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January 2023

Dear Fellow Genealogists,

As 2022 comes to an end, we have been able to make our room reservations for the coming year. Unfortunately, we have not been able to reserve the same rooms every month. We will let you know through email and the Rossmoor News of the time and place of each meeting. Make sure you check with these notices so that you can attend the meetings you want. We will still be doing Zoom meetings, so you may prefer to 'join' us that way. 

The meeting in January will be on January 20th at 10 AM in the Vista room at HillsideWe will have a very interesting speaker, Lisa Gorrell, who we has spoken to us in the past and is an excellent speaker!

Stay tuned for more information about her subject!

I wish you and your family a very Happy Holiday Season and best wishes for a Happy and Healthy New Year.

Margaret Ready, President


January 20th meeting will be in-person in the 

Vista Room at Hillside


AND ALSO on Zoom

The January MDGS meeting – which will be both in-person and via Zoom - will be held on Friday, January 20th at 10am. The in-person meeting will occur in the Hillside Complex, Vista Room, and refreshments will be served. Please note that this meeting is in a different location than that which we have used recently.

This meeting is open to members and nonmembers. Current members for whom we have an email address will automatically receive the Zoom link. Others, who would like to view the Zoom presentation, can email [email protected] at least 2 days prior to the meeting to receive the link. Due to recently implemented entry requirements, non-Rossmoor residents planning to attend in person should advise MDGS of their intent at least four days in advance at the above-noted email address.

Our January speaker is Lisa Gorrell who will give a talk entitled “Focused Research: Using Research Plans”. Do you feel like your research just goes in circles; that you keep finding the same information; or that you encounter brick walls you can't resolve? Being focused in your research will bring better results. This can be done by using research plans. Ms. Gorrell will explain how to create and use a research plan to help keep you on focus in your research and get better results.

Ms. Gorrell is a Certified Genealogist®, who is graduate of the ProGen program and an alumna of many genealogical institutes. She has served on the boards of several genealogical societies and is currently the recording secretary with the Contra Costa County Historical Society, where she volunteers at their archives. She is a founding member and instructor of the new online institute, the Applied Genealogy Institute. She enjoys giving genealogy presentations and writing about her family on two blogs: 

“Mam-ma’s Southern Family” http://mam[1] 


“My Trails into the Past”


To become a new member, go to the “CONTACT” Page and scroll down to “Application Form.” Fill it out and mail to Mt. Diablo Genealogical Society, 1001 Golden Rain Road, Walnut Creek, CA 94595.

If you are a renewing member and your information is the same you only need to send your check for $20 (one member) or $25 (family membership).

There Will  Be "NO" No-Host Lunch at Creekside  Cafe Per COVID Restrictions!


Meet the Speaker following the monthly meeting. Reservations MUST be made by 3:00 PM the TUESDAY prior to the meeting! To do so, please contact Sue Fernstrom at 510-215-0873 or e-mail her at [email protected].


Searching for Volunteers to serve as Board Members!

Functions that need to be filled in Publicity: 

1. Digger Newsletter, 

The future success of the Society depends upon the contribution of its members, so please consider stepping up to volunteer. See July Digger for job descriptions. 

For more information contact Margaret Ready.

Phone: 925-787-8738 Email: [email protected]


To promote knowledge of and interest in genealogy. 

To conduct genealogical research to discover & preserve records, archives and articles of historical, cultural and genealogical interest.

To present educational programs including meetings, seminars, lectures and publications to assist individuals in the study of genealogy and genealogical research.

Mt. Diablo Genealogical Society attracts top speakers in our area, even some noted statewide speakers. Topics presented at our meetings have been quite varied including research methods, tips & tricks, libraries & resources, personal experiences, foreign research, patriotic societies and much more.

Please join us and make your family history come to life!


Mt. Diablo Genealogical Society was founded in November, 1986 by Max Coppage, who believed that an afternoon group might be more convenient for many people. (Previously part of the Contra Costa Genealogical Society which meets 2nd Thursday of month at 7:00 pm) The earliest meetings were held in a meeting room at the San Francisco Federal Bank in Walnut Creek. Among the early members with Max Coppage were John Ferris, Jim Denns, Al Riel, Lindsay Reeks and Catherine Smith.

As of January, 1987, the meeting place was changed to the Community Room at Home Federal Bank in the Rossmoor Shopping Center. By the end of 1987, the following were added as Charter Members: Madelyn Bowron, John Bedecarre, Jean Sinclair, Nancy Williams and Donald Foxworthy.

A newsletter was published by Max Coppage with a logo created by a student, Jim Tackitt. Max brought a lot of know-how to the group and served as President through 1987. Betty Zilen followed Max in 1988. Betty was an authority on research in the British Isles as well as parts of the United States. Betty resigned and Jim Dennis took her place. Jim was a certified genealogist, teacher of genealogy and an expert on New Jersey. New members added in 1988 were Mary Anne King and Isabel Mathews. Mary Anne volunteered to use her van for trips to libraries. Isabel served as corresponding secretary for several years.

In 1990, John Ferris was elected President. Laurie Taylor took over editing the newsletter until she & her husband moved to Arizona.

In 1993 the Society moved its meetings a few doors away to the Community Room of Civic Bank of Commerce. Al Riel followed Phil Breck as President in 1993. He was particularly qualified in the area of French-Canadian research and in the use of computers in the field of genealogy. His aim was to get members to help one another.

In 1994 , Gearhart Weber was elected President, but resigned due to travel commitments. He was succeeded by Charles Sippel, who had been Program Director.

Generally, the last half hour of meetings were devoted to the exchange of ideas and sampling refreshments. Thanks to the cooperation of members and the organizing skills of refreshment chairman, Mabelle Ebert.

The topics presented at our meetings have been quite varied...including research methods, resources, personal experiences, foreign research, patriotic societies, Civil War research, use of libraries and much more.

Continued success of the Mt. Diablo Genealogical Society depends a great deal on the participation and contribution of its member. Suggestions for programs and projects are always welcome.

This is paraphrased from the original written by Catherine Smith, Secretary in 1995

Club Email Address:

[email protected]


Our General Meetings are held monthly at 10:00 A.M.on the Third Friday of every month in the either the Vista Room at Hillside or Fireside Room at Gateway in Rossmoor and also via Zoom. Meetings are held every month except August. Please check "EVENTS" page to confirm meeting date as this may vary!

For Non-Rossmoor Residents:

Please contact MDGS in order for us to advise Gate Security. Upon arrival, advise the guard of your name and that you are attending Mt. Diablo Genealogy's meeting. 


You are also welcome to attend our Board Meetings which are held monthly at 2:00 P.M. on the second Friday of every month at the Rossmoor Creekside Club House in the Mulligan Room.

Creekside Club House,

1010 Stanley Dollar Dr.,

Walnut Creek, CA 94595

For more information send us an email at [email protected]