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31 March 2008

Book Donations Build the Library

The donation of books accounts significantly for the growth in holdings of the California Genealogical Society Library over the past 100 years. The reliance on the generosity of members and others dates back to 1906 when the society, founded in 1898, lost everything in the Great San Francisco Earthquake and Fire. In order to rebuild, CGS actively sought and received book contributions from many individuals and organizations from around the country. The CGS archives hold a formal, printed announcement dated 20 June 1908:

Donations of books, histories and other genealogical matter, are solicited for the new library of the CALIFORNIA GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY to assist in a measure to replace those destroyed in the great fire of April 18-20, 1906, when the library of over three hundred volumes, charts of members and archives of the Society were lost.

According to early records, in 1913, the Newberry Library in Chicago gifted several cartons of its duplicate books which were from the library of the late Lieutenant Governor Murphy of Pennsylvania.

The History of the California Genealogical Society, written in 1998 by long-time member, Dorothy Fowler, lists several of the larger donations to the library:

Henry Byron Phillips, CGS president 1912-1920, left his comprehensive research on the New England Phillipses to the CGS archival collection following his death in 1924.

Dr. Charles Francis Griffin, CGS president 1923-1931, left his genealogical library to CGS upon his death in 1950.

Margaret Griffith
, who served as the Society’s first woman president, 1945-1947, donated books and a great deal of manuscript material when she died in 1965.

Mrs. Wm. J. Lindenberger, an active member of CGS and the California Historical Society for over 30 years, provided literally hundreds of books to the genealogical collection, many of them especially rare and valuable. Her name is prominent on bookplates throughout the collection and in old records of the Society.

The largest single gift to the library was the collection of George R. Dorman, added in 1984. Mr. Dorman, a CGS member for 47 years, served in various capacities on the Society’s Board. A dedicated genealogist, his research on the signers of the California Constitutional Convention was published as a long-running series in the Society’s newsletter and later in The Nugget. The Dorman Collection is housed in a separate room in the library.

Throughout his membership with CGS from 1972 until his death in 1995, Stanley Ross steadily and without fanfare provided books to strengthen specific parts of the collection. For example, he donated a total of almost 200 books to the New York and New Jersey sections alone and also contributed the microfilms of the Kentucky vital records.

The offering of materials to the library continues today. In fall, 2007, five boxes of books were gifted from member Joan Soo. Electra Kimble Price donated some of her African-American and Native-American collection. Theresa Smith sought out the society seeking a good home for her late mother's books. Theresa's not interested in genealogy herself so we are grateful that the four boxes of books on early California during the Spanish era, especially southern California, have found their way to the CGS bookshelves.

The most recent gift comes from long-time member, Dorothy A. Koenig, an expert on early Dutch settlers in "New Netherland" in the 17th century and editor of the quarterly journal, New Netherland Connections. Dorothy has donated volumes 1-14 of the set Documents Relative to the Colonial History of the State of New York, Procured in Holland, England, and France by John R. Brodhead and others. They were published in Albany, New York, 1853-1883.

CGS Librarian, Laura Spurrier, notes: "The reason they're important is they contain the authorized transcriptions of original documents about the founding of New Amsterdam and later English-controlled New York. And, they're indexed, making the volumes accessible for genealogists."

20 March 2008

Book Repair Workshop Returns - April 30, 2008

The California Genealogical Society is now taking reservations for a spring Book Repair Workshop to be held on Wednesday morning, April 30, 2008.

The popular class, taught by Book Repair Committee Chairman, Bill O'Neil, will be limited to ten enrollees. The fee is $15.00 for materials. Reservations are required and can be made by contacting CGS. There is a also a sign-up sheet at the reception desk.

Photograph by Kathryn M. Doyle, 11 Dec 2007.

18 March 2008

German Genealogy Conference - April 25 & 26, 2008

CGS member, Mary Beth Frederick, sent this along about the German Genealogy Conference:
"As a new member of the Sacramento German Genealogy Society (SGGS), I recently attended my first meeting. What a strong and enthusiastic group! Baerbel K. Johnson, an excellent German research consultant at the FHL, was the guest speaker and answered questions during the morning's two-hour study group. Marion Wolfert and Roger Minert, the two presenters for the April 26 event, are considered two of the top German experts and need no introduction to those who have been researching their German roots for more than a few weeks. Attendees will be able to choose the seminar topics that interest them, including The Lives of Our German Ancestors, Beginning Your German Research, Locating Records in Germany, Using the Internet for German Genealogical Research, plus several others. Several persons in the study group had hired Marion to do research for them in Germany; to a person they praised her work and showed large stacks of copied records to support their words. This would be a good opportunity for anyone thinking of hiring a German researcher to meet an excellent one and assess whether she's the one for them. Shirely Riemer asked me to make sure that people know about the pre-seminar gala on April 25. It will be held at the Sacramento Turn Verein, 3349 J Street, beginning at 5 pm and is FREE for anyone who has signed up for the seminar. It will include a buffet of German foods, a lively German band, folk dancers, singing of German songs -- and a chance to show off your dirndl, lederhosen or other ethnic-German costume. And there will be free parking, a benefit that Bay Area attendees will appreciate. Note that reservations should be made by April 19 in order to attend the gala."

The Spring Seminar, 25 Years and Counting!, is a two-day seminar and gala on April 25 and 26, 2008, in Sacramento. The all-day seminar on Saturday, April 26, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., will be held at La Sierra Community Center, 5426 Engle Road, Carmichael. Seminar pre-registration for non-members is $40 each or $50 per couple or $40 at the door, space permitting. You may purchase lunch in advance or bring your own. On Friday, April 25, the “German Buffet Gala” is free to all who register for the seminar. The Friday event, which will be held at the Sacramento Turn Verein, at 3349 J Street, beginning at 5:00 p.m., will include a buffet of traditional German dishes, a lively German band, folk dancers performing traditional German dances, German songs, and colorful traditional German regional costumes. Those interested in attending either or both events may request a pre-registration application form by e-mailing:, or by calling (916) 421-8032 before April 19.

17 March 2008

Irish Research Seminar - July 9, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day! CGS President, Jane Lindsey has been cooking up a treat straight from Ireland that's sure to excite Irish researchers and have them dancing a jig.

Noted Irish author, researcher and lecturer, Nora M. Hickey, will present A Day of Irish Information, Wednesday, July 9, 2008, at the Berkeley Yacht Club, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Ms. Hickey will give four talks of interest to researchers of all skill levels. She has also agreed to schedule the next day at the CGS Library to do private, one-on-one consultations.

For additional details, download the flier and registration form.

Nora M. Hickey was born in Cork, Ireland, and educated at Loreto College, Manchester, England. After returning to Ireland in 1974, she studied history and philosophy at St. Patrick's College, Maynooth, a constituent college of the National University of Ireland. Her B.A. thesis was genealogical; a study of the Norman family, the de Berminghams of Leinster. As a founder member of the Federation of Local History Societies, she was Honorary Editor of Local History Review for many years. An early member of the Irish Family History Society, Nora also acted for some years as the Honorary Editor of Irish Family History.

Ms. Hickey was a founder director of the Irish Genealogical Project until she resigned in 1991 to develop her own Irish genealogical research service. This includes visiting the USA several times yearly to give lectures and seminars, together with a personal genealogical research service. In the past Nora has hosted County Cork Summer Schools and organised Dublin based Research Weeks with personal guidance in the Irish archives.

Her publications include: Going to Ireland: A Genealogical Researcher's Guide, Kinsale Historical Journals, Kinsale: Glimpses of a town through the years and The Battle of Kinsale, together with many articles, both historical and genealogical, published in many journals in two continents. In 2005, Nora edited her 98 year-old father's memoirs - My Barryroe Childhood and was very much involved with his centenary celebrations in September 2007 – in two countries, with an international attendance.

15 March 2008

A Tribute to Anne Robinson

Jasia of Creative Gene reminds us that March is National Women's History Month and encourages genea-bloggers to write a tribute to a woman. It is the perfect opportunity to honor long-time CGS volunteer, Anne A. Robinson.

The number one strength of the California Genealogical Society and Library is our active and generous membership but few have been as dedicated and steadfast as Anne. She is a San Francisco native and comes from a long line of folks interested in their family history. Anne's husband died when her children were young and she turned to friends for support and company. She developed a close bond with a group of seven who took a genealogy class together at Sequoia High School. After the class was over, she missed the contact so she started spending her Wednesdays volunteering at libraries -- at CGS, or Sutro, in Santa Clara or Sacramento. Anne volunteered for many years at the Pacific Regional National Archives in San Bruno, working on the preservation of Chinese immigration records.

Anne was the youngest of nine children (including a twin sister) with Dutch heritage from their mother and British from their father. The teaching profession called to her and she taught fourth grade for a time in Santa Barbara. During World War II, Anne joined the army to help with the war effort. She was stationed at Fort Collins, Colorado, where she trained in occupational therapy and was assigned to a military hospital working with servicemen who were on the mend. She did her basic training in Des Moines in motor transport which led to her first assignment as a driver for the base Colonel. These days Anne leaves the driving to the public transportation systems, of which she is also a veteran. Anne spends 3 1/2 to 4 hours every week commuting to CGS. She leaves home at 7:00 a.m. to insure her arrival at the library for the 9:30 start time of the book repair group and more often than not, she is the first to arrive. Anne spends her commute time doing recreational reading and puzzles. Anne is a big fan of sudoku and jumbles and she will do a crossword or two. She's noticed that genealogists like puzzles and several she knows do the jigsaw variety.

Anne began volunteering at CGS when the society was joined with the California Historical Society in San Francisco. She has been a member of CGS since 1980 and has logged thousands of volunteer hours, working on many major projects over the years.

In the 1990s, Anne was a member of the library committee which spent several years creating a shelf list of the CGS holdings. That inventory was completed in 1995. She and Anna Scott spent several more years going through all of the ancestral charts that were donated to CGS and indexing them by surname and typing up catalog cards for each chart. Anne also worked on the Great Register of 1890 indexing project with Jane Steiner's group.

One of Anne's ongoing projects is readily visible on most of the library shelves. She is responsible for the spine labels and bindings for pamphlets and other non-bound materials. Her careful, legible script helps our patrons easily find things hidden from view in most libraries.

Anne has volunteered at several archives and societies over the years but she says that she especially likes the people at CGS because they take the time to "get to know each other a little bit." We are all honored to have gotten to know her.

In my notes I found that Anne wrote her own six word memoir:
"Did what needed to be done."

Photographs by Kathryn M. Doyle, 11 Dec 2007.

14 March 2008

Workshop: Eastern European Research - April 12, 2008

CGS is rolling out a series of research workshops in 2008 that will focus on specific ethnic groups and geographical regions.

The first, "Eastern and Central European Research," will be held Saturday, April 12, 2008, from 10:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m., at the California Genealogical Society Library. CGS members, Stephen J. Danko, author of Steve's Genealogy Blog and Jeremy G. Frankel, President of the San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society, will be on hand to lend their expertise.

The workshop will consist of two lectures (with handouts) by our specialists, a lunch break and a "hands-on" session so attendees can share ideas, do some computer research and talk one-on-one with Jeremy and Steve. Members are encouraged to bring laptop computers; the six CGS computers may not all be available for the program.

Jeremy will discuss Don't Reinvent the Wheel:
"Before researching for original documents in faraway repositories, try finding other people who have done what you are attempting. Is there a special interest group for your geographical area of interest? Can you find someone who has already visited East European archives? Can they tell you what the date range, condition, access issues are? As with all foreign research, start by digging around in your own backyard. You might be surprised at what you find."

Steve will present Finding ancestors amidst the changing map of Europe:
"Finding the place of origin of an immigrant is crucial to finding historic records for that immigrant's ancestors. Complicating matters are the changing borders in Europe during the past two centuries as the territorial acquisitions obliterated some nations from the map. Border changes in Europe affected not only the map of Europe, but also the records on which genealogists depend to document their ancestors' lives."

The workshop is free for CGS members but is limited to 15 people. Reservations are required; no walk-ins will be permitted. There will be a sign-up fee of $10 for non-members. (The fee can be applied toward membership on the day of the workshop.) There will be a sign up sheet at CGS. Please call (510) 663-1358 to reserve a space.

Jeremy Frankel was born in London and trained as a cartographer and surveyor. He has been investigating his East European roots in Poland and Lithuania for over 20 years. Frankel joined the San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society after moving to the Bay Area in 1993. He has been the Society’s President since 2003. Jeremy has studied San Francisco and California Jewry and their history. His current projects include a San Francisco-born Jewish boxing glove manufacturer, and a Polish Jewish anarchist who co-founded the first sailor’s union in San Francisco. Jeremy is also a professional genealogist, able to research families who lived in the U.K., U.S. and parts of Eastern Europe.

Stephen Danko is a native of upstate New York. In the course of writing his daily genealogy research blog, Steve has reconnected with lost cousins in Poland, the U.K., and the U.S. He began seriously researching his family history nine years ago and has conducted research on location in Poland and Lithuania and has visited the villages in which his immigrant ancestors lived. In addition to research on his own family, Steve has conducted client research in records from the U.S., Poland, Italy, and Canada. He has formally studied Latin, German, and Polish, and has acquired a working knowledge of several other languages. Steve is currently studying for a Professional Learning Certificate in Genealogical Studies from the National Institute for Genealogical Studies in Toronto.
Don't miss this opportunity to learn new strategies and meet other members with similar research interests.

Update: Check out the books that Steve Danko has recommended.

13 March 2008

CROUSE Family Treasure

The CGS ancestral chart collection is an eclectic mix of styles and materials that represent families from a variety of times and places. Unrolling one is always a surprise; you never know what you will find. Lavinia Schwarz opened a chart and was startled to find it was her mother's CRESAP family. She had known of its existence but had never before seen a copy.

But one chart literally brought the proceedings to a halt as everyone gathered round to admire it. "The CROUSE Family Chart with Related Families of Bradshaw - Grieve - McTaggart in the Napanee District showing the Ackerman, Fairbairn, McLeod & Morden connections" is a genealogical treasure and a work of art.

The chart is perfectly symmetrical in form and content, due to the featured sibling marriages: two CROUSE brothers who married BRADSHAW sisters. The chart is divided into thirds. The center panel contains the names, dates, biographical information and photographs of the subject couples. The left panel gives the ancestry of the Crouse brothers; the right panel traces the lineage of the Bradshaw sisters. Two columns of oval portraits of the couples' siblings separate the panels, Crouse on the left, Bradshaw on the right.

The subject couples are (top) Richard Crouse (1877-1922), who was the eldest child of his family, and wife Margaret Bradshaw (1878-1961); (bottom) George Crouse (1879-1948) and Ethel Bradshaw (1883-1919). Also included are the names and birth dates of their children.

The left panel of the chart features Oliver Crouse (1851-1924) and Emma McTaggart (1855-1929) and lists the names of their 12 children, their full birth and death dates, names of spouses (or if unmarried). The left side also includes the names of the family members of the previous two Crouse generations and one generation of the McTaggarts.

The very top of the left panel of the chart is a biography of the earliest named Crouse, "Oliver CROUSE (1777-1841) the Yeoman" who is the great-grandfather of the two featured brothers.

"According to tradition, Oliver Crouse was a tall, slim, fair, adventurer born in the U.S.A. of Dutch descent. As a young man he settled in the Bay of Quinte area in the early 1800's." A full description of his land records, marriage to Maria Nestor, service in the War of 1812 and death are contained in the account.

The right panel of the chart describes the family of the featured sisters - Charles Bradshaw (1852-1926) and Georgina Grieve (1852-1929), their children, the two previous Bradshaw generations and the parents and siblings of Georgina (Ina) Grieve. The top of the panel is the biography of David Bradshaw (1798-1869) "the Pioneer."

The bottom central portion of the chart reads "Lithography = Mortimer Limited, Ottawa, Ontario. Reproductions - Pontiac Printshop Ltd., Shawville, Quebec. Compiled, Designed and Published by Charles Gordon Crouse, Shawville, Quebec - March 1967 - this is No. ____ of 300." The number was not written in.

Photographs courtesy of Colleen Huntley.

Addendum: The Genealogical Society of Utah has twice "filmed" this chart, in 1976 and 1974. The microfilm reels are: FHL US/CAN Film 928176, Item 27 and FHL US/CAN Film 962154, Item 4, respectively. [Information from the Family History Library Catalog,]

11 March 2008

CGS Ancestral Chart Project

Like most genealogical societies, CGS has received many donated items over the years, and as is usually the case, things sometimes get "lost" in the archives. One of the benefits of moving last year was the rediscovery of some 100 ancestral charts of assorted size and vintage. Volunteers had carefully labeled each chart with a primary surname title and stored them alphabetically in eight long boxes. Many hours had been spent creating a surname index of all names found on the charts. A card file is available in the CGS Library where one can look up a surname of interest and find a card listing each of the donated charts that feature the surname in question.

Despite the elaborate surname index, the charts were a seldom-used resource in the library. Unless a surname is extremely rare, there is little practical reason to use the index cards or to examine a chart, based on surname alone.

In July 2007, 14 volunteers met at the home of CGS President, Jane Lindsey, for a potluck work party to search through the charts. The purpose of the session was to examine and abstract information from as many of the charts as possible with the intent of creating an online database so searchers could more precisely determine a chart's relevance to their research. Unfortunately, the work proved more tedious than anticipated and even a second session later in the summer proved inadequate to finish the job. Several more charts remain to be examined before the information can be collated and put into a database. However, a couple of the charts warrant further attention in the blog. Stay tuned.

09 March 2008

In case you missed yesterday's meeting

If you missed yesterday's California Genealogical Society membership meeting, head on over to Steve's Genealogy Blog and read his detailed account of the proceedings. The meeting was standing-room-only at the Oakland Regional Family History Center, where 80+ members heard Assistant Director, Margery Bell, update members on the amazing new research opportunities offered by the LDS. An up-to-date calendar of the society's events and meetings is always available through the "Calendar" tab on the CGS Web site or from the "Google Calendar" button on the right side of this blog.

07 March 2008

Mark Tucker's Genealogy Research Map

Mark Tucker of the ThinkGenealogy blog, has developed an interesting Genealogy Research Map, a downloadable visual synopsis of the "concepts found in The Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS) from the Board for Certification of Genealogists and the many works of Elizabeth Shown Mills."

Mark generously allows anyone to download the map for personal use and offers it as a "learning tool." Being a visual learner myself, I can see the benefit of having the concepts available in a handy, one page, graphically attractive form, especially for the new researcher. I encourage everyone to take a look.