Fort Wayne in August

by Kathryn Doyle (11/30/2007)

President Jane Lindsey led a third CGS sponsored research trip to the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana, August 19-26, 2007. This year’s trip was especially well timed to follow the FGS Conference which was held August 15-18. And while many attendees (Dick Eastman estimated the total to be about 1500) raced to the library to try and cram in some research time before, between and after conference sessions, we from CGS were smugly relaxed with the knowledge that we would be there for a whole week after the crowds had left. (Okay, so actually we did sneak in occasionally – the temptation was just too great and they opened the library at 6:00 am!)

The conference was my first and was as fun, informative and exhausting as I had expected. One of the high points was hearing Christopher Haley, nephew of “Roots” author Alex Haley and Research Administrator of the Study of the Legacy of Slavery in Maryland at the Maryland State Archives.

Even better was Chris’s interview of our prez for Roots Television in the Exhibit Hall. Jane used the forum to tell viewers about some of the exciting changes we have made this year, including our long-anticipated online catalog.

Hmmm – it’s daylight and we’re not in the library. It must be Sunday – the library was closed but it was not a day of rest for us. Here we are in the dining room of the LaSalle Bed & Breakfast gearing up for our week of research.

This was the first CGS trip to the Allen County Public Library since the renovation project was completed. The library is a gem from its space-age pods where the littlest readers can curl up with a picture book to the state-of-the-art televison studio available to Allen County residents at no charge. Of course we only saw these things on the tour since we would go straight to the 2nd floor to the genealogy department and stay til closing with only a short break for lunch.

Jim Robinson is a CGS member and serves as 1st Vice-President of the Marin County Genealogical Society. His parents and grandparents were Indiana natives so his roots are deep there and he was able have Sunday dinner with ten ROBINSON third cousins.

One very special treat was a private lecture by Curt Witcher on “Fingerprinting Our Families: Using Ancestral Origins/Ethnicity As a Genealogical Research Key.” Curt is the Manager of the ACPL Genealogy Department and author of the GenealogyGems Mailing List. He provided a comprehensive hand-out with reference suggestions for context which can be just the thing to help us over our brick walls. Jane arranged the talk for us which is typical of the kind of scrupulous attention she pays to the details on these research trips.

Here we all are on the last night – Jane always organizes a closing dinner so we can celebrate our finds. Starting at front left (around the table) are Sandy, Carol, Jane, Kathryn, Lorna, Lavinia, Gail, Jim and Pat. Thank you, Jane for another successful research trip.

Photographs courtesy of Jane Lindsey.

Open house

by Kathryn Doyle (11/29/2007)

One of the things I love about CGS is that the members are always ready to throw a party. After the move was over and the dust had settled, our volunteers were glad to celebrate and show off our new facility. The Open House was held on Thursday, April 26, 2007. The invitations looked like this and were hand delivered to all of our neighbor tenants at 2201 Broadway.

Many of our neighbors came to introduce themselves.

Several of our board members and volunteers were on hand to greet our guests.

A few were interested in looking for an ancestor in the 1920 or 1930 census.

I think that we were successful in finding something for everyone and more than a few seemed to catch the genealogy bug. It was another successful CGS event.

Photographs courtesy of Jane Lindsey.

Our library

by Kathryn Doyle (11/28/2007)

Since its inception in February 1898, the California Genealogical Society has emphasized the sharing of relevant source material and the establishment of a library was one of its earliest goals. Our new home in the Breuner Building is located in a “lower level” (basement) suite that was renovated, painted and customized just for us.

This is a view of the library through the entrance door to our suite.
One of our dedicated volunteers, Gloria Hanson, at the reception desk.
A view of the stacks (notice the matching chairs – a
bargain negotiated by president Jane Lindsey.)

On the shelves and in the files are more than 30,000 reference aids and genealogical records including dozens of periodicals, 10,000 local and family histories, reels of microfilm, CDs and many unpublished manuscripts. The library has a wide variety of San Francisco and Northern California materials but is also generously stocked with regional, state and local references for the entire United States. New England, Mid-Atlantic states and the South are particularly well represented in the collection.

After hundreds of volunteer hours, a beta version of the CGS online catalog is now available and is also accessible from the society home page. Over 10,000 books are now searchable on this user-friendly site. By year end, input of the book titles should be complete and the process of loading the CD collection and periodicals will begin.

Photographs courtesy of Colleen Huntley and Jane Lindsey.