Our History

The Organization’s History

The following was prepared by Cynthia Stanford.

An initial attempt at an organization occurred in 1983. This was formed for the purpose of producing and distributing a surname book of some kind. When this did not work out the society was abandoned.

The present-day Monterey County Genealogy Society was started in 1985. An initial meeting was called by Deannie Fish, who owned a genealogy bookstore in Spreckles. The group met in a bank in Salinas; and Karen Clifford was elected the first president. Other early members included Connie Fields, Eileen Rhyner, Freda Fischer, Linda Fonville and others. Later Presidents included Connie Fields, Pat Miljarak, Linda Avakian, Jim Conway, and Rick Bergman. The group later moved to the John Steinbeck Library for its meetings, and in the late 1990s, they moved their meetings to the Family History Center in Seaside, which resulted in research time before and after the meeting. Between 1988 and about 1995, the society held educational conferences, called Ancestor Round-ups, at Hartnell College and Salinas area churches. In November of 1995 and 1996, larger conferences were held at the Monterey Beach Hotel in Seaside, and in 1998, a smaller conference was held at the Monterey Masonic Lodge and House of the Four Winds. Conferences were also held in Monterey in 2000 at the Naval Post Graduate School and in 2001 at the Monterey County Courthouse. The society has also sponsored bus trips to Bay Area archives.

The society was involved in compiling Newspaper Abstracts of the Salinas City Index later known as the Salinas Californian. Other recent and past activities included a cemetery tombstone recording project, a quarterly journal with articles of general and local interest including data extraction projects, the sale of a few genealogy publications, purchase of genealogy related books, CDs, and a computer for donation to the Family History Center (FHC). Regular monthly meetings were held the Third Thursday of each month. These were generally of an educational nature, including such topics as land research, the life of a Civil War soldier, using maps in genealogy research, genealogy research in various regions, local area history, etc.

The Monterey County Genealogy Society became incorporated as a non­profit organization in the State of California on Nov. 16, 2000. Federal tax-exemption was granted in November 2000 and State tax-exemption was granted in January 2001. Sources: Past and present society members: Linda Avakian, Karen Clifford, Connie Fields, Freda Fischer, Deannie Fish, Linda Fonville, Jeannie Pedersen, Thorn Taft, Meeting Minutes, 1994-1999.


Our Online History

May/2001 — First website opened, Caroline Miller as Admin

Nov/2014 — WordPress site opened, Jim Robeson as Admin

Mar/2017 — Facebook page opened, Jim Robeson as Admin


Caroline Miller’s Notes (in Mar 2017)

(meetings have been moved into the Previous Meetings page)
(past officers have been moved into the Past Officers page)

Hi Caroline,
I am trying to update MoCoGenSo’s history page by adding stuff about the online activities. When, month/year, did you first start the mocogenso.org website?
Thanks, Jim Robeson


Jim – It was a process, since I had to arrange for a host site (free, of course!) and domain name. That took a period of several months. May 2001 is the date on the Webmaster instructions I wrote up on how to load and edit files on MBAY, so we had our site/domain by then.

I have a copy of the “Thank You” letter that our President, Linda Avakian, sent to Matt Hudson, General Manager of Monterey Bay Internet (MBAY) expressing “my sincere gratitude to you and your company for your help in hosting our Society’s domain,mocogenso.org, and our Society’s Web presence.” So we were online before September 17, 2001, when that letter was sent.

In 2001 Cynthia Stanford was the “Organizational Status Adviser”, as we were in the process of gaining non-profit status during 2001.

The 6 September 2001 meeting was announced via the Website: Jim Conway spoke on “Spreckles in Its Heyday: 1898 – 1920” at the Spreckles Fire Hall, in downtown Spreckels.

Then on 3 November 2001, Curt B. Witcher was the speaker for our Central Coast Genealogy Conference.

The next year, Karen Clifford was the featured speaker at the 12 October 2002 Central Coast Genealogy Conference. The theme was “Genealogy is a Voyage of Discovery”

19 June 2003 – Bus Trip to National Archives Branch in San Bruno & to Sutro Library in SF

23 October 2004 – Mini-Conference “A Heritage Harvest” offers 8 in-depth classes

2 March 2006 – “Tips, Tricks and Gadgets”, choice of:
Dayna Jacobs – “Transferring Census Records into PAF”
Charlie Biller – “Saving Records from the Film Reader to a Flash Drive:
Linda Avakian – “Using NARA”

5 October 2006 – “More Workshops”, choice of:
Cynthia Stanford “Don’t Forget the Books”
Dayna Jacobs, “Topozone.com: online mapping resource for genealogists”
“Using PAF”

2 November 2006 – “You Asked for Workshops”, choice of:
Cynthia Stanford, “Changes and Updates at Ancestry.com”
Pat Miljarak and Violet Ask-Young, “Suing PAF and/or Legacy”
Marshall Chatwin, “Hi Ho Hi Ho Why did family names change so?”

4 October 2007 – Tim Thomas; Tour of the Maritime Museum (on site downtown)

Caroline Miller


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2 thoughts on “Our History

  1. Pingback: An Introduction To Our New Website | Monterey County Genealogy Society

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