Irish Research Seminar – July 9, 2008

by Kathryn Doyle (3/17/2008)

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! CGS President, Jane Lindsey has been cooking up a treat straight from Ireland that’s sure to excite Irish researchers and have them dancing a jig.

Noted Irish author, researcher and lecturer, Nora M. Hickey, will present A Day of Irish Information, Wednesday, July 9, 2008, at the Berkeley Yacht Club, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Ms. Hickey will give four talks of interest to researchers of all skill levels. She has also agreed to schedule the next day at the CGS Library to do private, one-on-one consultations.

For additional details, download the flier and registration form.

Nora M. Hickey was born in Cork, Ireland, and educated at Loreto College, Manchester, England. After returning to Ireland in 1974, she studied history and philosophy at St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth, a constituent college of the National University of Ireland. Her B.A. thesis was genealogical; a study of the Norman family, the de Berminghams of Leinster. As a founder member of the Federation of Local History Societies, she was Honorary Editor of Local History Review for many years. An early member of the Irish Family History Society, Nora also acted for some years as the Honorary Editor of Irish Family History.

Ms. Hickey was a founder director of the Irish Genealogical Project until she resigned in 1991 to develop her own Irish genealogical research service. This includes visiting the USA several times yearly to give lectures and seminars, together with a personal genealogical research service. In the past Nora has hosted County Cork Summer Schools and organised Dublin based Research Weeks with personal guidance in the Irish archives.

Her publications include: Going to Ireland: A Genealogical Researcher’s Guide, Kinsale Historical Journals, Kinsale: Glimpses of a town through the years and The Battle of Kinsale, together with many articles, both historical and genealogical, published in many journals in two continents. In 2005, Nora edited her 98 year-old father’s memoirs – My Barryroe Childhood and was very much involved with his centenary celebrations in September 2007 – in two countries, with an international attendance.

A Tribute to Anne Robinson

by Kathryn Doyle (3/15/2008)

Jasia of Creative Gene reminds us that March is National Women’s History Month and encourages genea-bloggers to write a tribute to a woman. It is the perfect opportunity to honor long-time CGS volunteer, Anne A. Robinson.

The number one strength of the California Genealogical Society and Library is our active and generous membership but few have been as dedicated and steadfast as Anne. She is a San Francisco native and comes from a long line of folks interested in their family history. Anne’s husband died when her children were young and she turned to friends for support and company. She developed a close bond with a group of seven who took a genealogy class together at Sequoia High School. After the class was over, she missed the contact so she started spending her Wednesdays volunteering at libraries — at CGS, or Sutro, in Santa Clara or Sacramento. Anne volunteered for many years at the Pacific Regional National Archives in San Bruno, working on the preservation of Chinese immigration records.

Anne was the youngest of nine children (including a twin sister) with Dutch heritage from their mother and British from their father. The teaching profession called to her and she taught fourth grade for a time in Santa Barbara. During World War II, Anne joined the army to help with the war effort. She was stationed at Fort Collins, Colorado, where she trained in occupational therapy and was assigned to a military hospital working with servicemen who were on the mend. She did her basic training in Des Moines in motor transport which led to her first assignment as a driver for the base Colonel. These days Anne leaves the driving to the public transportation systems, of which she is also a veteran. Anne spends 3 1/2 to 4 hours every week commuting to CGS. She leaves home at 7:00 a.m. to insure her arrival at the library for the 9:30 start time of the book repair group and more often than not, she is the first to arrive. Anne spends her commute time doing recreational reading and puzzles. Anne is a big fan of sudoku and jumbles and she will do a crossword or two. She’s noticed that genealogists like puzzles and several she knows do the jigsaw variety.

Anne began volunteering at CGS when the society was joined with the California Historical Society in San Francisco. She has been a member of CGS since 1980 and has logged thousands of volunteer hours, working on many major projects over the years.

In the 1990s, Anne was a member of the library committee which spent several years creating a shelf list of the CGS holdings. That inventory was completed in 1995. She and Anna Scott spent several more years going through all of the ancestral charts that were donated to CGS and indexing them by surname and typing up catalog cards for each chart. Anne also worked on the Great Register of 1890 indexing project with Jane Steiner’s group.

One of Anne’s ongoing projects is readily visible on most of the library shelves. She is responsible for the spine labels and bindings for pamphlets and other non-bound materials. Her careful, legible script helps our patrons easily find things hidden from view in most libraries.

Anne has volunteered at several archives and societies over the years but she says that she especially likes the people at CGS because they take the time to “get to know each other a little bit.” We are all honored to have gotten to know her.

In my notes I found that Anne wrote her own six word memoir:
Did what needed to be done.”

Photographs by Kathryn M. Doyle, 11 Dec 2007.

Workshop: Eastern European Research – April 12, 2008

by Kathryn Doyle (3/14/2008)

CGS is rolling out a series of research workshops in 2008 that will focus on specific ethnic groups and geographical regions.

The first, “Eastern and Central European Research,” will be held Saturday, April 12, 2008, from 10:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., at the California Genealogical Society Library. CGS members, Stephen J. Danko, author of Steve’s Genealogy Blog and Jeremy G. Frankel, President of the San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society, will be on hand to lend their expertise.

The workshop will consist of two lectures (with handouts) by our specialists, a lunch break and a “hands-on” session so attendees can share ideas, do some computer research and talk one-on-one with Jeremy and Steve. Members are encouraged to bring laptop computers; the six CGS computers may not all be available for the program.

Jeremy will discuss Don’t Reinvent the Wheel:
“Before researching for original documents in faraway repositories, try finding other people who have done what you are attempting. Is there a special interest group for your geographical area of interest? Can you find someone who has already visited East European archives? Can they tell you what the date range, condition, access issues are? As with all foreign research, start by digging around in your own backyard. You might be surprised at what you find.”

Steve will present Finding ancestors amidst the changing map of Europe:
“Finding the place of origin of an immigrant is crucial to finding historic records for that immigrant’s ancestors. Complicating matters are the changing borders in Europe during the past two centuries as the territorial acquisitions obliterated some nations from the map. Border changes in Europe affected not only the map of Europe, but also the records on which genealogists depend to document their ancestors’ lives.”

The workshop is free for CGS members but is limited to 15 people. Reservations are required; no walk-ins will be permitted. There will be a sign-up fee of $10 for non-members. (The fee can be applied toward membership on the day of the workshop.) There will be a sign up sheet at CGS. Please call (510) 663-1358 to reserve a space.

Jeremy Frankel was born in London and trained as a cartographer and surveyor. He has been investigating his East European roots in Poland and Lithuania for over 20 years. Frankel joined the San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society after moving to the Bay Area in 1993. He has been the Society’s President since 2003. Jeremy has studied San Francisco and California Jewry and their history. His current projects include a San Francisco-born Jewish boxing glove manufacturer, and a Polish Jewish anarchist who co-founded the first sailor’s union in San Francisco. Jeremy is also a professional genealogist, able to research families who lived in the U.K., U.S. and parts of Eastern Europe.

Stephen Danko is a native of upstate New York. In the course of writing his daily genealogy research blog, Steve has reconnected with lost cousins in Poland, the U.K., and the U.S. He began seriously researching his family history nine years ago and has conducted research on location in Poland and Lithuania and has visited the villages in which his immigrant ancestors lived. In addition to research on his own family, Steve has conducted client research in records from the U.S., Poland, Italy, and Canada. He has formally studied Latin, German, and Polish, and has acquired a working knowledge of several other languages. Steve is currently studying for a Professional Learning Certificate in Genealogical Studies from the National Institute for Genealogical Studies in Toronto.
Don’t miss this opportunity to learn new strategies and meet other members with similar research interests.

Update: Check out the books that Steve Danko has recommended.