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30 September 2016

October is Family History Month

Family History Month kicks off in October at the California Genealogical Society!  Are you ready?

If you haven't been either in a while or ever, take the time to plan a visit today and see what our library has to offer you. Explore our wonderful genealogy collections and resources for free during the month of October.  Our hours are 10-4, Thursday through Saturday.  

Our library is located in the historic Breuner Building at 22nd Street & Broadway, one block north of the Paramount Theater, in uptown Oakland.  All classes (for which you must register) during October will be held here, unless specified.

Have you explored our City Directories?  It’s now a part of our main library with a collection of 6,000 city and telephone directories dating from the 1840s to the 1960s.

Our member volunteers have been lining up a month of special events and exciting classes. Please help us celebrate Family History Month by attending one of the many genealogy events we’ve highlighted below in the San Francisco Bay area:

Saturday, October 1st
1pm - 3pm  If you’re ready to find out your family’s story, then we’re here to help you. Register now for our Intro to Genealogy - First Saturday Free! class.

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11am - 3pm  The California Genealogical Society (CGS) is participating in the Nikkei Pilgrimage to Angel Island.  This fun, all-day event is focused on the Japanese-American experience at the "Ellis Island of the West". CGS President Linda Harms Okazaki will present and then will be available to help people get started in their own research.  Our other volunteers helping are Todd Armstrong, Lisa Gorrell, Maureen Hanlon, Diana Edwards, James Russell, Stacy Hoover, Janice Sellers, and Adelle Treakle (all CGS members & genealogists).   

Saturday, October 8th
10:00am - 11:30am  Attend the monthly meeting of the CGS Board of Directors that focuses on making our tagline, “helping people connect to their diverse family heritage” a reality.

12 noon - 3pm  Please come for the 2016 Genie Awards and noontime Fall Membership meeting in the CGS Library.  The Fall Membership meeting gives all of us the opportunity to “Join your CGS” friends for lunch, conversation, and celebrate our volunteer contributions.

The Genie Awards are not only an opportunity to thank our generous volunteers, but also for new and returning members to learn about ways (large and small) to help keep CGS alive and thriving.

The red carpet will be unrolled, our mystical master of ceremonies will be there with her gold lame' turban and magic lamps will be available for your three wishes!  Please bring your own lunch.  Dessert and beverages will be provided.

Saturday, October 15th
10am - 11:30am  Our San Francisco Special Interest Group (SF-SIG) is led by Sandra Britt-Huber.  Topics include both pre & post 1906 time periods. Come & join us this month if you have an interest in San Francisco history and genealogy! Register here.

1pm to 4pm  Need an easier and better way to organize, find, and maintain all of your genealogy research?  Then come join our Family Tree Maker™ Special Interest Group (FTM-SIG) that’s devoted exclusively to better understanding and using this genealogy research organizational software program. Facilitators are Ron Madson and Karen Halfon. The topic for the October 15th meeting will be The Publishing Module, Part I.  Register here.

John Phillip Colletta, PhD
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9am - 3:30pm  Our friends at The Contra Costa Genealogical Society are presenting famed genealogist, John Phillip Colletta, PhD in “Ancestors on the Move”.  It’s an all day seminar in Lafayette comprised of 4 lectures focused on immigration and naturalization.  He’s been described, “as one of America’s most popular genealogical & family lecturers” with his lectures being known for their warmth and humor.  Click here for details and registration information

Saturday, October 22nd
1pm to 4pm  You may have been asking yourself, “I've tested. So how do I use the results?”  Well, we’ve got a class to help you get some answers.  Attend our You Have Your Ancestry DNA Results: Now What? class.  This has been revamped.  It's geared to those who have submitted DNA samples at and want to know the best steps and strategies to make family connections from the results. Pam Miller is the instructor.  Register here.

9am-3pm  Spend the day in Menlo Park as our friends at the San Mateo Genealogical Society present Research Rewards from Paula Stuart-Warren with Paula Stuart-Warren, a nationally known professional genealogist.  This wonderful all-day seminar encompasses 4 interesting lectures and will help you become a better researcher.  Click here for details and registration information.

Tuesday, October 25th
10:30am – 12pm is the California Historical Society Tour. Visit the California Historical Society (CHS) near Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco.  A CHS staff member will present a brief lecture and a viewing of selected items from their extensive collection.  

The California Historical Society represents a rich resource for family history research. What’s of particular interest to genealogists? Their treasure trove of early newspapers and periodicals, Gold Rush and Immigration collections which include diaries, photographs, journals, letters and much more.  Register here.

Saturday, October 29th
1pm - 4pm  Similar to our class on the 22nd that’s focused on DNA testing results from, You’ve got Your Family Tree DNA or 23andMe DNA Results, Now What?, is a revamped class geared to those who have submitted DNA samples at FamilyTree DNA or 23andMe and want to know the best steps and strategies to make family connections from the results. Pam Miller is the instructor.  Register here.

Want more to choose from?  For a full listing of all Bay Area genealogy events, check the frequently updated San Francisco Bay Area Genealogy Calendar.

Get started today on your family history today and begin telling the stories of your family now and for generations to come.

Copyright © 2016 by California Genealogical Society

Journey back to understand the Japanese experience

On Saturday, 2016 Saturday, October 1, 2016 from 11am to 3pm is the 3rd annual Nikkei Angel Island Pilgrimage presented by the Nichi Bei Foundation.  Just be sure to catch the 9:45am San Francisco ferry or the 10 am ferry from Tiburon to make the opening ceremony.

This year’s theme is "Family Reunion" and will focus on honoring the immigrant ancestors and rediscovering the history of the Japanese and Japanese American legacy at Angel Island. From 1910 to 1940, a total of  85,000 people of Japanese descent passed through here before being allowed to set foot in the U.S.
CGS Volunteers from the 2015 Pilgrimage
A group of volunteers from the California Genealogical Society (CGS), led by President Linda Okazaki, will be there to help people begin tracing their family history.

“Most people are curious about their family history. They want to know how to unveil the mystery of the past and understand the lives of their ancestors,” says Linda.

Linda has researched her husband’s Japanese ancestry and this journey has led her to discover everything from Immigration Records to Evacuee Case Files to DNA --- with many more intriguing bits in between.

Who’s involved with this effort?

What will be on display?
Historical exhibits specific to the Japanese and Japanese American experience on Angel Island, including those sent there from Hawai‘i during World War II

Who will be recognized?
  • Professor Charles Egan, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, San Francisco State University who translated poems published in the Nichi Bei Shimbun written by Issei between 1910 and 1924.
  • The Hokoda family, whose descendants wrote the oldest known writing found in the Immigration Station barracks, who are from Hiroshima Prefecture. They were discovered by Professor Egan and visited the Immigration Station for the first time last year.
What else is happening?
  • Talk on "Nikkei at Angel Island" by San Francisco State University Asian American Studies Professor Christen Sasaki, Ph.D.
  • Musical performances by Berkeley Genyukai and Friends, along with Cal Raijin Taiko of UC Berkeley
  • Storytelling vignettes
  • Children’s activities
With so much to see and do, this a wonderful way to relive the Japanese immigrant experience to America.  It’s also just a wonderful way to spend some time on San Francisco Bay enjoying your family and friends.

Stop by and say hello to Linda and the volunteers if you attend.

Domo Arrigato!

Photos courtesy of Linda Okazaki

Copyright © 2016 by California Genealogical Society

29 September 2016

“On The Road” Once Again

by Chris Patillo and Jane Lindsey

In 2009-10 CGS offered a series of programs in nearby counties in order to provide services to our members who live a bit further away from the Library. Programs were presented in San Joaquin, Sacramento and Santa Clara counties plus the City of Fremont. 

Our objective was to make it easy for members and guests who live outside Alameda-San Francisco-Contra Costa to have the benefit of the programs that those of us who live near Oakland enjoy regularly. It was also a way for these members to meet others who live nearby who share an interest in genealogy.

We think it is time for round two and would like to hear from members who would be interested in either hosting or attending such an event in your area. Topics covered in the 2009-10 series included:  
  • An overview of the outstanding resources at the CGS Library and information about upcoming events. 
  • Small group discussions of special interest genealogy topics.  
  • A talk by CGS Member Lavinia Schwarz titled “Some Brick Walls Are of Our Own Making” – a spell-binding talk that helped attendees look at their own brick walls with new openness, ideas, strategies and historical insight.
This series is tentatively being planned for Spring of 2017. If you are interested, please contact Chris Pattillo or Jane Lindsey

Photos by Jane Lindsey

Copyright © 2016 by California Genealogical Society

26 September 2016

The California Nugget: Passing the Genealogy Baton

The California Nugget, our genealogy journal, is getting a new editor.  After many years of wonderful work and tireless dedication as its editor, Jane Hufft has decided its time to pass the baton onto someone else.  Who’s that someone?  Janice M. Sellers.  

Why she's the right choice for us
Janice already edits three genealogy publications: ZichronNote, journal of the San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society (SFBAJGS); The Baobab Tree, journal of the African American Genealogical Society of Northern California (AAGSNC); and the CSGA Newsletter, from the California State Genealogical Alliance (CSGA).  Drawing on this wealth of experience, society members should feel confident that she will produce a genealogy journal that will continue the high standards of quality and interesting stories we’ve all come to love.

In addition to her editing credits, she’s a professional genealogist who specializes in Jewish, black, dual citizenship, and newspaper research.

What’s her philosophy on genealogy?
Janice said, “I am passionate about genealogy.  I love researching my own family and everyone else's.”

She also offered, “I love to find the stories behind people and learn as much as I can about why they did what they did.  By looking at the historical context around the people I research, I’m able to help a client understand who came before them.  Once you know what was happening in your ancestor’s world, their actions begin to make more sense.”

Her extensive genealogy background
Janice is the vice president, as well as the programming and publicity director, for SFBAJGS.  She’s a board member of AAGSNC and CSGA.  She has been on the staff of the Oakland FamilySearch Library since 2000.  In addition, Janice has been researching her own family for more than 40 years.

She’s also a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, Council for the Advancement of Forensic Genealogy, Genealogical Speakers Guild, and California Genealogical Society.  Janice is active as a volunteer in the genealogy community and has taught many classes here at the California Genealogical Society & Library. 

Before becoming a professional genealogist, she worked in publishing for many years as an editor, indexer, translator, and compositor.

On a fun note
Way back when, Janice was in the USC Marching Band (according to her, “The Greatest Marching Band in the History of the Universe”) for five years.  While in the band, she had the joy of performing at two Super Bowl halftime shows and one World Series game, and can still be seen in the movie "The Naked Gun".  She says, “Being in the band was one of the best experiences of my life.”

What does Janice like to do outside of genealogy?
When not involved in genealogy or publishing, she loves music, singing, cooking, needlework, gardening, historical reenactment, painting small miniatures, and taking care of her birds and cats.

Help her make a successful start as the next California Nugget editor!
Do you have a story, idea, or concept you’d like to have published?  Send her an e-mail and get the conversation started.  Who knows, you just might be in an upcoming issue of the Nugget!

Copyright © 2016 by California Genealogical Society

23 September 2016

Meet Arlene Miles: Genealogist, Board Member & Library Manager

Photo by Kathryn Doyle
If you haven’t met Arlene Georgia Schroeder-Miles, a long-time volunteer here at the California Genealogical Society & Library, then let me introduce you.  A native New Yorker, she’s been a San Franciscan since 1984, when she and her husband, Ted Miles, moved out west...and has put a smile on everyone’s face ever since.

How she serves the society
Arlene is now serving as both our current Library Manager and newly confirmed board member, representing the concerns of the library committee.  Our highly regarded former librarian and board member, Henry Snyder, appointed her. 

As the Library Manager, Arlene manages a group of volunteers dedicated to maintaining and growing our stellar collection of books, manuscripts and vertical files.

Arlene has excellent organizational and management skills. Her credentials include an Associate Degree in Library Technology from City College San Francisco.

Prior to retiring and becoming a volunteer with us, she served as an assistant librarian at the Bay Area Air Quality Management District before becoming the Records Manager at the Environmental Protection Agency.

What led her to the California Genealogical Society?
Retired and looking for something to do, she joined the California Genealogical Society in 2007 hoping to continue her genealogy research.

What was her first experience with genealogy?
“In the fourth grade, there was an assignment to draw a pedigree of three generations.  Of course I started with me...those were the instructions. I added my parents, then grandparents and found some hints that maybe there were more people in the family tree...”

What’s your perspective on genealogy?
“I have been adding bits and pieces to both our trees since joining CGS on the opening day of the library at the present location.  I like to ‘pay it forward’, by helping others to research and record their families.”

“After meeting Ted (the best thing that ever happened to me), getting married and moving west, I discovered he had a similar interest in genealogy, the rest is a history in the making...”

In addition to her volunteer work at the society, Arlene likes to collect postcards of places she visits, and enjoys the outdoors, especially walking at San Francisco’s beautiful Lands End park.

Look for her if you’re in the library.  Stop for a chat and I bet you’ll come away with a laugh and a smile.  Arlene, you’re another reason why people love the California Genealogical Society.  Thank you!

Copyright © 2016 by California Genealogical Society