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29 April 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Spring Beginning Genealogy Seminar
Saturday, April 18, 2009
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Photographs courtesy of Tim Cox and Jane Lindsey.

27 April 2009

CGS On the Road in Santa Clara

Santa Clara Central Park Library
2635 Homestead Road
Santa Clara, CA 95051

Monday, June 15, 2009
10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

CGS is adding a lecture to the membership coffees. South Bay members of the California Genealogical Society are invited to join with the Santa Clara County Historical and Genealogical Society for networking and a presentation.

10:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Coffee served

10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. CGS President Jane Lindsey will present an overview of the outstanding resources at the CGS Library and share information about upcoming events.

11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Lunch & Learn – Bring a bag lunch or buy a sandwich in the Central Park Library cafĂ© and take part in some small group discussions of special interest genealogy topics.

12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. “Some Brick Walls Are of Our Own Making.” CGS member Lavinia Schwarz’s spell-binding talk will help you look at your own brick walls with new openness, ideas, strategies and historical insight.

1:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. Questions and closing remarks.

The Santa Clara County Historical and Genealogical Society is located at the City of Santa Clara Central Park Library in the Heritage Pavilion. They have a large collection of genealogy resources and a great historical collection available for public use. Consultants are available to assist with research problems.

Please RSVP by E-mail to or by telephone to Mary Hanel at (408) 615-2909.

24 April 2009

A Tale of Ten Computers

Two short months ago the California Genealogical Society learned about an incredible price on computers from Charity Advantage, an association that offers technology solutions at low cost to non-profits. An e-mail plea went out to CGS members and friends asking for donations to purchase replacements for the society's fleet of well-used computers.

Four weeks ago ten refurbished Pentium 4 - 80GB Dell desktop computers were delivered after twenty CGS members came forward to contribute to their purchase. Two additional members pitched in to buy a new laser printer.

This week eight dedicated volunteers spent an exhausting but fruitful thirteen-hour day installing the new hardware.

Steve Harris, Peter Moller, Cathy Paris, Nick Paris and Nancy Servin met Computer Committee members Al Clark, Paul Mayer and Kathy Watson at the library at 9:00 a.m. on Monday, April 20, 2009. The group started by reviewing an installation plan prepared by Peter Moller.

By 10:30 a.m. sleeves were rolled up and the serious work began. Kathy Watson reported "There were a few glitches, but essentially by 10:00 p.m. the work was finished. Any leftover clean up items were completed on Tuesday."

So far, the reviews are positive. Kathy notes that these computers are a significant improvement over our old hardware, almost doubling the speed (from 1.83 GHz to 3.2 GHz) and doubling the memory available for using the programs loaded on the machines (from 448 mb RAM to 1 GB RAM). She also wanted me to thank everyone who participated to make the computer replacement project a huge success.

CGS President Jane Lindsey echoed her gratitude:

We are so appreciative! These computers will not only help patrons and members in the library but also our volunteer researchers, our indexers and our desk duty personnel. Faster computers will also help the hardworking members of our finance, library and membership committees do a better job for CGS.

So what is the message to other societies? Aim high and don't be afraid to ask. In the midst of a tough economic downturn the members of the California Genealogical Society and Library came together and accomplished something fairly remarkable in a short period of time. It's a testament to our members and our volunteers. Great work, CGS!

Photographs courtesy of Cathy H. Paris, 3/20/2009, Oakland, California.

22 April 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday
Intermediate Genealogy Series Graduation
March 21, 2009

Photograph courtesy of Tim Cox.

20 April 2009

Tell a Story, Hear a Story, Read a Story

CGS President Jane Lindsey has been a busy lady lately. Besides the time she spends teaching beginning and intermediate genealogy classes and administering society business, Jane's calendar includes representing the California Genealogical Society at speaking engagements and at an upcoming workshop at the Contra Costa Library Reading Festival.

On April 7, 2009, Jane spoke to a group of residents at San Francisco Towers, an independent living retirement home in the city. CGS member Barbara Bentley, who recently served a three-month stint as acting recording secretary for the board (thank you, Barbara!), made the arrangements. They were expecting fifteen to attend but drew an audience of forty-seven residents interested in learning more about genealogy.

The Unitarian Universalist Church on Franklin Street in San Francisco was the venue for an introductory genealogy workshop that Jane presented on Thursday, April 16, 2009, to RSVP of San Francisco and Alameda Counties, a proactive volunteer-placement organization that recruits and connects individuals age 55 and over with a variety of volunteer opportunities throughout the community. The audience was smaller but two of the nine attendees signed up to attend the Spring Beginning Genealogy Seminar held at CGS two days later.

Jane will be spreading more genealogy cheer next month when the Lafayette, Moraga, and Orinda libraries host the second annual Reading Festival, May 3 – 9, 2009. Jane is presenting Research the Stories of Your Family on Saturday, May 9, 2009 at 11:00 a.m. at the Lafayette Library. The program is free and open to the public and is part of a series of events to celebrate reading at the Contra Costa County Library that include the magic of memoir writing, live readings, a puppet show and special story times for children. This year's theme is "Hear a Story, Tell a Story, Write Your Story."

17 April 2009

Reunited After Fifty Years!

By now regular readers of the CGSL blog might think you just have to show up at a CGS event to find a cousin. It turns out you can also be reunited with old friends.

One of the attendees sitting across from me during lunch at the recent Scots-Irish Seminar was CGS member Beverly Clark who told me that one of the event organizers was quizzing her about where she attended third grade.

The inquisitive staffer was volunteer Shirley Hoye who stepped up and handled much of the logistics for the seminar with Helmi Waits, including scheduling private consultations with our speakers from Belfast, Brian Trainor and Fintan Mullen.

Shirley was sure that Beverly must be her long-lost little friend from the Castro School in El Cerrito. Beverly Clark had dropped into her third grade class for one short year then disappeared as mysteriously as she had come.

Third graders Beverly Clark (left) and Shirley Howe (right).

Unfortunately, Beverly had moved around quite a bit during her early childhood and she wasn't sure where she had attended third grade. The women exchanged email addresses and Shirley went home and sorted through her childhood photos, scanned them and sent them off to Beverly.

Shirley was right! The two childhood friends have been reunited because of their shared interest in genealogy, their membership in the California Genealogical Society and their desire to hone their skills – the two were classmates again in the recent Intermediate Genealogy Series.

Beverly and Shirley – class photos from Miss Allen's class
at the Castro School in El Cerrito, California, 1954.

Shirley sent this message:

Well, unlike Beverly, my family only moved once and that was just up the hill. I ended up going to school in Berkeley and San Francisco and finally landed in Oakland, where I've lived ever since. I really got into genealogy last year when a third cousin in England "found" me. She's done an incredible amount of research, to which I add bits and pieces. The funny thing about running into Beverly at the conference is that my family is not Scots-Irish, but from County Roscommon, with the name of Haughey. I still can't get over finding Beverly after all these years.

Shirley and Beverly reunited after fifty years.

Photographs courtesy of Shirley Hoye and Tim Cox.

15 April 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday
Microsoft Word Skills for Genealogists
Publishing Workshop with Matthew Berry
Saturday, April 11, 2009

Photographs courtesy of Tim Cox.

13 April 2009

How To Trace Your Ancestors In Ireland

CGS member Nick Cimino sent this announcement of his upcoming talk on Irish research:

How To Trace Your Ancestors In Ireland
May 14, 2009 at 7:30 p.m.
Contra Costa Genealogical Society Monthly Meeting
90 minute presentation
LDS Church
3700 Concord Blvd.
(just east of Farm Bureau Road)
Concord, California

I began conducting my genealogical research in 1989 and have traveled extensively for genealogical research in the United States and Canada. I taught beginning genealogy classes for Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno and Pleasant Hill Adult Education. In the last four to five years I have become keenly interested in Irish Genealogy. During this period of research, I discovered that more and more can be done online, quite a bit can be done using LDS Library resources and some work is best done in Ireland.

This was to be my first research trip outside North America. My Irish ancestors presented an intriguing challenge. My wife and I traveled to Ireland in April 2008 and spent time in Dublin and Belfast with five days spent at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland. I was able to document many of my family stories in the records at PRONI and came back with many wonderful Irish genealogical souvenirs which will be on display.

The presentation will provide an overview of Sources for Irish Genealogy including:
-census and substitutes
-vital records
-church records
-Irish Estate records
-maps & land records
-parish histories
-online sources
-paid research
-research in Ireland

In addition to PRONI we spent time at the Ulster American Folk Park in Omagh which is vital to an understanding of the historical context of our Northern Irish immigrant ancestors. Other fascinating cultural sites we visited were the Ulysses S. Grant ancestral home, the walled city of Derry and Belfast Castle where one of my Irish relatives was the gatekeeper.

I am employed with the Administrative Office of the Courts in San Francisco. I am responsible for facilities management of courthouses in sixteen Bay Area and North Coast counties.

For more information E-mail or call Nick at 925-945-6994 or visit the Contra Costa Genealogical Society CCCGS website.

10 April 2009

The Immigration of Anton Radivoj

The January - March 2009 issue of the NGS News Magazine (Volume 35, Number 1) features a case study by CGS member Barry E. Hinman about the immigration of his grandfather, Anton Radivoj. "The Immigration of Anton Radivoj" details the difficulties encountered when searching for Croatian names in citizenship and immigration documents and how he was able to find a long-sought record.

Mr. Hinman credits his interest in genealogy to his father's eldest sister, Vera Hinman McAuliffe, who succeeded her father, Elmore Brown Hinman, her paternal grandmother, Alice Jones Brown Hinman, and her paternal great-grandmother, Betsey Burlingame Hinman as "custodian of the Hinman family memory."

Anton Radivoj

Barry sent this about his Aunt Vera:

She had in her possession unique family documents concerning the three families involved, which she shared with me as long as I can remember. Among others, there was "The Hinmans of New York" which linked my father to Michael Hinman, born in Connecticut in 1748 [see "The Connecticut Connection: A Family Paper Entitled 'The Hinmans of New York'" in The Connecticut Nutmegger 22:3 (Dec. 1989):400-403; "Michael Hinman of Roxbury, Washington and York State" in The Connecticut Nutmegger 16:4 (Mar. 1984:707-715; and "Addendum to Michael Hinman Which Appeared in The Connecticut Nutmegger" in The Connecticut Nutmegger 21:3 (Dec. 1988):422-423, all with slight errors in the texts as published].

All of this was interesting to the grammar school boy that I was, but I remember vividly what really got my interest in genealogy started. We were in Aunt Vera's garage, where she had boxes and boxes of things stored, and she gave me a little notebook. "This," she said, "was written by your great-uncle Gage. You might find it interesting." Titled "A Short Memoir of Silas Burlingame" it was a copy of what is essentially an obituary, but contained the following sentences: "Many hair breaths escapes he had. Three times shipwrecked, cast away and lost all but his life ... Once taken prisoner by a man of war, made his escape by jumping overboard and swiming to his own ship. Once barely escaped being made a prisoner by a British press gang. He fought in the old French war and also in the American Revolution ..."

Who could resist this? Adventures, American history, and my own ancestor. I was hooked.

Barry E. Hinman retired in July 2007 from the Department of Special Collections and University Archives of Stanford University and is now Special Collections Librarian for Cataloging Emeritus. He was educated at the University of Santa Clara (BA), Princeton University (MA) and San Jose State University (MLS). All eight of his father's great-grandparents and three of his great-great grandparents came to California between 1849 and 1858. His maternal grandparents emigrated from Austria-Hungart to New York City and moved to San Francisco in 1907, the year following the great earthquake. Mr. Hinman has been a member of CGS since 1976.

Photograph of Anton Radivoj courtesy of Barry E. Hinman.

08 April 2009

2009 Finds at the Family History Library

The ninth annual CGS Tour to Salt Lake City came to a successful close with the traditional Saturday night dinner at Lamb’s Grill. Members regaled each other with the stories of their successes and lauded leaders Jane Knowles Lindsey and Nancy Simons Peterson after an exhausting but satisfying week.

Here's a short list of some of the discoveries:

Jane Knowles Lindsey went back three more generations on her HUND family in Germany.

The 1850 U.S. Census Mortality Schedule of Peoria County, Illinois gave Sandy Jones Fryer insight into why her great-grandmother, Elizabeth Taylor, knew so little about her family of origin. The youngest of ten children, little Elizabeth was only three years old when her parents both died in 1849 of typhoid fever.

Judy Bodycote Thomas traced her Gilbert Cooke family of Leicestershire, England back two more generations.

Shirley Buxton Williams struck gold in German records, finding six generations of her SCHNECKENBURGER family in Baden.

Bill Bryant's first trip to Salt Lake City was an adventure as he, Jane and Nancy traced his paternal Uncle Gustav through England and France, finally finding his marriage in Constantinople.

Cathy Merrill Paris ventured into German records and located Joseph BALS and learned that the original records have so much more information than the IGI.

Alison Kern Shedd discovered eight pages of bible records for the Clark HALL family of Orleans County, New York.

Bill O’Neil has tracked his wife's grandfather Wilson from Jacksonville, Illinois to a homestead in Nebraska to Denver Colorado. He finally found him in the 1920 census living with a daughter in Los Angeles.

Susan Nourse Peterson found a physical description of her great-grandfather, Glenn Lamb, in the 1894-1896 Great Register of California Voters: 5'9" with auburn hair and blue eyes. Susan and daughter Sharon have become regulars on the annual trip.

Gloria Hanson completed her full Norwegian "to-do" list, crossing off the last item on the last day. She also did a bit of research for a friend and learned they may be related.

Laura Spurrier used land records to prove that Richard Spurrier with wife Elizabeth and Richard B. Spurrier with wife Eliza, contemporaries in 19th century Morgan County, Ohio, were two different men. The former couple moved to Iowa; the latter stayed in Ohio and were her great-great grandparents. She also learned more about his middle initial "B" and may have a new clue about an earlier generation.

06 April 2009

Honored as One of the Top 25 Genealogy Blogs

The CGSL blog is proudly displaying a new badge in the sidebar. ProGenealogists, Inc. announced their list of the 25 Most Popular Genealogy Blogs and we made the cut! CGS is represented by two other blogging members who made the list – Steve Danko and Craig Manson.

Top 25 Genealogy Blogs as of 3 April 2009:

  1. Genealogy (Kimberly Powell)

  2. Eastman Online Newsletter (Dick Eastman)

  3. Genea-Musings (Randy Seaver)

  4. Creative Gene (Jasia)

  5. Dear Myrtle (Pat Richely)

  6. AnceStories (Miriam Midkiff)

  7. Genealogue (Chris Dunham)

  8. footnoteMaven (Anonymous)

  9. Genetic Genealogist (Blaine Bettinger)

  10. Tracing The Tribe: Jewish Genealogy Blog (Schelly Talalay Dardashti)

  11. GenaBlogie (Craig Manson)

  12. Olive Tree Genealogy Blog (Lorine McGinnis Schulze)

  13. Steve’s Genealogy Blog (Stephen J. Danko)

  14. 24-7 Family History Circle (Juliana Smith)

  15. TransylvanianDutch (John Newmark)

  16. GenDisasters (Stu Beitler)

  17. Genealogy Insider @ FamilyTree (Diane Haddad)

  18. Think Genealogy (Mark Tucker)

  19. California Genealogical Society and Library Blog (California Genealogical Society)

  20. The Genealogy Guys (George G. Morgan and Drew Smith)

  21. CanadaGenealogy, or, 'Jane's Your Aunt' (Diane Rogers)

  22. Ancestry Insider (Anonymous)

  23. GenealogyBlog (Leland Meitzler)

  24. Ancestor Search Blog (Kathi)

  25. Tie Hugh Watkins Genealogue (Hugh Watkins) [tie]

  26. Legacy News (Legacy Tree Software) [tie]

Leland Meitzler posted the full press release which also includes this year's list of the 50 Most Popular Genealogy Websites for 2009.

Thanks very much to ProGenealogists, Inc. for the honor to be listed among so many excellent genealogy blogs!

03 April 2009

Coats of Arms, Crests and Heraldry: A Genealogist's Overview - May 9, 2009

May Membership Meeting with Jim Terzian
A Genealogist's Overview: Coats of Arms, Crests and Other Heraldry that is Part of Family Heritage

Saturday, May 9, 2009, 1:00 p.m.

California Genealogical Society Library
2201 Broadway, Suite LL2
Oakland, California 946121

Kings and courtiers, gentlemen and family groups have borne coats-of-arms for over thirty generations. Yet most of us, even extremely experienced genealogists, know very little about them or how to use them in our research. What exactly are coats-of-arms and crests? Who has them, when did they develop and where does a family get them? What resources exist to help you use heraldry as a tool in your research?

Join CGS for a ninety-minute presentation by Jim Terzian, Executive Director of the Heraldry Foundation and Secretary-Treasurer of the "Royal Bastards" – Descendants of the Illegitimate Sons and Daughters of the Kings of Britain.

For almost forty years, Jim Terzian has been a student of heraldry and genealogy, representing the United States as a delegate to the International Congresses of Genealogical and Heraldic Sciences since 1996, serving as a member of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society Heraldry Committee from 1995 to 2004 and serving as Executive Director of the Heraldry Foundation since 2003. Professionally Mr. Terzian is principal of the Terzian International Group, a 21-year-old Silicon Valley firm that develops and launches technology start-up companies, products and services.

Please note that the short membership meeting starts promptly at 1:00 p.m. Mr. Terzian's' talk follows at about 1:20 p.m. Please arrive early.

01 April 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday
California Genealogical Society and Library
Ninth Annual Research Tour to the Family History Library
March 29 - April 5, 2009

Photographs courtesy of Cathy Paris.