Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Fun Facts & Trivia


What would December be without a blooming amaryllis? In any of their gorgeous colors, they are the quintessential December flower. Did you know that according to Greek mythology, the first amaryllis grew from the droplets of blood of the nymph Amaryllis, who was smitten with a handsome but aloof shepherd named Alteo. That beautiful flower helped win his heart.  Well, now you know!

Here's a tantilizer for you: How many "people" are you? Daughter - Child - Mother - Parent - Sister - Sibling - Wife - Spouse - Niece - Grandmother - Granddaughter - Aunt - Cousin - Great-grandmother - Mother-in-law - FRIEND ........ can you add something I missed?  Could do the same thing for gentlemen.

The New England Historic Genealogical Society announced that they're offering a Genealogists Handbook for Portuguese Research. There will be some folks delighted with that bit of news.  (Click to www.AmericanAncestors.org) 

Here's how to fool people and make a new document look old:  Create a sample on plain paper with black or dark brown pencil.  Make a dark, strong tea and let it cool. Then put your paper in the tea and leave them there for 3 days. Squeeze and crush the papers daily. Finally, remove the paper from the tea and air dry in a surface where the tea will not stain.  Why does this work? Tea contains tannin, a dark chemical that stains paper. 

A funny from Chuckleberries, from the Huckleberry Press:  A Sunday school teacher was discussing the Ten Commandments with her five and six year olds.  After explaining the commandment to "honor thy father and mother," she asked, "Is there a commandment that teaches us how to treat our brothers and sisters?" Without missing a beat, one little boy answered: "Thou shalt not kill." 

Want to expand your vocabulary? And impress your family and friends? Google this: "100 Totally Weird Words."  There you'll learn about words like "argle-bargle" which means "copious but meaningless talk or writing."   Perhaps you would think this post was argle-bargle?

Friday, December 1, 2023

Time for a December Quiz!


This is, I'm 100%, a Christmas tree the likes of which you've never seen. This was a page in the L.L. Bean catalog, a clothing company based in Maine. And in case you cannot tell, it's a tree built by stacking lobster traps!!  Way cool and most unusual, no?

Now for some December chuckles:

  • What do you call an elk that can sing & dance?  ELFIS!

  • What do you get when you mix a Christmas tree with an iPad? A PINEAPPLE!

  • What is the Grinch's least favorite band?  THE WHO!

  • What goes Ho-Ho-Whoosh, Ho-Ho-Whoosh?  SANTA CAUGHT IN A REVOLING DOOR!

  • What kind of photos do elves take?  ELFIES!

  • Why was the snowman looking through the carrots? HE WAS PICKING HIS NOSE!

  • What did the reindeer sing to Santa on his birthday? FREEZE A JOLLY GOOD FELLOW!

  • Knock, knock.  Who's there.  Dexter. Dexter who? DEXTER HALLS WITH BOUGHS OF HOLLY.
Yes, these are pretty cheesy but you laughed, didn't you? Took me a minute to get the iPad one.......... 

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Billion Graves vs Find-A-Grave: What's the Difference?


What IS the difference between these two "finding grave memorials" websites? 

Both Billion Graves and Find-A-Grave do have similarities. Both websites have cemetery data.The biggest and main difference is that Billion Graves included the GPS coordinates which, they say, follows the Genealogical Proof Standard.

Billiongraves.com was begun in 2010 with the stated mission to provide accurate gravestone data with both images and GPS coordinates. To date, the website has millions of headstone images and they're closing in on nearly two million records.

Find A Grave started in 1995 with the stated mission to post memorials, remembrances and virtual flowers first for celebrities and then for every-day people. They now exceed two million records. 

As I see it today, the best thing for you to do to understand the differences is to click to both sites and click around, seeing what they offer and how the data offered. Pick a little cemetery that you know of and see if there are transcribed memorials for that cemetery. 

Additionally, you can take your own grave marker photos and upload them to both sites, and you can assist with the indexing of the tombstone information. 

Today's Laugh: Many in the Northwest are elk hunters; I hope they and you get a laugh from this postcard. It reads "The morning after the last day of elk season. Idaho." These delightful cards are the creation of Paul Stanton and produced by Clay Salzman. He offers a bunch of similar cards; click to www.duckboy.com.  (He did give me permission to use this image.) 

Friday, November 24, 2023

Remember GPC...Genealogical Publishing Company?


Remember getting catalogs from Genealogical Publishing Company (based in Baltmore, Maryland)? I sure do..... sometimes I did order a book but more often I made note of a book pertinent to my research and would look for it next time at a big library. Maybe you did that too?  Well, GPC has morphed into My GPC Library and comes offering books to you in a brand new format: digitally. Click to www.genealogical.com to get all the info. But, bottom line, you'll have access to 800 books for a yearly subscription of $135, or for six months for $75, or for three months for $45.  (What a great idea for our long winter days, no?)

Before you read on, here's a warm fuzzy for you from EWGS member Rosemary Braun. She has a granddaughter born when her parents were in South America, and was named Xochitl....... "so-CHEE."  The name is Mayan and means "beautiful flower."  Rosemary assures us that she loves her name. 

Breakdown of the major categories:

  • Industry leading how to books and manuals – an unsurpassed collection of more than 140 of our best titles that you cannot find anywhere else
  • More than 375 genealogy books on colonial American families
  • Over 239 books on New England or Mayflower genealogy
  • Nearly 200 immigration titles covering Colonial America to about 1865
  • Native American guides and records
  • The best collection of titles on Royal and Noble genealogy
  • More than 90 titles on Irish and Scottish genealogy
  • Guidebooks for African American genealogy and records of families prior to 1870
  • Nearly 800 titles in all, and growing

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Coulee Dam Reminiscences


This is one of the best non-fiction books I've read lately. It's the story of "Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics." 

College rowing had been a team sport since the early 1800s and began in New York. By 1900, many major colleges had rowing teams and the competition was fierce.  I literally couldn't put the book down as I learned about the history of this sport and the teams at the University of Washington in particular.  I do recommend this as a worthwhile winter read for you all.

What I want to share with you today begins on page 122 and I both quote and paraphrase:  "In one small corner of the country (Washington state), something large was beginning to stir that terribly hot summer..... early on August 4th (1936) .... folks from Seattle climbed into their automobiles and headed east. People in Spokane filled their picnic hampers and loaded them into their cars and headed west. By late morning, the roads were black with automobiles converging from all directions on one unlikely spot: Ephrata, a forlorn little town of 516 people, out in the desolate scablands, not far from the Columbia River and a 50-mile long canyon called the Grand Coulee.

"By midafternoon, 20,000 people had gathered behind a rope line in Ephrata. When Franklin D. Roosevelt appeared on the platform before them his cigarette holder angled jauntily upward, the crowd roared its welcome. Then Roosevelt began to speak, leaning forward on his podium, clutching it. In measured tones, but with rising emotion, he began laying out a vision of the benefits that the new Grand Coulee Dam would bring to this arid land in exchange for the $175 million public dollars it would cost.........."

Roosevelt then spoke of the many benefits and in closing said:  "We are going to see, I believe, without own eyes, electricity and power made so cheap that they will become a standard article of use....for every house within the reach of an electrical transmission line." 

While it was not mentioned in this book, no doubt Roosevelt spoke to the thousands of "arid lane" that could be transformed into productive agricultural land. 

I wasn't there; you weren't there, but with this author's words, we can well imagine the day, the crowd and his welcome news. 

Friday, November 17, 2023

Bits & Pieces, Tips & Trivia

 Who has not seen this fantastic image of the Titanic's bow as she rests nearly a mile deep in the Atlantic:

Bet you did not know:
  • She was the largest moving man-made object until 1912.
  • Some 4000 workers took 2 years to build her in Belfast, Ireland
  • She cost $10,000,000 in 1912 dollars (about $322,000,000 today)
  • The 4-day, one way, first-class passage cost about $80,000 in 1998 dollars
  • Lifeboat requirements were based on tonnage, not passenger count
  • New York Evening Sun ran a headline: ALL SAVED FROM TITANIC
  • The 1997 movie, Titanic, cost 24 times what the ship itself cost to build in 1911 (you do the math!)
  • One body, still floating in its life vest, was found 2 months la
  • More than 3000 books have been written about the Titanic
  • The last funnel on Titanic was  "dummy" for ventilation and aesthetics and no smoke came out of it
  • The Titanic Historical Society, founded in 1963, has 5000 members; PO Box 5153, Indian Orchard MA  01151


August, 2023: Miami, Florida:  Archaeologists have found a submerged gravestone in Dry Tortugas National Park near the Florida Keys and they say the discovery could also mean there's a cemetery and hospital in the area. The site could have been used for quarantined yellow fever patients on a small island that has since eroded into the sea.


Jeanne Coe, a longtime member of EWGS, does indexing under the SCRIBE project for the Washington State archives. She notes odd and unusual names.......... like these:

  • America Jane Chamberlain, b. Oregon
  • Ralph Oregon Dunbar, b. Illinois
  • Mary Nevada Kiner, b. 1877 in Iowa
  • Nevada Melvina Cameron, b. 1901 in Washington
  • Hazel Inez Price, b. 1892 in King County, WA; her father was Lake Erie Price, b. Minnesota and her mother was Capitola Albatross Fuller, b. Kansas.
  • Denver Colorado Sayler, b. 1906 in Kansas


From Kenneth Roberts' book, "Trending Into Maine," published in 1938, I learned that the Salish word for white person was soo-yap-ee, which meant "upside down face." This happened because most 19th century Euro-American men wore beards. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Appleton, Wisconsin, Public Library

 We do tend to head straight to the "big" libraries in the big cities and so easily overlook what the smaller town libraries might have for us. Case in point, the Appleton, Wisconsin, Public Library in Appleton, Wisconsin, located northeast of Madison, the state capitol. 

This town of about 75,000 citizens, has just opened a brand new library.... doesn't it look both grand and enticing????

Why should you care about the Appleton Wisconsin Public Library? Because they offer free genealogy resource/research monthly programs via ZOOM, that's why. 

Their program quickly upcoming on Saturday, November 18, 2023, at 2:00 Central Time is titled "Researching German Ancestry". Link to register is: https://bit.ly/3Xx1XHK (or likely from their website..... if you don't register, you won't get the ZOOM link). 

The Saturday, December 9th program is titled "Making Sense of All the Research You've Done." The link to register is: https://bit.ly/3x1gtKm. Again, do register to get the ZOOM link. 

The library hasn't posted any information about their 2024 programs but I imagine that these offerings will continue.