Monday, June 30, 2008

What You Missed: The June 2008 Computer Class

Did you know that there are thousands of genealogy books, county histories, and biographies that can help you in your research which are available online, either in transcribed or digital form? Many of these may be historical or genealogical information about your direct ancestors or relatives in your family tree. You may find local or social histories about the areas or time period in which your ancestors lived which can help you understand their lives better. There may even be business or government records that provide snippets of personal information about a relative. All these things could help you break down a brick wall or add a generation or two to your ahnentafel!

How can you access these online books? If you attended Juanita Linton McBride's presentation on Digitized Book Sites on June 21st, you would know! If you would like a copy of Juanita's syllabus, please contact me at kidmiffatgmaildotcom, substituting the appropriate symbols for the green words.

By the way, one of my favorite digital book sites is Google Book Search:

Saturday, June 28, 2008

What You Missed: The June 2008 General Meeting

"Serendipity and Salads" was the theme of the meeting held Saturday, June 7th in the meeting rooms of the downtown public library. Originally scheduled to be held as a picnic at Comstock Park, the threat of a downpour caused a change in the venue. Dozens of tasty green, pasta, bean, fruit, and jello salads filled the tables, accompanied by hot and cold drinks and desserts, and of course, the best of company! Members sat and ate in a circle, visiting and enjoying the chance to socialize.

During dessert, those who wished shared their stories of serendipitous research. What is serendipity? Call it just plain luck, help from above, or a "fortuitous coincidence", it's those times when you stumble by chance across something for which you've seached high and low, or were told no longer existed. Every genealogist has at least one story of serendipity to share. Examples can be read in Hank Jones's Psychic Roots books, or seen on his video series on RootsTelevision.

EWGS members had plenty of serendipitous tales to share. I think we all agree that our favorite was Pat Mielbrecht's story of the Lace Lady. Have you heard of brass rubbings or brasses? In England and other Western European countries, there are brass plates on top of old graves in churches that are representative of the individuals buried there. Some are life-sized, while others are more miniature. One hobby that has developed in these areas is called brass rubbing, in which people cover the plates with paper and rub them with a crayon to copy them. The best-looking ones are done on black paper with gold crayons, because the results look more like the original brass plates. Pat's story is how she tried multiple times to visit the Lace Lady's grave, so-called because of the beautifully-detailed lace dress depicted in the brass plate. Eventually, Pat got her brass rubbing of the Lace Lady and her husband, Sir Thomas Peyton. Only years later, did she discover that she is a direct descendant of this couple! Pat brought her brasses beautifully displayed in gold-colored frames for all of us to enjoy.

You can see two images of a brass of the Lace Lady on E-bay here.

The next general meeting will be held Saturday, September 6th at the Shadle Branch of Spokane Public Library, due to repairs to the Downtown Branch at that time. Our topic will be "Oh, the Places We Went" during which time members will be encouraged to share their stories from courthouses, graveyards, etc. during research excursions in the summer of 2008. This meeting is FREE to the general public. Coffee, Cookies, and Conversation begin at 12:30, followed by the business session at 1:00. The main presentation will begin at 1:30. There is free parking in the library parking lot. If the lot is filled, attendees can park along the east side of Belt Street along the west side of Shadle Park and walk through the park to the library.

What You Missed: The May 2008 Computer Class

Do you have Canadian roots? Barbara Brazington's class on May 17th was a wonderful treat that you missed! Barbara brings her experience as a teacher and as the society's assistant librarian and acquisitions chairperson to every presentation she makes. As usual, I discovered many new resources and learned some search tips. For example, even those of us with only English Canadian roots should be searching the French Canadian databases as well, because at certain times and locations, the only record-keeping was done by the French or by the Catholic church. Barbara passed around a handout with 65 links to useful Canadian websites and/or databases! If you would like a copy, contact me at kidmiffatgmaildotcom with appropriate symbols substituted for the green words.

Don't forget that the Genealogy Room in the downtown branch of the Spokane Public Library has many Canadian resources as well. You can search the card catalog online here.

If you are interested in signing up for future computer classes (see our schedule here), please contact me, Miriam Robbins Midkiff, at the e-mail address listed above, or see our member directory for my telephone number. 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 May 2008 General Meeting

It was with great pleasure that we attended Pat Bayonne-Johnson's presentation "Tracing African-American Roots" on Saturday, May 3rd. She was originally scheduled to speak at our February 2nd meeting for Black History Month; however, the meeting was canceled and the presentation postponed until May due to the dangerous snow storm that hit Spokane that week.

Pat is a newer member of our society, having moved here from California, where she was a board member of the African American Genealogical Society of Northern California. Currently, she is the 1st Vice President of EWGS, overseeing the program, educational, publications, and PR committees. In her presentation, which she illustrated with census images, photographs, and even a wooden carving of her ancestral plantation, she shared with us how she found her free and enslaved ancestors, and included information on the Jesuit Plantation Project. Probably the most exciting part of her story was her serendipitous experience when she was in a genealogy library and turned around to spy a book on the plantation of her ancestors! Don't we all wish we could have such luck!

Pat used typical resources such as home sources, vital and church records, historical and genealogical books, and censuses to assist her in her research. When she hit a brick wall, she hired a professional who lived in the area of Lousiana where her ancestors had resided. Pat has also used a variety of DNA tests, and listed a number of links to online resources in her outline.

If you are interested in receiving a copy of Pat's outline, please contact me at kidmiffatgmaildotcom, substituting the appropriate letters for the green words.

What You Missed: The April 2008 Computer Class

Donna Potter Phillips presented " - extended" to our society members on Saturday, April 19th in the computer lab of the downtown public library. She has spoken on this topic twice before for our computer class programs, and I've learned something new at each one I've attended. This time, Donna highlighted some of the features of Ancestry that many of us long-time users may have overlooked: DNA information and updates; "What's New on Ancestry"; "What's Coming on Ancestry"; and the Learning Center. With new members joining our society all the time and/or returning members signing up for Ancestry for the first time, this program is a foundational one for our society.

If you would like a copy of the syllabus, please contact me at kidmiffatgmaildotcom, substituting the words in green with the appropriate symbols.

If you are interested in signing up for future computer classes (see our schedule here), 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. 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.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Genealogy Resources on State Government Websites

Did you know that at each of the 50 United States' official government websites there is at least one page of genealogical and historical resources (online and offline) for that particular state?

AND did you know that there is a webpage that list links to all 50 of those sites' resource pages?

Neither did I until today, thanks to Carlie, a local librarian and a participant in my current Basic Online Genealogy class I'm presenting this month at the local county library district.

The webpage of links is located on the United States official government website,

This is one you'll surely want to bookmark!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Downtown Street Closures for Hoopfest

Want to come to the downtown branch of the Spokane Public Library for some genealogical research on Saturday? Keep in mind that Hoopfest, the world's largest 3-on-3 basketball tournament will be held this Saturday and Sunday, June 28th and 29th in downtown Spokane.

But take heart: you can still easily access the library on Saturday via Monroe and Lincoln Streets, although parking space in area lots and garages may be at a premium. Both the library's Diamond Parking garage in the basement and Parkade (Main and Stevens) will be open (but possibly full or crowded). Riverpark Square parking garage appears to be open as well.

A map showing the street closures, open routes, and parking areas is available online here. Closures will begin Friday evening, June 27th at 7:00 PM (the library closes at 6 PM) and continue through the evening of the 29th until about 10:00 PM.

You may also consider taking Spokane Transit. Their website has a handy trip planner (best viewed with Internet Explorer) to help you figure out your bus schedule.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Everton’s Genealogical Helper Adds New Online Edition!

New Online Edition of Everton’s Genealogical Helper will debut July 1!
Subscribe today for only $10.00!

LOGAN, Utah, June 12, 2008. Genealogy Online, Inc., publisher of Everton’s Genealogical Helper, today announced the publication of the Genealogical Helper in an Online Edition. The Online Edition is an identical copy of the 176-page paper edition – complete with hotlinks to the hundreds of website addresses found therein.

Launch Date – The new Online Edition will launch on July 1 – simultaneous with the home delivery and newsstand date of the paper edition of the July-August issue.

Free Access – Subscribers to the traditional Genealogical Helper will have 100% FREE online access to the magazine – with no extra fees whatsoever. See for sign-up information.

Online Edition subscriptions – Everton’s Genealogical Helper, Online Edition, will sell for just $12.00 per year! That is only $2 per issue! And it’s only $10.00 for subscriptions made before July 1 at or phone 1-800-443-6325.

Net Family History – An important feature of Everton’s Genealogical Helper is the magazine within a magazine entitled Net Family History. New information specific to using the Internet for genealogy is always found in this portion of the bimonthly publication. Extensive website reviews are always located here, as well as articles dealing with Internet-related activities.

Why an online edition? – Every issue of Everton’s Genealogical Helper now contains hundreds of website addresses. The Internet is where some of the most exciting genealogical resource advances are taking place, so it’s required that information about these resources be disseminated to the Helper’s thousands of readers in every issue. Everton’s Genealogical Helper, Online Edition, will allow readers to go from their paper edition to the hotlinked Online Edition and access any of the websites with just a keystroke or two – no more typing in those lengthy website addresses! The Online Edition offers more than just the links found in the magazine – it is the entire magazine itself!

Format & hosting – Everton’s Genealogical Helper, Online Edition, will be in .pdf format, readable by anyone, with any computer running an Adobe Acrobat Reader (Available at as a FREE download.) The Online Edition will be hosted by, Inc.

Why subscribe to the Genealogical Helper? – Subscribe to have access to the Helper’s how-to & historical articles, Net Family History (see above), genealogical sharing, extensive book and CD-ROM reviews & announcements, queries, the most complete event calendar available anywhere, and hundreds of ads detailing new products and services. In addition to these day-to-day features, you will also have access to the NEW updated, hotlinked Directory of Genealogical and Historical Societies – to be published in the Sept/Oct and Nov-Dec issues! Edited by Leland K. Meitzler, the Helper is guaranteed to help you extend your lines and fill in those blanks in your family tree.

WHAT A DEAL! – Your cost for a full subscription (the paper magazine & online access both) is less than 3 cents per page – delivered to your home, and now accessible online. Subscribe to the Online Edition alone for just over a penny a page! Subscribe by July 1 and it’s less than a penny per page!

Subscribe NOW at: or phone 800-443-6325.

About Genealogy Online, Inc.

Genealogy Online, dba Everton Publishers, is the publisher of Everton’s Genealogical Helper, now in its 62nd year of helping genealogists find their ancestors. Genealogy Online, Inc. also publishes the Handybook for Genealogists, 11th edition, a top-selling guidebook for family historians. Their website is found at: Also see: http//

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

German Ethnic Webinar Rescheduled

We sincerely apologize for this inconvenience. Due to an unforeseen circumstance, German Ancestry – Part of the Ethnic Ancestry Seminar Series, originally scheduled on June 10, 2008 has been rescheduled and will now take place on July 8, 2008 at 8:00pm EDT.

There is no need to re-register for this new date and time. You will automatically be sent a reminder email 24 hours prior to the start of the event.

If you are unable to attend the event on the new date, don’t worry! The webinar will be recorded and available for viewing shortly after the live event. You will be notified when this recording becomes available.

Again, we sincerely apologize for the inconvenience of canceling the webinar on such short notice and look forward to presenting the German Ancestry topic on the new date.
If you are interested in registering for this and other FREE ethnic webinars (Italian, Polish, Irish), go here. To view past webinars, including the English ethnic one, go here.

FamilySearch Record Search Update

From Paul Nauta of FamilySearch Record Search:
The FamilySearch Record Search pilot has just added 3.1 million records from the 1850 U.S. Census for the states of Maine, New Jersey, and Ohio. An additional 117,000 unindexed digital images were added for Philadelphia marriages and Czech Republic church books. These collections can be searched for free at

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Chula Vista Genealogical Society Featured in Local Newspaper

The Chula Vista (California) Genealogical Society was recently featured in a lengthy and interesting article in the San Diego Union-Tribune. Readers of genealogy blogs may find CVGS's president Randy Seaver's name familiar. He is the blogmaster of two personal genealogy blogs, Genea-Musings and The Geneaholic, as well as one of the contributors to the society's blog, the Chula Vista Genealogy Cafe.

It's good to see genealogical societies getting good press and to hear their about their success and health as they grow, at a time when many are on the decline.

Yes, the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society has this blog. Do the societies in your ancestral locations have blogs? You can check out the list of society blogs in Chris Dunham's Genealogy Blog Finder.

Ancestry Hosts Free Online Ethnic Seminars

Do you have German, Irish, Polish, or Italian ancestry? is offering free online ethnic seminars (called webinars) online on Tuesday evenings this month and July 1st (5 PM Pacific Daylight Time). You do not need to have an Ancestry subscription to participate. You can go to this page to get more information and register for these classes. Links will be immediately e-mailed to you so that you can access the webinars on the days of their showings. You should click on one of the links ahead of time to test your computer's audio and video capabilities.

I'm a little disappointed I didn't hear about this sooner, because I missed the English genealogy webinar that was broadcast June 3rd!

Hat Tip: Genealogy Guys

Family Tree Magazine Launches Podcast

From Diane Haddad, editor of Family Tree Magazine:
Family Tree Magazine Podcast Offers Genealogy News and Tips

Now you can hear about the best genealogy tools and tips by tuning into the free, monthly Family Tree Magazine Podcast.

In this online radio show, host Lisa Louise Cooke—creator of the popular Genealogy Gems podcast—takes you behind the scenes to learn more about the topics covered in Family Tree Magazine. Each 30-minute episode features interviews with genealogy experts and Family Tree Magazine editors on using genealogy Web sites, records and resources. Plus, editor Allison Stacy gives you sneak previews on upcoming issues and managing editor Diane Haddad delivers the scoop on the latest genealogy news.

You can listen whenever it’s convenient to you by visiting the podcast page at
I heard about this new Family Tree Magazine podcast through Lisa Louise Cooke's podcast, Genealogy Gems, and since I'm a big fan of Lisa's podcasts AND a big fan of the magazine, I went and listened to the FTM podcast. It was well done, of course, and I look forward to many more in the future!

What's a podcast? Remember how you loved to listen to your favorite radio show as a kid? Well, podcasts are like radio shows, only they are offered through the Internet. There are podcasts for nearly every subject under the sun, and you can use Google to find podcasts for history, quilting, gardening, or whatever your second-favorite hobby may be (genealogy being your number one favorite, of course!).

By the way, you don't need an iPod or an MP3 player to listen to a podcast. All you need is a pair of speakers or headphones plugged into your computer and you can listen. If you have dial-up for your Internet connection, you probably will need to download the audio file to your computer first (instructions below), then listen to it with Windows Media Player, Quick Time, Real Player, or whatever you have on your computer, rather than listening to it straight off the Internet. There are many genealogy podcasts, and links to them can be found at Cyndi's List here.

Instructions: I've found that using Firefox (my browser of choice) does not allow me to download the podcast easily. So I connect to the Internet using Internet Explorer and go to the podcast site. At the bottom of each of the site notes for each podcast is usually a link that says "download." Right-click and chose "Save Target." Decide where you want to download the file (I have created a podcast folder in "My Music"). After the file has downloaded, go to the file wherever you have stored it on your computer. Double-left-click on the podcast file for it to start playing. If you have a little trouble getting it going, or want to choose which player will play the file for you, right-click instead on the file and choose the player you prefer.

"Using Podcasts to Further Your Genealogy" is on the list of computer classes we will be offering EWGS members in our new lineup for 2009 - 2010!

Local Military Lineage Society Meetings

Donna Potter Phillips shared these meeting times for some local military lineage societies. The dates refer to each month, i.e. "2nd Sat" means the second Saturday of the month:

Daughters of the American Revolution:
Jonas Babcock Chapter, meets 2nd Sat, 10:30, Sons of Norway, 509-838-0373
Esther Reed Chapter, meets 2nd Sat, 9:30, St.John's Cathedral, 509-838-1502
May Hutton Chapter, meets 1st Sat morning "for breakfast," 509-928-4790

Daughters of Union Veterans Civil War:
3rd Mon, 509-928-2566 or 509-466-8006

There apparently is also a Spokane Garry Chapter of the DAR, a chapter of the Daughters of 1812, and a chapter of the Society of Colonial Dames. If you have meeting or contact information for any of these societies, please e-mail me at kidmiffatgmaildotcom.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Update to June 2008 General Meeting: Change of Location

Due to the weather forecast of chilly, wet weather for Saturday, the picnic planned at Comstock Park has been changed to our regular meeting place: the first-floor meeting rooms in the downtown public library (906 W. Main). Please join us for "Salads and Serendipity" and members' success stories from 11 AM to 3 PM (different meeting time than normal). It is a potluck lunch so bring a dish of your choice to share.

The public is welcome to join us. This will be our last meeting as we adjourn for summer break. Our next meeting will also be held in the downtown Shadle library meeting rooms on Saturday, September 6th with coffee, cookies, and conversation at 12:30 PM and the meeting beginning at 1:00. Be prepared to share your summer research stories of success!