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16 July 2020

CGS to serve as local host for NGS Family History Conference in 2022



The National Genealogical Society has announced that its Family History Conference will return to the West Coast in 2022. The conference will be held 25-28 May 2022 in Sacramento, California. The California Genealogical Society is proud to serve as the local host society in 2022. “CGS is looking forward to working with the genealogical communities in Sacramento and throughout the West Coast to make the 2022 conference a fun and educational experience for family historians of all backgrounds," says CGS President Jim Sorenson.

An announcement brochure will be available at the NGS 2021 Family History Conference in Richmond, Virginia, 19-22 May 2021.

The California Genealogical Society is located in Oakland, California. The goal of the California Genealogical Society is to connect people to their family heritage in an inclusive and welcoming environment for our members and patrons. CGS does not tolerate discrimination in any form.

Copyright © 2020 by California Genealogical Society

10 July 2020

Online genealogy, week of July 13-19


Here is a list of online genealogy events happening this week. Most are free. See our post "Genealogy Learning in the Time of Coronavirus" for links to archived webinars at Ancestry, FamilySearch, RootsTech, and more.

To register for one of the classes below, click on the name of the host organization.

The Southern California Genealogical Society hosts its monthly webinar.
July 15: "Julian to Gregorian: When and How our Calendar Changed" by Seema Kenne

American Ancestors offers the following:
July 18: "La Mia Famiglia: Researching Italian Ancestors" by Rhonda McClure (fee)

The BYU Family History Library offers a webinar:
July 15: "Demystifying the FamilySearch catalog" with Rachel Derenthal

Legacy Family Tree hosts two webinars:
July 14: "Connecting the Dots–Introduction to Auto Clusters at MyHeritage DNA" by Paul Woodbury
July 15: "On the Record Trail of My LDS Immigrant Ancestor" by Sunny Morton
 
Densho.org continues its series on "Finding Your Nikkei Roots"
July 16: "Incarceration Records"

Conference Keeper has a large calendar of events (too many to list) by genealogical associations around the country. New events may be added at the last minute, so check frequently. Here are a few of the coming week's highlights:
July 13: “FamilySearch.org Scavenger Hunt,” (fee) a two-week course led by Tamara Hallo
July 13:  "Tracing Living Persons" by Bob Bryan
July 14: “Family History Resources at the Library of Congress” by Tina Beaird
July 14: “Preserving Personal Genealogical Information and Family Memorabilia: Lessons Learned from Recent Wildfire and Flood Disasters” by John Putnam
July 14: “SummerQuest Online for Teens: Who Do You Think You Are?”
July 16: “America’s New Deal: The WPA’s Federal Project Number One” with Ann Staley
July 16: “Digging for Roots in the Garden State” with Michelle Chubenko
July 18: “Genealogy Boot Camp” with Amy Johnson Crow (reservations required)

Be well, stay safe, and happy learning!


Copyright © 2020 by California Genealogical Society

04 July 2020

Online genealogy events, week of July 6-12


Here is a list of online genealogy events happening this week. Most are free. See our post "Genealogy Learning in the Time of Coronavirus" for links to archived webinars at Ancestry, FamilySearch, RootsTech, and more.

NOTE: Registration for the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR) closes Monday, July 6. The virtual institute is held July 26-31.

To register for one of the classes below, click on the name of the host organization.

American Ancestors offers the following webinars:

July 7: "Women in 19th Century American Bookbinderies" by Todd Pattison and Dr. Elizabeth DeWolfe

July 9: "What's New at AmericanAncestors.org" by Molly Rogers
July 10: The Adams Family: The Scottish Architects Who Changed the World" by Curt DiCamillo

The Family History Library in Salt Lake City offers classes every week, including beginner classes in several different languages (check website for details). This week:


July 6: "Using the FamilySearch Catalog"
July 7: "Tips and Tricks for Finding Elusive Records in FamilySearch"
July 8: "Germans from Russia: Locating Church Records"

The BYU Family History Library offers presentations every Wednesday. This Wednesday:
July 8: “Family Resilience” with Rachael Rifkin

Legacy Family Tree hosts a free presentation every week.
July 8 & 9: "Turning dry facts into exciting narrative" by Carol Baxter

Densho.org continues its digital series "Finding Your Nikkei Roots." July 9: "Immigration Records"

Conference Keeper has a large calendar of events (too many to list) by genealogical associations around the country. New events may be added at the last minute, so check back frequently. Here are a few of the coming week's highlights:


July 7: "Becoming a Certified Genealogist: A Personal Journey" by Jill Morelli,
July 7: Researching Scots-Irish Ancestors, a free zoom webinar from the Genealogy Center at ACPL
July 9: "My Ancestor is From … but I Don’t Speak or Read the Language. Help!"
July 12: "If I Only Knew Then What I Know Now! Doing Genealogy the Right Way" by Daniel Horowitz
July 12: SecondLife Virtual Genealogical Society meeting


Be well, stay safe, and happy learning!


Copyright © 2020 by California Genealogical Society

02 July 2020

Online genealogy, week of June 29-July 5


The post for June 29-July 5 was accidentally deleted. See below for links to various online events this week.


American Ancestors 

The Family History Library in Salt Lake City

The BYU Family History Library

Legacy Family Tree

Conference Keeper has a large calendar of events (too many to list) by genealogical associations around the country. New events may be added at the last minute, so check back frequently.

Be well, stay safe, and happy learning!


Copyright © 2020 by California Genealogical Society

28 June 2020

LGBTQ Genealogy: Illuminating the Past

Writer Gertrude Stein with her life partner, Alice B. Toklas
Image: Beinecke Digital Collections


CGS Recording Secretary Stewart Blandón Traiman has been researching, writing, and teaching genealogy for more than 30 years. He writes a LGBTQ Genealogy blog series at his website, Six Generations


On this day fifty years ago, 28 June 1970, the first Gay Pride march happened in San Francisco.  This was to commemorate the Stonewall Riots that took place one year earlier in New York.  Those riots fifty-one years ago, much like today’s riots, were sparked by police behavior. Drag queens, transgender people, male prostitutes, and other queer folks said “NO MORE!” to the police.  Another raid on our safe places would not be tolerated that night. This watershed event sparked a strong movement for social change and the birth of the modern gay rights movement (which is different from the early gay rights movement of the 1950s).

Though today we can be out loud and proud, it wasn’t always like this. Gay people often had to hide their love and relationships to remain safe and to keep their families safe from bigoted retaliation. This presents a challenge for the genealogist. Just like other relationships, LGBTQ relationships should be documented and preserved in the family record. It sets a double standard if a genealogist is willing to write freely about heterosexual marriages, illegitimate children and bigamy but when it comes to Queer relatives they choose to obscure the truth or not investigate further. Acknowledging homosexual relationships should be no different than documenting heterosexuals in our family history.

Elizabeth Shown Mills states it eloquently in the opening paragraph of Evidence Explained, “Bias, ego, ideology, patronage, prejudice, pride, or shame cannot shape our decisions as we appraise our evidence. To do so is to warp reality and deny ourselves the understanding of the past that is, after all, the reason for our labor.”

However, LGBTQ relatives and relationships can be difficult to prove. Thomas MacEntee has observed that just as it can be a challenge to trace our female ancestors, “a similar story can be drawn about our lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgendered (LGBT) family members and how, and if, they appear in our family histories. It really is up to the researcher to make sure these people have a voice and a place in the family tree.” 

A genealogist will need to look carefully at available historical records for clues to sexual orientation. When you look through your family tree, does anything raise a red flag (or, as I like to call it, a rainbow flag)? Look for the bachelor uncle or spinster aunt.  Do not assume that they were unlucky in love. Perhaps they did have a partner, but there is no documentation, nor did family pass down that history.

Clues may be found in photographs, or in census, cemetery, criminal, or military records, in newspapers and in LGBTQ archives. For example, look in the census and city directories for evidence of two people of the same sex living together over many years. Did a relative live in a “known” gay neighborhood? Was he or she mentioned in a newspaper story about a police raid on a gay club, or did he receive a “Blue” or Other than Honorable discharge from the armed forces?

Look at a family member’s choice of profession. The stereotype of the gay hairstylist exists for a reason: an independent hairdresser could own a salon and not be subjected to a boss’s prejudices.  Professions that are mobile allow for a restart in a new city. Independence might be found as a florist, or interior decorator, or as a registered nurse—skills that are valued almost anywhere.  Queer folk tend to gravitate toward the arts – dancers, artists, authors, actors, and sculptors might be blackballed from their professions, but they might also find independence and mobility if needed.

In obituaries, look for code words like “lifelong bachelor,” or a mention of a “longtime companion” or “devoted friend.” In rare cases, you may find same-sex couples buried together in the same cemetery.

Sexual orientation is inherent to family history. Their sexual orientation affected the decisions our ancestors made. It affected their choice of profession, or where they lived. It also affected their relatives, friends, associates and neighbors. Did family members know and keep the relative’s secret? Were there family rifts or unexplained separations?  Being aware of non-heterosexual ancestors may put family stories into entirely new context.  

Knowing history illuminates the genealogical records. Knowing LBGTQ history will equally illuminate the lives of our ancestors.

The LGTBQ Community has made great advances in the past fifty-one years. In June 2015 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same sex couples had a fundamental right to be married. Just this month the Supreme Court ruled that lesbian, gay, trans, and bisexual people are protected against discrimination in the workplace. This is a month to celebrate our pride in our achievements, our history, and our peoples. Be aware of the Queer relatives in the branches of your family tree. Add their stories to your family. Give them a voice if they did not have the opportunity to be “out” during their time.




Copyright © 2020 by California Genealogical Society