Recent Posts

29 November 2016

Lifetime of Genealogy

Did you know that anyone who donates $1000 or more to the California Genealogical Society (CGS) is entitled to a Life Membership? If you’ve been considering a life membership, now is a good time to make the commitment because in January 2017 the cost will increase to $1200.  
Life membership is being promoted to help build our endowment and will sustain the society long-term. Currently, CGS has 49 Life Members – fourteen of whom joined this year. Two of those new Life Members are Chris Pattillo and Diana Wild.
Here’s why they felt now was the right time to finally make the leap and become Life Members:
Jim Robinson, Laura Spurrier, Gloria Hanson & Chris Pattillo
I’ve thought about becoming a life member many times but never gotten around to it. This seemed like the right time. CGS is important to me – I value the resources the library has to offer and all that I learn attending programs, but most importantly I value the friendships and sense of camaraderie here.  After all, where else can I carry on about my family history and know my listener is actually interested?”     

Chris Pattillo

Jane Lindsey, Diana Wild & Alice Kane (NEHGS)
"CGS was a major reason why I got so involved in genealogy.  It was an incubator of sorts - a starting point for my research, a place where I learned new skills, and sustained my enthusiasm. I not only gained knowledge, but also friends, and enjoy sharing what I have learned with newcomers. I have belonged for many years and plan on supporting it for years to come, so becoming a life member just made good sense."   Diana Wild

All life members – new and old will be included in a special tea to be held in January 2017– so please consider upgrading to a Life Membership.

Thank you for helping create a more secure California Genealogical Society now and for the future!

Copyright © 2016 by California Genealogical Society

27 November 2016

Our Members Make Us Possible

Happy Holidays!  Now that the holiday season has begun, I hope you’ll take a minute to think about some of our genealogy accomplishments this year and why you should be proud to continue supporting the California Genealogical Society through our Annual Appeal.

What were “firsts” for us this year?
  • We held our sold-out and well-received fall seminar with Cyndi Ingle, founder of Cyndi’s List.
  • We participated in our first ever East Bay Gives community day of online giving and raised $3,000.
  • We conducted in-house consultations in conjunction with Ancestry Day by the Bay.
  • We created a genealogy “summer camp” that was held on Thursday evenings in July and August.
  • We began a Young Genealogists group, an Irish Genealogy-focused Facebook page, and a Roots Magic Special Interest Group.

Our Library
We’re incredibly lucky to have an educational space for classes and events that brings us closer together as a genealogical community.  Isn’t it fun to meet people who have the same passion for genealogy as you?

In all seriousness, our library is the cornerstone of our organization, housing a collection of thousands of books, maps, periodicals, pedigree charts, manuscripts, vertical files, and other resources.

Have you been to the library lately?  If not, come to the library and access the numerous online subscriptions available including American Ancestors,, Find My Past, Fold3, and HistoryGeo

Our History 
In just over a year, the California Genealogical Society will reach a milestone, our 120th Anniversary. As we get closer to this achievement, the goal is to ensure that our society remains a leader in the field of genealogy. Your donation will help us to do that, and more. 

Give to an organization that cherishes the past
At this time of year, we know that other charities and organizations are all competing for your time and resources. We also know that you are the reason that the California Genealogical Society continues to thrive nearly 120 years after our 1898 establishment.
Donate today and help us make the annual appeal a success.  Thank you.

Copyright © 2016 by California Genealogical Society 

22 November 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

Warm wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving 
from the California Genealogical Society. 

Our library will reopen for research on
 Thursday, December 1. 

Copyright © 2016 by California Genealogical Society

21 November 2016

Our Volunteer Holiday Open House is Dec 4th!

Ready for some fun?
All current, past, and future volunteers 
of the California Genealogical Society 
are invited to attend our holiday pot luck. 

Come join your friends and have some fun 
meeting other volunteers at our holiday brunch!
Sunday, December 4th
11:00 a.m. ~ 2:00 p.m.
 Lafayette, CA 

Hosted by:
 Linda Okazaki, Therese Hart-Pignotti 
Diana Edwards and Kathleen Beitiks 

Please bring a dish to share
We hope you'll bring either fruit, an appetizer, bread, 
dessert, and/or your favorite beverages.

Have questions or need more information?
RSVP to Linda Okazaki for the address of the party, 
and any other details you may need.

    We hope to see you there!

Copyright © 2016 by California Genealogical Society

26 October 2016

Endowment Honors

by Chris Pattillo 

In October of 2016, the board of the California Genealogy Society (CGS) approved a recommendation to rename our endowment fund as the Sherman-Haughton Fund. There are numerous reasons for doing so, but the most important one is that the board wanted to honor and recognize the significant contributions – both financial and in-service – that Frederick “Rick” Sherman and Ken Haughton have made to our society.

Rick Sherman
Frederick S. Sherman, Ph.D.
Known to everyone as “Rick” joined CGS in 1980 and from that time until his death he filled many vital roles in the society.

His first position was as Library Chairman. Then he served for ten years as Research Director, and volunteered as a member of our heroic Desk Duty team. He also participated in in a key strategic planning effort shortly before his death.

Rick was a willing speaker and enjoyed helping others with their research. He even made trips to Salt Lake City 
on behalf of members to find clues about their ancestors. Rick served as President of our society from 1994-1996.

In a 2008 Blog post honoring Rick, member June Nash Lindquist had this to say about Rick, “We all value Rick's sage advice, and cheerful and generous spirit. Rick is so knowledgeable on so many directions of research. We always appreciate his witty and wise conclusions to very knotty problems."

Generous in many ways
Rick and his wife Pat were exceedingly generous in many ways. Over the years they made regular financial contributions to help fund important projects. In 1983, their donations covered the cost of purchasing Bibliofile – at the time a new software program that was used to catalogue the library’s holdings. 

In 1996, a sizeable contribution from Rick and Pat helped to underwrite a 600 square foot expansion of the library when it was located on Brannan Street in San Francisco. As recognition of their gift, a new reading room was named in their honor. Also, when the library moved to its current location, Rick and Pat paid for the new shelving.   

But of all of Rick’s many contributions, the one that will no doubt have the most lasting impact is the endowment that he started in 1992. Rick initially donated $6000 to start the endowment and he contributed more funds each year through 2001. In total, Rick and Pat gave over $490,000 towards our endowment – in addition to their other financial gifts.  These gifts are a huge reason for our continued societal success.

Ken Haughton
Ken Haughton
Our other benefactor joined the society in 1978. Early on Ken served on the board and for many years served as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO). He also participated in one of the society’s strategic planning efforts. 

Ken is a very knowledgeable family history researcher. He is particularly knowledgeable about how DNA can be used as a tool for genealogists and has even spoken about it for the society. He also has written several family histories and articles.

Ken and his wife Beverly joined Rick in 1997 by making a sizeable donation. They have continued to make very generous contributions every year ever since. As CFO, Ken set up our endowment and invested it in a small number of prudent mutual funds. Over the years Ken managed these funds and by December 31, 2009 our endowment balance was over $794,000. (This includes a building fund that was started by CGS past president, David Adams.)

As someone who knows Ken well, Jane Knowles Lindsey said, “Ken and I have known one another since our days in the 1990’s as Trustees of the New England Historic Genealogical Society. While I served as CGS president, I frequently called on Ken to lend his expertise in so many areas that helped strengthen CGS.”

A wonderful financial teacher
It was at about this time that Jim Sorenson and I were both appointed to the Investment Committee and Ken taught us how he had been managing the society’s money. I was honored to work with Ken who reassured me that by investing responsibly our assets would continue to grow. Ken must have felt comfortable with us because in 2010 he stepped down as chair of the Investment Committee and I filled the vacancy. Since that time, Jim and I, and now Tom Jones, have continued to oversee and manage the endowment in the same manner that Ken did for thirteen years. Ken has always generously answered my questions and now serves as a sounding board as we continue to make minor adjustments to our investment portfolio. Today, the value of our combined funds is over $1.3 million dollars.

Securing the future
The purpose of creating the endowment was to provide long-term security for the society and to cover unforeseen expenses, should they arise.  Over the years the cost to support the society has grown significantly. As part of our 120th anniversary we have a plan to grow the endowment by $1.2 million. It is a lofty goal, but one we feel is well worth pursuing. The increased endowment will help ensure that CGS will be able to continue to help our members discover their past for the next 120 years.

In recognition of the many contributions to CGS by Rick Sherman and Ken Haughton, we are pleased to announce that the endowment will now be known as the Sherman-Haughton Fund.

Help us continue the tradition of supporting genealogy research, events and library through our endowment.  Please contact Jane Lindsey or myself to discuss how you can be a part of this historic fundraising effort.  Thank you.

Photos provided by Jane Knowles Lindsey

Copyright © 2016 by California Genealogical Society