Recent Posts

27 January 2016

Genealogy Class: So you've got French-Canadian ancestry, Eh?

Trying to hunt down that elusive French-Canadian ancestor?  Then register today for our class, French-Canadian Family History.  It’s this Saturday, January 30, 2016 at our library in Uptown Oakland from 1PM to 3PM.

What’s the purpose of the class?
It’s to learn how to solve the key problem facing anyone with French-Canadian ancestors: the discovery of their most recent marriage record, whether in Canada or the United States, which will usually provide access to the rest of the family tree.  Also, you’ll review the main online resources for French-Canadian research.

Who were the original French-Canadians?
From a tiny population of immigrants—just 5,000 men and 1,500 women, most of whom arrived in Canada between 1660 and 1680—descends the entire French-Canadian population of more than seven million, as well as their millions of American cousins.

To have French-Canadian ancestors is to have an astonishing and ready-made family tree. From the very beginning of French settlement in Canada, in the early 1600s, the Catholic priests responsible for the spiritual lives of their parishioners maintained thorough and complete records of all vital events, including marriages, baptisms, and burials.

From these pristine and detailed documents, all of which are now available on line, we can construct impressive family trees, often consisting of over a thousand individuals reaching back to the fifteenth century in France.

About the instructor
Robert Jackson holds a Ph.D. in history from Harvard University. After several years’ teaching at the college level, he pursued a professional career in banking and finance. Since retiring, he has assisted a variety of not-for-profit and community organizations.  He has also been enjoying his hobbies of genealogy and tennis.

Robert lives in Berkeley, is devoted to his wife, and is very proud of his daughter, who recently graduated from Bennington College in Vermont.

The details
Member?  Then you enjoy free admission. 

Not a member yet?  Your admission fee is $30.00* and can be applied towards a new one year CGS membership the day of the class.  If you think you’ll come to more than one of our classes, then a new membership (which starts at only $40) more than pays for itself.

So what are you waiting for?  Reserve your spot today and learn all about the French-Canadians!

Copyright © 2016 by California Genealogical Society

Who's Who? 2016 Board of Directors

The California Genealogical Society is pleased to announce the installation of the following officers who were re-elected at the January 23 Board meeting:

President - Linda Okazaki
Vice President - Diana Edwards

Recording Secretary - Lisa Gorrell
Treasurer - Kathie Jones
Corresponding Secretary - Karen Lemelin
Members of the 2016 Board of Directors include:
Felicia Addison
Todd Armstrong
Stewart Blandón Traiman
Ellen Fernandez-Sacco (Past President)
Maureen Hanlon
Therese Hart-Pignotti
Vicky Kolakowski
Shannon Reese
Nicka Smith
Jim Sorenson
Henry Snyder

Congratulations to everyone!

Copyright © 2016 by California Genealogical Society

26 January 2016

Genealogy Trip: Boston's Calling

Ready to go on a Genealogy Road Trip?

Sign-up today for the California Genealogical Society (CGS) and Library Research Trip to the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) library February 28 - March 6, 2016.  The deadline is soon---Sunday, February 7th---so don't delay if you want to reserve your spot.

Join Jane Lindsey, former CGS president and past NEHGS Trustee, as she leads our biennial trip to Boston, Massachusetts.  

Yes, it’s winter in Boston, but don’t worry because you’re just steps to everything you’ll want to see.

The run-down
Accommodations are at the Charlesmark Hotel which is located in the Copley Square area of downtown Boston.  The hotel is across the street from the prestigious Boston Public Library and only 2 blocks from NEHGS

The tour begins Monday morning with a brief orientation. Since the NEHGS library is closed on Monday, participants will have the option that day of visiting a local repository.  One idea is the Boston Public Library, an amazing research institution in it’s own right.

The cost ranges from $1355.00 for a Double Bed room and $1515.00 for a Queen room based on single occupancy (airfare not included).  Unfortunately, no two-bedded rooms exist in the hotel.  Deadline for registration and payment via credit card is February 7, 2016.  

Visit our Eventbrite page listing for full details, including cancellation and refund policy. 

A gentle reminder:  Tour participants must be members of the California Genealogical Society to attend.  You can sign-up on our website.  Also, if you are not a member of NEHGS, please consider joining for $89.95.  You'll gain access to their great website and avoid a $15 daily user fee for non–members.  

What’s the trip like?
Our current President, Linda Okazaki, has been on our research trip before and offered the following observations, 

"First of all it's walking distance to NEHGS, so I didn't have to worry about transportation there and back.  Next, I really enjoyed learning from the world-class genealogy instructors in an amazing institution.  Last, but not least, was the camaraderie of the group.  We helped each other to maximize our research efforts, plus the group dinners were a wonderful way to connect with each other." 

What does the package include?

  • Optional pre-trip consultation & planning with trip leader, Jane Lindsey
  • Optional Monday visit to a repository
  • Orientation and lectures at NEHGS
  • 7 nights at the Charlesmark Hotel (located across the street from the Boston Public Library and 2 blocks from NEHGS)
  • Daily continental breakfast each morning at the hotel
  • Two group dinners (Monday and Saturday) at local restaurants

  • Research schedule
    Sunday: Arrive in Boston.

    Monday: There will be a brief morning orientation at the hotel.  

    Since the NEHGS library is closed on Monday, participants will have the option of visiting the Massachusetts State Archives, Suffolk or Middlesex county court houses, the Massachusetts Historical Society or the Boston Public Library---all AMAZING resources! You can also spend the day sightseeing in Boston.

    Tuesday-Saturday: The focus will be on NEHGS. The hours are 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.  Extended hours on Wednesday (9:00 am to 9:00 pm).

    Also, the Boston Public Library, across the street from our hotel, is open until 9:00 pm, Monday - Thursday. It has an excellent microtext department, newspaper collection, and the excellent Norman B. Leventhal Map center. 

    Do you still have questions that haven't been answered here? Contact Jane Lindsey with your inquiries at

    Talk about a ringing endorsement:  Linda Okazaki, our current president and previous trip attendee, has just signed–up for the trip again.  Join Linda, Jane and the others on a genealogy trip you’ll never forget!

    Photographs courtesy of Jane Lindsey

    Copyright © 2016 by California Genealogical Society

    21 January 2016

    Member Survey: You talked, We listened

    Written by Maureen Hanlon

    Thanks to your fantastic response rate to our Fall All-Member Survey,  we heard loud and clear that you (our members) value our classes, on-line sitessocial media channels, and eNews.  We also learned that even in this digital age, you especially enjoy our bi-annual genealogy journal, The California Nugget.  Thank you.

    In terms of education, what we have learned is that you are clear about the topics and level of classes you want to see.  This included more Intermediate and Advanced genealogical learning opportunities, more about DNA and classes focused on specific ethnic groups and localities.  You also want to improve your technical skills.
    Question 16 from our All-Member Survey
    Based on this feedback, we’re adding the following classes to our 2016 calendar: 

    Ethnicity and Geography:  French-Canadian, German, Irish, African-American, Jewish, Nikkei Pilgrimage, Angel Island, Western Pennsylvania, and Locations Basics.

    Technical:  Spreadsheets (repeat of Susan Goss Johnston class), Creating a Blog, and Optimizing FamilySearch.

    Intermediate and Advanced:  Repeat of Susan Goss Johnston Advanced five class series, National Archives, Forensic Genealogy, Handwriting, and Certification.

    DNA:  DNA for Beginners (quarterly) and DNA for adoptees.

    The 1st quarter offerings are now on Eventbrite and more will be added soon.  We're currently in the planning stage with other instructors.  The classes listed above do not include the activities of our very popular San Francisco and FamilyTree Maker Special Interest Groups.  We'll report more about their plans as they become available.  

    This Fall there will be an All-Day Event with Cyndi Ingle of Cyndi’s List (not yet on Eventbrite). We're so excited to have Cyndi come and speak---mark your calendars for November 5th!

    Thank you for your feedback.  We hope that you'll be pleased with this year's class line-up.

    Copyright © 2016 by California Genealogical Society

    19 January 2016

    Genealogy Class: Practical tips for a successful genealogy research trip

    What to expect from the class
    A genealogy fact-finding trip to one's ancestral home can be extremely rewarding, but also present many challenges. Join Pam Brett for this class on successful on-site research. 
    She has two goals for the class.  Pam will share tips on how to plan a trip that will help you achieve your research goals, but more importantly hopes that you will gain a new understanding of the lives of your ancestors.

    About the instructor
    Pam has been interested in genealogy for nearly forty years---ever since she began filling in the family tree of her first-born child's baby book. 

    She was finally able to begin her family tree research in 1999.  Luckily for the rest of us, Pam's ancestors were mobile which has led to her expertise in on-site fact-finding.  She's traveled through thirty-one states and the District of Columbia. 

    Why does she do it?  She naturally loves combing for records throughout the U.S. because as she states, "there are many challenges, but the rewards are priceless."

    The class is from 10am-12pm on Saturday, January 30th at our library, located at 2201 Broadway, in uptown Oakland.  

    Pre-registration is required. Class size is limited so please register early. 

    Members enjoy free admission.  Non-member admission fee is $30.00* and can be applied towards a new one year CGS membership the day of the class.

    We hope to see you there!

    Copyright © 2016 by California Genealogical Society

    You're Invited! Annual Membership & Business Meeting: Sat, Jan 23rd

    Who:  Members of the California Genealogical Society

    What:  Annual Membership and Business Meeting

    When:  January 23, 2016 from 1:00-3:00 pm

    Where:  2nd Floor Conference Room at 2201 Broadway, Oakland

    What happens before the meeting?
    The meeting will be preceded by a social hour and potluck lunch, so please bring a dish to share. We're providing the dessert and beverages.

    Reminder:  The library will be closed to researchers from 12:00-3:00 pm.

    Meeting schedule
    The meeting will begin promptly at 1:00. The agenda will include annual reports from the committees, presentation of the 2016 budget, and a member vote on the proposed budget as well as the slate of nominees for the Board of Directors. 

    An RSVP is desired, but not required.

                          Copyright © 2016 by California Genealogical Society