Library Committee Survey – Part 4: Non-American Resources

by Chris Pattillo (6/25/2022)

The United Kingdom is by far the most popular area being researched by CGS members

This is the fourth in a series of blog posts that responds to some of the suggestions made in response to the recently conducted Library Committee survey. This post will focus on the comments made regarding source books for other countries. The survey also asked, “Do you ever use the CGS library to research other countries?”

In the previous post, I shared that the top five countries named were Ireland 56, Germany 40, England 39, Scotland 29, Canada 20. Sweden and France tied at 12 votes. 10 people said United Kingdom. Here’s the rest of the results.

Great Britain & Wales 7

Italy, Norway, Denmark 6

Prussia, Netherlands, N. Ireland, Mexico 4

China, Switzerland, Belgium, Poland 3

Australia, Austria, Azores Czechoslovakia, Greece, Romania, Spain, Ukraine 2 and

Belarus, Brazil, Columbia, Finland, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Portugal, Sicily, Slovenia, Turkey each got one vote.

Adding up all the countries that make up the United Kingdom gives us 96 votes – the clear winner – an interesting stand out.

This is helpful information that will help guide new book acquisitions.

Comment: Information on Alsace

Response: Currently we hold 18 books with information on this area of Germany. Given the number of members who are researching in Germany this may be another opportunity to increase our offerings – so thanks to whomever added this suggestion,

Comment: Countries that are listed most in this survey.

Response: Yep, that makes sense to me.

Comment: One member wrote “too many to list,” and another asked for royalty resources.

Response: Our library holds a lot of sources on royalty – 388 items in total that includes several journal articles and 94 print books. Before I checked our library catalog in WorldCat, I guessed that they might all be older books purchased or donated by some of our earliest members; but I was wrong. Our collections include a good number of recently published books on royalty. (They overwhelmingly relate to the royal families of Great Britain, although there are a few books that look at relations with the Spanish crown when California was a Spanish colony.) Here are a few examples.

Blood Royal: Issue of the kings and queens of medieval England, 1066-1399 : the Normans and Plantagenets, published in 1996

The forgotten monarchy of Scotland: the true story of the Royal House of Stewart and the hidden lineage of the kings and queens of Scots, 1998

The blood royal of Britain: being a roll of the living descendants of Edward IV and Henry VII, Kings of England, and James III, King of Scotland, 1994

A final note: In part one of this series, I responded to a request for more online information for UK research and I promised to ask Maureen Hanlon to put her list of links for Irish research on our website. Thanks to Maureen and our website manager Theresa Murphy, that list is now available on our website on the “Research Links” page under the Research Tab. Now, aren’t you glad you took the time to respond to our survey?

Library Committee Survey – Part 3: Book Requests

by Chris Pattillo (6/22/2022)

50s Party at NGS conference

This photo has nothing to do with the content of this blog post but it is eye-catching. Part of the fun at the 50s party during the NGS conference.

This is the third in a series of blog posts that responds to some of the suggestions made in response to the recently conducted Library Committee survey. We heard a lot of good ideas in response to the question “What material would you like added to the library that we don’t have?” This post will focus on specific book requests.

Comment: Roger Minert reference materials for Germany

Response: You’re in luck! Our library currently holds nine of Roger Minert’s books, including:

Deciphering Handwriting in German Documents: Analyzing German, Latin and French in Historical Manuscripts;

German Immigrants in American Church Records;

The German Research Companion;

Schleswig-Holstein (with Bremen, Hamburg, and Lubeck ) Place Names Indexes:

Identifying Place Names Using Alphabetical and Reverse Alphabetical Indexes;

German Residential Records for Genealogists: Tracking Your Ancestor From Place to Place in Germany;

Researching in Germany: A Handbook for Your Visit to the Homeland of Your Ancestors;

German Census Records, 1816-1916; The When, Where, and How of a Valuable Genealogical Resource;

Spelling Variations in German Names: Solving Family History Problems Through Applications of German and English Phonetics.

Minert is one of the key authorities for those doing German research. We will check to see if there are other books of his that we should add to our collections. If anyone has a copy of one not already held by the library and you are finished with it, we would welcome a donation.

Comment: Early American Quakers

Response: Entering “Quaker” as a keyword in WorldCat shows that we have 152 books with information on Quakers, two of them available online. Some titles are:

The Quakers by Hugh Barbour and J. William Frost;

Southern Quakers and Slavery: A Study in Institutional History by Stephen B. Weeks;

Quakers: A Brief Account of their Influence on Pennsylvania by William Wister Comfort, Frederick B. Tolles and Edwin B. Broner.

In addition, we have lots of books on specific Quaker families and books about Quakers in different states or regions of the U.S.

Comment: The Great Migration by Robert Charles Anderson

Response: Robert C. Anderson has published more than a dozen books about the Great Migration in his long career. We have quite a few of his books, including:

The Great Migration: Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635;

The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1633;

Puritan Pedigrees: The Deep Roots of the Great Migration to New England;

The Winthrop Fleet: Massachusetts Bay Company Immigrants to New England 1629-1630.

In addition, we hold The Complete Great Migration Newsletter: Volumes 1-15 (also available online), and the Great Migration Newsletter (1990-2011).

You should schedule time to come into the library and see all of these books!

Comment: The Scandinavian farm books or microfilm

Response: To be honest, our collections of international books are much smaller than our U.S. state books. We will look into acquiring more sources for Scandinavia. We do have about a dozen books and many articles (search our catalog for “Scandinavia.”)

If by “farm books” you mean the census or population survey, a number of these records are digitized and available to search online, including the Dansk Demografik Database and Norway’s Bygdebøker. The FamilySearch wiki has links to Swedish population records, and the wiki is a great place to look for genealogical resources on any region of the world.

One of the other questions from our survey asked which countries our members are researching. Six members said Norway, one said Finland and twelve are working on Sweden – a tie with France. Only five other countries got more than twelve votes. They were: Ireland 56 votes, Germany 40, England 39, Scotland 29, and Canada 20. You may want to join our Member Connections database and look for other members with your interests.

Comment: Local histories, gazetteers of states, and British Isles


1. Local Histories: This is a very broad topic. Our catalog shows that we hold a total of 742 items that are or are related to local histories. Of those, 354 are print books, nine are on microfilm, six are eBooks, two are manuscripts, and one is a thesis. The thesis title is “The United States Consulate in California” by Rayner Wickersham Kelsy and it was done to graduate from UC Berkeley in 1910.

We also have 328 articles, 33 journal or magazine articles, 3 computer files, 1 map, 1 internet resource and 1 website. I’ve listed all these different types of media so you can see what different types of material we collect and make available to our library visitors.

2. Gazetteers: CGS holds 161 items that are gazetteers or include a gazetteer in a portion of the book. Some are for countries; others are for US states and several are for counties.

3. British Isles: If you enter “British Isles” in WorldCat it shows that we hold 36 items, including 22 books on this topic. If you instead enter “United Kingdom” or “Great Britain,” you will net 579 items, 161 of them books.

All three of these are very broad topics. After you have reviewed what we already have available, please let anyone on the library committee know if there is something specific you feel the library is lacking, so we can add it to our list of acquisitions.

Comment: Recent books with new information.

Response: In the past the library committee published a list of our new additions in the Nugget. That hasn’t happened recently for two reasons. First, because we have had so many additions from multiple large donations that the Nugget team thought it would be better to publish the list via our eNews; and second, because there has been a change in leadership of the committee and I simply have not gotten to this task. It is on my to-do list.

Because the library committee has been overwhelmed with processing hundreds of recently donated books, purchasing new books has not been a priority. The publication dates of the donated books varies but they do include a few that were published in the past five years, including these:

Puritan Pedigrees: The Deep Roots of the Great Migration to New England by Robert C. Anderson, 2018;

By Faith Alone: My Family’s Epic History by Bill Griffeth, 2019;

NGS Research in the States: Nevada by Stefani Evans, 2020;

NGS Research in the States: Arizona, 2020; Names on the Map by Stanley Stevens 2020;

History and Genealogy of the Hubbell Family, by Harold Hubbell, 2017.

Comment: Social history books

Response: The CGS holdings include over 1,300 books on this topic. Many have the phrase “social history” in the book title so you can be assured that the emphasis of the book will focus on the topic.

After you have had a chance to review the sources that we already hold if you do not find anything that provides what you are looking for, please narrow down this topic and let us know what you need.

Library Committee Survey Responses – Part 2: California Resources

by Chris Pattillo (6/15/2022)

Members of the Library Committee L-R Tracy Pullar, Arlene Miles, Wendy Polivka, Linda Edwards, Kristi Wessenberg, Shirley Hoye and Gibran Rath. Photo by Chris Pattillo, Chair

This is the second in a series of blog posts that responds to some of the suggestions made in response to the recently conducted Library Committee survey. We heard a lot of good ideas in response to the question “What material would you like added to the library that we don’t have?” This post will focus on the suggestions made for our California room.

Comment: Since I live in Northern California it has been years since I’ve visited the library, but I have found some “key” records from the CGS library in the past. The CGS library is a valuable and unique depository especially for my California relatives that arrived prior to 1860.

Response: Thank you for making this comment. It is always nice to get positive feedback – especially if it shows that we are serving our members’ needs. Our California collections are quite extensive and we continue to add new books all the time. In fact, we just received three bags of books donated by Gena Philbert-Ortega and almost all are for various California counties. Next time you find yourself in the Bay Area please plan to stop by and see what’s new.

Comment: I’d like more books for early California 1700s and even more material for San Francisco County.

Response: This sort of specific feedback is exactly what we’d hope to get in response to this question. It will help guide our new acquisitions. If anyone reading this has a specific title to suggest for either of these categories, please send me your suggestion at [email protected]. The library committee will also look for new sources on these topics.

Comment: I would like the focus to be on every county in the state of California. Second, on the history of California and when each county formed.

Response: If you don’t already know this, all of our California books are housed in a small room in the back corner of the library. It used to be referred to as the Dorman Room and is now the California Room. Our new map of the library, which is available on our website and in the library, shows where this room is located. Fortunately for you all the books are organized by county!

Comment: I am interested in anything in San Francisco, Alameda and Yuba counties especially before 1906.

Response: You probably know this, but just in case you don’t, Raking the Ashes: Genealogical Strategies for pre-1906 San Francisco Research was written by our own Nancy Simons Peterson. CGS published the book in 2011 and has it in our library and for sale. It is the definitive book on pre-1906 San Francisco research.

By entering the search term “Alameda” in our online WorldCat catalog you will find sources with information for pre-1906 Alameda, including probate records, death records and more. We have a total of 111 items for Alameda County including fifty-six print books and two ebooks.

There are fewer items for Yuba County–only twenty-four items including thirteen print books–so this might be a place for us to expand our offerings.

Comment: I need help tracing family in Northern California pre-statehood.

Response: Well, now you’ve given me an opening to promote our Research Committee. Providing help to members and non-members is exactly what they love to do, and they are good at it.  On the Research tab of our website you will find a page headed “Research Services” That is where you will find everything you need to order research services tailored to exactly what you define.

Comment: Since I have never been to the library, I don’t feel qualified to answer this question but, of interest to me would be San Diego County and Gold Rush-era Sacramento. Also, the kinds of promotional materials that drew people to California in the Gold Rush and in the early 1920s. Information about the roads across country that people would have taken in the 1920s–gravel? Road signs?

Response: Wow, these are fascinating topics. I hope you are planning to write a book after you find this information. We’ll add it to our collection for sure.

Our resources for San Diego County are comparatively light – only thirty-five items are listed, including twenty print books. One thing to remember about using WorldCat to see what books are available in our library is that you always have the option to also see what other libraries carry books on a topic of interest. After searching for a term, look for the option “Held By Library” to select “Libraries Worldwide.” That will bring up over 35,000 choices.

Our library has 567 items related to the Gold Rush; most are articles but we also have 109 books including The Age of Gold: The California Gold Rush and the New American Dream published in 2002; a Gold Rush Album from 1949; The World Rushed In: The California Gold Rush Experience; and The California Gold Rush and the Coming of the Civil War.

I forwarded your question to Linda Darby, Chair of our Manuscripts Committee. Here is her response:

I’m not aware of any gold rush material in the Manuscripts Collection. There is some in the Vertical Files. [Both indexes can be downloaded from the Online Resources link at our website.]

Our indexes for both Manuscripts and Vertical Files are every-word searchable. If a person wants to search for a particular item just search for the subject in the index.  If your focus is too narrow then nothing will show up.  But if you search for “gold” in Vertical Files, you will get some hits (including names with “gold” in them, but not so many that you can’t cull them).

As for promotional materials, routes taken and places, you may be more successful searching at the California Historical Society.  They focus more on places and things, we on people.

In the next post in this series I’ll respond to requests for specific books and specific topics.