Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Beach wear............not what it used to be for sure.

What do you wear when you go to the beach or the lake? As little as possible, right? And don't we have to both laugh and wonder when we see folks at the beach in days of yore. They must have been so hot!

They fully protected themselves from the sun but the "proper-ness" of their lives extended even to the beach. See the suits, white shirts and hats on the gents?? Sitting on the sand, sweltering in all those petticoats. Notice the "beach chairs" too.

We have come a long way; some better and some not. Swim wear, and going into the water and not just looking at it, is way better. Bet you agree. 

Monday, June 24, 2019

Nine Mile Falls Historic Site............ever been there?

Ever been out to Nine Mile Falls in the northwestern-most corner of Spokane? It's not just a name but is a FALLS, albeit a dam-created falls. Judy Benson shares these photos with us:

Nine Mile Falls Historic Site
The Nine Mile Falls hydroelectric plant was completed in1908 to provide power to the rail network outside of Spokane. Street cars had become the preferred mode of transportation allowing for the city’s continued expansion. Because the distance from downtown to the dam was more than 16 miles, in1928 ten English brick bungalow cottages (7 are still standing and being renovated) were built for the power plant workers and their families.

This Hydroelectric Power Plant Historic District is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places and one of the best-preserved historic power sites in the state. It’s a perfect destination for lunch in the provided picnic area; while watching the beautiful views of the falls and strolling through the street of days past with these cozy charming homes. 
This would be a fun summer drive. Go west on Francis to the end, down the hill (only one road) and stay on this road until you get to the dam (at the "town" of Nine Mile Falls). Turn left over the dam and the cottages are on your right. They appear to be still lived in. 

As you imagine, or visit, think upon what historic things to see are in the areas or towns where your ancestors lived?? Ever been there?

Friday, June 21, 2019

OCIP...... an EWGS project that you didn't know about

This photo is of most members of the OCIP project group. What what is this, you ask? Obituary Clipping Project! Our goal is to make available any Spokane obituary since our newspaper began about 125 years ago and in the easiest and quickest way possible for the researcher. 

Left to right: Donna Phillips, Patricia Flint, Lynda Keenan, Jeanne Coe, Sonji Rutan and Charles Hansen. Missing that day were PJ Farrance-Rabel and Sandi Gaffney. 

Here's the plan: In the near future, a researcher wanting a certain obituary (say 1942) from Spokane will click to our website. There will be a link to a master list of where to request an obit from that year. Some will request from EWGS; some will request from the Eastern Washington Historical Society Library (MAC). We were given a 4-foot stack of fairly recent newspapers collected by John Ellingson and have been clipping them, gluing them to archival sheets and will next index them. The boxes in the photo show a really good start on the work of this part of the project.

Want to shout out a big kudo to this team for their dedication. When we began this project in January, we really had no idea how involved it would be. But we are dedicated to see it through to the end.   

Don't YOU think this is  worthwhile project and will be a valuable family history resource in the future?

Wednesday, June 19, 2019


Did that one word title catch your eye? It surely did catch my eye back on June 10th when Patricia Flint honchoed the EWGS Find-A-Grave project day in Greenwood Cemetery. 

Who were you, dear Ramona???? At the time, didn't think to look at the surnames on the nearby grave markers. I just stood and shed a tear for Ramona. 

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Grandma's Feather Flowers................Really?

Back in the day when every day life included lots of feathers (chicken for dinner), our great-grandmothers (who were just as "crafty" as we are today) used some of those feathers as decoration.

These feather flowers were in my dear friend, Janet McKinnon's guest bedroom and they were so lovely and so different to my eyes.

It was back in 1873 that a craft book of instructions (of the day, remember) came out showing how to make feather flowers. 

Any feather flowers among your family heirlooms???

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Ballard Reuse: Salvage To The Max

Was just in Seattle with my daughter and we visited Ballard Reuse. This place brought me new understanding of "building salvage." When a building is ready for demolition, the last folks to be called in are licensed salvage folks. They can take whatever they find that's left: old oak flooring, old brass fixtures, old windows and doors, old chandeliers, old anythings! Wandering the stuffed warehouse of this place I was just amazed.

Where else might you find a long-forgotten 1900s baby carriage or a pink or green or yellow bathroom sink????  If you're really into vintage for your home, remember to check out the building salvage businesses. Just might surprise you. 

Monday, June 10, 2019

Hallowed Ground

It is a couple weeks past Memorial Day but I just got around to watching a PBS special titled Hallowed Grounds.
This hour-long special tours 23 Overseas U.S. Military Cemeteries located in eight countries, the final resting place for thousands of American men and women who gave their lives in WW I and WWII. (The program pointed out that since WWII casualties are returned to the U.S.) 

Sitting with my iPad, I just Googled "hallowed grounds PBS" and it came right up. Using my $8 earphones, I spent a memorable hour remembering. Remembering. Remembering. I do recommend it to you. 

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Needing info from a Washington State newspaper???

Do you need information from a Washington State newspaper? Do you know about the new Washington State Digital Newspaper website?

I would not be so bold as to say this website has every newspaper for all dates from every Washington city or town but they have lots. 

Wouldn't you like to know your Bloomsday time from a decade ago? Or Grandma Ethel's obituary from 1967? Or what was happening in your home town the day you were born?

Check it out. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Photos hide where you would never think to look!

Vera Rock was an active and stalwart member of EWGS for decades. Isn't this a great photo of her??

Let's suppose that this is one of THE best photos of Vera ever taken. Let's further suppose that it's a photo her family has never seen. And the point of my story is that they likely never will.

This photo was one of 200-some photos of EWGS members that were recently indexed and placed with our EWGS historic materials in the Joel E. Ferris Library, Eastern Washington Historical Society.  How many of Vera's descendants will think to look THERE for a photo of her???

Think about it. Your ancestors were involved with clubs, organizations, churches, societies, etc. in the place where they lived. These are not federal or even state records but papers of private organizations. Papers and collections from such organizations end up in local HISTORIC societies. In your research, have you ever thought to inquire of a historical society if they have in their holdings materials from your Great-grandma Ethel's Garden Club? And maybe a picture????/

Think about it. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Joseph Aloysius Albi & His Stadium: Bet you didn't know!

EWGS does so many wonderful projects! One current project concerns gathering/correlating obituary information for over 100 years of Spokane history. A group of dedicated members gathers monthly at the MAC Ferris Library to work on this project. 

I recently came upon the obit for Joe Albi, Joseph Aloysius Albi, who was wonderful Italian founder of many good things in Spokane. 

Born to Garibaldi and Louise (Ottoboni) Albi on 5 Oct 1892, he married Mazie Lyons and they had four children; Joe died from what's called Lou Gehring's Disease on 8 May 1962 after a long and illustrious career serving Spokane. 

Anybody remember going to high school football games at Joe Albi Stadium? Joe was behind the movement in 1949 to build the stadium, named in his honor. The above photo is of the bronze statue of him near the stadium. 

There is history all around us if we but look and ask. 

Monday, June 3, 2019

GEG: Our airport code; how came the name?

Our Spokane International Airport has the code GEG. Ever wondered why???  Well, for starters, there are many airports/cities with names beginning with "S" and not very many with "G." So that makes us unique. Here's the story, courtesy of Wikipedia:

Spokane International Airport (IATAGEGICAOKGEGFAA LIDGEG) is a commercial airport approximately 5 miles (8 km) west of downtown SpokaneWashington. It is the primary airport serving the Inland Northwest, which consists of 30 counties and includes areas such as Spokane and the Tri-Cities, both in Eastern Washington, and Coeur d'Alene in North Idaho. The airport's code, GEG, is derived from its airfield's namesake, Major Harold Geiger.
As of 2015, Spokane International Airport (GEG) ranks as the 70th-busiest airport in the United States in terms of passenger enplanements. At 3,998,272 total passengers served in 2018, it is also the second busiest airport in Washington. GEG is served by six airlines with non-stop service to 15 airports in 13 markets.

Did you catch that new word enplanements? New to me!

Thursday, May 30, 2019

The Pulse of Spokane: Are Your Watching/Listening?

EWGS member, Patricia Flint, shared with me that there is a YouTube channel titled The Pulse of Spokane. In these YouTube videos ("News, Views & Conversations") items of current or historic interest pertaining to Spokane are presented. Ask Google for that title and go learn and enjoy!

Saturday, May 25, 2019


This is asparagus season here in Washington! Yummy, yum, yum. So here's a question for you: Is this the world's biggest asparagus spear? What do you think? Let me know...........

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Some problems are tougher than others.

Some genealogy problems are, indeed, tougher than others. Case in point: Cuban genealogy.

Helping a friend of a friend (wondering how I got roped into it!) living in Miami, Florida, with his Spanish-Cuban genealogy. Created a tree for him in Ancestry (always a good way to start in my opinion) and entered what he'd given me...... into four generations on his maternal side. And there are no "green leaves," NO hints. Nary a one. Nada.

The surnames are: Lujan, Lecuona, Valle, Rabitel and Muro. Anybody know anything? 

Will I give up? Heck no. Are there other records to search..... like records created by the immigrant family in Florida? Heck yes. So I am proceeding onward............

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Old Postcards: Treasures!

Not too long ago at the TAG meeting (The Ancestry Group; open to all), there was a presentation about some of the lesser-used and perhaps little-known resources available at Ancestry. Old Postcards were one biggee!

How many of you can identify this scene? It is taken from the top of the Spokesman Review building, looking north along Monroe. The building is the Spokane Club. See the old railroad bridge? 

There are thousands of old postcards available to us! Click to Ancestry, then Card Catalog, and search for Postcards. Their collection of U.S. historic postcards numbers nearly 116,000! 

Do a Google search for old postcards or historic postcards and you'll be delighted at the results. Some you can copy for free; others are for sale. But how fun it would be to have a photo of that tiny town where Grandma went to school? Or the church where they were married. Go looking!

Saturday, May 18, 2019

DNA & Military Service...... Bet You Didn't Know

In way long ago days past, men who fought and died for their country were often never identified. Then along came dog tags. Now-a-days, every man or woman who joins the military has a sample of their DNA taken. America wants no more "Unknowns."  This action came about in 1991 after the Gulf War.  So if you've been in the military, your DNA is already a drop in the vast ocean of humanity. 

Thursday, May 16, 2019

DNA Class? Tweak your beak??

Wanting to really dig in and better understand DNA? Particularly YOUR DNA test results and matches? If you are willing to work, there is hope on the horizon.

EWGS member, Lynda Keenan, and soon-to-be a certified DNA instructor, is planning to offer a series of DNA classes. These classes will be taught based upon a series of books, one or all of which must be purchased for the class. The place for the classes is not finalized but Lynda plans a day/evening (repeated) session on the same day and says the class size is a firm 10 people each. 

Lynda explained to me that these classes will unfold to you what you want to know but only if you're a serious student and do the reading and do the homework. (And it stands to reason, after you've taken the DNA test.) You may come and participate only up to the level you desire. Once committed, if you miss two classes, you're out for "you will have missed too much," Lynda quipped. 

If you're interested, contact Lynda at 

I do thank Lynda for tackling this complicated subject and then offering to tutor us. Think about it and if you're serious, then give her a holler.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Yellow Sage? Spokane River Factoids

On the drive out to the Fort Spokane boat launch on the place where the Spokane River empties into the Columbia River, we passed acres of YELLOW blooming sagebrush. Yellow? I thought sage bloomed purple? Riders of the purple sage and all that?

What do you know about our beloved Spokane River?  It's 111 miles long going from Lake Coeur d'Alene to the mighty Columbia. Long considered sacred to local Native Americans, the river drains an area of 6240 acres. Four dams on the river provide local electricity. West of Spokane, the Nine Mile Falls Dam creates Long Lake where the fishing, boating, water sports and swimming abound. We are lucky and blessed to have such a wonderful river. Yes, "a river runs through it," through Spokane.

P.S. Three days later: Sharon, sweet friend in Wenatchee, said that the plant is probably Yellow Bitterbrush. Thanks!

Friday, May 10, 2019

TAG Meeting Highlights (if you missed that gathering)

The May 2019 TAG meeting (The Ancestry Group) was a winner once again under the capable leadership of Marge Mero.

Marge always reviews for us what is new with Ancestry and reminds us of other EWGS-genealogy happenings going on. She opened a group review of what the future holds for the Shadle Library and for TAG. (Good!)

EWGS member Carol Rancourt presented her French-Canadian Journey, highlighting and explaining to us the things she learned about this sort of research. She highlighted the Drouin Collection, simply put, this is a collection of parish records from the 1600s to 1900s. "But written in old French and not the easiest to read," she quipped. She also stressed that this collection is a tremendous asset for French-Canadian research. 

One website she recommended was .  This is a Quebec based research website.

The next TAG meeting is Thursday, June 13, Shadle Library, 1:00, and the topic, presented by Janice Moerschel, will be an update on what's newly available from Ancestry.

P.S. Lynda Keenan is contemplating starting a DNA class for serious DNA researchers only.  Participants will be expected to purchase the three guide books. Particulars TBD. If interested, contact Lynda at 

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Fall Workshop 2019 Will Be A Dandy!

The EWGS Program Committee met yesterday and thrashed out most of the details for a Dandy Wonderful Fall Workshop coming up on Saturday, October 5th. 

Remember the long-ago movie "Around the World in 80 Days?" Well, we've borrowed that theme and our Fall Workshop will be "Around the World in 12 Classes." Think about this.... let your imagination run amok. 

More details will be forthcoming over time but for now take a red pen and put a big red balloon on that date so it stays free for a wonderful day of genealogy learning!

Monday, May 6, 2019

May meeting: the future of our libraries and our genealogy society.

So what is the future of EWGS and the various Spokane Public Libraries? At the May 4th meeting, Barbara Brazington sat on her stool and explained the results of the members' "think tanking" as to what we wanted for the future of EWGS. Jason Johnson, a SPL librarian and one who is apparently heavily involved in the myriad details of the expansion planning for the Spokane libraries, had a slide show of "what it maybe will look like."

Jason went first; his slide show of drawing showed how the Hillyard, Eastside, Shadle and Downtown libraries will be improved upon (thanks to Spokane citizens passing the library bond issue. Shadle will be expanded but kept to one story. A new facility, the Libby Center, maybe (in two years) will be a place for EWGS to have our meetings "with plenty of free parking."

The Downtown main library was the big news. It's been decided that the library will be totally closed for at least 18 months  while all the remodeling takes place. Much easier to do this with people not underfoot! This construction is scheduled to begin in April 2020 and it means that for 18 months, our EWGS meetings will be moved elsewhere. As will the library holdings too. 

Barbara began with announcing that "EWGS is ready to re-brand itself" with a new name and new logo. She announced a contest for members to submit their ideas and/or suggestions for a new name and/or logo. (Send your idea to Barb then went over the results of what we members had indicated that we wanted: more education, more social time, more real mentoring

"But what do you mean by 'mentoring,'" Barb asked? A couple dozen idea balloons went up from the group. "That must be addressed first," she stressed. "What do you want? Where will you help??" 

To my ears, retired professional librarian Barbara stressed more member involvement. "We are in this society to help each other. That is the only real and main key to our future." I concur 100%.

With her customary big smile, Barb did reassure us that "EWGS is alive and well!" That was really good news. Here's to our future!

Do you suffer from nomophobia??

Today there are many new conditions and diseases popping up. The newest one to my eyes and ears is nomophobia. And just what is this and do you have it???

Nomophobia is the irrational fear of being without your mobile phone or being unable to use your phone for some reason, such as the absence of a signal or running out of minutes or battery power. A phobia is by definition an irrational fear.

All I can say is "heavens to murgatroid." What next? 

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Genealogical Education..... Opportunity for YOU?

Under the umbrella of EWGS, and in keeping with its mission to provide genealogical education to members and the public, monthly classes are offered at the South Hill branch of the Spokane Public Library. This photo is from yesterday's class where I presented the topic of The Family History Guide

The class is held on the first Wednesday of the month, 10:00 to 11:30 and (of course!) is free to attend. The topic for June is yet to be determined so I will ask YOU: what subject do you need to know more about to help you researching your ancestors??

Stay tuned........... 

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Do not "toss the baby out with the bathwater."

Everybody seems quick to disregard the posted online trees as undocumented rubbish. And maybe too many are. But hold your horses. I'm working on a tree for a friend in Florida who knew nothing about his surname line. Imagine his delight when I found that somebody had posted a picture of his great-grandmother to accompany their online tree matching into his line! 
Is sorting through all the might-be-trues to find a gem like this worth the time and trouble? You decide.