Steve’s Blog About the Annual Meeting

by Kathryn Doyle (1/13/2008)

The California Genealogical Society Annual Membership Meeting was held yesterday at the CGS library – the first of the yearly January “state of the society” gatherings to be held at our Broadway address. In addition to the various committee reports and election of board officers, President Jane Lindsey reported on the planned events for 2008 and presented a history of the society slide show created by Colleen Huntley.

Among the approximately 60 members in attendance was Stephen Danko, who is creating a national name for himself with his excellent Polish research blog. Steve brought his camera to the meeting and has posted a wonderful report with photos on Steve’s Genealogy Blog today.

Update: Steve Danko also visited and blogged about the Stephen G. Harris City Directory Collection which is adjacent to the CGS library.

CGS – Always a Happening Place

by Kathryn Doyle (1/11/2008)

I’ve been distracted by a couple of CGS projects that came my way and were too important to ignore. The first was this month’s issue of the CGS e-News – the January 2008 email newsletter – which went out this past weekend to [drumroll, please!] 924 members. CGS e-News was started last year by Jane Lindsey with the technical assistance of Kathy Watson who set us up with Constant Contact, the email, marketing and survey tool also used by NEHGS for their e-News. Our goal is to send the electronic news every month as a supplement to the CGS News, edited by Jane Hufft and produced by Lois Elling, which is published bimonthly in January, March, May, July, September and November.

The second project is a Family Tree Magazine survey for libraries with genealogical collections. FTM is planning a feature article “that will honor libraries with outstanding genealogical collections across the United States.” Anyone who has been to the California Genealogical Society library knows that it fits the definition so the article would be a great way to shine some light on our hidden jewel.

Unfortunately, the FTM questionnaire is extremely detailed, requires quantitative answers and came at the worst time, just before the holidays. CGS librarian, Laura Spurrier and research director, Nancy Peterson stepped up to the challenge and the emails have been flying back and forth in an effort to meet the January 14 deadline. As Nancy noted, “No single one of us appreciates all facets of our holdings” so the challenge is to gather input from several more member volunteers in the next few days.

My Goal for 2008

by Kathryn Doyle (1/2/2008)

Traditionally, January 1st is a day for New Year’s Resolutions but many years ago I began instead to create a yearly set of Goals. Perhaps this is just semantics but while I am good at deciding or resolving to do something, it’s usually the execution that is the problem. This “goal setting” exercise has evolved into a set of lists that I create for the various parts of my life. I’ve learned to set fewer goals but to include specific “actions” – a technique learned from David Allen’s Getting Things Done, The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. The “next action” is one of the hallmarks of Allen’s GTD philosophy, and he defines it as: “the next physical, visible activity that needs to be engaged in, in order to move the current reality toward completion.”

I’ve been trying (unsuccessfully) to get one of the local media outlets to do a piece on the California Genealogical Society and Library and so I am hereby making this my 2008 CGS goal. And in keeping with the GTD action step requirement, I’ve created a “Top Ten” pitch list to email to Bay Area newspapers and magazines. I will be modifying it to send to some of the local television and radio talk shows, as well. I’ll keep you posted as I come up with new strategies for reaching my goal and I welcome any suggestions you may have (or the phone number of your brother-in-law who works for KTVU).

Top 10 Reasons to Feature the California Genealogical Society and Library in 2008:

1. The California Genealogical Society (CGS) was the first genealogy society in the state, founded February 12, 1898, in San Francisco. CGS has been located in Oakland since 1998.

2. The California Genealogical Society and Library blog debuted November 25, 2007.

3. A full 73 percent of Americans are are intrigued by their family roots according to a 2005 poll by Market Strategies, Inc. (MSI).

4. A Cal State Fullerton study showed that interest in genealogy spans a wide range of ages with the strongest interest being in middle age, most starting “at an average age of 40.”

5. California Genealogical Society Research Director, Nancy Peterson, literally wrote the book on San Francisco research. Raking the Ashes: Genealogical Strategies for Pre-1906 San Francisco Research was published by CGS in June 2006.

6. In March 2007, CGS moved to its newest location in the historic Breuner Building in Oakland’s Uptown District.

7. The California Genealogical Society maintains a library of over 30,000 genealogy reference materials and has released a beta version of its online catalog.

8. Long-time CGS volunteer Dorothy Fowler penned A Most Dreadful Earthquake, A First-Hand Account of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire, with Glimpses into the Lives of the Phillips-Jones Letter Writers. The book was published in April 2006 by CGS to coincide with the centennial of the 1906 Earthquake and Fire.

9. The California Genealogical Society and Library (now 900 members strong) hosts monthly membership meetings and has a First Saturday Free policy of allowing non-members free access on the first Saturday of every month.

10. The Oakland Convention & Visitors Bureau list of 100 Things to Do includes tip #80: “Trace your family history at the California Genealogical Society.”