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04 October 2019

Our Library Collections: Family Histories

One of hundreds of family history books at the
CGS library
Dear blog readers: due to an editorial error, the next post in this series by Chris Pattillo was posted out of order. 

Here is the first in a continuing series highlighting some of our holdings at the Library in Oakland.  For a fuller listing of books, journals, and more, consult the CGS Library catalog in WorldCat.


For those who have enjoyed reading the series about our state collections and were disappointed that it would end with my post about Wyoming, I am happy to tell you that I am not finished yet. There is much more in our library to tell everyone about. This post features our large Family Histories section.

Our Family History books occupy the shelves behind the bank of patron computers plus the shelves beyond the computers against the wall. In total there are over 120 shelves of family history books. The section begins with an eighteen-volume set of Historical Southern Families and also has several books about presidential families – their ancestors and descendants. I found a two-volume set among these that piqued my interest – Southside Virginia Families by John Bennett Boddie. My Pattillo ancestors lived in southside Virginia so I hoped to find a tidbit or two for my own family but was disappointed. I did find references to a second great uncle and three first cousins 3x removed in The Descendants of the Presidents by R. Whitney Tucker. They were descendants of President Andrew Johnson.

I found a few of  my distant relations in this book
Our shelves also offer The “Connection” In East Tennessee by Olga Jones Edwards and Izora Waters Frizzell. My James Pattillo married Carrie Stover from East Tennessee so this too was worth looking at. I found no Stovers in this book but I did find information on familiar allied families. My point in telling you these details is not to flaunt my personal family history, but rather to demonstrate that you might be surprised to find relevant information about your own family in unexpected places, so you need to think creatively about where to look.

Then we have numerous family histories arranged alphabetically by surname. The Families of Abbe and Abbey – another donation from George Dorman – is an impressive 500-page reference published in 1916. It starts with a chapter on John Abbe of Salem and Wenham, followed by eight chapters taking us through nine generations of his family. There are also chapters on Unconnected Lines, the 1790 Census and Revolutionary Soldiers. The index for this book is sixty-six pages long, so very complete.

Abbe is followed by fifteen books on the Adams family name. The range of what is available in our Family History section varies. Some Early American Ancestors of The Adams Family is a twenty-nine-page spiral-bound book that covers eleven generations. Obviously, there is much less detail than the Abbe book but it does include three fold-out fan charts that present a lot of information in a concise and very legible format.
This little gem was published in 2011 by Peter Adamson Meredith
Our collection also includes some charming self-published jewels like Jemina: An Incomplete Story. Author Peter Adamson Meredith used MyPublisher in 2011 to produce a little 5x7 hardcover book with text, color and black-and-white photos and a tiny but readable four-generation descendants chart.

Our Family Histories collection concludes with three books on the Zumwalt family name. We have Paul L. Reed's The Andrew Zumwalt Family, Volume One: The First Four Generations of Zumwalts in America and two copies of George R. Zumwalt's Zumwalt Family History. Both of these books provide more than just names and milestone dates. Each includes short narratives about each entry.
Our 18-volume set on Historical Southern Families 
Obviously, there is a lot to be found between Abbe and Zumwalt, so next time you find yourself in downtown Oakland you might plan to stop by the library and see what gems we may have to help with your family research. We look forward to seeing you there soon.

Copyright © 2019 by California Genealogical Society

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