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Not where they might be expected…

Let’s see here…




Nope. Those are not the same.

Not the same number of letters.

Not the same places.

And yet it became clear last night that there is something that ties them all together… with a family The Legal Genealogist is reallllly interested in…

And it’s something I’m sure going to check out this weekend when I head west to Berkeley, California, to the all-day seminar on Saturday of the California Genealogical Society.

Because it’s there, in a collection I would never have imagined looking in, that clues may be found to a family that I know of as a Virginia and Alabama family.

And the manuscript where I may find the hints I need… is there in California.

You see, the full name of the California Genealogical Society is the California Genealogical Society and Library … and in that library is a manuscript collection: “The CGS manuscript collection, stretching 108 linear feet on the shelves, consists of loose papers, research and family histories donated to the CGS library over its 100‐plus year history.”

The society has a guide online that’s searchable so folks can see whether the collection has anything of interest. You can search locations — and, clearly, since most Californians came from somewhere else — there’s a lot in the collection that focuses on locations a long way from California.

Like Alabama.

Or Virginia.

And families that may never have settled in any numbers in California.

Like the Hales.

The Hales are an old Virginia family — their records can be found all over Grayson County — that migrated in large numbers to Alabama in the 1830s and 1840s. At the same time my Shew family did exactly the same thing.

And what’s sitting there, in California, in the manuscript collection of the California Genealogical Society and Library??

A 37.5 linear inch file compiled over a forty-year period by CGS Past President John Ellis Hale on the Hale and Bemis families and their related lines.

The Hales of Virginia and Alabama.

Lesson learned: every vibrant growing genealogical society is a resource, and often for things you wouldn’t have expected.

Like the east coast Hales.

In a west coast library.

Always always always… check the resources of local societies and their libraries!!

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