Bessie Wallis Warfield Spencer Simpson
Bessie Wallis Warfield Spencer Simpson
When Wallis (1896 - 1986) was married to her first husband, career Navy officer Earl Winfield “Win” Spencer Jr., they had a brief stay of approximately six weeks in Vallejo during the summer of 1920. Spencer’s ship was docked at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard at the time. Wallis and Win stayed in the Collins Apartments, now called the Duchess of Windsor Apartments, at 524 Georgia Street. The apartment building was given this name because of Wallis' title after marrying her third husband, the Duke of Windsor. "David" (as he was called by friends and family) ruled the United Kingdom very briefly as King Edward VIII before giving up the crown for the woman he loved. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.
Submitted by Member Laurel Carlson Knapp:
Submitted by Member Laurel Carlson Knapp:
This photo is of my maternal grandparents, Lionel Weir and Lillian Mead Weir. It was taken in mid-1945 in El Sobrante, California. They lived in this small residence with my mother, brother, and me. The dwelling was set back from La Paloma Road. The "Ice" sign in the window alerted the iceman that we needed ice (or he wouldn't have stopped). There was also a Gold Star flag in the window, as their son (my uncle) Wayne had been killed in action in WWII. Grandpa Weir is waving his ever-present hat and likely being a bit of a smart-aleck, while Grandma Weir is taking it all in with a grain of salt. Having spent many years enduring winters in Minnesota and Alberta, Canada, they appreciated the California sunshine. Grandma loved the abundant colorful geraniums.

Welcome

Build your family tree, research ancestral history, learn search skills, share ideas and tips with like-minded Northern California enthusiasts…
A warm welcome to the Genealogy Society of Vallejo-Benicia! We invite you to be part of our congenial group while we all learn and work together to build our family trees and to remember, research and document our ancestors. 
Just as a genealogy research project often starts with a question, so did GSVB start as an organization when the question “Would you teach a genealogy class?” was asked on behalf of the Senior Center in Vallejo.  Betty Heryford answered “yes” and began her class in March 1993.  From the very beginning, Betty and her 17 students wanted three things.  They wanted to have a quiet, set-aside place to meet, to grow into a group that would embrace all levels of experience, ages and family backgrounds, and to start a library to support their research goals.  Their dreams became the foundation of the Genealogy Society of Vallejo-Benicia.  We now hold our monthly meetings in the comfortable, quiet Heritage Chamber at the Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum which is welcoming and comfortable for General Meetings, Guest Speaker presentations, and teaching lessons using Power Point and Video.   The Museum also provides GSVB members with a central meeting place to carpool for visits and tours of other museums, libraries and historical sites of interest to genealogists.  The original group’s informal meetings at the Senior Center has expanded into a 501c Society which brings together people of diverse family backgrounds, ages, and experience levels interested in researching family history, not only in the United States but throughout the world.  Because of the wide ranging interests of our membership, we continue to learn about new search opportunities and techniques, how to use on-line resources and new software packages, and how to benefit from the new world of DNA testing.  The few books collected by the original group has grown to a dedicated Genealogy Library of 2000 publications located in the Museum—and a very helpful Genealogy Library Staffer to help with research.  The library collection includes general publications on building family trees and on how to research and document family histories.  It also contains a wide-range of individual publications, arranged by state, to help researchers to discover more about their ancestors’ histories and “home place”.  In addition to GSVB’s library, the Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum maintains a library of California, Solano County, Vallejo, and Benicia military and general histories.  Both libraries are very valuable to the family researcher.
We invite you to join with us to search, discover and preserve your family history. 
COVID-19 NOTICE:
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our meetings are now being held online using ZOOM.  In addition, our Library is closed and will remain closed until the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted and it is considered safe to reopen.  Our friendly researchers are still available to assist you with your research remotely.

Welcome from the Mistresses of the Web!

Over a year later and we are still dealing with COVID-19. The difference now is that many of us are now fully immunized and slowly emerging back out into the world. Will it be the same? No. We have all learned new ways of doing things and some were positive lessons which we will carry forward. We at GSVB have learned to ZOOM! Our general meetings, board meetings, and practical genealogy workshops are held online. While we do hope that in the not-too-distant future we will be able to hold our general meetings in person, we are looking at some sort of hybrid format so that we can continue to connect with our members who are not local. Board meetings and practical genealogy workshops will probably continue to be held online. Online meetings have also given us the opportunity to connect with other genealogy clubs and attend their meetings. Large conferences held out of state have been available for all. And most of us have had more time to research! There is so much information online ... not just on genealogical sites like ancestry.com and familysearch.org. but also social networking sites like facebook.com. Today I found the mugshot of a (fortunately distantly related) relative on facebook and added it to his profile on ancestry. It's not the first time I've added a mugshot to a profile ... sometimes you take what you can get! There is also the information that is out there but not online. Where a couple of years ago we might have grumbled at the thought of having to go someplace in person, now we're thinking "Road Trip"! It will be good to get out and explore as places open up again. I have added many links for museums, especially those in Solano County and surrounding counties, so check out our "Links" page! It is always important to remember that genealogy is family HISTORY. Historical societies and historical museums help us understand the lives of our ancestors ... what was going on and how they lived their lives. So start making your plans to get out there and explore museums, cemeteries, courthouses, libraries, family history centers, archives, etc.!


July 1
Cataloging Digital Family Photographs
Our featured speaker will be Nancy Loe, who will present her program "Picture This: Cataloging Digital Family Photographs".  Family photographs may seem so complex that ...
August 5
Vallejo Neighborhoods Part 2
This month Jim Kern will present Part 2 on Vallejo neighborhoods.  We will learn their history, how they formed, and what parts of Vallejo they ...