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Intro to Genealogy - 1st Saturday Free! Genealogy Overview or Focused Topics

California Genealogical Society & Library

Intro to Genealogy - 1st Saturday Free! Genealogy...
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Introduction to Genealogy


Monthly on the First Saturday, 10:15 am - 12:15 pm

CGS Library Classroom



Our next session will be 'Using the Census' presented by Dick Rees on February 1.



Not sure how to get started with your family research? Interested in refreshing your skills? Join us for a FREE Introduction to Genealogy class the FIRST SATURDAY of every month from 10:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. 


Our first-Saturday "Intro to Genealogy" class to a four-session series. The first class offers an overview of genealogy research. Each of the next three sessions offers a more in-depth focus on the following topics: Census, Vital Records, and Organization. The classes may be taken in any order, and participation in one class is not required to attend others in the series. The entire series will be offered three times in 2020. See below for dates and topics:



Jan 4,

May 2,

Sep 5:

Genealogy Basics Overview

Feb 1,

Jun 6,

Oct 3:

Using the Census

Mar 7,

Jul 2*,

Nov 7:

Vital Records (Birth, Marriage, and Death)

Apr 4,

Aug 1,

Dec 5:

Organizing Your Family History Work


* July 2 is rescheduling the July 4th class, and will be from 5:30-7:30.



Don't think you have to be a beginner to benefit from the classes! We tailor each session to the experience and needs of the participants so that everyone comes away with new knowledge.


Stay after the class and use our in-house computers with access to subscription websites like,,, and more. Explore our resources and tour of our extensive genealogy library with more than 38,000 volumes of hard-to-find materials that can further your family research.


We are located in the historic Breuner Building at 22nd Street & Broadway, one block north of the Paramount Theater, in Uptown Oakland. We are just three blocks from the 19th Street BART Station. Parking is free on Saturday in the lot behind our building. A parking permit is included with your registration confirmation. 


Meet our team:


Jennifer Dix completed the Boston University Genealogical Research Certificate Program in 2016 and the ProGen Study Program in 2019. She is a CGS board member and serves on the publications committee.


Pam Miller has been searching her family history since 1978 and has been a member of CGS since 2005. Along with the Intro Class, she has been teaching the ongoing DNA class for the last three years and has also taught classes about land records, platting and locating ancestral lands.


Lavinia Schwarz has been researching family history since 1999. She completed the National Institute on Genealogical Research course (now known as Gen-Fed) at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. She has attended twenty years of genealogy conferences. She concentrates her American research on the Upper Potomac area shared by Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania as well as Ohio, New Orleans, California, and New York City. She also has an interest in the West Indies and France and the migrations of the Jewish diaspora. She is a former board member of CGS and the former chair of both the CGS research group and the free Saturday intro series.


Dick Rees has been doing genealogy since 1974, both as an amateur and as a professional. He is most familiar with New England, and old England, as well as German church records. When searching for new people, he starts with the census, a fairly reliable source of information, readily available in hardcopy and online.


Lisa S. Gorrell is a Certified Genealogist, who has been researching her family for more than twenty-five years. Besides U.S. Southern and Mid-western states, she researches German, Irish, English, and Swedish families. She is a former board member of California Genealogical Society and the Contra Costa County Genealogical Society, and is currently on the board at the Contra Costa Historical Society. She gives genealogy presentations and writes for her blogs, "Mam-ma's southern Family" and "My Trails into the Past."


Ron Madson joined CGS over a decade ago. He loves teaching genealogy having taught over 60 courses in the past 5 years. A photographer for over 20 years, he realized his passion for genealogy could be benefited by digitizing his family history. His 55 years of IT and image processing experience helped him develop a method for image labeling and digital organization to greatly assist all aspects of family history research and organization. 


Have questions about Intro to Genealogy - 1st Saturday Free! Genealogy Overview or Focused Topics? Contact California Genealogical Society & Library

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When & Where

California Genealogical Society & Library
2201 Broadway, Suite LL2
Oakland, CA 94612


California Genealogical Society & Library

   Connecting people to their diverse family heritage

Whether you have Gold Rush ancestors or have no family connection to California, you will find extensive support for your genealogy research at the California Genealogical Society (CGS) in Oakland. The society offers research services, online indexes and databases, and a research library housing over 38,000 reference materials from California, the United States, and around the world. CGS is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. The library is conveniently located in Uptown Oakland, one block north of the Paramount Theatre, at 2201 Broadway, Suite LL2. We are three blocks from the 19th Street BART Station.

Phone: (510) 663-1358 

Non-Discrimination Statement

The goal of the California Genealogical Society is to connect people to their family heritage and to promote a spirit of diversity and inclusivity for our members and patrons. The California Genealogical Society does not tolerate discrimination in any form. 


Courtesy Request

In order to maintain a welcoming and healthy environment, please refrain from using scented products at CGS events or in the library.

Photography Notice

California Genealogical Society (CGS) may take photographs, audio recordings, and video footage in our library, classrooms or events for historical records or publicity purposes.  If you do not want to be photographed or filmed, it is the individual’s responsibility to 'opt out' by notifying the event leader or photographer at the event.

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