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29 February 2008

43rd Carnival of Genealogy - Technology

One of the many new wonders I have discovered since entering the world of genea-blogging is the Carnival of Genealogy which is a collection of blog posts around a designated theme.

I've decided to jump on the carousel this month and describe my three technology picks. Carnival hostess, Jasia, asks: "What technology do you most rely on for your genealogy and family history research? Select one piece of hardware (besides your computer), one piece of software (besides your internet browser), and one web site/blog (besides your own) that are indispensable to you. Resist the urge to dilute the impact of your 3 choices by mentioning several others you use and appreciate as well."

So here goes...

Hardware: I consider myself moderately techno-savvy but gadgets and toys didn't really interest me until the iPhone . It is literally with me 24/7. I'm just beginning to tap into its genealogical potential by downloading and listening to a variety of podcasts. I'm especially enjoying the old Irish songs at Mike O’Laughlin's Irish Roots Cafe.

Software: I've been using Reunion for Macintosh by Leister Productions, Inc. since 1990 when I had my Mac SE with its 20 MB hard drive. I upgrade to every new version, now up to 9.06. It has grown into an amazing program, always keeping up with the technological advances of the Mac OS. There is plenty of support at ReunionTalk, an online community of users.

Web site: One of my favorite "sharing" sites is, which grew out of founder Jim Tipton's love of visiting the graves of famous people.

The site is a collection of memorials (now over 21 million), arranged by cemetery, which include biographical information, photographs and even "flowers" for the "gravesite." I especially like the way that you can create virtual cemeteries and link family members together, even though they may be buried in different places. In the seven years since joining the site, I've been involved in many collaborations with volunteers from all over the country. Please take a look at my memorial for my ggg-grandfather, William Hainey BRIGGS. You can leave flowers if you want.

27 February 2008

Book Repair Committee

The sound of laughter coming from the upstairs annex at the old library in the Latham Building was a sure sign that it was the second Tuesday of the month and the book repairers had their backs to the wall as they toiled in tight quarters. Since the move to the Breuner Building last year, the restoration work continues in more spacious quarters and the mirth now emanates from the back room of the new library. You can't help but get the feeling that these five loyal volunteers really love what they are doing.

The CGS Book Repair Committee, headed by Bill O'Neil, has been meeting like clockwork on the second Tuesday of every month, since the group formed in 1987 under the tutelage of the late Dick Thrift. Because the repair process can require several steps and the committee meets only once per month, it can take several months for the repair business to be completed. During that time, the books are out of circulation.

The committee allows the California Genealogical Society to maintain open stacks. Books in need of care are marked by a blue ribbon and stay on the shelves to allow patron use until the menders can get to them. The most common repairs are for torn spines and loose pages, but the committee has seen it all. Bill explained that their goal when repairing books is to strike a balance between "keeping them in one piece and doing no harm."

Each member "adopts" a book and works on it one day a month until it is ready to be placed back on the shelf. The average book takes three months to complete. The committee repairs an average of 100 books per year.

Tools of the trade.

Lorna Wallace puts the finishing touches on a newly repaired book

Book repair group: (standing) Lorna Wallace, Marianne Frey, Bill O'Neil;
(seated) Anne Robinson and Dick Rees.

Photographs by Kathryn M. Doyle, Oakland, California, 12/11/2007.

Copyright © 2008 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Library.

25 February 2008

Amazing New Offerings at the Family History Library

CGS March Membership Meeting

Saturday, March 8, 2008 at 1:30 p.m.

Oakland Family History Center
4766 Lincoln Avenue
Oakland, CA 94602


Those who have signed up for the CGS Research Tour to Salt Lake City in April won't want to miss the March Membership Meeting. Margery Bell, Assistant Director of the Oakland Regional Family History Center, will update us on the new projects that the LDS Church is working on from to the results of the massive indexing program that is underway. Currently more than 100,000 volunteers are indexing over 1 million names a month and they are rapidly coming on-line with links to the original records. Some of the new technologies can be seen at FamilySearch Labs. Marge will also show us the family history center portal that is the gateway to the member websites available in the Family History Center and demonstrate how their favorites list is organized to provide easy access to some of the choice websites for genealogical research.

An avid genealogist for thirty-eight years, Margery Bell is the author of "Line Upon Line: A Beginner's Guide to Genealogy" that is published with Ancestral Quest software.

18 February 2008

San Francisco Coffee - April 2, 2008

The next California Genealogical Society Membership Coffee will be held on Wednesday, April 2, 2008, 10 a.m. - 12 noon, at the Mechanics' Institute Library cafe in San Francisco's Financial District. Members who live in San Francisco will be receiving personal invitations by phone or email and will be encouraged to bring a friend who is interested in genealogy. Immediately following the coffee, at noon, the regularly scheduled public tour of the Mechanics' Institute Library takes place. The Institute is private and only members are allowed inside the library, so this will be a unique opportunity to tour this historic facility. Reservations will be required since space is limited. The society acknowledges the generosity of Mary Beth Frederick who is a member of the California Genealogical Society and the Mechanics' Institute and who graciously made the arrangements.

Plans are also underway for a membership coffee at the Belle Cooledge Branch Library in Sacramento on Wednesday, May 7, 2008 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. Members in greater Sacramento area will be receiving their invitations in the coming weeks.

CGS President Jane Lindsey is looking for a member who lives in the Los Angeles area to help organize a membership coffee to coincide with the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree 2008, which will be held June 27-28-29 at the Burbank Airport Marriott Hotel and Convention Center.

16 February 2008

Top Ten reasons to go to SLC with CGS

#10 - The Family History Library is vast and going alone for the first time can be intimidating. Come with two experienced leaders who will save you hours of time learning what is where and how best to use the overwhelming number of resources.

#9. - Arrangements for hotel, breakfast, shuttles and three dinners have already been made for you. Accommodations are at the Shilo Inn - three blocks from the Family History Library and the rooms have free wireless internet.

#8. - Spend time with like-minded individuals. No one will roll their eyes when you start rattling on about your great-great whoever. Where else can you spend a week with other people who are just as nutty about genealogy as you are?

#7. - You will finally have time to organize your papers. Catch an early flight and throw everything into an extra suitcase. Spend Sunday afternoon in your hotel room without distractions and get ready for a week of research. (Believe me, we have all done this!)

#6. - Take advantage of advanced assistance. Jane and Nancy will review your research goals and objectives and make suggestions before you even go to Salt Lake.

#5. - The tour is a perfect blend of togetherness and alone time. Three dinners are planned with the group (don't miss Saturday night at Lamb's) and the other evenings are free to do with as you please. Groups meet informally in the library lobby for lunch and you can join them, explore on your own or stay and work through lunch.

#4. - Nancy Peterson, C.G., has donated her time and expertise to assist you. Nancy is the CGS Research Director and has taught numerous genealogy classes. Private appointments with her during the week are included in the price.

#3 - Jane Lindsey is a mother hen who logs miles and miles running up and down the library stairs making sure that we are all finding what we need. She has been researching in Salt Lake City for over twenty years and has led all of the CGS tours.

#2 - The company is fantastic. I've made friends that I only see once a year but we pick up just where we left off. And there is always someone in the group who has the experience in an area that you don't.

And the number ONE reason to go to Salt Lake City with the California Genealogical Society is...

It is the perfect way to get away from life's distractions and concentrate on researching your family. Imagine a week without any responsibilities except to your ancestors.