How To Digitize & Document Your Family History


El Cerrito Library       6510 Stockton Ave, El Cerrito, Jan 20, 11AM – 1PM

Dougherty Station Library  17017 Bollinger Canyon Road, San Ramon, March 2,  11AM – 1PM

Fremont Library         2400 Stevenson Blvd, Fremont, March 16, 11AM – 1PM

Saratoga Library        13650 Saratoga Ave, Saratoga, April 14, 1PM – 3PM

Los Altos Library       13 S San Antonio RD, Los Altos, April 27, 11AM – 1PM

Cupertino Library      10800 Torre Ave, Cupertino, May 4, 11AM – 1PM

Milpitas Library          160 N Main St, Milpitas, May 12, 11AM – 1PM

Castro Valley Library  3600 Norbridge Ave, Castro Valley, May 19, 2PM – 4PM

What You Will Learn

•Key resources, best practices, and tips on how to create your own multimedia family legacy.

•“How to” create an oral history using artificial intelligence, scan and restore photos, free/cost effective multimedia conversion resources.

•Demonstrate a digital family history book.


How To Digitize & Document Your Family History 
This session takes you into the physical and virtual world on how to build a multimedia family library. We will demonstrate and teach “how to” create an oral history using artificial intelligence, scan and restore photos, reveal free/cost effective multimedia conversion resources, story telling, movie making, and demo a digital family history book. You will walk away knowing key resources, best practices, and tips on how to create your own family legacy.       

About The Speaker: Ron Chan

Ron is a published genealogy author, presenting and teaching how to create novel and compelling ways to bring family history to life at conferences in both the US and China. He is Founder and Executive Director of the Bay Area Chinese Genealogy Group, whose mission is to share, educate and tell the story and struggles of the past, so future generations may know their roots.   

Seminar Patron Feedback

Chinese Genealogy Workshop – Feb 5-7, 2024, Las Vegas

Gold Coast Casio, Las Vegas, NV

February 2 (Sunday check-in) to February 8 (Thursday Checkout), 2024

Conference Dates: February 5 through February 7, 2024

Conference flyer, registration form and local restaurants

For more information:

This is a 3-day workshop, with presentations in the morning, and Round-Table discussions between attendees & experts, and a Tutorial on Documenting Genealogy Research Wednesday afternoon.

American Born Chinese (ABCs) seniors have been doing the research, but, as this generation is becoming older, there is a realistic need to document this research as part of their family history for their family & descendants.  The tutorial, “Documenting Your Family History Made Easy”, covers the development of generic templates where specific content modules can be inserted and shared across Word and PowerPoint software.

Here are some of things you will learn at the roundtables:

  • Finding your ancestral village
  • Brief Chinese to English translations
  • OCR processing & conversion of PDF versions of your Chinese genealogy books into searchable PDF documents by computer – which is a tremendous aid in searching the massive genealogy lineages and finding & tracing / linking consecutive generations of your ancestors, Dr. Mel Thatcher & Henry Tom will be available to assist in converting your PDFs of your genealogy books into searchable PDFs.  Another valuable aspect of this OCR processing is allowing you to highlight narrative texts about your individual ancestors found in your genealogy book, and to cut & paste these Chinese annotations & narratives into any of a number of online Chinese to English translators.

Session speakers and topics will be updated as we get closer to the conference.

If you want to enjoy the Chinese New Year celebrations in Las Vegas – consider coming 1 or 2 days before the workshop, just do so by selecting the arrival & departure dates when you book your room.  

The 4-day hotel workshop package by itself is $331 and is separate from the workshop registration fee of $375.

How To Digitize & Document Your Family History

FamilySearch Library, 4766 Lincoln Ave, Oakland, CA, Oct 19, 11AM – 1PM 

Registration: Click here to register: Digitize and Document Your Family History

The FamilySearch Center, in conjunction with the Bay Area Chinese Genealogy Group, will be hosting a free seminar.

How To Digitize & Document Your Family History 
This session takes you into the physical and virtual world on how to build a multimedia family library. We will demonstrate and teach “how to” create an oral history using artificial intelligence, scan and restore photos, reveal free/cost effective multimedia conversion resources, and demonstrate a digital family history book. You will walk away knowing key resources, best practices, and tips on how to create your own family legacy.       

About The Speaker: Ron Chan

Ron has lectured on the principals of documenting family history at nine consecutive Genealogy Workshops, presenting and teaching how to create novel and compelling ways to bring family history to life. He is Founder and Executive Director of the Bay Area Chinese Genealogy Group, whose mission is to share, educate and tell the story and struggles of the past, so future generations may know their roots.      

Facing Challenges and Limitations: Where Do Organized Chinese Associations Get Respect?

BACGG Zoom Event: Thursday, September 14, 2023 @ 6:30 PST – 8:00PST

This session is over, and is posted on Youtube: Click Here

Have questions about tongs or associations? Please email questions in advance by September 7, 2023, to and

George Chin, (Founder of Chinatown History & Culture Association) will provide a personal overview of SF’s Organized Associations and will discuss the roles of associations in the Community & Social Services.

Additionally, Ding Lee, Director of Lee’s Family Association, Ning Yung, Bing Kong Tong, Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association and Chinatown History & Culture Association, will share his experience about associations and help answer questions.

Chinese Tongs, or organized associations, have served five generations of Chinese Americans for over 175 years. They have earned respect of their contributions to the Chinese American community, but they also face multiple challenges and limitations. Learn about Chinese Family Tongs / Associations, and how they impacted your ancestors and may impact you today:

  • Presentation of History, Culture & Education
  • Genealogy Research: Tongs have maintained membership and payment records for many years. This information can be valuable for people who are conducting genealogy research.
  • Challenges and limitations of Tongs
  • Where do Tong’s get respect?


October 19, 2023, Thursday – Ron Chan – Digitze and Document Your Family History

November 2023, Leona Lau – Our Moms, Chinese War Brides – Their Stories From War Time China to Post War USA. Also NARA Archives Workshop – Research for War Bride documents

Searching For: 1906 SF Chinatown Family Stories


The California Migration Museum is a new initiative that plans to build an immersive experience bringing together stories across California’s migration history. We are currently working on a virtual, augmented reality-enhanced historical walking tour of SF Chinatown that will pivot around the story of the 1906 earthquake and its aftermath. We’re looking for:

  1. Descendants who can trace their ancestors back to those days, especially if their ancestors were involved with the reconstruction of Chinatown.
  2. We’re also looking for descendants who grew up with a mother or grandmother who lived through the earthquake.

Chinese Pioneers: Power and Politics in Exclusion Era Photographs

Presented by the California Historical Society: January 28, 2022 to June 25, 2022

More information here

THE CALIFORNIA HISTORICAL SOCIETY, 678 MISSION STREET, SAN FRANCISCO CA, 94105 Open Thursday – Saturday, 12:00pm – 5:30pm

In its new exhibition Chinese Pioneers: Power and Politics in Exclusion Era Photographs, the California Historical Society explores the Chinese immigrant experience during the years of the Chinese Exclusion Act. The exhibition sheds light on the history of Sinophobia and resonates with broader questions about immigration, citizenship, and border control currently being debated.

In the United States during the Exclusion Era years, depictions of Chinese people ranged from deeply derogatory to highly exoticized. The Chinese Pioneers exhibition examines the visual record of how mainstream culture influenced, aligned with, and/or diverged from politics and state actions.

Photography played a potent role in Chinese people’s interactions with the dominant culture and in the government’s fledgling systems of registration, identification, and surveillance. Chinese Pioneers presents photographs—both studio photography and fine-art photos—alongside illustrated newspapers, paintings, and ephemera from the California Historical Society’s collections.

The exhibition is drawn exclusively from the California Historical Society’s deep collections of topical material. On view are rare items, such as one of the earliest known records of Chinese immigration to California, certificates of residence for Chinese laborers (1894–1897), and a one-of-a-kind photo album compiled by a Sierra County justice of the peace who was tracking Chinese residents. Less rare but equally powerful items in the collection include formal portraits of Chinese men and women taken in photographic studios, some operated by Chinese photographers; illustrated newspapers; a painting of a Chinese woman; photographs of Chinese workers; and works by art photographers Arnold Genthe and Laura Adams Armer.

The richness of these collections presents a compelling visual history that dovetails with the social, political, and judicial disenfranchisement of Chinese Californians, as well as moments of Chinese agency and resilience.

We Are Bruce Lee: Under The Sky, One Family Exhibition

Below provided by: Chinese Historical Society of America

As we all continue to navigate the challenges surrounding the health and safety circumstances currently affecting our community, the nation, and the world at large, CHSA has respectfully delayed the opening of our upcoming We Are Bruce Lee exhibition. Amid these ever-changing times, know that the health and comfort of our community is of the utmost priority and importance to CHSA, and we are carefully monitoring and adapting to the relevant guidelines in order to determine a new exact grand opening date.

We will get there. 

As Bruce himself said, “Be Water, My Friend.” We are looking forward to sharing with you We Are Bruce Lee in early 2022.

Please stay tuned for more information as we announce updates to the exhibition and other programming and content. To learn more about or support this exhibition, check out We Are Bruce Lee and follow CHSA.

In the meantime, pre-sale tickets will be made available soon, with CHSA members receiving first priority. For more information on how to become a member, to help sustain our museum’s work, please visit

1950 US Census Available 4/1/2022

From Grant Din,

I just got this from fellow genealogist Renee Carl last week. “NARA just dropped a press release announcing that the 1950 Census will be powered with an AI/ML/OCR name search.” Renee was involved in a beta test and was seriously impressed with this Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning/Optical Character Recognition technology. I encourage you to read the NARA release she links to. It sounds like this technology will allow you to search for names right from the time the census is released on April 1, 2022, but in case you can’t find who you are looking for, there are actually other ways.

When the 1940 census results were released in 2012, the volunteers at Family Search,  the paid indexers at Ancestry and other people took about 4-6 months to index the records, so this technology could save us many months of waiting. In case you can’t find your family through this name search right away, you can also search through Enumeration Districts (E.D.s), which are smaller segments of a community and not too difficult to look at block by block.

There are ways to figure out ahead of time which E.D.s your family members may have lived in so you can look in them as soon as the census is released on April 1. I just attended a webinar by Thomas MacEntee and he had two handouts he encouraged us to share (please attribute them to him if you pass them along). One is full of great information and links (ignore where he says the 2022 release date is two years away!) and the other is a spreadsheet you can use to input your family’s (or whomever you are researching) information in an organized fashion, which he describes in the informational handout.
If you know or can figure out where the person you’re researching lived (there are many directories online, or you can use correspondence or ask someone who was alive then), you can use an amazing tool developed by Steve Morse (developer of the Intel 8086 chip!). Go here: and click on 1950 in the pull-down menu at the top of the page. Then pull down the appropriate information to find out which enumeration districts correspond with the address you’re looking for.

It also works for rural areas. For example, a lot of people have roots in the Sacramento River Delta – towns like Isleton, Walnut Grove, Locke, Courtland, etc. You can select Sacramento County, then under city, choose “Other.” I typed in “Courtland,” and got 34-119, which includes ” GEORGIANA JUDICIAL TOWNSHIP (TRACT SC-136) BOUNDED BY (N) COUNTY LINE, JUDICIAL TOWNSHIP LINE; (E) JUDICIAL TOWNSHIP LINE; (S) LAUREL LN; (W) SACRAMENTO RIVER, COUNTY LINE, AND SHOULD CONTAIN LAMBERT, VORDEN, COURTLAND.”

That’s just one example. This information should help you find family members when the 1950 census is released on April 1, 2022! Please post if you have other ideas or if I have some incorrect information.

Discover Your Story at RootsTech Connect – Free Registration


Join the world’s largest family celebration for free to unlock your family’s history and learn how to preserve the stories of your life.

25 – 27 FEBRUARY, 2021

Introducing RootsTech Connect: A Free Online Conference Experience

For the first time ever, the world’s largest family celebration event will be entirely virtual and completely free. Get ready to celebrate shared connections with people from around the world. Connect with friends, your family, your past, and your heritage and homelands—all from the comfort of your home and in your browser.

Celebrity Keynote Speakers

Keynotes are a huge part of RootsTech events. They deliver messages of inspiration and hope. Stay tuned for the full lineup of keynote speakers to be announced soon.

Virtual Marketplace

The virtual Marketplace will be the perfect place to see the latest innovations, interact with companies from around the world, and find answers and resources to aid you in your work. Plus, get real-time help via video or live chat!

Cultural Activities

Celebrate the world’s cultures with activities such as homeland cooking demonstrations, yoga, and music from around the world. These experiences will be available throughout the online event and on demand.

Connect with Family from Anywhere

Finding cousins and interacting with other attendees is an important part of the RootsTech model. Enjoy exclusive opportunities to chat with other attendees through various messaging boards, social media interactions, and video chats.

Coby Yee – A Celebration of Life

Coby is cheered by audience members in 2015 at a screening of “Forbidden City, USA” in San Francisco’s Great Star Theatre.  Photo by DeepFocus Productions.

The Bay Area Chinese Genealogy Group is saddened to advise that Coby Yee, a featured panelist in our East meets West: Chinatown Nightclubs, died peacefully August 14, 2020, at the age of 93.

If you wish to see Coby full of life, love and laughter, just weeks ago view BACGG had the great honor and privilege of working with Coby in this interview. Even when we had dress rehearsals, with only three of us present,  Coby was always dolled up in full costume and makeup, ready to put on a show.  It is this zeal of life, I will always remember. She told me about the  gown she made with a 15 foot train (she is only 4’11”!) to make a grand entrance for her acceptance as 2020’s Living Legend from the Las Vegas Burlesque Hall of Fame… never failing to be larger-than-life. Coby never said goodbye… she always ended with, bye for now. So bye for now, Coby, as when I look into the heavens, I will always see your bright star.

Ron Chan, Executive Director, Bay Area Chinese Genealogy Group

Photos provided by Cynthia Yee, webinar panelist, and fellow entertainers to celebrate Coby’s life. view

Coby Yee, 2020 Legend of Burlesque / Last Dance Video by Frankie Fictitious and Joyce Tang (4 min 22 sec) view Special thanks to the Burlesque Hall of Fame site , a 501c3 non-profit dedicated to preserving and celebrating burlesque.

We were unable to have the panelist answer the questions posed by the webinar attendees contemporaneously. BACGG (Ron, Gail, and Jeannie) spent several hours with the panelists going over the submitted questions, and then collating the answers. Please see their output: Questions Answered click

Here is a wonderful tribute to Coby in the New Yorker, posted on Valentines Day

Please feel free to leave a story, a memory, or say, goodbye for now, to Coby.

Create a Free Remembrance Vet Plaque

This Memorial Day, Together We Served is inviting any Veteran or Family Member to create a Remembrance Military Service Plaque, at no charge, to remember an Active Serving or Veteran Soldier, Sailor, Marine, Airman or Coastguardsman who is now Deceased.

TogetherWeServed offers our Members the highest quality photo scanning at no cost. Send us a box of all your photos, slides or negatives and we will scan them, fix them for imperfections, post them online, and send them back to you, with a DVD of all your photo files, in the same condition you sent them. In addition we will automatically upload your selected photos to your Together We Served profile page photo album free of charge!

Email us at for more details.