Recent Posts

30 March 2017

Untold Stories: A Champion for Children's Rights

by Georgia Lupinsky

This month we highlight the powerful and inspirational story of Nellie (Patterson) Baldwin that was found among the papers of CGS Past President John Ellis Hale that are now part of our manuscript collection.  She was his maternal grandmother.

Her early life
Born 11 June 1865 in Muskegon, Michigan to Robert Burnside Patterson and Mary Graham Miller, she was a bright student, finishing the three-year high school program in Ludington, Michigan when she was fifteen. The school added another year, so she went back in 1882, at age seventeen and became the first and only graduate of the four-year program.

Afterwards, she taught school in the area for several years. Her teaching experience shaped her outlook towards children, which would come into play in her later years.   

Her next chapter takes shape
In 14 September 1887 she married Edward Lewis Baldwin in Ludington and the couple moved to San Francisco about 1890.  Nellie became active in a variety of women’s clubs, serving as state chairman of Civics in the General Federation of Women’s Clubs from 1906 to 1908 and as President of the California Club from 1908 to 1910.

After her husband’s death in 1912, Mrs. Baldwin managed her husband’s business, the Ferry Drug Store, known as “the first drug store from the Ferry” at 20 Market Street that was, “found to be a convenient store by the trans bay and tourist trade. By her careful supervision she increased steadily the prestige of the store.”

A noble purpose blossoms in San Francisco
In November of 1919 members of various civic and women’s clubs endorsed Mrs. Baldwin as their candidate for appointment to the Board of Education, their purpose being to have the next vacancy filled by a woman who has taken “an ardent interest in the welfare of the children of the city.”

 A leader in women’s social work, she served as Chairman of the Probation Committee of the Juvenile Court for twelve years.  And, on August 7, 1920, an article appeared in the San Francisco Examiner entitled “S.F. Woman is Juvenile Judge.” Mrs. Baldwin had the distinction of being one of only five women “ex-officio” judges in the nation. This announcement appeared in other newspapers nationwide. 

The Seattle Daily Times stated, “every city of any size now has its women attorneys, but the appointment of women to the bench is still rare enough to attract wide attention.” Each Thursday morning Mrs. Baldwin heard cases in which girls were involved and worked hard to keep juveniles out of the mainstream of criminal courts.

Later in life Nellie lived with her daughter and son-in-law, Marion and William Morrell Hale, on Ashby Avenue in Berkeley and died there 10 September 1945. Her grandson believed her teaching experience and her concern for children helped him through difficult times in his young life.

How to use our manuscript collection
To learn more about our collection, please visit our website, then select the Databases tab in the upper right hand corner on the home page. Under “Databases Free to All” click on the “CGS Manuscript Collection Index” and a current copy of the database will appear for the reader’s review. The database is organized by:  title, geography, timeframe, description and surname.

If you find a collection that is pertinent to your research, call to make an appointment with a member of the Manuscript Collection Committee or the Desk Duty volunteer to view items, as this is a closed stack collection. We have many wonderful research resources for the genealogy community and look forward to seeing you soon!

Copyright © 2017 by California Genealogical Society

29 March 2017

Capital Campaign Update

Report from the Capital Campaign Committee
By now members should have received a mailing about the Capital Campaign. We hope you will consider being a part of this effort. We are on our way towards reaching our goal of raising $1.2 million and providing financial stability for our society for many years to come.  

How the idea got started
The idea to have a campaign began in fall of 2015. The CGS board appointed a committee who has been working on campaign strategies. The silent phase is now complete with almost $350,000 raised. Recently a mailing was sent to all members.

Over the past few months, the committee has posted several articles about what we’ve been doing including encouraging members to become life members. All money received from life memberships goes directly into the Sherman-Haughton Fund (formerly known as the Endowment Fund).

Why it’s needed
We hope you have read the material in the mailing and understand how important the campaign is to assure the continued success of the society. Our goal is to grow our existing financial “safety net” so that CGS will be prepared if we undergo challenging times as we did during the 2008 recession.  

Our goal to raise $1.2 million is an enormous endeavor.  We have confidence that our generous members will come forward with what they can donate to assist us in reaching this goal!

Here are some ways you can help us reach our goal:
  • Donate $1,000,000 and have the library named after you.  For example, it might be called The John & Mary Smith Library of the California Genealogical Society.
  • Contribute over $100,000 and you will have the opportunity to have your genealogical research done and/or published. If this is something you might consider, please contact Jane Lindsey.
  • Make a donation of $10,000. If 20 members gave $10,000 each, then that would raise $200,000.
  • Become a life member for $1,200. If 100 members become life members that would raise $120,000.
  • Donate $100. If all 1000 members gave $100, then that would raise $100,000.
  • Encourage others to join CGS. If we gained 100 basic memberships $4,000 would be raised.  If we gained 100 family memberships, we would have another $5,500.
Please remember that no contribution is too small!  We appreciate your support.  Thank you.

Capital Campaign committee
Chris Pattillo, Chair
Jane Lindsey
Sandy Fryer

Copyright © 2017 by California Genealogical Society

22 March 2017

Sex, Lies, and Genealogical Tape

With a title like that, what can a genealogist expect? Well, you can expect to receive intriguing ideas on how to approach your family history in a different way...

Here's what Ron Arons' June 24th class has to offer you: 
  • exposes you to the wide range of records that can be found regarding any individual
  • explains how you can assemble these documents/pieces into a logical puzzle which, in certain cases, can truly bring an ancestor back to life
  • helps you understand how to deal with wide discrepancies in data
Focusing on one individual is a very different approach to genealogy. In doing so, you get to know your ancestor in a very intimate manner. 

In Ron's case, by understanding the full life of his great-grandfather (he was a criminal, chameleon, and a comedian), he learned the meaning of various events that occurred in his own childhood. (My great-grandfather died years before I was born.) 

Ron jokingly and very seriously call this "extended psychotherapy" - very powerful stuff.  His lecture will showcase many new materials never shown to audiences in the past.

Ready to experience something totally different in genealogy? Register today!

Free for members or $30 for non-members.


Ron Arons has presented numerous times at RootsTech, SCGS Jamboree, the APG Professional Management Conference, IAJGS (14X), WhoDoYouThinkYouAre? LIVE! (England), and LegacyFamilyTree webinars. 

He has published three books including The Jews of Sing Sing and Mind Maps for Genealogy. Ron studied engineering at Princeton University and earned an MBA from the University of Chicago.

Copyright © 2017 by California Genealogical Society