Some money quotes:
Founded in 1898, the society exists with the principal purpose of helping people trace and compile their family histories. It has become one of the leading genealogical resources in Nor-thern California with a collection of more than 30,000 genealogical references, 2,500 reels of microfilm, a large selection of CDs, dozens of maps and hundreds of reference books. They have passenger lists, periodicals, vital records, lineage charts and city directories dating to the early 1880s.
"I've been all over the country doing research, and I never ran across a collection of this size, and with people who are so competent in specialized areas," said CGS's Nancy Peterson, who has written a book called "Raking the Ashes: Genealogical Strategies for Pre-1906 San Francisco Research."
CGS specializes in tracking ancestors who lived in California, but also has information from many other states, especially in New England. The society subscribes to Web sites that provide access to census and other searchable databases.
I would be interested in hearing from researchers who have visited the CGS library in Oakland, and can compare it to other good genealogy libraries in California, such as Sutro in San Francisco, LA Public Library, the Southern California GS library in Burbank, or Carlsbad Public Library in San Diego County. I may visit the CGS library the next time we go to the Bay Area to see the grandkids.