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21 July 2015

Tuesday Genealogy Travels

Several years ago, Mary Mettler wrote a series of blogs, "Tuesday Tales on the Road." She is back on the road, this time in England with her niece, Bonnie. Below is her first blog.

A Genealogical Adventure in England
by Mary Mettler 

Admiral at Sea Robert Blake at Royal Naval College, Greenwich

My niece Bonnie and I are about to begin a trek to some of the towns of our Puritan ancestors in Southern England. First, we are visiting my grandniece Brett and her husband Alex in London. Along with sightseeing and lots of good eating, we are paying homage to our second cousin many times removed, Admiral-at-Sea Robert Blake (1599-1657). He is one of the most famous commanders in British Naval history. His plaque in St. Margaret's Church describes him as "Chief Founder of England Naval Supremacy." Blake was born in Bridgwater, Somerset, England in 1599, attended Oxford, and was elected to Parliament. At the beginning of the English Civil War in 1642, he volunteered his services to the Parliamentarians. With military successes and a dash or two of bravado, he became a hero to the Roundheads. My family loves his declaration at the Battle of Taunton in 1645 where he said he had four pairs of boots and would eat three of them before he would surrender Taunton! Fortunately for his digestive system, Taunton held.

His time in the Navy was his crowning glory. Made General-at-Sea in 1649, he played major roles in the Anglo-Dutch War of 1652-54 and the Anglo-Spanish War of 1656-57. His fleet totally destroyed the Spanish silver fleet in the Canary Islands in 1657 without the loss of a single English ship! Returning to England in failing health from old wounds, Blake died as his ship, George, neared the port of Plymouth. He was buried in Westminster Abbey but was not to be left in peace. With the Restoration, Charles II ordered Blake and other prominent Parliamentarians "ejected" from Westminster in 1661 and reburied in a common grave in the adjacent St. Margaret's Church graveyard. We visited the Church to see the stained glass window depicting scenes of his life and several plaques on the inside and outside of the Church. Combined with other sightseeing, we took a boat ride to the Royal Naval College at Greenwich to see his carved bust among the famous Naval heroes on the facade of the building. The history of St. Margaret's is fascinating, as are the many accomplishments of Admiral-at-Sea Robert Blake

We will revisit the Blake family when we visit Somerset toward the end of our trip. Now, it's time for another great eating experience!

Plaque at St. Margaret's Church

Blake Stained Glass Window

St. Margaret's Church

If you would like to share stories of your own genealogical adventure, please contact Linda Okazaki.

               Copyright © 2015 by California Genealogical Society and Library

01 July 2015

Japanese American Discussion Session

The California Genealogical Society will continue to host a series of ethnic discussion groups that are free and open to the public.  

Maruko Okazaki, ca. 1937, Santa Maria, California

On Thursday July 23, 2015 from 6:30-7:30 pmCGS President Linda Okazaki will lead an informal discussion on Nikkei Genealogy. This session is free and open to the public. Please rsvp on Eventbrite. Feel free to come early, bring your dinner and meet other researchers. The library is free for those who arrive after 4pm.

Here's a brief description of the session:

Searching for your Japanese roots can be challenging but not impossible. Getting started is no different than researching any other ethnic group. Begin with yourself and work backwards, collecting birth, marriage and death records. Then venture into census, land and immigration records. For Nikkei, internment camp records and A-files are critical. All of these documents can give you clues needed to get your records in Japan.

In addition to our free discussion session, Linda will repeat the seminar "Finding Your Japanese Roots: In the U.S. and in Japan" at CGS on August 29 from 12:00-3:00 pm. Come learn how to document your unique family history! Registration is already open. This seminar has a $30 fee for non-members, which may be applied to a membership on the day of the class.
            Copyright © 2015 by California Genealogical Society and Library

25 June 2015

Meet the Speaker: Marvin Shepherd


Writing Non-Fiction: An Informal Discussion 

Marvin Shepherd 

Thursday July 16
California Genealogical Society
2201 Broadway, LL2
Oakland, California 94612

Names. Dates. Facts. You’ve done the research, organized the data, and reviewed your sources. Now what? Do you ever wonder how to take all that data and write something your family will want to read? Do you wonder how to combine facts with legends in order to create an interesting article?

Meet CGS member and author, Marvin Shepherd. A retired investigative engineer, Marv is the author of 3 books for engineers and more than two hundred technical articles. During a career that spanned more than fifty years, Marv developed his writing and research skills while investigating accidents.

After his retirement in 2008, Marv started looking into the lives of interesting people and the legends surrounding those personalities. As a boy, he worked in the garden of a Eureka woman where he heard tales about her father, a Danish sea Captain. Marv discovered that the sea Captain “arrived in San Francisco on a whaling ship, just at the time that gold was discovered in 1849. Slightly later, 1850, he located the entrance to Humboldt Bay, California, settled there and became quite wealthy as a bar captain, lumberman, and rancher in Eureka.” Marv put his investigative skills to work and wrote a biography called The Sea Captain’sOdyssey. He published a second non-fiction book in 2014, A Scottish Syndicate in the Redwoods. This tale of fraud in Humboldt County was based on information he discovered while researching the sea Captain.

Marvin Shepherd will lead a casual and informative group discussion about writing non-fiction on Thursday July 16 from 6:30-7:30 pm. He will discuss how to approach the writing of non-fiction books, techniques he used, suggestions for finding facts, and looking at some unusual sources. Of course, there will be plenty of time for Q&A.

This discussion group is free and open to the public. Please RSVP at Eventbrite. The library will be open from 10:00 am until 8:00 pm. Feel free to come early and do some research, or bring a bagged dinner before the discussion and meet other genealogists.

            Copyright © 2015 by California Genealogical Society and Library

10 June 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Jamboree 2015

   SCGS Jamboree 2015


          Copyright © 2015 by California Genealogical Society and Library

05 June 2015

Meet the Speaker: Gena Philibert Ortega


Saturday July 18 1:00-3:00 California Genealogical Society Library 2201 Broadway, Suite LL2 Oakland, California 94612
The California Genealogical Society is pleased to welcome back genealogist, blogger and author, Gena Philibert Ortega. If you haven’t met her yet, you are in for a real treat. On July 18, Gena will present Her Name Wasn't Unknown: Researching Your Female Ancestor's Life. Female ancestors can be more difficult to document using traditional genealogical methodology. Successful research includes a social historical approach. Gena will use case studies to teach you different ways of looking for your female ancestors.

To learn more about Gena and her interest in women’s history, take a peek at one of her two blogs. In Gena’s Genealogy, her tagline is “Where Every Day is Dedicated to Women’s History/Genealogy”. Her other blog, Food. Family. Ephemera.: Revealing the food history behind our family history is equally interesting.

Gena Philibert-Ortega holds a Master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies (Psychology and Women’s Studies) and a Master’s degree in Religion. Presenting on various subjects involving genealogy, women’s studies and social history, Gena has spoken to groups throughout the United States and Canada as well as virtually to audiences worldwide. Gena is the author of hundreds of articles published in genealogy newsletters and magazines including FGS Forum, APG Quarterly, Internet Genealogy, Family Chronicle and Family Tree Magazine. Gena was a researcher for the first season of the PBS series Genealogy Roadshow (2013). Gena is the editor of the Utah Genealogical Association’s journal Crossroads. She is past president for the Southern California Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists and is a board member of the Temecula Valley Genealogical Society. Her current research interests include women’s social history and researching women’s lives using material artifacts. 

Please visit our Eventbrite page to register for this class. Seats are limited.

            Copyright © 2015 by California Genealogical Society and Library