50TH-Year Celebration for
Orange County California Genealogical Society
This year, 2013, marks the 50th year since the inception of the Orange County California Genealogical Society. OCCGS was founded in August 1963 by about 25 men and women with a mutual interest in genealogy and history. The founding member and first president of the society was Mrs. M. Patricia Humphreys of Orange, California. Less than a year later in June of 1964 there were fifty-four charter members of the society on the membership roster. The last living charter member, Mrs. Lorraine T. Montgomery, passed away in 2011 in Orange County.
For the first twelve years, the members of OCCGS met in a series of four locations including the Glenhaven Mobilodge in Orange, CA (1963), the Bowers Memorial Museum in Santa Ana (1964-1965), the Adult Reference Center Library (later the Margaret Morrison Library) in Orange (1965-1970), and the Lemon Heights (now Orange Hills) Baptist Church Recreation Hall in Orange (1970-1975). For a number of years, their genealogical book collection was carried by car to the monthly meetings by members. Finally in 1975 they found a permanent home for meetings and the ever-expanding library collection in the new Huntington Beach Central Library when it first opened in June of 1975.
During the period from 1963 to 1975 the membership had grown to over 300 members and the society’s genealogy collection had grown to over 9000 items through purchases and donations. Today the membership stands at just over 400 members and the society’s library collection now contains over 20,000 books, periodicals, and maps which the society catalogs and maintains and is freely available to the public as well as its members.
During its 50 year history the OCCGS has helped hundreds of genealogists improve their research skills through the genealogical collection materials, an expert speakers program, beginning and advanced classes in genealogical research, an annual guided research trip to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, the hosting of special interest groups, such as the New England and Scots/Irish SIGs, and the sales of new and used genealogical books and materials.
OCCGS has published numerous books and compilations of interest to genealogists and historians, such as Saddleback Ancestors (1998), For King or Country (1976), and Tombstone Inscriptions (1969-1983) for a number of Orange County cemeteries. Currently it is in the process of publishing an online compilation of the genealogies of over 800 Civil War veterans buried in Orange County, California. It has also published an informative newsletter for its members almost monthly for the better part of its 50-year history and published the OCCGS Quarterly until 2006.