Recent Posts

28 May 2008

Another Society Bites the Dust

Elizabeth at Little Bytes of Life reports that her local genealogical society left no forwarding address in her blog post Another One Bites the Dust.

I took a look and the Lompoc Valley Genealogical Society Web site is still online and even includes a membership plea to "Join an exciting and involved society." The telltale tip is the "last revised" date at the bottom of the page: 18 August 2002.

Elizabeth was looking for "fellowship" which is what we are quite good at here in Oakland. Does the California Genealogical Society have any members who live down Elizabeth's way??

27 May 2008

NEHGS Research Trip: September 21-28, 2008

It's not too early to sign up for the California Genealogical Society and Library Research Trip to the New England Historic Genealogical Society library, September 21-28, 2008.

CGS President and past NEHGS Trustee, Jane Lindsey and Jerome Anderson, long-time researcher at NEHGS will co-lead this biennial trip to Boston, Massachusetts.

Accommodations are at the John Hancock Hotel and Conference Center in the Copley Square area of downtown Boston, located about three blocks from NEHGS.

The tour begins on Sunday evening with a brief orientation. Since the NEHGS library is closed on Monday, participants will have the option that day of visiting the Massachusettes State Archives, Suffolk or Middlesex County courthouses, or other repositories, including, the Massachusettes Historical Society or Boston Public Library.

The Tour Package includes:
* Hotel room (7 nights, double occupancy)
* Daily light continental breakfast
* Sunday evening orientation
* Free day Monday to visit your choice of several repositories
* Shuttle service to and from the airport
* Two group dinners (Monday and Saturday) at local restaurants
* Optional pre-trip consultations with Jane Lindsey
* On-site lectures - to be announced

The cost is $1075.00 (airfare not included.) A deposit of $200 is required by June 28, 2008, to hold one space. The trip registration brochure (also sent with the May CGS News) gives the full details and a description of the cancellation and refund policy.

Participants at the NEHGS tour in 2006.
[Photograph courtesy of Jane Lindsey.]


The first group dinner will be on Monday evening. NEHGS is open 9:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, and 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Thursday. The Boston Public Library, near our hotel, is open until 9:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday. The BPL has an excellent microtext department with a wonderful newspaper collection.

Update: The NEHGS Trip to Boston has been canceled. The minimum number of members did not sign up.


26 May 2008

Portrait of Harold Roberts

On this Memorial Day holiday, I thought I would post an update on the Corporal Harold Roberts project.

As he has done in the past, Retired Army Sergeant First Class Gary McMaster ordered a flower arrangement to be placed on Roberts' grave at the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery today from the Camp Roberts Historical Museum in the name of the Soldiers and Civilians at Camp Roberts. He plans to do this every year.

In addition, McMaster sent me this photograph of the near-completed portrait that he has commissioned to hang in the museum. The painting includes a depiction of Roberts' Medal of Honor and a background view of the village of Exermont, France.

Photograph courtesy of Gary McMaster.

Read the entire series:
Part 1 — Searching for Harold Roberts
Part 2 — Roberts: What We Found
Part 3 — Roberts' Battlefield Letter
Part 4 — A Face for Harold Roberts
Part 5 — A Hero's Final Resting Place

22 May 2008

Blog truancy

I try to always listen to my superiors so when Jane said that I should explain my absence I decided to put aside my usual practice of keeping my various volunteer activities separate.

Last weekend was the 36th annual Oakland Greek Festival sponsored by the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Ascension.

We had three glorious sun-filled days of food, music, food, dance, food, shopping, and more food, including delectable pastries baked with love and the BEST lamb sandwich money can buy.

The event was the culmination of months of planning by the Festival Executive Committee (on which I sit) and weeks of hard-work by multitudes of church volunteers. You can read Angela Hill's report for the Contra Costa Times for a full overview of the event.

12 May 2008

In case you missed Steve Morse...

Jeremy Frankel, Steve Harris, Ron Arons and Steve Morse

Photograph courtesy of Jane Knowles Lindsey, 10 May 2008

If you weren't able to attend the May membership meeting last Saturday, May 10, 2008, with Steve Morse, read the full report by Steve Danko at his blog: Steve Morse at the California Genealogical Society. Danko gives a detailed synopsis of Morse's two lectures: The Jewish Calendar Demystified and What Color Ellis Island Search Form Should I Use?

Be sure to leave a comment and tell Steve how much you appreciate his accounts of the CGS meetings and events he attends - bloggers love feedback.

If you're new to the blogosphere, Steve Danko is a CGS member and author of Steve's Genealogy Blog. Steve will be one of the speakers at the upcoming Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree, June 27-29, 2008.


09 May 2008

Workshop: Scandinavian Research - June 14, 2008

When: Saturday, June 14, 2008, 10:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Where: CGS Library, 2201 Broadway, Suite LL2, Oakland

The second in a series of CGS Research Workshops will focus on ancestors from Denmark, Sweden and Norway.

Please join our specialists: Laura Spurrier (Danish), Pat Smith (Swedish) and Gloria Hanson (Norwegian) as they examine Scandinavian research. Topics will include: border changes, census, church books and immigration information - where immigrants settled in the U.S. - and more. Handouts will be provided.

The workshop day will include a panel discussion, lunch break and informal work session so attendees can share ideas, do some computer research and consult one-on-one with Gloria, Pat and Laura. Members are encouraged to bring laptop computers; the six CGS computers may not all be available for the program.

Reservations are required; no walk-ins will be permitted. The workshop is free for CGS members but is limited to 15 people. 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 is a sign-up sheet at the CGS Library desk. Please call (510) 663-1358 to reserve a space.

Don't miss this opportunity to learn new strategies and meet other members with similar research interests.

08 May 2008

Jane's Report from Sacramento

CGS President, Jane Lindsey, shared a cup of coffee and enjoyed an afternoon with ten Sacramento area members at a meeting hosted by Janet Feil at the Belle Cooledge Branch Library yesterday, May 7, 2008. Elaine Adamson brought her cousin, Pat Procida, who became the newest member of CGS.

The group had an informal discussion about upcoming events at the society. Members had several suggestions which Jane will report to CGS:

  • Sell handouts from major CGS events. Offer the syllabus to those who cannot attend the conference for a fee plus mailing costs.
  • Create Surname and Locale sections on the CGS Web site to allow members to network with others with similar interests.
  • Provide meetings summaries for members who could not attend. Jane suggested that members check the CGS blog or Steve Danko's Genealogy Blog if they miss a meeting. Steve has posted extensive reports on CGS meetings that he has attended.
Several members also expressed an interest in forming a carpool for a day of research to the CGS Library.


L. to R. (front row): Virginia Doyle, Helen Sheahan, Shirley Williams, Dorothy Romo; (back row): Jane Lindsey, Amy Dorman. Lynne Roberts, Janet Feil (hostess), Elaine Adamson, Pat Procida and Ron Davis.

07 May 2008

Moultrie Creek Online Historical Society (MCOHS)






I've been asked to contribute to a new online adventure with two of my fellow genea-bloggers, Denise Olson, of Family Matters and Thomas MacEntee, of Destination:Austin Family. Denise has created a fictitious society - the Moultrie Creek Online Historical Society (MCOHS). Its purpose is to serve as a model and "learning center" for societies of all types to go and learn the "how-to" of bringing technology and digital services to an organization to help it grow.

Denise's vision is to create a network blog with many contributors - having "people with different backgrounds and specialties post articles that could help provide the information and support for historical, genealogical, family and veterans groups."

I look forward to participating in this exciting new project.

06 May 2008

CGS is Going to the Jamboree!

Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree
Burbank Airport Marriott Hotel
and Convention Center
Burbank, California
June 27-28-29, 2008

CGS President Jane Lindsey is attending this year's 39th Annual SCGS Jamboree with a small contingent from the Bay Area. The society has reserved a table in the Exhibit Hall next to the California State Genealogical Alliance.

This year's theme is "Solve Your Family History Puzzle." CGS member, past-president of the Southern California Genealogical Society and Co-Chair of this year's Jamboree, Paula Hinkel, is the author of the Jamboree blog which features everything-you-ever-wanted-to-know about the schedule, events and speakers.

CGS will host a Membership Coffee at the Jamboree on Friday morning, June 27, from 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. in the Burbank Airport Marriott Hotel and Convention Center. Members who live in the Los Angeles area are invited to join CGS President Jane Lindsey for an update on society events. Guests are welcome. CGS members, please let us know if you will be attending.

02 May 2008

Acknowledging Our Volunteers

A message from our president, Jane Lindsey:

During this National Volunteer Week, I would like to celebrate the many volunteers we have at the California Genealogical Society and Library.
Being an all-volunteer organization, our members run the library, organize a variety of indexing projects, troubleshoot computer issues and handle mail, book orders, research requests and membership renewals. Volunteers also work from home: writing, editing, proofing and formatting our many publications; coordinating member programs and events; managing our Web sites and so much more.

Our volunteers come from many walks of life and their experience brings an added dimension to our society. Members with the financial know-how keep our books and safeguard our investments. An engineer who solved a problem with our new shelving saved us hundreds of dollars!
I would also like to thank many of our guest speakers who come and speak without charge to our society, and to acknowledge society members who generously share their expertise through lectures and workshops.

In this age of "pajama research" when many new genealogists think "everything is online," the genealogy society is sometimes regarded as passé. But it is the personal connections we make as volunteers that is the most rewarding part of belonging to a society.

The California Genealogical Society and Library has no paid staff. Our volunteers ARE our society. I so appreciate the willingness of members who not only DO the necessary jobs needed to effectively run CGS but who also freely share their genealogical expertise. Thanks to all of the members of the California Genealogical Society - we wouldn't be as strong as we are without you!

–Jane Lindsey

National Volunteer Week

I couldn't let this week go by without acknowledging the fantastic work of the many volunteers at the California Genealogical Society and Library.

That said, please be assured that this is one place where recognition is not a once-a-year occurrence.

There were many reasons why I started this blog for the society, and many goals I hope to achieve with it. I never doubted that there was plenty of content to share - beyond recording history or announcing society meetings and events - because of the richness and depth of the members themselves.

I hope you have enjoyed hearing about the people who are the California Genealogical Society. As I write about them you will find their names under "Labels" on the side bar to the right. Thanks, member-volunteers, for letting me share your contributions with the world. There are many more stories to tell.


01 May 2008

A Hero's Final Resting Place

William Harold Roberts is buried at the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery in France near the place where he died. The cemetery is the final resting place for 14,246 soldiers, most of whom lost their lives in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive during World War I. It is the largest American military cemetery in Europe. Gary McMasters sees to it that Corporal Harold W. Roberts is honored every Memorial Day by having flowers placed at the gravesite from the soldiers and civilians at Camp Roberts.

On October 4, 1918, Roberts' company was engaged in a fierce battle in the Montrebeau woods. Roberts and Sergeant Virgil Morgan were in a two-man tank, a French Renault, weighing slightly over seven tons and with a top speed of seven miles per hour. Sergeant Morgan and Corporal Roberts saw a disabled tank with a soldier crouched by it. As Roberts stopped his tank, the soldier asked for help. The reply was given that they would return after the battle and they drove off.

In an interview with Sergeant Virgil Morgan, the gunner whose life Roberts saved, Morgan said, "Bob, as we called him, came to our company last summer and almost at once he was liked by everybody. By his good work he soon was promoted to Corporal. There never proved to be a better soldier."

The Medal of Honor was presented to Harold's father, John A. Roberts. The citation reads "Corporal Roberts, a tank driver, was moving his tank into a clump of bushes to afford protection to another tank which had become disabled. The tank slid into a shell hole, 10 feet deep, filled with water, and was immediately submerged. Knowing that only one of the two men in the tank could escape, Corporal Roberts said to the gunner, "Well, only one of us can get out, and out you go," whereupon he pushed his companion through the back door of the tank and was himself drowned."

Roberts was also awarded the French Croix de Guerre with Palms, The French Military Medal, and the Italian War Cross.

This Saturday, May 3, 2008, Camp Roberts is celebrating sixty-seven years at an Open House at the Camp Roberts Athletic Field from 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. McMasters plans to unveil the completed portrait of Roberts that he commissioned of a Sacramento artist. He promises to send a photo of the completed work.

McMasters still hopes to locate the missing yearbook so he can see a proper portrait of Corporal Harold Roberts. If you have a 1913 Wilmerding High School yearbook, or you are a descendant of the Seifert or Roberts family, please contact the society.

Read the entire series:

  • Part 1 — Searching for Harold Roberts
  • Part 2 — Roberts: What We Found
  • Part 3 — Roberts' Battlefield Letter
  • Part 4 — A Face for Harold Roberts

A Face for Corporal Roberts

One of the items that Gary McMaster most wanted was a photograph of Corporal Harold Roberts. The CGS research team determined that Roberts graduated from Wilmerding High School in 1913. Unfortunately, no book for that year could be located in the archives of Lick-Wilmerding High School, the San Francisco Historical Society or the San Francisco Public Library. The June 1911 Commencement Issue of the school newspaper, Wilmerding Life, carried an informal group photograph of the class of 1913, but entirely without names.


Newspaper research yielded several articles about Roberts and his family, including marriage notices, obituaries and reports about his heroic death and honors. A few included photographs but most were small and without significant detail. The photo archives of the San Francisco Public Library's History Center had a folder on Roberts which contained this image from the San Francisco Call Newspaper. There was no notation to indicate its source or whether it was ever printed.


One article covered the medal presentation of the French Croix de Guerre (Cross of War) made to Harold's father, John Roberts, on the steps of the San Francisco City Hall in 1919. The item contained a small oval photo insert of Harold Roberts which McMaster is using to create a more accurate depiction than the painting that now hangs in the Camp exhibit. Curator McMaster made a blurred sepia drawing of the image and added the correct World War I issue helmet and uniform to create this likeness.


He has commissioned a Sacramento artist to paint a new portrait to hang in the base museum. It is scheduled to be finished and delivered to Camp Roberts this coming Saturday for a preview during the Camp Roberts Open House. McMaster has promised to send us a photograph of the finished work when it is hanging in the Museum.

Read the entire series:

  • Part 1 — Searching for Harold Roberts
  • Part 2 — Roberts: What We Found
  • Part 3 — Roberts' Battlefield Letter
  • Part 5 — A Hero's Final Resting Place