Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Workshops by Kim Morgan Upcoming in Hayden, Idaho

Upcoming Workshops We will meet at Hayden Library through June and then take a summer break.
Saturday, April 301:00-3:00 p.m. Finding Ancestors We Didn't Know We Had
  • You may not find a paper trail leading to an elusive family member. Ancestors who live​d in counties where courthouses burned down may have had important land records destroyed with the courthouse. Some ancestors were just clannish people and distrusted the government, or purposefully disappeared from relatives. There are many reasons why no records exist for an ancestor. You can find your ancestor and something of his or her life and family. Get creative with those private or record-less ancestors. You got this!

Saturday, May 21, 2016 1:00-4:00 p.m. 
Diggin' It! An Open Forum and Family History Day of Sharing 
Topic: 7 Golden Rules of Genealogy You've Never Heard Before presented by Kim Morgan

Q & A Panel of Experts: Brick Walls and Old Stumps Gone Forever
Individual Presentations, Group Projects and Exhibit Tables: What did you learn from our 5-month series on Albion's Seed and Mapping Religions?
  • Shameless Bragging
  • Keeping Stories Alive. No Story Too Small
  • Great Moments In Genealogy 
  • Games and Trivial Pursuit
  • Prizes/Free giveaways
  • Pitch-In Refreshments (A hillbilly version of a Potluck!)

Saturday, June 11, 1:00 p.m. Finding Your Ancestors. Resource Day to share books such Irish and Ulster-Irish, German, England and reference and history books, and other great research aids. 
Guest Speaker Darwin Kellicut: Finding My Genealogical Holy Grail in Tralee, Ireland!
For other Special Events, visit

Tuesday, May 10th 7:00-8:00 p.m.Your Immigrant Ancestors: Writing a Quality Narrative 
  • Location: Hayden Lake Family History Center 2293 W. Hanley Avenue, Coeur d’Alene, West end of the Building.
  • A free writing class presented by Kim Morgan. The saga of migration from the Old World to New World, tends to be the most dramatic and momentous chapter in American family history. You have researched that story for at least some of your immigrant ancestors and discovered many other stories about your family’s past as well. Now it’s time to share them!
Please keep in touch and feel free to forward this message to friends. I'd love to hear about your current genealogy project. As always I look forward to seeing you soon.

Your Friend,

Kim E. Morgan

Monday, April 25, 2016

Serendipity Day

Did you get the answers to my trivia-quiz?  The sun never sets in northern Norway from May 12 until August 1st………….. no wonder one reason possibly why our Norwegian ancestors wanted to come to the sunny U.S. Midwest.  Robinson Caruso was the fictional character created by Scottish sailor Alexander Selkirk.  And it was true, the Spanish Flu sprang to life at Fort Riley, Kansas, was carried over to Europe and then back to the U.S. Who guessed correctly?


Few weeks back I explained a bit about burned counties. (From James Tanner’s Genealogy’s Star blog, Monday, March 7th.) I referred you to the FamilySearch Research Wiki, article on “Burned Counties Research,” and the map that accompanied this Wiki article.  One thing we must realize is that a burned courthouse is not the end of the records or the research world. Tanner explained in that post that if/when you encounter a burned county, “look for records in adjoining counties and other jurisdictions….. here are some of the places you might start looking:”
·         University libraries, especially special collections sections
·         Local, county and state libraries
·         Adjoining counties
·         State and local archives
·         Local and state historical societies
“Remember,” Tanner added, “that the same type of information you are searching for may also be in alternative records kept in another level of jurisdiction. A good place to start is a record selection table. See the Research Wiki, “United States Record Selection Table.”

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

EWGS Loses A Past President

Marie Stone Larson was EWGS president from 1972-1973; her obituary was in The Spokesman Review today. If you'd like to read the obit and/or leave a message in the online guest book, Google and click to Thornhill Valley Chapel. She was 89 years young.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Spokane Pot of Stew?

Paul Turner, a favorite columnist in our paper, The Spokesman Review, had a really cool definition thing to say in his column last Sunday, March 13th......................

He wrote, "(I am) saluting everyone who came to Spokane from the other 49 states.... all ingredients in our big pot of Spokane stew."

What nationality did your family bring to Spokane??

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Spotlight on the Top Notch Cafe in Colfax

As you've driven through Colfax to points south, you've likely zoomed right past the Top Notch Cafe without even really noticing. Too bad.

The Top Notch Cafe looks much like it did when the doors opened way back in 1938. Still a long, narrow cafe, with booths, bar and stools and the original wooden backboard. 

The waitresses' shirts tell the tale: Home of the World's Best Burger, and after lunch there last week I'd be hard pressed to disagree. As he flips the ten different kinds of burgers, the cook is singing! That's an unusual treat. 

According to (the website for Washington State History), Colfax was named for Schuyler Colfax, the VP to President U.S. Grant in the years 1869-1873. Whitman County was signed into being on January 29, 1871 and Colfax was born on January 14, 1879. 

This is not an ad for the Top Notch Cafe, although it could be. My point here is that we zoom past history too often without giving it a second thought. Do stop the next trip north or south on U.S. 95.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Serendipity Day!

Few days ago, Cyndi’s List turned 20 years old! That’s a marvelous genealogy milepost…to think that all by herself Cyndi Ingle has created, maintained and updated this everybody-uses-it website for all to use FOR FREE.  For a birthday gift to Cyndi to mark this accomplishment, I proffer that it’s time to give her a gift………..I just made a donation to her website.  Click on the link below and read Judy Russell’s article and then (if you’re so moved) click on the DONATE link and (as Capt. Jean Luc Picard says) “Make it so!”  Here’s the link:


While we were in Hawaii in February, on the Big Island, we visited a heiau or ancient sacred temple site of the Hawaiian people. At the Visitor’s Center, I met Nani, who explained to me that she was an ali’I, or royalty, and was a direct descendant of King Kamehameha. Wow. I asked if I could take her picture.

Upon returning to my own desk, I did some Googling. King Kamehameha died a bachelor in 1872. So that nixes that. But there are surviving collateral lines, according to the websites I searched.  Here is a photo of the royal family:  King Kamehameha III is in the center; his wife is to his left; Kamehameha IV is to the left rear; Kamehameha V is to the right rear; their sister is to the lower right.


I was fascinated by all the Hawaiian street names. Most were Hawaiian but I spotted these:  Pszyk, Peck, Oshiro, Volcano, and Pu’u O’o. I’d guess that 80% of street names were Hawaiian but these others reflect the mixture of cultures in these islands over the decades.


I was doing some FamilySearch Indexing the other evening. The batch was English Probates from 1936; easy to read for it was all printed! I could not help but smile as I spotted the stated professions, not of the deceased, but of the beneficiaries: Dental Surgeon,  Solicitor,  Cabinet Maker,  Farmer,  Surgical Appliance Maker,  Colliery Fitter (has to do with mining),  Butcher,  Poultry Keeper,  Licensed Victualler,  Chaplain H.M. forces,  Locomotive Engineer Driver,  Cloth Merchant,  Carpenter,  Marine Engineer,  Baker,  Coal Miner,  Wholesale Fruit Merchant and Ferry Employee.  I wondered just how many of those occupations would be listed as such today?  And back then, no TV Sportscaster, or Computer Tech. (And by the by, my total is nearly 12,000 records indexed. How about you?)

We’ve been told by everybody who is anybody in the genealogy world, and many from other worlds, to have more than one good computer backup. Many, including Thomas MacEntee, recommend a 2TB portable hard drive (“buy the biggest one you can get!”). But what brand is the best?  A good, reliable, online backup service is Backblaze ( and their website offers a quarterly “Hard Drive Reliability Review.” You might consider using Backblaze ($5 per month) and for sure reading their advice about buying a reliable portable hard drive.


How many of you did photobook projects with MyCanvas, a subsidiary of Ancestry? I had done four projects with MyCanvas myself.  So I was all eyes when reading a recent email from Ancestry:  “As of 4 April 2016, you will no longer have access to your original MyCanvas projects stored on Good news, you can transfer your projects to the new MyCanvas now owned by Alexander’s and continue working.”  Click to and follow the links to transfer your projects. And better be doing it asap!


Do you enjoy learning new words? I surely do.  My latest word is irenic. If used as an adjective it means “aiming or aimed at peace.”  If used as a noun it means “a part of Christian theology concerned with reconciling different denominations and sects.”   How would you use this word in a sentence? 

Friday, February 12, 2016

Serendipity Day, Friday, 12 Feb 2016

Hello again from a soggy, sunless Spokane.....but daffodils are up! Glad to share some serendipity today with you all..................  Donna

This is a most intriguing announcement from Microsoft:

Microsoft introduced a new app on Thursday that anyone with a dog should play with because it's a lot of fun.
It's called Fetch!, and it's available for iPhones and on the web. It uses artificial intelligence techniques to classify images of real-world dogs into breeds. On the web, users can upload a photo of a dog, or you can take a picture of your pet using your phone's camera.
If you upload a picture of, say, a Rhodesian ridgeback, Microsoft should be able to confirm the dog's breed.

It's the latest in a line of fun, silly apps released by Microsoft Garage, an "outlet for experimental projects" that are designed to show off creative and unexpected ways to apply Microsoft's expertise in artificial intelligence. In the past year, Microsoft has released apps that detect and measures mustaches in photos or guesses your age, for example.
Like Microsoft's other AI apps, Fetch! should become more accurate as users upload more photos and data. More technical information is available here.
Fetch! is already fairly accurate. Here it identified the breed of a dog belonging to one of BI's reporters.

Wouldn’t it be fun to upload a photo of the dog in an ancestral photo to see what kind of dog they had? Probably a “Heinz 57” more often than not, but I think I’ll try this out!


I have recently become aware of a genealogical deficiency of mine…. Not uploading stories, photos and documentation for my ancestors. So I recently created a tree on MyHeritage and titled it “Oswald Descendants 1911.”  John Peter Oswald and Mary Ethel Leverich were married in 1911, had five children and now a score of grandchildren. I set up this private website as a forum where any and all members of this family could post about their newest additions and learn more about their cousins.  But I do plan to post more about John Peter and Mary Ethel.

Now to the point of this blurb. I asked my sis-in-law to write up the story of her mom, Esther Mary,  (and my children’s great-grandmother) for this MyHeritage tree. She replied, “Mother did that herself…… didn’t I send it to you?” I replied in the negative and she rooted around, found it and sent it to me. Esther finished her autobiography just four years before she died. And I never knew about it! Sharon only THOUGHT she’d shared it with me!

Apply this to your own situation. How many family biographies for your family are out there and you have never asked about them???????

This next is too wonderful not to share……….a real story of lost and found after considerable effort. This was a thank you letter from Susan M. after I reunited her with a postcard of a building her grandfather designed:

Dear Donna, Oh, thank you for sending the postcard!  My great-grandfather and his partner were the two who designed Thompson Hall (on the WSU campus). It has gone through a couple of renovations over the years but the exterior look as original.
The story of how I found you (and the postcard) was so interesting:
Since I had not spent much time research this great-grandfather in several years, I decided to see what new details I might find online. I did the usual and Googled various word combinations and came across an article in the summer 2014 issue of the WSGS (Washington State Gen Soc) blog. In it was a submission by someone who said they found the postcard of 1903 postcard. The blog author said that she found the postcard at an estate sale while recently visiting Virginia, of all places. I immediately recognized the building and so set about to local the person who submitted the article. I thought the submitter was Susan Davis Faulkner so I asked Sue Erickson of our Yakima Valley Genealogy Society if they knew how to find her. I phoned her and found out she was in the middle of a move. I offered to give her six months to get settled and I’d call back. Later the story I gave her about the article didn’t ring bells; and in fact she had never been to Virginia so I was on the wrong track. I looked up the mention again and found Charles Hansen’s name attached. I looked up his phone number online and called. He was not the one who had the postcard but he believed it was Donna Phillips as she had been in Virginia about the time in question. He was kind enough to get in touch with his good friend, Donna, and had her call me. So after about eight months I found the right person! Donna was kind enough to give up her claim to the postcard that meant so much to me, and she sent it to me. Long story, but true. It pays to persevere. Note: postage required on that 1903 postcard was one penny. I hope this gives you food for the newsletter and hope others can find this treasure hunting experience helpful in their searches.  Again thank you, Susan M.


Follow-up report from RootsTech:  James Tanner, author of Genealogy’s Star blog and a very reputable and knowlegeable genealogist of many facets explained this in a blog post just prior to the RootsTech event:  “Unless you live in a cave all by yourself, you can hardly be unaware of the progress of digitalization…. In genealogy, the changes with the most impact involve the growth on online databases with billions upon billions of digitized records….. With very few exceptions, today I can do more than 90% of the research I did over the space of 15 or 20 years, in a few hours over a few weeks online….(it’s wonderful) that today many people can make significant progress in discovering their family in a much shorter period of time by working online.”

And James Tanner’s point? Use your computer, smart phone, tablet or iPad to the fullest when doing your genealogy. As the Ancestry ads quipped a sort time ago, “You don’t need to know where to look, you just need to look!”

There is no good reason not to post, search for, or start your family tree online for the most wonderful of reasons:  to connect with cousins and to find more family facts. 


For some warm-funnies to end with, these images were taken at the Eastern Washington Branch of the Washington State Digital Archives, Cheney, Washington. Spotting the Register of Prisoners books on the shelf, I had to have a looksee. I was intrigued both by seeing that these bad boys (ca 1900) had come to Spokane from all over the world, and second that their offense was so benign by today’s standards!