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29 April 2017

New Genealogy Book Chronicles Nine Generations of an American Family’s History

by Georgia Lupinsky

We’re excited to announce that in June we are publishing the highly anticipated book, The Ancestors of Samuel Sterling Sherman and Mary Ware Allen.  It tells the stories of nine generations of former California Genealogical Society’s president, Frederick "Rick" S. Sherman’s family as they move from New England and Kentucky westward to California. Whether you love history, individual family stories or learning new research tips, or all three, we think this book has something to offer you. Whether a genealogist or not, readers will be moved by getting to know these diverse human beings. 

The California Genealogical Society published Mr. Sherman's incredible research effort as a fitting tribute to a man who gave to the society in so many ways as President, Chief Researcher, and Benefactor.  His efforts were suddenly cut short by his death in 2008.

“I can attest to the richness of Rick’s research and to the personal stories of his ancestors that he has uncovered. Among them is the story of an ancestor sea captain in the early 1800s attacked by pirates; of a minister who sailed from a religious convocation in Europe to America on the same boat as refugees from the Irish Potato Famine, praying with them as they lost their loved ones during the voyage. Many written accounts have survived and are included in his book, showing his ancestors joys and hardships and acts of bravery and charity. Through these stories we become witnesses to historical moments”, said co-chair of the Manuscript Collection, Georgia Lupinsky. 

Ministers, lawyers and politicians appear side-by-side with farmers, merchants and craftsmen, each with their own meticulously told stories, as Sherman unfolds his family saga.
What to expect
The text is richly supplemented with numerous original photos and portraits as well as excerpts from dozens of personal letters and journals, and contains a complete index and a list of all the materials in the Sherman Manuscript Collection. In addition, Sherman’s book is an excellent example for all those who want to know how to tell the story of their own families.

This wonderful paper trail includes numerous letters, diaries, speeches, articles and books. Rick’s great-grandfather, Samuel Sterling Sherman (1815-1914) was a noted educator and later successful businessman. He dictated his autobiography when he was 95, and then made an addendum four years later!

Ann Tufts, the “Mystery Woman”
Students of genealogy will be interested in Rick’s research tips that are interspersed throughout the book.  For example, he shares his methods of dealing with a “mystery woman” in his ancestry. Whether a genealogist or not, readers will be emotionally moved by getting to know these diverse human beings. 

California Stories
There are three compelling stories focused on California ancestors.  The first is Frederick S. Sherman’s maternal grandfather, Russell Carpenter Allen, who made his way to California by way of Panama in 1882.  With a partner, he traveled California extensively before settling in Dehesa, near the Sweetwater River in San Diego County. 

His first ranching venture was devoted to olives and raisins. In 1890 he took charge of a new citrus ranch in Bonita and this became the family home. His central contribution to economic life was the development of citriculture, both in agricultural and marketing methods. He was an active and well-known pioneer in San Diego County and a director of the Panama-California Exhibition of 1915 in San Diego and a Commissioner for the construction of the California Building which graces Balboa Park to this day.

Russell Carpenter Allen
The second ancestor profiled is Frederick S. Sherman’s maternal grandmother, Ella Bradford (Copeland) Allen. She came to Bonita after her marriage to Russell Carpenter Allen in 1888.  She was an active participant in the family fruit business, where they raised lemons, figs, guavas and olives. 

Her grandson fondly recalls “the gorgeous and delicious guava jelly she made, and the little kegs of hand-cured olives that she would pack and send to her children and grandchildren when they were away at college.” She was well known for her educational and philanthropic work with the Sweetwater Women’s Club, “Casa de Salud,” a well-baby clinic, and the National City Library Board.

Ella Bradford (Copeland) Allen
The third story focuses on Frederick S. Sherman’s father, Samuel Sterling Sherman.  He came with his family to the San Diego area in 1905. After World War I he decided to try citrus farming and was told to contact Mr. R.C. Allen of Bonita, manager of the Sweetwater Fruit Company. 

The most important effect of the meeting with Mr. Allen was becoming reacquainted with Allen’s daughter, Mary Ware Allen, whom Samuel married in 1924. “Their honeymoon was a rugged camping trip on San Pedro Martir, about two hundred miles down into Baja California. An album of photos of this trip, with a charming narrative written mostly by Sam, survives today.”  Sadly, Sam died in 1933 at age 35 from bronco-pneumonia, complicated by strep throat.
Samuel Sterling Sherman with his wife, Mary Ware Allen,
daughter Eleanor, and son, Frederick "Rick" S. Sherman
How we brought the book to life
Georgia is part of the team of dedicated volunteers that have worked tirelessly to bring this book to fruition.  Others include Jane Knowles Lindsey, Cathy Paris, Kathy Beals, Matt Berry, Shirley Thomson, and Marie Treleaven.

The book will be sold through our online publisher, Lulu, beginning in June.  We also plan to have a very limited amount of inventory available at the library.  If you have questions, please contact Georgia Lupinsky.

We hope you enjoy the book!

Copyright © 2017 by California Genealogical Society

28 April 2017

Life Story Writing, Enriching Your Family History

Ready to begin writing your family history?  Then join us May 27th from 1pm - 3pm at the California Genealogical Society’s Library in Uptown Oakland.

What’s it about?
Member Craig Siulinski will lead an engaging presentation that describes how writing your autobiography excerpts can enhance and enrich your family’s history. Free to members.  Register here.

What to expect
In addition to participating in a few exercises that jog the mind and memory, attendees will write a short piece on one life story theme. Writing tips will be discussed and every participant will receive an eBook. 

The main goal of this presentation is for participants to appreciate how genealogists writing their own autobiography excerpts can supplement and enrich their family histories. 

Come be a part of this fun learning experience---register today


Craig Siulinski is a teacher and writer as well as an avid genealogist. He holds a Master of Science degree in Education from Cal State University East Bay, and a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Southern Maine. Craig teaches K-12 education and is currently a Learning Specialist at Stanbridge Academy in San Mateo.

Documenting family stories and researching genealogy have been Craig’s passions since 2007. His first blog called August Legacy, is dedicated to his maternal grandfather, Auguste "Gus" Albert.

He has led classes and workshops to encourage others to use blogs for sharing their own family histories. In 2014, Craig created Sharing Legacies to help others tell and preserve their family stories for generations to come.

Copyright © 2017 by California Genealogical Society

6 Tips on Preserving Your Family’s Legacy

by Chris Pattillo

Are you beginning to think about where all of your cherished photos, letter, documents and other family mementos will one day find a home? 

As the Chair of the current Capital Campaign for The California Genealogical Society (CGS), I have been hearing this concern voiced by many of the donors that our committee members (myself, Jane Lindsey & Sandy Fryer) have met with recently.

With that in mind, here are 6 things you can get started on right now that will allow you to begin preserving and sharing your family’s story:

1.   Label Your Family Photos

We’ve all got that big, messy and intimidating box or boxes of old, unlabeled photos that we’re dreading tackling.  Sorting them would be a great opportunity to kick-off conversations with your family, especially the grandchildren, and help draw them into their own family's stories.

Check out this great article from the Ancestry Blog that gives you detailed instructions on how to accomplish this important task.

2. Buy the Right Tools
Photo courtesy of Chris Pattillo
We’ve all heard that having the right tools makes any job easier, right?  So, do yourself a favor and consider getting these two essential tools that allow your scanning and recording endeavors to be both mobile and easy to accomplish. 

I recommend a photo scanner and voice audio recorder.  You will need to budget about $150 currently for good quality items, but it’s really worth it.

I personally have a VuPoint Solutions Magic Wand portable scanner and an Olympus VN 702-PC digital recorder.  Both of which are available from Amazon at reasonable prices. 

I have been very satisfied with both since they have regularly handled all of my needs. When shopping, please be 
sure to buy devices that enable you to easily download files to your computer.

3. Scan Your Photo
You’ve got your scanner and you’ve labeled the photos, so next it’s time to digitally preserve them. When scanning an image, I use the JPEG format at 300 dpi.

In addition to the boxes of photos you’ve scanned, you more than likely also have images that are in photo albums or are framed.  What should you do?

Ideally you should remove photos from their frames before scanning, but sometimes you just can’t. In that situation I’ve scanned through the glass. The scan may not be perfect, but it’s better than not having any copy of the photo. Another option is to take a photograph of your photo with a camera. Again, this is not optimal, but it is better than nothing.

4. Share Your Photos
You’ve done the hard work of scanning and labeling, now share them and reap the benefits of getting help from other genealogists, family and friends.  You may have some photos that you can’t identify, but asking your network might yield positive results. 

A good place to start is Facebook.  Upload them to your Facebook page or your grandchild’s Facebook page (if you’re confident they will like it). 

Not interested in using social media?  Go low-tech and put the images on a flash drive and mail it to descendants.  Either way, you’ve distributed your treasures to those most likely to value them one day.

5. Collect and Explain Other Family Documents
Don’t forget about these other important sources of research material and keepsakes that you or other family members are likely to have in your possession.  By cataloguing these items, it might help tell a story about family members or places they have lived.  You’re providing context and this makes your story much more compelling to the next generation. 

Ideas for collection are family bibles, photo albums, old love letters, school records, newspaper clippings, business documents, yearbooks, and awards received.

6. Record Your Oral History
Imagine how you would feel if you could listen to a recording from your great grandmother and hear her tell you about what her life was like.  Wouldn’t that be amazing?

After purchasing a digital recorder (covered in Tip #2) you‘re ready to start. Even though you may not find your own life very interesting, someone will one day.  How to begin?  Start by telling your own personal life history.  Here are just a few ideas on how to create an amazing experience for your descendants:
  • If married or in a committed relationship, describe how you met your spouse or partner.
  • Describe your wedding.
  • Talk about how you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Ramadan or similar holiday.  
  • It is better to record in several short pieces, about 3 minutes in length---keep in mind that most people have short attention spans.

After completing the recordings, don’t forget to share your audio files via flash drive, your blog, personal website, etc.

There are many more ways to help you begin preserving your family’s legacy, but these 6 tips will get you started off on the right foot.

Future Planning
Remember that we have the expertise, resources and volunteers devoted to preserving your family legacy.  Let us help you accomplish your goals.

Currently, we’re developing a presentation that we hope to begin giving by the fall on preserving your family legacy.  In the meantime, if you have questions on this topic or anything related to our Capital Campaign, then please send either Jane Lindsey or myself an email.  We’d love to hear from you! Thank you.

Copyright © 2017 by California Genealogical Society