Recent Posts

19 December 2016

Great Finds at the Library


by Lorna Wallace, Member & Volunteer

As a long-time Desk Volunteer at the California Genealogical Society’s Library, I would like to encourage you to come in and use our wonderful library resources in Uptown Oakland to search for your ancestors. 

Whether you come in-person, or request a “look up” via the Research Committee, our library catalog is the place to start.  If you start with Research, then it's best to send an email first and ask what can be done for you. However, I recommend that you “play” with our catalog, which is part of WorldCat, because you may be surprised to find what we have!

Let's start a search
As an example, if you were interested in the first topic in last month’s eNews, Thanksgiving and Pilgrims, you could search our catalog using the “subject keyword” for “pilgrims” or “Plymouth”, which for me brought up 143 and 79 hits from the catalog, respectively.  Sticking with the theme, when I used “Puritans” as a subject keyword, I got 308 findings which included books, microfilm, maps, and over 200 article titles! 
I hope I’ve given you a reason to try a search in your favorite topics and see what you can discover.  Want to understand what's actually happening when you search our catalog using WorldCat?  Try WorldCat's tutorial page and soon you'll be a search expert.

We hope to see you in the library exploring our great resources in 2017!



Copyright © 2016 by California Genealogical Society

16 December 2016

FindMyPast is now at The California Genealogical Society

by Maureen Hanlon 



In November we asked our eNews subscribers to help us decide on whether or not the California Genealogical Society (CGS) should continue having a subscription to the genealogy research website, FindMyPast (FMP). A trial subscription at the library ended on November 16. 

Of all the respondents, 80% were in favor of purchasing the subscription. So after hearing from our subscribers, even though the response rate was relatively small, it was up to the board to make a decision---and make a decision they did!  The Board voted to buy a subscription after considering the following:  survey results, library use, and also the value of having access to PERSI

What's PERSI?  FindMyPast's website states, "The PERiodical Source Index (PERSI) enables you to easily locate key information about people and places. It contains over 2.5 million entries from thousands of historical, genealogical and ethnic publications, making it an invaluable, comprehensive family history resource.

PERSI provides a simple way to access articles, photos, and other material you might not find using traditional search methods. This can help to build the historical context around your personal research, and the world your ancestors lived in."
We're excited that we're able to offer FindMyPast as another valuable, library-only resource for those visitors and members who come in for genealogy research. We also realize that many of you may not be that familiar with FMP, so we're making plans for a workshop and/or printed instructions on getting the most out of FMP when you visit the library.

Have you been to the library lately?  Now you've got one more reason to visit. See you soon!



Copyright © 2016 by California Genealogical Society

13 December 2016

Meet our Board Member Nominees


by Karen Lemelin


The Nomination Committee is proposing two new board nominees for the 2017 - 2019 term. The new nominees are Rich Kehoe and Arlene Miles. The full slate of candidates will be presented to the general membership for election at the annual meeting.  

Board members
Continuing in a first term are Maureen Hanlon, Vicky Kolakowski and Stewart Blandón Traiman.  Continuing in a second term is Felicia Addison.  Proposed nomination for a second term are Linda Okazaki, Kathie Jones, and Therese Hart­-Pignotti.  Continuing in a third term are Nicka Smith and Karen Lemelin. Proposed nomination for a third term is Shannon Reese.  Ellen Fernandez­-Sacco will be also serving in the role of past president.

We thank these board members for their service
Lisa Gorrell and Jim Sorenson have termed out after serving three terms, Diana Edwards will not be serving an additional term, and Todd Armstrong has decided not to seek a second term nomination.

                                   Meet the new board nominees
Photo courtesy of
Shannon Reese
Arlene Georgia Schroeder Miles is a longtime volunteer, having joined CGS in 2007 hoping to continue her genealogy research and to help others research and record their family history.  A native New Yorker, Arlene has lived in San Francisco since 1984.  She has an Associate Degree in the study of Library Technology from City College San Francisco and many years of experience in record management.  She is currently the CGS Library Manager, and motivates a group of volunteers dedicated to maintaining and growing our collection of books, manuscripts and vertical files. Arlene is currently serving on the board for the remainder of the 2016 term to replace the late Henry Snyder.

Photo courtesy of Rich Kehoe
Richard Kehoe became interested in family history research years ago during visits with his mother and aunt, listening to their spirited discussions about growing up in San Francisco. Rich is a 6th generation San Franciscan.  His ancestors came to San Francisco in 1769 with the Spanish Portola Expedition.  He also has extensive Irish roots.  

Rich did not become obsessed with genealogy until 2010, and discovered CGS two years later, after retiring from a sales and marketing career in the educational technology business.  He has been a volunteer with the Educational Programs & Events Committee, and has attended SLIG and taken many of CGS’s wonderful classes, seminars and trips.  Rich is a member of UGS, NGS and Los Californianos.


The California Genealogical Society's bylaws specify the annual creation of a Nominating Committee in Article VII, Section 1: Nominations and Elections.

ARTICLE VII: NOMINATIONS AND ELECTIONS 

Section 1. The Nominating Committee shall consist of at least three (3) members to be named not less that ninety (90) days prior to the Annual Business Meeting. The President shall appoint the Nominating Committee. The chairperson of the committee shall be from the Board of Directors and additional committee members from the general membership. 
Section 2. The Nominating Committee shall submit its report to the Board of Directors and the Board shall give timely notice of nominations to the general membership prior to the Annual Business Meeting. 
Section 3. Following the Nominating Committee’s report to the membership at the Annual Business Meeting, the floor shall be open to additional nominations, provided nominees have given consent to serve if elected. 
Section 4. Nominees shall be members in good standing in the Society. 
Section 5. Members in good standing who are present at the Annual Business Meeting shall elect the Directors. A plurality vote shall elect. 
Section 6. If there is only one candidate for an opening, the ballot may be dispensed with by general consent and the election held by voice vote.



Copyright © 2016 by California Genealogical Society

08 December 2016

Help us reach our $15,000 Annual Appeal goal


We need your help to achieve our goal 
The Annual Appeal for the California Genealogical Society so far has raised 40 percent — $6,000 — of its $15,000 goal. We’re currently on-track to meet it (thank you all) and are ahead by approximately $1000 compared to the same time last year. However, we still need your help to reach 100%.

Treasurer Kathie Jones states, "So far, 68 members have contributed $6,000.  I’m encouraged that our members are digging deeper this year to support our resource-rich genealogy society and library. Our average donation this year has increased to almost $87 per person.” 

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 says, "The cost of real estate in the San Francisco Bay area continues to be our number one expense for the society---meaning our rent consumes about 70% 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.  We also learned through our member survey results that The California Nugget, our biannual genealogical magazine, is another huge draw for our members.


2017 Goals 
This year, the goal was set at $15,000 - $2,500 more than last year’s target to help us continue offering quality trips, classes, events and speakers for you, such as the world-famous Cyndi Ingle.  Cyndi’s seminar was sold-out and received rave reviews from the attendees.

We also led our first-ever trip to Washington, D.C. “Our genealogy research trip in November was a great success---we added almost $4,000 to our coffers and had a collegial group of genealogy-minded people who had a fantastic experience exploring all of the available federal and DAR records. I couldn’t be more happy with it!” exclaimed President Linda Harms Okazaki. 

Linda also wants to remind you to check your mail to see if you have received the Annual Appeal letter that was sent out in mid-November.  If you haven’t already done so, please consider contributing to the society. "Don’t forget that there’s a 2016 tax deduction created by contributing before year-end. I also want to thank each and every one of you that have donated or have volunteered in some way this year. Without your incredible dedication, none of this would be possible,” says Linda. 

What’s ahead in 2017?
Member Lisa Gorrell will lead our 17th annual genealogy research trip to Salt Lake City in April and on September 23rd we will play host to the incredible Judy G. Russell, also known as The Legal Genealogist.  We hope you’ll consider one or both of these amazing genealogical experiences.  Both help us raise needed funds for the society and library. We also have an interesting and constantly evolving slate of classes for you to choose from in the New Year.

The genealogy community is amazing 
In order to ensure that our society remains a leader in the genealogy field (in just over a year we'll reach our 120th anniversary), your help is needed.  With all the rapid advances in technology, we’re managing to stay current and remain a relevant resource for scholarship, education and community thanks to all of you.

Please donate today.

You make our success possible.

Thank you.



Copyright © 2016 by California Genealogical Society


07 December 2016

Wordless Wednesday: Washington, D.C. Genealogy Research Trip

Did you miss out on our inaugural genealogy trip to DC this past November?  Linda Okazaki, our president, led this wonderful group of passionate genealogists to explore all that D.C. has to offer. 

Here are a few of the photos from the group that went.  We've got more photos and stories to share in a longer post that we're working on about the trip, so enjoy these in the meantime!








 Photos provided by Linda Okazaki



Copyright © 2016 by California Genealogical Society