Monday, June 29, 2015

Reporting On WSGS Conference Last Weekend

This last weekend I attended the Washington State Genealogical Conference 180 miles west in Ellensburg, Washington. To get there, going either direction, you must descend into the Columbia Gorge and cross the Columbia River and go back up. I think it's a beautiful ride:

 Mention it because Washington is in the grip of a most unusual heatwave. It's been really hot....... with temps that we don't usually get until August. Maybe. It was 105 in Ellensburg; 109 down at the bridge and 104 here in Spokane. The fire season is going to be awful; they've already had hundreds more so far in 2015 than last year..... and it's only June.  But you have weather awfulness in your part of the world too.

The speaker at our conference was David Rencher. Lucky for us, his wife has ties to the area and so he was agreeable to coming. David has been a "bigwig" with FamilySearch for 34 years and he KNOWS his stuff.

He started us out with questions:  "Have you a tough genealogy problem? Worried you won't solve it in your lifetime? Do you keep doing the same-old-same-old things and wondering why you have no new conclusions or answers? 

He then told us how to "frame the problem differently." Simply put, how to look at the problem differently.

He showed three pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge and explained: 

If you're driving on the bridge, you see the bridge from that angle. If you're talking to somebody down in a boat, or up in an airplane, you will not see the view of the bridge that they see.........

His point with these images of the Golden Gate Bridge is that, with regard to your tough genealogy problem, you're looking at the bridge as your drive on it. That's all you see.  But if were to see it from a boat or from the air, you'd have an entirely different perspective. You "must frame your picture differently" and then from that new angle you might see things that you did not see before. Like looking at the Golden Gate Bridge from three different angles.  

Does this make sense to you? It did to me. Of course the next question begs, how to you do this??  

Then David launched into the main theme of his talk to answer this question: descendant research. Some cousin, near or distant, might just have the answer, Bible, quilt, certificate, watch, tool, photo, letter or clipping that you so desperately seek. 

He ended his remarks by recommending a cousin-finding-connecting website called Puzilla  ( With this website you can literally find dozens of cousins. See the image? Picture you as the center dot and the lines radiate out to cousins!!

Another website that does pretty much the same thing is Kinpoint (  I've mentioned that before.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Dick Eastman Answers Rachel Dolezal's Dilemna Dolezal has recently stirred up a controversy concerning he ancestry. She resigned Monday as head of her local NAACP chapter after reports surfaced that she was born white yet has claimed she is black. If you are not familiar with this recent news story that has been on all the news networks, start at find a few hundred reports about her recent controversy. Now a professional genealogist says that Dolezal's claim is bogus.

Professional genealogist Elizabeth Banas has researched Dolezal's ancestry back to 1671 and found that her family were entirely white, including some who were Mormons. Archives show that Rachel’s ancestors came to the US from Europe and have no bloodlines linking them to slaves or to Africa. Even a great grandmother who has almost identical features to Rachel was identified as white in two census documents.

Of course, there is always a possibility of an adoption that cannot be found in official records or that a baby was switched with another at birth. However, Dolezal's parents claim that is impossible. They say Dolezal was born at home and spent her entire childhood living with her biological parents.

Details may be found in the Daily Mail at

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

City Directory Don'ts

Below is something I found in a 1936 St. Louis, Missouri, City Directory. I was browsing through this directory online at Ancestry and spotted this page and just had  to share it with all my genealogy friends:

City Directory Don'ts

DON'T put your Directory in an out-of-the-way place, but keep it where 
your customers can see and use it without stopping some one to find it. 

DON'T think that a Directory is paying for itself unless you use it any more 
than an idle clerk can make you money. 

DON'T look mad when a customer asks to look at your Directory. 

DON'T look happy when a neighbor wants to borrow your Directory, 
for if you do, he will borrow it again, and if all were borrowers, 
when would the next Directory be published? 

DON'T forget that an up-to-date city must have a Directory; 
and a merchant that has no Directory is what? 

DON'T forget that a Directory borrower today will forget to return it 
tomorrow and you will call him what?

DON'T forget that the man who has a Directory pays for it and the borrower 
gets for nothing what another man pays for. What do you call him? 

We think of a City Directory as a past-tense resource. But to the merchants and civil servants of the day it was a valuable day-to-day "now" resource.......... and one that was obtained only by paying a fee. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Spokane Falls' First Train Arrives on June 25, 1881

The website for Washington history is , The Free Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History. This is such a fun website to go browsing in, especially if you're a student of eastern Washington history.

Did you know that the first train to arrive into Spokane Falls came on June 25, 1881. Quoting from the above website, "Almost the entire town turned out to greet the officials and passengers. Graham's Band provided music. When the train arrived, the band was almost drowned out by the bell, the whistle and venting steam. Dignitaries read congratulatory telegrams to the crowd and afterward enjoyed refreshments and social events."

Did your eastern Washington living ancestors come on the train? Would have been after 1881, right?

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Victoria Genealogical Society October Seminar

The Victoria Genealogical Society is proud to report that our 2015 Annual Seminar Program is now finalized for October 24th at Victoria, BC, CAN.
We have an impressive lineup of speakers to address this year's theme, "Creating Connections Through DNA: Genetic Genealogy in the Digital Age".  More info at
I wanted to let you know with the hope that you would pass this information to your members and followers. Some may like the idea of combining a visit to Victoria with genealogy......a great little get-a-way.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Spokane, Missouri........... Did You Know?

The city of Spokane, Washington takes its name, which means "children of the stars or the Star People", from the Spokane Tribe of Native Americans. Isn't this what we've always been told? And that's what Wikipedia says too. 

Imagine my surprise a few years back when I discovered a Spokane, Missouri. This town is large enough to have a high school! How did that happen? How did a town in Missouri get the name Spokane?

At a recent visit to my sister-in-law's in Kansas City, Missouri, I was browsing her "Missouri Place Names" book. Know what it says regarding the origin of the town of Spokane, Missouri???

The book says the town is named for Spokane, Washington! Now don't that beat all, as they say. 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Printing The Membership Booklet

Printing the Membership Booklet

A while back Eastern Washington Genealogical Society decided due to cost of postage and printing to stop printing and mailing the membership list to our members. The membership list is on the society website and our webmaster set it up so you could download a PDF file of the membership list if you wanted a copy on your own computer, so I downloaded a copy for me. It was 22 pages long and included a nice cover page and the society by-laws just like the old copies we used to receive by mail.

Since it was a PDF file I went to Adobe Reader to look at the file, and since I wanted a hard copy for a project I was doing I wanted to print a copy. When I went to the print box up came a list of ways to print the file, and one said print a booklet, so I hit that one and the printer started printing. What surprised me was it printed half size, so two pages on each sheet, and then it turned over the paper and printed on the back of the same sheet of paper. Out came 6 pages all in order and when folded in half I had the whole 22 pages printed.

Now I had bought a new printer a Brother all in in one, and it had duplex printing. I did not have a clue what that meant until I found out it will print on both sides of a sheet of paper which is a big paper saver. I also have an older Kodak printer and I did not know it had duplex printing also, but it does and will print booklets also. So do you have a duplex printer? Have you printed a booklet?