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

This is a photo of the first Calaveras County Court House, located in Double Springs. It was built in China, shipped here and erected on site. It was taken down and rebuilt inside the Calaveras County Museum in San Andreas and is on display there.

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 on the Froghorn and Library page.

Workshops led by well known researcher specialists are held during the year, and 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 events.


A social meeting is held in June, often with a tours of a historical location, with stories told during the tour of the pioneer families of that area. 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 and  offer a mentoring session before the monthly meetings.


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 list of helpful research websites by going to the
SURNAMES AND RESOURCES page.

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.

Individual membership in the CGS is only $15 annually. When you join, you will get the quarterly Froghorn, discounts on entry fees to most of the CGS seminars, a mentoring program, monthly speakers, and emailed research tips on a regular basis, all for only $1.25 a month! A membership form can be downloaded and printed by clicking HERE

The Calaveras Genealogical Society publishes a quarterly newsletter " THE FROGHORN" for their members.  Older issues can be read on the
Froghorn and Library page.

Check out the Calendar page to see the upcoming schedule.



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 types of crops were also grown countywide, with potatoes, all kinds of fruit trees, hay and other grains as well as vegetable farms. Murphys 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 the first county hospital started as early as 1858, where indigents were cared for at county expense. That first county hospital was near Mokelumne Hill and its replacement was opened in San Andreas in 1869,  serving the county until a larger one was opened in 1890. All three of the hospitals had cemeteries located next to them where the indigent patients were buried. Only one of those cemeteries is still visible, at the hospital opened in 1890, 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 had 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 era. If a family was in need, a fundraising dance would be held, 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
home.
 


Angels Camp 1931 Frog Jump
held on Main Street in Angels Camp

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 ranchers 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 later 1800s. George Cox, who shot his son in law and was the last person hung in Calaveras Count on August 31, 1888, was called a martyr to the new gun law by some people. The sheriff, Ben Thorne, sent out engraved invitations to the hanging.
 
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