Recent Posts

31 July 2012

Almost Finished! 1940 Census Indexing: July 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 has sixty-six indexers who are part of a team of almost 155,000 volunteers. Our team members indexed 13,301 names and arbitrated 8,739 during the month of July. 

Amazingly, after only four months, the project is almost finished!

99% of the 1940 census has been indexed and arbitrated. More than 134 million records have been indexed and thirty-one states are searchable by name.

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 didn't get a change to participate, don't worry! New indexing projects are added every week. 

Next up: the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Community Project.

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

30 July 2012

Where to Plant Your Family Tree in the Online Forest - September 29, 2012

Saturday, September 29, 2012
1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

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

Sharing your genealogical research online enables you to connect with others who share your ancestry. Sheri Fenley and Doug Joe will explore four websites in the forest of online trees, discuss the pros and cons of using online webtrees and give a demonstration.

All of these FREE websites allow you to build your tree on their site or upload a GEDCOM file from your genealogy software program:

Ancestry Member Trees at
World Connect Family Trees and Websites at
Family Tree Explorer at
Family Tree Builder and Website at

The class is limited to thirty participants and is a free benefit of membership. Non-members fee is $20.00 (non-refundable).

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.

Sheri Fenley is a professional genealogist and historical research from Stockton who specializes in north central California research. She is a member of APG, NGS, ISFHWE, NSDAR, California State Genealogical Alliance, Global Alliance of Genealogy Professionals, San Joaquin County Genealogical Society and the California Genealogical Society. Sheri is an alumni of ProGen 1 (2009). She has done two years of coursework at the Institute for Genealogical and Historical Research at Samford University and is "on the clock" with the Board for Certification of Genealogists. Fenley is the editor of the SJGS newsletter and author of the popular blog "The Educated Genealogist" which was voted one of Family Tree Magazine's Top 40 Blogs.

Doug Joe is a second generation Chinese-American “baby boomer” who has been able to trace and document several hundred years of his heritage without Chinese language skills. He became interested in genealogy fifteen years ago and has since taken over the role of family genealogist from his uncle. Joe is an active contributor and moderator for the Chinese Genealogy Forum and enjoys helping others worldwide in their search for their Chinese roots. Joe lives and works in Modesto, California where his day job entails explaining complex systems and concepts to lay people.

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

27 July 2012

Annual Fall Beginning Genealogy Series Starts September 18, 2012

In celebration of October Family History Month, the Oakland FamilySearch Library will host the California Genealogical Society's fifth annual Fall Beginning Genealogy Research Series

Seven ninety-minute sessions will focus on gathering family records, organizing them, and beginning to use libraries and online resources to document research. The series includes a field trip to the California Genealogical Society Library.

Come and learn the basics!

Where:  Oakland FamilySearch Library, 4766 Lincoln Avenue, Oakland, CA 94602.
When:   Tuesday mornings, 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 noon.
Cost:     $40 for seven sessions, includes syllabus.

Please note: This is a technology-based class and knowledge of basic computer skills is required. Students will use a genealogical database program and do internet searches. Instructors and library volunteers will be available to help you put your knowledge into action. Students are are invited to bring lunch and work on class assignments in the afternoons.

Preregistration is necessary to ensure adequate handouts. Download the information flier for full course details, including class descriptions.

Schedule of Classes 

September 18, 2012  Getting Started  Jane Knowles Lindsey

September 25, 2012  Using Census Records  Susan Goss Johnston

October 2, 2012  Documentation in the Digital Age  Susan Goss Johnston

October 9, 2012  Secondary Sources  Jane Knowles Lindsey

October 16, 2012  Vital Records, the SSDI and the Calendar Change of 1752   Janice M. Sellers

October 23 2012*  Field Trip to the CGS Library   Jane Knowles Lindsey

October 30, 2012  Where Do I Go from Here? 

  • Course includes mandatory weekly homework assignments.
  • Class size limited to the first thirty who register.
  • No walk-ins permitted.
  • Free parking at the Oakland FamilySearch Library
  • $10.00 off a $40 CGS membership if you join by October 30, 2012
*All classes meet at the OFSL except Field Trip to CGS Library, 2201 Broadway, Suite LL2, Oakland, on October 23, 2012.


Email the Oakland FamilySearch Library or phone 510-531-3905.

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

25 July 2012

Genealogy 101: Getting Started – A Program with the Society of California Pioneers

Saturday, September 8, 2012
1:00 – 3:00 p.m. 

Society of California Pioneers
300 Fourth Street
San Francisco, CA 94107

The California Genealogical Society is pleased to offer a class in collaboration with the Society of California Pioneers at their beautiful facility in San Francisco.

Genealogy 101: Getting Started is more than an introduction to the basics. Beginners will be given blank family group sheets and pedigree charts and will learn how to navigate in the genealogy world. But experienced genealogists, too, may pick up some pointers and be reminded of techniques to use and new places to search for their elusive ancestors. The handout includes some essential websites to use.

The class is free and open to members of both the California Genealogical Society and the Society of California Pioneers. Preregistration is required. Registration confirmations will be emailed to registrants.

Register online.

Lavinia Gilbert Schwarz was born and raised in the East Bay. She is a third generation northern Californian (and third generation Cal grad) who has traced her roots to France, England, Scotland, Ireland, Holland, Germany, Cuba, and San Domingue (now Haiti). She has been a member of the California Genealogical Society for twelve years, and spent five years on the Board. She presently coordinates the CGS Research and Lookups service. A genealogist since 1999, she completed the National Institute on Genealogical Research (N.I.G.R.) program in 2008 at the National Archives in Washington D.C. and College Park, Maryland. To hone her skills she has attended numerous National Genealogical Society conferences including those in Pittsburgh, PA; Raleigh, VA; Sacramento, CA; Durham, NC; Salt Lake City, UT, and Cincinnati, OH as well as visiting courthouses and genealogically significant sites in Maryland, West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Georgia, Louisiana, and California.

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

23 July 2012

Now on YouTube! A Trip Worth Taking: the Family History Library

Is visiting a library fun? Really?

Yes! It's so much fun members of the California Genealogical Society make the trek to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City year after year after year.

This past April, Kathie Jones took her video camera to document the society's twelfth annual tour. The result is a light-hearted look at our most popular research trip. A Trip Worth Taking: the Family History Library is the newest video offering by Jones and Shannon Reese.

The video features tour leaders Jane Lindsey and Nancy Peterson and the success stories of two of our member volunteers, Linda Okazaki and Dr. Henry Snyder.

Directed by: Shannon Reese
Edited by: Kathleen Jones

Visit our YouTube channel: CAancestors.

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

20 July 2012

Publications/Marketing Committee Meeting at the Society of California Pioneers

The California Genealogical Society has a long history of collaborative relationships that continues today.

Board members Pat Gallagher and Henry Snyder have been meeting with Patricia L. Keats, Director of Library and Archives at the Society of California Pioneers. They have been planning an introductory genealogy class for members of both societies to be held in San Francisco in the fall.

The Society of California Pioneers

When Henry mentioned the idea at a Publications/Marketing Committee meeting, the group expressed an interest in seeing Pioneer Hall and meeting there in lieu of our July meeting. Pat Keats approved the visit and our monthly committee meeting morphed into a field trip and site visit.

L. to R. Jane Hufft, Pat Gallagher, Henry Snyder, and Kim Cotton.

Kim Cotton, Jane Hufft, Pat Gallagher, Shannon Reese, and Henry Snyder met in the Alice Phelan Sullivan Library at the Society of California Pioneers, located at 300 Fourth Street, San Francisco.

Alice Phelan Sullivan Library

Pat Keats was a gracious host. After the Pub/Market Committee meeting, she gave a tour of the Joseph and Mildred Rolph Moore Gallery – their gorgeous space for exhibits and lectures. She filled us in on the current exhibit on "Singing in California," which highlights songs/music written about California over the years.

Joseph and Mildred Rolph Moore Gallery

The Joseph and Mildred Rolph Moore Gallery will be the venue for our upcoming joint venture, a beginning genealogy class on Saturday, September 8, 2012, from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.

Pub/Mark Committee Chair Shannon Reese chronicled the day with photographs and sent this description, "We met in the bustling South of Market (SOMA) area of San Francisco. The Society of California Pioneers is a beautiful, modern building with gorgeous built-in wooden bookcases and views of Moscone Center and skyline."

Pat Gallagher, Henry Snyder and Patricia Keats.

Pat is justifiably proud of the facility and holdings of the Society of California Pioneers:
"I love when people get introduced to our collections here at the Society of California Pioneers. We have such a treasure trove of not only printed information, but visual information as well. Our manuscript collections (diaries, letters, etc.) are wonderful, but there is also the vast collection of other materials that researchers can use. Visual materials such as maps, printed broadsides, photographs, advertising ephemera and art can all be really informative in many ways for researchers.
Working at the Society is like working in a vast historical story – each day one can go from the Gold Rush to Japanese immigration at Angel Island, from rare books on early San Francisco to pamphlets on early California artists. One learns something new everyday!"
Keats summed things up: "We are looking forward to collaborating with the California Genealogical Society since both of our organizations have similar aims, and our collections complement one another quite a bit. I think this will be the beginning of something very beneficial, as well as interesting and fun, to both our organizations!"

Established in 1850, The Society of California Pioneers was created to cultivate social bonds, to collect and preserve information related to California history, and to perpetuate the memory of early pioneers. Today it is a not-for-profit museum, library, and cultural organization dedicated to advancing the knowledge and appreciation of early California history for the benefit of present and future audiences of all ages. The goals of the Society are to preserve the history of early families and pioneers, as well as events from pre-statehood and Spanish California up through the early 20th century. The collections are open to all researchers. One of the main aims since moving to the current location is to provide increased accessibility for patrons, both in person and online.

The Society of California Pioneers is still under the leadership of direct descendants of California pioneers. It serves as a venue for California art, history, and culture. Pioneer Hall has a museum with rotating exhibits and the Alice Phelan Sullivan library, which are both open to the public. It is the location of many exhibitions and programs related to California History. The Society emphasizes educational programs and the preservation of historical materials. It hosts book talks, musical programming, and lectures by members and others relating to early California.

Photographs courtesy of Shannon Reese, 7/10/2012, San Francisco.

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

16 July 2012

San Francisco Bay Area Genealogy Calendar: August 2012 Published

August 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.

Many Bay Area societies take August off so the number of events is fewer than usual. The August calendar lists thirty-seven 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

02 July 2012

eNews July 2012, volume 6, number 7

The July 2012 eNews, volume 6, number 7,  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 President Jeffrey Vaillant honors his maternal great-grandparents.

Thomas Lee Rader and Louise Douglas Mackintosh

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

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

Photographs courtesy of Jeffrey Vaillant.

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