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27 March 2019

Our Library Collections: Nebraska

One of the more recent editions of Nebraska
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 in WorldCat.

I have been keen to review Nebraska since I started this series because my life partner Dianne is a native of Nebraska. She has no interest in genealogy but one can always hope. A search of the CGS catalog shows that we hold some 120 books and 112 journal articles on the subject of Nebraska, as well as two maps and a few miscellaneous items. Most of the books occupy three and a half shelves in the main stacks. These include two sets of journals - Nebraska History Magazine (1931-1974) and the Nebraska State Genealogical Society's Ancestree (1983-2017). They are followed by three state histories – one of which is slightly over 1,500 pages and so heavy I had to brace myself while lifting it down from the shelf.

We have three Who’s Who books, one of which consists entirely of head shots of individual Nebraska men and a list of their names. Sad to say, while flipping through this 300-page book with four images per page I did not see a single woman whom the authors felt worthy of inclusion.  

This beautiful rendering of the school building in
Tekamah can be found in Johnson's History of
Our Nebraska collection also has a few volumes that focus on individual counties. These include five volumes on Omaha and Douglas County. They include a two-volume set titled Omaha: The Gate City, and Douglas County, Nebraska dated 1917. The set covers an extensive breadth of Omaha history, including a chapter on "Parks and Boulevards," with brief descriptions of each of the twenty public parks and boulevards connecting them, plus a section on private pleasure grounds. This would be a tremendous source for anyone doing cultural landscape work. Other chapters offer subjects more directly tied to genealogical research.

One book that caught my eye was A. C. Edmunds' Pen Sketches of Nebraskans, published in 1871. It is a small, red-covered book that feels like a prayer book. The cover page is signed by Martha Turner from Lincoln, Nebraska. What follows is 500 pages of biographies for their state senators, state representatives and dozens of early citizens of the state.

Copyright © 2019 by California Genealogical Society

20 March 2019

Our Library Collections: Montana

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 found in WorldCat.

Browsing our library for books on Montana, I found a variety of books, including a state history and four volumes on Kiowa County.

Some of our library's Montana collection
One of our unusual books is devoted to X. Beidler: Vigilante. Part of the Western Frontier Library series, this is a reprint of the autobiography of Montana bandit John Xavier Beidler. It carries a foreword by Pulitzer Prize-winning author A.B. Guthrie, Jr. who writes, “In the incredible story of banditry and Vigilante justice in the Montana of the 1860s few men are at once so well known and so little known as one X. Beidler.” Why would anyone write a book about a vigilante? Paragraph two suggests an answer – “Today’s reader … is tantalized.” Of course, that is the reason I picked this particular book off the shelf. Why write a book if you can’t “tantalize” your reader and lure them to buy it? Though this volume may not shed light on your personal family history, it could be highly entertaining.

Shelby Backgrounds is a county history
The cover of Shelby Backgrounds features a sketch of Shelby Junction, an important station on the Great Northern Railroad in 1891. The book was researched and written by the Shelby History Group of the Montana Institute of the Arts. I was expecting to find a collection of sketches and content that focused on different aspects of Montana arts. Instead, I found a more traditional Tooele County history covering ranchers and cowboys, Shelby businesses, and doctors, schools, churches, newspapers and even an opera troupe. There is a lengthy foreword that covers the history of the county, followed by a series of essays written by individuals. 

Jo Rainbolt's book recounts
stories from Montana's older but
wiser residents
An Elephant in Every Yard by Jo Rainbolt was the last book to pique my interest – how could it not? This book is a compilation of newspaper columns published in the daily Missoulian from 1977-79. Each profiles a different elderly resident from Missoula. Rainbolt was a believer in the concept “older is wiser” and sought to demonstrate that in her weekly series. If one of your ancestors happened to be one of her subjects this book could be a great find. If not, it offers heartwarming stories for your pleasure reading. 

Copyright © 2019 by California Genealogical Society

12 March 2019

Changes at the Nugget

The first issue of The California Nugget, published in Spring 2009

It was 10 years ago this spring that our biannual magazine The California Nugget was launched under the direction of the late Jane Hufft. We hope you all are looking forward to the forthcoming Spring 2019 issue!
There’s been some recent reorganization. Janice Sellers, who assumed the post of editor in the fall of 2016, saw the publication through the Society’s 120th anniversary year in 2018 even as she relocated to Portland, Oregon. We appreciate her leadership over the past two years.

At this time, Nugget assistant editor Stacy Hoover and CGS blog editor Jennifer Dix have agreed to act as co-editors. They are joined by a talented team that includes Marie Treleavan and Barbara Kridl; Lois Elling continues to provide her incomparable layout skills. 

Thanks to everyone who’s provided us with first-rate content, feedback, and encouragement! As always, we welcome submissions for consideration in future issues. (Click HERE for submission guidelines.)

Copyright © 2019 by California Genealogical Society

06 March 2019

Our Library Collections: Mississippi

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.

American Red Cross Nurses in Yazoo County, Mississippi
Our Mississippi collection is comparatively small.  It starts with the Journal of Mississippi History, covering the period 1948 to 1969. This is followed by compilations of court records, censuses, and other vital records published by a local genealogy society.

Abstract of Goodspeed’s Mississippi by Norman E. Gillis was published in 1962. This book abstracts the Goodspeed Brothers' 1891 Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Mississippi for brief alphabetical biographies of about 25,000 individuals from 19th-century Mississippi families, from Abby to Ziegler, in 685 pages. These memoirs give an “authentic and comprehensive account of the chief events in the history of the state and a record of the lives of many of the most worthy and illustrious families and individuals.”

WPA guide for Mississippi
Some of the oldest records I’ve found so far during this blog series can be found in Amite County Mississippi 1699-1890. We own volume 3 of the 4-volume series. published in 1957 by Albert E. Casey The book's 46 chapters cover county marriage records, deeds, estate documents, businesses, military history, wills, and family histories. This is another dense tome totaling 750 pages.

Anyone with Mississippi ancestors will be pleased to learn that our library includes Mississippi: The WPA Guide to the Magnolia State.  This is a travel guide-style book that focuses on “Deep South folkways …. Frontier hamlets, vanishing homesteads, and burgeoning communities …” The original book was written by the Federal Writers’ Project of the Works Progress Administration in 1938. It is one of a series of guides created at that time and was considered “one of the New Deal’s most innovative programs.” The bulk of the book consists of tours of different parts of the state.

Yazoo County Story
You’re in luck if you have ancestors from Mississippi's Yazoo County,  because we have a well-illustrated, yearbook-style county history published in 1958. This was a joint effort between the Yazoo Historical Association, their local chapter of the DAR, the Yazoo Junior Auxilary, and the Yazoo Chamber of Commerce.

Copyright © 2019 by California Genealogical Society

04 March 2019

Updates: Recent Progress; New Membership Rates Beginning June 1st

Past President Steve Harris and others
at this year's annual meeting
Chris Pattillo reports:

As you should know by now if you are a regular blog reader CGS has a new Strategic Plan. I’ve written about this a few times and mentioned some of the new things that are being planned. One of the first priorities is to update our website. I am happy to report that we have assembled a fabulous committee to work on this and that we have made excellent progress.

Jane Lindsey and board member Felicia Addison have jumped right in on our new Training program. I attended the first session with the Desk Volunteers (aka Desk Duty, aka Desk Divas) last week and was very impressed with what Jane and Felicia have started.

Our committees have a new format for reporting their activities and needs to the Board of Directors which is intended to increase and improve communication both ways.

Rich Kehoe introducing new board members
Georgia Lupinsky published her first article in this blog from our Manuscripts Committee with a great tale about how a woman’s dream saved her life; a story that came out of using our new finding aids. This too is an outcome of the strategic planning efforts.

One of the other changes that will go into effect on June 1st are modest changes to our Membership Rates so if you have been thinking about joining the society and want to get a good deal – don’t wait. Now is the time to join at our current rates.

In June the cost of a Basic Membership will increase from $40 to $45 annually and from $75 to $85 for a two-year subscription. Still a bargain. Family Memberships will increase by $20 per year. We changed the Student Membership category to a “Youth Membership” to avoid the hassle of having to have proof of being a student. The cut off for being considered a youth is 30. The fee for a Youth Membership will increase from $20 to $25.

The only substantial change we’ve made is to clarify that a Life Membership is for one person. But, if a partner in a couple also wants to be a Life Member, the two can join for an additional $600 which is half price.
The Annual Membership meeting in January
The other categories of membership are not being changed.

We hope you will agree that the value of your membership is well worth the cost and that you will continue to participate actively in the society so you can take advantage of the many things we offer – great classes, field trips, research trips, membership meetings, and opportunities to work with other members on projects.

Copyright © 2019 by California Genealogical Society

03 March 2019

"Finding Your Japanese Roots" with Linda Okazaki: March 10

Linda Harms Okazaki
The current U.S. population comprises nearly 1.5 million persons of Japanese descent, and their rich and complex history informs the story of America. On Sunday, March 10, CGS past president Linda Harms Okazaki returns with her presentation, “Finding Your Japanese Roots in the US & in Japan.” Linda is a fourth-generation Californian married to a man of Japanese descent. She has been researching her husband's and children's ancestry since 2012, documenting family in the internment camps and in Japan. She helps organize the annual Nikkei Pilgrimage for CGS and is a charter member of the Nikkei Genealogical Society. Linda currently serves at the past president of the California Genealogical Society and is a board member of the Nichi Bei Foundation. Her column, “Finding Your Nikkei Roots,” is published bimonthly in the NichiBei Weekly.  

Bring a lunch and come early
for socializing!
This seminar, which runs 1-4 p.m., is suitable for beginners as well as more experienced researchers. Attendees are encouraged to bring a lunch and come early (noon), in order to meet other seminar participants and discuss their Japanese-American history.

The first half of the seminar will focus on background and research in the United States and covers topics including:

   - the political climate and pertinent U.S. laws
   - internment camps
    - post WWII experience
    - repatriation and redress

The second half of the seminar will concern research in Japan:

   - finding your koseki
   - understanding ohaka and kakocho
   - visiting relatives, cemeteries and temples

To register, go to our EventBrite listing.

Copyright © 2019 by California Genealogical Society