CVGS Library Blog



December!! Thoughts spin towards 2022 and at 2021’s final farewell with holidays full of shiny possibilities – much improved, more hopefully soon. 2021 challenges: slow transitions towards “more normal” following 2020’s Covid Closures.

Spring to summer to autumn: our Genealogy Library went from virtual-only to partial-reopening to fuller-access within the library. Many backlogged library resources and a few volunteers returned, newly added and reorganized shelves filled, a few new volunteers were added. Yet more people are vitally needed. October and November: In-library genealogy classes followed earlier virtual ones, encouraging hopes for more in-person activities soon. “Used Books for Sale” – usually sold at in-person meetings increased library storage to a dozen boxes during our time on Zoom – await sales to our CVGS members and perhaps others.

Our Book Committee is considering Holiday Book Sales options: suggestions, inquiries, and offers to assist are welcome.  A December Sale in conjunction with another group did not work out; alternatives are being considered.  At the time of writing, discussions continue.  Alternative: in-person sales at CVGS meetings may resume soon in 2022.  Sharon Martin, with committee co-chair Lynn Winn, organized these books.  They are priced to sell.

Last month announced the Irv Camhi Memorial Fund for genealogy library resources. Irv’s wife Jackie discussed with the family and us; we requested suggestions from others.  Additional inputs are welcome before final decisions. A tentative purchase list reviewed by our Book Committee went to our Board. We expect to finalize it soon.


​November is here!! So many thoughts about the upcoming holidays – and memories of past ones. Perhaps plans include sharing those memories and some family history too. Genealogy is a great gift to share what you find and how you found it.

Simple or complex, choose what to learn (projects); within that click dropdown menus (goals and choices) for how you wish to do it. The website provides details on how to do different aspects of genealogy with links to their Partner Sites: Ancestry, FamilySearch, MyHeritage, and FindMyPast.
If you wish to keep track of what you’ve already read or videos watched, sign up for their database “Tracker” to log in. Signup is not required, but you won’t be able to see progress.

  • Heritage Hub: new database in Thousand Oaks Virtual Library

Obituaries and death notices from 1704, all states and US territories newspapers.
There are several options for saving info.

  • Copy & Print provides only the associated bare facts, not the full article. However, it’s easy to add your own notes to that.
  • Share Folder requires signup with your email, create password; once done you can save full articles, also option to save searches for your return.
  • Email sends full article with associated facts. Worked after signing up as noted above.

  • AmericanAncestors: old and new, more structured or less.

Databases and DLA — Digitized Library & Archives within Catalog on website.
Their description: DLA includes items from their 3 libraries (Wyner Jewish Heritage, R Avery Stanton Special Collections & NEHGS Research Library) and is less structured than Databases, which are based on partner materials along with theirs.
Digitized materials are continually added to both. Learning aides and research tips are also.
Check out the “what’s new” video, on the website or YouTube.
*CVGS subscription provides more than guest level. Enter via TO Virtual Library for the full database: AmericanAncestors. Within the Genealogy Library, our subscription also provides multiple reference materials. Check references on our shelves.


It’s Fall and a great time to delve into genealogy books, photo collections, and more – perhaps take a class, update your library cards, add library apps, or just refresh your thoughts on what you may want to do next.

  • Library Cards and Library Apps

Thousand Oaks Library Card:

  • Online Application: Fill out the form online for quick access to a Temporary Library Card, good for 60 days. You can access eResources on the TO Virtual Library with this card.
  • Next step for a permanent card: TO Library, circulation desk – Bring your drivers license or other photo id with your address.
  • Renew your library card: Check the date on its expiration!!

Library Apps for TOL:

  • “Libby”: Borrow, return, or renew eBooks and eMagazines.

This app is available for android or apple devices; it’s easy to set up and use. In the setup, it asks for your library. The 3rd option: “guess my library” guessed correctly and I confirmed. Enter your library card info before doing searches: Multiple eBooks and eMagazines come up in the “genealogy” search.

The one I chose gives me 21 days. It asked whether I want to set up notifications. Choices include: Loan Expiring, Loan Expired, Hold Ready, Hold Lapsing, Hold Lapsed, Notify Me: Author, Notify Me: Series. You can change your notifications in “settings”; you can also choose to read in Kindle.

  • “My Library”:

Get this at your app store – android or apple – and open the app. Choose “Thousand Oaks” from libraries listings, then enter your library card. You can view TOL events & info on social media, find books, check your account “holds”, overdue fees, and see date your library card expires. You can also use this app to display your library card – digital version – at TOL check-out.

WPA Photos, plus other photo & map collections free to view online.


Autumn will soon be here!  Summer’s moving quickly, as are library transitions.  What you can expect:

  • Genealogy Items Move Locations:

Hopefully, it’s not too confusing or difficult to locate items you want during reorganization. Several reference sets have been moved to the “Periodicals” section allowing movement of all new books into the “New Book Section” by the first row near the computers.

Genealogy Classes: Thousand Oaks Library (TOL) in the  Technology Room.  Jeanette, TOL archivist and genealogy researcher, shares her combined knowledge.

  • Beginners Genealogy – Sept 30th
  • Intermediate Genealogy – Oct 21st

The September class is like prior Zoom classes; the October class answers researchers’ in-depth questions involving library resources, genealogy databases, e-books, special collections, and more. Classes have limited seating; register now at

  • Can you help individually or as group-activity, in-the library or at-home?  Please see the Volunteer Opportunities for Library Help to see where you can help us.


August!! Summertime’s moving on – so are many people.  Perhaps plans revolve around air-conditioners as things heat up or maybe hitting national trails.  We have many choices. Plans are progressing to get our CVGS genealogy volunteers back into the T.O Library.  Also, genealogy books, periodicals, and magazines, which

Libraries, archives, museums, and more are reopening.  Traveling?  Plan ahead!  Many repositories and national parks require timed-entry preregistration.

Trails and Travels:

2020 marked the 400th Anniversary of the Mayflower Pilgrims’ travels.

Barbara Warren shared excellent information in our July 2021 General Meeting: travel photos, maps, tours next year, and a new Mayflower database on American Ancestors, that is available free through the TO Virtual Library. 

In our genealogy library, we’re completing the Silver Books Collection for Mayflower ancestry research, and Mayflower Anniversary articles will soon be available.

2021 marks the 200th Anniversary of the Santa Fe Trail which is referenced as ”First Highway,” with its 900 miles crossing five states bringing hundreds of thousands West from 1821-1880.

DAR multi-state efforts celebrate at locations along trail routes.  Trail Markers began in 1906 and new granite markers continue.  Look for articles in DAR Magazines which will soon be available in the library.

Explore the National Parks Service (NPS) online for interactive, historic, and trip planning maps.  Santa Fe Trail staff define the historic portions.  Photos, videos, apps, and social media also explore it further along with podcasts and trail guides:

Are 900 miles too many?  Then “Get Out of Dodge.”  Dodge City splits into the Mountain and Cimarron Trails.  Consider even shorter options like the Santa Fe Scenic Byway and New Mexico Santa Fe Trail National Scenic Byway.

Whatever trail beckons, stay safe, have fun, and enjoy!!


A few months ago, I wrote about the library’s partial-reopening.  Transitions continue.

Thousand Oaks Library is expanding its in-library use.

  • Mon – Fri: 10 – 2; Sun: 1-4
  • Limited seating available, arranged for distancing.
  • Masks and other Covid protections continue; use Children’s Entrance.

NOTE: Library books ordered online can now be picked up in one of two ways; choose when ordering:

  • Curbside
  • In-library – “Holds Shelf”

Library of Congress (LOC) Phased Reading Rooms is reopening.  Appointments and LOC-Reader-Card required.  Our June meeting included how-to-information which is posted on CVGS website.

Additional info:

  • ADA accommodations, if needed, request at least 5 days in advance.  Contact: , 1-202-707-6024
  • Required: Online-Pre-Registration Form within 2 weeks before; complete registration at LOC.  Bring copy (paper or on mobile-phone) to Jefferson-Room 139 or Madison-Room 133
  • Required: Appointment if registering at Madison; 9-9:30, Noon-1pm.  Call 1-202-707-5278.
  • LOC-access only to specific Reading-Room with appointment; bring appointment verification and ID. Check website for updated-information: researchers/
  • Health-screening requirements are provided when you make your appointment.  Further questions: LOC-Health Services 1-202-707-8035
  • LOC-Enhanced Health & Safety Protocols, at time of my writing: Masks, social-distancing, temperature-checks, and screening-questions.

National Archives, at time of my writing, is testing re-opening procedures with invited-researchers- only at their DC and Maryland locations.  Full-day appointments for researchers are expected this summer – made after virtual interviews.  Plan includes assigned tables with pre-pulled items and second-pull items offered.

Information on what is currently available, further updates, and links to NARA facilities:


Last summer I wrote about our Genealogy Library’s beginning created by very dedicated and hardworking volunteers from a newly formed CVGS.  A small start grew into a sizeable collection which the Thousand Oaks Library agreed to house, maintained by CVGS volunteers.  We share our collection with the community.  Last summer we couldn’t visit it; this summer’s quite different.

Last month I wrote about another small start: TO Library limited in-library-use, no library volunteers yet. Another small start; great hopes for more soon!! “Many hands make big tasks small.” (Quoting my grandmother.)  Our genealogy library needs your help.  What can you do?? So many choices, not enough space to tell-all.  Check out our Volunteer Opportunities!  Thanks for considering!!


Great news!! April 21st, Thousand Oaks Library started reopening for in-library use. As I write, no volunteers and limited occupancy — expect small staff and number of users allowed, with limited days and time for in-library use:

Wednesday and Friday: 10 – 2; Sunday: 1-4

Entrance is only at Children’s Library door. Masks and social distancing required with signage and floor markings to direct visitors. No food or drink, vending machines and most seats have been removed – except for chairs at computer stations. Time at computers: 60-minute limits, library card required. Library staff disinfect computer stations between users. Virtual Library and Curbside Pickup also continue.

For updates on hours and current Covid precautions:

Library of Congress, (LOC) our national library, remains mostly closed except online assets. They have digitized many records. Temporary limited-access Electronic Resources Center (restricted-access items, not online) in Madison Building, requires prior registration before visits:

Like a treasure hunt, explore LOC online resources. They try to help researchers:

Virtual orientations, how-to online classes, sporadically appear in lists arranged by dates. Skim occasionally for gems: To register, click “zoomgov” within listing.

Recently, an orientation on PPOC (prints and picture resources) led successfully to search my Civil War ancestor in their resources:

“Picture is worth a thousand words.” I found five. That information led to further LOC newspaper searches, confirming stories told by my grandfather’s brother about their grandfather.

Civil War Timeline, LOC compiled (numbers indicate photos) is another great resource if you are researching your ancestors’ military participation in the Civil War.

In-library or online, have fun!!


April, already Spring is here again! So are Rabbit Tracks – in my garden and in our genealogy. In March, Georgine sent out a new Rabbit Tracks – our CVGS publication. Filled with information I enjoyed, it made me think.

In genealogy as in my garden, tracks and rabbit holes appear. Startling as sudden. A rabbit makes a quick dart across my yard; it disappears in foliage near our garden fence. Down a NEW rabbit hole!! Time passes in the pursuit.

Unexpected and delightful Rabbit Tracks can lead to places, events, people as characters previously unknown or incompletely understood. As Alice in Wonderland discovered: the nature or path of our quest is not always predictable. Quite a diversion. So much to explore. Time seems lost — or may be found again — in the past. Ancestors leave clues behind, forgotten but now recalled.

Last month I mentioned sources for old newspapers, where you might look for them. Here are a few more suggestions:

  • California Digital Newspaper Collection

Historical California newspapers, big and small, are based at UCR but freely searchable online.
Note: depending upon how you search, your results may include “locked” items. You can view these also. Referred to as “embargoed” while private entities digitize, you can see them on their sites. Read how at

  • Europeana

If and when you take your family search back to Europe, their resources include historic newspapers back to 1600s.
Note: other collections include maps, migrations, early manuscripts, photos, industrial heritage & working lives, WWI, Jewish heritage, Pandemics, and more.

  • Canadiana

Searchable historic Canadian newspapers “Serials”  include varied dailies and weeklies.

Note: Serials is a vastly varied collection. Magazines and periodical journals range from popular magazines to specialized ones — military, political, business, industry trade, student newspapers and journals.
City directories and annual reports from schools, churches and businesses are also within this collection.

  • Elephind

Historic newspapers from around the world. List is growing. Their goal: one place for online search of historic newspapers internationally.

These old news sources may point you down paths you hope to travel. I wish you luck in following yours and encourage you to share your finds along the way. We are fortunate to be within a wonderful community of genealogists.

Our current historical life events, our past memories and genealogy finds are potential treasures for new and future genealogy researchers yet to come. Are there tracks and paths you want to share? Now or in the near future. Submissions to CVGS Rabbit Tracks and elsewhere can be trails your family and future descendants will be delighted to find.

As my great-uncle told me: We are all future ancestors. Uncle Joe and my grandfather were born almost 100 years before my son. I feel so fortunate when I discover bits of the trails they and other family left behind.

Enjoy your genealogy pursuits. Explore more paths, bring companions as you travel in those journeys.

Have fun!!


As I write today March is just around the corner.

February is our shortest month, but for me it’s been filled with wonderful genealogy discoveries. I hope your month has been just as happily spent. And RootsTech Virtual conference offers a promising end to February which may spill over into March and well beyond. I hope you are filling your Viewing Lists with titles you want to view later or again. Many are available to watch after the conference; some select sessions may also be available for download. Have you watched the “Road to RootsTech” you-tube videos? Note: Use English captions to translate those speaking foreign languages.

March midmonth marks the one-year anniversary of “Safer at Home”. The start of Covid19-library closures and more affected us all. Like many, we postponed our family’s plans: our road trip with genealogy research at multi-state historical sites and archives. Just a few days away from us departing when closures began. Now, virtually from our home computers, we do what we can. Luckily, tech means we can do a lot that way. And hopefully, with more vaccinations ahead, we all soon will safely travel again.

Are you making lists, with detailed plans, for where you want to go? Another great use of our computers and virtual museum tours/exhibits: View ahead for detailed planning. Zoom meetings may define more to consider. Our upcoming March CVGS Zoom Meeting on the Civil War may very well add details to that postponed road trip – the National Park site of the fort my Civil War 2nd Great Grandfather defended, and associated archives, on our agenda.

Lisa Cooke at our CVGS Zoom Meeting in February made excellent points about looking online for newspaper items free, then fee, before going on fieldtrips to archives.

The Library of Congress offers a great newspaper collaboration for free. I have found many family news accounts via:

* “Chronicling America” – 1690 to 2021; Search fields can include state, county, city, date, keywords. Or browse by newspaper title:

Several other options may be free through databases in our TO Virtual Library:

Ancestry – Look through their Card Catalogue under Newspapers and Periodicals to see what titles they offer. I saw they list 118 newspapers and 44 periodicals and magazines.

Heritage Quest searches obits 1800s to current based on – the search provides only an index-view. Clicking the image for more may require a fee as it takes you to – free only with a subscription or if you can save your finds to do on a free trial.

*American Ancestors – Journals and Periodicals: 23 in this category – one example from truly an old newspaper, one of the nation’s oldest, is the New Hampshire Gazette abstracts 1756-1769.

*Gale General One File – Full text from magazines, journals. It may not be a newspaper article, but I recently found a wonderfully detailed article about an event and location with my ancestors in 1734.

*LA Times, from 1881 to current – Full articles. Note it did not necessarily need to happen there to be reported.

*New York Times, from 1851 to current – Full articles. Note, again, it did not necessarily need to happen there to be reported.

*America’s News – Large number of newspapers, domestic and foreign, with full text articles most from within last 15-20 years.

Enjoy your searches into the past as well as your plans into the future.

Email if you have any questions or want assist. Happy hunting!!