Grace Logan Patterson
Grace Logan Patterson
Grace Lavinia (Logan) Patterson (1909-1990), a native of Esparto, Yolo County, was hired as Vallejo’s first African-American school teacher. She taught for 25 years. An elementary school was named in her honor in 1989. Photo courtesy of Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum.
Submitted by Member Pat Innes:
Submitted by Member Pat Innes:
When he was around 11 years old, my grandfather Nathan Graboyes left for the United States on the S.S. Volturno with his mother and older sister. Everyone knows the story of the Titanic and its outcome, but not many people know the story of the Volturno. A week into their voyage which began October 2, 1913, the Volturno caught fire, burned at sea, and sank. The lesson had been learned from the sinking of the Titanic the previous year, and the Volturno had sufficient lifeboats. However, it was Autumn, the weather was stormy, and when they tried to lower the lifeboats, the boats hit against the ship, broke up, and dropped people into the freezing water where they drowned. Nathan’s family was in steerage so they became aware of the fire early on and my grandfather heroically went around waking people from their cabins to tell them about the fire. His mother dressed him like a girl so they would not be split up on the lifeboats, and then she found them a safe place where their feet would not burn while they waited for rescue. They were eventually rescued by other ships and returned to Europe before finally completing their journey to New York on the S.S. Campanello. Coincidentally, Nathan’s father, Charles/Seidel had come over in March 1913 on the same ship that eventually brought his wife and children to the United States.

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!

"Welcome to a new year!" she said. Yes, I wrote those words just a few months ago when the start of the new Roaring Twenties looked so promising. Okay, so when I said "Roaring Twenties" I didn't mean "roaring like a fire-breathing multi-headed Dragon-Hydra hybrid"!  So here we are sheltering in place in our homes and trying to avoid COVID-19. Did any of us expect to be living through a pandemic that is dragging on and on?  Probably not.  It had been 100 years since the last pandemic of this magnitude and I think many of us figured that with the advancements in science and medicine made in the past century, this would never become our biggest concern, impacting the day-to-day life of everyone in the world. But history does indeed repeat itself and we still need to learn from the mistakes of the past.  Which brings us to genealogy.  This has been an excellent time to do online research. Check out our links page for ideas. Remember that no one site will have all the answers. I struck out on several of my "go-to" sites recently as I searched for an obituary. Finally, I googled it ... et voila! ... there it was.  If you want to focus on something specific right now, research those relatives who lived through that last major pandemic ... Spanish Influenza. You may find that more than one relative did NOT live through it.  Check those death certificates of the 1918-1920 period not just for date and place of death, but cause of death.  Another task you might want to take on is writing down your experiences of living in the midst of this pandemic.  Just as you would love to read an account by your ancestors of what life was like during the Spanish Influenza outbreak, your descendants  will be fascinated to read about your experiences during the COVID-19 crisis.  So make the most of your time in this unique time! And, speaking of time, we will hope that the time is not too far off when we can again gather together in person to share our stories, our genealogical finds, our brick walls; and continue to learn how to develop our family trees. In the meantime, there's ZOOM!

 

March 4
Library of Congress
March's meeting features a presentation on the genealogical resources of the Library of Congress (LOC). The LOC has one of the world’s largest genealogy collections. Its ...
April 1
Institutions Part I - Hospitals, Sanitariums and Asylums
Our April meeting will feature a talk by Madeline Yanov on finding missing ancestors in institutional records ... specifically hospitals, sanitariums and asylums. Do you have ...
May 6
Your Camera As A Research Tool
Our May talk by Cat Nielsen will take a look at using a camera to document your genealogy research. Digital camera technology has improved over the ...
June 3
Roundtable Discussion
Today we will partake in a virtual lunch as we discuss and share what we have learned so far this year, and ask any questions ...