Peralta Hacienda Banquet

by Kathryn Doyle (10/27/2008)

As reported in August, CGS has been involved in an extensive research project of the Peralta family over the last several months. The research team – Judy Bodycote, Dick Rees and Lavinia Schwarz – was honored at a banquet hosted by the Friends of Peralta Hacienda Historical Park (FRIENDS) on Sunday, October 12, 2008. The dinner was held in the Victorian-style home on the grounds of the Peralta Hacienda Historical Park.

Lavinia Schwarz and Judy Bodycote
arriving at the Peralta Hacienda Victorian.

Lavinia Schwarz sent this report:

Last Sunday the three CGS volunteers (Judy Bodycote, Dick Rees and myself) who have worked on the Peralta family tree for Peralta Hacienda Historical Park, were feted at a banquet in the dining room of the Victorian built by Antonio Peralta’s son near where the original land grant adobe was built in 1820. It was the first non-native dwelling in the East Bay. A second adobe, constructed in 1840 when the family outgrew the original, smaller structure, was later destroyed by an earthquake. The family moved back into the 1820 adobe and started building the Victorian home where we enjoyed our dinner.

Time for some conversation before dinner.
(Note the antique Peralta trunk.)

Chris Pattillo, Ken Talken and Judy Bodycoat with
the portrait of Ken’s great-grandmother, Tonita –
Maria Antonia Peralta Lehmann (1877-1954).

There were fourteen people at the banquet including members of the FRIENDS board – Justin Brown, Ken Talken, who is also a Peralta descendant, Chairman Dale Hagen and Treasurer Mike Falk and his wife Lynne; Deborah Cooper, Collections Curator (retired) of the Oakland Museum; L. Thomas Frye, Curator of the Gold Rush exhibit at the Oakland Museum and former director of the museum; CGS board member Chris Pattillo and her partner Dianne Sierra; Holly Alonzo, Executive Director of FRIENDS and the three of us.

Deborah Cooper, Holly Alonso, Lynne Falk and Justin Brown.

The food was of the time – delicious chili stew, tortillas, mustard greens, potatoes, grapes, figs, bread pudding, champagne, wine, sherry, and chocolates. We were told that at the time the food of the poor and the rich was basically the same. The difference was that the wealthy enjoyed wine and spirits.

Judy Bodycote, Ken Talken, Lavinia Schwarz, Tom Frye and Deborah Cooper.
Dianne Sierra, Dale Hagen, Chris Pattillo and Mike Falk.

The company was delightful and the food was great. We swapped Peralta stories and a good time was had by all. Chris Pattillo and her firm PGA Design did the original landscape design for the park and it was she who thought of getting CGS involved with the Peralta family history. It’s been a nice collaboration. Judy Bodycote has done most of the research. Her husband is a DeAnza party descendant (four ancestors) so she was up to speed right away with researching the early Californios. Judy also figured out how to print out a large color-coded family free.

Based on our work, graphic artist Gordan Chan will create a wall mural of the first five or so generations of Peraltas in California. In addition, our CGS research team has created a genealogy database of 700 plus descendants. We hope visitors to the park will be able to access the database to look up ancestors. The banquet was a thank-you beyond anything we imagined.

Photographs courtesy of Dick Rees.

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