Saturday, November 28, 2015

Serendipity Day

For what it’s worth:  Wanting to teach myself more about genealogy and DNA, I ordered these two (used) books from Amazon. I’m finding that blog posts and magazine articles don’t spell it out clearly enough for me. Think these will help? They are vintage 1999 and 2005.


Love learning something totally new. In a historical fiction (genealogy) novel, I came across the term thumb piano.  So I asked Grandma Google:  “The mbira or thumb piano is an African musical instrument consisting of a wooden board with attached staggered metal times played by holding the instrument in the hands and plucking the times with the thumbs.” So what’s my genealogy point here? Whenever in your reading or your researching, if you come upon a brand new term, stop right there and go ask Grandma Google.  She always will have an answer.


Tip from Cyndi Ingle during the day she spent with EWGS last October:  “There are three ways to dig deeper: (1) learn about the advanced features on search engines and genealogy databases;  (2) learn about the records behind the technology;  and (3) dig into the records and then into the repository that contains those records.  Cyndi’s point was that like with any tool, a search engine is a tool and can be used to best advantage if you understand how best to use the tool (duh).
Cyndi was speaking of having to really dig deeper because, thinking of the iceberg, only 4% is sticking up………… only 4% of records on the Internet are super easy to spot…… and 96% is below the water line……….. that means that 96% is hidden deeper into the many online repositories…. “but the hidden web is 500 times more” she said……………. I think she means that there is more information available to you from any given repository (Family History Library or Library of Virginia or Texas State Archives, etc) that you would ever guess.


Cyndi Ingle also said that a list of genealogy groups on Facebook has been compiled by Katherine Wilson which you can download as a pdf for free. Here’s the link:
Who would have thought that there were sooooo many genealogy groups on Facebook! There were 23 links to genealogy-related organizations in Washington. This list goes international too.


Do you have a Revolutionary Patriot in your family tree? If you do, and are a woman 18 years or older, regardless of race, religion or ethnic background, and can prove lineal descent from a patriot of the American Revolution, you are eligible for membership in the DAR, Daughters of the American Revolution. DAR volunteers are willing to provide guidance and assistance each step of the way. Click to and then “membership.” There you‘ll find Prospective Member information. 

The DAR publishes American Spirit magazine; in the Sept-Oct 2015 issue there was a great article about how the DAR is “Sharing a Wealth of Data With the World” by simplifying genealogy research and expanding access to Revolutionary-era documents.

The DAR recognizes 144,000 patriots and is eager to provide help to prospective members. Do check it out if you have a Revolutionary Patriot in your family tree.


On the subject of membership in societies, are you eligible to join the First Families of St.Louis? The purpose of this organization is “to identify, recognize and archive the lineage of historical St. Louis families.” You are eligible to join if you can prove a straight-line descent from an early St. Louis resident in one of these three categories:  Founding Fathers, 1765-1804; Pioneer Families, 1805-1821; and Immigrant Families, 1822-1865. If this organization is of interest to you, click to the St. Louis Genealogical Society website, or call their office at 314-647-8547. Brochure I have says application fee is $30.


Having just returned from a stupendous 2-week trip to Egypt, and getting back into my real-life-world of genealogy, I really wondered how much Egyptian genealogy helps are available. Not much, sad to report. FamilySearch has a Wiki page that’s mostly empty. Ancestry offers nada. The 4000-centuries listings of the ruling Kings and Pharaohs survives pretty much intact, but nothing on the thousands of common folks who worked, lived, farmed, raised families, worked on the pyramids, etc.  In my reading I did find reference to a cattle census…….. not very helpful except to date the regnal years. Using Google I did find a query post that went something like this:  “My parents were immigrants from Egypt in the 1950s……”

Doing a Google search for “Egyptian Vital Records,” I came upon a paper published in 1981titled “Development of the Vital Statistics System in Egypt.” I’ll quote one important statement here:  “In the modern era, the registration of births and deaths in rural as well as urban areas dates back to 1839; it was made obligatory towards the end of the last century. However, in spite of the early beginnings of compulsory registration of vital evens, the completeness of registration was very poor, particularly in the rural areas. It took almost 70 years for the vital statistics system to reach the 91% coverage of registration.” And we feel bad for those with Irish ancestry!


Have Missouri heritage? Last May I heard a talk by John Dougan, archivist at the Missouri Digital Heritage archives. Here are some of the points he made:  “Our archives gets 8,000,000 hits per month; we offer a basic and an advanced search (“a simple search yields too much of nothing”; we have 9,000,000 records on the website so I do recommend using the advanced search” They have “digital museum exhibits” for which he quipped, “Block out hours of time for this part of our website!”

One statement Dougan made is parallel to the quotes from Cyndi Ingle (above). He strongly encouraged users to browse by TOPIC and then MEDIA TYPE….  “don’t search the entire barn for the horse, go look in the stall.”

One most interesting looking tidbit he gave about the site was that they have the Missouri State Penitentiary records, 1836-1931. “It’s an index mostly….only images back to the 1880s…but the photos we have can include mug shots and tattoos!” His final quip on this subject was “don’t assume your Missouri ancestor is not in this database until you go and look and hope you don’t get surprised.”

Did lots of map reading on this trip; here are some for-real Texas towns:  Cut and Shoot,  Oatmeal,  Dime Box,  Snook,  Guy,  Best,  Shine,  Krum,  Benjamin,  Cactus,  Tool,  Cash,  Sunray,  Mule Shoe,  Happy,  Draw,  Quail,  White Face,  Valentine,  Orange,  West Orange,  Energy, and (best of all) Tarzan, Texas. Your ancestor from any of these bitty places??

Monday, November 23, 2015

"Out of the Archives" spotlights EWGS member, Duane Beck

This is a link to the Out of the Archives, online newsletter of the Washington State Archives. The link is to the most recent issue which has a spotlight on "our" Duane Beck, long time EWGS member, who has also been a volunteer out at the archives for a decade. 

Check out the newsletter (perhaps sign up to receive the monthly issues into your email??) , and for sure enjoy the recognition that Duane Beck so richly deserves. 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

EWGS Member Duane Beck at the Washington State Archives

Out of the Archives the Newsletter from the Washington State Archives has a real nice article on EWGS member Duane Beck. You can read it here . Congratulations Duane.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Serendipity Day

Having just been for two weeks in Egypt, learning about all the 4000 year old temples and pyramids, and experiencing the warmth and friendliness of the Egyptian people, Egypt is on my mind today.

Here is my picture from the Mena House Hotel where we stayed several nights. The old part of it was built in 1869 to house the dignitaries who came for the opening of the Suez Canal.

Are there resources for folks with Egyptian ancestry? Very darn little, I found. The Wiki on FamilySearch has a "Egypt Genealogy" page but there is not yet much there. Could find nothing in the Ancestry catalog.

Reading Mountains of the Pharaohs: The Untold Story of the Pyramid Builders, by Dr. Zawi Hawass, 2006, my eyes jumped at this:  "The ancient Egyptian government took a census of cattle every two years, and kings of the early periods numbered their reigns according to these censuses."  That's cool, but of no genealogy help.

There are folks with Egyptian ancestry who will be wanting to trace their family tree. I hope some resources will soon be coming.


Had a great read on my Kindle on the long flight over:  Murder Bay, by David R. Horwitz. This is good fiction:  The year is 1958 and police sergeant Benjamin Carey is appointed head of a new department housed in a century-old house in Washington, DC. Sleeping in the turret room, Ben learns of and begins to unravel the mystery of Mordechai Finkel, a Civil War soldier who died in the room a century before. The story line jumps between 1862 and 1958 and is wonderfully told....a genuine page turner. I highly recommend this book whether or not you're facing a long flight. 


Wishing you had access to some of the premium subscription websites but your budget don't allow subscriptions at this time? No problem.  Visit your nearby Family History Center and through the Family History Center Portal  you can access fourteen different for-pay websites including Ancestry, Fold3, Newspaper Archives, Find My Past, Paper Trail (website of the Oregon California Trails Association which has lists of 99% of the pioneers who migrated west in the 19th century), and Heritage Quest Online. For the days and hours when these centers are open, visit our EWGS website ( or click to and "search for a center near you." 


If you're one of those who really have not liked the new website....well, too bad. It's official:  that will be the one-and-only Ancestry website so we must learn to appreciate and use it. I personally think it's a case of impatience...just not wanting to take the time to click around, read and learn how best to understand and use the new site. But, bottom line, that's the way it is. Until the next time Ancestry decides to update their website!


There are some, including my dear late mother-in-law, who had no use for genealogy. She not only believed it was hogwash but was a shameful waste of time. Being a Bible-reading Christian, her opinion came from 1 Timothy 1:4 (KJV):  "Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies...." Or Titus 3:9:  "....avoid foolish questions and genealogies..."  To my understanding, after some study, the answer is this:  Jews of the day strove too often to prove their descent from Abraham thus claiming that they were automatically saved above the Gentiles...that they were better than the Gentiles. Paul emphasized personal righteousness no matter what your ancestry.  What is your opinion?


What blogs do I follow? This is on my mind as I have nearly three week's of catching up to do. I follow the Ancestry blog, the Ancestry Insider (yes, different), the Genealogy's Star blog, the Legal Genealogist blog (often over my head but interesting nonetheless), the Geneabloggers blog, Dick Eastman's newsletter ( the free version) and the Fold3 blog. It costs nothing to subscribe to these blogs and by scanning them weekly you'll keep yourself updated on what's going on in the genealogy world. "Takes too much time!" you say. Psshaw... I can scan five blogs posts in five minutes and so could you. Zero in on what's important to YOU.


Here are some more Cyndi Ingle-isms that I quickly scribbled down on the day she was with the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society:  
      "Avoid a website or an email that looks kinky."
      "I don't know if I believe everything I tell you." 
      "For cryin' out tears!"
      " I do believe that everything you need to do efficient research today is on the Internet. 
              but if you've looked everywhere and have not found your answer or ancestor,
              you are not looking in the right place and at the right record."

Monday, November 9, 2015

EWGS November 2015 Meeting What You Missed

Saturday was a nice day and I was going to walk through Huntington Park before the EWGS meeting, but they had a sign closed for the winter. It is very steep in places so if it was slick it would be hard to get to the bottom and the spray from the falls might make the footing treacherous.

Huntington Park is between the Spokane Public Library and the Spokane Falls, for those that do not know Spokane very well.

EWGS donated $1000.00 to the Spokane Library to help with the purchase of two new microfilm scanners.

Library Director Andrew Chanse, and EWGS members Barbara Brazington, Dolly Webb and Patricia Bayonne-Johnson presenting the check to Andrew.

Next was the nominating committee listing the new officers for 2016.

Patricia Bayonne-Johnson President elect
Mary Holcomb
Oweta Floyd
Juanita McBride
John Ellingson
Dolly Webb
Patricia Ayers

After the break our speaker Brusan Rhoda-Wells talked on the Greatest Generation, the Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y and Generation Z, which may be the next Greatest Generation.
Brusan is a wonderful speaker, and if you missed this meeting you missed an excellent meeting.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Metes and Bound Boundaries or Which County is My House In?

Very interesting article on finding metes and bound boundaries in North Carolina. Is that tree they used to mark the corner of your land in 1750 still there? If not, how do you know where that corner is today?

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Serendipity Day --- 24 October 2015

There has been lots of wuzz-wuzzing (my father’s words!!) about whether or not the Family History Library in Salt Lake City will keep the “real” books on their shelves after each one is digitized. Should they or shouldn’t they? James Tanner, who is eminently qualified to address this topic, in a post in his GenealogyStar blog on 1 October 2015, explained a new concept (at least to me):The Digital Divide.

This particular problem, called the Digital Divide, is the divide between genealogists who use the Internet and those who do not. Tanner, in his post, thought it would be a good thing to have all the FHL books free and available online. But after his post, he received some thoughtful comments. “Not all of the potential genealogists have access to the Internet or their access was so slow as to make the (book downloading process) impractical.”

Tanner gives several scenarios and summarizes:  “So, we have, hypothetically speaking, a class of people who have no Internet access. In addition… we have a class of people who have no physical access to the FHL or any of the branch libraries around the world. Guess what? It absolutely makes no difference to them as to whether or not the books are in paper or in digital format.”

He finishes his post by pointing out any and all of the problems connected with this peculiar condition termed the Digital Divide (and they can be many) have nothing to do with digitizing books at the FHL. “In law, raising the issue of the Digital Divide as a reason why there is something wrong with the Library’s digitization of paper books and then removing them from the shelves, would be called a “red herring,” that is, irrelevant to the issues.”

I urge you to click to and ready this entire post for yourself. While you’re there, sign up (via email) to receive all James Tanner’s thoughtful posts.


Do you long for some genealogical library research? Would you love to go to Salt Lake but that’s just not on the horizon for you right now? Would you settle for second best? How about the Heritage Quest Research Library in beautiful downtown Sumner? (1007 Main, phone 253-863-1806, website If you live near enough, you might wish to join and support the library ($30) but it’s only $5 for a non-member to use the library for a day. They have hundreds of books, hundreds of microforms, tables to work on and helpers there all day. Check their website for days and hours. Lots of neat eateries and shops also are on Main Street.


Is there a Canadian veteran in your family tree? I have, and am happily willing to give away, some Canadian veteran genealogy materials……….. items that I cannot now find online. One is a small booklet in the Remembrance Series, Canadians in Belgium (written in both English and French). I also have three leaflets, “The Faces of Peace: Veterans of the Canadian Forces,” and “D-Day and the Battle of Normandy,” and “The Italian Campaign,” all in the Canada Remembers series. If you would like these materials, the first one to email a request gets them… Would appreciate postage.

Genetic genealogy is the next tool in the tool kit of the prepared genealogists. You have your history written into yourselves. Only now are we starting to be able to read or decode that mystery in all of us.”  Bennett Greenspan, Founder & CEO, FamilyTree DNA, 2014
“This is still a baby science and there is still so much more to learn.” Cecily Kelly, 2015
Right now, today, the science of genetic genealogy is mushrooming. There is no one website, no one book and no one blog that will bring up up-to-speed on understanding this vast and tangled subject. But if you consider yourself a genealogist of tomorrow, you will begin a campaign of self-education. I have just purchased (on Amazon for pennies) these two books which I promise myself to study:

What about YOU? Share with me your plans to start your self-education in this area.


Do you already subscribe to TIME magazine? Do you know about The Vault? The TIME magazine Vault is a digital archive of all the stories, photos, and ads, from the beginning of the magazine in 1923 to the present. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to read the news that your grandparents read? Even if they didn’t read TIME magazine, to read the issue after December 7, 1941, is to read the same news that they read that day. A subscription to TIME magazine costs $40 and digital access to The Vault is included. Think of the research opportunities.


Thomas Jefferson’s Ten Rules
1.      Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.
2.      Never trouble another for what you can do yourself.
3.      Never spend your money before you have earned it.
4.      Never buy what you don’t want because it is cheap.
5.      Pride costs more than hunger, thirst and cold.
6.      We seldom repent of having eaten too little.
7.      Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly.
8.      How much pain the evils have cost us that never happened.
9.      Take things always by the smooth handle.
10.  When angry, count ten before you speak, if very angry, count a hundred.

I bought this postcard at the Historic Michie Tavern, a great eating place at the base of the mountain whereupon sits Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s home.

Do you think these are good rules for today?