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22 December 2015

Help us reach our Annual Appeal goal

We need your help to achieve our goal
The Annual Appeal for the California Genealogical Society has raised 64 percent — $8,000 — of its $12,500 goal.  Please help us reach 100%.

"So far, 95 members have contributed $8,000.  It’s wonderful to see the large number of donors from our committed membership,” said current Treasurer Kathie Jones.

Why is the money needed?
Membership fees only cover 40% of our operating expenses; most of the rest comes from special events and tax-deductible donations from members like you.

Kathie Jones stated, "Real estate in the San Francisco Bay area is incredibly expensive and as such, our rent (although reasonable by Bay Area standards) consumes 68% of our budget."

Our library, with thousands of volumes, is one of the premiere genealogy libraries on the West Coast, and is one of the main reasons that many of you joined the society.

Jones became the Treasurer this past year and has enjoyed the challenges of the job, as well as the camaraderie of her fellow volunteers.  "All of our volunteers tend to wear multiple hats, which contributes to the feeling of commitment that's apparent whenever you visit our library", she said.

2016 Goals
This year, the goal was set at $12,500 - $2,500 more than last year’s target to help us continue offering quality trips and speakers for you.
President Linda Harms Okazaki sent a letter to all members in November explaining, "In order to ensure that our society remains a leader in the genealogy field (in just over 2 years we'll reach our 120th anniversary), your help is needed."

The appeal helps support both our library and research services, which in turn has created our community of committed genealogy volunteers and members.

"We want to thank those who have already donated, plus get out a reminder that now's the time to get a 2015 tax-deduction by making a donation before year-end," says Okazaki.

In 2016 we are hosting a research trip to Washington D.C., in addition to our annual trip to Salt Lake City and our biennial trip to Boston.  Other near-term goals include hosting nationally and internationally recognized speakers, and giving back to the genealogy community by participating in indexing projects.

You make it all possible
Linda says, “So much has happened over the last few years in the world of genealogy and yet we’ve continued to move forward, especially in the last year.  Your support and commitment is the cornerstone of our success."

Please donate today.

You make our success possible.

Thank you.

Copyright © 2015 by California Genealogical Society

21 December 2015

Happy Holidays & 2016 Preview!

As we end 2015, the California Genealogical Society & Library would like to extend a warm "thank you" to our members, volunteers and visitors this year.

Thanks to you, our members and volunteers, we've been able to continue growing.   You're willingness to embrace technology helps us continually strive to be the best.
What's ahead in 2016?
Research trips to Boston, Salt Lake City and Washington, DC with a group of experienced researchers and team leaders.

In addition to the research trips, we have an outstanding line-up of classes & speakers---over 29 so far--- for you, including Gina Philibert Ortega, Susan Goss Johnston, Janice Sellers and Cyndi Ingle from Cyndi's List fame.  These trail-blazing women have set the bar high in genealogy as they continually push to uncover what's next.  Look for our 2016 calendar of classes  on our website this January!

If you haven't done so in a while, please visit us at the library and take advantage of our newly acquired city directories collection. 

Journey with us in 2016 as we discover what's next in genealogy.

Copyright © 2015 by California Genealogical Society

11 December 2015

Meet a Genealogy Volunteer: Pat Smith

I recently sat down with one of our experienced volunteer genealogy researchers, Patricia "Pat" Smith, to learn a bit about how she got started in the world of family history.

Why did you start researching your genealogy?
I used to take the occasional class at Piedmont Adult School and one year they offered a genealogy class.  I went to the class, but there weren't enough people signed-up to continue the class.  The instructor's solution was to ask if any of us would like to go to Oakland's LDS (Mormon) church.  At the FamilySearch Center we learned what they had and got a feel for genealogy.

After the walk-through, we were given some time to try our hand at it.  At that time, all they had were four microfilm     readers and several stacks of books. Boy, how times have changed!  

"The only person I knew to search for was my third great grandfather, who had been in the revolutionary war.  That first night I found him on several census records.  I was in."

What did you need to learn?
Everything.  I attended some classes at the Adult School and a few other LDS classes.  I made lots of trips to the Sutro Library (San Francisco) and the National Archives (San Bruno), plus I went to Salt Lake City on a New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) research trip and asked a lot of questions. 

What were some of your first experiences with the California Genealogical Society?
I was in Salt Lake City with NEHGS and was talking to someone about a family I was working on.  He said,  "You know, your own society in Oakland has information about that family in their collection."  

When I got home, I went to the library in Oakland, which at the time was located at 16th St and Telegraph Ave.  Sure enough, there was the material that I had been seeking.  After that, I spent more time at the library, became a member, volunteered, etc. 

Describe a personal "brick wall, break-through moment".
I had looked for my second, great grandmother for some time.  I knew her maiden name was Durham; at least that was what it appeared to be on the marriage license.  I had looked at Durham's all over Ohio and Indiana with no luck.  One day I was at the Sutro library reading a county history for Sandusky County Ohio and saw the name Charles Dirlam in the index for the biographies. 

I decided to read his bio.  In it, he had listed the names of all of his siblings along with the cities and states in which they lived. And then I saw it, "The name of his sister (my second, great grandmother), her husband's name and where they were living in 1896.  I was so thrilled!"

What do you hope someone new to genealogy research will get from joining or visiting our library?
Our library has a wealth of printed material, from our extensive book collection and periodicals to our archival holdings.  Our collection also includes information about every state in the United States and much about Great Britain.  "As impressive as that is, the main thing is that our desk people are very friendly and the classes are invaluable."  

Copyright © 2015 by California Genealogical Society

09 December 2015

Wordless Wednesday

Volunteer Holiday Party

Copyright © 2015 by California Genealogical Society

03 December 2015

Talkin' Genealogy: Pennsylvania

Want to know what it's like to research at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (G.R.I.P.)?  

Join experienced researchers and CGS members Pam Brett, Linda Darby and Vinnie Schwarz as they share what they learned at the 2015 advanced course there.  The focus will be on research records such as church, land, vital, digitized records and sources.  

They will also discuss best sources, strategies and insights to guide your Pennsylvania genealogy. 

Saturday, December 5th
10 A.M. to Noon.
California Genealogical Society Library
2201 Broadway, LL
Oakland, CA

This informal session will be an opportunity to ask questions and focus on networking with others with Pennsylvania ancestors.

Register today!  Walk-ins will not be admitted.

Free for members and $25 for non-members.  The fee can be applied towards a new one year CGS membership the day of the seminar.

About the Panel

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.  She began researching in 1999 and since then Pam has conducted genealogy research in 31 states and the District of Columbia.

Lavinia Schwarz is a popular teacher and member of our Research Team.  Also a genealogist since 1999, Lavinia has traced her ancestors to France, England, Scotland, Ireland, Holland, Germany, Cuba and San Domingue (now Haiti).

Copyright © 2015 by California Genealogical Society