January 2009





NBC will be adding a new program to its lineup of programs on April 20th.  The program’s name is “Who Do You Think You Are?” and will feature celebrities of American cinema, including Lisa Kudrow, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Susan Sarandon, who will be examining their family trees  to uncover stories of love, secrets and triumphs in their ancestors’ past. 


Members of the Alameda County Library System have many databases available to them to help them learn more about their own ancestors.  These can be accessed by going to the Alameda County Library website http://www.aclibrary.org , and then clicking on the words “Genealogy Resources” under the bold-print heading “Research Guide”. 


The major genealogical databases available to library members are: 

Ancestry Library Edition – Available in the Library only
The Ancestry Library Edition collection has approximately 4,000 databases including key collections such as U.S. Federal Census images and indexes from 1790 to 1930; the Map Center containing more than 1,000 historical maps; and the Social Security Death Index.

(I used this database to get World War I draft registration information for my maternal grandfather, and Social Security Death Index information for my father and his younger brother.  Searching under the name of my paternal grandfather, I found a record in the “New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 database, which gave the date of arrival in New York City, the name of the ship, port of departure, and a copy of that section of the passenger list which noted the names of my grandparents, father, and uncle.)

Cyndi’s List
One of the first and most comprehensive resources for genealogy material. A must visit. See especially the “Are you new to genealogy?” and the many international links.

Genealogy Spot
Lots of links and information, including by State and Country. This is a good beginner’s site that is growing.

(What I liked most about this database was the “U.S. Surname Distribution Site”, which shows the ratio of people within each state with a particular last name.  My own last name was not common enough to be covered, but I learned that my mother’s maiden name was not that uncommon in Pennsylvania, then several decades later was fairly common in Indiana and Texas, and now is fairly widespread in a line of states running from Colorado to Pennsylvania.)

HeritageQuest Online – Library Card Required
Lots of links and information, including by State and Country. This is a good beginner’s site that is growing.

California Death Records
This site provides a free search of records from 1940 through 1997. Ignore the search box at the top of the page (which leads to fee-based info from Ancestry.com) and enter your search terms in the search boxes in the middle of the page.

USGenWeb Project
Sponsored by Rootsweb.com, USGenWeb provides links to regional and state web sites, lists of volunteers to look up information; and issues an online newsletter.

(I chose information for California and found that this site furnished good histories of California as a whole and histories of many of the state’s counties.)

There have been several interesting films released lately and some good films that you might have overlooked – many of them available through your Alameda County Library System.  I asked my co-workers what they had seen recently and got these replies.

Dan Talioaga, Library Page, reports:  I recently saw “Wall-E” from Disney/Pixar on DVD, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  The character Wall-E is a trash compactor robot in the future who loves watching an old VHS tape with excerpts from “Hello Dolly!”  So that got me interested in watching “Hello, Dolly!” which ironically our library system only has on VHS.  I ended up buying my own DVD copy  and loved it.

(Alameda County Library System has many copies of “Wall-E” under the call number DVD J WALL-E.  “Hello, Dolly!” is available in VHS format under the call number VID FICTION HELLO.)

 Sue Rodriquez reports:  I recently watched the movie “Keeping Mum.”  It has a wonderful cast including Rowan Atkinson, Kirstin Scott Thomas, Maggie Smith and Patrick Swayze.  It is the story of a somewhat dysfunctional English family and how their life is changed by the arrival of a new housekeeper.  A little black humor makes this movie, as does the phrase “God works in mysterious ways.”  Quirky and a lot of fun.  It came out in 2005, and is rated R, if that matters. 

(“Keeping Mum” can be found by searching for call number DVD FICTION KEEPING.)

 Monica Ten Eyck reports:  I just watched “Paris, je t’aime,” a photographic panorama of the city.  This is a good one for Valentine’s Day, for lovers of Paris, or for those who like short, quirky love stories. 

 (Alameda County Library has several copies of this film; the call number is DVD FICTION PARIS.)


 I myself recently saw the biographical picture “Milk,” about the late San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk.  It was interesting to see how the movie dealt with San Francisco and California politics of the 1970s.   I lived in San Francisco during some of the years covered in this film, and I had my photographs developed at Harvey Milk’s photo shop before he became a supervisor for the City of San Francisco.

(Alameda County Library System has copies of the book, “The Mayor of Castro Street :  the life and times of Harvey Milk” by Randy Shilts, with call number B MILK, H.)

You will certainly notice the display panels in our library rotunda of winners in the Growing Up Asian in America competition for essays and art composed on the theme of Winning and Losing, Competition and Teamwork.  Growing Up Asian in America was created in 1995 by local media, public relations and community leaders, to create a single Bay Area resource for celebrating national Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in May. 

Growing Up Asian in America begins each year with an annual essay and art competition for students in grades kindergarten through 12.  More than 1,000 Bay Area students compete for savings bond awards and merchandise prizes totaling $27,000.  The winning entries are hosted on the Asian Pacific Fund (APF) website http://www.asianpacificfund.org/awards/guaa/ , and in a commemorative book. 

The Asian Pacific Fund selects a new theme each year for the Growing Up Asian in America contest, and since the Beijing Summer Olympics took place in 2008, students of Asian-American background were invited to share their ideas on winning and losing.  It is a widely held stereotype that Asian parents in particular expect their children to excel in school, and the APF wanted to know how common this expectation for excellence actually is.  How do competition and teamwork fit into students’ drive to succeed?

From the entries that were submitted, it seems like Asian-American youth do indeed feel enormous pressure from their parents to excel, not just in school, but in other areas, too.  Entries revealed quite a range of responses to that pressure.  Many students felt regret about doing well when it meant a good friend would lose, while others found new friends when they cooperated with teammates and opponents.  Competition in sports was often a relief from academic pressures, since many students enjoyed sports because they could try their best without feeling like they always had to win.  Regardless of the roles that competition and teamwork play in students’ lives, it is very important for young people to find ways to cope with whatever pressures they feel.  The APF and Dublin Library hope the essays and art work displayed here will help our diverse communities develop and understanding how young people come to terms with how they compete against and work with one another.

trees1Thanks to everyone who participated in our Thanks + Giving trees display.  It was delightful to see the many ways people extended their generosity to their friends, neighbors and community at large. And equally satisfying were the thank yous for families and health and employment, etc.  Dublin is clearly a community which values it’s members.trees3