Friday, September 4, 2015

Serendipity Friday

Thank you Jeanne Coe!  Jeanne, a past president of the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society handed me a copy at a recent meeting that came from the website She had printed out the bit about Washington got its name. “On August 29, 1851, 27 male settlers met at Cowlitz Landing (south of present-day Olympia) to petition Congress for a Columbia Territory separate from Oregon covering the area between the Columbia River and the 49th parallel. The petition was reaffirmed by 44 delegates who met in Monticello on November 25, 1852. Congress approved the new territory on February 10, 1853 but changed its name to Washington in honor of the first president of the U.S. It was President Millard Fillmore who signed the papers creating Washington State on November 11, 1889. Did you know these details?


Does your genealogical society’s seeming lack of enthusiasm to participate get you down? Perhaps this will help. This is a blurb from the September 1975 issue of the EWSG newsletter and was titled: “There’s a Hitch to It.”  (No author given.)

With his thumb up, a hitchhiker says, “You furnish the gas, car, attend to the repairs and upkeep, supply the insurance and I’ll ride with you. But if you have an accident, I’ll sue you for damages.”
This sounds pretty one-sided but one wonders how many hitchhikers there are in many organizations and even churches. Many members seem to say, “You go to the meetings, serve on boards and committees, do the paper work, contact the legislators and take care of things that need doing and I’ll just do along for the ride. And if things don’t suit my fancy, I will complain, criticize and probably get out and hitchhike to another group.”

Hitchhiker or driver, which one are you???


Did your ancestors settle in western states and were first landowners? If so, you can find the information about their land at Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington, and Wyoming land records were recently added to the database. I don’t have ancestors in those states but I did find great-great-grandfather in Kansas. Doing a search on some surnames of those I know settled in these areas produced a lot of results. Check this database for your ancestors. Read the article about these 3.3 million original landowners added to -
(Jeanine Barndt is the Head Librarian for the Heritage Quest Research Library in beautiful downtown Sumner, Washington; this bit is from the HQRL Newsletter for Fall 2015.)

We all know the nursery rhyme, Yankee Doodle. Did you ever wonder what this part really meant:  Stuck a feather in his hat and called it macaroni. Well I just found out!  Reading Edward Rutherfurd’s  New York (2010), on page 197, and the year is 1765:  “Some months ago, word had arrived of a new g roup of dandies in London. Macaronis, they called themselves. They had taken to parading round London’s West End and their extravagant plumed hats and jeweled swords had caused quite a scandal……”  A character in the book fears that the custom will seep into New York “by the next boat,” he felt that such a public extravagance could only be an offense to most people in hard-pressed New York. “Don’t let any of your family dress up like a Macaroni,” he urged.  Now you know.

“Jon” is a regular patron using the Genealogy Section of the downtown Spokane Public Library. He is not a member of EWGS nor is he interested in our meetings or classes. But he is a dedicated researcher. I recently found him studying books from our set of The Domesday Books (“a manuscript record of the ‘Great Survey” of much of England and parts of Wales completed in1086 by King William the Conqueror; it contains the records of 13,418 settlements in the English countryside). And my point is this: A genealogy library serves all wonderful sorts of patrons and we librarians must never think that “Oh, nobody uses THOSE books so let’s put them into storage,” or worse yet, donates them to the next book sale. Do you have a set of The Domesday Books in your collection? Do your library patrons use those books? If not, the probable reason why is that they don’t know about them and how to benefit from studying them. Spokane Jon could teach them!

Judy Russell, The Legal Genealogist, was one of the speakers at the recent NWGC (Northwest Genealogical Conference). As you would guess, and knowing she is/was a lawyer, she speaks on exacting and precise topics. Her blog post of 14 August 2015 was a tribute to the many and good records in our Evergreen State.

“Eighteenth in size among the states, 13th in population, known for its timber and aircraft industry, home of the Kennewick Man and the Space Needle, Washington State is also home to some truly amazing genealogical resources.”
Then Judy took an entire page worth to list and describe some of our resources, and ended with “This is truly a comprehensive and amazing resource for anyone with Washington State research to be done. So check it out….. the Evergreen State has a lot to offer.”
We thank you, Judy, for your sure and kind words about our Pacific Northwest home.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Patron "Jon" & the Domesday Books

Spokane Public Library patron, "Jon," usually smiles when he's working in the Genealogy Section. He comes downtown to the library regularly and dives deep into his special interests:  Old English history and genealogy.

I surprised him at work last week. He was using The Domesday Books, a set of very esoteric books sitting on the shelves in the Genealogy Collection.

These books were the result of William the Conqueror (or King William I) wanting to know just how much land, people and resources he had come to rule. In a loose sense of the word, Domesday was the first census in England in 1086.

EWGS has had these books for years but how many members (or the public) know they are there? Know what they are? Know how to use them?

Fast forward to this next question:  How many EWGS members fail to make the effort to visit our downtown library's Genealogy Collection?  Yes, it is a bit of an effort to get there, but once there you are in for a great day or afternoon of researching. Come on a Tuesday when EWGS volunteer helpers are there waiting for you.

If you have really ancient English history, The Domesday Books might be something for you.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Labor Day Weekend Freebies at Ancestry & NEGHS

  • Ancestry launched its new Probate and Wills collection today: 170 million pages of records from from all 50 states spread over 337 years (1668-2005). These are searchable by name. To celebrate, this collection PLUS all of Ancestry's birth, marriage, and death records are FREE to access NOW through Monday, September 7th, at 8:59 p.m. Pacific Time. Keep in mind:
    • The collections are not complete for each state. Counties are missing, some just have indexes, some date ranges are limited.
    • "Probates and Wills" can mean other court records, too. I found divorce, guardianship, and commitment papers (to a state hospital) for several individuals I was searching.
    • If you don't already have an Ancestry subscription, you'll need to create a free login.
    • For best results, use the "Any Event" search fields (date, location) rather than the "Death" search field.
  • The website of the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS),, is offering free access to their Census, Tax and Voters Lists from now until Wednesday, September 9th. 
    • If you don't already have an AmericanAncestors subscription, you'll need to create a free login.
    • They tend to have a lot of New York State records, so if you don't have New England ancestors, but do have New York ones, check it out.
Have a safe weekend, and Happy Hunting!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Report from the annual EWGS retreat, 30 August 2015

While this photo is a year old, it is a lovely picture of our "Tuesday Gals" and Spokane Public Library Director Andrew Chanse (back left). (Mayor David Condon also appears in this photo, wearing the yellow tie.) 

And the "gal" right in the center is Patricia Bayonne-Johnson, who at the retreat announced that she is willing to become the next EWGS president, subject of course, to the election of the membership. That news was received with smiles and applause.

Another item of business came from Mary Holcomb and Barb Brazington (both at top right). Apparently the Spokane Public Library is having a "feasibility study" on the usage and space for materials at the downtown library. Big thanks to all the Tuesday Gals, and especially Barb and Mary, for keeping on top of these sorts of developments because they greatly impact EWGS.

Most of the Board and Committee Chairs were in attendance and the programs for 2016 were discussed and decided upon. We promise you great programs for 2016 so please stay tuned. 

Personal note from Donna:  EWGS could not function without the dedicated volunteer help of 30-some EWGS members who are always giving of their time and talents for the cause of promoting EWGS. They are the heart and soul of EWGS; I thank them all.

And if you are asked to accept a position to be of help to EWGS, please accept and know that you are joining a great team.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Serendipity Monday

Serendipity Monday

Highlights of today’s post:
·         Using Pinterest for Genealogy
·         Association for Gravestone Studies
·         Flipster
·         Spotlight on Wilbur, Washington
·         “Skulls among Goodwill donations.”

The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) magazine, American Spirit, carried an article by Maureen Taylor in their Sept-Oct 2014 issue. Titled “5 Ways to Use Pinterest for Genealogy” it was a good read. Taylor offered these five ways to use this social media website:
·         Follow your favorites…. Like Ancestry, MyHeritage, FamilyTree Magazine, etc. “These sites’ boards feature abundant research tips.”
·         Keep track of your sources for research…. Keep images of books you’ve checked, or want to check.
·         Create boards for ancestors….. quoting Taylor:  “Create a photo album of your ancestors’ lives using photographs, documents found online (if allowed) and links to images of places they lived….” 
·         Document local history……… could do a “come visit this area and do genealogy” by listing/showing the repositories in your area.
·         Compile a virtual family history cookbook……..

If this “piques your beak,” as they say, click to and order a copy of Thomas MacEntee’s book, Pinning Your Family History, for your Kindle for a whopping $2.99.


Ever hear of The Association for Gravestone Studies? This is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the study and preservation of grave markers. Founded in 1977, AGSincreases public awareness of the significance of historic grave markers and cemeteries and links groups and individuals that share its interests. For a membership of $20 annually, you will receive their annual journal, Markers, their quarterly magazine and their monthly newsletter. Contact them at  The group is headquartered in Greenfield, Massachusetts.


Flipster is now available…. This fun app is available for free from your community library (maybe). Some 40 e-magazines are available from any computer, laptop or mobile device as long as you’re connected to the Internet. This is a free digital magazine service provided courtesy of your library. The Flipster app manages your magazine online from the Flipster website for anytime viewing on your iPad, computer, or mobile dvice. The magazines you know and love are  available digitally…. All you need is your library card. Check to see if your library offers this service.


If you’ve ever driven to the westside (or home to the eastside) on Highway 2, then you’ve gone through the town of Wilbur in Lincoln County. The town was named for founding father, Samuel Wilbur Condon, and was finally incorporated in August 1890. Old Samuel claimed he discovered the site in the 1860s and established his ranch on Good Creek. Samuel Wilbur Condon died in January 1895 in a gunfight over a woman…… he had been married and divorced from two Indian women and was the father of three sons. Another claim to fame for Wilbur is that M.E. Hay, Washington governor from 1909-1912, was born in Wilbur.   The Big Bend Historical Society Museum, just off the main street, has many items on display including the gun taken from the dead hand of Samuel Wilbur Condon. 

In August of 2014, our paper, The Spokesman Review, carried an article from the Seattle Times“Skulls among Goodwill donations.”   Quoting the article:  “Three human skulls turned up last month among the donations to a Goodwill store in Bellevue. Employees at the store found the skulls in a donation bin. Once workers realized they were human, they reported the find to the King County Medical Examiner’s Office.”  The article ended with, “The Medical Examiner’s Office is seeking help from the public to track down the person who donated the skulls to Goodwill……….”   Yah, I guess so!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Might EWGS help to find owner of this bracelet??

    Our local paper, The Spokesman-Review, carried this most interesting article:

    Spokane woman seeks to identify owner of engraved bracelet
    The Spokesman‑Review
    9 hours ago - Kevin 9-22-1966. • There are no stamps or marks on the bracelet, which is probably made of brass. If you know whom the bracelet belongs to,  ...

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

2015 Rest Stop Fundraiser a Glowing Success!

Kathy Bowen and Charlotte Sullivan pose on Saturday afternoon at the Westbound Sprague Lake Rest Stop.
Photographed by EWGS member John Wilson. Used with permission.

Saturday and Sunday, August 1st and 2nd, members of Eastern Washington Genealogical Society manned the free coffee station at the Westbound Sprague Lake rest stop along Interstate 90, about 40 miles west of Spokane. Supplied with gallons of coffee and tens of dozens of cookies, the volunteers brought in $671.08 in donations that weekend! It was a great opportunity to meet with people from not just all over the Inland Empire, but from around the continent as well! Questions about genealogy and family history and about our society were answered, and people were invited to either attend one of our own meetings or to contact their local public library to discover where a genealogical society in their home town meets.

Not only were our volunteers dedicated, they were brave. A wildfire just a few miles east of the rest stop grew into 600 acres and burned up to the interstate in some places.

The monies we raised will help to fund and increase our wonderful genealogical collection (books, CDs, microfilm, loose files, and more!) housed on the third floor of the downtown branch of the Spokane Public Library at 906 West Main Avenue in Spokane.

Miriam Robbins, Rest Stop Fundraiser Chairperson, would like to publicly thank the following individuals who volunteered in some capacity or another, whether it was purchasing or baking cookies and/or manning the station (or both):

Pat Ayers
Janette Birch
Tony Birch
Dianne Bongarts
Kathy Bowen
Jeanne Coe
Dan Cotton
May Cotton
Nancy Denton
Doug Floyd
Oweta Floyd
Leah Hansel
Charles Hansen
Janet Ingram
Patty Jenkins
Juanita McBride
Lola McCreary
Ernie Preedy
Jan Preedy
Linda Rainey
Betty Rhoda
Tammy Rizzuto
Evelyn Small
Charlotte Sullivan
Clarinda Troeme
Landa Vierra
Fran Wicht
Linda Wilke
John Wilson
Jeanette Zeromski

We have such a wonderful group of caring people who are so willing to give of their time and money to keep our society growing!