Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Battle of Spokane Falls

The Washington Civil War Association is sponsoring the 8th annual Battle of Spokane Falls and Civil War Reenactment Weekend with living history demonstrations at Riverside State Park (Equestrian Area). This event will be held Memorial Day Weekend, Saturday through Monday, May 24th through the 26th. Admission is $7.00 per adult; those 12 and under are free.

For hours, schedule of events, directions, and more details, click here.

Public Invitation to a Memorial Day Ceremony

As genealogists, we feel compelled to honor those who have preserved both the history and the future of our great country. Here's one way we can do so. I received the following message from Randy Ott, a veteran Marine and personal friend:
M a r i n e C o r p s L e a g u e

Melvin M. Smith Detachment #586
300 West Mission Avenue
Spokane, Washington 99205

“Once A Marine, Always A Marine”

April 25, 2008

Greetings to all who wish to remember our fallen service men and women,

The Melvin M. Smith Detachment of the Marine Corps League, along with the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 51, will be conducting a Memorial Day Ceremony at Fairmount Memorial Park on Monday, May 26, 2008. Our Ceremony is a time for family and friends to pause on this special day to remember the deceased veterans from all branches of our Armed Forces.

The Memorial Day speaker will be Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers.

The Ceremony will be held at the Iwo Jima Memorial, Fairmount Memorial Park, 5200 West Wellesley, on Monday, May 26, 2008 at 11:30 AM. The Ceremony will last approximately 30 minutes. In the event of inclement weather the Ceremony will be moved to the Sunset Chapel.

Everyone is welcome to join us. You may bring a lawn chair or a folding chair for comfort. The area fills up fast, so please come early. We encourage you to bring a flower or a U.S. Flag to show your patriotism. You may leave the flower on the grave of a fallen Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine.

Following the Ceremony, there will be a luncheon at VFW Post 51, 300 W. Mission. Congress-woman Cathy McMorris Rodgers and her family will be attending. If you plan to attend the luncheon please let me know when you call (509) 998-9031. We need this information for luncheon planning. The cost is about $6.50 per person.

Randy Ott
M.M. Smith Detachment Commandant &
Chairman of the Memorial Day Ceremony

How's the Health of Your Genealogy Society?

Elizabeth of the Little Bytes of Life blog writes about the demise of her local genealogical society in California, and asks "How's the health of your genealogical society?"

My opinion is that we're very fortunate here in the Inland Northwest to have a healthy, thriving society, and I hope that we can adapt to the way the face of genealogy is changing in order to continue on well into the future.

What do you think?

What You Missed: The April 2008 General Meeting

Cemeteries: Yesterday & Today

Duane Broyles of Fairmount Memorial Association was our guest speaker on Saturday, April 5th at the downtown branch of Spokane Public Library. He put on a delightful and moving slideshow of the many memorials, tombstones, and history behind those buried in our Spokane cemeteries. Did you know...

  • there was a connection between a Fairmount cemetery worker and not one, but several, Titanic passengers?
  • there are over 3,000 veterans' casket flags flown at Fairmount Memorial Association cemeteries over Memorial Day weekend!
  • Heritage Funeral Home puts on a free historic display every Memorial Day weekend featuring a deceased celebrity or famous event, as well as annual displays from the Aerospace Museum? These have included Presidents Ulysses Grant, Abraham Lincoln, and George Washington, King Tut, the Titanic passengers, Bing Crosby, and Elvis.
  • the public is invited to visit the displays, enjoy free pizza, and view classic cars at Riverside Memorial Park each Memorial Day weekend?
  • that large memorials are being built with inscribed histories of local famous people buried in the cemeteries? These memorials include tributes to the laborers killed during an explosion on Division Street during the early part of the last century (Spokane's worst disaster), as well as Dr. Mary Latham, one of the first women physicians in America, and many others. The newest is the Spokane County Law Enforcement and Firefighters Memorial.
  • EWGS's very own Melodie Hall provides a free scrapbooking class at the Fairmount Memorial Park Parsonage House (500 W. Wellesley) the first Wednesday of each month?

Mr. Broyles encouraged us as family historians to "celebrate the dash." On most tombstones, the birth and death dates are inscribed, with a dash in between. It's that dash that symbolizes a person's life and all the events, memories, and legacies they left behind. He also mentioned that the Heritage Funeral Home's 2008 Memorial Day weekend theme will be The Salute to Railroading and Johnny Cash ("I hear the train a-coming, it's coming 'round the bend..."). To learn more about this and some of the other events listed above, click here.

Friday, May 2, 2008

FamilySearch Teams with

News Release from FamilySearch:
FamilySearch Teams with to Increase Online Access to British Historical Records

Retired servicemen and merchant seamen records are first projects

SALT LAKE CITY-FamilySearch announced today it is working with the UK family history Web site and The National Archives of the United Kingdom to increase access to select British historical records. The first major projects will provide access to millions of names of deceased British soldiers and seamen from eighteenth to twentieth century. and FamilySearch were recently awarded licenses by The National Archives to digitize and make available both the Chelsea Pensioners retired soldiers records between 1760 and 1914, and the Merchant Seamen's collection of records dating from 1835 to 1941.

Chelsea Pensioners and Militia Records

The three-year project will digitize and index nine million images from the War Office's Royal Hospital Chelsea Soldiers' Service documents dating from 1760 and Militia Attestation Papers documents from 1870, through to 1913.

The records truly bring to life the comings and goings of pensioners (patients) in the Royal Hospital Chelsea, including each ex-serviceman's name, age, birthplace and service history, as well as details of physical appearance, conduct sheet, previous occupation, and in some cases the reason for discharge. After 1883, details of marriages and children may also appear.

Merchant Seamen Records

The Board of Trade's merchant seamen records from the periods 1835 to 1844 and 1918 to 1941 will also be digitized and indexed. When the project is complete, the public will be able to easily search online for the names and date and place of birth of ancestors who served as merchant seamen.

Many of the twentieth century records include portrait photographs of the sailors as well as personal details and summaries of their voyages. The records include people of many nationalities and women's service records.

Nearly a third of UK families have ancestors who served as a merchant seaman, and many Americans have British roots, making this series of records extremely important to genealogists and family historians.

Digitization partnership

FamilySearch will digitize the records on site at The National Archives, and will create indexes and transcriptions to enable online patrons to easily search the records and images at both and

Elaine Collins, Commercial Director at said, "This is great news for anyone who has hit a brick wall in their family history research. Servicemen and merchant seamen played a hugely important role in the United Kingdom's military, economic and social history. The details included in these two sets of records will open up a wealth of new information about their lives to family history enthusiasts and military historians alike."

Ransom Love, director of Strategic Relationships for FamilySearch, added, "FamilySearch is working with cultural institutions like The National Archives [of the United Kingdom] and genealogy-related companies like to preserve and provide access to genealogical records faster, more effectively, and more efficiently. We are excited to begin the Chelsea and Merchant Seaman projects with and The National Archives and look forward to more exciting initiatives together in the near future."

Dan Jones, Head of Business Development at The National Archives, said, "Being able to add these popular records to the growing list of The National Archives' resources available digitally is yet more evidence of the importance and effectiveness of forming partnerships across the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors. We are very pleased to be able to announce the start of these two exciting projects and the continuation of The National Archives' strong relationship with and FamilySearch."

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.


Leading UK family history website (formerly was the first company to make the complete birth, marriage and death indexes for England and Wales available online in April 2003.

Following the transcription, scanning and indexing of over two million images, the company launched the first website to allow the public easy and fast access to the complete indexes, which until then had only been available on microfiche in specialist archives and libraries. The launch was instrumental in creating the widespread and growing interest in genealogy seen in the UK today.

Findmypast has subsequently digitised many more family history records and now offers access to over 500 million records dating as far back as 1538. This allows family historians and novice genealogists to search for their ancestors among comprehensive collections of military records, census, migration, occupation directories, and current electoral roll data, as well as the original comprehensive birth, marriage, and death records.

In November 2006, Findmypast launched the microsite in association with The National Archives to publish outbound passenger lists for long-distance voyages departing all British ports between 1890 and 1960.

As well as providing access to historical records, Findmypast is also developing a range of online tools to help people discover and share their family history more easily, beginning with the launch of Family Tree Explorer in July 2007.

Over 1.7 million people in the UK have researched their family trees, and has over 800,000 active registered users, revealing the mass appeal of genealogy and's position as the leading family history Web site based in the UK.

In April 2007, Findmypast's then parent company Title Research Group received the prestigious Queen's Award for Enterprise: Innovation 2007 in recognition of their achievement. was acquired in December 2007, by Scotland Online, the company who were awarded the The National Archives' tender to publish online the 1911 census.

About The National Archives

The National Archives,, is a government department; and also an executive agency of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ). The National Archives brings together the Public Record Office, Historical Manuscripts Commission, the Office of Public Sector Information and Her Majesty's Stationery Office. See also

The National Archives is at the heart of information policy-setting standards and supporting innovation in information and records management across the UK, and providing a practical framework of best practice for opening up and encouraging the re-use of public sector information. This work helps inform today's decisions and ensure that they become tomorrow's permanent record.

The National Archives is also the UK government's official archive, containing 900 years of history from Domesday Book to the present, with records ranging from parchment and paper scrolls through to recently-created digital files and archived websites. Increasingly, these records are being put online, making them universally accessible.

The vision of The National Archives is to:

* Lead and transform information management
* Guarantee the survival of today's information for tomorrow
* Bring history to life for everyone

New Genealogy Guides for England and Scotland

News Release from FamilySearch:
SALT LAKE CITY-FamilySearch announced today the release of two new free research tools that will help those with British and Scottish roots to find their ancestors. The research guides, Finding Records of Your Ancestors, England, and Finding Records of Your Ancestors, Scotland feature easy-to-follow instructions, colorful graphics, and removable worksheets. Free copies can be viewed, downloaded, or printed online at

The guides will help take the guesswork out of British and Scottish genealogical research by simplifying the process and giving users a specific, proven strategy to use. In an inviting workbook style, the guides show users which records to search, what to look for, and what tools to use. The steps and tools needed to navigate British and Scottish historical records to find ancestors are colorfully outlined.

Finding Records of Your Ancestors, England and Finding Records of Your Ancestors, Scotland, are the latest additions to the popular series of free online publications. The guides are designed for those who have already gathered some family history information about their British or Scottish ancestors and are ready to search public and private records-they are must-have reference tools for researchers of British or Scottish genealogy.

The guides explain different types of records in England and Scotland and instruct the user when and how to use specific records. Real-life case studies allow 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 British and Scottish histories, and guides for reading respective genealogical records.

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

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.