Recent Posts

30 April 2012

1940 Census Indexing – April 2012 Update

1940 census
The California Genealogical Society is part of the 1940 U.S. Census Community Project to create a free, online searchable name index of the 1940 U.S. Federal Census.

Fifty-eight indexers have signed on to participate under the CGS umbrella. For the month of April, our group has indexed 29,829 names and arbitrated 2000!

President Jeffrey Vaillant is our acting project coordinator and he is posting periodic "cheerleading" messages to our group participants. We are seeing new members sign on every week.

Overall, the project is exceeding expectations. As of April 20, 2012, FamilySearch Indexing reported the following statistics:

  • So far, 14.2% of the entire project has been completely indexed.
  • We have 75,820 indexers and arbitrators working to index and arbitrate the census records.
  • Colorado and Kansas have been completely indexed and are being processed in preparation for posting on FamilySearch.org.
  • Delaware is posted online at FamilySearch.org.
  • Nine states (Alaska, Idaho, Indiana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, Utah, Virginia and Wyoming) are 80% or more indexed and will soon be complete. To see the status of each state, visit FamilySearch.org/1940census.
  • A total of 19,242,589 records have been indexed and arbitrated by volunteers.
The state of California is more than 25% indexed already – perhaps because fifty Golden State genealogical societies are part of the community project.

Thanks to all of our hard-working indexers!

If you haven't signed on yet, don't delay! Join us and the 1940 U.S. Census Community Project.


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

27 April 2012

Historical Portuguese Newspapers of California Digitized

Dr. Henry Snyder sent this press release:

April 25, 2012, Dartmouth, MA – The Ferreira-Mendes Portuguese-American Archives at the Claire T. Carney Library and the Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth announce the addition of 14 Portuguese-language newspapers published in California between 1885 and 1940 to its Portuguese-American Digital Newspaper Collections. The project was done in collaboration with the J.A. Freitas Library, a special collections library privately owned and operated by the Supreme Council of P.F.S.A. in San Leandro, CA, which provided the original newspapers.

This unique collection, which includes some of the earliest known Portuguese-language newspapers in the U.S., such as O Progresso Californiense, first published in July of 1885, may be accessed through the Internet for free and without a password. Each issue of the newspapers in the collection may be browsed in its entirety or searched by keyword. The site also offers the possibility of searching across all issues of the same paper or across all newspapers in the collection.

A formal presentation of the online site that houses the collection will take place Saturday, May 28 at 6:00 PM in the J.A. Freitas Library, 1120-24 E. 14th Street, San Leandro, CA. Archivist Sonia Pacheco of the Ferreira-Mendes Portuguese-American Archives, who supervised the digitization, will provide an overview of the project and demonstrate the use of the site. Similar presentations will also be held at the Portuguese Historical Museum of San Jose on April 29th at 2:00 PM (History Park - San Jose, Phelan Ave. Entrance); the University of California, Berkeley on May 2nd; and San Jose State University on May 3rd (for time and place please contact Prof. Deolinda Adão at 408-924-4022 or [email protected]). All presentations are free and open to the public.

The papers were digitized onsite at the J.A. Freitas Library by ArcaSearch of Minneapolis, MN. This process safeguarded the integrity of the fragile historical originals and created high quality scans, using a patented process that optimizes the text and illustrations. ArcaSearch also provided preservation quality microfilm, which will serve as a backup for long-term preservation of the contents of the papers.

Information which in the past required researchers to travel to various archives and spend extensive hours of searching paper sources or reel after reel of microfilm is now available from the comfort of one’s home at the click of a computer mouse. “This collection of historical newspaper is an invaluable resource for the study of the Portuguese-American experience in California and beyond,” said Dr. Frank Sousa, Director of the Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, who initiated the Portuguese-American Newspaper Digitization Project.

“Given the major role played by the Portuguese in California agriculture, especially the dairy industry, this collection is of paramount value to the understanding of the state’s history and economy,” stated Dr. Gloria de Sá, Faculty Director of the Ferreira-Mendes Portuguese-American Archives, the major repository of historical materials about the Portuguese in the U.S. “Much of the information contained in these newspapers cannot be found elsewhere. Sociologists, historians, anthropologists, political scientists and other academics researching issues associated with immigration and ethnicity will also find it a valuable tool, as will those interested in local and family history. It’s the most comprehensive and accessible database available to students and academic researchers interested in Portuguese-related issues, as well as individuals tracing their family genealogy,” added Dr. de Sá.

Besides keeping Portuguese Americans informed about local, national, Portuguese and world news, these newspapers also played a major role in documenting social events and life. Religious festivals, club activities, charity appeals, and visits of prominent individuals were regularly announced; weddings, births and deaths reported; and news of the arrival and departure of vessels bringing new immigrants or taking them for a visit back to their homeland were featured along with the respective passenger lists. Photographs, drawings, advertisements and editorials give us a window into period fashions, patterns of consumption, the cost of goods, types of businesses owned by the Portuguese and the perspectives of this ethnic group on the political and social issues of the times.

The digitization of the historical Portuguese newspapers of California is the second venture undertaken by the Ferreira-Mendes Portuguese-American Archives under its Portuguese-American Newspaper Digitization Project. The first was the Diário de Notícias, a daily newspaper published in New Bedford, Massachusetts between 1919 and 1973. The initiative was made possible by grants from the Government of the Autonomous Region of the Azores (Carlos César, President); Elisia and Mark Saab of Advanced Polymers, Inc., in Salem, NH; and Luis Pedroso, of Accutronics, Inc., in Lowell, MA. The goal of the project is to digitize major historical Portuguese newspapers published in the United States. Individuals or organizations possessing copies of such newspapers or other historical documents associated with the Portuguese in the U.S. are encouraged to contact Sonia Pacheco at 508 999-8695 or [email protected].


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

25 April 2012

Summer Evening Hours Begin Thursday, June 14, 2012

For the third year in a row, the California Genealogical Society will offer summer extended research hours, designed especially for our working members and patrons.

Starting mid-June and continuing every Thursday through August, the library will be open from 9:00 a.m. until 8:30 p.m. Library hours on the two other open days each week will remain the same: Friday (9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.) and Saturday (10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.).

We're also bringing back the popular weekly informal discussions. Participants of all levels of research experience are welcome to network and join the conversation from 6:30 p.m. - 8:15 p.m.

Discussion schedule:

June 14 – Open house and dessert bar
June 21 – Using Census Records and the 1940 Census, Jeff Vaillant
June 28 – Stump the Panel, Research team
July 5 – Genealogical Sleuthing: Finding Your Immigrant Ancestor's Home, Steve Harris
July 12 – Searching for Living People, Jane Lindsey
July 19 – German discussion group**, Robert Jackson and Jane Lindsey
July 26 – Stump the Panel, Research team
August 2 – Creative Ways to Share Your Genealogy, Cathy Paris and Craig Siulinski
August 9 – Using Social Media to Further Your Genealogy, Kathryn Doyle
August 16 – Genealogical Sleuthing: Finding Your Female Ancestors, Ellen Fernandes Sacco and Nicka Smith
August 23 – Stump the Panel, Research team
August 30 – Genealogical Gadgets, Tim Cox

**Special offer: Come early on July 19, 2012, and meet with Robert Jackson who will do 20 minute consultations on German research problems. Email Jane Lindsey your name and phone number to make an appointment.

This year we will kick off our evening hours with a special open house event on Thursday, June 14, 2012, at 6:30 p.m. Details are still being worked out but I'm told a dessert bar is part of the plan!

There is no need to RSVP or register – just show up and take advantage of the many resources in the library. Non-members are welcome, but the library charges a $5.00 user’s fee for non-members. The user’s fee will be waived for those who arrive after 5:00 p.m. for the discussion sessions.

If you plan to drive, the lot in the rear of the building has a reduced rate after 3:00 p.m., and the metered spaces in Oakland are free after 6:00 p.m. (but they fill up fast.) Traveling by BART is easier – get off at the 19th Street station. Group discussions will end by 8:15 p.m. to allow for everyone to walk to BART together before dark.


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

23 April 2012

A Call for Volunteers from Our New Coordinator

The California Genealogical Society is looking for volunteers! Do you have some time to spare? There are a variety of positions waiting for someone like you. 
Are you good with computers, social media and a good writer? Then join our technology or marketing teams.

Work full time but have some talent with Webinars? We can sure use your help.

Great with people in person or on the phone? Then join our membership team.

Have skills with numbers or are good with finances? Come help our treasurer and her group of dedicated volunteers. 
Have experience with database management? Let us know. We’d love your assistance.

Are you very organized and detail oriented? Don’t mind running to the court houses in San Francisco, Alameda or Contra Costa counties? We’ve got a spot for you.

Most fun of all is volunteering at our front desk. Our library is only open because of our fantastic Desk Staff. Can you commit to one Saturday a month? Would you like to be trained as a substitute or added to the list? We can use several interested people.

If you would like to become a volunteer, or if you are a current volunteer who wants to try something new, just fill out a form online or in the library. Or send me an email
Volunteering isn’t just good for our society, it’s also a great way to make new friends and meet fellow genealogists. Who knows, maybe one of them can even help you break down that brick wall. 
—Linda Okazaki 



Linda Okazaki is a fourth-generation Californian, born in San Francisco and raised in Marin County. She received a B.S. in Human Development and an M.A. in Education. After leaving a career working with hospitalized children in Sacramento and Oakland, she discovered a passion for volunteering in the local schools.

As a child, Linda and her mother would explore old cemeteries, just for fun. She initially became interested in genealogy fifteen years ago when her daughter needed help with a school project, but didn’t get serious until joining the California Genealogical Society two years ago, after taking the Intermediate Genealogy Series.

Her love of tending her roses and dwarf fruit trees ties right into her research of the Orchard surname. She also loves to travel and still can’t seem to get enough of those old cemeteries. Linda is currently researching her husband’s Japanese-American ancestry and aspires to write a children’s book about that topic.


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

19 April 2012

Celebrating Our Volunteers


During National Volunteer Week, we celebrate our many volunteers at the California Genealogical Society and Library. Here is a message from CGS president, Jeff Vaillant:
The California Genealogical Society has no paid staff. Our volunteers ARE our society. I appreciate the willingness of members who DO the necessary jobs needed to effectively run the society, and who freely share their genealogical expertise. Thanks to all of the members of the California Genealogical Society – we wouldn't be as strong as we are without you!

In addition, our member volunteers equip, maintain, staff and operate a genealogical library. Our founders, if they could time-travel forward from 1898, would be astounded at the collection we have amassed in a century, thanks to the generosity, in time and money, of our members. The CGS continues, in the twenty-first century, to place the highest value on real books in the digital age. To run a library without any paid staff is a remarkable accomplishment.
Member volunteers contribute their time and energy to a large menu of projects, services, and educational opportunities the CGS provides. Some work behind the scenes to keep our computers in repair and our digital presence up-to-date. Our research team is in the library every Tuesday to handle look-ups and research requests and help produce our publications. Indexers, archivists, librarians, catalogers, writers, editors, photographers, designers, film-editors, videographers, archivists, bookkeepers, receptionists, speakers, teachers, book repairers – all these, and more, are words that describe the actions our volunteers perform every year.
One of our challenges is finding the right person to do the right job. We are extremely fortunate to have Linda Okazaki as our Volunteer Coordinator. Her enthusiasm and knowledge enhances our volunteer corps.

It is my experience with volunteer organizations that there is a core of people who carry the load. We are blessed with a number of members who have stepped forward to do the work. Thank you for all you do for the California Genealogical Society.

—Jeffrey Vaillant, President, 2012

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

17 April 2012

CGS at the Aging & Disability Technology Summit – May 15, 2012


To foster broadband technology awareness and access for all local seniors and adults with disabilities, the Mayor’s Office of San Francisco, in collaboration with the Department of Aging and Adult Services, the Department of Technology and the Community Living Campaign, is presenting an Aging and Disability Technology Summit at City Hall on May 15 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The focus of the summit is the "world of possibilities" using technology.

The California Genealogical Society will be hosting a table with four computers for attendees who are interested in family history. CGS member volunteers will be assisting participants who want to practice using the internet to access ours and other genealogy websites. Member volunteer Mary Beth Frederick will present a "Beginning Genealogy" workshop at 2:15 p.m. Director Pat Gallagher is spearheading our participation.

The Summit will include:
  • Informative plenary sessions in the North and South Light Courts of City Hall
  • Workshops on a wide range of topics – the What and Why of broadband computer access
  • Interactive, hands-on computer niches where people can try out different learning opportunities, including medical research, Facebook, email and more
  • Large-scale video displays featuring website demonstrations in which conference attendees can actually participate
  • Program and workshop translation offered for Spanish and Cantonese speaking participants
The Summit kicks off a City-wide program of free Internet access and training for seniors and adults with disabilities. Touch-screen computers will be installed in 50 San Francisco non-profit community centers serving these populations. Free, multi-lingual classes and tutoring will be offered by trained volunteers. Computer access, with classes and tutoring, is expected to begin this spring.

The Summit and computer installation, access and training are funded by the City with a federal Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) grant.

If you would like more information about the event, sponsorship, ways to volunteer, email [email protected] or register online.


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

15 April 2012

San Francisco Bay Area Genealogy Calendar: May 2012 Published

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

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


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

12 April 2012

The California Genealogical Society on Pinterest



My daughter introduced me to Pinterest late last year and my immediate reaction was a negative "Oh no, not another social networking site." I finally did take a look but I didn't see how Pinterest would be of value to the society and I felt we had already had a good mix of social media presence with Facebook, Twitter and Yelp.

Last week I took another look after noticing how many non-profits and genealogists had taken the plunge. I set up a page and some boards and did a little experimenting.




It's important that a social networking site provide unique value before it becomes part of our messaging and Pinterest provides a new service I've been thinking about for quite awhile. Every month we run a member-submitted ancestor photograph in the eNews and I've been wanting to create an online repository of the photos with links back to the archived newsletter for easy access to the original story. Our Pinterest "California Ancestors" board is exactly the solution I've been looking for.




Not all the photos have been pinned yet but I think it looks great already. Please take a look and let me know what you think!


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

03 April 2012

Bounty Land and the War of 1812 Soldier

Saturday, May 19, 2012
1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

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

Sociologists and historians make frequent use of the many records created by the War of 1812 soldiers' quest for bounty land. Genealogists should do the same, but few know how to make their way through these valuable records. What's the difference between an application and a warrant? Why does it matter if my soldier was in the Army or the militia? What on earth is scrip? Join Susan Goss Johnston and learn more about the treasures that can be found by courageous researchers.

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.

Susan Goss Johnston was a member of Yale University's first undergraduate class of women, earning a B.A. in physics. After graduation, she began working in medical research while studying voice at Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. The natural outgrowth of this experience, mixed with two children, led to genealogy, research that didn't require grant writing! She has been involved in teaching and researching for thirty years. Sue currently teaches genealogy courses in the Community Education division of Las Positas College in Livermore, California, and is a member of the Livermore-Amador Genealogical Society and co-presenter at the group's Tri-Valley TMG (The Master Genealogist) Users Group. She is a ProGen Study Group alumna, completing the program in 2011, and she is a graduate of the National Institute on Genealogical Research and the "Advanced Methodology and Evidence Analysis" at the Samford University's Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research. Her personal research focuses on families in New England and the Mid-Atlantic region, and she specializes in military records and federal land records.

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

01 April 2012

eNews April 2012, volume 6, number 4

The April 2012 eNews, volume 6, number 4,  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 Chris Pattillo contributed this month's photograph in honor of her great-grandfather, George Vetter, posing in front of The Standard Brewery Headquarters in Chicago.


George Vetter
George Vetter and his beer hall in Chicago.

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

The May 2012 issue will be emailed on April 30, 2012. To receive a copy, please join our mailing list.

Photograph courtesy of Chris Pattillo.



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