It’s Catching! More Cousins Discovered in the Library…

by Kathryn Doyle (10/24/2008)

It seldom happens that you meet someone in person whom you connect to genealogically, although it seems to be happening quite frequently at the CGS Library. First Marianne Frey, Dick Rees and Lavinia Schwarz discovered that they shared New England ancestors, then board members John Moore and Shirley Thomson found that they were fifth cousins, once removed.

Now it has happened again to member Dorothy Koenig, nationally-recognized expert on early Dutch families in New Amsterdam. On Saturday, November 11, 2008. Dorothy volunteered her services as a consultant as part of the California Genealogical Society October Family History Month activities. Laura Spurrier, one of our volunteer librarians, signed up for a one-on-one, members only session with Dorothy. Laura was pretty sure she had a Dutch line but needed help documenting a link in the early nineteenth century. Laura came to the meeting with charts to help explain the problem. Dorothy looked, looked some more, and came to the realization that one of Laura’s charts contained her own ancestors! The cousins connect via the Hegeman, Van Wyck, Polhemius and Rapalje families.

The story became even more astounding when another CGS volunteer librarian entered the discussion. Barbara Hill was also in the library that day and connects to both Dorothy and Laura through the early Rapalje line. Just like that – three instant cousins, instead of two.

Dorothy wrote to let me know that the cousins share another coincidence: “All three of us – Laura, Barbara, and I – have retired from our careers at the Library on the University of California Berkeley campus. It must be the genes we share!”

So is there a statistician out there who can calculate the odds of finding a cousin at the California Genealogical Society Library? They’re starting to look pretty good to me!

How Call Numbers Work

by Kathryn Doyle (10/23/2008)

Books in the California Genealogical Society Library are organized according to the Library of Congress Classification (LCC) system, instead of the more commonly known Dewey Decimal Classification.

LCC is used by academic and special libraries across the United States since the Dewey system is considered suitable only for public and school libraries. The LCC system is criticized as being “U.S.-centric” but it is widely used in this country because of its ease of use and logic.

CGS Librarian Laura Spurrier recently created a hand-out for her talk on the library’s holdings which included a section on “How Call Numbers Work.” She agreed to let me publish it here. I hope you find it as informative and useful as I did.

How Call Numbers Work by Laura Spurrier

The Library of Congress Classification system divides up the universe of knowledge by one or two letters of the alphabet, followed by numbers up to 9999. Complex subjects are subdivided further. Then they are put in order by author (or by title if there’s no identifiable author) and date. For example, Nancy Peterson’s book about San Francisco research, Raking the Ashes, can be found under:

F – Category for local history subjects
869 – California cities
.S3 – San Francisco
P4 – represents Peterson
2006 – year of publication (tells it apart from the next edition)

The F category covers materials about places in the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America, including gazetteers, church, cemetery and vital records, periodicals, etc. in each country, arranged by:

Each state (or province) within the region
Counties within that state, in alphabetical order
Cities within that state, (capital city sometimes first)
Miscellaneous, including materials about local minority groups

Other call numbers of interest to genealogists:

BX – histories of religious groups
CS (low numbers) – how-to books and genealogical reference books, The American Genealogist, royal descents, compiled genealogies of multiple families
CS71 – genealogies of individual American families, including family newsletters, in order by surname
CS80-90 – Canadian materials (other Canadian materials are at F1001+)
CS420+ – British nobility and county histories, followed by genealogical materials about other European countries
E99+ – books about Native Americans
E184+ – books about immigrants to the U.S. by ethnicity or religion
E255+ – military and some service pension records (D.A.R. Lineage Books are shelved separately.)
Z – reference books, especially resources in other libraries.
The row ends with the American Genealogical & Biographical Index (Rider) volumes.

Laura J. Spurrier, M.A., M.A., M.L.S., 9/08

Wordless Wednesday

by Kathryn Doyle (10/22/2008)

Family History Month Class

“Tips for Using the New”
November 9, 2008

Jane Lindsey, Pat Wong and Diana Wild.

Photograph courtesy of Linda Darby.