Recent Posts

30 September 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday
Fall Beginning Genealogy Series
Margery Bell

Photograph by Kathryn M. Doyle, September 26, 2009, Oakland, California

25 September 2009

Two Talks at Salem Lutheran Home in October

California Genealogical Society President Jane Knowles Lindsey will be speaking twice in October at the Salem Lutheran Home at 2361 East 29th Street in Oakland.

On Tuesday, October 20, 2009, at 3:00 p.m., Jane will present “Genealogy is not just for Genealogists” – Find out what you can do to ensure that your family treasures and stories remain intact and available for your descendants to discover.

Jane will follow up the following week on Tuesday, October 27, 2009, at 3:00 p.m. with “Getting Started: Your Genealogy Search” – Learn the first steps of genealogical research, including surveying family documents, organizing files, and discovering basic tools such as forms and computer programs.

Salem Lutheran Home is part of the Elder Care Alliance family of assisted living seniors communities, dedicated to providing care services to meet the needs of older adults. They are a non-profit, faith-based organization open to all faiths and denominations. They sponsor fun and informative events which are open to the public. The California Genealogical Society appreciates the opportunity to participate in the Salem programs.

If your group is interested in hearing "Genealogy is Not Just for Genealogists" or another talk related to genealogy, please contact the society at 510-663-1358.

23 September 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday
Book Repair Committee
Dick Rees

Photograph by Judy Bodycote, 4/15/2009, Oakland, California

21 September 2009

You Don't Know What You Don't Know

Tim Cox has an important message that he has agreed to share with our blog readers:

Over the twenty-five years or so of my genealogy experience, I’ve joined a few societies and organizations that interested me but I never got involved with them. I was more interested in being on their mailing lists, and being just a member at large who paid dues and received the monthly or quarterly newsletter. This arrangement suited me just fine because the only two events I ever attended in the 1980s were presentations hosted by the local society I belonged to. I felt really out of place at both events because I was in my twenties and everyone else was much older and way more experienced in genealogy and in life! So I resolved to do it on my own. It would take years for me to realize you don’t know what you don’t know.

I was on top of everything in my research. I had the guides that taught me how to set up correspondence and research logs; how to interview my living relatives and where to go to find census records, wills, and all the records I would need to find my ancestors. I was all set! I purchased a brief case to carry my folders, notepads, magnifying glass (for those hard to read records Bill Dollarhide’s book said I’d come across), pencils, tape recorder for interviews, and a few other things. I was ready for anything and everything!

Then came the computer age: America-On-Line, GEnie, Prodigy and others that are the grandparents of the sites we have today. I quickly picked up on how to communicate on mailing lists and met a lot of faceless online friends. My mother was shopping one day and purchased a family tree program for me. I was between jobs at the time and living at home, so this was a mistake on her part. It took me two weeks to enter in all of the information I had on paper. That was two weeks of not looking for a job! I eventually found one but it didn’t stop me from sitting up all hours of the night chatting and emailing about my ancestors.

Fast forward to 2007.

Over the years I continued researching my ancestors and I still belong to some of the same (and even joined a few new) societies and organizations. I'd also learned tips and tricks from experts in genealogy magazines and websites. I was still doing pretty well doing research on my own – just me, the internet and a couple of subscriptions. I'd read about attending local and national conferences and I guess I secretly wanted to attend one just to see what they were about and perhaps buy a few things for my library. But then I would think – who really needs to go to those things? You don’t know what you don’t know! It was while learning how to use an iPod Nano that I discovered podcasts and The Genealogy Guys. George and Drew had me hooked after just one session so I ended up downloading all of the previous episodes and listening to them all. Because of them I joined the California Genealogical Society and got involved. So involved that I want to do so much more than I really have time for.

And I have some regrets about the decisions I made in my twenties. Now I know I lost a golden opportunity to learn from others at the events I attended and at the societies I belonged to. They knew the history of the region and the state. Because I didn’t want to feel out of place I put myself at a disadvantage.

I’m willing to wager that even today there are people still thinking the same thing. They think that everything is on the internet and they don’t need to join a society or organization. You and I know that this is not true. But what can we do about it? I have a few suggestions.

1. Reach out to the youth and attempt to pull them into the joy of family history.
2. Use the networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace to promote your events.
3. Establish a youth membership level.

You don’t know what you don’t know!

– Tim Cox

18 September 2009

Old San Francisco Cemetery Records

Saturday, October 17, 2009
11 a.m.–1 p.m.

San Francisco Main Library
Latino/Hispanic Room B
100 Larkin Street
San Francisco, California 94102

Our own Nancy Peterson, Research Director for the California Genealogical Society and Library presents Old San Francisco Cemetery Records as part of the One City One Book September Events line-up at the San Francisco Main Library.

Her lecture will answer questions about San Francisco’s old cemeteries – Where did the bodies go and what records followed them? Who and what was left behind and never moved at all?

Nancy tells me that she will spend some time on "determining the date of death in order to locate the correct old cemetery." She's created a summary handout of available records so she can concentrate her talk on "the colorful history of disinterment and reinterment (and no disinterment)" in the second hour of her presentation.

Nancy Simons Peterson is a certified genealogist and author of numerous articles. She won the Society of Genealogists Scholar Award in 2003. Her narrative genealogy Guarded Pasts: The Lives and Offspring of Colonel George and Clara (Baldwin) Bomford was the winning entry in the 1998 National Genealogical Society Family History Writing Contest and is used as an example of quality work in the NGS Quarterly style on the Board for Certification of Genealogists Web site.

Nancy's search for her maternal San Francisco ancestors led ultimately to the publication of Raking the Ashes: Genealogical Strategies for Pre-1906 San Francisco Research, published by the society in 2006 to coincide with the centennial of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire.

As Research Director, Nancy provides expert assistance for members and non-members alike. The charge is $30 per hour ($20 for members) which covers research time, analysis, documentation and a report. Rarely can one obtain the services of a certified genealogist at such bargain prices, and, as with the proceeds from her book, all monies collected benefit the society.

Photograph of the old IOOF Cemetery is part of the San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection, used for this promotion with permission of Christina Moretta, Photo Curator, San Francisco Main Library.

16 September 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday
Anne Robinson

Photograph by Kathryn M. Doyle, Oakland, California, 7/22/2009.

14 September 2009

Celebrate October Family History Month

For nearly a decade, October has been celebrated as Family History Month among genealogy enthusiasts. The California Genealogical Society and Library will celebrate by hosting beginning to advanced genealogy seminars throughout the month.

Topics range from organizing and performing basic genealogical research to a special workshop on the whys and hows of genealogy blogs. Friday and Saturday lunchtime sessions at the library are open to the public and free of charge.

During the entire month of October, the society library waives the usage fee for non-members and opens its doors to the public without charge.

The full menu of Family History Month October 2009 offerings is listed on the Events flier.

The society's complete schedule of classes, workshops and consultations can be always be found on the Google calendar at the society Web site:

11 September 2009

Announcing the CGS Manuscript Collection

Please come to the California Genealogical Society Library this Saturday, September 12, 2009, at 12:30 p.m. and join us at an open house to celebrate the completion of the Manuscript Collection Project. Light refreshments will be served. There will be a five to ten minute presentation about the project at 1:00 p.m. at the start of the membership meeting.

The CGS Manuscript Collection consists of loose papers, research and family history material totaling ninety linear feet which have been donated to the society over its 111 year history. A comprehensive review and organization of the collection has recently been completed by member volunteers Pat Bonderud and Linda Darby. All materials have been cataloged and a comprehensive document has been created to describe the society's holdings. Thanks to a generous grant by the BayTree Fund, all items are now arranged on open shelving in a separate room at the library and the documents are stored using acid-free and museum quality archival enclosures.

Pat Bonderud, Judy Avery and Linda Darby.

Besides the preservation of materials, it is the intent of the society to open the collection to interested researchers. A twenty-three page inventory is available in pdf format at the society website on the Searchable Databases page. It includes a synopsis of each collection and provides enough information to help you determine if further examination of a manuscript is beneficial to your research. Individual collections may be viewed at the library by appointment once a team of volunteers is identified who will oversee the collection.

If you are interested in helping the society offer this new service, please email CGS.

09 September 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday
A Few Good Men
Bill O'Neil, David Lowndes, Tom Gesner

Photograph courtesy of Jane Knowles Lindsey, May 10, 2008, Oakland, California.

08 September 2009

How Many Ships Are Buried Beneath San Francisco?

Tim Cox let me know about this piece by Ken Bastida on KPIX CBS Channel 5 which features CGS member Ron Filion, co-founder of discussing the more than fifty ships buried beneath the streets of San Francisco.

Thanks, Tim!

07 September 2009

Bowen Cousins at the Intermediate Classes

I love sharing stories of cousins found at the CGS library! Mary Mettler informed me earlier this year that she had met some CGS cousins at the Intermediate Genealogy classes. You will recall that Mary shared information about some of her New England lines last summer in her Tuesday Tales series. Mary and Kristen Netterblad found they shared Richard Bowen (born about 1589 in Wales, died 4 Feb 1674/5 in Rehoboth or Swansea). Mary told me she was "sure we probably share some other lines, as the land-owning Baptists stuck together." They met for lunch and an examination of Mary charts when Kristen's mother was in town in March. I was able to snap this photo when they came by the library.

Kirsten Netterblad, Mom and Mary Mettler.

Here's Kirsten's summary of how the cousins met:

You never know who you're going to meet at a CGS class. As a 2008 Christmas present, I promised my mother I would break our Emily (Bowen) Smith (1806-1870) and/or Philip F. Cyphers (1826-1890) lines. Since I'm under some time pressure, I took the Spring Intermediate series of genealogy classes to help me along. I'm a bit of a talker and started chatting with the people around me about my project.

It turned out that Mary Mettler, the person who was sitting next to me, is a distant cousin off my Massachusetts Bowen line! She provided help connecting our trees and after comparing our additional lines in more depth, we're related in about a dozen different ways (Terry, Smith, Trumble, Loomis, Wright, Sheldon, Belden, etc).

Now that I've learned Emily's parents were Peter and Martha (Norton) Bowen, I'm just sourcing my information as I take all of my new lines back to the immigrant (my people are old New England, so I need a consistent stopping point).

I guess the moral of this story is that everybody is related to somebody else. If you don't take the time to chat with the people around you, you might miss out on an important family connection and new genealogy friend.

Emily Bowen Smith brought the cousins together.

Image of Emily Bowen Smith courtesy of Kirsten Netterblad.

Photograph of Emily's descendants by Kathryn M. Doyle, 3/14/2009, Oakland, California.

04 September 2009

MS Word Skills for Genealogists – An Encore Presentation

Microsoft Word Skills for Genealogists – Formatting Styles, Footnotes and Indexing
A Publishing Workshop with Matthew Berry

Saturday, October 17, 2009
10:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
California Genealogical Society Library
2201 Broadway, Suite LL2, Oakland, California

Join CGS member Matt Berry for this encore presentation of his very popular skills building workshop designed to help give genealogists the practical tools they need to go beyond the basics of Microsoft Office Word. Follow Matt's step-by-step tutorial and learn to create an organized family history with information that is easy to find using:

· Consistent formatting of information
· Footnotes or endnotes to document ancillary information, especially sources
· A comprehensive index and table of contents.

Please note that MS Word 2007 will be used for illustrations and instructions but support will also be provided for MS Word 2003.

The workshop day will consist of lecture material with handout, a lunch break and a "hands-on" session so attendees can practice their new skills. Members are encouraged to bring laptop computers; the six CGS computers may not all be available for the program.

Bring a brown bag for lunch or, if you prefer, there is a nearby deli where you can buy a sandwich and bring it back to the library.

The workshop is a FREE benefit of membership but is limited to fifteen people. Pre-registration is required. There is a non-refundable sign-up fee of $10 for non-members. (This 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 CGS at 510-663-1358 or E-mail to reserve a space.

02 September 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday
Website Committee Meeting
Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Photographs courtesy of Kathryn M. Doyle, Oakland, California.