Thursday, June 30, 2016

Georgetown University President Meets with EWGS President Pat Bayonne-Johnson

Another great article on EWGS President Pat Bayonne-Johnson and the meeting with Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia at the Spokane Public Library June 13, 2016. This article tells about the cooperation between Georgetown and the genealogists tracing their ancestors back to the 272 slaves sold by Georgetown in 1838.
The earlier article is located here 

The EWGS group researching the Butler genealogy.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Georgetown University President John DeGioia meets Pat Bayonne-Johnson

EWGS President Patricia Bayonne-Johnson descendant of slaves that were sold by Georgetown University in 1838, meets with Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia at the Spokane Public Library. Read the article by Rachel L. Swarns of the New York Times. ( ) or the article in the Spokesman Review .
Here is some pictures of the meeting:

Pat and John DeGioia

Greeting the team of researchers.

Sitting down to talk about the research.

Friday, June 10, 2016

June 9th, A 2-Star Learning Day for EWGS

The Ancestry Users Group (TAG), honcho'd by Marge Mero, met at the Shadle Library at 12:30 on Thursday, June 9th. After introductions and welcomes (and donut bits!) the time was turned over to Doug Floyd for the lesson on understanding what probate is and finding probate records on Ancestry. 

Doug explained that probate means "the official proving of (as in a will)," or "establishing the validity of (as a will)."  He quoted the Legal Genealogist, Judy Russell, as saying that "probate records are the best records in genealogy." Doug explained the difference in some legal terms; testament refers to disposition of personal property while will spells out personal wishes and guardianship was not necessarily for the child but for the child's property. 

Doug directed us to the Ancestry Academy where there are two specific learning videos there for us to watch. Next he directed us to the Ancestry Card Catalog to look under the topic of "probate records" or jump to doing a locality search and see what Ancestry includes for probate records in your area of focus. 

The TAG meeting was followed by meeting #2 of the Genealogy Re-Focus group honcho'd by Teresa Smick, Liz Hawn and Sonji Ruttan. Teresa gave a most thorough lesson on finding and using the basic forms needed for genealogy, namely family group records/charts/forms.  Some 25 folks, eager for a basic-beginning-restart-focus attended. 

TAG will not meet in July or August. The Re-Focus group will meet the second Thursday, 12:30, Shadle Park Library and all are welcome. 

Check out their website: 

Thursday, June 9th, was, indeed, a great learning day for EWGS. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Spokane Valley Heritage Museum: Go Visit This Summer!

Spokane Valley Heritage Museum

Need an idea for a summer educational-staycation?  How about a visit to the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum where you can show your children how Grandma used to get water at her kitchen sink!

First it was the Opportunity Town Hall, built in 1912, and which is today on the Historic Landmarks Register. Since August 18, 2005, the historic building has been home to the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum. Jayne Singleton has been the motivating force behind the coming together of this museum and is currently the director.

The mission of the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum is “to collect, preserve and exhibit the history and culture of the Spokane Valley for the education and inspiration of the community.”

Collecting the history of an area bordered on four sides by Peone Prairie (north), Havana Street (west), Post Falls (east) and Rockford (south) has been no small undertaking. Today the collection includes 2245 items in house, which includes 1188 objects or artifacts, 903 photos and 497 items of reference in their archives.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

What you Missed at the EWGS June 4, 2016 Meeting

The day started out with the EWGS board meeting, and Oweta Floyd presented President Pat Bayonne-Johnson with  a birthday cake:
The meeting was delayed as the cake cutting started and we all got a piece of the birthday cake.

We finished our delicious cake and the board meeting.
Like a dummy I did not get any photos of the general meeting, but Jesse Tinsley from the Spokesman Review was the speaker. He is a photographer and does the Then and Now column that appears every Monday. He showed several of the columns and the handout on how he does the research so we can all do our own Then and Now photos.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Serendipity Day

Good Reason to Connect with Cousins

MyHeritage Releases Book Matching Technology

Genealogy Road Show, New Season on PBS

Accessing American Ancestors for Free

How Many of You Are There? Try Find My Name


Last week, I drove from Spokane down to Kennewick to spend time with hubby’s cousin, Cathy. We spent a delightful afternoon talking family and working on our common Ancestry tree. She showed me all the “stuff” (read: family artifacts) around her house that belonged to her and John’s common grandmother. That was wonderful enough, but the “frosting on the cupcake” was that she gave me a start of the flowering plant that Grandma Ethel had brought all the way from Illinois when she was married in 1911 and came to Spokane. Now we have it growing in our garden and I will share with my children. It’s important to pass along more than facts and photos. (Anybody name this plant? Cathy didn't know.)


Maybe we all ought to consider exploring/using MyHeritage….. This website has risen to be right up there with Ancestry and FamilySearch.
MyHeritage Releases Exclusive Book Matching Technology for Family History
MyHeritage users to automatically receive relevant excerpts from digitized books that reveal information about their ancestors and relatives

TEL AVIV, Israel & LEHI, Utah, April 7, 2016 — MyHeritage, the fastest-growing destination for discovering, preserving and sharing family history, has launched today a revolutionary addition to its suite of technologies: Book Matching. This innovation automatically researches users' family trees in historical books with high precision.

In April 2012 MyHeritage launched SuperSearch™, a search engine for historical records, which has since then grown to include 6.6 billion historical records, including birth, marriage, death and census records. By implementing its vision of enhancing genealogy with technology, MyHeritage then developed a line of unique and sophisticated technologies that automatically match the records from the search engine to the 32 million family trees uploaded by its users.

In December 2015, MyHeritage expanded its data collections to include digitized historical books, with an initial corpus of 150,000 books of high genealogical value. This collection was tripled last week to 450,000 books with 91 million pages. With a team of more than 50 dedicated curators, MyHeritage aims to add hundreds of millions of pages of digitized books to the collection each year.

As of today, MyHeritage users will receive matches between profiles in their family trees and the books from this collection. The Book Matching technology analyzes the book texts semantically, understanding complex narrative that describes people, and matches it to the 2 billion individuals in MyHeritage family trees with extremely high accuracy. This breakthrough technology is the first of its kind, and is exclusive to MyHeritage.

Book Matching has produced more than 80 million matches, and this number will continue to grow as the collection grows and as the family trees on MyHeritage continue to expand. Book Matching is currently available for English books, and the technology is being enhanced to cover additional languages. In addition, de-duplication technology is being added in the next few weeks to remove duplicate books that have been scanned and OCRed more than once by different sources.


Are you all enjoying the Genealogy Road Show on your local public TV station? (If not, if they’re not showing it, give them a call and ask why not??) The show airs Tuesdays and is into Season Three. Next Tuesday’s show (May 31st) will be coming from Houston, Texas. Last week they were in Albuquerque and some of the New Mexico heritage stories they uncovered were quite fab.

Have you noticed that there are more and more genealogy-themed TV shows recently? Finding Your Roots, Who Do You Think You Are? Faces of America, and this one I’ve not heard of: Ancestors in the Attic. What does that say about the popularity of our favorite pursuit?


American Ancestors is the website name of the New England Historic Genealogical Society which has been around since 1845 in Boston. (NEHGS is older than the first genealogical society in England; I like to quip that we wanted independence but we also remembered our roots.) American Ancestors is a subscription website but you may use it for free at your local Family History Center. American Ancestors is one of the subscription websites available free to patrons through their in-house PORTAL.

If you have New England ancestors (
) I would encourage you to visit your nearby FHC and use this resource for it does say “temporary access,” whatever that might mean.


Ever wondered how widespread the distribution of your surname (or you ancestral surname) really is? I stumbled upon a website that told me just that!  I clicked to and entered POTTER and found out that the U.S. state with the most Potter-people is California with Texas next. I could have searched for the Potter surname in a bunch of different countries even! The popularity of the surname in the U.S. is #473, rather low on the list but not rare. Go try your surname……………have fun!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Serendipity Day

Had a delightful lunch rendezvous with Doris Woodward, long-long time member of EWGS. She was the editor/compiler of the EWGS publication, The Bulletin, for years and years. Nearing 90, she’s not coming to meeting much anymore but it was still a delight to see her and find that she’s still as sharp and funny as ever.


This was Sue Kreikemeier’s President’s Message in the lastest issue of the Newsletter of the Whitman County Genealogical Society (Pullman). It was titled “Hidden Gems.”

In my professional life, I do a fair amount of driving around Whitman County, and enjoy exploring along the way. I am drawn to small cemeteries and dirt roads, and, when my schedule allows, will take a short detour to explore those. (A favorite reference is “Reflections on the Road: A Journey Through Whitman County Past and Present” by Martha Mullen.)

For years, while driving through Oakesdale, the McCoy Museum located right downtown, just a stone’s throw from the old Barron Flour Mill, has intrigued me. However, it wasn’t until unexpected business took me to Oakesdale on a Sunday afternoon that I was able to explore the Museum. What a trove of little gems I discovered! Now, maybe you are already aware of the contents of the museum. But at the risk of delivering old news, I thought I’d share some of my “discoveries”.

As I entered the museum Gail Parsons, a longtime volunteer and supporter of the McCoy Museum, greeted me. Following introductions I was quickly drawn to a shelf containing several stacks of old, leather-bound record books. When he saw my eyes light up with interest he proceeded to pull volumes off the shelves and spread them out on tables for my perusal.

Here’s a brief sampling of some of the treasures I found:
1920 Oakesdale Census
Justice Dockets 1894-1940
Record of Licenses 1891-1938 (dog licenses, peddler licenses, pool room and card table licenses were common entries)
Town Accounts 1893-1915
Various election records, poll books, and tally sheets
Improvement Bonds records 1920-1991, including purchasers of bonds

What a plethora of names, dates, and details painting a picture of a small, vital community! One of the more intriguing entries I noted was a justice docket entry regarding a case of forgery…that might make for some interesting embellishment to one’s family tree!

Whether you have roots in Oakesdale or not, I recommend a stroll through the museum as a reminder of small town life, local history, and the many ways records can illuminate our family stories.

Happy Trails! Sue Rogers Kreikemeier, President, Whitman County Genealogical Society


Kim Morgan’s last class in her series, Finding Your Ancestors, offers a wrap-up day on Saturday, June 11th, 11:00, at the Hayden Library (8385 N. Government Way, Hayden Lake….just north of Coeur d’Alene). Guest speaker will be Darwin Kellicut explaining how he found his “Genealogical Holy Grail in Tralee, Ireland.” This is also a Resource Day “to share books on Irish, Ulster-Irish, German, England and reference and history books as well as other great research aids.”


The headline read: “Insect Bite Ends Billings’ Life.”

On Thursday, May 19, 2016, Jim Kershner’s This Day in History column in our paper, The Spokesman, recounted  the sad story from back on May 18, 1916:  “A.C. Billings, 54, former mayor of Harrington, Washington, died from a most unusual cause: a tick bite. Billings was fishing on Crab Creek two weeks earlier when he was bitten by a tick. He did not discover the tick until a week later, after it had burrowed into his navel. He removed the tick, but the head remained embedded. He became seriously ill and went to a Spokane doctor, who discovered that gangrene had set in. The head of the tick was found and removed, “but the poison could not be checked.” His condition worsened and at least 20 doctors were called into observe and advise. None of them could do anything for Billings, and he died several days later at Sacred Heart Hospital. The doctors declared that it was one of the first tick deaths recorded west of the Rocky Mountains. They remained baffled by the case….”

Poor fellow was Arthur Clarence Billings, born in July 1862 in New Hampshire, son of Henry Billings and Emma Hatch. According to the 1900 and 1910 census, he was a wheat farmer near Harrington in Lincoln County with wife Emma.  According to the history of Harrington website, he was the first mayor of Harrington in 1901. No children were listed on either census.

A.C. Billings lies resting in Greenwood Cemetery, in the upper/older part. I found no tombstone for him (or Emma) but the office map pointed to this area.