Recent Posts

30 November 2015

Support us every time you shop at Amazon

With the busy holiday season approaching, quite a few of us will be shopping online for friends and loved ones.  

Do you want another way to help support our outstanding library, build community among members and continue offering you quality classes & events?  Then please participate in the AmazonSmile program and you'll do just that.  When you shop at AmazonSmile, Amazon donates 0.5% of the purchase price to California Genealogical Society. 

Bookmark the link and support us every time you shop.

How do I sign-up?  
Go to and look for "Search all charitable organizations".  Type in our name and designate us as the charity you wish to benefit.  That's it.  It doesn't cost you anything.  

Thank you for choosing us as your charity on Amazon!

Copyright © 2015 by California Genealogical Society

26 November 2015

Giving Thanks

Fall is my favorite time of year and Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. Today, I have much to be thankful for. 

In my first year as President of the California Genealogical Society, I have been blessed with many mentors who have helped me navigate this role. I have watched dozens of individuals contribute thousands of hours working in the library, on the research team, maintaining our computers, repairing books, updating our databases, teaching classes, and much more. Our organization has thrived since 1898 because of the dedicated volunteers, loyal members, and generous donors who share a passion for family history.

I wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving.

Copyright © 2015 by California Genealogical Society

25 November 2015

Wordless Wednesday

CGS' Family Tree Maker Special Interest Group
With Facilitators Karen Halfon and Ron Madson

Copyright © 2015 by California Genealogical Society

18 November 2015

Wordless Wednesday

Annual Appeal Party
Photo by Lorna Wallace

Copyright © 2015 by California Genealogical Society

17 November 2015

Our Annual Appeal

The 2015 Annual Appeal is well underway and we're hoping for a great response!

At this time of year, we know that other charities and organizations are all competing for your time and resources. We also know that you are the reason that the California Genealogical Society continues to thrive so many decades after our 1898 establishment. In fact, our 120th Anniversary is just over two years away! 

We are very proud of our library—we think it may be one of the reasons you joined. It is the cornerstone of our organization, housing a collection of books, maps, pedigrees, manuscripts, and more. It also is an educational space for classes and events. As essential as the library is to our identity, even more important are the members and volunteers who truly define us. Our organization is a gathering place for like-minded individuals dedicated to one thing: genealogical research.

In order to ensure that our library continues to be a model for genealogical research, we need your help. It is important that our computers are state-of-the-art, that our collection continually grows, and that our educational events meet the needs of our community. However, membership dues only cover 40% of our operating expenses. By donating to the California Genealogical Society, you will help us to prosper. You, and your gift, make a difference.

Today, we ask for your help. Please consider donating by check or online. Matching corporate gifts are always welcome. 

Copyright © 2015 by California Genealogical Society

05 November 2015

Meet the Genealogy Teacher: Maureen Hanlon

 Get to know our instructor, Maureen Hanlon, who is teaching the Census Records class in our on-going, 4-part Beginning Genealogy series.

Why did you start researching your genealogy?
During her last few years, my mom was housebound, so when I visited her (and to avoid watching golf tournaments on television with her) I started asking her questions about her family.  She wondered aloud as to what had happened to her grandmother’s four sisters.  They all came to San Francisco with their parents in the 1850’s from Ireland via Australia.  I started talking to some other relatives, found a few census records and got totally hooked.

What did you need to learn?
I didn’t know what I didn’t know, so I just plunged in and made many mistakes, mostly not tracking what I’d found.  So I duplicated a lot of effort.  In fact, I must have looked at some records three or four times.  “I wish I’d found CGS sooner, taken Vinnie Schwarz’ beginner class, learned about setting a discrete goal and documented, documented, documented...” 

What were some of your first experiences with the California Genealogical Society?
In 2008, I attended their event, “A Day of Irish Information”, with Nora Hickey of County Cork, Ireland.  I met Jane Lindsey and several others there and thought, “I really like these people! They talk my language.” 

So what did I do?  I joined the California Genealogical Society that day.  It turned out that the library was a few blocks from where I worked, so I visited and then volunteered for Desk Duty.  I’ve learned so much doing it and you never get the same question twice.  “You know what’s great about the place?  After joining, I realized my initial impressions of the people were spot-on and I’ve made a lot of new friends.”

What do you hope someone new to genealogy research will get from your Census Records class in the 4-part Beginning Genealogy series?
We’re really trying to help everybody get off to a great start and avoid the pitfalls some of us have had to learn the hard way.  We want new genealogists to know that there’s some discipline involved, as well as motivate them with the excitement and satisfaction of finding the right records.  “It’s always satisfying to add a new layer to your family tree.”

Any last thoughts on genealogy?
It has really expanded my world...literally.  “I took a course in Northern Ireland this past September and without the genealogy impetus, I wouldn’t have seen that beautiful part of the world.”

Copyright © 2015 by California Genealogical Society