Monday, July 25, 2011

"Raking the Ashes" Book on Pre-1906 San Francisco Records Published

This press release was received this morning from Kathryn Doyle, communications director of the California Genealogical Society:


“I’m Sorry, Those Records Were Lost”
California Genealogical Society Publication Gives Researchers New Hope

OAKLAND, California–July 25, 2011–The California Genealogical Society (CGS) announces publication of Raking the Ashes: Genealogical Strategies for Pre-1906 San Francisco Research, second edition, a guide to circumventing the enormous record loss in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire. This authoritative book by Nancy Simons Peterson, Research Director at CGS, is a must have for researching San Francisco ancestors, providing invaluable guidance on which records were lost in the 1906 earthquake and fire, which records survived, and where to find them.

Peterson alerts the reader to lesser-known sources, recently published references, and newly discovered documents. Sources are clearly identified and evaluated, while graphics, statistics, and historical background enrich the text. Not limited to San Francisco, Peterson's solutions for working around lost records and her emphasis on casting a much wider net than is customary will be especially welcomed by researchers wherever natural disasters have destroyed historical documents. First published in 2006, the second edition has been substantially updated and expanded.

ISBN 978-0-9785694-5-7
Format: Perfect-bound paperback, 242 pages
Dimensions (inches) 8.5 wide × 11.0 tall
Retail Price:  $25.00
Publisher: California Genealogical Society
Additional information at:

About the author:
Nancy Simons Peterson is a certified genealogist and author of numerous articles. She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from Stanford University.

About CGS:
The California Genealogical Society, founded in San Francisco in 1898, maintains a library, gathers and preserves vital records, and offers research services and online databases. CGS disseminates information through publications, meetings, seminars, workshops and its website,


I reviewed this book, in pre-publication format, in Book Review: Raking the Ashes, by Nancy S. Peterson in May.  They used this quote from my review on the back cover:

". . . a unique work for genealogical research, this second edition extensively revises, updates and expands the previous edition, first published in 2006. Along with the records lost or extant is the historical context in which the records were created. There are numerous descriptions and lists of churches, cemeteries, funeral homes, newspapers, city directories, courts, fraternal organizations, and other resources, that trace the history of these institutions... In this book, Nancy Peterson has created a wonderful resource guide to help genealogists find the available pre-1906 records in San Francisco that define their elusive ancestors. Every major city should be so lucky!”
Randy Seaver

Disclosure:  I received a free pre-publication copy of this book for my review.


Kathryn Doyle said...

Thank you again, Randy, for your thorough (and glowing!)review. Nancy and all of us at CGS appreciate your time and support!

Mel said...

Glad to see another entry added to the the pre-1906 San Francisco resources. San Francisco research is painstaking and takes alot of creative thinking.