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30 September 2011

The California Nugget, Fall 2011, Volume III, Issue 2

The Fall 2011 edition of The California Nugget has been sent to the printer and should begin arriving in members' mailboxes next week. It's another information-filled issue by Editor Jane Hufft and Production Editor Lois Elling.

Here is Jane's letter from the editor:
Dear Readers:
This issue of the California Nugget is arriving in your mailbox earlier than usual so we can share exciting news about two events. First, the California Genealogical Society proudly announces the publication of the newly revised Raking The Ashes, Genealogical Strategies for pre-1906 San Francisco Research. This new second edition is the finest tool available for conducting genealogical and historical research in San Francisco in the years before the great earthquake. No one knows more about work-around strategies to find cemeteries, records, repositories, unique sources, church information, land records and other genealogical and historical records related to San Francisco than author Nancy Peterson. Completely updated, painstakingly researched, carefully organized and thoroughly user-friendly, Raking the Ashes, second edition, belongs on the shelf of every California researcher. For more information and ordering information, please see page 17.
There’s more! CGS and are bringing a special all-day genealogy con- ference to San Francisco on Saturday, November 5. This informative day will offer many workshops and lectures. If you can be in the area, plan on joining us. Registration information is on page 16.
In other articles, Amy Coffin’s description of the first RootsTech Conference will take readers one step further into an exciting future where technology and genealogy meet. Rachel M. Popma, editor of Indiana Genealogist, has graciously allowed us to reprint her recent article that describes how to add eBay to your toolbox of genealogy search strategies. In “California Ancestors,” Jim Sorenson recounts the unexpected results of a persistent search to find just one more cousin. Virginia Turner looks back on early days of researching at CGS, and Sheri Fenley recounts the story of a successful pioneering family in San Francisco.
One way to have your family’s history saved for posterity is to have it in print. Have you thought about submitting your family’s story to the Nugget? We are always looking for well-researched family histories as well as articles that will help our readers become better genealogists and more successful writers and researchers.
Jane Hufft, Editor

Twenty-First Century Genealogy
RootsTech: A Report from the Trenches by Amy Coffin
Using Automated eBay Searches for Genealogy by Rachel M. Popma

California Ancestors
Chasing After Cousins by Jim Sorenson
Pursuing My Spooner and Ruffcorn Legacies at CGS by Virginia Turner
David Nathan Walter: Jewish Pioneer of San Francisco by Sheri Fenley 
1883 Pensioners List: Cashman, James to Dorland, John M.

For Our Readers
November 5 Ancestry Day in San Francisco Registration Form
Raking the Ashes order form

At the Society
Recent Acquisitions in the Library
New Members

The California Nugget, the magazine of the California Genealogical Society, is published twice a year. Its purpose is to share the unique genealogical material in the CGS library, add to the body of family history information about Californians, offer guidance and timely information to family researchers, and to provide a forum for members to share their expertise and findings. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the society. The magazine is distributed free to members and is available to non- members for $5.00 an issue, plus postage.

Copyright © 2011 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library

28 September 2011

Early-Bird Registration Ends in One Week!

This is an Ancestry Day – San Francisco alert!  Registration for the early-bird discount ends Wednesday, October 5, 2011.

Register now so you don't forget!

By registering before the early-bird deadline, you'll save $10 on the basic registration.

A fifteen minute consultation is just $5 more, but act fast! There are a limited number available and they are almost sold out.

There are also a limited number of hotel rooms at a special event rate. There are two options for making a hotel reservation.

By phone: Call 888-421-1442 and mention "SF Hyatt Regency Embarcadero and Ancestry Day"

Online: Ancestry Day - San Francisco special rate
Follow all of our updates on Twitter @AncestryDaySF and on Lanyrd.

Copyright © 2011 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library

26 September 2011

October Family History Month: Lots of Bay Area Choices in 2011

October 2011 events have been published on the San Francisco Bay Area Genealogy Calendar – a collection of local genealogical society classes, workshops and meetings within a 75 mile radius of San Francisco.

With many societies and libraries planning events for October Family History Month, the calendar lists sixty-four events at various venues around the Bay Area, sponsored by twenty-four different societies and genealogy libraries.

Both sessions of the Fall Beginning Genealogy Series continue. This is the fourth year that CGS has partnered with the Oakland Regional Family History Center to offer the classes for Family History Month.

CGS members Nicka Smith and Vernester Sheeler are organizers of the African American Genealogical Society of Northern California's Black Family History Day on Saturday, October 8, 2011, from 2:00 – 5:00 p.m. at the Oakland Regional Family History Center.

The California Genealogical Society will be an exhibitor at the 13th Annual Family History Day at the State Archives in Sacramento on Saturday, October 15, 2011. CGS President Stephen Harris will be heading up our delegation. We gratefully acknowledge Denise Richmond of RootCellar–Sacramento Genealogical Society for her assistance with our arrangements. Denise and Sandy Benward are the authors of the Family History Day at the California State Archives blog where you can find full information about the event schedule, speakers and exhibitors.

Be sure to check the calendar and decide which October Family History Month events you will attend!

Copyright © 2011 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library

19 September 2011

Portraits of Our Patriots: Stories of Revolutionary War Ancestors

It's always a great pleasure to announce publication of a member's book so this time it's quadruply special. Four of the eight authors of Portraits of Our Patriots: Stories of  Revolutionary War Ancestors are members of the California Genealogical Society – Millianne (Peirano) Lehman, Linda Longley, Mary Mettler and Terri Taylor.

L to R: Annette Litle, Cathy McCausland, Carol Yenne, Terri Taylor and Mary Mettler. Not shown: Joan Evans, Millie Lehman and Linda Longley.

The eight writers are members of the San Francisco DAR La Puerta de Oro San Francisco Chapter who tell the stories of fifteen of their Patriots, "recounting with as much detail as possible the events they and their families endured in the years during and surrounding the American Revolution." A genealogical summary covering the patriot and his family is provided at the end of each chapter which includes source references.

Mary Mettler has generously donate one copy to the CGS Library. She is the author of the two chapters on her ancestors Cephas Kent Sr. and Cephas Kent Jr. Mary chronicled some of her KENT research in as Tuesday Tales for this blog.

Congratulations, Mary, to you and all of your fellow authors!

  1. Bladen Ashby by Carol Yenne
  2. John Blair by Millianne (Peirano) Lehman
  3. John Chatham and William Chatham by Catherine McCausland
  4. John Chilton by Carol Yenne
  5. Stephen Fischer by Terri Taylor
  6. David French Millianne (Peirano) Lehman
  7. Lewis L. Humphreys by Joan Reumah Evans
  8. Cephas Kent, Sr. by Mary A. Mettler
  9. Cephas Kent, Jr. by Mary A. Mettler
  10. Abraham Kitchel by Jim Cooper and Annette Cooper Litle
  11. John Lamb by Mary A. Mettler
  12. Jonathan Langley by Linda Longley
  13. Roger McPike by Carol Yenne and Max McPike
  14. Onesimus Whitehead by Millianne (Peirano) Lehman

Portraits of Our Patriots: Stories of Revolutionary War Ancestors
Hardcover, 246 pages, published 2011

There are a limited number available for purchase for $20 plus postage. Proceeds go to the San Francisco NSDAR chapter, La Puerta de Oro.

La Puerta de Oro San Francisco Chapter consists of four DAR chapters that merged—the oldest of these, the Sequoia Chapter, was founded on Dec 10, 1891. Their mission is to promote the objects of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Photographs courtesy of Mary Mettler.

Copyright © 2011 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library

16 September 2011

Discover a Bridge to Your Past


Have you seen them? The design elves at created these gorgeous "tout ads" for Ancestry Day – San Francisco.

The ads show up randomly on Ancestry's home page and link directly to our event page (also created by

Be sure to follow our event updates on Twitter @AncestryDaySF.

Copyright © 2011 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library

12 September 2011

Society Showcase at FGS Conference in Springfield

The California Genealogical Society sponsored a table recently at the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) annual conference in Springfield, Illinois. FGS made it easy for even distant genealogy societies to have a presence in the exhibit hall at Society Showcase on Thursday, September 8, 2011, in the Prairie Capital Convention Center. Exhibitors were encouraged to "bring display items and giveaways, such as membership brochures, sample publications, bookmarks, and event fliers." The FGS Conference blog published the full list of participating societies.

California Nugget Editor Jane Hufft and I staffed the table which we shared with fellow CGS member Denise Richmond who was representing the RootCellar Sacramento Genealogical Society. Denise handles publicity for RootCellar and she is one of the authors of the excellent Root Cellar Sacramento Genealogical Society Blog with teammates Sandra Gardner Benward and Ron Setzer. Denise is also the blogger behind the conference blog for the upcoming Family History Day at the California State Archives on Saturday, October 15, 2011.

Jane Hufft and Denise Richmond

We had lots of information fliers and brochures highlighting the best of our California societies. Both Denise and I took advantage of the U.S. Post Office flat rate boxes to mail materials ahead of our arrival. Jane brought sample copies of our periodical as well as her submission guidelines for the Nugget. I think she talked to at least two potential authors who were intrigued with the idea of writing about their California ancestors.

Staffing the next table over and representing Fox Valley Illinois Genealogical Society was their president, Jane Haldeman, co-owner of It's Relative. Jane and I "met" years ago via a Rootweb mail list and exchanged information about our BRIGGS of Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania. It's one of my "brick wall" lines so I'm not exactly sure how Jane and I are related but I'm optimistic that someday I'll figure it out. It was great to finally meet "cousin" Jane in person and to attend one of her lectures.

Genealogist quilters Pat Richley and Jane Hufft
The CGS contingent had one significant meeting that occurred just outside the convention center. Jane and I ran into DearMyrtle herself – Pat Richley. Jane had been wanting to meet Pat since they share a love of quilting. I'm still not exactly sure how it happened but in just a few minutes a cash transaction had taken place, fabric was exchanged and information was provided about the 1812 Preserve the Pensions Quilt Project.

It was a whirlwind few days but CGS was well-represented in Springfield.

Copyright © 2011 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library

What You Missed: Summer Thursday Night Discussions

Did you make it into the library this summer for our extended Thursday hours? Tim Cox and Jane Lindsey cooked up the idea last year and it has proved to be wildly successful. We've gotten lots of positive feedback from members who enjoyed coming to do research on a day they didn''t have to pack up and leave at 4:00 p.m. Some even came in at 9:00 a.m. and stayed until 8:30 p.m. closing!

Kim Cotton led "Social Networking: Facebook, RSS, Twitter and Blogs" on 6/16.

Jane and Tim also scheduled specific discussions for 6:30 p.m. – 8:15 p.m. every Thursday in June, July and August. Topics included everything from ethnic research to software and subscription databases.

Cathy Paris led "Creative Ways to Share and Write Your Family History Research" on 7/28.

A special "thank-you" to all of our member facilitators who led Thursday night discussions this summer: Judy Bodycote, Kim Cotton, Tim Cox, Gloria Hanson, Steve Harris, Sally Houston, Douglas Joe, Lorna Jones, Jane Lindsey, John Moore, Cathy Paris and Lavinia Schwarz.

Tim tells me we had a grand total of 147 attendees at the thirteen discussions – many attended more than one session. Thanks to you all for making our summer program a success!

Photographs courtesy of Jane Lindsey (6/16/11) and Jeremy Frankel (7/28/2011), Oakland, California.

Copyright © 2011 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library

09 September 2011

New in the Library: the Konika-Minolta Bizhub 250


The California Genealogical Society has a new piece of equipment in the library. Vice-president Jeffrey Vaillant negotiated a new rental contract to replace our aged copier with a state-of-the-art networked model that prints, copies, faxes and scans. Best of all, the new contract price costs less so updated technology also represents a monthly net savings to the society. Nice work, Jeff!

Installed in August, the Konica Minolta Bizhub 250 can print 25 black and white copies per minute or patrons and volunteers can scan instead of copying. The BizHub scans to and prints from all computers in addition to handling incoming faxes. The old stand-alone fax machine has been retired.

The BizHub automatically recognizes the copy size needed and has paper loaded for 8.5 x 11, 8.5 x 14 and 11 x 17 copies. It copies both sides (duplex) and has a stapler. Large print (11 x 17) capability allowed us to retire the HP5000 printer, making room for another computer “up front” which can be used by patrons or volunteer staff.

Jeff gratefully acknowledges the assistance of Kathy Watson who worked her tech-magic to network print, scan and fax functions.

Inservice training for desk volunteers took place on August 10, 2011. Training will continue as needed.

Copyright © 2011 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library

05 September 2011

Legacy Planning: What Happens to Your Research after You Are Gone?

Saturday, October 15, 2011
1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

California Genealogical Society Library
2201 Broadway, Suite LL2
Oakland, CA 94612

Legacy Planning usually refers to your will, trusts and medical directives. Have you thought about what is going to happen to your family history research? Do your children know what to do with those file cabinets, folders, binders and archival boxes full of memorabilia? Patricia Burrow will share some of the things we can do to ensure our family history research is preserved for future generations.

The class is limited to thirty-five participants and is a free benefit of membership. Non-members fee is $20.00 (non-refundable) and can be applied towards membership on the day of the workshop.

Preregistration is required. Walk-ins will not be admitted. Registration confirmations will be sent to the first 35 registrants. Additional names will be collected and placed on a waiting list in case of cancellations.

Register online.

Patricia Burrow has blended her retired, tech world vocation with her passionate avocation for genealogy research and storytelling. She leads several groups in the genealogy community and has been actively researching her family’s history for almost a decade. Pat has had several articles and stories published about her ancestors and is working on a book about her adopted grandmother and the two families that loved her. She teaches Reunion for the Mac at the Silicon Valley Computer Genealogy Group and participates in an indexing project at the Santa Clara County Archives. Her mantra is: “Your kids won’t throw away a book with their surname on it. Publish, publish, publish.”

Copyright © 2011 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library

02 September 2011

Report from the 2011 Allen County Public Library Research Tour

This year's tour to Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center in Fort Wayne, Indiana was led by CGS Vice-President Jeffrey Vaillant who sent this report:

The pressure is on to be back in 2013 when the Federation of Genealogical Societies holds its annual conference in Fort Wayne! That was one of many nuggets gathered during the week at the Allen County Public Library.

It was a great week for research with everyone devouring the stacks of information available in book form or in microfilm. We all agreed that the microfilm room itself could hold ice cream solid for days!

It was a great group of people – Cathy Gowdy, Nancy Peterson, Mary Lee Sammis, Patricia Smith and Duncan Tanner – who fanned out in the library hunting down new information and genealogical clues. Mary Lee thoroughly investigated the 50,000 family history books looking for her families. Cathy fed Mary Lee information as well as seeking her own. Nancy walked the book stacks with state and county histories finding in one Minnesota county history THE naturalization account with the local German town which had been eluding discovery. Duncan hunted down clues for his grandfather and Pat was the energizer bunny moving around at a frantic pace.

Nancy Peterson presented Curt Wicher with a copy of her second edition of Raking the Ashes: Genealogical Strategies for Pre-1906 San Francisco Research
There were many highlights of the time in Fort Wayne. Everyone agreed that the Wednesday night dinner with Curt Witcher was one of the best. He broke bread with us for two hours and talked about being at the Genealogical Department for 25+ years, the type of staff he hires (they are very very helpful), the challenges of being in a public library, the policies about collecting materials and what he foresees. [Hint: Subscribe to the Genealogy Gems from the ACPL.]
The next day Curt took us into the “basement” to see and ask questions about the scanning efforts taking place at the Library. There is excellent work being done to scan a multitude of records including the original New York Times newspapers from the 1860s!

Gastronomically we ate our way through Fort Wayne from Cindy’s Diner (only seats 15 at a time) to J.K. O’Donnell’s Irish Ale House for three dinners! Of course we did the Dash-In as well as the 13th floor Window Garden CafĂ© – the view of Fort Wayne from the 13th floor can be stated in one word: Flat! The Toscani Pizzeria, the 816 Pint & Slice together with the Loaf n’Ladle and even Dunkin Donuts at the Library got visits. Another highlight was the 1905 Pfeiffer House and Wayne Street Soda Shop. All of these were within a few blocks of the library and the weather cooperated by being in the low 80’s with reasonable humidity.

Another highlight was a good old fashion Midwestern thunder and lightning storm or the fireworks Saturday night after the Tincaps baseball game. A little something for everyone was provided.

The Courtyard by Marriott was a hit. As one participant stated “I have never stayed in a hotel with such fast, seamless internet…multiple public terminals and “Word” to boot. Staff is extraordinarily friendly.” There was a Starbucks onsite for all the breakfast needs so we ate our way through their offerings.

It was my good fortune to be with five completely self-starters. It was a wonderful way to “break” me into my first trip. My thanks to all the people for a great seven days at the ACPL and Fort Wayne. See you in 2013.
– Jeff Vaillant

Copyright © 2011 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library

01 September 2011

eNews September 2011, volume 5, number 9

The September 2011 eNews, volume 5, number 9,  has been published and emailed to members and friends. As always, the eNews 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: California Ancestors.

This month, member Anita Wills honors her maternal great-uncle, William Chester Ruth, grandson of a slave, inventor, and self-made millionaire.

William Chester Ruth (1882-1971)

Past issues of the eNews are available at the eNews archive.

The October 2011 issue will be emailed on September 30, 2011. To receive a copy, please join our mailing list.

Photograph courtesy of Anita Wills.

Copyright © 2011 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library