Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Ulster Historical Foundation News Flash

Ulster Historical Foundation
Telling the story of the people of Ulster since 1956

Tracing Your Irish Ancestors                                                            

Since the website for our September 2015 family history conference went live, we have been delighted by the response and the number of registrations received. The extensive and innovative programme of Tracing Your Irish Ancestors is clearly striking a chord with people and we are looking forward to meeting all the participants. For more information please access or email

Publications              takes the stress out of Christmas shopping with books to suit a variety of interests at very competitive prices including Dr William Roulston’s magisterial history of the Hamilton family, Abercorn: The Hamilton’s of Barons Court (including the leather bound limited edition) and Dr Kathleen Rankin’s critically acclaimed, The Linen Houses of the Bann Valley (currently reduced to only £19.99). Furthermore, in addition to our existing selection of many special offers (and don’t forget the great reductions on most of our Ordnance Survey Memoirs ) we are pleased to include the following:

  • Researching Scots-Irish Ancestors: The Essential Genealogical Guide to Early Modern Ulster, 1600-1800, was £11.99 now just £5.00
  • George Sigerson: Poet, Patriot, Scientist and Scholar, was £16.99 now just £5.00
  • Feis na nGleann: A Century of Gaelic Culture in the Antrim Glens, was £9.99 now just £5.00
  • The Strabane Barony during the Ulster Plantation, 1607-41 was £9.99 now just £5.00
  • John Henry Biggart: Pathologist, Professor and Dean of Medical Faculty, Queen’s University Belfast, was £9.99 now just £5.00

Our facsimile reprint of Patrick Woulfe’s Sloinnte Gaedeal is Gall (Irish Names and Surnames) has now become available and thanks to the many of you who placed pre-publication orders. Sloinnte Gaedeal is Gall is priced at £8.99. If you are also interested in the popular, The Book of Ulster Surnames, both books are now available at the special price of only £10.00.

Please note all online book orders are subject to postage and packing charge.

In addition to great books at great prices you might consider investing in an Ulster Historical Foundation Gift Certificate, (from £30.00) which may be used to buy a family history report, family starter kit or books. The ideal present for the novice or more experienced family history researcher.

Support the Foundation
The Foundation is a registered self- supporting educational charity. We are proud that over the years, support from members and friends and the proceeds from our range of services has proved sufficient to meet the many challenges of operating in a difficult economic environment. However we must acknowledge the fact that the imminent substantial cuts in public spending announced recently by the Northern Ireland Executive are a major cause for concern and will certainly have a significant impact on our project work, educational and community outreach and historical consultancy services. While we are confident that our experience, expertise and the diligence of our staff will continue to stand us in good stead, we would be most grateful if you would feel able to make a donation (of whatever size) to help ensure the continuation of our work. Your assistance can make a real difference, as was evident in our successful Scanner and Buy A Brick campaigns. For details on how to donate, please click on the donate button located on the top right hand side of our home page, Thank you for your consideration.

Upcoming Events:
"Winter Solstice Talk" in Waterman House, 5-33 Hill St., Belfast

Eamon Keenan, a storyteller from Belfast with a passion for the ancient irish mythologies, will entertain and surprise us with stories that relate to Yule traditions. For more information contact or phone 02890543159.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Spokane, Washington High School Yearbooks Available Online

June 1915 edition of North Central High School's Tamarack

The Spokane Public Library recently announced that a free new digital collection of historical Spokane-area high school yearbooks is now accessible through their website. This collection is made available with the cooperation of the Spokane Public Schools and the Internet Archive. All the yearbooks are full-text searchable. Each is available in a variety of formats, making it viewable on many devices, including your laptop, Kindle, or phone. They can be downloaded to your computer or other device as well.

The following is a current list of yearbooks available, with the high school it features and the years that are covered. Note that in the early twentieth century, it was not uncommon to have two yearbooks per school year, to highlight seniors who graduated mid-year, as well as those who graduated at year's end.

Hillyard High School (no longer in existence): 1930-1931

Lewis and Clark High School: June 1920 - 1977

North Central High School: May 1912 - January 1915

Spokane High School (no longer in existence): January and June 1911

The yearbooks can be accessed through the Spokane Public Library website at

Saturday, December 6, 2014

WWII Enlistment Records Online at NARA

Dick Eastman's column today had an article on the WWII Enlistment records that NARA has just transcribed and put online ( ). Click on WWII records when you get to this website. I found the enlistment record for both my dad and his younger brother. I knew most of the information on the record for my dad, and parts of the information on my uncle.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Bits & Pieces & the December 6th Meeting

Saturday, December 6
1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
Spokane Public Library Auditorium, Downtown Spokane

Super year-end event.  Our EWGS members will share stories and tips from their own experiences. They will tell us about their research rewards and the excitement of learning details about their ancestors. Also combined with this program will be a "show and tell" session.   Door Prizes!!
Cookies and coffee time begin at 12:30 p.m.  Meeting starts at 1:00 p.m.
Please bring 18 or 24 of your favorite holiday goodies for our cookie swap.  No store bought please. If there is a story you have,  like about Great Grandma's Spritz Cookies, please write a recipe card and the history.  Don't forget to sign your name, and add it to your plate. Plans are in the works to make a EWGS cook book.

Can't bake? Don't worry there will be plenty, relax and enjoy, this is a party!

Please bring your family treasures to display and to tell us about. This just might just give you some ideas of what to do with that ephemera you've collected. Please also let me know if you are bringing a family treasure to "show and tell." 

If you have questions about our party, or would like to tell me about the family treasure you plan to bring, give me a call, Mary Holcomb, or call 509-327-5337. 


"She enjoyed being in the limelight!"  Ever heard that? Any idea what it meant or where the term comes from? Here's the answer:  Limelight was once used to illuminate the stages of theaters. A brilliant light resulting from burning lime transformed the actors on stage in such a way that the audience knew they were witnessing something special. Now you know? I wonder how burning lime smelled???

My dear friend Beth, who lives in Minneapolis, and is proud of her pure German ancestry, recently shared this quote with me about the German peoples. The quote is from Alexander Solzhenitsyn. "The German is like a willow. No matter which way you bend him, he will always take root again."  What do you make of this? Do you see your German ancestors as being that flexible? Please leave a comment below.

Monday, November 24, 2014

EWGS December 6th Meeting & FamilySearch Wiki

Saturday, December 6, 12:30 to 3:00 ---Come join in the fun!

Family Memories & Holiday Festivities (EWGS Meeting)

Spokane Public Library Auditorium, Downtown Spokane

Presenter: EWGS Members

Super year-end event.  Our EWGS members will share stories and tips from their own experiences.  They will tell us about their research rewards and the excitement of learning details about their ancestors.  Also combined with this program will be a "show and tell" session.  Door Prizes!! Cookies and coffee time begin at 12:30 pm.  Meeting starts at 1:00 pm
Program: Holiday break: bring 18 or 24 of your favorite holiday goodies.  No store bought please.  If there is a story like Great Grandma's spritz, please write a recipe card and the history.  Don't forget to sign your name, and add it to your plate.  Plans are to make a EWGS cook book.
Can't bake?  Don't worry, there will be plenty.  Relax and enjoy...... this is a party!
Display of family treasures that might just give you some ideas of what to do with those ephemera we genealogists collect.
If you have something you would like to share, please contact Mary Holcomb 
or call 327-5337.  We want to have plenty of space to display our treasures.  And more treasures are needed.


Take some of your extra or relaxing time over the holidays to do some personal enrichment or learning. How much do you know about the FamilySearch Wiki?

The Wiki "is not about finding the names of your ancestors.  It is not, in fact, about finding people at all.  The Wiki is about finding records that may have been generated about your ancestors and the places in which the records might be found."     This is a quote from the website, .  The FamilySearch Wiki is a "place-records-tutorial & how-to" place for learning. 

Need to decipher German handwriting? Need to know about cemeteries in Iowa? Need to know about Castle Garden? Need to know about finding records in China? There is a Wiki entry for that!  Go find out for yourself. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Who Pushed Thanksgiving To Be A Holiday?

Just how did Thanksgiving become a national holiday? With big thanks to American Spirit, magazine of the Daughter of the American Revolution, Nov-Dec 2015, for this information (from which article I liberally quoted).

We can thank Sarah Joseph Buell Hale who convinced President Lincoln to issue that famous proclamation.

Sarah Josepha Buell was born in New Hampshire in 1788. In 1813 she married David Hale who left her a widow with five young children in 1821.

Having to support her children, Sarah took to writing was was successfully published. While she was self-educated she pushed for women's rights and wrote many editorials using her authority to promote a variety of causes she was passionate about.

In 1837, Sarah wrote the first of many editorials aimed at making Thanksgiving a national holiday. At the time, it was observed at the state level, usually on the last Thursday in November. Sarah kept up her efforts through the 1840s  and in 1860 she wrote, "This year the last Thursday in November falls on the 29th. If all the States and Territories hold their Thanksgiving on that day there will be a complete moral and social reunion of the people of America in 1860. Would this not be a good omen for the perpetual political union of the States? May God grant us not only the omen but the fulfillment is our dearest wish!"

The clouds of the Civil War were gathering on the horizon and Sarah felt them keenly and dreaded what the war would bring to her country, family and friends.

After one more letter to him in September 1863, finally on October 3, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation making the last Thursday in November a national day of Thanksgiving.  Not fully satisfied, Sarah continued her efforts into 1871 pressing Congress to enact legislation proclaiming a set date for Thanksgiving.

When you gather friends and family, and serve that roast turkey this year on November 27th, remember Sarah Josepha Buell Hall for helping establish this holiday.

Remember, too, that in the fall of 1863 the war was raging and yet President Lincoln took time for this. That tells me how important this day really is.  Donna

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

EWGS Makes Money From YOUR Shopping!

EWGS, now approaching their 80th birthday continues striving to provide their members, and the community, educational and self-learning growth opportunties.  

We do this by being able to have the funds available to support workshops, research classes and seminars to mention just a few activities.  

One way to acquire these funds is to develop partnerships with vendors that offer products and genealogical research tools.   In return, these vendors give EWGS a small referral fee for each sale they get from our referral.   We carefully select companies that we feel reflect our dedication to genealogy research  to help our members and the community with their journey in finding their ancestors.

On our web site, you will find a new TAB:  Shop and Support EWGS.  The companies we currently have partnerships with are:,,,   We hope when you are joining or renewing services from our partners, you will remember to access them through our web site. 

You can also qualify for discounts from some of our partners which are available through our web site. If you know of any company that shares our interest in genealogy please let our web managers know so they can add them to our partnership program. You can contact them by emailing to: