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 Ruth Anne Goos Halligan:
Submitted by Member Ruth Anne Goos Halligan:
My great-grandparents, Dr Herbert Taylor & wife Elizabeth Catherine Fanny Robbs, taken about 1877. Dr. Herbert Taylor, Elizabeth, Fanny (great aunt), Sterling (great Uncle), & Herbert (great Uncle). My grandfather Arthur Robbs Taylor wasn’t born until 1882. This photo was sent to me by a second cousin found through DNA. I have only one other rather blurry photo of Herbert & Elizabeth Taylor.

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. 
Due to a lack of attendance at our meetings, we are temporarily suspending the hybrid format and returning to the ZOOM-only format.  All times given for events are Pacific Time (either daylight or standard, depending on time of year). We are planning future field trips which will allow us to gather in person.  Our library remains open and our friendly researchers are still available to assist you with your research in person or remotely.

Welcome from the Mistresses of the Web!

Two long years later and we are still dealing with COVID-19. The difference is that many of us are now fully immunized (and boosted) 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 being held online.  ZOOM has given members and others not in our area the opportunity to attend our meetings. As individuals, online meetings have 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. Recently I found the mugshot of a (fortunately distantly related) relative on facebook and added it to his profile on Ancestry.com. 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.! And while you are at it, please consider supporting these museums and societies through donations and/or membership. COVID-19 has been financially detrimental to most museums and societies (GSVB included) and all could use your help. 


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