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30 June 2012

Western States Complete! 1940 Census Indexing – June 2012 Update

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.

CGS currently has sixty-six indexers who are part of a team of more than 143,000 volunteers. Our team members indexed 14,299 names and arbitrated 6,970 during the month of June. The project is ahead of schedule and FamilySearch created the graphic above to show that indexing is more than halfway to completion.

In fact, by the end of June, 75% of the entire 1940 census was indexed and arbitrated! More than 105 million records have been indexed, twenty-nine states and territories are searchable by name, and the entire western U.S. is complete.

President Jeffrey Vaillant is our acting project coordinator and he is posting periodic "cheerleading" messages to our group participants.

Thank you to all of our hard-working indexing and arbitrating volunteers!

If you haven't signed on yet, this may be your last chance to participate. Join us and the 1940 U.S. Census Community Project.

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

28 June 2012

July Membership Meeting – More than Three-Fifths: Myths and Truths About Slavery and African American Identity

Nicka Smith
Saturday, July 14, 2012
1:00 p.m.

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

Tim Cox is our Events Committee chair and he works hard to schedule talks that are relevant and of broad interest to our members. Sometimes he gets lucky and things happen in the world that make for a particularly timely talk.

Genealogy rock-star Megan Smolenyak has been involved in a bit of controversy since the release of Rachel L. Swarns' new book, American Tapestry: The Story of the Black, White, and Multiracial Ancestors of Michelle Obama. You can read Megan's response, Does Accuracy in History Matter? published in The Huffington Post.

Director Nicka Smith will be our July membership meeting speaker and her talk will be a "big picture" look at the elements common to the ancestry of Michelle Obama and other descendants of slaves. The history of the “peculiar institution” of slavery in the United States is complex. Learn about the myths, truths, and in-betweens that existed during a major part of U.S. history and how the use of DNA is creating a new family history for multitudes of Americans.

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

Nicka is the Project Manager for the successful Youth Ancestral ProjectSmith joined the CGS board of directors in January of this year. She will be teaching a workshop on genealogy and youth at the International Black Genealogy Summit which will be held in Salt Lake City October 18-20, 2012.

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

25 June 2012

San Francisco Bay Area Genealogy Calendar: July 2012 Published

July 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 July calendar lists more than forty 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.

22 June 2012

More Organizing in the Library: the CGS Vertical Files

It's hard to keep up with all of the volunteer projects that go on in the California Genealogical Society Library. Maintaining our collection is an endless task and volunteers step up to keep things organized and ready for our patrons.

One of the library's gems is our Manuscript Collection. Volunteers Pat Bonderud and Linda Darby catalogued and organized ninety linear feet of loose papers, research, and family history material donated to the society over the past 114 years. The manuscript collection is now being maintained by volunteers Georgia Lupinsky and Virginia Turner. The thirty-page inventory in pdf format entitled CGS Manuscript Collection can be downloaded from the society website on the Searchable Databases page.

Pat Bonderud and Linda Darby

Now Pat and Linda have turned their attention to another neglected collection in the library – the vertical files. The vertical files contain small items: clippings, reprints, and other miscellaneous materials. Over the years the two vertical file cabinets became a bit of a "catch all" for holdings that don't fit anywhere else in the library. Most are surname files.

Bonderud and Darby are examining the contents of each and every file. They are curating and creating brief descriptions of the files, including surnames, time frame, and location.

It is painstaking work that they hope to complete in the next few months.

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

18 June 2012

The California Nugget, Spring 2012, Volume IV, Issue 1

The Spring 2012 edition of The California Nugget has been sent to the printer and will soon begin arriving in members' mailboxes. Editor Jane Hufft and Production Editor Lois Elling have outdone themselves with another fantastic issue filled with interesting articles.

This is the spring letter from Jane:
Dear Readers:

We have a variety of articles for you, each one an exciting account of significant discoveries. Wayne W. Padgett found a forgotten Civil War soldier in a very unlikely place and uncovered the details of his battle experiences. What started out as a quest to answer a few questions concluded with a moving ceremony involving two countries.

Last spring Chris Pattillo shared with Nugget readers, in her enthusiastic account “Thirty Days of Total Immersion in Genealogy,” what it was like to dive into the sometimes cold waters of family history research. In November 2011 Chris took the next step when she joined other CGS members and friends for her first trip to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. Her newest discoveries are recounted in “One Week in Salt Lake.”

Linda Okazaki was on the same trip and she will agree the stars were aligned! The startling discovery of an ancestor’s true name in a San Francisco newspaper account sent Linda’s research in completely new directions, solved a long-standing mystery and provided an astonishing story for descendants.

Without Amy Coffin, many of us would not be aware of what is happening on the frontiers of genealogy. Her insider view of the 2012 RootsTech conference gives an update on the future of family research, and it most certainly involves technology.

CGS President Jeffrey Vaillant tells all in his account of the society’s August 2011 research trip to the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Participants met Library Manager Curt Witcher, found genealogical treasures in the stacks and microfilm collection, and sampled Fort Wayne restaurants and Indiana weather.

Write your stories and send them to us. We’d love to hear about your research, your discoveries, and your aha! moments with technology. There is space reserved in The California Nugget for your family, and, please note, you do not have to be a CGS member to submit a manuscript. Having your family history in print in a journal that is archived in libraries across the United States guarantees permanency for your research. Email me at for the Submission Guidelines and then take the leap. Make 2012 the year you visit a new library, learn the latest technology skills, and write it all down! 
—Jane Hufft, Editor


Twenty-First Century Genealogy
A Tombstone for Ulrik by Wayne W. Padgett
One Week in Salt Lake by Chris Pattillo
RootsTech 2.0: A Report from the 2012 RootsTech Conference by Amy Coffin

California Ancestors
Who Was Emerson Corville? by Linda Okazaki
1883 Pensioners List: Dorsey, Eliz. Eleanor to Hayes, James Compiled by Jane Hufft

For Our Readers
CGS Visits the Allen County Public Library by Jeffrey Vaillant and Nancy Peterson
Boston, Massachusetts Research Trip Information

At the Society
Book Review by Laura Spurrier
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 © 2012 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library

11 June 2012

SCGS Jamboree 2012 – Another Great Event

The 43rd annual Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree is in the history books and all agree it was a fantastic event with something for genealogy enthusiasts of every stripe.

California Genealogical Society members participated at every level: as speakers, exhibitors, and attendees.

Several CGS board members attended Friday's Society Workshop – four lectures on society management sponsored by the Federation of Genealogical Societies and the California State Genealogical AllianceThe workshop speakers included our member Cath Trindle CG, Schelly Talalay Dardashti, George G. Morgan, and Josh Taylor. What was totally unexpected was Dardashti's use of the California Genealogical Society's website and blog as examples in her talk about publicity. She had only good things to say about our efforts. Thank you, Schelly!

Slide from Schelly Dardashti's talk "Publicity is the Society's Friend."

Another surprise that morning was from my blogger friend, Kim von Aspern-Parker, who joined CGS on her mobile phone while we were waiting for a lecture to begin.

Kim von Aspern-Parker affixing her new CGS member ribbon to her name tag.

It was mostly about fun Friday evening when Jamboree hosted their first Hollywood GALA sponsored by President Jeff Vaillant took the podium to announce the winner of our special membership raffle prize — Shelia Farmer. Jeff and SCGS President Alice Fairhurst also announced the new Memorandum of Understanding between our two societies. I'll have lots more to say about that next month.

CGS President Jeff Vaillant and SCGS President Alice Fairhurst at the Gala.

Three of my favorite people (and CGS members) Amy Coffin, Elizabeth O'Neal and Sheri Fenley, in their  Gala attire.

All day Saturday, the California Genealogical Society had a table outside the exhibit hall in the Jamboree "society row." It was the second year that the Southern California Genealogical Society made free tables available to non-profit groups and we were thrilled to take them up on the offer!

A special thank-you to Amy Coffin, Kim Cotton, Sheri Fenley, Laura Lee Karp, Debbie Mascot, Mary Mettler, Jim Sorenson, and Jeff Vaillant for setting up and staffing the table, and for the prep work to obtain the necessary permits and bring our materials down. It was a team effort and everything went smoothly. We sold several copies of Raking the Ashes and lots of our Insider's Guide to California Genealogy.

Members who made it for our group photo: Teresa Fraser, Duncan Tanner, Amy Coffin, Jim Sorenson, Denise Levenick, Sheri Fenley, Elizabeth O'Neal, Cath Trindle, Sandra Benward, Kathryn Doyle and Natalie Levinson.

We tried to get everyone together for a group photo of CGS members but there were too many other things going on. Other members in attendance were: Ron Arons, Patricia Burrow, Kim Cotton, Shelia Farmer, Paul Hawthorn, Laura Lee Karp, Lisa Lee, Sita Levy Likuski, Thomas MacEntee, Debbie Mascot, Mary Metter, Cheryl Palmer, and Kim von Aspern-Parker. If I missed anyone, please leave a comment so I can add your name.

Kathryn and newest member (and raffle winner) Shelia Farmer.

It was great spending time with so many of our members. Hope to see you all at next year's Jamboree June 7—9, 2013.

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

06 June 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Consultations with Maureen Taylor
and A Day with the Photo Detective
June 5-6, 2012

Photographs by Kathryn Doyle, 6/5 and 6/6/2012, Oakland and Lafayette, California.

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

01 June 2012

eNews June 2012, volume 6, number 6

The June 2012 eNews, volume 6, number 6,  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, CGS member Virginia Kysh, honors her husband's great-grandmother Hannah Marie (Job) Avery. 

Hannah Marie (Job) Avery – aka "Fannie H. Avery"

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

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

Photograph courtesy of Virginia Kysh.

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