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30 October 2018

CGS Library Collections: Florida

One in a series by CGS member Chris Pattillo, highlighting some of our holdings at the Library in Oakland. For a fuller listing of our books, journals, and more, consult the CGS Library catalog. Our catalog is also listed in WorldCat.

An assortment of The Florida Genealogist journals
Our Florida collection is limited to five boxes of journals – The Florida Genealogist, published by the Florida State Genealogical Society. Our copies run from Fall 1979 through December 2013.

Glancing at the most recent edition reveals an assortment of very interesting articles.
The first is about genealogical resources available at the State Library and Archives. Another appealing story has a tantalizing title, What To Do With a Steamer Trunk of Memories?

A third essay, by Amy Crabill Lay, Pioneer Committee Chair, describes in detail how to prepare a successful application for the Florida Pioneer lineage society. Clyde Pierce Stickney wrote Using Family Occupations as a Lens for Studying Local History: A Case Study for Key West, Florida. The author writes about his ancestors who salvaged shipwrecks, worked as lighthouse keepers, made cigars, were sponge fishermen, and worked for the railroad – quite an interesting combination of trades.
From an article about the Florida State Archives

Each of these articles appealed to me. No telling what you might find if you spend some time looking through our Florida collection.

Copyright © 2018 by California Genealogical Society

24 October 2018

CGS Library Collections: Delaware

One in a series by CGS member Chris Pattillo, highlighting some of our holdings at the Library in Oakland. For a fuller listing of our books, journals, and more, consult the CGS Library catalog. Our catalog is also listed in WorldCat.

Delaware Archives Military Volumes 1-3

The first three volumes of our twenty-four book Delaware collection are Delaware Archives, an impressive set of Revolutionary War military records published by the Public Archives Commission of Delaware in 1911. The records are organized by war rolls and regiments and contain a tremendous amount of detail.

We have two volumes of New York Historical Manuscripts: Dutch–Delaware Papers, 1648-1664. These were a gift from Stanley E. Ross. This specialized source is a collection of documents pertaining to the regulation of affairs on the South River of New Netherland. It was edited by Charles T. Gehring published in 1981. The book lacks a table of contents but is well indexed.

Silversmiths of Delaware 1700-1850
The Calendar of Kent County Delaware Probate Records 1680-1800 was compiled by the state archivist and published by the Public Archives Commission in 1944. The foreword tells us, “This publication marks the culmination of careful and arduous work in classifying, collating, and calendarizing the probate records of Kent County, Delaware.”

We also have several books published by the Colonial Dames of America including A Calendar of Delaware Wills for New Castle County 1682-1800, published in 1911.  Silversmiths of Delaware 1700-1850, published in 1939, has beautiful photographs of Colonial silver objects.

Delaware records compiled in 2006
One of our newest Delaware source books is Delaware Marriages and Deaths from Newspapers 1729-1853, edited by Mary Fallon and John C. Richards and published in 2006. Entries are listed alphabetically by surname and were originally compiled by the Delaware Genealogical Society. Over 10,000 names are included in the publication.

So, Delaware descendants, next time you are in Oakland, stop by to delve into all this data.

Copyright © 2018 by California Genealogical Society

19 October 2018

October Membership Meeting

Past President Jane Lindsey with Linda Longley
Linda Longley was the headliner at the October 13 Membership meeting. She wowed us with a detailed description of her approach to researching and writing her recently self-published Langley & Longley Family, Biographical Directory. Linda is a longtime member of CGS and also a past historian of the Mayflower Society. Linda’s background in marketing and experience working with databases gave her a head start in tackling this comprehensive research project. We were all impressed by the amount of data and diligence that went into recording it in multiple Excel spreadsheets. The book includes three generations of Langley/Longleys from New Hampshire starting with James born in 1680, his eight children, and their descendants. Linda started the project in 2010 with three goals, one of which was to finish the project in two years. She missed her goal by six years but the results are well worth it. Linda has donated a copy of her book to our library. It is also available at Amazon.

Thank you, Linda, for an excellent presentation.

Jane Lindsey gave an update of things that are happening at CGS. Maureen Hanlon reviewed our upcoming programs and Chris Pattillo talked briefly about the 2018 Strategic Plan with specific details on plans for updating our website.

Wrapping up the quarterly Membership Meeting, Volunteer Coordinator Kathleen Beitiks announced recipients of the 2018 Genie Awards - presented to volunteers who “make magic happen” at the CGS.

Kathleen Beitiks with Genie recipient Maureen Hanlon
Awardees this year are facilitators and organizers of CGS Special Interest Groups (SIGs), honored for their work in aiding CGS members with genealogy related research: Lavinia Schwarz and Arlene Georgia Miles (Roots Magic), Sandra Britt-Huber (San Francisco), Ron Madson and Karen Halfon (Family Tree Maker), Vicky Kolakowski and Craig Siulinski (Eastern Europe) and Maureen Hanlon (Irish Ancestor Network - Facebook). Information about SIG meeting dates can be found in the monthly CGS eNews.

Thanks to all who planned and attended the meeting. Mark your calendars for the Annual Membership Meeting on January 12, 2019!

Kathleen Beitiks planned the Genies and brought cake!

Copyright © 2018 by California Genealogical Society

17 October 2018

CGS Library Collections: Connecticut

Copies of The Connecticut Nutmegger
range from 1968 to 2009.

One in a series by CGS member Chris Pattillo, highlighting some of our holdings at the Library in Oakland. For a fuller listing of our books, journals, and more, consult the CGS Library catalog. Our catalog is also listed in WorldCat

Our Connecticut collection is large. It occupies fourteen and a half shelves. There are several Who's Who-type books, histories of Connecticut, and many books devoted to individual counties. If you have Connecticut ancestors you are certain to find something of interest.

The collection includes a great number of historical society journals. The largest collection of these is the Connecticut Nutmegger which fills two and a half shelves. Our set starts with Volume 1 in 1968–the year the Connecticut Society of Genealogists began. The most current volume we have is Volume 41 Number 4 from March 2009.

The history of the design of Bushnell Park
is explained in a 1982 edition of
The Connecticut Historical Society journal
The next journal collection we have is The Connecticut Historical Society Bulletin from October 1953 to July 1982. The cover photo of the most recent volume shows a photograph of Bushnell Park in Hartford. As a landscape architect, my interest was piqued. The article dispels the false notion that the park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and ultimately gives credit to Gervaise Wheeler, who won a design competition sponsored by the city. In the end, though, Wheeler’s design proved too expensive and the city ordered that the final design incorporate features of the top two submissions.
(It is not uncommon for Olmsted to be credited with works designed by others–Golden Gate Park, designed by John McClaren, is frequently credited to Olmsted.)

We have a few copies of Connecticut Genealogy News from 2008 and 2009, and a tattered set of The Connecticut Magazine beginning in September 1899. The latter magazine is well illustrated and somewhat surprisingly includes advertising.

The Barbour Collection of Connecticut Town Vital Records
We have the entire 55 volumes of The Barbour Collection of Connecticut Town Vital Records, compiled between 1994 and 2000 by Lorraine Cook White. It's a transcription of many Connecticut vital records (birth, marriage, death) from 1630 to 1850, arranged in alphabetical order by town.

A portrait of Henry Newton, one of the
biographical subjects of the History
of the State of Connecticut
There's also the Genealogical and Family History of the State of Connecticut, a four-volume set donated by Edith Atherton Vaughan Lindenberger. The set was published in 1911 under the auspices of some of the state's leading historians and genealogists. It professes to present “an amount and variety of genealogical and personal information and portraiture unequaled by any kindred publication.”

Copyright © 2018 by California Genealogical Society

10 October 2018

CGS Library Collections: Colorado

One of several Who's Who-style books in
our Colorado collection
One in a series by CGS member Chris Pattillo, highlighting some of our holdings at the Library in Oakland. For a fuller listing of our books, journals, and more, consult the CGS Library catalog. Our catalog is also listed in WorldCat.

After California, Colorado was a breeze. Our collection includes fifteen print books and two boxes of The Colorado Genealogist – a Quarterly Publication of the Colorado Genealogical Society from 1974 to 2003. The first tome to catch my eye was a dense turquoise-covered volume titled Colorado Families: A Territorial Heritage published in 1981 by the Colorado Genealogical Society. This book offers a short early Colorado history and 629 pages of family histories. For example, the Samuel and Caroline (Smith) Andrew family begins on page 14 and continues to page 33. Each individual has a biography and the names of their children are listed. 173 members of the Andrew family are featured in the book along with many other families. The book is well indexed.

I found three Who’s Who-style books and was not surprised to find the now very familiar George R. Dorman bookplate on the inside cover of Who’s Who In Colorado, which resembles a Bible with its black, leather-bound cover. The volume was published in 1938 and offers biographies of “Leaders in Business, Professional and Public Life.” The book content is organized by county and includes a short county history at the beginning of each section followed by short individual biographies. The index lists each county but not the individuals.

Another Dorman donation is The Glory That Was Gold – Central City Opera House first published in 1932. With that title, one would think it was a book about the opera house or about the impact of gold mining on the state, but it is actually another book devoted mostly to biographies of prominent Colorado citizens.

A student text written jointly with the State
Historical Society of Colorado
This student text includes a chapter on Indian Sign language
The last book I checked was a colorful picture book: Colorado: Crossroads of The West by Matthew T. Downey and Fay D. Metcalf. This is actually an elementary school history textbook first published in the 1970s and used to teach students about the different people and cultures that inhabited the state of Colorado. It is very well illustrated and has some interesting subject matter like a chapter on Indian sign language.

Copyright © 2018 by California Genealogical Society

05 October 2018

Genealogical Proof Standard Flowchart!

Anyone who is serious about genealogical research has heard of the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS), first issued in 2000 by the Board for Certification of Genealogists. The GPS's five components, from "reasonably exhaustive research" to a "soundly written conclusion" serve as a guide for best practice in the field.

Recently, genealogy blogger Marc McDermott, author of Genealogy Explained, put out this handy and attractive flowchart illustrating the GPS process. He had the assistance of two of the biggest names in genealogy: Elizabeth Shown Mills and Thomas W. Jones. The chart illustrates the thought process that needs to go into applying the GPS, with some of the most common pitfalls and dead ends. Readers are already clamoring for him to make it available as a poster. That's not currently offered, but McDermott is generously making it available to all through his website. I've printed out my own copy and have it hanging over my desk for handy reference!

Copyright © 2018 by California Genealogical Society

03 October 2018

CGS Library Collections: California, Part 3

George Richard Dorman, donor of many
of the books in our California collection
Last in Chris Pattillo's 3-part series about the library's California Collection. For a fuller listing of our books, journals, and more, consult the CGS Library catalog. Our catalog is also listed in WorldCat.

As mentioned at the start of this series, our library's largest collection is California materials. As always, offsite visitors can browse the catalog on our website to get a sense of the holdings. It is far too extensive to describe in detail, but here are some highlights.

Many of the books in our California collection were donated by George R. Dorman. They are easy to spot – each book is marked on the bound edge with a letter “D.” A blog post by Kathryn Doyle dated 31 March 2008 tells us that we received his collection in 1984 and that it was the single largest book donation to the library. Kathryn noted, “Mr. Dorman, a CGS member for 47 years, served in various capacities on the Society’s Board. A dedicated genealogist, his research on the signers of the California Constitutional Convention was published as a long-running series in the Society’s newsletter and later in The Nugget.”

One of many high-quality portraits
in the CGS collection

One of the things that stands out about the Dorman collection is the large number of "Who’s Who"-type books. Many of these provide substantial biographies of important California citizens (almost all men), and they include beautiful, high-quality portraits of the subject with their signature. If you have an ancestor of some prominence in California, there is a reasonably good chance you'll find information about that person in our library.

Although not about California, the 226-volume American
 Genealogical Biographical Index is housed
in the "California Room."
Other books in this collection include many indexed vital records that have been compiled by CGS members. For example, there are twenty-two volumes of San Francisco Call, Vital Records of Births, Marriages, and Deaths starting in 1899 and continuing to 1907. Also, copies of our published volumes – San Francisco Probate 1906-1942, Raking the Ashes and the four-volume set of San Francisco Deaths 1865-1905. We have a twelve-volume set of Vital Records from the San Francisco Bulletin

California has fifty-eight counties, and our library has books on fifty-seven of them. Anyone want to donate a book on Mono County so we’ll be at 100 percent?

In addition, we have a fairly large collection of books about individual cities. These include multiple books for Berkeley, Oakland, Livermore, Los Angeles, Pasadena, Sacramento, San Francisco, and San Diego. We have five full shelves of books on San Francisco.

Don't forget the many state maps kept in our map drawer, and the oversize books found along the back wall. Come on in and explore!

San Francisco books occupy five shelves
in the California Room
Copyright © 2018 by California Genealogical Society

01 October 2018

Rare footage of post-quake 1906 San Francisco

A still from film footage of devastation after the 1906 earthquake.
Photo: Jason Wright, Silver Shadows Daguerrotypes.
Digitized by David Kiehn,

As the anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake looms this month, it seems appropriate to pause and consider our state's long history of seismic activity. Our knowledge of quakes prior to the 20th century is scant, as the oral tradition of indigenous peoples was largely lost after the arrival of Europeans, and the records kept by the Spanish missionaries and later explorers through the 18th and 19th centuries are spotty. It wasn't until the catastrophic San Francisco earthquake on April 18, 1906, that the United States established the Coast and Geodetic Survey to track and research earthquake activity.

In 2017, collector David Silver made an almost miraculous find at a San Francisco flea market: a long-lost roll of film showing San Francisco immediately after the 1906 quake. Amazingly, the 9-minute reel was intact, although at the time Silver came across it, the seller was holding the fragile, highly flammable nitrate film and "looking through a length of it with a lit cigarette hanging from his lips," as Silver told SFGate.  

The footage of a devastated city was shot by the Miles Brothers and pairs with their most famous work, "A Trip Down Market Street," shot from a cable car just days before the earthquake. Film historian historian David Kiehn made a digital copy of the footage, which was screened at several venues this past spring. It will be shared publicly online through the Library of Congress. You can get a glimpse of it here:

The release of the footage was reported in many news outlets. Our thanks to Dick Eastman, who wrote of the find in his blog, where it came to our attention.

Copyright © 2018 by California Genealogical Society