Calaveras Genealogical Society 
Calaveras County, California
Assisting you in researching all the branches of your family tree


The Calaveras Genealogical Society was organized in 1991 to assist researchers with their
research needs. The stated purpose of the CGS is:

To assist people interested in genealogy to research their roots by
providing educational opportunities, research materials and tools.
To compile and make available local information of interest to
genealogical researchers.

To carry out these goals, the Calaveras Genealogical Society holds monthly meetings where
researchers can learn new ways to do their research. There is also a large genealogical research
section at the Calaveras County library in San Andreas that is owned by the CGS. The books
cannot be checked out but are available to anyone to do their research in the library. A list of the
books and other resource materials with a map of the stacks where the books are stored can
be read HERE.

Workshops led by well known researcher specialists are also held during the year, which are open
to members and non-members. Out of town research trips are planned occasionally to places like
Sutro Library, Sacramento Family History Days and other worthwhile genealogical places and

Cemetery tours or tours of other historical locations are also held, with stories told during the
tour of the pioneer families buried there. The CGS believes that history is a living thing with
many stories to tell and many stories still to be uncovered.

The members of the Calaveras County Genealogical Society are eager to help others in their
family  research. This website offers lists of Surnames that the CGS members have researched
and, if
these names are ones you are also researching, you can be put into contact with the
member so information can be shared. You can read the names, as well as see a long list of
research websites by going to the

The website also has a
CONTACT REQUEST form for viewers to fill out their request for
help with information on their Calaveras County ancestors. The form will be emailed to one
of the CGS volunteers
who will do research on the family names you send and email the results
to you. On the
FINDING THEM page, a list of known deaths and burials, taken from old lists,
newspapers, mortuary records and gravestone surveys, is available in PDF format that can be
viewed online or downloaded to your computer. Unfortunately, the lists become out of date daily
as new
research is done, with errors in old information discovered and new names found, but it is
a very good resource for ancestors from Calaveras County and the most complete list you will find.

Membership in the CGS is only $15 annually. A membership form can be downloaded and printed
by clicking

Native American families were very important in the history of Calaveras County. Most of the
county's Native Americans were Miwok.

The gold seekers started arriving by 1848, most of them men who lived in tents at first and also
moved frequently from mining camp to mining camp, always looking for the better gold prospects.

As women starting becoming a larger part of the Calaveras County population, schools and
churches were started and fraternal lodges became an active part of life in the villages and towns.

Lumber was a large industry, many of the trees cut down being destined for the deep mines that
started later in the 1800's. Many crops were also grown countywide, with potatoes, all kinds of
fruit trees, hay and other grains as well as vegetable farms. Murphys even had a large strawberry
farm at one time.

It did not take long for the folks in the cities to recognize the beauty of the county, with Big Trees
being a very popular vacation place. The hotel there was elegant and there was a dance hall on a
tree trunk and at one time, even a bowling alley there.

Calaveras County took care of its own with a county hospital started as early as 1858 where
indigents were cared for at county expense. The first county hospital was outside of Mokelumne
Hill but a  new one was opened in San Andreas in 1869 and it served the county until a larger
one was opened in 1890. All three of the hospitals had cemeteries next to them, but the only one
of those cemeteries is still visible and was at the hospital opened in 1890, which was located where
the county government center is now. The cemetery was behind the hospital and the rocks placed
at the head of each grave site number in the hundreds. 
Medical care was very rudimentary and the use of narcotic drugs such as opium and cocaine was
common. Even such simple things as cough medicine for babies was often loaded with alcohol or
other dangerous substances.

The pioneering families did have an active social life with dances held frequently and with
masquerade balls, parades, skating parties and other festivities often listed in the newspapers of
that day. If a family was in need, they would hold a fundraising dance, which was usually well
attended. These dances often lasted all night with a break at midnight for a dinner, which often
consisted of ravioli, and followed by dancing until dawn when the weary attendees would start for

Angels Camp 1931 Frog Jump

Many of the towns had bands and baseball teams. Horse races, wrestling, boxing and other sports
were frequent and gambling on these events was common.  Outdoor events were common and
groups would pack up the wagons and head for the mountains for a camping trip that often lasted
several weeks. Some ranches would put on annual picnics on their ranch with everyone invited
and hundreds attended some of those picnics.

Carrying a knife, gun or other weapon was normal in the earlier 1800's but there was a gun law
passed in the late 1800s. George Cox, who shot his son in law, was called a martyr to the new gun
law by some people when he was hung for the murder. He was the last person hung by Calaveras
County and the sheriff, Ben Thorne, sent out engraved invitations to the hanging.

The Calaveras Genealogical Society publishes a quarterly newsletter " THE FROGHORN" for their members.  Some of the old issues can be read by clicking on the date:

September 1991           October 1991        November 1991

January 1992              April 1992             October 1992

January 1993              April 1993             July 1993                    October 1993

Spring 1994                Summer 1994       Fall 1994

Spring 1995                Summer 1995       Winter 1995

Spring 1996                Summer 1996       Winter 1996

Spring 1997                Fall 1997                Winter 1997

Spring 1998                Summer 1998       Winter 1998

Spring 1999             Fall 1999             Winter 1999                

August 2000

Spring 2001                Summer 2001        Fall 2001                   Winter 2001

Spring 2002                Summer/Fall 2002                                   Winter 2002

Spring 2003                Summer 2003            Fall 2003             Winter 2003

Spring 2004                Summer 2004            Fall 2004             Winter 2004

Spring 2005                 Summer 2005           Fall 2005              Winter 2005

Spring 2006                 Summer  2006          Fall 2006              Winter 2006

Spring 2007                  Summer 2007           Fall 2007              Winter 2007

Spring 2008                  Summer 2008           Fall 2008              Winter 2008

Spring 2009                  Summer 2009            Fall 2009            Winter 2009

Spring 2010                  Summer 2010            Fall 2010             Winter 2010

Spring 2011                  Summer 2011            Fall 2011               Winter 2011

Spring 2012                 Summer 2012            Fall 2012               Winter 2012
Below are photos of the Compere Store building in Murphys, on the right as it looked in the 1930s, and on the left you can see it as it is today.
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