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25 February 2012

San Francisco Bay Area Genealogy Calendar: March 2012 Published

March 2012 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.

The March calendar lists fifty classes and events at various venues around the Bay Area, sponsored by twenty different societies and genealogy libraries.

The California Genealogical Society will be exhibiting at the San Francisco History Expo at the Old Mint on Saturday and Sunday, March 3-4, 2012, with and the San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society.

There are two events of note in Sacramento this month. The 7th Annual Family History African American Seminar Unlocking Our Family Treasures will be held on Saturday, March 10, 2012 and the Annual Spring Seminar with George G. Morgan will be on Saturday, March 31, 2012, sponsored by Root Cellar, the Sacramento Genealogical Society.

If you would like to add your group's events to the calendar, please email the information by the 15th of each month for publication on or before the 25th. (Please put "SFBA Calendar" in the subject line.)

Copyright © 2012 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library.

24 February 2012

Have You Purchased Raking the Ashes? Updates Available!

Almost as soon as a research guide is published, there is a need to update. New material becomes available online; files are transferred from one location to another; and new ways of looking at old material surface. Such has been the case with the second edition of Raking the Ashes: Genealogical Strategies for Pre-1906 San Francisco Research.

Author Nancy Peterson has created a list of supplemental changes and additions and it is now available on the Updates page at the book site: Most of the updates are new digitizations of relevant records which have come online since the book was published last year.

The categories of changes include vital records, newspapers, land and property, court and voter records, and a few miscellaneous items.

Raking the Ashes is available for purchase in the CGS Library and at the California Genealogical Society Store at

Copyright © 2012 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library

21 February 2012

Black History Month: Honoring Genealogist Electra Kimble Price

It isn't often that a large city newspaper devotes half a page to an article on genealogy, so kudos to the San Francisco Chronicle and columnist Brenda Payton for yesterday's feature about Electra Kimble Price.

Electra Kimble Price (right) at the CGS Black Family History program in February 2010.

In case you missed it, the opinion piece on African American Genealogy "Digging Deep to Uncover Roots" is a detailed look at Electra's life and work. The online version bears a slightly different title but Genealogist Digs Deep to Uncover Blacks' Roots includes every word of Brenda Payton's glowing profile and several more photographs of Price.

Electra has been a member of the California Genealogical Society since 1994. She is an Oakland native and a local legend among Bay Area genealogists. I had the pleasure of meeting her at her home a few years ago when she donated books to the CGS library.

Price was one of the founding members of the African American Genealogical Society of Northern California (AAGSNC). She received the Distinguished Service Award of the Genealogical Society of Utah in 2000 in recognition of the countless hours she has devoted to helping family historians.

Many years ago Electra started an African-American genealogy research class (now taught by Judith Collins) at the Oakland California Family History Center. Price orchestrated a Black History Month event there this past Sunday where she was feted with another award and cake. Nicka Smith's report (and gorgeous photos) can be found on the AAGSNC blog Black Family History Day was a Success!

Congratulations Electra!

Photograph courtesy of Nicka Smith, 2/20/2010, Oakland, California.

Copyright © 2012 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library

17 February 2012

RootCellar 21st Annual Spring Genealogy Seminar March 31, 2012

CGS member Denise Richmond of the Sacramento Genealogical Society sent this notice of their upcoming Spring Seminar:

Saturday, March 31, 2012
9:00 a.m. – 3:45 p.m. (Doors open 8:30 a.m.)

Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church
11427 Fair Oaks Blvd.
Fair Oaks, California

RootCellar, the Sacramento Genealogical Society, announces their 21st annual spring seminar with George G. Morgan, author of How To Do Everything: Genealogy. The full-day event includes an optional lunch, gift basket raffle, and book-signing.

Topics include:
  • The Genealogist as CSI
  • Push and Pull: Reasons for Migration 
  • Sidestep Genealogy 
  • Bring ‘Em Back to Life: Developing an Ancestor Profile
Download the registration flier.

George G. Morgan is president of Aha! Seminars, Inc., a training company for libraries and genealogical societies since 1996. He is the author of numerous books and articles, co-host with Drew Smith of The Genealogy Guys Podcast and he has held many positions in state and and national genealogical societies.

Copyright © 2012 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library

13 February 2012

Getting Ready for the 1940 Census with Steve Morse

Saturday, March 24, 2012
1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

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

CGS is pleased to be welcoming back Steve Morse who will be helping us get ready for the soon-to-be-released 1940 census. When it is released in April, the 1940 will not have a name index and it is estimated it will take up to six months for a name index to be available. Finding people in the census will involve searching by location using Enumeration Districts (EDs).

Morse's One-Step website contains numerous tools for obtaining EDs. His talk will present the various tools and show circumstances in which each can be used. Steve will also demonstrate a tutorial quiz for determining the best tool to use in each specific situation.

Immediately following Morse's presentation, past-president Steve Harris will facilitate an open forum on using U.S. Census Records.

Register online.

The class is limited to thirty 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 class.

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

Stephen Morse is the creator of the One-Step Website for which he has received both the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Outstanding Contribution Award from the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies, Award of Merit from the National Genealogical Society, first-ever Excellence Award from the Association of Professional Genealogists, and two awards that he cannot pronounce from Polish genealogical societies.

In his other life Morse is a computer professional with a doctorate degree in electrical engineering. He has held various research, development, and teaching positions, authored numerous technical papers, written four textbooks, and holds four patents. He is best known as the architect of the Intel 8086 (the granddaddy of today's Pentium processor), which sparked the PC revolution thirty years ago.

Copyright © 2012 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library

10 February 2012

eNews February 2012, volume 6, number 2

The February 2012 eNews, volume 6, number 2,  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.

Member Penny Hazelton Pollock contributed this month's photograph of her grandparents, DeWitt and Benja Lepley Hazelton, who were married almost fifty years.

Dewitt Charles Hazelton (1891-1979) and Benja Franklin Lepley (1887-1970)

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

The March 2012 issue will be emailed on February 29, 2012. To receive a copy, please join our mailing list.

Photograph courtesy of Penny Hazelton Pollock.

Copyright © 2012 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library

06 February 2012

Correcting an Omission: Board Members Elected in 2011

When preparing the article Introducing the New 2012 Directors, it was brought to my attention that I had neglected to post the biographies of the board members who began serving in 2011. Here, to correct that omission, is a bit of background on Sandy Fryer, Lisa Gorrell, Laura Lee Karp, Henry Snyder, and Jim Sorenson.

Sandy Jones Fryer has an engineering degree and worked for a large corporation before running her own business. She's been interested in family history since childhood when a sixth grade teacher assigned her class to research their ancestry and prepare a family tree. Since her retirement, Sandy has had more time for volunteer activities and genealogy. She attended a class at CGS during Family History Month in 2006 and immediately decided to join the society. Within a short time she started volunteering and since then she has worked in many different capacities in the library. Sandy was appointed to fill a vacated board position in 2010 and was elected to the board in 2011. She served first as Treasurer and is now the board liaison to the Membership Committee.

For nearly twenty years, Lisa Gorrell has been researching her children’s family history. She has authored two family genealogy books after writing a multitude of letters, researching in libraries, and traveling every couple of years to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Lisa has held leadership positions with several Bay Area non-profits and serves as treasurer and secretary of the Contra Costa County Genealogical Society. Prior to her retirement in 2010, Gorrell was employed as a BART train operator and trainer for thirty-two years. She holds a teaching credential from Cal State, Hayward. Lisa has been member of CGS since 2004 and began volunteering as a member of the Events Committee. She is currently a board officer serving as recording secretary since her appointment to fill a vacancy in March of 2011.

Laura Lee Karp inherited her interest in genealogy from her grandmothers and the stories they told. Her full-time pursuit began in 2007 with a trip to Houston and Galveston Island, where in 1900 the historic hurricane claimed the lives of half of her grandfather’s extended family, when he was only twelve years old. To prepare for the journey, Karp signed on for a two-week trial of and was hooked within ten minutes. Laura Lee is a Certified Public Accountant who had a career in finance and accounting. After retirement, she and her husband relocated to the East Bay from Virginia. She holds a B.A. in history from Mary Washington College and has shared her expertise as a volunteer with several organizations, including CGS. Laura assisted the society’s treasurer before assuming the office herself when she was elected to our board of directors in January 2011.

Henry L. Snyder is the former director of The Center for Bibliographical Studies and Research (CBSR) at the University of California, Riverside, where he led the California Newspaper Project from 1990 through 2009. A scholar in the field of British history, he earned B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. degrees at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Snyder is the author of numerous articles and texts and the recipient of honors including the National Humanities Medal in 2007. After his retirement in 2009, Henry joined the California Genealogical Society and has been pursuing his Gold Rush era California roots. He's learned that he inherited his love of newspapers from several of his ancestors. Henry was appointed to fill a vacated board position in 2011 and serves as director liaison to the Library Committee and sits on the Publications/Marketing Commitee.

 Jim Sorenson is a fourth generation Californian who has been actively pursuing genealogy since 1994. His quest has taken him to courthouses and libraries in twelve states and to Sweden, Denmark, England, Wales, and Ireland. Besides filling in gaps in the family trees of his wife and daughter-in-law, he has found a rewarding interest in doing research for friends and strangers. He has a B.S. in business management from Cal Poly, Pomona and M.B.A. from USC. He retired after thirty-eight years with Lockheed Martin having worked in the overhead budget, financial forecast and government finance arena. Besides genealogy, his hobbies are travel and photography. Jim is a member of the Website and Research committees and recently spearheaded the Insider’s Guide project. He was elected to the board of directors in January 2011 where he serves as liaison to technology.

Copyright © 2012 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library

03 February 2012

Introducing the New 2012 Directors

The California Genealogical Society is pleased to introduce the five women who have consented to serve and have been elected to the Board of Directors in 2012. They are Kim Cotton, Ellen Fernandez-Sacco, Pat Gallagher, Karen Lemulin, and Nicka Smith.

Kim Cotton is a Certified Nutritional Educator with a degree in art and training in computer science, art history, and cross-cultural health practices. A third generation Californian, Kim has been researching her tree as well as assisting others as part of her business Walking Your Tree. She has been a volunteer at CGS since 2010, first with the Events Committee, and more recently assisting the Research Committee to prepare the "Insider's Guide to California Genealogy." She is active in social media, writes travel and product reviews and multiple blogs, including two on genealogy.

Ellen Fernandez-Sacco’s involvement with genealogy started in 1999, when she began researching the oral history of her family in Moca, Puerto Rico. She has traced her background to Mallorca and Galicia, Spain and is also of Taino Amerindian descent. She has a Ph.D. in Art History and is a co-founder and chair of Sociedad Ancestros Mocanos, a Yahoo! Group, whose focus is the genealogy and oral history of Northwest Puerto Rico. She has taught classes and workshops on Latino genealogy research for CGS and she is the author of several genealogy blogs.

Pat Gallagher, a fourth generation San Franciscan, is Professor Emerita at San Francisco State University where she taught language and literacy education to prospective teachers in the Department of Elementary Education for thirty-one years. Upon retirement, Pat took on the task of researching her family history. She had a family bible with a few names and dates, a basket of family photographs, a lot of questions and no one left to ask. Five years ago Pat dropped into the California Genealogical Society library and found the San Francisco City Directories. That was the beginning of her five-year, multi-faceted exploration of her Norwegian and Irish family, and of her service as a CGS volunteer. Pat is also a founding member of the “fridaywriters” writing group that provides weekly opportunities for elders to tell their life stories.

Karen Tracy Lemelin was born in Oakland, California and is employed at Alameda County Medical Center, Highland Campus as a Health Services manager for the Ambulatory Clinics. She is an R.N. with a B.A. degree in Health Services Administration from St. Mary’s College. She has been an R.N. for thirty-five years and specialized in Emergency Department and Specialty Clinics management. She has spent many hours volunteering with the Flying Medical Volunteers in Mexico, the Red Cross and her children’s schools. She has been interested in her roots since she was a teenager and is the collector of the family memorabilia. She has spent many hours pre-internet, scanning through microfiche, church records and graveyards in Norway searching for her roots.

Nicka Smith’s interest in genealogy began at an early age when she became intrigued with a family tree that was prepared by her first cousin once removed. In 1999, she decided to continue his efforts and update his work which led to the formation of AtlasFamily.Org, and its affiliate websites. For eleven years, Nicka has lead the Atlas research team in tracing the lineage of nine generations across more than twenty-two states and four countries. She lectures and mentors both young and old on genealogical search techniques and serves as the chair of the Outreach and Education Committee for the African American Genealogical Society of Northern California (AAGSNC). Smith has worked for Kaiser Permanente for the past eleven years in various roles, most recently, as project and communications coordinator. She is also a professional photographer whose work can be seen at

Copyright © 2012 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library