Recent Posts

30 March 2012

Join Us and the 1940 U.S. Census Community Project


The California Genealogical Society is proud of our continuing partnership with FamilySearch Indexing.

CGS has joined forces with genealogy societies around the country as part of the 1940 U.S. Census Community Project to create a free, online searchable name index of the 1940 U.S. Federal Census after images of the census are released to the public starting April 2, 2012.

The 1940 Census is attractive to both new and experienced researchers because most people in the United States can remember a relative that was living in 1940. It will do more to connect living memory with historical records and families than any other collection previously made available.
—David Rencher, Chief Genealogical Officer for FamilySearch.

Join our members throughout California and across the U.S. (and one international indexer!) who have signed on to help. Visit and register to participate with our society. Simply select California Genealogical Society and Library on the profile screen when creating your account. Every new person indexing with our society gets us closer to milestones that qualify us for incentives provided by the sponsors of the project, so sign up today!
Copyright © 2012 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library

29 March 2012

Revealing Grandma's Secrets: The 1940 Census

Who knew grandma was living in Kansas City in 1935 and then in San Francisco by 1940? The 1940 U.S. census tells us a wealth of unique information about our families and helps us understand what their lives were like.

The newest video by Reese & Jones features member volunteers Bill O'Neil and Lavinia Schwarz.

Directed by: Shannon Reese
Edited by: Kathleen Jones

Visit our YouTube channel: CAancestors.

If you need guidance finding your people on the unindexed 1940 census, the California Genealogical Society is here to help. Consider using our extended research service.

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

28 March 2012

Have You Seen Our New Facebook Timeline?

Califoria Genealogical Society at

Facebook is updating their look again and "Pages" are being moved to the new "Timeline" format. Non-profits have the opportunity to use new features to jazz things up and present an historical perspective. Like most genealogical societies and libraries, we don't have a marketing budget so we've completed the transfer with volunteer time and "creativity on a shoestring."

The Publications/Marketing Committee discussed cover photo options at the March 6, 2012 meeting. After weighing several options, the group unanimously chose Judy Bodycote's great black-and-white photograph of our volunteers at work in the library. Judy is also responsible for editing and enhancing the photograph of the California Genealogical Society's first president – Dr. Edward Stephen Clark – for the start of our timeline.

Changes implemented so far:
  1. Cover photo and thumbnail of the CGS seal as our inset photo.
  2. Milestones – "founded" in 1898. Only 114 more years of CGS history to record!
  3. Pinned posts – featured the Insider's Guide to California Research.
  4. Applications – featuring our YouTube and Twitter pages.
  5. Message inbox is activated for fans who want to contact us privately.
Please take a look and be sure to give us a Like if you approve!

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

26 March 2012

A Day with the Photo Detective Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Maureen Taylor Photo Detective
Photo credit: Erik Jacobs Photography
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Veterans Memorial Building
3780 Mt. Diablo Blvd.
Lafayette, CA 94549

Join us for A Day with the Photo Detective. Maureen Taylor is returning to Northern California and bringing her blend of photo curation, genealogy, and history.

She's presenting four new talks:
  • Hair-sterical & Mad as a Hatter: 19th Century Photos in Your Files 
  • Eight Basic Steps to Preserving Your Photos 
  • Google Images and Beyond: Adding Pictures to Your Family Collection 
  • Kodak Moments and Technicolor Dreams: 20th-Century Photos and Films in the Family Archive
Visit our event site – A Day with the Photo Detective – for full information and the link to our registration page.

A Day with the Photo Detective

Register by May 6, 2012 for the early bird price – just $48 to attend this all-day event. The price includes lunch – sandwich & salad buffet – with vegetarian choices. After May 6, 2012, price will increase to $58.
Please invite your friends – you don't need to be a CGS member to attend!

In the four years since Maureen was here, she's written several more best-selling books and her most popular titles will be available for purchase at the event.

Maureen is also offering a limited number of photo consultations to seminar registrants. Consultations will take place the day before the seminar on Tuesday, June 5, 2012, at the California Genealogical Society Library in Oakland. They are by-appointment-only and must be scheduled in advance with Maureen Taylor. Visit for more information.

Twitter followers, the hashtag for A Day with the Photo Detective is #CGSphoto. Please track our event on or let us know there that you will be attending!

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

19 March 2012

First Saturdays Free and CGS Intro to Genealogy Classes

The California Genealogical Society offers a free "Intro to Genealogy" class on the first Saturday of every month, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., at the library at 2201 Broadway, Suite LL2, Oakland, California, in the historic Breuner Building.

The intro class is part of our monthly First Saturdays Free event when we welcome non-members and the general public. We open the library and share our resources with anyone interested in learning more about their family history. The library is a benefit of membership and is available to non-members for a $5.00 day fee during the rest of the month.

First Saturday intro class in February 2012

Volunteers with research experience take turns teaching the intro class which focuses on basic research methods and terminology. The class covers common (and uncommon) family history records and the resources available, both online and in libraries, repositories, and archives. The two-hour session also includes a tour of the library and an overview of our extensive holdings.

The schedule of the remaining 2012 First Saturday class dates and instructors is:
The dates above each link to the registration pages for each class. Please join us!

Photograph courtesy of Linda Okazaki, 2/4/2012, Oakland, California.

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

16 March 2012

San Francisco Bay Area Genealogy Calendar: April 2012 Published

April 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 April calendar lists more than fifty classes and events at various venues around the Bay Area, sponsored by thirty societies, libraries and archives.

Several societies are holding full day seminars in April. The Sacramento German Genealogy Society will present Tracking Down Our German Ancestors with Warren Bittner on Saturday, April 21, 2012. The Sonoma County Genealogical Society is hosting its 20th Annual Seminar with Connie Lenzen on the same day, Saturday, April 21, 2012. The San Mateo County Genealogical Society will have its Spring Seminar A Cooke's Tour of Google with Lisa Louise Cooke on  Saturday, April 28, 2012.

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

15 March 2012

Come to Our 1940 Census Party!

Come and celebrate the release of the 1940 U.S. Census by searching for your ancestors with other researchers!

Where: Oakland Family History Center, 4766 Lincoln Avenue, Oakland.

When: Monday, April 9, 2012, 2:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

RSVP online.

Before the event:
•    Create a list of relatives with their possible locations and addresses in 1940.
•    Visit Steve Morse's 1940 Census ED Finder to narrow down enumeration districts for your ancestors—this will be helpful for ancestors living in major cities.

On the day of the event:
•    Bring a list of ancestors to search for and your laptop computer
•    Invite a friend to join you for the festivities 
•    Contribute by volunteering to index a portion of the census for FamilySearch.Org 
•    Expect to have a great time searching with fellow genealogists and family historians! 

This event is co-hosted by the California Genealogical Society, the African American Genealogical Society of Northern California, and the Oakland California Family History Center.

Can't make the event? If you need guidance finding your people on the unindexed 1940 census, the California Genealogical Society is here to help. Consider using our extended research service

Photographs from the Library of Congress.

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

14 March 2012

Wordless Wednesday

San Francisco History Expo
Old Mint
March 3-4, 2012


Photographs courtesy of Judy Bodycote, Linda Darby, and Jane Lindsey.

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

12 March 2012

Hard Drive Organization with Tim Cox

Saturday, April 21, 2012
1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

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

After collecting digital images from online sources and manually scanning paper documents and photos for over twenty years, Tim Cox found a management method that works for his digital files. He will demonstrate how to name files for easy identification, how to organize folders that make it easy to find them, and how to properly identify scanned photographs.

Register online.

The class is limited to twenty 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 twenty registrants. Additional names will be collected and placed on a waiting list in case of cancellations.

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

09 March 2012

A Visit from KTVU Channel 2

Sometimes a quiet day in the library takes an unexpected turn. That’s what happened yesterday when Volunteer Coordinator Linda Okazaki fielded a phone call from a reporter on deadline.

KTVU’s Maureen Naylor was working on a story about the Miller twins whose remains were found in their Lake Tahoe home.

Gloria Hanson working the case.

Volunteers dropped everything to find additional information and Naylor arrived at the library but spent just a few minutes with her 3:00 p.m. deadline looming.

Naylor’s piece aired on Channel 2 at 6:00 p.m. and footage from the library made it into the final story. Linda had a brief on-camera interview and our gorgeous new sign (created by Judy Bodycote) was featured.

I took a few screen shots but you can view the two minute piece at SAN JOSE: Twins found dead in South Lake Tahoe.

Kudos to Linda Okazaki, Gloria Hanson, Laura Spurrier, Judy Bodycote and Kim Cotton for their efforts to find information on the family. It was great to have some media attention for the library!

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

05 March 2012

Tracking Down Our German Ancestors with Warren Bittner, CG

CGS member, Virginia Kysh, sent word of this upcoming annual spring seminar sponsored by the Sacramento German Genealogical Society.

Saturday, April 21, 2012 
9:00 a.m. – 4:15 p.m.
(Registration 7:30 - 9:00 a.m.)

Sacramento Turn Verein
3349 J Street
Sacramento, CA

Topics will include:
  • German Maps and Territories
  • German Gazetteers and Levels of Jurisdiction 
  • Marriage Laws and Customs
  • Elusive Immigrants
  • U.S. Federal Land Case Files – Key Records for German Immigrants
  • Welcome to the Library – Reading to Put Your Family into Historical Context
Download the seminar flier.

Warren Bittner, CG is a genealogical researcher and lecturer, with twenty-five years of research experience. He is the owner of Ancestors Lost and Found, a small genealogical research firm and was the former German Collection Manager for the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Bittner has done extensive research in U.S., German, and Swiss records, and is an expert in late nineteenth-century New York City Research.

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

02 March 2012

eNews March 2012, volume 6, number 3

The March 2012 eNews, volume 6, number 3,  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 Maureen Hanlon contributed this month's St. Patrick's Day inspired photograph of her  grandmother, native San Franciscan, Katherine Sheldon Hanlon, behind the wheel but driving nowhere.

Hanlon family and friends in a Cliff House studio portrait, San Francisco.

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

The April 2012 issue will be emailed on March 31, 2012. To receive a copy, please join our mailing list.

Photograph courtesy of Maureen Hanlon.

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