Recent Posts

30 November 2009

Gold Rush Records: Clues Amidst Chaos, by Nancy Peterson

The Fall 2009 issue of New England Ancestors magazine is out and it's all about the California Gold Rush. The feature article is Gold Rush Records: Clues Amidst Chaos, by CGS Research Director Nancy Peterson.

The magazine's Managing Editor, Lynn Betlock, sums up Nancy's article like this:
Nancy Peterson’s informative and detailed survey of gold rush era records forms the centerpiece of the issue. The comprehensive source listings serve as an invaluable checklist for researchers. And by describing the context in which records were created — or not created — Peterson offers a stark contrast between life in orderly New England and unruly California.
New England Ancestors is a benefit of membership in the New England Historic and Genealogical Society. The current issue is available online to NEHGS members.

27 November 2009

The CGS Fire Drill Convergence

November 19, 2009 started out like a normal Thursday at the California Genealogical Society Library. Long-time volunteers Anne Robinson and Gene Peck were working on yet another project for the society. Past-president Verne Deubler was seated at a computer handling the CGS email. Linda Darby was finishing the manuscript collection overhaul, Lavinia Schwarz stopped in to handle a book order and our newest Desk Duty volunteer, Roger Bird, was shelving books. Dick Rees arrived at around 10:00 a.m. to tell us that a fire truck was parked out in front and he thought that there might be a fire drill.

Just then the relative quiet of the library was shattered by the extremely loud and obnoxious sound of the building fire alarm. All genealogical activity stopped as we followed procedure and made our way through the basement maze to the stairwell to exit the Breuner Building. On the way out we passed Engine 15 from the Oakland Fire Department.

The tenant occupants of the eight floors of 2201 Broadway are to gather in the parking lot behind the building on Valley. Luckily it was a gorgeous sunny but crisp autumn day. While we waited for the "all clear" we learned that we accomplished the building evacuation in a record six minutes.

We also learned that our newest volunteer was quite comfortable discussing fire drill procedures. In fact, Roger Bird is a retired captain with 31 years service in the Oakland Fire Department. Amazingly, Capt. Bird's home station was #15 – located at 27th Street and Telegraph – the one closest to the building!

Roger introduced us to his colleagues who stopped by the library for a short visit. At least a couple of our new friends are interested in their family history so we hope we convinced them to come back again and do some research.

Photographs by Kathryn M. Doyle, 11/19/09, Oakland, California.

25 November 2009

Wordless Wednesday

 Publication Planning Meeting
The Judge Project

Photograph by Kathryn M. Doyle, November 16, 2009, Oakland, California

20 November 2009

The Best (Genealogy) Things in Life Are Free!

CGS member Kay Speaks sent word from the Livermore-Amador Genealogical Society (L-AGS) about a last-minute change for their Thanksgiving weekend seminar. Their speaker had to cancel and will be rescheduled for next year.

Susan Goss Johnston will present The Best Things Are Free: Using Free On-line Genealogy Resources For Your Family Research on Saturday, November 28, 2009, from 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. The morning seminar and afternoon workshop are free and open to the public.
There is an amazing amount of material available on-line from resources that don't charge a fee to access their information. Some of this data is identical to that found on popular fee- based subscription web sites!
There will be a lunch break from 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Attendees are invited to bring a bag lunch and attend two short presentations by Kay Speaks on Google Search Tips and Basic Techniques for Saving On-line Research Results.

Susan Goss Johnston graduated from Yale University with a degree in physics. While raising her family she discovered a passion for genealogy. For the next thirty years she would be a genealogist, teacher, and lecturer. Johnston is a graduate of the National Institute on Genealogical Research, the Advanced Methodology and Evidence Analysis course at the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research, and the National Archives' course, Going to the Source. She has traveled throughout the states giving a variety of genealogical lectures and has taught numerous classes and courses about genealogy research on both the east and west coasts. Johnston currently teaches genealogical research procedures and techniques for both the beginning and advanced student at Las Positas College. She is a popular Bay Area lecturer. 

Saturday, November 28, 2009
LDS Church, 950 Mocho Street, Livermore
8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
The Best Things Are Free: Using Free On-line Genealogy Resources For Your Family Research
Sponsored by the Livermore-Amador Genealogical Society and the Livermore Family History Center.

Download the registration flier.

19 November 2009

CGS Directors, Officers and Duties

On Monday I reported on the slate of nominees to the board of directors to be announced and voted on at the Annual Meeting in January. The following is the relevant section of the society bylaws - Article V - from page two:


Section 1. Directors
a. The number of directors shall be not less than five (5) nor more than twenty (20).

b. The last active past president, he or she consenting, shall serve as a Member of the Board of  Directors until replaced by a new past president willing to serve on the Board of Directors.

c. Immediate family members of Directors are ineligible for candidacy during the period of the sitting Director's term.

d. The term of each Director shall be two (2) years from the date of election.

e. Any vacancy in the Board during an unexpired term may but is not required to be filled by the Board. Such Director shall serve until a successor Director is elected.

f. Directors shall be limited to a maximum of three successive two-year terms, or a total of six (6) consecutive years.

Section 2. Officers
a. The Directors shall determine officers.

b. The officers shall be President, Vice-President, Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer, Recording Secretary and Corresponding Secretary.

Section 3. Duties
a. The President shall be the executive officer and spokesperson for the Society, preside at all meetings, and supervise all its business and affairs. The President shall be an ex-officio member of all committees except the Nominating Committee. The President may assign other duties to Directors as necessary. The President shall appoint committee chairs.

b. The Vice President shall have all the responsibilities of the President in his/her absence.

c. The Chief Financial Officer shall be responsible for the financial operation of the Society and serve as chair of the Investment Committee.

d. The Treasurer shall see that a proper financial system is maintained to record all receipts and disbursements of the Society.

e. The Recording Secretary shall keep a minute book of the proceedings of all meetings of the Society.

f. The Corresponding Secretary shall conduct the general correspondence for the Society and maintain a file of all the Society's correspondence.

g. The Directors-at-Large shall be assigned duties by the President as needed.

18 November 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Volunteer Appreciation Reception
Saturday, November 14, 2009


Photographs courtesy of Tim Cox and Jane Knowles Lindsey, Oakland, California.

16 November 2009

News From the 2009 Nominating Committee

The 2009 Nominating Committee – Dick Rees, Lorna Wallace and Chair Chris Pattillo – have announced the nominations for the 2010-2011 Board of Directors for the California Genealogical Society. Nominations will be presented at the January 2010 Annual Meeting.

Tom Gesner, Craig Manson and Jeffrey Vaillant are nominated as new board members. Nancy Fike and Diana Wild, currently serving as appointees to vacant positions (Corresponding Secretary and Recording Secretary) are nominated for their first term. Lavinia Schwarz is nominated for her second term. Nancy Peterson is nominated for her third term.

The first terms of Stephen Harris and Cathy Paris will end in 2011. Kathryn Doyle and Chris Pattillo will end their second terms in 2011. The terms of Paul Mayer and John Moore end in January – they will not be serving a second term. Carolyn Steinberg is resigning her term; Sandy Fryer has been appointed to take her place. Jane Knowles Lindsey is ending her third term; she will continue on the board as Past President. After serving more than ten years on the board in several capacities, Verne Deubler is stepping down. His long service to the society is greatly appreciated.

15 November 2009

Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery

The Carnival of Genealogy (COG) is a bimonthly blog event invented by Jasia of Creative Gene in June 2006. Individual genealogy bloggers write about an assigned topic and post the articles on their blogs. Each carnival edition has a host who gathers the submissions and publishes a round-up of links to the articles. This is my submission to the 84th edition: What the Carnival of Genealogy has meant to me.

The COG was a fixture in the genealogy blogging world before I knew much about blogs or ever heard of Jasia. Ironically, I first learned about her from a print article in the July 2007 issue of Family Tree Magazine. In my first blog post, An Experiment, I reported on how Jasia's series Declining Membership in Genealogical Societies led directly to the start of this blog.

It was a few months before I found a topic that propelled me into the carnival fun. I have to admit that the COG has always presented a bit of a challenge to me as a writer of a genealogical society blog. It's the reason the CGSL blog has submitted only six articles:

43rd Carnival of Genealogy - Technology (3/4/2008)

44th Carnival A Tribute to Anne Robinson (3/18/2008)

45th Carnival Chronicling Events in a Horseless Carriage (4/4/08)

68th Carnival A Tribute to Dorothy Fowler (1927-2009) (3/15/09)

77th Carnival CGS and the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire (8/1/09)

Carnival of Genealogy 82: Breaking Into Society (10/18/09)

But that's not to say that the COG hasn't played an important part in my blog upbringing!

My favorite contributions to the COG have been the tributes to women written the last two years in March for National Women’s History Month. It has been an honor to meet so many generous, talented members of the society and writing about them is the best part of the CGSL blog. I plan to write more tributes and more frequent member spotlight articles in the future.

One edition of the Carnival of Genealogy stands out for me from all the rest – the 77th Edition Disasters hosted by Miriam Robbins Midkiff at her award-winning blog, Ancestories: The Stories of My Ancestors. Miriam did a stellar job with the submissions, organizing them into themes and introducing each with a fitting quotation. The packaging was every bit as interesting as the articles themselves. I was amazed at much time and care she had put into the presentation. Her creativity inspired me to volunteer to host a future edition of the COG on the CGSL blog.

Of course hosting on this blog meant that the the theme would have to relate somehow to CGS – a rule that keeps me focused on my niche. That led directly to the idea to start a new blog carnival devoted to genealogical societies.

Now it is time for true confessions! I took credit for a new GenSo Carnival (coming in January 2010) and Jasia was a supportive co-conspirator. Just as she graciously announced the start of the CGSL blog to the world, she offered the COG as a launching pad so I could publicize the new carnival and Carnival of Genealogy 82: Breaking Into Society was the result.

But the fact is: Jasia came up with the idea! She may not remember (I didn't) that in post #8 of Declining Memberships: Promoting Your Organization With Technology she included using blog carnivals:

This is another ideal way for a genealogical society to advertise and promote their organization. Start a carnival and rotate hosts among group members. Other carnival watchers and bloggers will find it and you'll increase your group’s exposure. It's great advertising to sponsor a carnival!
Jasia, I apologize for usurping your idea. It was all you, as always! The fourteen articles you wrote have been a road map that I have been following for almost two years. To say that you have changed my life is NOT an exaggeration. I spend a part of nearly every day working on something for the California Genealogical Society that you outlined in that series.

Thank you for creating this edition of the COG so that I could publicly acknowledge your continuing support and encouragement. In this case, imitation really is the sincerest form of flattery. I know that COG means Carnival of Genealogy but I am sure that gen-bloggers everywhere will agree that it also stands for Community of Geneabloggers. I can't thank you enough for showing me the way.

11 November 2009

Wordless Wednesday

NEHGS Seminar
Wedgewood Wedding and Banquet Center 
October 23, 2009

Photographs courtesy of Arlene Miles, Oakland, California.

06 November 2009

Gen-Alum - Stanford Class of 1959

I've given up!

I tried – I really, really tried – to bring you a photograph of some amazing and accomplished women who were classmates at Stanford University fifty years ago and now find themselves active members of the California Genealogical Society.

It first came to my attention early in 2008 that Judy Avery, Mary Mettler, Nancy Simons Peterson, Susan Nourse Peterson and Marilyn Willats were in the same class at Stanford. They didn't all know each other then but they do now, and they share a passion for genealogy.

All were among the 7,500 Stanford alumni and their guests who returned to the Palo Alto campus for the annual Reunion Homecoming held Oct. 22 - 25, 2009. The Class of 1959 broke a 50th-reunion class record with nearly 800 alumni and guests in attendance, representing 45% of their Cardinal class.

It was the perfect opportunity to get them all together for a group photograph – something I've been trying to do for a year and a half. One of them admitted that they did meet up during the weekend but did they turn a camera on themselves for the blog? No!

So you will have to look elsewhere to see their photographs. They have all been generous volunteers to the society and you will find their names in the sidebar with links to previous blog articles (with photos) about their contributions to CGS.

And since the "Big Game" is almost upon us, I fully expect to hear from a few CGS Cal grads. Just make sure you send photos.

04 November 2009

Wordless Wednesday

CGS member volunteer
Judy Zelver

Photograph courtesy of Jane Knowles Lindsey, 10/3/2009, Oakland, California

02 November 2009

CGS e-News, November 1, 2009

The November 1, 2009 issue of the CGS e-News, volume 3, number 11 has been published and emailed to members and friends. As always, the e-News features timely information about the California Genealogical Society and our upcoming events. Each edition also includes Suggested Links From the Blogosphere and a photo feature: CGS Ancestors. This month's photograph is of the Turtle Mountain Hotel in Dakota Territory taken by well-known frontier photographer, George F. Blackburn. Be sure to read how the hotel figured into member Mary Mettler's family.

All past issues of the CGS e-News are available for viewing at the e-News ARCHIVE. The December 2009 issue will be e-mailed on 12/1/2009. To receive a copy, please join our mailing list.