January 2021

Dear Fellow Ancestor Searchers,

I very much enjoyed Madeline Yanovs presentation last month. When the zoom meeting was over, I went straight to my computer to follow up on her excellent suggestions. Three hours later I resurfaced to get some lunch. I wondered if any of you had also gotten pulled into what my husband used to call Research Rapture”. Its hard to avoid in our fascinating, if frustrating, search for our forebears.

I don't know if I am any closer to finding out what happened to my grandmother who, family lore has it, was put into a convent (or orphanage) when she was quite small. However, I now have leads about where to look.

I am looking forward to Janice Seller's presentation this month on the census and where those records might lead us.

I hope you all had an enjoyable, if different, Holiday. Best wishes for a Happy and better New Year!

Margaret Ready, President


Janice Sellers

“So You Found Them in the Census: That's Only the Start!”

When you find someone in the census, you probably write down some (or maybe all?) of the information from the page, but have you thought of how that information can lead you further in your research? In this class you will learn how to follow some of the many directions the census can take you.

Sellers is an established genealogist and researcher. She is a member of The Association of Professional Genealogists as well as numerous other genealogical organizations; is a well known speaker; and has published many articles, as well as conducting research. She specializes in Jewish and African American genealogy; newspaper research; dual citizenship; and forensic genealogy. She has been on the staff of LDS FamilySearch Centers since 2000.

This meeting will be held on Zoom at our regular meeting time, Friday, January 15 at 10:00 AM, and is open to members and friends.  Join us starting at 9:30 to 'chat' with fellow members.

Members for whom we have an email address will automatically receive an email with the zoom link prior to the meeting. Others who would like to view the talk can email [email protected] to receive the link.

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-19 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].

Purpose of Mt. Diablo Genealogical Society:

  • 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!

    Ancestry Access Through CCC Library

    The Contra Costa County Library has made Ancestry available to the public from their homes for the remainder of the "stay at home" order.  You just need to have a library card to log on to the system.

    1. Go to ccclib.org and click LOG IN/MyCCCLib in the upper right corner.

    2. A login screen will appear. Enter your login information. 

    3. Hover over the "No Card No Problem" box to the far right and click the scroll arrow to the right to display the Ancestry.com screen.

    4. Click on the screen.

    5. Hover over "Ancestry Library Edition" and click it.

    6. A login screen will appear. Enter your CCCLibrary information and click Log in.

    7. AncestryLibrary will open. Begin Searching!


    • To have your records waiting for you when you get home, use the "Send Document" feature. 
    • The Learning Center has guides for beginning searchers as well as tips for the advanced searcher.
    • Download blank ancestral charts and correspondence sheets to keep track of your research.

     NOTE: If you do not have a Contra Costa County library card, you can get one for free by going to:  ccclib.org/get-a-library-card   It also states "...cards that have expired or are scheduled to expire this year have been extended to allow access to all available digital resources."  


    History of Mt. Diablo Genealogical Society

    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