CGS Member Spotlight: Barbara Close

by Kathryn Doyle (9/8/2008)

Scores of volunteers at the California Genealogical Society work in the background to keep the library humming along. Whether they are shelving books, cataloging periodicals, opening mail, paying bills, maintaining computers or performing umpteen other tasks, members selflessly contribute their time to the overall running of the society.

Usually CGS volunteers do their work behind the scenes, without fanfare or public acknowledgment. But occasionally members step forward to significantly contribute to a published work that warrants placing their name on the cover of a book. If you scroll down the right sidebar of this blog you will see some of the publications edited by Barbara Close.

Barbara Ross Close directed the indexing of several society projects, including the San Francisco I.O.O.F. Crematory records, the S.F. Death series and the California Surname Index. Each work represents time spent by a team of members, gathering up raw data held by CGS, then writing and sorting it – imposing order by printing, proofing, formatting, finishing, publishing, marketing and distributing it along the way. Thousands of volunteer hours are the underlying reality of the CGS publication list. In addition to her contribution supervising specific indexing projects, Barbara also served as chair of the Publications Committee for the last three years.

Barbara is well-trained for her tasks at CGS. She holds a B.A. in English from University of California, Berkeley and has a Masters in Library Science from San Jose State. The twin skills of patience and perseverance required for indexing were honed during a career in education in Oakland, where Barbara taught grades four through nine, and was a school librarian.

Close has been a member of the California Genealogical Society since 1991. She was first introduced to the society by past-president, Rick Sherman, who shares another passion with her – folk dancing. (I’ll have to blog sometime about the large number of CGS members who are involved in all manner of dance pursuits!) Barbara’s interest in genealogy dates back to a conversation with her uncle just after her father’s funeral in Redding, California. She realized that she knew almost about her father’s family and the search began.

Barbara recently stepped down as chair of the Publications Committee. Thanks, Barbara, for all of your exceptional work.

CGS titles edited by Barbara Close:
California Surname Index: Biographies from Selected Histories, California Genealogical Society, 2000
San Francisco, California: I.O.O.F. Crematory Records, California Genealogical Society, 2001
San Francisco Deaths 1902-1904, California Genealogical Society, 2003
San Francisco Deaths 1865-1869, California Genealogical Society, 2004

Photograph by Kathryn Doyle.

Angel Island Foundation Dinner – September 12, 2008

by Kathryn Doyle (9/5/2008)

CGS member Jeanie W. Chooey Low sent this announcement:

There’s still time to get your tickets to the The Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation Annual Fundraising Dinner held next Friday, September 12, 2008 at the Westin San Francisco Market Street, 50 Third Street, San Francisco. Tickets are $200 and proceeds go to continuing the Foundation’s efforts to inform the public about the rich history of the Immigration Station and its implications today.

The keynote speaker is Dr. Erika Lee, co-author of Angel Island: Immigrant Gateway to America with Judy Yung. The book is due out in 2010, but you will get a preview of the new stories emerging from their studies of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Russian immigrants, who passed through Angel Island between 1910 and 1940.

Pianist/composer Jon Jang will perform Prologue to Angel Voices, a series of musical compositions inspired by new translations of the Chinese poems carved on the Detention Barrack walls, Japanese poems written about the Angel Island experience, and excerpts from a Russian immigrant’s letters about his stay on the island.
Come learn about the upcoming reopening of the Immigration Station on February 15, 2009. To buy tickets, email your contact information to [email protected] or call Julie at 415-262-4429.
The immigration experience is a common thread binding the histories of most Americans. Whether escaping persecution, poverty or lack of economic prospects, immigrants have come to the United States for the ideals it represents — freedom, democracy, and opportunity. Most Americans know the story of Ellis Island, where immigrants crossing the Atlantic Ocean were processed. But the story of its West Coast counterpart, Angel Island, is little-known.
Located in the middle of San Francisco Bay, Angel Island Immigration Station was routinely the first stop for immigrants crossing the Pacific Ocean. The Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation (AIISF) is the nonprofit partner of California State Parks and the National Park Service in the effort to preserve, restore and interpret the historic immigration station.
Serendipity in the New Books Section

by Kathryn Doyle (9/4/2008)

The California Genealogical Society is fortunate to be the recipient of many wonderful donated books to the library. In addition, thanks to the financial generosity of our members, books and media are purchased to round out the collection. New books are housed on a special book shelf so members can peruse the latest additions.

Recently, CGS volunteer Sandy Fryer decided to take advantage of some quiet time while on “desk duty” and spend some time looking through the new books section. She had one of those serendipitous genealogical moments when she opened a book and found an ancestor.

Sandy Fryer found the portrait of her ancestor, Dr. John Clarke.

Sandy had heard of the portrait of her ancestor, Dr. John Clarke of Boston, Massachusetts, but she had never seen it.

Colket, Meredith B., Founders of Early American Families: Emigrants from Europe 1607-1657. Second Revised Edition. Cleveland, Ohio, The Order of the Founders and Patriots of America, 2002.

Photographs by Kathryn M. Doyle, July 15, 2008.