Roots Central – Free Advertising for Non-profit Genealogical Organizations

by Kathryn Doyle (4/5/2008)

Roots Television announced a new public service and free advertising outlet for genealogical societies and organizations. Roots Central is a slide show of “upcoming events, speaking schedules, new projects, and anything else of genealogical interest.”


CGS submitted this graphic for inclusion on the site. Roots Central is updated every Tuesday, and submissions are due each Friday by noon Pacific time. Director of Operations, Samantha Butterworth, says that the CGS contribution should be up on Tuesday, April 8, 2008.

Genealogy for Beginners

by Kathryn Doyle (4/2/2008)

The California Genealogical Society is offering an ongoing, free, introductory class in genealogy, the first Saturday of every month, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the CGS Library at 2201 Broadway, Suite LL2, Oakland, California, in the historic Breuner Building. This Saturday’s class will be taught by Dick Rees.

The course is part of the “First Saturdays Free” policy that allows open access to the library and resources to non-members and the general public on the first Saturday of every month. The dates for the remainer of 2008 are: April 5, May 3, June 7, August 2, September 6, October 4, November 1 and December 6. The library is a benefit of membership and is available to non-members for a $5.00 day fee during the rest of the month.

For the remainder of 2008, CGS is opening its doors to the tenants of the Breuner Building for use during the lunch hour, at no charge. President Jane Lindsey notified the society’s neighbors that CGS will offer this benefit on Thursdays and Fridays, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for the remainder of 2008. CGS recently marked the one-year anniversary of the society’s move to the Breuner Building.

Please note that the CGS Library will be closed on the first Saturday of July for the Independence Day holiday. Further information is available at the CGS Google calendar.

Chronicling Events in a Horseless Carriage

by Kathryn Doyle (4/1/2008)

One of the photographs from the CGS 110th anniversary bookmark, was this one taken on the wedding day of Clare and Alta McAllister THOMSON, parents of Thomas Thomson, who is the husband of Shirley Pugh Thomson, CGS board member and recording secretary.


The young bride and groom (she only 18, he age 19) were photographed 4 June 1916, in Sullivan County, Indiana. In the back seat are their best friends and witnesses, Paul and Lena Sharpe. The Buick was owned by the groom’s father, as was the camera, and it was dad who took the picture.

The blog description prompted this response from CGS News Editor, Jane Hufft: “The copy you have with the photographs is so informative and interesting. The picture sparked a connection for me: I have a photo of my grandparents c. 1916 that could be a twin to Shirley’s; everyone is dressed up, looking out of an open car, event unknown, and it NEVER occurred to me that it possibly is a wedding photo — and we don’t have any others for them. Perhaps that was a photographic style then. Thank you so much for the clue.”

I checked with Maureen A. Taylor, the Photo Detective, who has written about old automotive photographs, most recently in an article entitled “Motor Trends” in the July 2007 issue of Family Tree Magazine.

She agrees that there may be other photographs that appear at first glance to be just folks in old cars, but which in fact are chronicling weddings or other significant events.

Maureen notes: “You see a lot more people in front of cars once they are more enclosed. Men drove, women generally didn’t. How interesting that the woman is behind the wheel!”

The cover of Katherine Scott Sturdevant’s book, Bringing Your Family History to Life Through Social History, depicts a family dressed in their Sunday best in a circa 1910 automobile.

The photograph, identified as “William H. McKernan, Brooklyn” was supplied to the publisher as a research experiment. Ms. Sturdevant analyzes the photograph on page 89 and presents a case study which includes dating the vehicle and city directory and census research on the family. She makes a strong case that it is the family of William H. McKiernan and notes that the children in the photograph match the “genders and ages of the census children… if the oldest child, Mary, was elsewhere when the photograph was taken. She would have been about twenty.”

Knowing what we know now from Shirley’s and Jane’s photographs, I wonder if the family was off to attend Mary’s wedding?

Written for the 45th Carnival of Genealogy, Cars as stars!