Saturday, November 29, 2008

One Society Bites the Dust; Another One Celebrates a Milepost

Consider the irony of two genealogical societies, both of whom had posts written about them today memorializing one's success and another's failure. We would do well to shun one's model and follow the other's example.

Dick Eastman, in his Eastman's Online Genealogical News blog mentioned the demise of the Sangamon County, Illinois Genealogical Society:
After 40 years in existence, the Sangamon County Genealogical Society is shutting down next month. Declining membership and dues revenue, as well as the abundance of genealogical information available on the Internet, all contributed to the group’s demise, its leaders said this week.
All I can say about this statement is "Rubbish!" It was not the "abundance of genealogical information available on the Internet that contributed to the group's demise", I assure you. With 100% confidence, I can declare that it was the group's refusal to 1) adapt to the changing times and to 2) view the "abundance of genealogical information available on the Internet" as a tool and a means to promote their society, rather than as an enemy. To blame Internet genealogical resources as a cause of society closure is like insisting that televised church services will shut down churches as we know them. Yes, there are many people out there who prefer to do "pajama genealogy." But sooner or later, they will hit a brick wall, and who must be there to help them break it down? Genealogical societies, with their "how to" classes, their offline resources, their members with decades of research experience and high citation standards. Genealogical societies need to arm themselves with knowledge and skills about the Internet, computers, and online research in order to ensure confidence in those they are assisting, as well as to keep their societies viable for the coming generations. Compare the Sangamon County, Illinois Genealogical Society with the California Genealogical Society and Library, who has just celebrated their blog's one-year anniversary ("blogiversary"):
Just one short year ago during our regular monthly meeting, members of the CGS board of directors took a look at the blog I created for the society and gave permission to go live. They were all wonderfully enthusiastic about the idea and have been supportive contributors throughout the year. I sold this experiment as a way to communicate with members and promote CGS at no cost to the society. So far, in my humble opinion, the blog is a success.
So writes Kathryn M. Doyle, blogmeister and board member of the CGS. Some of the regular "columns" the CGSL blog features are Wordless Wednesdays, a post every Wednesday that does not have an accompanying written article, but instead shows one or more photographs of the society in action, whether at a meeting, a workshop, or assisting researchers in the library. Another feature is having members post a small series of articles about a research trip they've taken. Just like EWGS, the CGSL blog posts upcoming programs and summarizes their meetings for those who missed them or who live out-of-area. The CGSL is an example to follow, not just in its blog, but in the attitude, perspective, and vision of its board and members, which has allowed the society to not only adapt with the times, but be a leader and standard-bearer for other societies.

So, EWGS members, how are we to respond? I hope that I am pricking the conscience of a few readers out there by insisting that we cannot survive if we continue to conduct the society "as we always have." I believe, by and large, that most of our membership and leadership is willing to go forward and this has allowed us to be successful thus far. But for those who are holding back, please consider the state of the Sangamon County, Illinois Genealogical Society--and many other societies which have recently gone by the wayside--and determine within yourself that this will not be the end result of the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What you missed November 2008 Internet Class

The Internet education class scheduled for November 15, 2008 was postponed one week due to the sudden death of Gary Taylor, the EWGS treasurer.

Juanita McBride was the instructor for a class on PERSI and NUCMC. PERSI is short for PERiodical Source Index and is done by the Allen County Library in Ft. Wayne, Indiana.
Juanita started out by showing the book form of PERSI which was the original way to use PERSI. Later on they put PERSI on a CD and that is where I first used it. PERSI is available from the library in their Searchable Databases under Heritage Quest, and can be searched either at the library or for Spokane City residents you can access those databases from your home computer using your library card number. Ancestry also has PERSI. PERSI is divided into four sections:
  • Surname
  • Locality
  • Methodology
  • Bibliography

Surname and Locality are self-explanatory; Methodology lets you search for articles on search methods. The last section is Bibliography and that lists all the periodicals in the Allen County library. It includes the EWGS Bulletin.

If you find an article you are interested in, Allen County Library has an order form for copies. They charge $7.50 plus 20 cents a page for the copies. That form is with the online database here. Be sure to check our own library for the periodical, since EWGS has a large collection of periodicals and the article you are looking for may be in that collection.

Dolly Webb brought an interlibrary loan form and said she had used it for items she had found in PERSI and using interlibrary loan is free. My suggestion is you can also send to whoever authored the periodical for a copy. I have received queries for copies of articles from the EWGS Bulletin that people found using PERSI.

The second part of Juanita's class was on NUCMC (pronounced "nuckmuck") or the National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections, which was created by the Library of Congress in 1959 and contains records about materials in public, university and special libraries throughout the United States.

From 1959 to 1993, NUCMC was published in printed form. These books are in our genealogy collection at the library. The online version covers only records added after 1986 to the present.

To access it you need an internet connection, and then click here. It brings up a screen with three columns: clicking on "search OCLC catalog" brings up Questions on Searching; or Simple or Advanced search. Juanita suggested a simple search for Ohio Quakers, and it brought up several pages of hits. Clicking on one allows you to find out more detailed information on whatever you are interested in. I do not have any Ohio ancestors so I tried Massachusetts Quakers and several pages of hits came up. NUCMC is a real unused resource.

UPDATE: If you would like a copy of Juanita's syllabus, please e-mail Miriam Robbins Midkiff.

Resources I am Thankful for

I am very thankful for the Washington State Digital Archives, When I started doing research for EWGS Ray Fisher gave me some databases done by EWGS, all were old DOS databases, and I was worried they would fade away if not put into a newer format, the Digital Archives was happy to get the databases and today they not only have the indexes EWGS did, but actual images of the records.
The other place I am thankful for is the Spokane County Auditors Office and staff, they are always very cheery and very helpful to me and other genealogists, Thanks Vicki Dalton and staff.

Monday, November 24, 2008

FamilySearch News: Houston Public Library Joins with FamilySearch to Publish Gulf Coast State Histories Online

Gulf Coast State Histories Slated for Online Access
Houston Public Library Joins FamilySearch in Digitization Effort

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH—Thousands of publications that capture the diverse histories of Gulf Coast states will be accessible for free online. FamilySearch and the Houston Public Library announced a joint project today to digitally preserve and publish the library’s vast collection of county and local histories, registers of individuals, directories of Texas Rangers, church histories, and biographical dictionaries. The digital records will be available for free online at and

“Houston Public Library has one of the top 10 genealogy libraries in the nation and a very strong Gulf Coast and international collection,” said Susan D. Kaufman, manager, Houston Public Library’s Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research. “Visitors come from all over the country to visit the library. Researchers will benefit from the convenience of online access to the collection targeted under the joint venture with FamilySearch,” added Kaufman.

In 2007, FamilySearch announced its plans to create the largest and most comprehensive collection of free city and county histories online. Over 23,000 digital publications have been made available online since then. The addition of Houston Public Library and its collection furthers that goal.

Under the agreement, FamilySearch will digitally preserve thousands of Houston Public Library’s historic publications collection and provide free access to the images online. The targeted publications range in date from 1795 to 1923.

The new digital collections published online will have “every word” search capability, which allows users to search by name, location, date, or other fields across the collection. The search results are then linked to high quality digital images of the original publication. Users will also be able to just browse or read the publications as digital books online if they prefer.

The digitization efforts have already begun, and publications are now viewable online. Texas records are the first publications targeted by the initiative, followed by other Gulf Coast states. The project will take up to five years to complete.

Digital publications will be noted and hyperlinked in the Family History Library Catalog at as they are digitized. The growing collection can be accessed currently at (go to Search Records, and then Historical Books).

“We are honored to be part of such an important and beneficial initiative with a world leader like FamilySearch,” said Kaufman. “The digitization and online publication of Houston Public Library’s historic collections will help increase the inquisitiveness of library patrons and create a heightened sense of awareness of the library’s resources—which then brings customers back more often with more research questions. It’s a win-win for everyone,” Kaufman added.

FamilySearch is providing the computers, scanners, and camera operators required to complete the project. FamilySearch previously announced projects with Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Brigham Young University Harold B. Lee Library, and FamilySearch’s own Family History Library in Salt Lake City.

The Houston Public Library’s Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research is also a FamilySearch Affiliate Library. That means local patrons have access to millions of microfilms from FamilySearch’s vast genealogical collection in Salt Lake City, Utah. Patrons can order research material from FamilySearch through the library and use the library’s film readers and copiers to further their genealogical efforts.

About FamilySearch International
FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch has been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. FamilySearch is a nonprofit organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at or through over 4,500 family history centers in 70 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. Renamed to

Press Release from

Family network changes its name to dynastree

Hamburg, 24th November 2008. The fastest-growing family network worldwide got a new name: dynastree. The new name is easier to keep in mind and underlines the cross-generational aspect of the worldwide network.

Co-founder Daniel Groezinger explains: “The new name is an international fusion of the words dynasty and family tree. It symbolizes our network’s essence: connecting the generations by means of the family tree.” Of course, the free network’s services will still be available using the domain

The free genealogy network dynastree continues to grow rapidly: Until today, 60 million person profiles have been added to 6 million family trees worldwide. Future plans are the expansion to Russia and Turkey.

About dynastree
Apart from the English site, the services are available in Germany (, in Poland (, Spain and South America (, Portugal (, Brazil (, the Netherlands (, Italy ( and France ( The platform will continue expanding to other European countries as well as worldwide. is supported by leading Business Angels, Hasso Plattner Ventures and Neuhaus Partners, a well-known venture capitalist.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

MyHeritage and Family Tree DNA Partner to Help People Trace Family History Using DNA

Tel Aviv, Israel and Houston, Texas – November 20, 2008 – MyHeritage, one of the world’s most popular family Web sites, today announced a partnership with FamilyTreeDNA, the company that pioneered DNA testing for genealogical research. In addition to MyHeritage’s innovative Smart Matching and Research technologies, members can now also use information contained in their DNA to find present-day relatives who share a common ancestor from many hundreds of years ago. FamilyTreeDNA users can take advantage of MyHeritage’s site to not only further research family history, but also stay connected with current family members around the world.

“With close to 220,000 records, FamilyTreeDNA is the largest database of genealogical DNA information in the world. This provides the perfect complement to MyHeritage’s current research tools, giving our members another way to learn about where they come from,” said Gilad Japhet, founder and CEO of MyHeritage. “We help people around the world discover, connect and communicate with their extended family network and easily research their family history. Now, by working with FamilyTreeDNA, we can offer a solution when the paper trail runs out.”

Since its founding in 2000, FamilyTreeDNA has tested over 450,000 people, helping customers trace family history when no conventional records are available. The advanced DNA screening technology, among other things, can reveal Native American, African or Jewish descent on paternal or maternal lines, as well as uncover ancestral information for those who were adopted. Through a range of tests, users can obtain information on recent and historical origins, including a migration map on both paternal and maternal lines. MyHeritage's 27 million users will have access to the following three tests:

• Y-DNA25 – a Y-chromosome test for males (US$129)
• mtDNA – a mitochondrial DNA test for males and females (US$129)
• Y-DNA25 + mtDNA – a combined Y-chromosome and mitochondrial DNA test for males (US$219)

Bennett Greenspan, President and CEO of FamilyTreeDNA, said, “MyHeritage is an invaluable resource when researching family history online, which is a perfect complement for our DNA research. Our DNA research can show two people that they are related, and MyHeritage's Smart Matching technology can compare their family trees to show the connection. We are also excited to give our members, through MyHeritage, a way to stay connected with relatives all over the world.”

MyHeritage is a leading online destination for families. On the site, people can find relatives, research family history, and stay connected to family members across the globe. In addition, MyHeritage offers automatic photo tagging technology that makes it easier to label, organize and search for digital photos, giving families another fun way to stay in touch.

About MyHeritage
MyHeritage was founded by a team of people who combine a passion for family history with the development of innovative technology. It is now one of the world’s leading online networks for families, and the second largest family history website. MyHeritage is available in 34 languages and home to more than 27 million family members and 280 million profiles. The company recently acquired Kindo, a family social network, and is based in Bnei Atarot, near Tel Aviv, Israel. For more information, visit

Find a video about MyHeritage's new photo tagging features here:

About Family Tree DNA
Founded in April 2000, Family Tree DNA ( was the first company to develop the commercial application of DNA testing for genealogical purposes: until then, testing had only been available for academic and scientific research. Since that time, the pioneering company has developed a breadth and depth of programs and services and created standards that have earned it international respect and made it the world's most popular DNA-testing service not only for genealogists but for anyone interested in delving beyond the surface into family roots. Today, Family Tree DNA's approaches 220,000 individual test records, making it the premier source for researching recent and distant family ties. Family Tree DNA has recently been featured in Time, Newsweek, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times and on NBC-TV's "Today Show" and CBS-TV's "60 Minutes."

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Woman Wants Recognition for Spokane's Black U.S.O.

From the October 28th, 2008 issue of the Spokesman-Review:

Today, the building that housed the black U.S.O. stands empty. Washington Photo, a longtime business in Spokane that occupied the former U.S.O. building, closed its doors in August.

A leader in Spokane’s black community wants the history of the building recognized and preserved, and has called for having it listed on the national or local registers of historic places to acknowledge the contributions of blacks and other minorities to the war effort.

Read more about this effort to preserve Spokane's African-American past here. A historical photo slideshow is also available.

Historic Campbell House to Close

It's a shame to see that the Campbell House will be closing due to lack of funds. Just over a year ago, a group of Eastern Washington Genealogical Society members took on a fun and exciting project researching the family history of the servants of the Campbell House. Here's hoping that restoration of funding will be swift.

From the November 7, 2008 issue of the Spokesman-Review:

The Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture will close the historic Campbell House on Jan. 2 and lay off the mansion’s three part-time tour guides due to state budget cuts.

Museum-goers will no longer be able to tour the historic Kirtland Cutter-designed mansion, although Dennis Hession, the MAC’s chief executive officer, said he hopes that school-group tours can continue. The Campbell House’s numerous holiday events in 2008 will continue on schedule.

Read more here.

Volunteers Discover Fun Facts Transcribing Historic Canadian Censuses

A FamilySearch News Release:

Volunteers Discover Fun Facts Transcribing Historic Canadian Censuses
Completed Indexes Will Be Free Online

Ontario, Canada—FamilySearch International announced its plans to make the indexes to available Canadian censuses accessible online for free with the help of online volunteer indexers and an agreement with The first censuses completed will be those from 1861, 1871, and 1916. Online volunteers are needed to help transcribe select information from digital images of the historical documents into easily searchable indexes. The completed indexes will be available for free at

Famous Canadians in the 1916 Census
What do Art Linkletter, Sir William Samuel Stephenson, and Elvina Fay Wray have in common? They all have ties to one of the three provinces that make up the 1916 Canada Census, and some lucky volunteer may experience the thrill of transcribing their information for the free online index.

1. Arthur Gordon Kelly (Art Linkletter) will be found as a four-year-old child at Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. He was abandoned as an infant and then adopted and raised by a preacher. He hosted House Party and People Are Funny both on radio and later on newfangled television, and he is best remembered for his interviews with children on the television show Kids Say the Darndest Things. His adoptive parents were Fulton John Linkletter and Mary Metzler.

2. Sir William Samuel Stephenson was a Canadian soldier, airman, businessman, inventor, spymaster, and a British intelligence specialist during World War II. Stephenson is best known by his wartime intelligence codename of Intrepid and is considered by some to be one of the real-life inspirations for James Bond. He was born William Samuel Clouston Stanger, January 23, 1897, in the Point Douglas area of Winnipeg, Manitoba.

3. Elvina Fay Wray was born September 15, 1907, on a ranch near Alberta to Elvina Marguerite Jones and Joseph Heber Wray and will most likely show up as a nine-year old-child in the 1916 census. She made her film debut in Gasoline Love (1923), but it was her lead role in The Wedding March (1928) that made her a star. She became a cult figure after her role in King Kong (1933), as the beauty captured by a giant gorilla.

Getting Involved
Interested volunteers can begin helping immediately by registering online at, downloading the free indexing software, and selecting the 1916 Canada Census project. A digital image of a census page will appear. Volunteers simply type in the data highlighted on the computer screen and save it online. It takes about 30 minutes to complete one census page, and volunteers have a week to complete it if need be. Volunteers only need to be able to read, type, and have Internet access to participate.

“The 1916 census was selected first because it is the most recent and smallest of the three censuses targeted in the first phase. It included three of the western provinces (Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Alberta) and has about 1.7 million names—so it will not take long to complete,” said Stephen Young, FamilySearch project manager.

There are other hidden benefits to volunteering. Volunteers become familiar with historical documents, the valuable stories they can conceal, and their usefulness and application to genealogical research.

Indexers do not need to worry about their skill level at reading censuses. Each census page is transcribed by two different indexers. Any discrepancies between the two entries will be arbitrated by a third indexer. The result is a highly accurate, free index of tremendous value to family history enthusiasts. Young says the more online volunteers that help, the quicker the free census indexes will be available online for all to enjoy and benefit from.

One indexer recently commented, “I am intrigued with how the people come alive for me as I index. I indexed a household . . . containing a family with young children, grandmother, maiden aunt, and a couple of unmarried siblings. They had five servants, and I visualized a well-to-do household; the married son working maybe as a lawyer or doctor, taking care of his extended family. I see both sad and happy stories.”

FamilySearch manages the largest collection of genealogical records worldwide. In 2007 it announced plans to begin digitizing and indexing its collection for broader, online access—starting with popular collections like Canadian censuses. FamilySearch has digitized the 1916 Canada Census and is seeking online volunteers to help create a searchable index for it and other census and non-census Canada projects. The 1861 and 1871 censuses will be next.

Libraries and Archives Canada (LAC) owns and is providing the digital images for the Canada census projects.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Spokane Area RootsMagic Users Group to Meet Thursday

If you are a RootsMagic user, or are simply curious about this genealogy software program, you may be interested in the RootsMagic Users Group, which meets at 7 PM on the third Thursday of each month at the LDS Church at 808 E. Sitka (this month's meeting is on November 20th). Lew and Trudy Lundy lead this group. For more information, e-mail them here.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

November 2008 Computer Class Rescheduled

Due to the November 15th services for the late EWGS treasurer, Gary L. Taylor, the November 2008 members-only computer class, "Using NUCMC and PERSI to Find Your Ancestors", has been rescheduled to Saturday afternoon, November 22nd. Those who originally signed up for the 10:15 class time are now signed up for a 1:00 PM class, and those who signed up for the 11:30 class time are now scheduled for the 2:15 PM class. Juanita Linton McBride will be our presenter.

If you have any questions, please contact Miriam Robbins Midkiff or Juanita Linton McBride (see member directory).

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Resources for Local Native American Research

November is American Indian Heritage Month, so I thought I would share a list of resources for local Native American research. This list was compiled by Larry Fine for the Colville [Washington] Stake Family History Conference held April 26, 2008.

Microfilmed Native American Records on Permanent Loan at the Colville Family History Center
Bureau of Indian Affairs and Colville Tribe Indian Records
  • 1020972: BIA - Indian History Cards, Late 1800 - Early 1900
  • 1020973: Births, Marriages, Deaths
  • 1020974: Births and Deaths, 1909 - 1942
  • 1020975: Births and Deaths, 1914 - 1943
  • 1020976: Births, Deaths, Marriages: 1914 - 1943
  • 1020976: BIA - Annuity Roll Records, 1892 - 1948
  • 05742208: BIA - Indian Census Rolls, 1885 - 1891: Coeur d'Alene, Kalispel, Lake, Spokane, Nez Perce, Okanogan, Moses, Yellow Bulls
  • 05742209: BIA - Indian Census Rolls, 1892 - 1897: Okanogan, Nez Perce, Colville, Lake, Spokane, Moses, Nespelem, San Poil, Coeur d'Alene
  • 05742210: BIA - Indian Census Rolls, 1898 - 1903: Spokane, Moses, Okanogan, Nez Perce, Coeur d'Alene, Lake, Colville
  • 05742211: BIA - Indian Census Rolls, 1904 - 1908: Spokane, Colville, Coeur d'Alene, Nez Perce, Moses, Okanogan, Lake, Sanpoil, Nespelem
  • 05742212: BIA - Indian Census Rolls, 1909 - 1913: Spokane, Sanpoil, Moses, Nez Perce, Nespelem, Okanogan, Lake, Colville, Calispel, Wenatchi, Chewelah, Kootnai
  • 05742215: BIA - Indian Census Rolls, 1938 - 1938: Supplemental rolls of Colville and Spokane JOPA (also available at Foley Center Library, Gonzaga University)
  • 16711660: Washington - St. Paul - Jesuit Mission - with baptism registers, various entries from 1839 - 1870
  • 16711661: Washington - St. Regis - Jesuit Mission - with various baptism, death, and marriage records, 1848 - 1917
  • 16711662: Washington - St. Regis - Jesuit Mission - burial records, 1953 - 1887; baptism and marriage records, 1852 - 1866; St. Francis Regis Quarterly Indian School reports, 1893; Colville Reservation census,1902 - 1918, 1923, and 1937; Spokane Indian census, 1919 and 1927
  • 16711663: Washington - St. Regis: papers and correspondence
  • 16711664: Washington - St. Mary's: mission parish census, 1948 - 1949


Sources to Consider

Items to Check

  • Annuity records of various tribes
  • Birth, baptism, marriage, death and burial records or registers
  • Books: history, biographies
  • Census: Federal and tribal
  • Family history files
  • Land patents
  • Military discharges
  • Obituaries
  • Oral history reports
  • Probate records with the Bureau of Indian Affairs or Office of Special Trustee
  • Tribal allotments
  • Tribal enrollment records
  • Tribal school enrollments
  • Wills

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Gary L. Taylor (1935 - 2008)

It was with shock and great sadness that we learned that EWGS's beloved treasurer, Gary L. Taylor, passed away quietly in his sleep last Wednesday night. He was 73. Only last Saturday, Gary and I were sitting together in our usual places at the front of the meeting room for the November 2008 General Meeting, with him receiving membership dues for the 2009 genealogical year and myself manning the Ways and Means merchandise table. Gary's dedication to his duties as treasurer, his willingness to help our society in diverse ways--including the last two rest stop fundraisers--and his sense of humor and broad smile will be missed by all. We send our condolences to his wife and family members.

EWGS member Bill Ailes has been helping Mrs. Taylor with the arrangements, and reports that services will be held next Saturday, November 15th at 12:00 PM at Hennessey-Smith Funeral Home, 2203 N. Division Street. The November computer classes were scheduled to be held at the public library that day; we are looking into the various options we have so as to not create a conflict for those who wish to both attend the class and also pay their respects to Gary's family. We'll have a better idea by Monday, when I can speak with my contact at the library about a possible computer class rescheduling. Stay tuned to the blog, the EWGS mailing list, and your e-mail for further notifications. Gary's obituary can be read at the Spokesman-Review website here.