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28 November 2018

CGS Library Collections: Idaho

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 included in WorldCat.


Why is Judge Judy's photo on the cover page of
Memories of Market Lake?
What is Judge Judy’s connection to Idaho? Memories of Market Lake, Vol. V is a picture book about Idaho written by Wm. Stibal Pettite and published in 2002. Subjects covered include Idaho Movie Stars, Sorrowful Events, Bingham County, Eagle Rock’s Forgotten Pioneer, Old Time Cars, Farm & Ranch Days, Beaver Canyon, and much more. The book is packed with historic photos, including a photo of Judge Judy on the title page. If you want to find out why you’ll just have to visit the library to read the book.

Our Idaho collection has thirteen books and one box of the Idaho Genealogical Society Quarterly from 1986 – 1996. There are five volumes of Idaho Surnames that were indexed by the Genealogical Forum of Portland, Oregon. For most persons listed only minimal information is provided but for some, a short bio is included.

Photos of old cars in Memories of Market Lake
For general knowledge about the state, we have a three-volume set History of Idaho: A Narrative Account of Its Historical Progress, Its People and Its Principal Interests, written by Hiram T. French, M.S. in 1914. These are books that feel good in your hands. They are leather bound, have marbled page edges, and are hefty, weighing about five pounds each. The table of contents is extensive and there are good illustrations.


A resource book on Boise
One of the newest books in the set was published in 2006. It is Boise, Idaho 1882-1910: Prosperity in Isolation by Carol Lynn MacGregor. Chapters cover The Land, Native People, and Settlers; Transportation, Irrigation, and City Development; Business and Commerce; Government and Politics; Progressive Social Institutions; and Leisure, the Arts, and Religion. The back cover synopsis explains how Boise became a vibrant city even though it was not located on the main railroad line. “Investigating everything from racism and prostitution to hospitals, hotels, and high society, MacGregor takes the reader on an in-depth tour of how this distinctive western city developed.” This is a well-annotated book no doubt packed with useful information about Idaho.

Copyright © 2018 by California Genealogical Society

20 November 2018

CGS Library Collections: Hawaii

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 included in WorldCat.

Screen shot of the WorldCat online library catalog on
our CGS website

I recently visited the library to work on this blog post for Hawaii and I learned a lot while I was there. The first thing I learned is that not all states have a section devoted to them on the library shelves. For those who don’t already know this, there are maps posted on the ends of each of the shelves in our library. The states that are found on that shelf have been colored in on these maps and the names of the states are listed with their call numbers. It makes it very easy to find the state you are looking for. I could not find Hawaii colored in on any shelf, so I asked Arlene Miles, our current Library Committee Chair, where to find our Hawaii books. Arlene replied, “Did you look in our catalog?” That’s the response Arlene gives to many of my questions – rightly so.

I dutifully went to the CGS website and selected “Library Catalog” from the blue box on the left. That action took me to a search box on the World Catalog better known as WorldCat. This is just what it says – an online catalog that shows us what books on a particular subject are in the catalog and where you can find them. When you select Library Catalog the first thing that pops up asks, “Not familiar with WorldCat? Watch this video.” Following that link will open a video that illustrates how to use the catalog. Or, you can just enter a search term like “Hawaii,” hit the blue “Search” button and see what you get. On our website, the default is set to show you what books are housed in the CGS collection, so when I hit the search button it told me we have 51 books with something about Hawaii in them. If you want to know where else in the world you might find genealogical material, in case you are planning a trip, you can use the “Search Tool” to select “Libraries Worldwide.”Doing that will tell you there are 706,406 books with Hawaiian content in the world. WorldCat lists each item and tells you all the places you can find it.
WorldCat Search box 

Fortunately, there are other search tools that will enable you to focus the hunt. You can search by format: books, articles, items on microfilm or journals; or by author, time period, or a number of topics including “genealogy.” This online catalog is available to anyone who visits our website – not just members.

Some WorldCat search tools
Once you’ve found an item you think might be useful you can click on the book title and view more information as well as a list of all the places the book is available.

I also learned more about using our vertical files collection. One of the first items listed for Hawaii is “A Genealogy of the Wilder Family of Hawaii,” printed in 1916 by the Hawaiian Historical Society. This is a seven-page booklet housed in our vertical files. The catalog provided the exact file number so finding it was very easy. Another document in our vertical files was “Thirty Turley Cousins: Grandchildren of Independence Turley and Dora Estelle Hill of Howard County, Arkansas”. Turns out one of the cousins lived in Hawaii in 1968 when the family history was written and that is why it appears in a Hawaii search.
Wilder Family Genealogy in the vertical files
I found one of our Hawaii books housed with directories in the “L” section of the library. We have two volumes of “School Directory State of Hawaii 1961-1963.” These paperback books list the names of all the school personnel, and they identify the special schools available in Hawaii including private schools, sewing schools, commercial and marketing schools, cosmetology and hairdressing schools, and other professional and technical schools.

One of our books that sparked my interest is “Julia Morgan Architect of Beauty” by Mark Wilson. While this book features mostly Bay Area buildings it also includes the Homelani Columbarium, the Honolulu YWCA building and the Iolani Palace that Morgan designed for Hawaii.

The last book I sought for this post led me to our CS section where family genealogies reside. There I found a two-volume set of “Peter and Mary Thomas Their Ancestors and Descendants” compiled by George Mower Hargrave in 1950.  Volume 2 is a Supplement dated 1963. Volume one is a First Edition mimeographed book that was dedicated to the author’s father, John Wilson Hargrave. This is a traditional family genealogy – the kind we all dream of finding for our own family. It is packed with facts about twelve generations of the family and well organized, with an index.
Honolulu YWCA designed by Julia Morgan

For most of the books and articles I glanced at, Hawaii was not the primary focus of the item. For example, Mark Wilson’s book is really about the architecture of Julia Morgan and there just happens to be three buildings she designed in Hawaii, so it makes sense that it is shelved with other books on architecture and not with other state collections.

Back home, I spent some more time perusing the listings in the CGS collection for Hawaii. Doing so takes more time than standing in front of the shelf and glancing at book titles printed on the binding. Using the catalog also lacks the visceral response to seeing and touching the actual books with their bright colors, leather covers, embossed imprints, gilded page edges, etc. It is definitely a different experience – far less satisfying. On the other hand, it can be done in the middle of the night from my comfy chair and avoids paying for parking.

Copyright © 2018 by California Genealogical Society

16 November 2018

Seeking CGS Board Nominations


We are currently accepting nominations for the CGS Board of Directors. Requirements include attending monthly meetings and a willingness to chair a committee. Term is two years.

This is a chance to join a great team of people and help steer our organization into the future.

All suggestions should be emailed no later than Tuesday, November 27th to Nomination Committee chair Richard Kehoe ([email protected]org).


Copyright © 2018 by California Genealogical Society

11 November 2018

A sanctuary from the fires

Veterans' Section, Paradise Cemetery
Member Lorna Jones noticed a poignant detail in the coverage of the fires devastating California this week: in the town of Paradise, resident Mark Kirby found shelter in the historic cemetery. As reported in the Washington Post:

The lifelong Paradise resident had woken to the unnatural darkness outside at 8:30 a.m., and loaded up his trailer. He ended up parking in a cemetery in town — a “large area of green,” he said, where he felt he had room to move if he needed to, despite warnings from fire crews.

"I was totally surrounded at one point," he said. He spent the night there safely; the cemetery was relatively untouched.


It's a bittersweet story in the midst of our ongoing tragedy.

Copyright © 2018 by California Genealogical Society

10 November 2018

CGS Library Collections: Georgia

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 included in WorldCat.


Some of the 24 volumes of The Colonial Records
Now that I’ve gotten to the CGS library collection for the State of Georgia I feel like I want to find a Georgia ancestor – because our collection is so extensive. Our books start with twenty-four volumes of The Colonial Records of the State of Georgia by Allen D. Candler. These volumes have vibrant royal blue covers and cover the fifty years between 1732 and 1782. Frustratingly there is no table of contents or an index so I cannot easily share with you what is covered in the set. You will just have to visit our library and peruse these volumes on your own.

A few of the journals in our collection
When you come to the library you will be thrilled to find six full shelves of books for Georgia including several county books. We have three sets of journals for the periods 1968 to 2015, 1971 to 1998 and 1964 to 1972 – these no doubt cover the period when the donor was actively researching his or her genealogy.


There is a three-volume set titled The Georgia Frontier: Colonial Families to the Revolutionary War Period by Jeannette Holland Austin. Published in 2005, this book provides hundreds of family histories listed by family name and county. It starts with the Adams family of Chattooga County and provides short bios for Edwin and Hopewell Adams and each of their children. The entire text of how Hopewell’s estate was to be distributed is transcribed. These volumes are well indexed.

One of our more unusual books
Cover page of The Georgia Black Book
One book that intrigued me is The Georgia Black Book: Morbid, Macabre, and Sometimes Disgusting Records of Genealogical Value by Robert Scott Davis, Jr.  That title alone should be enough to draw you into the library if you have Georgia ancestors, and maybe even if you don’t have Georgia ancestors. The table of contents lists chapters on Horse Thieves and Other Charming People; Liars; Convicts; Murders, Murderers, and Murder Victims; Convicts; Insane Asylum Inmates; Racial Incidents; More Murders, Murderers, and Murder Victims; and finally Other Sources Equally Disgusting. Out of curiosity, I read the “About the Author” chapter suspecting he was the great-grandson of a notorious Georgia criminal who went insane but instead learned that he is simply a passionate historian who is concerned about preserving historical records – just our kind of guy. 

We have several volumes of Historical Collections compiled by the DAR. There are bible records, a will index, marriage and church records, tax records, censuses, and one book on intestate records published in 1986 – this is an excellent collection of resources.

Copyright © 2018 by California Genealogical Society

01 November 2018

In Memoriam: Gaye Lenahan, 1931-2018

Gaye Lenahan in 2010. Photo: Lacy Atkins, San Francisco Chronicle
Gaye Lenahan, a longtime CGS member and volunteer, passed away at home on October 29, 2018. Her contributions to CGS, her community, and other organizations are too numerous to list, but she was widely beloved and appreciated. Gaye was a docent for 20 years at Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland, and in 2010 published her extensive research on the cemetery's "Strangers' Plot," which served as the burial place for indigents, unknowns, suicides and criminals from 1863 until World War I. Gaye was featured in a Chronicle article on the subject. Kathryn Doyle's post in this blog gives more information about Gaye's diligent work on this little-known resting place.

Gaye's family wrote in her obituary, "She will be remembered by all who knew her as a kind, generous and brave spirit who did her part to leave the world a little better place." The full obituary from the San Francisco Chronicle can be read online here.


Copyright © 2018 by California Genealogical Society