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12 December 2018

CGS Library Collections: Indiana

An occasional series highlighting some of our holdings at the Library in Oakland. For a fuller listing of our books, journals, and more, consult the CGS Library catalog. Our catalog is also included in WorldCat.

Fall/Winter 2013 Connections
Our Indiana section of the library occupies seven shelves and includes four sets of journals, published between 1961–2015. Four shelves are devoted to county books. One of the most recent journals we have is Connections: The Hoosier Genealogists. The Fall/Winter 2013 edition features an article entitled How Hoosiers Got Hitched: The Genealogist’s Guide to Indiana Marriage Records. This edition also has an article about Pioneering Women Doctors.

The first book I chose to peruse was Indiana Election Returns 1816-1851, published by the Indiana Historical Bureau. It includes results for the Presidential, Congressional, Lieutenant Governor, and General Assembly elections as well as constitutional referendums. For each contest, it lists the names that appeared on the ballot and how many votes each person received. This is a huge amount of data …. and to think they compiled it before we had Excel.

We have a five-volume set, Indiana and Indianans: A History of Aboriginal and Territorial Indiana and the Century of Statehood by Jacob Piatt Dunn, published in 1919. These books are bound in forest green textured leather with embossed elements and green marbled page edges. They include many photographs of individuals, buildings and maps.
Indiana and Indianans

There are seven Indiana Source Books, based on records collated by The Hoosier Genealogist. These source books include a dense treasure trove of county and family records.
Volney Willson of Muncie and his wife

One of the county books that impressed me was Portrait and Biographical Record of Delaware and Randolph Counties. Its sheer mass is notable, weighing in at eleven pounds. The book was published in 1894 and includes biographical sketches of "Prominent and Representative Citizens," governors of Indiana, and presidents of the United States. Like many of our other books, this one includes high-quality photographs. The preface introduces the book by describing the “elegance of the binding of the volume, and to the beauty of its typography, to the superiority of the paper on which the work is printed, to the truthfulness depicted by its portraits, and to the high class of art in which the latter is finished.” So, I guess I am not the only one to be impressed by the book.

There is lots more to find in our library for Indiana – stop by and check it out.

Copyright © 2018 by California Genealogical Society

05 December 2018

CGS Library Collections: Illinois

An occasional series highlighting some of our holdings at the Library in Oakland. For a fuller listing of our books, journals, and more, consult the CGS Library catalog. Our catalog is also included in WorldCat.

Voices of the Prarie Land
The CGS library has twelve shelves of books for the state of Illinois including at least fourteen sets of journals, many source books on individual counties, and several books devoted to cities – quite an impressive set of material. As I took this in, it struck me that even though my paternal grandparents George and Katharine Vetter lived in Cook County, Illinois for twenty-one years, it never occurred to me to check our library for what secrets it might hold for my own family. This is rather embarrassing to admit. Am I the only CGS member who has made this error of omission? I think not. How is it possible that I would seriously contemplate driving halfway across the country to the state of Illinois before I would think to look at the wonderful collection of sources in my own town? This is why I am writing this series for our blog to remind us all of the rich resources we have access to by being members of CGS.
Hiram Revels of Illinois

So, while it was difficult for me to avoid immediately jumping into a search for my own family I focused on writing this post. The first book I found that interested me was Voices of the Prairie Land, Volumes 1 and 2, edited by Martin Litvin. The book was published in 1972 and consists of writings and original papers of early Illinois citizens. Vol. 1 has a chapter titled Hiram Revels and the Negroes of Galesburg. Revels was the first African American U.S. Senator. This lengthy firsthand account includes Revels’ autobiography, comments on race and the Underground Railroad, and much more. It includes a facsimile of Revels’ original hand-written antislavery oration. This is a rich text worthy of review.

Photo from Legends and Lore of Southern Illinois
Biographical Dictionary and Portrait Gallery of the Representative Men of the United States, Illinois Edition, Volume II was published in 1896. The embossed leather-bound volume with gilded page edges presents 298 pages of biographies with high-quality portraits and signatures. Unfortunately, the book lacks a table of contents or an index, so I cannot easily tell you how many biographies are included.

Another of our offerings is Legends and Lore of Southern Illinois by John W. Allen, published in 1964. Chapter topics include Individuals, Folklore, Indians, Early Business Activities, Farm Life, Early Schools, Holidays, Slavery and Servitude, Landmarks, Random Stories, and more.
This book looks like a light read with lots of background information.

 Chicago Accomplishments and Leaders
The last book I checked out for this post was Chicago Accomplishments and Leaders. It is organized by different topics such as the Furniture Mart, Music, Steel, Athletics and Recreation, the Shedd Aquarium, and much more. The book includes portraits of the featured men (all men) accompanied by biographical sketches.

Copyright © 2018 by California Genealogical Society

28 November 2018

CGS Library Collections: Idaho

An occasional series highlighting some of our holdings at the Library in Oakland. For a fuller listing of our books, journals, and more, consult the CGS Library catalog. Our catalog is also included in WorldCat.

Why is Judge Judy's photo on the cover page of
Memories of Market Lake?
What is Judge Judy’s connection to Idaho? Memories of Market Lake, Vol. V is a picture book about Idaho written by Wm. Stibal Pettite and published in 2002. Subjects covered include Idaho Movie Stars, Sorrowful Events, Bingham County, Eagle Rock’s Forgotten Pioneer, Old Time Cars, Farm & Ranch Days, Beaver Canyon, and much more. The book is packed with historic photos, including a photo of Judge Judy on the title page. If you want to find out why you’ll just have to visit the library to read the book.

Our Idaho collection has thirteen books and one box of the Idaho Genealogical Society Quarterly from 1986 – 1996. There are five volumes of Idaho Surnames that were indexed by the Genealogical Forum of Portland, Oregon. For most persons listed only minimal information is provided but for some, a short bio is included.

Photos of old cars in Memories of Market Lake
For general knowledge about the state, we have a three-volume set History of Idaho: A Narrative Account of Its Historical Progress, Its People and Its Principal Interests, written by Hiram T. French, M.S. in 1914. These are books that feel good in your hands. They are leather bound, have marbled page edges, and are hefty, weighing about five pounds each. The table of contents is extensive and there are good illustrations.

A resource book on Boise
One of the newest books in the set was published in 2006. It is Boise, Idaho 1882-1910: Prosperity in Isolation by Carol Lynn MacGregor. Chapters cover The Land, Native People, and Settlers; Transportation, Irrigation, and City Development; Business and Commerce; Government and Politics; Progressive Social Institutions; and Leisure, the Arts, and Religion. The back cover synopsis explains how Boise became a vibrant city even though it was not located on the main railroad line. “Investigating everything from racism and prostitution to hospitals, hotels, and high society, MacGregor takes the reader on an in-depth tour of how this distinctive western city developed.” This is a well-annotated book no doubt packed with useful information about Idaho.

Copyright © 2018 by California Genealogical Society

20 November 2018

CGS Library Collections: Hawaii

An occasional series highlighting some of our holdings at the Library in Oakland. For a fuller listing of our books, journals, and more, consult the CGS Library catalog. Our catalog is also included in WorldCat.

Screen shot of the WorldCat online library catalog on
our CGS website

I recently visited the library to work on this blog post for Hawaii and I learned a lot while I was there. The first thing I learned is that not all states have a section devoted to them on the library shelves. For those who don’t already know this, there are maps posted on the ends of each of the shelves in our library. The states that are found on that shelf have been colored in on these maps and the names of the states are listed with their call numbers. It makes it very easy to find the state you are looking for. I could not find Hawaii colored in on any shelf, so I asked Arlene Miles, our current Library Committee Chair, where to find our Hawaii books. Arlene replied, “Did you look in our catalog?” That’s the response Arlene gives to many of my questions – rightly so.

I dutifully went to the CGS website and selected “Library Catalog” from the blue box on the left. That action took me to a search box on the World Catalog better known as WorldCat. This is just what it says – an online catalog that shows us what books on a particular subject are in the catalog and where you can find them. When you select Library Catalog the first thing that pops up asks, “Not familiar with WorldCat? Watch this video.” Following that link will open a video that illustrates how to use the catalog. Or, you can just enter a search term like “Hawaii,” hit the blue “Search” button and see what you get. On our website, the default is set to show you what books are housed in the CGS collection, so when I hit the search button it told me we have 51 books with something about Hawaii in them. If you want to know where else in the world you might find genealogical material, in case you are planning a trip, you can use the “Search Tool” to select “Libraries Worldwide.”Doing that will tell you there are 706,406 books with Hawaiian content in the world. WorldCat lists each item and tells you all the places you can find it.
WorldCat Search box 

Fortunately, there are other search tools that will enable you to focus the hunt. You can search by format: books, articles, items on microfilm or journals; or by author, time period, or a number of topics including “genealogy.” This online catalog is available to anyone who visits our website – not just members.

Some WorldCat search tools
Once you’ve found an item you think might be useful you can click on the book title and view more information as well as a list of all the places the book is available.

I also learned more about using our vertical files collection. One of the first items listed for Hawaii is “A Genealogy of the Wilder Family of Hawaii,” printed in 1916 by the Hawaiian Historical Society. This is a seven-page booklet housed in our vertical files. The catalog provided the exact file number so finding it was very easy. Another document in our vertical files was “Thirty Turley Cousins: Grandchildren of Independence Turley and Dora Estelle Hill of Howard County, Arkansas”. Turns out one of the cousins lived in Hawaii in 1968 when the family history was written and that is why it appears in a Hawaii search.
Wilder Family Genealogy in the vertical files
I found one of our Hawaii books housed with directories in the “L” section of the library. We have two volumes of “School Directory State of Hawaii 1961-1963.” These paperback books list the names of all the school personnel, and they identify the special schools available in Hawaii including private schools, sewing schools, commercial and marketing schools, cosmetology and hairdressing schools, and other professional and technical schools.

One of our books that sparked my interest is “Julia Morgan Architect of Beauty” by Mark Wilson. While this book features mostly Bay Area buildings it also includes the Homelani Columbarium, the Honolulu YWCA building and the Iolani Palace that Morgan designed for Hawaii.

The last book I sought for this post led me to our CS section where family genealogies reside. There I found a two-volume set of “Peter and Mary Thomas Their Ancestors and Descendants” compiled by George Mower Hargrave in 1950.  Volume 2 is a Supplement dated 1963. Volume one is a First Edition mimeographed book that was dedicated to the author’s father, John Wilson Hargrave. This is a traditional family genealogy – the kind we all dream of finding for our own family. It is packed with facts about twelve generations of the family and well organized, with an index.
Honolulu YWCA designed by Julia Morgan

For most of the books and articles I glanced at, Hawaii was not the primary focus of the item. For example, Mark Wilson’s book is really about the architecture of Julia Morgan and there just happens to be three buildings she designed in Hawaii, so it makes sense that it is shelved with other books on architecture and not with other state collections.

Back home, I spent some more time perusing the listings in the CGS collection for Hawaii. Doing so takes more time than standing in front of the shelf and glancing at book titles printed on the binding. Using the catalog also lacks the visceral response to seeing and touching the actual books with their bright colors, leather covers, embossed imprints, gilded page edges, etc. It is definitely a different experience – far less satisfying. On the other hand, it can be done in the middle of the night from my comfy chair and avoids paying for parking.

Copyright © 2018 by California Genealogical Society

16 November 2018

Seeking CGS Board Nominations

We are currently accepting nominations for the CGS Board of Directors. Requirements include attending monthly meetings and a willingness to chair a committee. Term is two years.

This is a chance to join a great team of people and help steer our organization into the future.

All suggestions should be emailed no later than Tuesday, November 27th to Nomination Committee chair Richard Kehoe (

Copyright © 2018 by California Genealogical Society