Great Registers of Voters – SF 1890

by Kathryn Doyle (2/12/2008)

Several genealogy blogs have commented on the recent release of a new database on – California Voter Registrations, 1900-1968. This collection is a portion of what is more commonly known as the “Great Registers of Voters” which date back to 1866. Legislation was enacted that year to combat voter fraud and bring order after the massive population influx that came with the Gold Rush. The registers are compiled lists of voter names and addresses arranged by district. Additional information was collected which varies by year.

CGS Research Director Nancy Peterson, who devotes a chapter to “Voting Records” in her book Raking the Ashes: Genealogical Strategies for Pre-1906 San Francisco Research, notes that “the Great Registers before the years that Ancestry digitized contained naturalization information.” The 1866 legislation required voters to provide the country where they were born and “if a naturalized foreigner, when, where, and by what Court he was admitted to become a citizen of the United States.” By 1900, when the United States began collecting specific naturalization information from individuals during the decennial census, the voters of California were no longer required to supply it.

CGS member, Jim W. Faulkinbury, gives the complete background of the Great Registers and has an online database index of Foreign-Born Voters of 1872.

The California Genealogical Society participated in the statewide indexing of the 1890 Great Register of Voters, chosen to provide a partial substitute for the lost United States census of that year. The massive project, which took eleven years to complete, was organized by the California State Genealogical Alliance, a consortium of independent genealogical societies throughout California, chaired by Janice G. Cloud of Santa Barbara. The California 1890 Great Register of Voters, a three volume set, indexes 311,028 men living in California in 1890 and includes significant personal information but not the naturalization data.

The California Genealogical Society separately indexed and published in 2002 a one-volume San Francisco, California: 1890 Great Register of Voters, edited by Jane Billings Steiner. It contains the names of 59,712 men living in the many precincts of the city and county of San Francisco in 1890, as well as their age, place of birth, occupation, home address and all naturalization details as found in the official record. CGS has a names search at our Web site which includes this records set, as well as many more. Results that include the code “FRAN” come from this database and can be purchased.

African American Lives 2

by Kathryn Doyle (2/4/2008)

Dick Eastman wrote recently about the lack of genealogy-based television programming in the U.S. and the possibility of a new series. Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is doing his part to fill the void. Gates, recently named editor of a new African-American online magazine with a slice of genealogy, The Root, is back at PBS this week and next with another of his genealogical treats, African American Lives 2. Gates builds on the previous success of African American Lives (2006) and Oprah’s Roots (2007) and returns as the series host with a new cast of prominent and celebrity African-Americans who journey into the lives of their ancestors. This time around Professor Gates examines the ancestry of poet Maya Angelou, actors Don Cheadle and Morgan Freeman and singer Tina Turner, among others.

In case you miss the broadcasts, snippets are available on the excellent companion Web site, launched last week, which is also set up for K-12 teachers to use the program for classroom instruction.

One of the twelve featured “lives,” comedian Chris Rock, had an unexpectedly tearful response when learning that his ancestor had served in the Civil War. Said an emotional Rock, “Let’s just hope that everybody learns where they come from so their lives can make more sense.”

AFRICAN AMERICAN LIVES 2 airs Wednesdays, February 6-13, 2008, 9:00-11:00 p.m. PST on PBS local affliate KQED, Channel 9.

Countdown to the 110th

by Kathryn Doyle (2/4/2008)

Today is the last day to reserve your place at the 110th Anniversary Celebration, this Saturday, February 9, 2008, at the Concord Hilton. You won’t want to miss this special day-long program with Maureen Taylor, the Photo Detective, who will present four seminars:

Tales from The Photo Detective
Identifying and Dating Family Photos
Preserving Family Photographs
Reading Immigrant Clues in Photos

$45.00 includes all seminars and lunch.

CGS News Editor, Jane Hufft, has organized a special silent auction as part of the festivities. Donated items include a set of champagne glasses in a carrying case, a basket of Irish coffee glasses and accoutrements, two sets of framed botanical prints, Fleetwood Mac wines, a handmade baby blanket, a set of two Malaysian baskets and much, much more.

The society is also honored to announce that our event is the book launch of Maureen Taylor’s newest title, Capturing Memories (Your Family Story in Photographs). All of Maureen’s books will be available for sale at the event.

President Jane Lindsey has been planning a couple more surprises for the day, including a special commemorative souvenir designed by the CGS News production editor, Lois Elling.

Back in December, George Morgan and Drew Smith, The Genealogy Guys, read the press release of our event on their podcast. George gave Maureen this glowing recommendation:

If you’ve never heard Maureen speak about preservation of photographs, identifying photographs, identifying time frames… you’re going to find this a tremendous, tremendous session.

Photographs of Maureen Taylor courtesy of Erik Jacobs Photography.