Recent Posts

28 November 2008

Happy CGSL Blogiversary!

Just one short year ago during our regular monthly meeting, members of the CGS board of directors took a look at the blog I created for the society and gave permission to go live. They were all wonderfully enthusiastic about the idea and have been supportive contributors throughout the year. I sold this experiment as a way to communicate with members and promote CGS at no cost to the society. So far, in my humble opinion, the blog is a success.

A few acknowledgements are in order. First to my blog-mentor, Jasia, who first challenged me to action and who graciously announced the the CGSL blog to the world. Second to Thomas MacEntee of Destination: Austin Family (and his newest offspring, Thomas 2.0) and to Denise Olson of Family Matters – you two took the time to leave welcoming comments on the CGSL blog within a day of Jasia's announcement. You've both been my tech-gurus – thank you for all your help and patience. I count you as the first of the many, many genea-bloggers who have become friends this past year.

A special thank-you to all of the CGS member volunteers who have contributed to the blog over the year, especially to Mary Mettler for the Tuesday Tales of her cross-country trip and to Jane Lindsey, Arlene Miles, Cathy Paris, Judy Bodycote and Dick Rees for their photographs. I'm looking forward to telling more of the CGS member stories in the coming year. Happy Blogiversary, CGS!

27 November 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Julie Cahill Tarr at GenBlog by Julie started a Thanksgiving meme with the challenge to blog two things for which we are thankful.

That's an easy one for me.

1. I'm thankful for all of the generous volunteers who are the California Genealogical Society and Library. You are all THE BEST.

2. I'm thankful that tomorrow is the first blogiversary of the CGSL blog. I can't believe it's been a year since we started this experiment.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

26 November 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday
Book Repair Workshop with Bill O'Neil
Saturday, October 23, 2008

Photographs by Kathryn Doyle, Oakland, California

24 November 2008

Volunteer of the Year - Anne Robinson

On Thursday, November 20, 2008, CGS Vice-President Vern Deubler presented Anne Robinson with a certificate of recognition for her long service to the California Genealogical Society. Anne was nominated for the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) Ruth C. Bishop Family History Volunteer Hall of Honor, Living Award for 2008. Only one nominee is so honored each year so even though Anne was not inducted into the Hall of Honor, FGS sent a certificate to recognize her volunteer efforts.

Anne Robinson receives certificate from CGS Vice President Verne Deubler.

Anne A. Robinson, CGS Volunteer of the Year, 2008.

The certificate, signed by Wendy Bebout Elliott, President of the Federation of Genealogical Societies, reads:

The Federation of Genealogical Societies is pleased to present the Volunteer of the Year in the year 2008 to Anne A. Robinson, nominated by the California Genealogical Society and Library in recognition of outstanding service to the genealogical community.

Congratulations, Anne!

Photographs by Kathryn Doyle, Oakland, California, 11/20/2008.

21 November 2008

Annual Food and Coat Drives

Carly Perez-Banuet, Operations Manager of Cushman & Wakefield of California, Inc., the management company of 2201 Broadway, sent this announcement about the Breuner Building Annual Food and Coat Drives:

We have begun collecting for our annual food & coat drives! I have attached a handy list to help decide which non-perishables might be most needed. This year has seen an increased demand on our community food bank; any help will be greatly appreciated.

The Alameda County Community Food Bank has been serving the community since 1985. As the county's clearinghouse for donated food, the Food Bank provides food assistance for 40,000 low-income Alameda County residents each week, which includes 14,000 children and 7,000 seniors. Most adults served are among the working poor.

* The following is a list of the most needed food items:

  • Canned Fruit & Vegetables
  • Canned Meats and Fish
  • Peanut Butter
  • Pasta
  • Beans
  • Rice
  • Canned Soup
  • Dry Cereal and Oatmeal
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Powdered Milk
The food bin will be located in the main lobby until December 19, 2008.

One Warm Coat started in 1992 as a Thanksgiving Weekend coat drive in San Francisco. Last year more than 2,000 coat drives were held across the country throughout the year. Each coat drive has the same intent – to collect coats that will be GIVEN to those in need.

Two Bay Area family support non-profits will ensure that the donated coats will provide families with extra warmth this winter. Please drop coat donations at the lobby security desk or in the Management office on the mezzanine level. This was a great success last year!

Coats may be brought to the main lobby anytime until December 19, 2008.

19 November 2008

Wordless Wednesday - Annual Appeal

California Genealogical Society and Library
Preparing the Annual Appeal Letter
Mary Limosner, Gaye Lenahan and Jane Knowles Lindsey

Photograph by Kathryn Doyle, 10/23/2008.

17 November 2008

First Saturday Beginners Classes

The California Genealogical Society offers a FREE "Intro to Genealogy" class on the first Saturday of every month, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the society's library at 2201 Broadway, Suite LL2, Oakland, California, in the historic Breuner Building.

Intro to Genealogy is part of the "First Saturdays Free" policy that allows open access to the library and resources to non-members and the general public on the first Saturday of every month. The library is a benefit of membership and is available to non-members for a $5.00 day fee during the rest of the month.

Vinnie Schwarz, Margaret Bowman and Kirsten Netterbled at the November 1, 2008 class.

And it is not just beginners who attend. Lavinia Schwarz sent this report: "Two members attended the November class that I taught. Neither are beginners but they were there nonetheless, with great enthusiasm. We went through the usual -- interview all the elders, forget spelling, keep track and source your evidence. I threw in my organizational favorite habits of color coding the four grandparent lines and using time-lines. We talked about names, places, dates, and events. It was fun."
The next class is set for December 6, 2008 from 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. and will be taught by Lisa Gorrell.

The Events Committee is working on the list of volunteers who will teach the FREE First Saturday Classes in 2009. If you are interested in volunteering please e-mail Jane Knowles Lindsey. The basic outline and hand-outs are provided, all you need to add is your time, patience and expertise!

The classes are always listed on the CGS Google calendar.

14 November 2008

Two Lectures by Steve Morse on Sunday, November 16, 2008

CGS member Jeremy Frankel sent this announcement:

The San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society will close its 2008 lecture series with two presentations by Steve Morse - DNA and Hodgepodge.

We extend a welcome to all genealogists to attend our lectures, which are always free and open to the public.

When: Sunday, November 16th, 2008
Where: Jewish Community High School, 1835 Ellis Street
Location: Auditorium on 2nd floor
Doors open at 12:30, meeting begins at 1:00 pm
Note: there is FREE secure parking in the garage on site
Note: lectures are free, as are the cookies and coffee!

After the lecture, do check out the library on the same floor.

Parking is accessed by entering the garage on Pierce Street by Eddy. Press the security buzzer and announce yourself.

Looking forward to seeing you there.

12 November 2008

Wordless Wednesday

California Genealogical Society and Library
Beginning Genealogy Series, Class Four
Census Records - Dick Rees
Saturday, November 1, 2008

Photographs courtesy of Jane Knowles Lindsey.

10 November 2008

Volunteer Reception a Success!

Last Saturday, November 8, 2008, the California Genealogical Society transformed the usual membership meeting into a special Thanksgiving celebration to honor member volunteers. The event was a dual wine reception and book sale and filled both rooms of the society. CGS Events Coordinator Carolyn Steinberg and her committee put together a sumptuous buffet of hors d'oeuvres. About fifty volunteer members were on hand to share in the festivities.

Barbara Hill, Arlene Miles and Laura Spurrier handled every aspect of the successful book sale. Not shown is Ted Miles who did most of the heavy lifting. Thanks, Ted!

Members were able to browse among three tables of selections.

The sale netted $354 for the society.

Members of the French-Canadian Group met before the reception.

CGS Events Chair Carolyn Steinberg and her committee set up a beautiful buffet.

Carolyn Steinberg, Jane Lindsey, Nancy Servin, Chris Pattillo, Pat Smith, Lisa Gorell and Peg Stewart contributed to the delicious spread.

Stephen Harris, Bill O'Neil and Dick Rees enjoyed the day.

Events Committee member Tim Cox organized name tags for all attendees to advertise their surnames and research places of interest.

Pat Smith did double duty helping with the festivities and handling desk duty. Gaye Lenahan won the scholarship to next weekend's Got Genealogy Academy, donated by Lisa Lee.

Greg and Mary Smith went home with the software raffle prize.

Special thanks to all of our member volunteers for everything you do!

Photographs by Jane Lindsey and Kathryn Doyle.

07 November 2008

Got Genealogy Academy

November 14-15, 2009
Friday and Saturday
9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Marriott Courtyard Oakland Emeryville

CGS member Lisa B. Lee sent word about the upcoming, inaugural session of the Got Genealogy Academy:

This two-day, hands-on class promises to help students master the world of online genealogy, to help make doing research online second nature, and to help them find information about their ancestors they'd never found before. During the class, each student will be research his or her OWN FAMILY FILE.

The Got Genealogy Academy is the" brainchild" of Lisa, a professional genealogist and self-described "computer nerd" who once served CGS on the Board of Directors.

The PRE-REQUISITES are listed on the Web site:
1. Pedigree chart of your own family, minimum three generations, including you.
2. A basic understanding of computers.
3. A minimum of one year’s experience doing genealogy.
4. A good sense of humor - we intend to have a ton of fun while doing some serious learning.

Lisa has also generously donated a full-tuition scholarship to one lucky CGS member. The prize will be awarded at this Saturday's volunteer reception, Thanksgiving at CGS!

For more information about the Got Genealogy Academy, visit the Web site:

06 November 2008

Member Spotlight: Dick Smith

After months and months of effort, CGS recently unveiled the society's new Web site. Scores of volunteers at the California Genealogical Society contributed in many ways – writing copy, taking photographs, meeting to discuss layout and content, readying databases and much, much more. But the real hero is Richard A. "Dick" Smith who directed the project from start to finish and did an incredible job as liaison to the Web site creators. The work consumed his life for over a year-and-a-half. The society owes him a huge debt of gratitude.
Dick has been an active member of the California Genealogical Society since 1983. Before tackling the monumental Web project, he was involved in various other projects for the society. Dick created signs and did other tasks for the Genealogy Fairs of past years and he also helped with the society's move to the East Bay in 1998.
Dick can pinpoint almost the exact date that he was bit by the genealogy bug. In late 1943 while on leave from the from United States Army Air Force during World War II, Dick paid a visit to his to see his grandmother before heading overseas. It was the start of a life-long fascination with his family's history.
Richard A. Smith earned a B.S. in Geology and Ed.D. in Teacher Education from Stanford University and a Masters in Science Education from the University of Northern Colorado. Professionally, Dick taught high school for several years before starting a career as professor at San Jose State University, where he taught for almost forty years. Lest you think that Dick had all those summers off, he also worked as a trainer, staff member, consultant and travel study leader for the Peace Corps – contributing his time over a period of twenty-six years, including service on the Pacific Islands Education Project from 1981-1987.
Thank you, Dick, for the enormous responsibility you have shouldered for the society.

Photograph by Kathryn Doyle, 1/12/2008, Oakland, California.

Addendum: The California Genealogical Society learned of the death of member, friend and long-time volunteer, Dick Smith, at his home in Oakland on December 13, 2009.  Dick's death was reported in the Oakland Tribune on January 13, 2010. His full biography and obituary is online at his personal website.

05 November 2008

Wordless Wednesday

California Genealogical Society Library
Beginning Genealogy Class, October 25, 2008
Marge Bell, Assistant Director, Oakland Regional Family History Center

Photographs by Kathryn Doyle, 10/25/2008.

04 November 2008

How Do You Do Genealogy? SAASC Tour November 18, 2008

The California Genealogical Society will be hosting members of the San Jose State University Society of American Archivists Student Chapter (SAASC) on Tuesday, November 18, 2008.

Laura Spurrier and Dick Rees will be talking to students about how to untangle family trees and how to help people trace and uncover family histories. Students will take advantage of the CGS Library resources and stay and research their own family histories after the lecture.

Christina Fidler, Library Assistant at the University of California, found CGS in a directory of local libraries. She acts as event coordinator for the northern student chapter of the Society of American Archivists (SAA) at San Jose State’s School of Library and Information Science. Christina arranges group visits as a way to connect SJSU archival students with the "amazing collections around the Bay Area" and to "provide students an opportunity to meet each other outside of their digital classrooms and gain a strong sense of community."

The volunteers at CGS are looking forward to the day!

03 November 2008

The Great Wall of Oakland

The Great Wall of Oakland
Friday, November 7, 2008
6:00 to 8:30 p.m.
Scheduled Theme: Democracy

The best thing about the recent Information Swap Meet for the tenants of 2201 Broadway was meeting so many nice people who work "upstairs" in the Breuner Building. (We genealogy-types tend to head straight down to the "lower level" at 2201 Broadway and never really interact with our neighbors in the building.)

I've communicated with Carly Perez-Munoz, Breuner Building Operations Manager and with Chris Curtis, Metrovation’s Project Manager, but only via email, so it was a pleasure to talk with them in person.

Carly and Chris told me about the special role that the Breuner Building plays the first Friday of every month when one wall of the building at 2201 Broadway becomes "The Great Wall of Oakland" - a 100 by 100-foot outdoor screen for experimental media art. It's all part of the Art Murmur, a group of galleries in Uptown Oakland that have openings every first Friday of the month.

Chris explained, “Our idea in creating the Great Wall is to use the huge wall of our building at 2201 Broadway to provide a unique public venue for Oakland artists to display their visual artistry. We think the Great Wall of Oakland is an excellent addition to the Arts and Entertainment character of the Uptown District.

The Oakland Great Wall and Art Murmur gallery walk is now in its second year. The Great Wall overlooks Grand Avenue just west of Broadway, above a parking lot behind Luka’s Taproom & Lounge.

Graphic from the Oakland Cultural Arts Web site.