CGS Committees: Volunteers

by Chris Pattillo (1/12/2023)

One in a series of blog posts about CGS committees and their work
*This committee is seeking new volunteers. Contact: Chris Pattillo.

Three women with cake

Longtime Volunteer Committee chair Kathleen Beitiks (in blue) with Diana Edwards and Linda Okazaki, at the 2016 Genie Awards

Currently the Volunteer Committee is one of our one-person committees but now that Kathleen Beitiks, who has filled this position for about a decade, is stepping down, we’d like to find a team of two to take it on.

One of the nice things about the Volunteer Committee is that most of the tasks that need doing can be done from home. But the even better part is that it gives you an opportunity for direct connections with our members as you advise and help them find a volunteer position that fits their talents and interests.

PurposeThe Volunteer Committee works with members to fill volunteer positions – a critically important role that enables CGS to function smoothly.
ChairCurrently vacant
MeetsAs needed; new co-chairs will determine
Time CommitmentVaries by event and interest.
Helpful SkillsBeing friendly and outgoing. Good people skills. Likes meeting and interacting with new people. General good cheer ….. all talents Kathleen has an abundance of.
Work LocationMostly at home but at the library during social events


When individuals join CGS, they are invited to indicate what type of volunteer position they might be interested in. When they do, the Volunteer Committee then contacts those individuals to match their interests and skills to one of the many varied positions we have. Go to our website and on the Members tab you’ll find a page for Volunteer Opportunities with brief descriptions of current openings and the name of the current chair with their contact information.

Sometimes longterm members who have been volunteering for years in one position will feel like a change, so the Volunteer Chair will work with them to find something new to take on.

For in-person social events – that I hope will be restored in 2023 – the Volunteer Committee takes charge of making sure we have a refreshments plus enough plates, napkins, cups, etc., for the event.

Another fun task is the annual Genie Awards. Volunteers facilitate that event and work with the president to identify recipients of awards each year for service “above and beyond.”

If you consider yourself a party person or just someone who enjoys people, this position is for you. Even better, if you have a buddy that you would enjoy teaming up with, we’d love to hear from you. Please contact me at: [email protected]

“The Compass Rose,” a genealogical art exhibit at Fort Mason

by California Genealogical Society (1/6/2023)

circular genealogy chart

A genealogical family chart is featured in “The Compass Rose” art exhibit

An art exhibit rooted in family history opens January 13 at the Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture. It displays the work of CCA dean of fine arts Sunny A. Smith.

The “compass rose,” a circular figure denoting the four cardinal directions and the graduated markings in between, is used in almost all navigational systems. Smith used this concept as the starting point for the exhibit. A circular genealogical chart displays the known names of Smith’s direct ancestors, more than 700 people stretching back thirteen generations to the first wave of European colonization of North America in the early 1600s. A gallery statement describes the exhibit this way:

Tracking the early colonizers, enslavers, and continuing thread of European immigration within the artist’s family lines, the exhibition gathers together artworks that intervene in these legacies of harm through re-interpretation, re-imagination, and re-making or re-working of tradition. These re-crafted objects – conceived as instruments for magic, time travel, and communication with forebears – include an heirloom Irish linen coverlet and a chest of drawers once implicated in the Salem Witch Trials.

The Compass Rose is on view January 13 – March 12, 2023 in Gallery 308, Landmark Building A, at the Fort Mason Center. More information is available at the Center’s website.


CGS Committees: Manuscripts, Vertical Files, Special Projects

by Chris Pattillo (1/2/2023)

One in a series of blog posts about CGS committees and their work
*The committees currently have openings for volunteers. For more information, email Linda Darby.

Pat Bonderud and Linda Darby

Pat Bonderud and Linda Darby

I grouped these three committees together because they are related and all three are currently chaired by CGS Member Linda Darby.

From my vantage point, the Manuscript Committee appears to be one of the most interesting committees of our society because this team gets to look at and process one-of-a-kind documents from a family. For a family historian what could be more fun?

PurposeThe purpose of the Manuscript Collection Committee is to maintain and manage the manuscript collection.
ChairLinda Darby
MeetsAs needed
Time CommitmentAs needed
Helpful SkillsGood organization skills and an ability to assess and succinctly summarize the contents of collections donated to the society.
Work LocationAt the library

Currently, Linda is chair and Laura Jones is a member. Linda has been in that position, on and off, for many years and is ready to step down, but before she does, she wants to recruit another member to help Laura process donated manuscripts and run the committee.

The workload of the committee varies depending on how many and how large the donated collections are. This work can be fascinating because it gives one the opportunity to review an individual family’s recorded history at a micro level.

Some of the work is routine involving placing documents in archival boxes and listing the items in the collection. These lists are posted on our website enabling researchers to know what is in each collection and thereby ascertain if anything might be of value to their research. To see an example, look for the “CGS Manuscript Collection Index” on the Online Resources page that can be found on the Research Tab. For each collection the Manuscript Committee volunteer identifies the geographic area covered in the collection, the time frame, surnames and gives a brief description of what is in the collection.

If you think you might be interested in learning about the Manuscript Committee, please contact Linda at [email protected]


Special Projects Committee

This committee is hard to describe because what they do depends on the nature of each special project, so if you like surprises, this may be the perfect committee for you.

PurposeTo take on special projects when the need arises.
Co-ChairsPat Bonderud, Linda Darby
MeetsAs needed
Time CommitmentVaries from no time to as many hours as the committee determines is needed.
Helpful SkillsGood research, organizational and writing skills.
Work LocationAt the library and at home

Currently, there are two members of the committee, both co-chairs, Pat Bonderud and Linda Darby. Pat and Linda have been working together on Special Projects for many years and have developed a great friendship …. but one could say that about most of the committee work at CGS.

Linda’s and  Pat’s favorite Special Project was and continues to be processing Vertical Files.


Vertical Files Committee

This committee has been an on-going special project since 2010.   Initially, the committee created the index of our vertical files which can be found on the CGS website.  The committee continues to process new donations that are added to the physical files and the index as they are given to the society.  The Vertical Files consist of over 1,900 files, not including the California and international geographical files.  For each file, the volunteer identifies the geographic area covered in the collection, the time frame, surnames and gives a brief description of what is in the collection. The Vertical Files primarily relate to family histories and can range from a copy of a marriage certificate or a newspaper article to a short family history.

PurposeThe purpose of the Special Projects/Vertical Files Committee is to maintain and manage the Vertical Files collection.
Co-ChairsPat Bonderud, Linda Darby
MeetsAs needed
Time CommitmentAs needed
Helpful SkillsGood organizational skills
Work LocationAt the library