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28 November 2013

Sixth Blogiversary!


Has it really been six years since the California Genealogical Society board of directors gave their approval of this blog? The blog was created for and about the members of the society. I offer my annual "thank-you" to members who have contributed photographs, articles, and their stories.

This year I am especially appreciative to Marie Treleaven for agreeing to join the blog team. I hope you are enjoying her Committee Spotlight Series.

A special "thank you" also goes to Ron Madson who has become the "official" photographer for the California Genealogical Society. You'll be seeing more of Ron's work across our social networking channels.


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

25 November 2013

San Francisco Bay Area Genealogy Calendar: December 2013

December 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.


The calendar is light this month with only twenty-five events at various venues around the Bay Area. Some societies have scheduled holiday gatherings and many do not meet in December.

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

22 November 2013

Spotlight Series: Membership Committee

Sandy Fryer, Kathie Jones, Diana Edwards, Shirley Thomson, Nancy Servin, Cheryl Schmidt, and Kathie Heller
2013 Membership Committee members:
Diana Edwards, chair and board liaison
Sandy Fryer, consultant
Kathie Heller
Kathie Jones
Cheryl Schmidt
Nancy Servin

Diana Edwards vividly remembers her very first quarterly membership meeting. “It was fifteen minutes long,” she recalls. Diana, now Chairman of the Membership Committee, has been charged by the Board of Directors with the responsibility for creating a format for the quarterly meetings that will be meaningful and which will foster a sense of fellowship among members. With the assistance of Kathie Heller, Diana has been hard at work fulfilling this charge.

An hour-long brown bag lunch now routinely preceeds the quarterly meetings, providing a time for members to talk to each other, to exchange information about what they’re doing with their family history research as well as to get to know the officers in attendance. The object is to encourage an exchange of ideas and to give members a sense of community relative to the larger organization.

All quarterly meetings will have a theme. Recently the topic was World War I and members were asked to bring in photos and memorabilia of their relatives who had been involved in the Great War. There were many great items on display and lots of stories shared at this meeting. Reaction was very positive with members saying that they had learned a lot. Several people mentioned gaining a new perspective of the role of women in that war from material about the Ambulance Corps brought in by a member whose ancestor had been part of that group. Diana is busy planning future meetings and encourages members to contact her with suggestions of themes and any other ideas for improving the quarterly meetings. You can email Diana at dedwards@californiaancestors.org. Right now she is planning a potluck for the first meeting of the year.

Although our organization is located in California, members do not have to have ancestors from this state in order to belong and members come from all over the U.S. as well as many other parts of the world, including Australia. Obviously, members from out of the Bay Area probably aren’t going to attend the quarterly meetings, classes and events. Another one of the duties of the Membership Committee is to create opportunities to make these far-flung members feel that they are as much a part of the society as those who live in the immediate area. This can be difficult although the eNews, the blog, The California Nugget, and other forms of communication do help to bridge the distance gap. Diana hopes that using items with the California Genealogical Society seal (flash drives, coffee mugs) will remind members wherever they may live that they are part of a group that shares their interests and concerns.

Seal of the California Genealogical Society (CGS).

Another responsibility of the Membership Committee is representing CGS at events, meetings and conferences. The committee always has a presence at our events including the recent Ancestry Day in San Francisco. Many new members first find out about CGS at such an event. Member volunteers staff a table every year at the San Francisco History Expo and even at some national genealogy conferences. This year CGS was represented at the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree in Burbank and at the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) Conference in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

The work of the committee is so far-reaching that it could be said to consist of two sub-committees in order to perform all its functions. The second group is made up of Nancy Servin (coordinator), Nancy Fike and Cheryl Schmidt. They send out the annual renewal notices about membership dues and keep the membership rolls current by tracking changing email and snail mail addresses. Nancy Servin answers numerous questions from members ranging from problems with logging into the website to using member benefits. To help new members take advantage of all the society has to offer, the sub-committee created a new member packet that includes a summary sheet that tells members how to keep current on upcoming classes and events and information about the library, research tours and publications.

This sub-committee has a pretty big job since there are currently more than 1100 members to keep track of. According to Sandy Fryer, 2012 chairman and 2013 consultant, that amounts to 2500 emails and over 1500 letters per year. With assistance from QuickBooks, the committee manages this complex database of names and information and gets the notices out on time. One of the features of joining the committee is that, if necessary, members receive QuickBooks training so prospective members don’t need to be database gurus.

If you ever thought that all the Membership Committee did was mail out the annual dues notices, you weren’t doing justice to the complexity of all it does!

Photograph courtesy of Linda Harms Okazaki, 02/10/2013, Oakland, California.

Copyright © 2013 by Marie Treleaven, California Genealogical Society and Library.

20 November 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Ancestry Day – San Francisco
Saturday, November 9, 2013
San Francisco Hyatt Regency 














Photographs courtesy of Ron Madson.

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

18 November 2013

Thank You and Welcome New Members!



Volunteers at the California Genealogical Society had a very busy fall season this year with three big events: Angel Island Family History Day, Their Roots Are Showing, and Ancestry Day - San Francisco.

Our amazing Events Committee works tirelessly to bring quality educational programs to our members and to interested genealogists and family historians in the Bay Area and beyond. Our programs lead directly to increased visibility and new members.

The Membership Committee has been taxed with processing a flurry of new memberships following our busy autumn. They report a new one-day record: 118 new members joined on Ancestry Day!

Welcome to all of our new members! Thank you for your support.


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

15 November 2013

News from the 2013 Nominating Committee

The 2013 Nominating Committee – Diana Edwards, Jane Lindsey, and Chair Karen Lemelin – announce the nominations for the 2014-2015 board of directors for the California Genealogical Society. Nominations will be presented at the Annual Business Meeting on Saturday, January 11, 2014 at 1:00 p.m

The nominated members for board of director positions are:
  • Felicia Addison
  • Tim Cox
  • Edie Daly
  • Glenn Koch
  • Marcelle White
The five nominees will be nominated for their first two-year board term ending in 2016 (1-2016). Please note that Edie Daly completed the interim board position vacated by Laura Lee Karp and is now nominated for her first full term.

Diana Edwards and Shannon Reese are continuing their first terms (1-2015). Kim Cotton, Ellen Fernandez-Sacco, Karen Lemelin, and Nicka Smith are nominated for their second terms (2-2016). Lisa Gorrell, Henry Snyder, and Jim Sorenson are continuing their second terms (2-2015). Stephen Harris has completed his term as past-president and will not be serving another term. Jeff Vaillant will serve as past-president.


The California Genealogical Society's bylaws outline the requirements for Directors in Article V, Section 1:
  1. The number of directors shall be not less than five (5) nor more than twenty (20). 
  2. The last active past president, he or she consenting, shall serve as a Member of the Board of Directors until replaced by a new past president willing to serve on the Board of Directors.
  3. Immediate family members of Directors are ineligible for candidacy during the period of the sitting Director's term.
  4. The term of each Director shall be two (2) years from the date of election.
  5. Any vacancy in the Board during an unexpired term may but is not required to be filled by the Board. Such Director shall serve until a successor Director is elected.
  6. Directors shall be limited to a maximum of three successive two-year terms, or a total of six (6) consecutive years. 
Copyright © 2013 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library.

13 November 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Their Roots Are Showing!
Saturday, October 26, 2013
Del Valle Theater, Walnut Creek, California










Photographs courtesy of Ron Madson and Jason W. Madson, The Adelaide Gallery, LLP.

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

08 November 2013

Annual Business Meeting and Buffet Lunch – Saturday, January 11, 2014

President Jeffrey Vaillant
Saturday, January 11, 2014
12:00 p.m. - Potluck buffet and social hour
1:00 p.m. - Annual Business Meeting

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

The bylaws of the California Genealogical Society specify that the regular January membership meeting shall be the Annual Business Meeting "at which time the annual budget shall be adopted and all appropriate business presented."

Last year Diana Edwards and Linda Okazaki shook things up and organized a potluck buffet lunch and social hour before the meeting. It was so successful that members lunch together and socialize for an hour before every quarterly membership meeting.

The January potluck buffet is being planned by Diana Edwards, Kathie Heller, and Diana Wild. Members are invited to join the festivities and bring a dish to share. Beverages will be provided. The reception will start at 12:00 p.m. in the Education Center.

The Annual Business Meeting will start promptly at 1:00 p.m. President Jeff Vaillant will preside.

Agenda items include:
  • treasurer's report and presentation of results of the review of the investment portfolio and financial records by Edie
  • presentation and approval of the society budget
  • consideration of the change to the bylaws
  • report from the nominating committee by Karen Lemelin
  • election of new board members
  • brief committee reports
  • remarks from the president
The Annual Business Meeting is always well-attended. See you there!


Photograph by Kathryn Doyle, Oakland, California, 1/12/2013.

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

04 November 2013

Encore Presentation! On the Road Again: Practical Tips for Successful On-Site Research


Saturday, December 7, 2013
10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

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

A research trip to one's ancestral home can be extremely rewarding, but also may present many challenges. Join Pam Brett for an encore presentation of her class on successful on-site research. Pam will share practical tips on how to plan an on-site research trip to achieve your research goals and to bring home a new understanding of the lives of your ancestors.

Register online.

This 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.

Pam Brett has been interested in genealogy for nearly forty years since she began filling in the family tree of her first-born child’s baby book. Raising two daughters and working as a public health social worker left little free time until 1999 when she began her family research in earnest.

Brett's ancestors were mobile which led to research in thirty-one states and the District of Columbia. She loves doing on-site research in the States "where there are many challenges but the rewards are priceless."

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

01 November 2013

eNews November 2013, volume 7, number 11

The November 2013 eNews, volume 7, number 11, 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 we honor the Swedish ggg-grandparents of member Carolyn Mattos Sakkis.


John Knutson Leave and Clara Gustava Swenson

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


The December 2013 issue will be emailed on November 30, 2013. To receive a copy, please join our mailing list.

California ancestor photograph courtesy of Carolyn Sakkis.

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