Monday, February 24, 2014

EWGS Writing Contest............ One More Time!

Oral Family History can be Lost in Three Generations

Aaron Holt, archives technician at the National Archives Fort Worth, said it is not unusual for genealogists today to have conflicting stories about an ancestor if oral history was not passed down in a deliberate way through the generations.

“I tell people all the time that it only takes three generations to lose a piece of oral family history,” Holt said. “It must be purposely and accurately repeated over and over again through the generations to be preserved for a genealogist today.”

If that piece of oral history is about an ancestor’s death, Holt said the chance of the truth being lost is even greater.

You can read more, including Holt's recommendations, in an article by Judy Everett Ramos in the Examiner at

Dick Eastman is the Spread-The-Word Guru, no doubt about it. I copied this bit from one of his recent newsletters because it was so apropos to our writing contest. I've asked you to consider crafting an entry for our EWGS writing contest for many reasons, but the main and best reason is that by writing the story of how your family came to the Pacific Northwest, you are helping to save that story for all of your posterity. 

Click to the EWGS website for more information about your entry and who to send it to. And if you need help with editing, no problem!

Isn't this something that you really should do? It will be fun, I guarantee :-) 

Monday, February 17, 2014

EWGS Writing Contest

 Well I guess I should tell my story, I was born in Spokane at Deaconess Hospital, one of the few EWGS members that still lives where he was born. I am pretty lucky as all four of my grandparents lived close to Spokane. My mom and both of her parents were born in Missouri. My grandfather was a carpenter working for the Rock Island Railroad, and in 1918 he moved his family to Spokane and became a switchman for the Great Northern railroad in Hillyard.
My dad and his mom were both born in Minnesota, and his dad was born in Denmark to a tailor. You have all heard the story of the three brothers that came to the US and one went west and was never heard from again, well FIVE of the Hansen brothers all came to Austin, Minnesota from Denmark and one went to Minneapolis and was never heard from again. Four of the brothers never left Minnesota, but my grandfather was a wanderer, my dad said he was always looking for the greener grass somewhere else, but was always a farmer. My dad grew up in Columbus, Montana, and later came to north Idaho to work in the logging camps. Soon after that his parents came to north Idaho and homesteaded a stump farm near Blanchard, Idaho.
I asked both my parents several times how they met, and they would smile and change the subject. I know my dad was working in Hillyard at the Studebaker dealership and he lived in a boarding house near by and my mom was working as a soda fountain worker in a confectionery shop near the Studebaker dealership, and my dad liked milk shakes, but I found out they knew each other before then.

Monday, February 10, 2014

EWGS Writing Contest............... More Stories

One last story intended to create in you a feeling of "well, I should tell MY story too." And yes, you should. Submit your story to EWGS following the guidelines posted on our website Remember that the theme for this year is How My Family Came To the Pacific Northwest.

Donna came to the Spokane are in 1954 with her family. Her father was a B-52 commander in the Air Force. (The airplane on display out on Fairchild Air Force base is one her father flew.) They first lived in Airway Heights and then had the good fortune to draw, as Air Force housing, this house on old Fort George Wright:

Donna's hubby's family came in 1911 and lived for a time in the Hillyard area where his grandfather worked for the Great Northern Railroad. They relocated to a section of land west of Spokane in 1912 and that family farm is still owned by a descendant.  (Did you know that Hillyard was named as Hill's Yard for railroad baron James J. Hill?)

Please write up and submit YOUR story........... your story is just as interesting as these sketches have been.

RootsTech: Where Old Friends Gather To Learn New Stuff

Miriam and I are just back from attending the 4th annual RootsTech and it was wonderful. It was Miriam's first time and first time to Salt Lake City and it was fun to share her excitement. We roomed with another "old" EWGS friend, Cecily.

One of the best things about attending RootsTech is the opportunity to be among the first to hear about new and wonderful projects: "Cap'n Jack" was there telling folks about FamilySearch's new project to gather and index obituaries. With a loud AARRGGGG he would explain that "dead men tell no tales but their obituaries do!"  Everybody had their picture taken with Cap'n Jack. 

For you long-time members of EWGS, you'd never guess who I ran into at the Family History Library: Ron Bremer!  Back in the late 80s he was prominently in the genealogy news having edited the Compendium of Historical Sources, a 20-pound book that sold for $100. He came to EWGS twice, as I recall, and NeWGS once, to promote his book and give us some teachings. I well remember a Q&A time with him (back when I was a new-newbie) and I marveled at how he knew an answer to everybody's questions. I was so surprised to see him as a missionary in the Library. Do you remember Ron Bremer??

One session we attended was on finding the treasures hidden in archives............ what a wonderful lead-in to our March meeting where we will be visiting our very own Washington State archives! And while we may not have Washington ancestors (I don't) we will learn how an archives works and how to access the wonderful collections from any archives.

I'll sign off this post with a great quote I gathered:  Today is the day before.

Monday, February 3, 2014

EWGS Writing Contest.............More Stories

Are you finding these snippets of the stories of our EWGS members interesting? The common thread is how they, or their ancestors, came to the Pacific Northwest. I hope you will share your story with EWGS via our annual Writing Contest......... contest details are posted on our website:

Barbara's family settled in the Julietta area (near Lewiston) Idaho; she and her dad was born there. Her grandfather came in 1886 from Pennsylvania to work making timber joists for the mines. Barb's mother was a Norwegian from North Dakota. What stories Barb can tell from her extensive research!

Juanita was born in Portland and came to Spokane when she was a toddler in the 1940s.  Her father's family had migrated north to the Gray's Harbor area from California in 1896 Her had been a Marine in WWI and a Seabee in WWII. Juanita remembers they lived in a "brick apartment building west of the courthouse." Hubby's family came around 1900 from Ohio to the Aberdeen area, so Juanita's children have  Washington pioneers on both sides.