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31 May 2013

Meet the Authors: Gena Philibert Ortega and Jean Wilcox Hibben, CG

Monday, July 22, 2013
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

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

The California Genealogical Society is pleased to welcome genealogists and authors, Jean Wilcox Hibben, CG, and Gena Philibert Ortega.

Elisabeth: The Story of a German Immigrant is based on Jean's genealogical research of her great-grandmother who left her homeland and five children to escape an abusive husband. The novel details Elisabeth's efforts to reunite her family in mid-late19th century Chicago and New York.

Elisabeth: The Story of a German Immigrant
2012 by Jean Wilcox Hibben
    eBook, Lulu Press
      ISBN: 9781300172055

Gena's From the Family Kitchen is a three-part keepsake that will help you celebrate your family recipes and record the precious memories they hold. The book will show you how to uncover historical recipes and food traditions which offer insight into your ancestors' everyday lives.

From the Family Kitchen: Discover Your Food Heritage and Preserve Favorite Recipes
2012 by Gena Philibert Ortega
Hardcover, F+W Media, Inc.
ISBN: 1440318271 

The book event is free and open to public but seating is limited so pre-registration is requested. Please arrive early.

Gena's book will be available for purchase and autograph by the author. Jean's e-book is available in iOS format from iTunes and as a Nook Book from Barnes and Noble. Please note that the e-book is set up for single downloads that cannot be copied from one device to another.

Jean and Gena's visit to CGS is part of a statewide book tour. For more information visit Gena and Jean Genealogy Tour blog.

Jean Wilcox Hibben, certified genealogist and national speaker, is a retired college professor with MA (Speech Communication) and PhD (Folklore) degrees. She serves in leadership positions for several genealogical groups including, Director of the Corona, California Family History Center; president of both the Corona Genealogical Society and Southern Calif. Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists; board member of the Association of Professional Genealogists; and secretary of the Genealogical Speakers Guild. She is also an occasional volunteer at the National Archives, Pacific Region, Riverside.

Gena Philibert Ortega holds two Master’s degrees, one in Interdisciplinary Studies (Psychology and Women’s Studies) and in Religion. She serves as vice-president of the Southern California Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists and lectures on various subjects involving genealogy. Gena previously published two other works: Putting the Pieces Together and Cemeteries of the Eastern Sierra. She writes extensively for genealogy newsletters, magazines and blogs.

Jean Wilcox Hibben photo by Pam McComb-Podmostko ©2009.

Copyright © 2013 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library.

30 May 2013

May 2013 Volunteer Update and Help Wanted Notices

Volunteer Coordinator Linda Okazaki sent this update and request.

Volunteers at the California Genealogical Society continue to inspire me. Our members donate hundreds of hours each month in order to keep our society running smoothly. For those of you whose committee work occurs outside of the library, please remember to submit your monthly hours to your board liaison. An electronic time sheet is will be ready in a few months. Until then, document your hours the old fashioned way! 
Numerous positions are available at CGS and your help is always welcome. There is a task for everyone; small jobs or big, weekly, monthly or just one time. Like to travel now that you are retired? Busy with children and a full time job? Come find a task that fits your schedule and lifestyle. Email Linda Okazaki if you’d like to join our team.
Help Wanted

Publications and Marketing Committee
  • assistance with writing, editing and proof reading
Events Committee
  • help with 2nd Saturdays and/or Thursday summer evenings
  • assistance with event registration
  • participation in special events
Finance Committee
  • let us know if you have special skills in this area
Book Repair Committee
  • come learn how to preserve our books and documents (meets 2nd Tuesdays)
Library Committee
  • process periodicals
  • assist with eBay used book sales
Desk Duty Committee
  • substitutes and trainees are always needed to keep our library open to patrons
Membership Committee
  • assistance with welcoming new members and planning membership events
Volunteer Committee
  • help identify potential volunteers and orient individuals to their tasks
Technology Committee
  • assistance with database management
  • one person to manage our master calendar (can be done remotely)
Facilities Committee
  • help keep our brick and mortar society up and running 

Copyright © 2013 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library.

29 May 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Field Trip to Sacramento 
California State Library and State Archives
Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Photographs courtesy of Jane Lindsey and Lorna Wallace,

Copyright © 2013 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library.

28 May 2013

Field Trip to the San Francisco Main Public Library

Wednesday, July 10, 2013
11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m..

San Francisco Main Public Library
100 Larkin Street
100 Larkin St.
San Francisco, 94102

For members only!

Join Past-president Jane Lindsey for a tour of the areas of genealogical interest at the San Francisco Main Public Library. Attendees will gather at 11:00 a.m. outside The San Francisco History Center on the sixth floor and split into two groups for a tour led by San Francisco City Archivist Susan Goldstein and library staff.

BART will be the transportation of choice. Travel to the Civic Center Station and walk towards the large blue medallion painted on the wall, then up the stairs or escalator. The library is across the street.

After the tour, members will gather to learn about the online catalog and the many San Francisco records the library has recently digitized through and and how to access them.

Register online.

If you don't already have a San Francisco library card this will be a great opportunity to get one. Residents of California with identification may obtain one for free. Applications are available at the Main and must be submitted in person. Detailed information is available at the library website.

Attendees may want have lunch together. The Mint Café is located on the lower level of the library. Café Asia at the Asian Art Museum is close by.

This field trip is organized for members of the California Genealogical Society. Non-members interested in participating are encouraged to become members prior to July 1, 2013. The maximum group size is forty members.

Photographs of the San Francisco Main Public Library by Sameer Vasta, October 24, 2006, Creative Commons License.

Copyright © 2013 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library.

24 May 2013

San Francisco Bay Area Genealogy Calendar: June 2013 Published

June 2013 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 societies take a break in the summer months so the June calendar is a bit light with only fifty classes and events at various venues around the Bay Area, sponsored by thirty-five societies, archives, and libraries.

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 include "SFBA Calendar" in the subject line.)

Copyright © 2013 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library.

22 May 2013

The Legacy of Florence Walter at The Book Club of California

Jane Hufft, Bill O'Neil and I had the pleasure of attending the exhibit opening of "The Legacy of Florence Walter: Celebrating a Century" on Monday, April 29, 2013. We were invited by Henry Snyder, CGS Library Committee Chair and member of our board of directors. Henry also happens to hold the same titles at The Book Club of California where the exhibit is on display through the summer.

Florence Schwartz Walter (1884-1972)
The Legacy of Florence Walter: Celebrating a Century features forty-five exquisite book bindings by one of San Francisco’s most celebrated artists in this genre. The exhibit was curated by Kathleen Burch and John McBride.

Florence Walter was prominent in social and cultural circles in San Francisco for decades. She had a notable collection of Asian art was also a professional bookbinder, described as "one of the finest bookbinders in the French style working in the United States."

Walter joined The Book Club of California in 1913  and was the first woman elected to the board and its first woman president.

The exhibition was made possible by three of the grandchildren of Walter who donated the bindings and related ephemera to the Book Club for its Florence Walter Collection. Several members of the family were present and spoke at the opening.

The exhibition also includes examples of Walter’s work from other sources. It is the largest collection of the work of Florence Walter in an institution.
The Legacy of Florence Walter: Celebrating a Century runs through August 26, 2013.

The Book Club of California, located at 312 Sutter Street, Suite 500, San Francisco, is a non-profit organization of people who take pleasure in fine printing related to the history and literature of California and the Western states. They help further the interests of book collectors and scholars, and promote an understanding and appreciation of fine books.

Copyright © 2013 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library.

20 May 2013

Purchase Used Genealogy Books and Support Our Library on eBay

eBay defines itself as "the world's online marketplace – a place for buyers and sellers to come together and trade almost anything." It is now also a way to give to the California Genealogical Society and Library.

Thanks to the generosity of our members, book donations continue to add to our library's collection but with so many gifts many are duplicates. Using our book donation policy as a guide, duplicate titles in better condition than our shelved volumes are retained. The rest accumulate until the library committee organizes a used book sale, usually held in conjunction with special events like the annual meeting, NEHGS Comes West, or our recent 115th Anniversary Celebration. The used book sales are always successful and are great source of revenue to support the library.

Now our library volunteers have taken their fund-raising formula to the "online marketplace"  with eBay Giving Works – a program designed to make it easy for nonprofits to sell online. Best of all,100% of the proceeds come back to CGS.

Shirley Hoye and Arlene Miles
Selling books on eBay is a team effort. Shirley Hoye researches each book to determine the price, makes a copy of the title page, notes the book's condition and weighs it. Marcelle White, who set up the society's eBay and Giving Works accounts, photographs the books and uploads them to the site.

Marci and Arlene Miles monitor sales and ready the books for shipping. Gibran Rath, Shirley and Library Chair Henry Snyder have donated packaging materials. One of the team will box up the books, print labels and ship them. Arlene commented, "It's quite a job to synchronize but we now have one heck of a team!"

Marcelle White and Arlene Miles

Henry noted, "Thanks to Marci, we now are approaching 100 items listed for sale on eBay. Even better, in the first week or so we sold seven titles for more than $200.00."Marci added, "I'm glad to be able to make our library's overstock available via eBay to family history researchers across the country."

While books are waiting to be added to eBay they are available for browsing in the library. Members may view the selection of used books during our open hours Thursday through Saturday. Books can be be purchased from the front desk volunteers who will issue a receipt.

Marcelle White and Henry Snyder

Visit the society's eBay online storefront CGSbooks4Sale at to purchase our used books. You can even include a donation!

Or, start selling on eBay and donate a percentage of your proceeds (up to 100%) to the California Genealogical Society using eBay Giving Works at

Copyright © 2013 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library.

17 May 2013

Allen County Public Library Genealogy Research Tour 2013

Fort Wayne, Indiana Research Tour
Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center
August 11-18, 2013

Join CGS President, Jeffrey Vaillant for the sixth California Genealogical Society research tour to the Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Whether you have visited before or this is your first time, you will enjoy your week at the best public genealogy library in the United States.

Jeff will provide individualized attention in Ft. Wayne to help you with your research problems. Planning meetings can be arranged by phone or in person prior to the trip.


  • Seven days, double occupancy, at the Marriott Courtyard Fort Wayne
  • Free shuttle service to and from airport
  • Two group dinners (Monday and Saturday)
  • Breakfasts each morning
  • Library orientation and a lecture, TBA
Register online.

Space is limited to fifteen participants. For full information, please download the tour flier. Questions? Email Jeffrey Vaillant.

The Allen County Public Library (ACPL) is the home of PERSI (PERiodical Source Index), searchable on or HeritageQuest. ACPL has over 513,000 rolls of microfilm and 55,000 compiled genealogy volumes, an impressive collection of state and territorial censuses, and many other resources unique to this library. Be sure to browse the Genealogy Center's online databases and search the library's online catalog.

Copyright © 2013 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library.

11 May 2013

Report Two from NGS 2013

I had a chance to sit down with 2013 Conference Chair Stefani Evans to talk about the collaboration with local genealogical societies.

NGS 2013 Conference Chair Stefani Evans, CG

Stefani explained that "normally" the NGS Annual Conference partners with one or two large groups to serve as "local host societies" who are asked to provide more than 400 volunteer hours to help staff and run the four-day event. Since none of the local Las Vegas groups were large enough to supply that kind of woman/manpower, a new model had to be created.

Evans put out a call to several organizations and for the first time a coalition of six "hosts" was formed, representing "a really good demographic in genealogy."

Centennial Las Vegas Genealogy Society
Clark County Nevada Genealogical Society
Jewish Genealogy Society of Southern Nevada
Las Vegas FamilySearch Library
Nevada African American Genealogy Society
Nevada State Society Daughters of the American Revolution

One positive outcome for the local societies is a new spirit of cooperation and collaboration going forward. Stefani calls it "cross-pollinating" since host members are joining each other's groups. She sees it as a positive example for groups across the country who sometimes exist in isolation from each other.

Well done, Las Vegas area societies! And thank you, Stefani Evans.

Copyright © 2013 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library.

10 May 2013

First Report from NGS 2013

Every genealogy conference is jam-packed with learning opportunities and this year's National Genealogical Society Family History Conference is no exception. I've been using the handy Conference App to organize my schedule and exchange information with old friends and new acquaintances.

Marian L. Smith, chief of the historical research branch of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). 

The conference started Wednesday morning with a lively Opening Session. Marian L. Smith, chief of the historical research branch of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), delivered the keynote address, "People, Policy, and Records: The Importance of Historical Background. Smith told the fascinating story of her quest to solve the mystery of the origins of the Morton Allen Directory of European Passenger Ship Arrivals. She summed up her tale of dogged perseverance with this advice: "Some questions take years to answer. Be prepared to be surprised. Question your sources."

Mariachi Los Bravos

After welcoming speeches, awards, memorials, the talented Mariachi Los Bravos, from the J. D. Smith Middle School of Las Vegas, serenaded attendees from the auditorium to the exhibit hall.

Mariachi Los Bravos

On Day one I took the opportunity to hear lectures by two giants of genealogy research methodology. 

Dr. Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D, CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS    

Dr. Thomas Jones presented "Debunking Misleading Records."

Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA

Elizabeth Shown Mills' first lecture was "The Genealogical Proof Standard in Action! Case Building When No Record States an Answer!"

For members who aren't able to attend the conference, NGS contracts with JAMB-Inc to record sessions and provide CDs (price: $12) which can be ordered online. It will take about a week for the 2013 recordings to be uploaded to the website. Also available are recordings from the previous annual conferences back to 2007.

Photographs (C) 2013 by the National Genealogical Society, Inc. Used by permission of the National Genealogical Society and the photographer, Scott Stewart. [Thanks you, NGS and Scott Stewart!]

Copyright © 2013 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library.

08 May 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Members at the National Genealogical Society
2013 Family History Conference
Las Vegas, Nevada

Photograph courtesy of Caroline Pointer.

Copyright © 2013 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library.

07 May 2013

Off to the NGS 2013 Family History Conference

Are you attending this year's NGS Family History Conference? It's relatively rare for the national societies to host their annual meetings in the western states so this is a great opportunity for genealogists on the left coast.

In fact, before the Salt Lake City meeting in 2010, the annual conference was last in the West in 2004 (Sacramento) and in 2001 (Portland). The Federation of Genealogical Society (FGS) was in Salt Lake City in 2005 and in Ontario, California in 2002.

I've been designated one of the conference "official bloggers" so I'll be posting reports and Tweeting (#NGS2013) from the Las Vegas Hotel and Casino. Among the other bloggers are fellow California Genealogical Society members Sandra Benward and Denise Levenick. Our board member Kim Cotton will also be attending.

It's become a tradition for CGS members to meet at conferences for a group photo, so if you are going and you haven't let me know yet, email me or send a message via Twitter. I've got our blue ribbons (thanks, Tim Cox!) so be sure to find me.

Copyright © 2013 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library.

06 May 2013

Demystifying Lineage Society Applications - June 22, 2013

Saturday, June 22, 2013
1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

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

Are you eligible to join a lineage society? Does the process overwhelm you? Come to this informative workshop to learn:
  • how to start the process
  • how to organize your papers for submission 
  • how much help to expect during the process
Linda Longley, Co-Historian of the California Mayflower Society, will give an overview of the resources the Mayflower offers to new applicants and what is expected from you in order to complete a Mayflower Society application. The procedures can be used for most lineage societies.

Bring your questions and you will be on your way!

1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.  How do I start the process?
  • How much does it cost?
  • What proof is needed for each generation?
  • What to submit and what not to submit?
  • If all else fails – how do I hire a researcher?
A case study will be presented and we will review the "help sheet" given to each applicant when they begin the process.

3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Questions and Answers

PLEASE NOTE: This is not a workshop to complete your papers. It is a day to clarify what is needed and how to organize your application and proof. When joining the Mayflower Society, you are responsible for researching and supplying the proof needed to complete your application.

Register online.

The class is limited to thirty participants and is a free benefit of membership. Non-member 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.

Linda Longley retired from a marketing career in Silicon Valley twelve years ago. She is a member of three lineage groups: General Society of Mayflower Descendants, The Colonial Dames of America and Daughters of the American Revolution, and of many genealogical and historical societies. In 1984 Linda discovered her link back to Colonial America. Since that time she has worked steadily on her family genealogy. She is the author of three articles published by The Maine Genealogist, a publication of the Maine Genealogical Society and she authored the chapter on her ancestor, Jonathan Langley, in Portraits of our Patriots: Stories of Revolutionary War Ancestors.

For the last six years, Linda has been working as one of three California Mayflower Society Co-Historians. Her latest project is researching and writing a book written as a biographical directory focused on 4-6 plus generations of the descendants of James Langley, b. ca. 1680 of Oyster River Plantation Durham, New Hampshire. Linda is a native of Maine and a resident of Burlingame, California. She was most recently the Governor of the San Francisco/Peninsula Colony of the California Mayflower Society.

Copyright © 2013 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library.

04 May 2013

eNews May 2013, volume 7, number 5

The May 2013 eNews, volume 7, number 5, 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.

In May, as we celebrate Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, we honor the paternal Chinese-American family of member Pamela Coville.

The LEE Sack Sam Family [standing] Oscar, age 16, Henry, 14, and May, 12; [seated] George, 22, LEE Sack Sam, 54, with Edward, 6, on his lap and CHAN Shee, 39, holding Paul, 2.
Past issues of the eNews are available at the eNews archive.

The June 2013 issue will be emailed on May 31, 2013. To receive a copy, please join our mailing list.

Photograph courtesy of Pam Coville.

Copyright © 2013 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library.

01 May 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Using DNA to Solve Your Genealogical Mysteries
Preservation Park, Oakland, California
Saturday, April 27, 2013

Photographs by Kathryn Doyle and Jane Lindsey, Oakland, California.

Copyright © 2013 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library.