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07 October 2008

SRVGS Field Trip to CGS & the City Directory Library

Members of the San Ramon Valley Genealogical Society (SRVGS) visited CGS on Friday, September 19, 2008. Gail Roche Van Wye, who is a member of both societies, was the trip coordinator.

CGS member Ilene Peterson sent this report:

We had a pretty good turnout for our field trip. Some of the SRVGS folks are also members of CGS so they had a good idea of what was where. Some were visiting for the first time and went first to look at California directories with Steve Harris. We used the resources in both the library and directory areas so it was never crowded. Steve also gave us special permission to bring directories into the CGS library area, which made it more convenient.

I had three neat 'finds' of my own!

I was successful at locating my grandmother's uncle in the 1905 Chicago city directory. Steve Harris has a fabulous collection. One particular directory stood out for me – even though I didn't find my folks in it – the tiny, well-preserved, 1876 Green Bay, Wisconsin directory. Searching for city directory information online is no substitute for holding the original book in hand and learning about all the things one would never think to search for.

I asked one of the CGS volunteers (I'm sorry I can't recall her name) if there was an alternative to ordering an AGBI reference from Godfrey. She looked at the citation I had printed from and told me she thought CGS had the actual book. We went back to the Dorman Collection and there it was! I am always amazed at the knowledgeable CGS volunteers and at the depth and breadth of the CGS collections.

I was chatting with someone about our shared research in New York and volunteer Judy Bodycote overheard us and came up to suggest additional resources for Chenango County. I may be able to return the favor since I research people who came through Virginia and Judy said she might need some pointers from me for that state.

According to their Web site, the San Ramon Valley Genealogical Society (SRVGS), formed in 1985, has over 150 members. SRVGS meets in the facilities of the Danville Family History Center, Stone Valley and Smith Roads, Alamo, California from 10:00 a.m. to noon on the third Tuesday of every month. Each meeting includes an outside speaker who is expert in some aspect of family research. The society conducts educational classes for its members and has several special interest groups, including, Irish, German, Southern States, Publishing, etc.

The California Genealogical Society welcomes interested groups to come and tour the library and spend some time exploring our genealogy resources. Contact CGS by e-mail or call 510-663-1358 to schedule a group visit.