Now at the library: Dobson’s Irish Emigrants

by California Genealogical Society (3/20/2024)

by Maureen Hanlon

Green book coverCGS recently received a copy of Dr. David Dobson’s Irish Emigrants to North America, Consolidated Edition and a quick review should be of cheer to those with Irish ancestors who came to the United States before the Great Famine.

Although immigration from Ireland to North America peaked in the latter half of the nineteenth century, there were waves of immigrants who came much earlier. This consolidated edition of ten previously published volumes lists many of these early immigrants as well as later arrivals. For the original series Dobson consulted archives and libraries in the United States, Canada, Britain, Ireland, and the West Indies. Compared to most sources for Irish famine emigrants, which usually contain only a name and date of arrival, Dobson’s Irish Emigrants is rich in detail. Over 10,000 Irish emigrants to North America are identified by name, date, occupation, specific place of origin, and, in many cases, by kinspeople, vessel traveled upon, and other circumstances. A welcome addition to our library that will be helpful to many Americans of Irish descent!

Book page printed with names of immigrants

Example of the information found in the book

Those interested in purchasing their own copy, or any of the previous volumes in the series, can find the books for sale at

The CGS Gavel: a Historical Curiosity

by California Genealogical Society (3/13/2024)

In the 125 years that the California Genealogical Society has been knocking around, we’ve acquired a number of interesting artifacts. One such item, the ceremonial President’s gavel, is still in use. Now nearly 110 years old, the gavel was a gift of Sarah Soule McMillan Patton in 1915. It’s made of wood from Roanoke Island, North Carolina, where Sir Walter Raleigh established an ill-fated colony in 1585.

Wooden gavel

The inscription on the silver band reads:

Woman and man seated at table, woman holding mallet

Chris Pattillo hold the CGS gavel as Jim Sorenson looks on

The gavel has been passed from one CGS President to the next for over a century, and recently Past President Jim Sorenson presented it to current President Chris Pattillo. Despite its age, it’s sturdy enough to deliver a satisfying whack, as Chris demonstrated at the close of the last Board meeting.

This week at CGS (March 11-17, 2024)

by California Genealogical Society (3/10/2024)

To register or for more information, click the link for any event. All times are Pacific Time. All classes free unless otherwise noted.

There are two classes in the “Tips & Talk” series at the Oakland FamilySearch Library this week. And you can attend them either in person or via Zoom!

Man and woman side by sideTuesday, March 12, 11 AM: “Snipping, Clipping, and Irfanview.” Robert and Portia NeVille demonstrate how to capture images online. This “How-to” session will teach you how to use the computer’s Snipping Tool and IrfanView to highlight, capture, and save parts of records and photos. We will practice with online records. Robert and Portia NeVille are one of three full-time missionary couples assigned as FamilySearch specialists. This is their fourth full-time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints. They’ve previously served in Peru, Argentina, and Spain. Robert is fluent in Spanish and Portia “holds her own.”

Wednesday, March 13, 6:30 PM: “German Research Part 1” with Robert Jackson. First in a three-part series examining what motivated Germans to emigrate to America in the 19th century, as well as how to find the village of origin of your German ancestor. Once found, it is quite possible, and even fun, to easily extract at least a few generations of ancestors from German church records, which are increasingly available online. Robert will also show how much one can learn about one’s forebears from these records, not just names and dates. Robert, a Harvard history PhD, has engaged in German research for decades and looks forward to discussing your questions, ideas, and theories. Series continues on March 20 and March 27.

The following Special Interest Groups are meeting this week:

Friday, March 15, 10:30 AM: Mayflower Descendants SIG. Led by Robert Trapp. Focus on Mayflower ancestry and how to join The Society of California Mayflower Descendants. Discussion of ongoing research.

Sat., March 16, 10 AM: San Francisco SIG. Sandra Huber leads this group for those interested in finding San Francisco ancestors, with discussion of where to look for records both pre and post the 1906 earthquake.

Sat., March 16, 1 PM: Family Tree Maker SIG. Presentation, discussion, and troubleshooting for users of the popular genealogy software. Led by Ron Madson and Karen Halfon. Hybrid (held in person and on Zoom). 

And don’t forget:

Recording available through March 24:

How to Leave Your Genealogy: Don’t Let It Get Thrown Away! Lisa Gorrell’s presentation on tasks you can do now to leave your genealogy in good shape for your heirs.

Coming up March 30:

“You Can Do This: Photo Organizing and Preservation.” Thomas MacEntee, creator of “Genealogy Bargains,” discusses the best ways to organize and preserve family photos.

Library hours: Thursday and Friday 10 AM-2 PM and Saturday 10 AM-4 PM

Helpful Links
Special Interest Groups:
Calendar: Google calendar