James M. Owens
James M. Owens
James Montgomery Owens (1878-1955) was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi. He served with the 9th Cavalry, Buffalo Soldiers, in the Philippines (1896-1898) during the Spanish-American War. He came to Vallejo in 1903 and became an active member of the community by helping to establish many civic and fraternal orders including Vallejo’s NAACP chapter and Firma Lodge. He was also one of Vallejo’s first African-American building contractors. Photo courtesy of Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum
Submitted by Member Christine Dunn:
Submitted by Member Christine Dunn:
This is a photo of my great grandfather, Levi Asa Chapman. Levi was born in March 1849, in Ledyard Connecticut, the youngest of 12 children. In July his father, Levi Senior, would join his two brothers Lyman and Amos on the adventure of a lifetime – a trek to the California Gold Fields. It did not end well. By December, Levi Senior was dead, a victim of the “bloody flux” sweeping through the crowded mining camp at Hawkins Bar, Mokelumne Hill. Amos would die the following summer. Of the three brothers, only Lyman survived. He bypassed the lure of gold and went straight to Napa where he got a job cutting redwood shingles for Nathan Coombs. Levi Asa’s mother would die when he was 4. When he was 12 he would join all of his siblings in Napa. This photo may have been taken at that time.

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. 

Welcome from the Mistresses of the Web!

Welcome to a new year! The Roaring Twenties have come around again!  Our new & improved GSVB website (powered by easynetsites.com) has now been online for over a year. We hope you have found it both useful and entertaining. Be sure to check out our events page and links page. Also be sure to refresh the page often. We have 3 rotator boxes.  The one in the top right corner contains photos and information primarily on historic and noteworthy buildings in Benicia and Vallejo. The rotator box at the bottom of the left sidebar features historic people of Vallejo and Benicia with a short description outlining their connection to these two cities.  The home page also contains a rotator box near the top of the page. Here we feature family photos with a little story.  Each photo and story has been submitted by one of our members. We hope you find these rotating boxes to be educational and that perhaps they inspire you to delve a little deeper into the history of our two communities. The more we research our personal family trees, the more we realize that our families are tied to history. Their lives were shaped by war, famine, disease, religion, economics, technology and the weather, among other things. So don't get caught up in just collecting names, dates and places ... expand the horizons of your genealogical research!  Explore newspapers and military records. Drag out those old photo albums and scan those pictures. Interview relatives for their personal experiences and for the stories that have been handed down to them (and make sure you record them). Set some genealogical goals and take steps to accomplish them.  And if you haven't joined your local genealogical society, now would be a good time to do that!  We are speaking for all genealogical societies (not just ours) when we say that we are here to help you not only with local research, but with world-wide research!  And, of course, if you join GSVB (see the handy link in the left sidebar) you will have access to our members only content. May you have a successful genealogical year!

 

April 2
CANCELLED
DUE TO CONCERNS ABOUT COVID-19, THE GENEALOGY SOCIETY OF VALLEJO-BENICIA WILL NOT BE HOLDING A MEETING IN APRIL. WE WILL MONITOR THE SPREAD OF THE ...
May 7
Brendan Riley, Speaker
Brendan Riley will speak about how he conducts his research of Vallejo's history.  Brendan Riley grew up in the Navy town of Vallejo, California, earned ...
June 4
Luncheon - Pot Luck
Bring family history photo albums.