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SDGS History

The San Diego Genealogical Society has grown substantially since October 10th, 1946 when Mrs. Alicia Pearl Mayer initiated a meeting, held at noon in the U.S. Grant Hotel, for the purpose of organizing a society "for mutual help in the pursuance of genealogical work and for the establishing of a genealogical library for the benefit of members." Present at the meeting were Mrs. MayerMrs. Elzoe C. Weissgerber and Mr. Paul Henry Goss. Early membership in the Society was by invitation. There were 26 charter members.

The Society's genealogical research collection (now over 10,000 volumes) began as a circulating collection of two books plus a few manuscripts and pamphlets exchanged at Society meetings.


SDGS Library at 3030 Kellogg Street (1979)

A studio in the Spanish Village Art Center (built in 1935 for the California Pacific International Exposition) in Balboa Park housed the collection beginning in 1949. By 1957 there were 244 books in the library and the Society had yearly subscriptions to ten genealogy periodicals (journals, quarterlies, newsletters, etc.). The collection had grown to more than 1,000 volumes by 1972.

It was June 1979 when the SDGS library, about 3,000 volumes and 45 periodicals, moved to an apartment (leased from members Win and Edwina Goddard) on 3030 Kellogg St in Point Loma. The genealogical collection outgrew this facility and in October 1982 it was moved to a house on Kalmia Street (also leased from Mr. and Mrs. Goddard) in the North Park neighborhood. 

2925 Kalmia Street


In October 1994 the Society moved to Pioneer Way in El Cajon, followed by its relocation in 2009 to 7343 Ronson Road, Suite O, in San Diego. In December 2013 the location on Ronson Road was closed.    

The collection has since been donated to the San Diego Public Library system and is available to researchers at the new Main Library facility which opened in September 2013.

1050 Pioneer Way, Suite E, El Cajon, California

In 1995, SDGS hosted the National Genealogical Society's 'Conference in the States.' This four day event was attended by approximately 2,000 people from around the world. The Society hosted a series of Genealogical and Family History Fairs at the Scottish Rite Center beginning in 1996. SDGS was also host to GenTech 2000, two days of computer genealogy education for nearly 700 attendees.

The San Diego Genealogical Society Newsletter has been published since 1963 and was published and distributed monthly (except January) to all current members. Beginning of fall 2018 it was renamed Quarterly and published quarterly. The Quarterly contained information on upcoming meetings, speakers, seminars, research trips, fundraising events, special projects, library acquisitions, member research queries and other items of current interest to genealogists.

Since 1972 the Society has publish
ed San Diego Leaves & Saplings, a quarterly publication of San Diego County, California historical and genealogical records. In its 47 volumes, San Diego Leaves & Saplings has published cemetery, census, church, hospital, land, mortuary, school census, voter registration and numerous other records of interest and value to genealogists and family historians researching their San Diego County, California ancestry.

The San Diego Genealogical Society of today is the product of the diligent efforts of innumerable dedicated Society volunteers, officers and directors, and the vision, leadership and commitment of these past presidents:

Alicia Pearl Mayer Oct 1946-Oct 1947
Lt. Colonel Rolin W. Shaw Oct 1947-Oct 1949
Benjamin F. Dixon Oct 1949-Dec 1951
Joseph E. Rowland 1952-1953
C. Lynn Willardson


Rear Admiral Herald F. Stout 1956-1957
Willis A. Perry 1958-1959
Rear Admiral Herald F. Stout 1960-1961
William M. Kerr 1962-1963
Fred Radcliffe 1964
Wayne C. Butt 1965-1966
John H. Sneed 1967-1968
Eugene D. Shapley 1969-1970
Edra Keeran 1971-1973
Edward G. Wickes Jan 1974-Feb 1974
Roy D. Smith Mar 1974-Dec 1974
Anita Cheek Milner 1975-1976
Elizabeth McShane Bumpus Jan 1977-Feb 1977
Colonel Edgar L. Tidwell 1977-1978
Eunice Cook Konold 1979-1980
Edra Keeran 1981-1982
Bette Atkinson 1983-1984
Meg Glerum Thompson 1985-1986
Mary Rice Harris 1987-1988
George R. Spidell 1989-1990
Harvey E. Keating 1991-1992
Frank Cirincioni 1993-1996
Phyllis Boozell Quarg 1996-1999
Gloria Broadhurst Osborn 2000-2001
Harvey E. Keating Jan 2002 - Mar 2002
Peter H. Steelquist Apr 2002-2007
Marna L. Clemons 2008-2011
Diane Lott 2012-2015
David Tooley 2016-2017
Diane Lott 2018- 2021 
Dianne Arnold2022 - 2023
Julie Barelka  2024 - current

Post Office Box 635057
San Diego, 92163

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