Monday, July 27, 2015

Dwight Radford: All Things Irish Research

I have been privileged to have known and to have worked with Dwight Radford for about 20 years. I know him to be a thoroughly competent professional researcher in all areas of Irish research. He recently put up his website... if you have Irish research needs, you could do no better than to contact Dwight. Donna

Dwight Radford is a full time professional genealogist residing in the Salt Lake City area. His interests lie in Ireland and Ireland immigration research problems. He has a blog site and a facebook page: www.thejourneyhomegenealogy. Another interest of his is researching the intermixing of the Irish immigrants with the local populations of all races where ever they settled.

Dwight is the co-author of A Genealogist's Guide to Discovering Your Irish Ancestors (Betterway Books: Cincinnati, Ohio, 2001, 2012) and was co-editor of the journal The Irish at Home and Abroad (1993-1999).  He has published many Irish-related articles in North American genealogical journals. 

He will be speaking on "Researching Your Irish Ancestors" on August 11th at the Ohio History Connection in Columbus:

Dwight recently completed a video, on his website, describing Irish research and its quirks. This was accomplished with the help of participants of the Salt Lake Christmas Tour and participants of the Kelowna &  District Genealogy Society in British Columbia.

Dwight has been to Ireland and Northern Ireland many times to work in the archives and to document the ancestral home sites for clients.

He can be reached at

Monday, July 20, 2015

Kittitas County Historical Museum in Ellensburg........ A Great Visit!

In May, while attending the WSGS conference, I added in a visit to the Kittitas County Historical Museum. What a delightful place!

This is the entrance; the museum is housed in a delightful old downtown building... roomy, spacious and nice high ceilings. This is also the home of the Kittitas County Historical Society.

Right off I was impressed with the number of Images of America books that were for sale:

Kittitas County, Snoqualmie Pass, Roslyn, Ellensburg, Wenatchee, Moses Lake, Leavenworth, Grant County, Yakima...... and more. These books are an absolute marvelous source to learning about "your" place.

They have displays, like this doll collection, all donated by folks living in the area over time:

They also have displays of interest to gentlemen (these are spark plugs):

The biggest draw is their collection of documented artifacts.... like this violin that came west in the 1860s:

The group is a little behind with their cataloging and filing but they are collecting historical information and for that I award them an "A"!

This wonderful museum is right downtown, easy to find. And well worth a half hour of your time. Good break on that long drive from west-east or east-west on I-90.

For more information, click to their website,

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

"Ways To Keep From Growing Old"

In the 1930s, a small new city sprang up to house the workers constructing Grand Coulee Dam. It was called Mason City.......... does that even exist today? A newsletter was published for the workers and their families residing in this little city. Every page of this newsletter was stressing something about worker safety.

Worker safety during construction was a Big Deal as the above old photo shows. I had to laugh out loud when I read this list of "Ways To Keep From Growing Old" as it appeared in this newsletter:

Don't wear your safety belt.
Do walk under overhead swinging loads.
Do put your hand on a roller under the conveyor belt.
Do talk back to one of our local minions of the law.
Do step in front of a "cat."
Do handle electrical fixtures with wet hands.
Do ignore the blasting signal whistles.
Do eat with your knife.
Do neglect to get prompt first aid when you've had an accident.
Do not pay close attention to what you are doing and what is going on around you.

How could those rules be re-phrased for today?

Don't wear your car seat belt.
Do go swimming in a lightning storm.

What would YOU add?


Thursday, July 2, 2015

Serendipity Thursday

Last week, while visiting the Central Washington Branch of the Washington State Archives in Ellensburg, and since I have no family connections to the counties covered by this archives, I looked for interesting Washington trivia. And in the books on the shelves there.

From the book:  Plats & Descriptions of Operating Properties Owned by the State of Washington, a report prepared by L.D. McArdle, of the Dept of Efficiency on 30 June 1924.

The first deed for the land acquisition for the Eastern State Hospital near Spokane was filed on
 2 March 1888 for $1200 to the Northern Pacific Railroad for 160 acres.........

The first deed for land purchase for the Cheney Normal School (now Eastern Washington University) was from Benjamin P. Cheney.dated 10 June 1890 .............

If you're a "real" genealogist, then you're interested in maps and hope you enjoyed these.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Reporting On WSGS Conference Last Weekend

This last weekend I attended the Washington State Genealogical Conference 180 miles west in Ellensburg, Washington. To get there, going either direction, you must descend into the Columbia Gorge and cross the Columbia River and go back up. I think it's a beautiful ride:

 Mention it because Washington is in the grip of a most unusual heatwave. It's been really hot....... with temps that we don't usually get until August. Maybe. It was 105 in Ellensburg; 109 down at the bridge and 104 here in Spokane. The fire season is going to be awful; they've already had hundreds more so far in 2015 than last year..... and it's only June.  But you have weather awfulness in your part of the world too.

The speaker at our conference was David Rencher. Lucky for us, his wife has ties to the area and so he was agreeable to coming. David has been a "bigwig" with FamilySearch for 34 years and he KNOWS his stuff.

He started us out with questions:  "Have you a tough genealogy problem? Worried you won't solve it in your lifetime? Do you keep doing the same-old-same-old things and wondering why you have no new conclusions or answers? 

He then told us how to "frame the problem differently." Simply put, how to look at the problem differently.

He showed three pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge and explained: 

If you're driving on the bridge, you see the bridge from that angle. If you're talking to somebody down in a boat, or up in an airplane, you will not see the view of the bridge that they see.........

His point with these images of the Golden Gate Bridge is that, with regard to your tough genealogy problem, you're looking at the bridge as your drive on it. That's all you see.  But if were to see it from a boat or from the air, you'd have an entirely different perspective. You "must frame your picture differently" and then from that new angle you might see things that you did not see before. Like looking at the Golden Gate Bridge from three different angles.  

Does this make sense to you? It did to me. Of course the next question begs, how to you do this??  

Then David launched into the main theme of his talk to answer this question: descendant research. Some cousin, near or distant, might just have the answer, Bible, quilt, certificate, watch, tool, photo, letter or clipping that you so desperately seek. 

He ended his remarks by recommending a cousin-finding-connecting website called Puzilla  ( With this website you can literally find dozens of cousins. See the image? Picture you as the center dot and the lines radiate out to cousins!!

Another website that does pretty much the same thing is Kinpoint (  I've mentioned that before.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Dick Eastman Answers Rachel Dolezal's Dilemna Dolezal has recently stirred up a controversy concerning he ancestry. She resigned Monday as head of her local NAACP chapter after reports surfaced that she was born white yet has claimed she is black. If you are not familiar with this recent news story that has been on all the news networks, start at find a few hundred reports about her recent controversy. Now a professional genealogist says that Dolezal's claim is bogus.

Professional genealogist Elizabeth Banas has researched Dolezal's ancestry back to 1671 and found that her family were entirely white, including some who were Mormons. Archives show that Rachel’s ancestors came to the US from Europe and have no bloodlines linking them to slaves or to Africa. Even a great grandmother who has almost identical features to Rachel was identified as white in two census documents.

Of course, there is always a possibility of an adoption that cannot be found in official records or that a baby was switched with another at birth. However, Dolezal's parents claim that is impossible. They say Dolezal was born at home and spent her entire childhood living with her biological parents.

Details may be found in the Daily Mail at

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

City Directory Don'ts

Below is something I found in a 1936 St. Louis, Missouri, City Directory. I was browsing through this directory online at Ancestry and spotted this page and just had  to share it with all my genealogy friends:

City Directory Don'ts

DON'T put your Directory in an out-of-the-way place, but keep it where 
your customers can see and use it without stopping some one to find it. 

DON'T think that a Directory is paying for itself unless you use it any more 
than an idle clerk can make you money. 

DON'T look mad when a customer asks to look at your Directory. 

DON'T look happy when a neighbor wants to borrow your Directory, 
for if you do, he will borrow it again, and if all were borrowers, 
when would the next Directory be published? 

DON'T forget that an up-to-date city must have a Directory; 
and a merchant that has no Directory is what? 

DON'T forget that a Directory borrower today will forget to return it 
tomorrow and you will call him what?

DON'T forget that the man who has a Directory pays for it and the borrower 
gets for nothing what another man pays for. What do you call him? 

We think of a City Directory as a past-tense resource. But to the merchants and civil servants of the day it was a valuable day-to-day "now" resource.......... and one that was obtained only by paying a fee.