The CGS Style Sheet

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One of the most important works to come through the CGS Publications Committee will never be assigned an ISBN (International Standard Book Number) or be found on the shelves of a library. The CGS Style Sheet, contrived and collated by Jane Hufft and Shirley Thomson, was created to help lay the foundation toward a consistent style among the various publications of the California Genealogical Society and Library.

The CGS Style Sheet covers various aspects of usage, grammar, spelling, punctuation and presentation. It is an evolving work based on some of the common problems spotted by Shirley and Jane. The style sheet is to be used for the broad swath of CGS written works, including committee reports, newsletter articles, public relations copy, Web site pages, fliers, and even this blog.

Specifically, the style sheet addresses abbreviations, acronyms, formatting requirements, bibliographies, book lists and titles, capitalization, compound words, dates, electronic sources, numbers, plurals, spacing, voice and several other specific issues. The document also refers users to three additional publications: The Chicago Manual of Style, The Elements of Style and Webster’s Third Dictionary.

Shirley shared these thoughts: “Anyone called upon now and again to write in the name of CGS is urged to make use of it. At first glance the sheet may seem a collection of odd bits and pieces. It is also a useful tool, answering questions, providing examples and creating awareness of the style choices made (often unconsciously) in any written work.”

The creators of the style sheet both serve on the CGS Board of Directors in addition to their work on the Publication Committee.

Shirley Pugh Thomson is the Recording Secretary for the society and has served as chairperson of the Publication Committee. She has many years’ experience in editing, writing, project management and publishing.

Jane Hufft is the editor of the CGS Newsletter. She came to CGS after thirty-six years in education as a teacher, project manager and administrator.

Source: Hufft, Jane and Thomson, Shirley, “The CGS Style Sheet,” California Genealogical Society and Library, Publications Committee, 2007.



  1. footnoteMaven  June 3, 2008

    This is an absolutely brilliant idea!

    Lawyers have been doing this for years. I am sitting here looking directly at my California and Washington Legal Style Guides.

    Consistency is the key in good writing. Saying the same thing the same way every time.


  2. Kathryn Doyle  June 3, 2008

    Ah, fM, I knew I was speaking to you! When the style sheet was first presented, I thought it the antithesis of blogging but I have been won over (worn down?) and have learned to spell flier with an “i” and to capitalize Web site and Internet. Thank you for always being an exemplary example.