Thursday, February 28, 2008

Halvor Moorshead Retiring February 29th

I received the following e-mail today. Many of us have enjoyed the magazines that Halvor started: Family Chronicle, History Magazine, Internet Genealogy, and very recently, Discovering Family History. I wish Halvor and Marion the best in their retirement, and know that the individuals he's chosen to sell Moorshead Magazines will continue to publish quality publications for the genealogical community.

I am retiring on Friday, 29 February 2008.

I wish I had the capacity to e-mail everyone with whom I do business - and my friends – individually about the following but this is not practical so I am sending out this general announcement about important changes affecting our publishing company.

I have sold Moorshead Magazines - which includes Family Chronicle, Internet Genealogy, History Magazine and the new Discovering Family History and will be retiring. The sale finalizes on Friday 29 February 2008.

This is not quite as radical as it first sounds.

I am selling the company to two of the staff - Ed Zapletal and Rick Cree. They have made it clear that their main reason for buying the company is that they do NOT want any changes. There will obviously be some differences as I will be out of the picture, but there will be no staff changes. Victoria, Marc and Jeannette will be continuing in the same roles.

I turned 65 in November and want time to travel and do other things with Marian (my wife) while we are still capable (I also plan on spending a lot of time researching my own genealogy!). I also want to do more lecturing.

I am intensely proud of what we have done with Moorshead Magazines - we have dedicated, loyal and highly experienced staff. Ed and Rick have both been with me for 24 years - way, way before we published Family Chronicle. We work very well
together and we have been pretty successful. Things are going well – Discovering Family History looks as though it will become another success story and this is important to me; I very much want to retire on a high note.

Part of the sale agreement is that I will act as a consultant related to the magazines for three years so I am not entirely cut off. In addition, I plan to be at the NGS Annual Convention in Kansas City in May, largely to say goodbye personally to the many friends I have made in the genealogy field over the years.

Halvor Moorshead

Monday, February 25, 2008

What You Missed: The February 2008 Computer Class

"Finding Vital Records and Obituaries Online" was the topic of the computer class held Saturday, February 16, 2008 in the Gates Computer Lab of the downtown branch of the Spokane Public Library. This well-attended class was presented by Miriam Robbins Midkiff, who briefly went over some cautionary information regarding online records and indexes, then encouraged the EWGS members present to explore the websites listed on the syllabus.

Donna Potter Phillips shared her easy tip on finding vital records online. She simply goes to Google and enters "vital records" plus the location she's researching: "spokane county" or arkansas. Jeanne Coe shared a fabulous--yet controversial--resource, the Sound Politics Washington State Voter Database. How does this relate to vital records? Well, if you have relatives who are Washington State voters, their birthdate and last known address will be listed in this database. I filled in some blanks in both my husband's and my own family trees, and gleaned some addresses so that I can write to these relatives to ask for more information. Thanks, Jeanne!

Several members made some great finds on their ancestors during the class. If you think you've explored all the vital records and obituaries databases and websites out there, think again. New data and new websites are being placed online everyday. Some of it requires payment to access, much of it is free. Please e-mail me at kidmiffATgmailDOTcom, substituting appropriate letters for the green words in all capitals, for a copy of a free syllabus.

The next computer class will be presented by Bette Butcher Topp on "European Resources Online" on Saturday, March 15th. If you are interested in signing up, please contact me, Miriam Robbins Midkiff, at the e-mail address listed in the previous paragraph, or see our member directory for my telephone number. Currently, there are some spots available during the 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM and the 1:30 - 2:30 PM sessions. You must be a current EWGS member to attend. If you are interested in joining EWGS, please go to our website here and download the membership application.

What You Missed: The January 2008 Computer Class

"" was the topic for the January 2008 computer class, presented by Miriam Robbins Midkiff. You've probably heard about this relatively new website, and wondered what it was all about! Footnote is a fantastic website used by genealogists, historians, researchers and educators alike. Partnered with the National Archives, Footnote is releasing digitized images from various collections, including Civil War Soldiers' Pension Index cards, Revolutionary War Rolls, WWII U.S. Air Force Photos. There's more than just war records, though. Texas Birth and Death Certificates are being scanned and placed online, as are city directories, naturalizations, and the SmallTown Newspaper collection!

There is much free data available on Footnote, and non-subscribers can choose to download images of paid data for $1.95 each. Three-day free trial offers, monthly subscriptions of $7.95 and annual subscriptions of $59.95 are also available. As we investigated this terrific website, attendees were encouraged to visit their local Family History Center, where patrons can access the entire subscription website for free! Also, if you're interested in a subscription, my free syllabus on using this website contains a link for a 10% discount off an annual subscription. Just e-mail me at kidmiffATgmailDOTcom, substituting appropriate symbols for the words in all capitals, and I'll be happy to send you a copy of the syllabus.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

What You Missed: The January 2008 General Meeting and Luncheon

The January luncheon was at Mukogawa Commons January 5, 2008. It was a nice day but I should have brought my ice skates, the parking lot was the smoothest ice I have seen anywhere this year. Once inside the Mukogawa Commons the meeting began. They have a great facility there and the lunch was excellent.

First President Bill Hire welcomed all of us, then the buffet luncheon of chicken dijon or beef burgundy. After the luncheon was the recognition of the Distinguished Service Members and Past Presidents that were at the meeting.

Doris Woodward then announced the Bulletin Writing Contest Winners and a little about each article: First Prize: Jeanne Schmitz, Second Prize: Florene Moore and Third Prize (tie): Nancy Edwards and Dani Lee McGowan. These will be printed in the March Bulletin. The other 12 Honorable Mentions will be printed throughout the year.

Next the new officers for 2008 were introduced and John Ellingson had them line up for a picture: President Bill Hire, 1st Vice President Pat Bayonne-Johnson, 2nd Vice President Pat Ewers, 3rd Vice President Carol Nettles, Treasurer Gary Taylor, Recording Secretary Jeanne Coe, Corresponding Secretary Joan Martin, Past President Susan Beamer, Member at Large Lola McCreary, Senior Trustee Pat Mielbrecht and Junior Trustee Bev Vorpahl. Librarian Juanita McBride and Bulletin Editor Doris Woodward continue at their appointed board positions. The 2008 budget was approved and then a short break before Peri Ann Muhich started her talk.

Peri Muhich's talk was “They called them the Mercer Girls” a group of eleven young ladies from Lowell, Massachusetts, who were recruited by the new University of Washington president Asa Mercer to work as teachers in Seattle in 1864. The TV show “Here Comes the Brides” was based on the Mercer Girls. Seattle in 1864 was very short of women, and Massachusetts due to the Civil War was short of men, so Asa Mercer went to Massachusetts to recruit young ladies to come to Seattle to get married. He did not actually tell them he was looking for brides but looking for school teachers so they could support themselves before they got married. Peri has researched these eleven ladies and written articles on them for The Online Encyclopedia of Washington State.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

What You Missed: The December 2007 General Meeting

If you're one of EWGS's snowbirds, you may be wondering what's been happening at our general meetings the last few months. Our December 2007 general meeting was held Saturday, December 1st at the downtown branch of the Spokane Public Library. The topic was "Creative Ideas" or "Genie Gifts" and was presented by Melodie Hall, Creative Memories consultant, as well as several other society members who brought in their creative gift ideas for sharing family history during the holidays.

Melodie, our main speaker, and her husband Ric shared the many acid-free, archival safe products for photo and document storage and display. She also showed several albums she's created, as well as hard-bound quality family history and photo books that her company can publish. For more information, visit her website at

Susan Beamer brought in a large, framed, multi-generational fan-shaped ancestral tree, custom printed by a friend. What a great gift idea for the holidays! I've long wanted something like that for my dining room wall, surrounded by photos of the ancestors of my husband and myself. Pat Mielbrecht brought in two creative gift ideas I especially liked: one was a set of 4 1/4" x 5 1/2" note cards with ancestral photos and sketches of ancestral locations printed on the front. Pat just uses Microsoft Publisher, her photo editing software, and a printer to create these on off-white heavy paper. They looked professionally made. The other was a small wooden basket with hinged lids, purchased at a local craft store. Pat used carbon paper to trace ancestral signatures on the lid of the basket, then took a black Sharpie marker to retrace the signatures, making them look like she'd taken a woodburning tool to create them, without all the fuss and muss! A coat of varnish finished the project, and my, did it look grand!

There were other gift ideas as well; I just didn't get a chance to see them all after closing up the EWGS Ways and Means table. If you brought or noticed something that you think should have been mentioned, please leave your comments below. We have some very creative members in our society, and they have some very lucky family members who were recipients of their loving ancestral and historical gifts!

Friday, February 22, 2008

New Genealogy Guide for Finland Research

SALT LAKE CITY--FamilySearch announced today the release of a free new research tool that will help those with Finnish roots to find their ancestors. The research guide, Finding Records of Your Ancestors, Finland, features easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions, colorful graphics, and tear-out worksheets. A free copy can be viewed or printed online at

Finding Records of Your Ancestors, Finland helps take the guesswork out of Finnish genealogical research by simplifying the process and giving users a specific, proven strategy to use. In an inviting workbook style, the guide will show users which records to search, what to look for, and what tools to use. It colorfully outlines the steps and tools needed to navigate Finnish records to find ancestors. Users will learn where to start, how to find and use Finnish records, and what unique elements to look for in the records. The booklet provides expert advice every step of the way in a highly illustrative, user-friendly manner.

Finding Records of Your Ancestors, Finland, Before 1900 is the latest addition to the popular series of free online publications. It also completes the set of guides for the Nordic countries (Denmark, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden were published previously). The 37 page guide simplifies the research process and is a must-have reference tool for researchers of Finnish genealogy. It is designed for those who have already gathered some family history information about their Finland ancestors and are ready to search public and private records. Users will find simple instructions, examples, and removable pedigree and family group worksheets to help them capture what they already know about their families.

The guide explains different types of records in Finland and instructs the user when and how to use specific records. A real-life case study allows readers to see for themselves how the research process works. Expert search tips, including tips on how to use the Family History Library Catalog, are included. Also included are maps, key dates in Finnish history, and guides for reading Finnish genealogical records.

Additional guides in the Finding Records of Your Ancestors series published previously include African American, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Jewish, Mexico, Norway, and Sweden.

Finding Records of Your Ancestors, Finland can be viewed and printed for free online at

FamilySearch is a nonprofit organization that maintains the world's largest repository of genealogical resources. Patrons may access resources online at or through the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, and over 4,500 family history centers in 70 countries. FamilySearch is a trademark of Intellectual Reserve, Inc. and is registered in the United States of America and other countries.

Friday, February 15, 2008

New Beginner's Genealogy Magazine

Discovering Family History
– a new beginner’s magazine from the publishers of Family Chronicle and Internet Genealogy

Toronto – 15 February 2008 Discovering Family History, a new genealogy magazine targeted at beginners, will shortly start publishing. A 24-page preview is included in the March/April issue of Family Chronicle and the April/May issue of Internet Genealogy. A full 56-page preview issue can be downloaded at

Halvor Moorshead, the publisher and editor of all three magazines, says that the seed of the idea for Discovering Family History was sown when Family Chronicle and Internet Genealogy magazines exhibited at an event in Toronto last September, called “The Word on the Street”. Some 200,000 people attended this event, put on for those interested in books and literacy.

“We sold plenty of subscriptions to both magazines,” said Moorshead, “but I found that I was continually explaining to new subscribers some real genealogy basics, ­ steering them to Cyndi’s List and other places that listed beginner’s courses. These people were smart enough; they just needed something more basic than what we were selling. It was sobering to realize that there might be a big market for a genealogy magazine that dealt with the basics.

“This triggered us to conduct market research among Family Chronicle and Internet Genealogy readers. We sent out questionnaires, via the Internet, to 1,000 readers and were more than pleasantly surprised by the response. A few people said they thought the idea for a beginner’s magazine was a bad one, but for each one of these, 12 people were excited by the idea. We had not expected to find that many people, who had been researching their genealogy for many years, still considered themselves beginners. But then we realized that most of us are beginners when we tackle a new area for research. Most of us are beginners in some area or another.”

The free online preview issue contains such articles as Free Family History Websites, Obituaries, the Ultimate Guide to Subscription Databases, Who Else is Researching Your Name?, What is a Vital Record?, Citing Sources, a genealogical Case Study, The 10 First Steps, Computer Basics, It’s All About Parents, Genealogical Societies, Web 2.0 and Making Sense of the US Census. The articles are targeted at beginners, but Moorshead says that great care has been taken not to talk down to the reader.

“I consider myself a fairly experienced genealogist but I continue to come across aspects of research that bewilder me. For example, until recently I had never investigated land records – I would find a basic article on this subject very useful,” said Moorshead. Discovering Family History will be published six times a year. There is an introductory subscription rate of $20 per year (same rate for the US and Canada). For more information visit the magazine’s website

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Louis Frank Boyd, Washington State Representative, 1914

Carol Wilkerson has written an interesting biography on her husband's first cousin, four times removed, Louis Frank Boyd. Frank was a Spokane city clerk for many years and went on to represent the city in the state legislature in Olympia. You can read Frank's biography, as well as see a newspaper clipping and a letter he wrote, on Carol's blog here.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Oral History Project in Spirit Lake, Idaho

Spirit Lake Youth Equipped For Success has received a grant to complete an oral history project as part of the Spirit Lake Centennial Celebration. Part of the training will be conducted by Kathy Hodges, Idaho's Oral Historian, on February 20th. She will be speaking later that evening to the Spirit Lake Historical Society at their regular monthly meeting. It is open to the public and will be at 7:00 PM at the Spirit Lake Elementary School, 309 North 5th Avenue, Spirit Lake, Idaho. The SLHS welcomes anyone interested in hearing more about capturing oral histories and the importance of this medium as a record of historical content to plan on joining them. The elementary school is adjacent to Highway 41, just past the library (you can't miss it).

On February 21st, the historical society has made arrangements to seat 20 at Templin's, 414 East 1st Avenue, Post Falls, Idaho at a no-host luncheon so that Kathy can share information on oral history and answer any specific questions that any of the area historical societies might have. The Spirit Lake Historical Society is inviting Kootenai County, Westwood, and Post Falls Historical Societies' members to this meeting. While it isn't necessary to make reservations, it would be nice to have an estimated attendance from your group prior to the event.

The contact person for this is:

Shelley Tschida
Quality Services
P. O. Box 1162
Spirit Lake, ID 83869
(208)623-2539 phone
(208)623-6618 fax
(208)691-9150 cell