A blog about the California Genealogical Society and Library in Oakland, California. Connecting people to their diverse family heritage. Our scope is nationwide and our San Francisco resources are unmatched. Whether you have Gold Rush ancestors or have no family connection to California, you will find extensive support for your genealogy research at CGS.
James Owen ("Jim") Schuyler, a past president of CGS, passed away April 2, 2018 at the age of 93.
Jim joined the California Genealogical Society in 1975 and served as Society President in the 1990s, when he was instrumental in supporting the creation of the Sherman-Haughton Fund endowment. An active genealogist, Jim was also a member of the San Francisco Chapter Sons of the American Revolution, the Jamestowne Society, the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati, and the Mayflower Society.
Friends describe Jim as "smart, quirky, a consummate engineer and a devoted husband, a kind and loving father and a generous grandfather." He and his wife, Loese (neeBrown), shared a passion for genealogy and made many research trips together.
Jim's full obituary appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle and can be read online here.
A memorial service will be celebrated at 10:30 AM on Saturday, May 12, at The Church of Epiphany, San Carlos.
The knowledgeable and always engaging Jane Lindsey will share tips about some of the best free websites for genealogy research, including USGenWeb, WorldGenWeb, RootsWeb, the state archives, Cyndislist, and more. It's a great opportunity to learn how to use these popular sites or to refresh your knowledge.
Jane Wolf Hufft, a lifelong educator, was a warm and gracious woman, devoted to her family. She died 30 January 2018 and is survived by her husband Ron, daughter Amy, son Brian, and three grandchildren. Jane was born 21 August 1943 in Norfolk Virginia, a child of Colorado native Robert Joseph Wolf (1915–1977) and Mary H. Omer (1914–1981) of Illinois. Her paternal grandparents were George Wolf, a Denver police captain, and Katherine Elizabeth Sallen. Jane’s maternal grandparents were Lewis Omer and Edith Nevins of Carthage, Illinois, a small farming community. Lewis Omer was a farmer and teacher at Carthage College. The eldest of four children, Jane and her two sisters and brother spent their early years in Norfolk where their father was stationed. Robert Wolf served as a naval officer during WWII. After the war, the family moved to Detroit, Michigan, where Robert worked as an engineer in a construction firm.
The family moved again in the 1950s to Lafayette, California, where Jane attended Acalanes High School and graduated in 1961. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1966 from the University of California at Berkeley, a master’s degree from California State University at Hayward, and numerous educational certificates including an administrative credential. Jane began dating fellow Lafayette resident and Acalanes graduate, Ron Hufft, while they both were at Cal. They married fifty years ago in 1968.
Jane and Robert Hufft and family
Jane worked as an educator for nearly forty years, first as a teacher, then as manager of the Gifted and Talented Education Program in the Martinez, California, Unified School District, and finally as the well-respected principal of Morello Park Elementary School in Martinez. Her support of education and of children never wavered. Jane later served as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for children placed in the care of a Juvenile Dependency Court, where she provided expertise on educational issues.
Jane Wolf Hufft was an avid genealogist. In 1984, she and Jane Knowles Lindsey were introduced to each other due to their mutual interest in family history. The friends made annual research trips to Boston or Salt Lake City. Hufft researched her own family as well as her husband’s Cook line from Newburyport, Massachusetts.
The "two Janes"--Jane Lindsey (center, seated) and Jane Hufft (standing), with 2006 CGS Board members Glen Schimelpfenig, Vern Deubler, Will Frye, and Nancy Peterson
By 2004, when Hufft retired, the “two Janes” had been travelling and researching together for twenty years and Lindsey had become president of the California Genealogical Society. Hufft had always said that “someday” she wanted to edit a genealogical publication so Lindsey recruited her to serve as editor of the society newsletter, The CGS News.
In addition to her duties as editor, Jane Hufft and Nancy Servin delivered the newsletters to the post office after the Mailing Committee did tedious work to meet the strict bulk mail postal requirements. It was typical of Jane to oversee every aspect of a project.
Jane’s editing skills contributed to the success of two books published in 2006 to commemorate the centennial of the 1906 earthquake—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, and Raking the Ashes: Genealogical Strategies for Pre-1906 San Francisco Research.
Jane with Jerry Anderson at NEHGS in 2006
Hufft and Shirley Thomson created the "CGS Style Sheet" in 2007, to lay the foundation toward a consistent style among the various publications of the California Genealogical Society and Library. Jane served as a member of the Publications Committee, taking over as chair after Barbara Close stepped down in 2008.In 2010, Jane was part of a large team that published The Ancestry of Theodore Timothy Judge and Ellen Sheehy Judge: Including the Families of Boland, Roussel, Harman, McMurphy, Kelley, Bohane, Chapin, Freiermuth, Taylor, Moore and Farnemanfor the society.
Jane continued to serve as editor of the CGS News until January 2009 when the society went to the digital eNews. Her editorial duties were transferred to the launch of the former Nugget, which began its new life as The California Nugget, published twice a year beginning with the spring 2009 issue. It was in this role where she may have had her greatest influence at CGS. Jane edited the society magazine for seven years, through the Spring 2016 issue, when she turned the reins over to current editor Janice Sellers.
Jane was an excellent writer and she published some of her findings in various journals. She often served as a ghostwriter for CGS members who needed assistance bringing their words to life.
Jane served on the board of directors for six years, from January 2003 to January 2009. She and her friend Laura Ferber assisted the CGS board as facilitators of their strategic planning retreats for two years.
Jane shared her experience as educator, researcher, writer, and editor by developing and teaching classes. In 2009, she was a member of a panel discussion on “Breaking Down Brick Walls” with Nancy Peterson and Lavinia Schwarz. Hufft and Matt Berry offered a “Footnotes and Indexing Workshop” in 2010. Jane taught “Footnotes 101" in 2011. Jane teamed up with Lisa Gorrell and Tim Cox in 2012 to create an intensive writing course, “Writing Your Family History: Start Now.” They taught an encore series the following year with Matt Berry. Lisa recalled that Jane was “a joy to collaborate with. Her expertise was grammar and citations, and she had such a wonderful delivery style that made it fun to review grammar.”
Jane was well-known for generously assisting others with their genealogy, especially their brick walls. Sally Houston Brown reminisced about the inability to locate a marriage record for her maternal grandparents, who came to Richmond from Illinois. Jane “found a sentence in the SF Call, that they were married in Stockton! How she remembered the names from our brief conversation and still looked for them fills me with amazement. From that bit of info, I was able to get the official records - and speculate about why there (probably grandpa met the train with grandma and g-grandma). I never, never would have thought to check an SF paper or the Stockton records. To me it was a true miracle. Jane probably fulfilled the role of fairy godmother for lots of us at CGS.”
With fellow quilter-genealogist Pat Richley Erikson
Beyond family and genealogy, Jane was a skilled quilter and adventurous traveler. As recently as last year, she had a quilt displayed at the Pacific International Quilt Festival. She took two trips to Africa, as well as one to India, the ancestral home of her son-in-law.
A memorial service for Jane will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 29, 2018, at the Lafayette Veteran's Memorial Center. Her obituary was published 9 March 2018 in the East Bay Times.
Contributions in Jane’s memory may be made to the California Genealogical Society, 2201 Broadway, LL2, Oakland California, 94612-3031. Alternatively, in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Willamette University Jane W. Hufft Scholarship Fund, established by her family in 2017 to ensure students facing adversity can complete their education and live lives of contribution and meaning.
Photos provided by the Hufft family and the California Genealogical Society.
Blaine Bettinger with CGS past president Linda Okazaki in Berkeley, March 3
Blaine Bettinger was first bitten by the genealogy bug in middle school, when a family history assignment sparked a fascination that would continue through his life. He was a graduate student at SUNY Upstate Medical University, studying molecular biology and biochemistry, when the first affordable direct-to-consumer tests for ancestral DNA came on the market. “This was combining my two loves, microbiology and genealogy,” he remembers. Soon he had discovered his passion. After grad school, he decided to pursue a law degree, reckoning that “would allow me to pursue my love of science and reading and writing, without being at the bench every day. So I went right from grad school to law school, and it's been a terrific career.” In 2007, he launched a website, The Genetic Genealogist, one of the earliest blogs on the topic. Describing himself as “an intellectual property attorney by day and a DNA specialist by night,” Bettinger soon became one of the go-to authorities on ancestral DNA. He’s been interviewed and quoted by national publications such as Newsweek, New Scientist, and Wired. He’s also gained something like rock-star status in the genealogical community for his entertaining presentations, which are both informative and lucid enough for the layperson.
On March 3, CGS hosted “A Day with the Genetic Genealogist,” a daylong seminar with Dr. Bettinger at the David Brower Center in Berkeley. The sold-out event addressed “Getting the Most Out of Your AncestryDNA Matches,” gave an overview of Y-DNA, mtDNA, and Autosomal DNA, and looked at new third-party tools for genealogical DNA analysis. Bettinger also led a smaller seminar at CGS the previous day, where he examined in detail topics such as the need for ethics and standards in DNA testing, a “genealogical proof standard” for genetics, and how to interpret non-European DNA evidence.
While limited population samples have hindered the study of ancestral DNA, especially for those of non-European heritage, Bettinger anticipates great leaps and bounds in DNA analysis in the near future. “The way the databases are growing, it’s just incredible,” he says. He’s enthusiastic about the development of such tools as DNAPainter, GEDMatch, and the Chrome extension MedBetter, which make it easier to understand and compare DNA results. In April 2018 he plans to launch a new “DNA Central” project to help subscribers keep abreast of the latest developments.
The Winter issue of The California Nugget is out with an array of goodies to explore.
In “The Many Names of Hew Din,” Grant Din traces the journey of his Chinese immigrant ancestor, illustrating along the way resources and techniques for those researching Chinese Americans.
Also, certified genealogist Rondina Wallace outlines a “backdoor” entry to NARA microfilms which can help researchers glean more information from this vast collection.
Sheila Benedict’s “California Historic Missions” gives background on the missions and the records they kept, and explains how to access the information they contain.
We also have the next installments to three stories begun in the Fall 2017 Nugget: “Joel Burlingame: A 19th-century Life” by Barry Hinman; “A Tribute to May (Teruko) Ishimoto” by Norm Ishimoto; and Lavinia Schwarz continues the saga of untangling her family lines in New Orleans, Cuba, and Haiti with “Reading Records Right.”
Thanks as always to editor Janice Sellers and the many volunteers who produce the Nugget. And remember, we are always looking for more interesting articles on genealogy and history. If you have an idea to submit, please contact Nugget@CaliforniaAncestors.org.
We want to let you know about a few changes coming up. Shannon Reese is stepping down as Blog Editor, after almost 2.5 years of managing the blog. He’ll continue to manage our Facebook and Twitter channels for The California Genealogical Society (CGS). Shannon joined CGS in January 2011 and has held many volunteer positions, from the research committee to Chair of the previous PubMark (Publications & Marketing) committee. He was also on the Board of Directors for many years.
Shannon joined CGS in January 2011 and has held many volunteer positions, from the research committee to Chair of the previous PubMark (Publications & Marketing) committee. He was also on the Board of Directors for many years.
He’s been poking around in his family tree since 1996 and has learned countless stories about his Norwegian, English, Irish and German ancestors.
He’s also a firm believer in the power of DNA genealogy research. His mysterious Virginia ancestor, Sally Reese, has finally been accepted by the Littleberry Leftwich family after years of trying to prove a connection.
Shannon is redirecting most of his energy towards new ventures at Chartwell Content, a marketing and writing firm, but plans to be a blog contributor from time to time as well. We thank him for his service!
Our new blog editor, Jennifer Dix, has lived in the Bay Area since 2000, and became a member of CGS several years ago. She worked as a newspaper reporter and editor for 20 years before turning her focus to genealogy. Her own ancestry includes early New England settlers and Mormon pioneers (among others), but her interests are wide-ranging. She enjoys exploring California’s incredibly rich history and looks forward to learning and sharing more with you all.
The 2016-18 capital campaign is now officially over as of February 18, 2018 – the actual date of the Society’s 120th anniversary. As chair of the campaign I want to thank everyone who made a donation and helped us raise over $402,000. This money is invested in our Sherman-Haughton Fund and will continue to help augment the society’s financial needs for the next 100 years.
I, and committee members Jane Lindsey and Sandy Fryer, also want to thank everyone who helped us during the campaign. Lois Elling who designed special graphics for the campaign, Shannon Reese who helped with writing and editing blog posts, and Stewart Blandon who promoted the campaign in our eNews. Kathie Jones kept us up to date with monthly financial reports. Linda Okazaki was a tremendously helpful sounding board, and the Board of Directors who reviewed and acted on our ideas.
THANK YOU EVERYONE FOR ALL YOU DID & FOR YOUR GENEROSITY.
The California Genealogical Society (CGS) was well represented, 17 members, at this year's Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, otherwise known as SLIG 2018!
The 17 Genealogists were...
Ron Arons (Instructor), Sheila Benedict, Sandi Benward, Jan Brandt, Kim Cotton, Vanessa Crews, Lisa Gorrell, Stacy Hoover, Laura Lee Karp, Victoria Kolakowski, Linda Okazaki, James Russell, Joanna Shear, Jacqi Stevens, Jeffrey Vaillant, Tina Wikner, and Carolyn Williams
and they took 7 Courses...
Advanced Methodologies, Advanced Land Tools, Early English Records, Repositories and Archives, Great Lakes, Swedish and Finnish Records, and Writing.
We had a blast in Salt Lake! Send in your pictures and we will add to the mix!
Then you should plan to join genealogy instructor, Pam Brett, for this 4-part series sponsored by the California Genealogical Society that is for family historians, both beginners and intermediates, who want to build a strong foundation of genealogy research skills to avoid wasted time and unreliable family trees.
Pamela Brett will cover six key family history research skills, including how to:
Know which records to look for
Find relevant records
Document the results of the search
Evaluate the sources you use and the records you find
Analyze the results of your research
Write a well-reasoned statement of your conclusions
This course will be held at the Oakland FamilySearch Library over four separate, Wednesday evening sessions. These session dates and times are:
March 07, 2018 6:00pm to 8:30pm March 14, 2018 6:00pm to 8:30pm March 21, 2018 6:00pm to 8:30pm March 28, 2018 6:00pm to 8:30pm
In-class group exercises and optional homework assignments will provide participants to practice skills with a wide variety of genealogical records found in a many different places including online websites.
Class handouts will include basic strategies and cautions, as well as useful websites to use in your research.
It is strongly recommended that participants plan on attending all four classes as the skills are presented in a sequential pattern.
This course will be held at the Oakland Family Search Library.
Pre-registration is required. Class size is limited so register early.
Pam Brett's interest in genealogy started over 40 years ago at the birth of her first child, but it wasn't until 1999 when she began serious pursuit of her family history. Most of her ancestors came to America early and moved often leading to research in 31 states and the District of Columbia.
In this series, she hopes to share skills acquired from many years of beginner's mistakes to help participants to focus their personal goals and to acquire new understanding of the lives of their ancestors.
Join Pam this March and work on strengthening your genealogy foundation. She hopes to have you in her class!
Join us on Thursday, March 8th, and be a part of a unique celebration between the California Genealogical Society (CGS) and the California Historical Society (CHS)! Our two genealogy and history-focused organizations are hosting a special event at CHS' headquarters to celebrate our shared history and collaborative missions. Access to CHS' genealogical collections viewing and current exhibits, and a special speaker, Bill Cole will be highlights of the evening. You must pre-register for the event. Free for CGS members or only $5 for non-members.
Interested in California history? You won't want to miss this event! Bill Cole will talk about a fascinating only-in-California event, the 1864 Bullion Bend Stagecoach Robbery. This amazing Wild West caper occurred during the Civil War’s final year. It was front-page news that captured the country’s attention.
These incredible events unfolded right in our backyard, from San Jose to Sacramento to Placerville. Genealogist Bill Cole, a relative of one of the perpetrators, dug deep into the California State Archives to uncover the full story. The treasure trove of information he found tells an amazing story, where fact is truly stranger than fiction.
Location California Historical Society 678 Mission Street San Francisco, CA 94105 Need directions or suggestions on how to get there? Visit their website.
Schedule 5:45 pm - Doors open with a reception, CHS' genealogical collections viewing, and access to CHS' current exhibits.
6:45 pm - Bill’s talk begins at “Bullion Bend: Confederate Stagecoach Robbers, Murder Trials, & the California Supreme Court -- Oh, My!”.
Alexander Hamilton: Treasures from the New-York Historical Society
The extraordinary life and prolific career of Alexander Hamilton (1757–1804) continue to captivate the American public more than two centuries after his death. Drawing from the collections of the New-York Historical Society and JP Morgan Chase bank, this exhibition presents original artifacts and documents—many never before seen on the West Coast—that illuminate Hamilton's role in shaping the legal, economic, and political systems at the foundation of the modern United States.
Meanwhile out West: Colonizing California, 1769–1821
At least 300,000 indigenous people lived in Alta California, as it was once known, when the Spanish Crown asserted sovereignty over the territory in 1769. In the ensuing five decades, Spain left an enduring imprint on the Native peoples, the landscape and on California's cultural heritage. This exhibition explores the period through manuscripts, books, paintings, and artifacts from the California Historical Society's collections.
Join us on March 8th and help us make this a celebration to remember!