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30 January 2019

Join the Genealogy Saturdays Team!

We have heard you! For so many of our members, “the spirit is willing,” but the logistics are complicated when it comes to volunteering at CGS during the week.

If you fit in that category, CGS has a great opportunity for members who are only available to volunteer on occasional Saturdays – become an Event Assistant!

This is the perfect opportunity for someone who loves attending our Saturday genealogy classes. Let us remind you of the perks – Not only will you get “points in Heaven” (as your mother used to say), but also free Saturday parking (or, an uncrowded BART ride!), cookies, an opportunity to use one of the genealogy subscription programs (free!) on the CGS Library computers, cookies, a chance to meet and chat with other volunteers…and cookies!

What does the job involve?

Arrive an hour before the class/event
·       Assist with classroom setup
·       Distribute handouts
·       Sign in participants
·       Introduce speaker
·       Make announcements
·       Assist with clean up

Top notch training is provided for all Events Assistants jobs!

(We are also looking for a generous volunteer who would prefer to volunteer/work from home, overseeing the online class registration program.)

Contact Kathleen Beitiks or Jane Lindsey for details or questions.

Copyright © 2019 by California Genealogical Society

CGS Library Collections: Maryland

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.

"George Washington Resigning His Commission"
from Tidewater Maryland
The CGS Library has ten and a half shelves of material on the State of Maryland plus a few books devoted to the District of Columbia. This section starts with four sets of journals including:

·         Maryland Historical Magazine 1973 – 1989
·         Maryland Genealogical Society Bulletin 1969 – 2008
·         Maryland Genealogical Journal 2008 – present, and
·         Maryland & Delaware Genealogist 1959 – 1990.

The first set of books I looked at was the Maryland Account Book series, a vast collection of probate records compiled by Annie Walker Burns and indexed by Margaret Griffith. We hold volumes 1-3 and 15-27. What impressed me about these books is that each appears to have been typed by Annie. Our set looks like a carbon copy (some of our younger members may need to look that up to understand the significance. When I learned to type I used carbon paper on occasion).

Next to pique my interest was Old Maryland Families, a 5-by-7-inch book in landscape mode, which is unusual but made sense for this text because it consists of family trees. Described as “A Collection of Charts Compiled from Public Records, Wills, Family Bibles, Tomb Inscriptions, and Other Original Sources,” it was written by Henrietta E. Bromwell and published in 1916. What is exceptional about these family trees is that they capture not just important dates but present a succinct narrative for each person on the tree.
The family trees in Old Maryland Families include short narratives on each entry
White Maryland Runaways is a book you may not wish to find your ancestor in. Author Joseph Lee Boyle has compiled a vast collection of news clippings and historical information about white Europeans who came to the United States in colonial times as indentured servants, political exiles, or convicts. We have two volumes of White Maryland Runaways: "When Drunk is Very Bold" (published 2011) spans the period 1763-1769, and "Drinks Hard, and Swears Much" (published 2010) covers the years 1770-1774.

The leather cover on The Founders of
Maryland feels good
There are sixteen volumes of Maryland Calendar of Wills. Volume One covers the period 1635 to 1685 and was published in 1904.  Anyone who has struggled through attempting to transcribe an old will would appreciate this volume. It presents the salient information from each original document in a clear and succinct narrative and uses bold and large point sizes to help the reader quickly glean the essence of each will.

The oldest Maryland book I found was The Founders of Maryland by Rev. Edward Neill, published in 1876. This book is bound in real leather and its feel reminded me of my confirmation prayer book. The preface explains that “the object of this little book, is to state facts, which had become obscured or forgotten, concerning the first European settlers on the shores of the Potomac River, and Chesapeake Bay.” I would like to find an ancestor mentioned in this book but that's unlikely in my case.

One last book for Maryland is Tidewater Maryland by Paul Wilstach, first published in 1931. What is unique about this book is that every right-hand page has a different headline. Each topic is provocative. For example, page 113 is headed “Head of Elk”;  p. 123,  “A Bully and A Terror”; p. 127, “A Fairy Queen”; p. 133, “Cradle of the Episcopal Church.” I’ve never seen this in any other book.

The pleasure of seeing, feeling, and smelling these old treasures is a joy. I dread the day when all of this will be digitized and obscured by a slick computer monitor. You should plan a trip to our library and savor the experience.

Copyright © 2019 by California Genealogical Society

23 January 2019

CGS Collections: Maine

Detail from the cover of Gazetteer of the State of Maine
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.

Our material on the State of Maine occupies shelves F16 – F30 and includes six boxes of Maine Genealogical covering the years 1995 to the current issue. We have an 1881 Gazetteer of the State of Maine With Numerous Illustrations by George J. Varney. It professes to mention “every town, plantation, mountain, lake and bay … of the several counties, cities, towns and villages of the State.”

Another book we have from the same era is History of Cumberland Co., Maine: with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Its Prominent Men and Pioneers by W. W. Clayton, published in 1880. One of the things that distinguishes this book is that it includes several images of women – not just men. I particularly like how the author grouped portraits of a couple with a rendering of their home and property.
Mr. and Mrs. Reuben Brown, from
History of Cumberland County

Maine is also noteworthy for having a county named after a woman – Jenny Wiley County. We have two thick volumes about that county on our shelves. (The “D” on the binding reminds us that these were from the Dorman Collection.)
Many Maine books have a conifer on
the binding
I noticed that more than one book in our Maine collection depicts a coniferous tree on the bound edge. I wondered about this until I came to Maine: The Pine Tree State from Prehistory to the Present. This 1995 text was edited by Richard W. Judd, Edwin A. Churchill, and Joel W. Eastman.

If you happen to be researching York County, Maine, you are in luck! The CGS library has 19 volumes of deeds. Anyone who has done research with deeds, you will recall how not infrequently handwritten notes are written at ninety degrees to the body of the text. In this transcription, such notes have been dutifully transcribed in the same manner.

Finally, I looked at Pioneers on Maine Rivers with Lists to 1651, compiled from the original sources by Wilbur D. Spencer and published in 1930.  This hardback lists each of Maine's rivers and the communities that developed along its banks. For example, the Piscataqua River has twelve subheadings. The introduction includes the following anonymous poem, which sets the stage for the book.

Bold pioneers of bygone days,
Who left the homes they loved the best
And sailed athwart the trackless maze
To found an empire in the West.

Tried men and safe were those who steered
The sea-worn craft among the riffs;
Brave men and true were those who reared
Rough cabins on the northern cliffs.

Whatever dangers might assail,
On hopes like theirs the world might wait;
With zeal like theirs no plan could fail,
In faith like theirs was born a State.

Great motherland of stalwart men,
Who greet incoming tides and times,
Who seek the mysteries again
Of modern days and distant climes!

The restless sea rovers in their blood,
The living north wind stirs their breath,
Their souls reflect that motherhood
That forms a part of them till death.

There is much more to find on the State of Maine
Copyright © 2019 by California Genealogical Society

19 January 2019

2019 Annual Membership meeting

2019 Annual Meeting - photos by Ron Madson
We had a large and enthusiastic gathering at our annual membership meeting, held Saturday, January 12, at the library. President Vicky Kolakowski welcomed members and gave a brief overview of CGS' many achievements over the past year. Special acknowledgment of and thanks went out to Maureen Hanlon (Events chair) and Kathie Jones (treasurer), who are stepping down from the board after several years of dedicated service. 

Continuing on the board are Nancy Cork, Marisela Meskus, Chris Pattillo, Jim Russell, Vicky Kolakowski, Stewart Blandon Traiman, Felicia Addison, Rich Kehoe, Arlene Miles, and Linda Okazaki. The membership approved a slate of new board members which includes the return of past board members Jeff Vaillant and Jim Sorenson and the appointment of longtime CGS volunteer Matt Berry as treasurer. Other new board members are Stacy Hoover and Jennifer Dix. You can read more about all the board members on our website.

Jane Lindsey and Chris Pattillo were featured speakers.
Membership also approved the proposed 2019 budget, heard about the society's new strategic plan, and got a preview of upcoming classes and events. Following the business meeting, Chris Pattillo and Jane Lindsey gave two short talks. Chris described how research led her to make contact with a distant cousin in Germany, while Jane shared the breakthroughs that can be achieved by making "just one phone call."

We also enjoyed delicious food and drinks - and cake!

Photo by Kathleen Beitiks

Thanks to all who were able to join us. Stay tuned for more details of coming events!

Copyright © 2019 by California Genealogical Society

16 January 2019

CGS Library Collections: Louisiana

The embossed and colored cover of the
Historical Encyclopedia of Louisiana is
one of the most impressive in our library
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.

The CGS library section for the state of Louisiana occupies three full shelves and includes fourteen boxes of journals that cover the entire state; one box for St. Landry County; and three boxes for New Orleans. The largest set of journals – the Louisiana Genealogical Register – covers the period 1969 to 2018, so it is very comprehensive.

Our collection includes three volumes of census records each quite thick and packed with data. The title Love, Honor and Betrayal caught my eye. It covers the period 1778–1784, was published in 1964, and was compiled by Elizabeth Becker Gianelloni of Longwood Plantation, East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana. The book’s foreword sets the stage nicely for what lies within: “Ragged bundles of papers in forgotten drawers and dusty volumes from dark shelves recount in flowing French and courtly Spanish phrase authentic stories of that robust aggregation who were the colonial settlers in the Province of Louisiana. Happily, each year now sees some small progress in exhuming these records and recreating the days and ways of the humble as well as the famous among them.” On page 3 there is a record dated 16 November 1778 titled “Breach of Promise,” where we learn that “Margarita has been placed in the Convent of the Ursulines in New Orleans by her husband,” and that her father, Antoinne Marmillion petitions for her release.  What other gems might be found within these pages? 

The Historical Encyclopedia is also richly
illustrated on the inside
The cover of The Historical Encyclopedia of Louisiana edited by Ellis Arthur Davis is exceptional – brown leather with embossed and multi-colored images from the state including the capitol building, a river boat and more. The forward of this book tells us that “The history of Louisiana is as romantic and colorful as that of any State in the Union.” It goes on to explain, “This work is thoroughly illustrated with appropriate pictures showing the History as well as the progress and attractions, with panoramic views, street scenes, public buildings, parks, and views depicting Louisiana industries.”

A must-have reference for anyone doing
research in Louisiana
One of the more recent books in this group is A Guide to Genealogical Research at the Louisiana State Archives by Judy Riffel, published in 2008. This is a guide book to resources available at the state archives. It appears to be a must-have reference for doing research. The book covers all types of records, in twelve chapters and five appendices.

On a lighter note, we also have Ancestor Hunting,   a compilation of six years of Shreveport Journal newspaper columns written by Mildred deWeir Smith Watkins from 1963 to 1969. Mildred was quite prolific; the book runs to 847 pages, with an index.

Next time you’re in downtown Oakland you might want to come into the library and see what you can find on Louisiana.

Copyright © 2019 by California Genealogical Society