kathleen Beitiks at The Website Content Committee is working on several other projects. I’ll share more about those as we make progress.
This box of 3x5 cards was scanned for the internet
Copyright © 2020 by California Genealogical Society

13 June 2020

Online genealogy, week of June 15-21

Here are some online genealogy events offered this week. Most are free. See our post “Genealogy Learning in the Time of Coronavirus,” for links to archived classes at Ancestry, FamilySearch, RootsTech, and more.

Don't miss CGS's offering: "Excel for Genealogists," a very popular two-part class led by Stewart Blandon, on June 16 & 17.

To register for a class below, please click on the name of the host organization.

June 15: "Risky Business: Limiting Liability in a Litigious World" by Judy G. Russell

June 17: "The Other Census: U.S. State Censuses" by Thomas MacEntee

The New England Historical and Genealogical Society offers these free online classes:
June 16: "From Teeming Zion's Fertile Womb": The Curious Career of Judah Monis by Michael Hoberman
June 18: "Getting Started in Portuguese Genealogy" by Rhonda R. McClure

Legacy Family Tree hosts the following free classes:
June 16 & 17: "Genealogical Treasures in Irish Archives" by David Ouimette
June 17: "Bridging the Gap: Finding Ancestors in the United States Between 1780 and 1840" by D. Joshua Taylor

LFT also offers "Free Webinar Weekends" in June, with a variety of speakers.
June 19-21, Great Britain, 6 classes
June 26-28, African American Genealogy, 5 classes
Visit the website for details.

FamilySearch has free webinars every week. This week:
June 15: Best Practices on Family Tree for Nordic Ancestors

Conference Keeper has a large calendar of activities (too many to list) by genealogical associations around the country. New events are often added at the last minute, so check the calendar frequently.
Here are a few of this week's highlights:
June 16: "Smarter Search Strategies for Genealogy" (Wisconsin State Genealogical Society) by Thomas MacEntee
June 16: "Naturalization Records" (Pinellas Genealogy Society) by Peter Summers
June 16:  "Finding Family: Finding Your Female Ancestors on Naturalization Records" (National Archives) by Zack Wilske
June 17: "Locating Records in Archives From Your Couch" (BYU Family History Library) by Sara Cochran
June 17: "Research Methods and Sources and Citations" (MyHeritage) with Dick Eastman
June 18: "Seven Proven Strategies for Identifying Slave Ownership and Reconstructing Families: New Paths and Trails" (Florida State Genealogical Society) with Janis Minor Forté
June 18: "The Musical 'Chicago' and All That Genealogical Jazz" by Mike Karsen
June 20: "Japanese Family Names and Crests (Kamon)" with Chester Hashizume

Copyright © 2020 by California Genealogical Society

11 June 2020

In Memoriam: Laura Spurrier, 1941-2020

Laura Spurrier (second from left) in 2016, with CGS team
members Jim Robinson, Gloria Hanson, and Chris Pattillo
Our CGS family of volunteers and members were saddened to hear of the passing of Laura Spurrier this past Tuesday morning (June 9). She had been a CGS member since 1996.

She served on our Board of Directors and the library committee and was our librarian for many years. Among her specific services to CGS were:
  • Organizing and coordinating the movement of our books to our current library location from our old location at 1601 Telegraph in 2007.
  • Securing the funding for, and overseeing the transition of, our library card catalog to digital and making it available on our website.
  • Co-leading one of our first research trips to the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana and providing consultations before and after that trip.
  • Serving as an editor for the CGS book on the Judge family.
Laura had a masters degree in history from the University of Wisconsin and a master of library science degree from UC Berkeley. She worked as a technical information specialist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory until her retirement. She was able to put her education and experience to good use at CGS and we appreciate, and have benefited from, her involvement. She was always willing to help others with their genealogy questions, especially if they were related to Scandinavian or Quaker issues.

Our thoughts and condolences go to her family. A memorial will be held in Berkeley, once it is safer to do so.

James Sorenson, President

Copyright © 2020 by California Genealogical Society

09 June 2020

Family History with Young Kids… While Sheltering In Place

This blog post was contributed by Marisa Louie Lee.

I was making some exciting strides in my genealogy research this year until mid-March, when my daughter’s preschool closed and landed her at home with her younger sister and me. We’ve since filled our days with class Zoom meetings, sidewalk chalk, watching lettuce grow in the backyard, crafting with toilet paper tubes, and lots of yoga on YouTube… and lately, a few family history projects. While visiting research rooms or meeting up with other researchers is in the distant future, I can still work on something just as important as piecing together the past: fostering a love for family history and their cultural heritage in my kids.

For children, especially those under the age of 5, identity is tied to family. Understanding family traditions and being able to share family narratives strengthens one’s pride in family, building confidence and self-esteem. With this foundation, children can better understand differences among their peers and build relationships with others. Here are some ways you can introduce family history to young children while sheltering in place.

Making Chinese turnip cake at home
Cooking Family Recipes: The food of Shelter in Place is definitely comfort food – and what’s more comforting than what your family has made for generations? Share the stories that go along with the recipes. Was there a special plate that your grandmother used to serve the cake? Was this casserole a special food for holidays or birthdays? If you don’t have a family recipe for something you enjoyed as a child, find one online and refine it until it feels and tastes right. We made my mother-in-law’s favorite Chinese turnip cake (lo bak go) for the first time last month. An aunt has also been perfecting her Hong Kong-style egg custard tart (daan tat) recipe, and our kids have happily eaten all of the trial tarts left on our doorstep.

Thumbs up for homemade custard tarts!
Family Photo Sharing on Zoom: On Mother’s Day, our extended family gathered on Zoom. We devoted part of our meeting to sharing and talking about family pictures. My daughter loves seeing photos of adults as children, so she was enthralled by a photo from her great-great-grandmother’s birthday party in the 1960s. Best of all, the Zoom meeting was recorded so we are able to go back and listen to everyone’s reminiscences. This would be an excellent activity for a family member who’d like to offer some virtual babysitting to busy parents.  

Cemetery Visits: Instead of taking a walk at a local park, why not visit a local cemetery? This would have to be carefully planned and obviously may not be appropriate for every child. Our children are very comfortable at cemeteries because we visit twice yearly for Chinese grave cleaning days in the spring and fall. Visit the grave of an ancestor and share a story, or find a grave and discover ways to find out more about that individual and the time period in which they lived. My daughter talks about time and history comparatively to people and things she is familiar with: was this person alive when her parents or grandparents were born? Which famous Disney movies – like Snow White (1937) or Cinderella (1950) – were around then? Were there cars or did people ride horses?

Visiting Hoy Sun Cemetery in Colma
Honoring family on Memorial Day
COVID-19 Time Capsule: Document the history happening now. What is it like sheltering in place with your family? How are you celebrating holidays and special occasions? What are your favorite books, movies, and pastimes right now? This COVID-19 time capsule by LONG Creations is designed for young children to complete and color with some adult assistance.

Some books from our family library
Picture Books on Family History: Read books on family history, particularly any that relate to your child’s culture and ancestors. My daughter will eventually learn more fully about the Chinese Exclusion Act and Chinese communities in the Sacramento Delta, but for now we can talk about immigrant journeys and the meanings of our names. Some recent fantastic picture books with a thread about family history and heritage include Islandborn by Junot Díaz and Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal. You can also find books specifically about family trees and genealogical research, such as My Family Tree and Me by Dušan Petričić. If you don’t mind using a tablet or electronic device to read with your child, these may be available as e-books from your local public library. I’ve developed a reading list in my San Francisco Public Library account with these and other titles.

Many thanks to friends and colleagues in genealogy and parenthood Linda Harms Okazaki, Asia Yee Mountz, and Petra Fraties for their input and contributions to this blog post. This article published on the Your DNA Guide blog further discusses family narratives and building resilience in children.

Copyright © 2020 by California Genealogical Society

06 June 2020

Online genealogy, week of June 8-15

Here are some online genealogy events offered this week. Most are free. See our post Genealogy Learning in the Time of Coronavirus,” for links to archived classes at Ancestry, FamilySearch, RootsTech, and more.

To register for a class below, please click on the name of the organization.

June 15: Risky Business: Limiting Liability in a Litigious World by Judy G. Russell

The New England Historical and Genealogical Society offers these free online classes:
June 8: Honor Moore with Our Revolution: A Mother and Daughter at Mid-Century (New England Historical Genealogical Society)
June 10: Researching English Eastern Canada
June 10: First Steps in Family History 

Legacy Family Tree and MyHeritage host "Free Weekend Webinars" in June. They feature a variety of speakers on 3 different tracks:
Technology, June 12-14, 6 classes
Great Britain, June 19-21, 6 classes
African American, June 26-28, 5 classes
Visit the website for details.

FamilySearch has free webinars every week. This week:
June 9: Online Resources for Reading Dutch Documents
June 9: ¿Qué dice? Como leer la escritura antigua (in Spanish)
June 10: England Records Beyond the Grave
June 15: Best Practices on Family Tree for Nordic Ancestors 

The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society hosts two free webinars:
June 8: The New York Gateway: Immigration, Emigration and Migration by Jane E. Wilcox
June 9: 2020 New York State Family History Conference--What's On the Program? Susan R. Miller and D. Joshua Taylor

Conference Keeper has a large calendar listing activities by genealogical associations around the country. Here are a few notable events:
June 9: Finding What You Need and Using What You Find (Virtual Genealogical Association) by Pam Vestal
June 9: Pity the Poor Orphan: Children’s Homes in America (Allen County Public Library)
June 9: Genealogische Karten online selbst erstellen mit StepMap (in German)
June 10:  Duplicates in Family Tree, Part 1: Why They’re There and How to Find Them (BYU Family History Library) with Kathryn Grant 
June 11: The Fisherman Who Wanted to Marry the Executioner’s Daughter: Stories You Missed from German Marriage Sources (Germanic Genealogy Societ) by Warren Bittner
June 11: Adventures with Adobe Photoshop Elements: Enhancement, Contrast, and Brightness Correction (Allen County Public Library)
June 14: U.K. Parish Registers (Virtual Genealogy Association) by Robert Parker

Stay safe, be well, and happy learning!

Copyright © 2020 by California Genealogical Society