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31 December 2009

Blog Resolutions For 2010

Jasia at The Creative Gene is hosting the 87th Carnival of Genealogy: New Year's Resolutions! I've been a list-maker since I learned to write so setting goals became an annual ritual fairly early in my life. I went through a phase where I kept the yearly goal list posted on the refrigerator to keep it front and center. I've kept the old lists in a file and it's fun to look back and see what I've accomplished and how aspirations change over time.

My goals for the California Genealogical Society and Library blog grow out of my marketing responsibilities for the society. My one goal in 2008 (which carried over to 2009) was to get a local media outlet to take notice of CGS. Suddenly last week this item finally got crossed off the list when three of our members were featured on a popular live radio call-in program, Forum with Michael Krasny on KQED 88.5 FM on Christmas Eve. You can listen to the podcast of Prez Jane Knowles Lindsey, Craig Manson and Jeanie Low talking Genealogy 101 with substitute host Scott Shafer. Jane's brother was surprised to hear her on the local NPR affiliate in St. Croix!

Here are my blog goals for 2010:

1.) Final implementation of the CGS "brand" built around our new domain: Members of the Website and Publications/Marketing Committees have been working behind the scenes on a new, cohesive look for the website, blog, eNews, eNewsARCHIVE and other California Genealogical Society web locales. Since we are a 100% volunteer organization it is taking a little longer to accomplish than I anticipated but I am optimistic that the final results will be well worth the effort. I'll look forward to your feedback on our new look.

2.) Launch of a new carnival devoted to genealogical (and historical) societies. The first Call for Submissions is coming early in January and I hope all my fellow geneabloggers will help spread the word.

3.) January 2010 events have been posted to the San Francisco Bay Area Genealogy Calendar. This is a new venture which I inherited from Steve Danko. So far three fellow CGS members and bloggers Sheri Fenley, Bill George and Gene Pennington have stepped forward to help. I'm asking all Bay Area genealogical societies to contribute so we can develop a complete list of all gen-related events and post them on the 25th of each month. I know the it's not complete yet but it is still an impressive array!

4.) Last but not least: continue to share the society's news and our members' contributions. This year we will be publishing the annual committee reports on the blog and I have a plan to do follow-up stories on some of the connections that have been made through the blog.

Thanks to all who have contributed stories and photographs. Happy New Year!

 The COG poster provided courtesy of the footnoteMaven.

30 December 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday
CGS Mail Call - Dick Rees

Photographs courtesy of Tim Cox, 8/8/2009, Oakland, California.

25 December 2009

Wreaths Across America

Kathleen Todd Watson sent this report about her participation on December 12, 2009 in Wreaths Across America – the third year year that the ceremony was held for veterans at the Sacramento Valley VA National Cemetery. Kathy served as location leader through her involvement as First Vice-Regent of the Anne Loucks DAR chapter. Kathy's husband and fellow-CGS member, Marston Watson emceed the same event at the Golden Gate National Cemetery.
Over 1800 people attended the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery ceremony which culminated an annual project involving many volunteers from 4H, Civil Air Patrol, DAR, Patriot Guard, Missing in America, Cemetery Support Committee, and Friends of the Cemetery. Donations supplied 5,570 wreaths for the cemetery, one for every headstone. Rain did not deter placement of the wreaths to remember and honor the memory of all fallen heroes who served and sacrificed their lives for our freedoms. 
Wreaths Across America, a non profit 501-c3 organization, was formed as an extension of the Arlington Wreath Project, started by Morrill Worcester (Worcester Wreath) in 1992 with the donation and laying of 5000 Christmas wreaths in Arlington National Cemetery.

2009 Facts:
  • 405 participating locations, including the 24 national cemeteries on foreign soil
  • 161,000 total wreaths placed to honor our servicemen and women
  • Over 100,000 volunteers participated in the wreath-laying events
  • Over 7,500 in attendance at Arlington National Cemetery
  • Approximately 15,000 in attendance at Houston National Cemetery - the single largest wreath-laying event nationwide
  • 1,800 in attendance at Sacramento Valley National Cemetery
Photograph courtesy of Kathy Watson, December 12, 2009, Dixon, California.

24 December 2009

Tune In or Call In To Forum KQED 88.5 FM for Genealogy 101

The California Genealogical Society is honored to have three members appear this morning as guests on the popular live radio call-in program, Forum with Michael Krasny on KQED 88.5 FM at 10:00 a.m. Krasny is on vacation so they will be guests of substitute host Scott Shafer for an hour entitled Genealogy 101.

The study of genealogy is increasingly popular, with hundreds of web sites and research organizations devoted to tracing and recording the history of our ancestors. We talk with several local genealogists about the reasons people get involved, and get tips on conducting research.
I'm not sure if the show had a last minute cancellation, but this all transpired in the last forty-eight hours after the library fielded a call from KQED on Tuesday. I had a nice conversation with their intern, Mariah Dickerson, about our favorite subject and I recommended several members who are experts in their gen-area and are excellent speakers. I'm thrilled to announce that Jane Knowles Lindsey, Jeanie Low and Craig Manson will be taking part. Jane and Jeanie will be in the studio and Craig will be calling in during the hour. Judith Berlowitz is another scheduled guest.

You can listen live or a podcast will be available at the website after the broadcast.

23 December 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Organizing the Manuscript Collection

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

22 December 2009

Coming in January: Tech Saturdays

The CGS Events Committee is excited about a new "Tech Saturday" forum starting in January 2010. The sessions will focus on tech tools for genealogists, including software, hardware, web databases, social networking and more. Tim Cox is the point person and he welcomes ideas for future classes as well as willing volunteers to help facilitate the meetings which will be scheduled on the third Saturday of every other month.

Starting things off will be a Genealogy Tech Discussion on Saturday, January 16, 2010 from 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. at the CGS Library.

Members with all levels of computer experience are invited to join panelists Kathy Watson, Judy Bodycote and Cathy Paris as they share their expertise and offer their insight to answer some common questions:

  • What are the advantages of Mac over PC?
  • What are the advantages of PC over Mac?
  • How do I chose a genealogy software?
  • What are "social media" and how do I use them for genealogy?
  • Does the CGS Library offer tech benefits to members?
The panel will also share information about new technology available in the library and have time to answer audience questions.

The session is limited to thirty attendees. Pre-registration is required. Tech Saturdays are open to everyone but non-members pay a $5.00 users fee to enter the library. (Or come and become a member of CGS!) Email for more information.

17 December 2009

Intermediate Genealogy Series Returns

Light BulbThe California Genealogical Society (CGS) and the Oakland Regional Family History Center (ORFHC) are combining resources again to present an encore Intermediate Genealogy Series, starting February 9, 2010.

Classes will be held on eight consecutive Tuesday evenings from 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. All sessions will be held at the Oakland Regional Family History Center, 4766 Lincoln Avenue, Oakland, California. In addition, there will be a field trip to the California Genealogical Society Library on Saturday, March 27, 2010.


  • 02/09   Probate and Guardianship Records 
  • 02/16   Church and Cemetery Records
  • 02/23   United States Military Records
  • 03/02   Using Newspapers for Genealogical Research
  • 03/09   Land, Property, Maps and Gazetteers
  • 03/16   Reading & Transcribing the Handwriting of Colonial America 
  • 03/23   Immigration and Naturalization
  • 03/27   Field Trip to the CGS Library
  • 03/30   Other Resources and Solving Problems
• Class size is limited. Walk-ins allowed if space available.
• Pre-registration is required.
• Nominal fee of $15 is charged for materials.

• $10.00 off a CGS membership if you join by March 30, 2010.

For more details, download the registration flier.

16 December 2009

Feedback From the New York City Research Workshop

CGSL blog roving reporter and photographer Tim Cox sent word that Steve Harris "did a wonderful job" at last Saturday's New York City: Insider's Guide to Research workshop. He sent photos and added, "Everyone enjoyed the class and they want more!" 

Tim sent this summary of the feedback forms:
  • Participants in the class: 16
  • CGS members in the class: 12
  • Non-members in the class: 4
  • Feedback forms submitted: 10
  • Most people heard about the class via eNews.
  • Length of the class (4 hrs.) seemed to be enough time, but they were left wanting more information.

The New York City research workshop was one of a series that the society has sponsored, focusing on research aids: Digital Photography, Using Land Records, publishing: Microsoft Word Skills, Hints on Publishing, and on specific locales: Eastern Europe, Scandinavia.

Tim and Carolyn Steinberg are the members of the CGS Events Committee who have been coordinating the workshops and they have been doing an outstanding job. They oversee every aspect – from the scheduling and planning phase all the way to set up, check in, clean up and reporting on attendance and evaluations. So it's accolades all around – to Carolyn, Tim and to Steve.

And, by the way, the Events Committee is busy finalizing the 2010 calendar. Here's a preview of some of the programs being planned:
  • Tech Saturday Sessions starting in January
  • The Successful Research Trip: Lessons Learned on the Road by Mary Mettler
  • Tour of Mountain View Cemetery
  • Chinese-American Research Workshop
  • Hispanic Research Workshop
I'll be posting details here as the programs are finalized so stay tuned!

Photographs courtesy of Tim Cox, 12/12/2009, Oakland, California.

11 December 2009

The California Nugget, Volume 1, Number 2

The Fall 2009 edition of The California Nugget has been sent to the printer and should be arriving in members' mailboxes in the next week. I was able to get a sneak peek and I'm thrilled to report that Editor Jane Hufft and Production Editor Lois Elling have outdone themselves and Volume 1, Issue 2 is even better than the first! Here's Jane's message:

Dear CGS Members:
     We hope you will enjoy the variety of articles and information in this second issue of The California Nugget. Be sure to read “Elyse’s Genealogy Blog” which describes a generation gap among family historians, and let us know what you think CGS might do to help unite researchers of all ages. (We’ve taken the first step by adding a student membership at $20.) Our "California Ancestors" section highlights two very different BROWN families, and the ‘06 earthquake is memorialized by a BOSWORTH ancestor.
     In April 2010 the planets align when the annual National Genealogical Society Conference and the annual CGS research trip are back-to-back in Salt Lake City! The 2010 NGS Family History Conference is 28 April – 1 May 2010. There is a conference blog at Sign up now to take advantage of the week-long CGS trip—what a wonderful ten days for those who can be there for both events.
     Coming in the next issue of the Nugget: exciting details about a major new CGS publication, San Francisco Deaths, 1865 – 1904 and first part of the alphabet from the newly compiled California Names in the Index to the List of Pensioners on the Roll, 1883.
     What about your California ancestors? Please share your stories, photos and family trees for our readers and your descendants!
Jane Hufft
Twenty-First Century Genealogy
Elyse’s Genealogy Blog…Post of July 7, 2009 By Elyse Doerflinger
CGSL Blog in the News!
Finding the Laughran Sisters - Part 1 by Jane Hufft

California Ancestors
Virginia Wise Bosworth and the San Francisco Earthquake by Marilyn Willats
The Descendants of William Bailey Clarke Brown by H. Frost Prioleau
William Gage Brown and Margaret Jones by Barry E. Hinman

For Our Readers
Salt Lake City Research Tour April 21 – 28: Registration Form
What CGS Research Services Can Do for You 
Recent Acquisitions in the Library
News from the Society 
New and Improved Rules of Genealogy from
New Members
Guidelines for Submission

The California Nugget is a benefit of membership in the California Genealogical Society. It is published twice a year.

10 December 2009

Annual Business Meeting - January 9, 2010

The Annual Business Meeting of the California Genealogical Society will be held on Saturday, January 9, 2010, at 1:00 p.m., at the CGS Library, 2201 Broadway at 22nd, Suite LL2, Oakland. Please join Jane Knowles Lindsey who will be making her last report as president of the society.

The agenda includes brief committee reports, approval of the society budget, the annual election of new board members and a brief review of 2009. Jane will present details of the upcoming programs in 2010.

Two members have been asked to make brief presentations about their interesting genealogical projects. Jeanie W. Chooey Low will discuss her advocacy work on the Alien immigration case files known as the "A-Files." Kathy Beals will describe her writing project about the early settlers of several New Hampshire towns.

The annual meeting is always well-attended so arrive early to get a seat. Light refreshments will be served at 12:30 p.m., before the meeting begins.

09 December 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Board of Directors Meeting
Wednesday, October 20, 2009

Photograph by Kathryn M. Doyle, Oakland, California.

08 December 2009

Annual Breuner Building Food Drive

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 Drive:

It's time for our annual Holiday Food Drive! Last year we collected over 200 pounds of food for local families. Let hit 300 lbs this year! The barrel is already set up in the lobby. Attached is a list of their most needed foods. Let’s spread that holiday cheer!

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, seniors. Most adults served are among the working poor. While the holidays are always a season of escalated demand for food, in 2009, the Food Bank is responding to unprecedented need in Alameda County.

* 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 through Christmas week.

    07 December 2009

    Piedmont Adult School Offers Genealogy Basics

    CGS member Craig Siulinski will be the instructor of a new genealogy class offered for the first time through the Piedmont Adult School. The ten session course, Genealogy Basics, will meet on Wednesday evenings, 7:30 - 9:00 p.m., from January 6 through March 10, 2010. Class enrollment is limited to fifteen.

    Students will learn specific strategies for uncovering information about their ancestors. Areas to include: key factors for beginners, importance of organization and documentation, conducting searches on free websites and selected reports to locate one's ancestors. Class includes one field trip to be announced.

    Piedmont Adult School
    800 Magnolia Ave, Piedmont, CA 94611
    Phone: 510-594-2655

    04 December 2009

    Happy (Belated) Second Blogiversary!

    I'm a bit behind since the holiday and I haven't yet acknowledged last week's milestone. On November 28, 2007, the California Genealogical Society Board of Directors voted to approve the CGSL blog. It was a venture started rather hastily, with great enthusiasm but little planning. I admit to losing a few nights' sleep the first week wondering how I would ever sustain it. Now I can't believe it's been two years.

    Since that time CGS and I have discovered a whole new Web 2.0 world of wikis and social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter where I've made many new friends in the GeneaBlogger community. My colleagues are a prolific bunch who fill my blog reader with an endless stream of all things genealogical and who offer a font of inspirational ideas which I gladly co-opt for the benefit of CGS.

    During this last year the CGSL blog has become a kind of internet centerpiece for the society. Blog articles link back and forth to the CGS website, to the eNews and to social networking sites and calendars where our events are posted.

    Recently Amy Coffin of We Tree featured the CGSL blog in her article Should Your Genealogical Society Have a Blog? She summed up the blog-website relationship perfectly:

    Blogs are websites. Websites aren't always blogs. A genealogy society's web page is like a store window. It highlights the group's value, hopefully enticing visitors to walk through the virtual door and explore the site. A blog is like a genealogy society's in-store sale circular. It is a good communication tool for the latest information and quickly changing details. A genealogy society's web page serves one purpose and a blog another.
    Now that the whole blog-website-internet dynamic is working well for us, CGS is ready to pretty things up a little. Several members of the Pub/Mark and Website Committees have been working on the CGS "brand" and we will be rolling things out over the next couple of months.

    Today Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings very graciously recommended the CGSL blog in his Follow Friday post. Nothing gets past Randy and he made note of the fact that this blog has a new URL: This is the first peek into the branding project which will involve a major redecorating overhaul of the CGSL blog.

    Stay tuned.

    02 December 2009

    Wordless Wednesday

    Working on the Judge Project

    Photograph by Kathryn M. Doyle, October 5, 2009, Oakland, California.

    01 December 2009

    CGS e-News, December 2009

    The December 1, 2009 issue of the CGS e-News, volume 3, number 12 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 Job Daniel Joseph SEMLER and his family on their homestead near Sargent, Nebraska. Member Mary Hunt found this photograph of her ancestor on the Prints and Photographs Online Catalog on the Library of Congress website.

    All past issues of the CGS e-News are available for viewing at the e-News ARCHIVE. The January 2010 issue will be e-mailed on 12/31/2009. To receive a copy, please join our mailing list.