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30 January 2009

Test E-mail to CGS Members

A test e-mail is being sent to all CGS members with e-mail addresses on file. The communication has “CGS test e-mail" in the subject line. Members are requested to check their spam folders if they do not receive the test e-mail in their in-box. Successful receipt of the test e-mail means we have the correct address for you. If you do NOT receive this e-mail, please contact the society right away at using the subject line “Response to CGS test” and, in the body of your e-mail, retype your correct and current e-mail address. We will respond to you.

When the last issue of the CGS Newsletter was snail-mailed last month, the society entered a new era of electronic communication. Obviously, we must have every member’s current e-mail address in order to effectively keep members up-to-date with society events and programs. We also are reminding you that if you manage personal e-mail on a work computer, CGS messages may be getting blocked.

Your membership e-mail and e-News e-mail have to be the same e-mail address for us. Please call us if you having difficulty with this requirement and we will help you find a resolution.

Members who do not have an e-mail address can arrange to receive a printed version of the e-News. Our records indicate that at this time, about seventy members fall into this category. Please note, members without an e-mail address will not be able to access the CGS members-only portion of the society’s website.

All CGS members without e-mail addresses on file will be contacted by telephone by a representative of the society to discuss this transition. We will be phoning members who fall into the following categories: those without e-mails; those whose e-mails have bounced back to us; those who have not opened the e-News, as far as this can be determined.

28 January 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Intermediate Genealogy Series
Class 1 - Military Records
Susan Goss Johnston

Photograph courtesy of Jane Knowles Lindsey, Oakland, California, 1/20/2009

26 January 2009

Change in Schedule for the Intermediate Genealogy Series

Jane Lindsey and Marge Bell sent this announcement:

Due to a family emergency the Land Record class being taught by Lavinia Schwarz on January 31 and Feb 2, 2009 has been rescheduled.

The updated schedule for the Intermediate Series of genealogy classes is as follows:

Jan 31 and Feb 2 - Church and Cemetery Records
Feb 7 and 10 - Reading and Transcribing Colonial Handwriting
Feb 21 and 24 - Newspaper Research
Feb 28 and Mar 3 - Land Records and Maps
Mar 14 and 17 - Immigration, Passenger Lists, Naturalizations and Passports
Mar 21 and 24 - People-Finders, Continuing Education and Giving Back

We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.

23 January 2009

Allen County Public Library Research Tour 2009

August 16-23, 2009
Fort Wayne, Indiana

The fourth CGS Research Tour to the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana, takes place August 16-23, 2009. Join CGS President Jane Lindsey for a week-long trip to the best public genealogy library in the United States.

Whether you have visited before, or this is your first time, you will benefit from Jane's individualized attention to your research goals. Pre-planning meetings can be arranged by phone or in person prior to the trip.

Space is limited to fifteen participants. To ensure the minimum tour requirement of ten participants is met, a $200 deposit is required by June 15, 2009. The trip will be canceled if we do not have the minimum, so please E-mail Jane Lindsey as soon as possible, if you are interested in attending. Download the tour brochure from the society website. The registration flier was also distributed in the January issue of the CGS News.

Photograph of the interior of the library is from the Allen County Public Library website.

21 January 2009

Wordless Wednesday

CGS Member Volunteers
Craig Siulinski and Nancy Hart Servin

Photograph by Kathryn Doyle, 10/23/2008

19 January 2009

Penelope's Report on the North Star Workshop

I'm playing catch up and finally posting this report from CGS member Penelope Curtis on the North Star Workshop with Chris Enns which was held on Saturday, November 15, 2008, at the North Star Mine House designed by Julia Morgan.

The front of the North Star House.

On a not November-cool but unusually warm day, my husband Michael and I arrived at the House at 8:30 to finish cleaning up before our guests came. Michael swept the courtyard while I set up the historic display and put out the cups for the coffee & tea with pumpkin muffins. Soon Chris Enss drove up. She looked great in her 1900s outfit. After setting up her display in the library where we were going to have the morning session, Chris picked up a broom and began sweeping as she talked with Michael. Quite a sight!

Carole Miller, who has worked with me as a volunteer caring for the heritage roses and docent for house tours, joined us followed by Marie Nelson, Cindy Toffelmier, and Lucinda "Cindy" Woodward from the State Office of Historic Preservation. We began chatting about the history of the house while waiting for Carolyn Steinberg, a California Genealogical Society member, and her friend Rita Matheson. When they arrived I gave an historical overview of the North Star Mine, its various owners and a description of the buildings that made up the mine's operation. Carole then gave a history of the House's landscaping and the heritage roses that were rescued and nurtured back to life when the Nevada County Land Trust took possession of the House and surrounding property in 2004.

Chris passing out the workshop folders.

After a tour of the house with stories about Mary Hallock Foote, 19th Century author and illustrator; Arthur DeWint Foote, superintendent of the Mine, photographer, inventor and horticulturist; James D. Hague, North Star Mine owner; and, Julia Morgan, architect, we took seats in the library and got down to the business of hearing Chris Enss' "Historical Cold Cases: Tips to Conducting Your Own Investigation." My cold case ghosts, Mary Hallock Foote & Julia Morgan were apparitions behind me in the living room. Chris provided each attendee with helpful documents and forms she uses when she is researching her historical characters.

Chris Enss in front of the library fireplace.

Here are Chris' tips:

Tip 1. Prowl the Courthouse where marriage, divorce and birth records are kept. Sometimes a name will give a clue to a next step (

2. Nose Around the Archives such as the National Archives which can give insights into our very early American ancestors (

3. Check Out the Church which from centuries back has been the repository of births, deaths and wills for the surrounding community. Also, the tombstones in the cemetery can reveal clues.

4. Hunt Through the Home especially the old attics where people have collected and left behind letters, wills, bibles & photographs. Surviving family members may have stories.

5. Tramp Through the Trades that are often in historical libraries. Trade directories have location information, services and the names of staff employed at the business.

6. Delve into the Dispensary or hospital where there may be patient records.

7. Poke Around the Pokey an unusual spot but may provide additional clues to a family's history.

8. Rove Over the Reports like the Dictionary of National Biographies in the local library. You never know who or what you'll discover.

9. Listen for Clues by exploring the oral history at the state archives which will have verified information.

10. Notice the Newspapers which have morgues where news is reported and obituaries are listed sometimes with biographical information not found any where else.

With much food for thought and growling stomachs, we headed out onto the terrace to eat lunch and discuss Chris' tips. After which, we adjourned to the dining room where Chris gave pointers on how to develop a book and get it published in today's very competitive world. Heydey and Arcadia are two publishing firms that feature historical books. They look for books with marketable subjects whose foreward is by a "celebrity" or well known figure. A catchy or controversial title will sell better. Book publishers today want, after a query letter, a full book it will make money; who is the audience; and, potential ROI. They also require a sample of the contents with several chapters and a bibliography that shows the origination of your source material. When your book is accepted, then it is time to market your book. Marketing your book can become a full time activity.

At day's end around the dining room table. Left to right: Rita Matheson, Marie Nelson, Cindy Toffelmier, Carolyn Steinberg, author Chris Enns and Cindy Woodward.

Chris concluded the day with questions about having a follow-up workshop next spring. Everyone was very enthusiastic about the prospect and had ideas about expanding its content. It was determined that the next workshop will be a Saturday in March, International Women's History Month. Call Penelope Curtis if you are in the area and want a tour of the house – 530-274-1398.

Photographs courtesy of Penelope Curtis.

16 January 2009

Book Repair Mascot - Who Are You?

I missed the deadline for the 9th edition of the Smile For the Camera Carnival of Images – Who Are You? – but I still wanted to share this portrait which hangs on the wall of the Frederick S. and Patricia M. Sherman Room at the library.

Rodney J. Hudson

Anne Robinson gave me the back story. It seems that this likeness of Rodney J. Hudson fell from the pages of a book as it was being repaired one second Tuesday by a member of the Book Repair Committee. With no identifying notation on its back and no apparent reason for its residence in the pages of the book, the committee unanimously decided to adopt the misplaced Mr. Hudson as their official mascot. It's now been a couple of years since they framed RJH and hung him prominently on the wall where he continues to oversee the activities of the group.

Mr. Rodney J. Hudson, who are you?

14 January 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Annual Membership Meeting
Saturday, January 10, 2009

Photographs by Kathryn Doyle, 1/10/2009

12 January 2009

What You Missed: The January Annual Business Meeting

With a nod to Miriam Robbins Midkiff and her "What You Missed" posts at the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society Blog (Miriam always says that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery), I'm reprinting the minutes of Annual Business Meeting. Very special thanks to Shirley Pugh Thomson, CGS Recording Secretary who submitted these minutes as her last act as she departs the board of directors.

The annual business meeting was called to order by President Jane Lindsey at 1:00 p.m. She distributed copies of minutes of the January 12, 2008, annual business meeting to the approximately fifty-five members attending and introduced the Board of Directors of 2008.

Vice President Verne Deubler provided copies of the proposed $118,750 budget for 2009, discussed various elements of it and pointed to the need to constrain expenses in the coming year. ACTION: Resolved, seconded, passed: That the 2009 budget is adopted as presented.

Nominating Committee chair Chris Pattillo presented the list of nominees for seats on the Board of Directors: Kathryn Doyle and Chris Pattillo, for second terms, and Stephen Harris, Cathy Paris, Carolyn Steinberg and Diana Wild for first terms. ACTION: Resolved, seconded, passed: That those people nominated for directorships are hereby elected. Directors
leaving the Board in January 2009 are Jane Hufft, Laura Spurrier and Shirley Thomson. Following the election, Jane briefly described plans being considered for revisions in directors’ areas of responsibility in 2009.

Activities of the various committees were reported by chairs Bill O’Neil, Lorna Wallace, Carolyn Steinberg, Chris Pattillo, Laura Spurrier, Sandy Fryer, Linda Darby, Kathryn Doyle, Nancy Peterson, Marianne Frey, Nancy Servin and Jane Lindsey.

Jane described a wide variety of events and activities being planned for the coming year and urged that members keep up to date on such matters by frequent visits to the CGS Web site and the CGS blogspot.

The meeting adjourned at 2:30 p.m.
Shirley Pugh Thomson, Recording Secretary
Questions? Leave a comment and I'll be glad to elaborate on any aspect of the annual meeting.

09 January 2009

Chinese Research - El Cerrito Library - 1/22/09

CGS member Jeanie Low, author of China Connection: Finding Ancestral Roots for Chinese in America will present a one hour program on Chinese Genealogical Research at the El Cerrito Library on Thursday, January 22 at 7:00 p.m. The library is located at 6510 Stockton Ave, El Cerrito, California, a branch of the Contra Costa County Library system. The telephone number is (510) 526-7512. There will be time at the end of the program for questions and answers.

Ms. Low's research specialty is Chinese American research from the 1850's to the present. She has expertise in such topics as the Chinese Exclusion Acts, confession and amnesty, 20th century Alien A-Files for all ethnic groups, basic genealogical research and finding the ancestral village. Her transparencies encompass a sampling of gravestone translation, immigration and naturalization case files and family artifacts that will inspire anyone to begin, continue, to verify and piece together their family stories.

Since 1992, Jeanie has spoken to audiences at public libraries, the Oakland Museum, Chinese Historical Society of America, and at conferences sponsored by National Genealogical Society, California State Genealogical Alliance and the National Archives and Records Administration.

Born in San Francisco, Ms. Low is the child of immigrants who entered the U.S. through the Angel Island Immigration Station. She is a graduate of San Francisco State University, with a major in Chinese Studies. She engages her audiences with humor and historical context.

07 January 2009

San Francisco Halsted Mortuary Records Database and Index Now Online

CGS members and founders, Ron Filion and Pamela Storm sent this press release:

San Francisco, CA - January 7, 2009 - has completed the first phase of indexing the Halsted Mortuary Records database. The indexing was performed by over sixty volunteers during the past year.

The database includes digitized images of over 45,000 mortuary records, along with a searchable index, for the years 1923 to 1960. The index has advanced surname search options such as Soundex and Metaphone, and wildcard searching.

The database may be searched and accessed for free at:

The Halsted Mortuary merged with Halsted N. Gray - Carew & English, Inc. around 1974. It was one of the oldest and largest mortuaries in San Francisco. Some of the records include reinterments and military burials. Years prior to 1923 are being processed by the California Genealogical Society, and the years 1961 to 1974 are still to be indexed.

Ron Filion or Pamela Storm

Ron and Pam have been supportive members of the society with links to the CGS website and blog on their site. They're also among the many CGS members who have become Facebook friends. Be sure to join their group on Facebook.

05 January 2009

CGSL Blog Resolutions?

As much as I had to admit it, the time is past due to report on how I did with my goal for 2008 and to do some planning for the new year. It is difficult to face my total and complete failure to achieve my one objective for the year – to get one of the local media outlets to publish an article on CGS. I did get a "Nice pitch" e-mail from Judith Gallman, editor of Oakland Magazine but nothing came of it. Colleen Huntley thought she had a commitment from Bob MacKenzie of KTVU to do a piece on the society - we even had a date for him to visit the library. That fell through. Oh well... I'm trying to keep a positive outlook.

There is solace in the knowledge that after one year the blog has garnered some recognition in the genealogy blogosphere. Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings has bestowed his "Best of the Genea-Blogs" honor on the CGSL blog several times and recently Miriam Robbins Midkiff of the Eastern Washingon Genealogical Society Blog lauded CGS and the blog in her post One Society Bites the Dust; Another One Celebrates a Milepost. Both of them are stars in the genea-blogging world and stalwart leaders in their respective societies. Their support means so much.

I've mentioned before the balancing act I perform – using my voice to create a blog that is more than just society announcements and keeping the rest of me out of it. I think I have hit on a pretty good compromise. I've also settled on a fairly doable schedule – blogging three times a week, relying heavily on word-free posts on Wednesdays. (Thanks to Jane, Arlene and many other members who contribute Wordless Wednesday photographs.)

In the coming year I will be reporting on some of the genealogical activities of our more distant members. I'm constantly amazed at the variety of ways they contribute to the genealogy world.

I also plan to share more information from committee reports and board meetings – nuts and bolts kinds of things about the society and how it is run. Transparency is a word that seems to be cropping up a lot lately and members will be proud to learn about how well the society is being managed.

I will continue to share members' contributions – reports from national and local meetings, great genealogical finds, personal accomplishments, involvement in family history projects – keep the accounts coming!

02 January 2009

CGSL Blog 2008 in Review

There's a new meme going around that was started by John Newmark of TransylvanianDutch. It's called the "Blog Year in Review in Twelve Sentences." You are supposed to post the first sentence of the first blog of each month in 2008. I've also included a link to each article. Here is the CGSL blog of 2008 in twelve sentences:

1. "Traditionally, January 1st is a day for New Year's Resolutions but many years ago I began instead to create a yearly set of Goals." – My Goal for 2008

2. "Today is the last day to reserve your place at the 110th Anniversary Celebration, this Saturday, February 9, 2008, at the Concord Hilton." – Countdown to the 110th

3. "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 Tucker's Genealogy Research Map

4. "One of the photographs from the CGS 110th anniversary bookmark, was this one taken on the wedding day of Clare and Alta McAllister THOMSON, parents of Thomas Thomson, who is the husband of Shirley Pugh Thomson, CGS board member and recording secretary." – Chronicling Events in a Horseless Carriage

5. "One of the items that Gary McMaster most wanted was a photograph of Corporal Harold Roberts." – A Face for Corporal Roberts

6. "One of the most important works to come through the CGS Publications Committee will never be assigned an ISBN (International Standard Book Number) or be found on the shelves of a library." – The CGS Style Sheet

7. "Yesterday the Footnote Maven introduced Wordle, described as 'a toy for generating word clouds from text that you provide.'" – Distracted by Wordle

8. "If you are interested in participating in the San Francisco Mortuary Records Indexing Project and you haven't signed up yet, you better get started because things are moving faster than anyone anticipated!" – Update on San Francisco Mortuary Records Indexing

9. "In celebration of October as Family History Month, the California Genealogical Society and the Oakland Regional Family History Center are combining resources and expertise to offer a four session Beginning Genealogy Course." – A Joint Venture for Family History Month

10. "CGS Desk Duty Committee Computer Inservice by Kathy Watson." – Wordless Wednesday

11. "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." – The Great Wall of Oakland

12. "CGS member and Desk Duty volunteer Gaye Lenahan was the lucky winner of a full-tuition scholarship to the Got Genealogy Academy held November 14 - 15, 2008. – Gaye Lenahan's Report on the Got-Genealogy Academy