Thursday, September 25, 2008

Barbara Nuehring to be Featured Speaker at Fall 2008 Seminar

Barbara Nuehring will be the featured noted lecturer at EWGS's fall seminar held Saturday, October 4th at The Commons at Mukogawa Fort Wright Institute in Spokane, Washington.

Ms. Nuehring has a BS in Business from the University of Maryland and after a successful career as a comptroller within the U.S. Department of the Army, she has spent her time researching her family history and taking active roles in several organizations.

She is the Secretary/Treasurer of the 200+ member Escapees Genealogy Group and writes feature columns for their newsletter and for the Green Valley (Arizona) Genealogical Society. She is a member of the National Genealogical Society; Genealogical Speakers Guild; International Society of Family History Writers and Editors; Palatines to America; and several local societies.

Ms. Nuehring will be presenting four topics:

Digitizing Your Genealogy: Relax! It is only Bits and Bytes
Discussion of the "why's" and "how's" of digitizing source documents. Tips and hints for organizing digital files, making back-ups and "archiving" digital documents.

Timelines: Understanding Your Ancestor's World
Discussion of the importance of timelines to family historians; the different types and scopes of timelines, sources of existing timelines; and methods for developing customized timelines.

Using Boxes to Think Outside the Box
Discussion of various ways genealogists can use spreadsheets and word processing tables as analytical tools. Explanations of terminolgy, capabilities and differences of the software programs.

Beyond Words: Dressing Up Your Family History
Explanation of the basic principles of design that can be accommodated by any word processing software. Demonstation of the usage of fonts, charts, maps and illustrations to improve the visual appeal of family histories.

In addition to the lectures, EWGS will be hosting a buffet-style catered luncheon and raffle prizes. There will be vendors with genealogy- and history-related merchandise, resources, and information. Registration will be $25.00 for members and non-members alike if you send in your registration form and check (made out to EWGS) by September 27th. (Spokane-area residents, mail it today or Friday to get it in on time). After September 27th, the price will increase to $30.00. No refunds after that date.

Registration will also be made available at the door on October 4th, beginning at 9:00 AM. The lectures will start at 9:30 AM and conclude at 3:30 PM, with breaks and lunch.

Map (see pinpoint B for location of The Commons):

Rest Stop Fundraiser Nets $600!

Saturday and Sunday, September 13th and 14th, members of Eastern Washington Genealogical Society manned the free coffee station at the Eastbound 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 over $600 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 world as well. Canada, England, and Vienna, Austria were just some of the home countries of the international travelers we met! 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.

Miriam Robbins Midkiff 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 contributing financially toward the supplies that needed to be purchased for this fundraiser to take place:

Bill Ailes
Pat Bayonne-Johnson
Susan Beamer
Janette Birch
Dianne Bongarts
Janice Bueckers
Sharon Clark
Mary Clinton
Jeanne Coe
Nancy Denton
Pat Ewers
Gerry Gosche
Charles Hansen
Bill Hire
Inez Hodges
Gladys Johnson
Cecily Kelly
Mary Leske
Juanita McBride
Lola McCreary
Ruby McNeill
Norm Midkiff
Pat Mielbrecht
Darlinda and Rod Ramer
Edith Rustemeyer
Eileen Schultz
P.J. Sisseck
Gary Taylor
Bette Topp
Peggy Wilmering

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!

Monday, September 22, 2008

What You Missed: The September 2008 General Meeting

Shadle Branch of the Spokane Public Library was the meeting place for the September 6th General Meeting, the first meeting of the genealogical year. "Oh, The Places We Went (Stories from the Courthouses & Graveyards, Members' Research Excursions of Summer 2008)" was the topic. About nine people shared in one capacity or another. A 130-old family Bible, a Louisiana plantation, an ancestor admitted to an institution against her will, a Native American reservation school, Hungarian and Romanian cousins, Swedish immigrant ancestors, a $500 prize won at the NGS conference, and a warning not to take your sister who's not interested in genealogy to the cemetery...all these stories and more were told with drama, humor, and interest!

Betty Rhoda won the raffle prize: a $25 gift certificate that awarded her free registration to next month's Fall Seminar with Barbara Nuehring! Stay tuned for more information, or go here to learn more and register before the deadline!

Our 2008 - 2009 genealogical year includes the following meetings and programs:

Oct 4: EWGS Fall Seminar with Barbara Nuehring at Mukogawa Fort Wright (all day)

Nov 1: Problem Solving Panel - society "experts" help you with your problems. Submit your research problems to Pat Bayonne-Johnson now. Downtown Library.

Dec 6: Book Auction - live and silent auction items, plus periodical collections for purchase. Bring your wallets and checkbooks. Downtown Library.

Jan 3: EWGS Luncheon and Annual Meeting - Featuring WSU's Ian Chambers and his presentation of "Pirates." Spokane Club.

Feb 7: Researching Your House's History - Rose Krause. Downtown Library.

Mar 7: Victorian Funeral Customs and Headstone Symbolism - Nancy Wright. Downtown Library.

Apr 4: Ohio Research - Barbara Brazington. Downtown Library.

May 2: Finding the Book with Your Family's History - Donna Potter Phillips. Downtown Library.

Jun 6: 2nd Annual Salads & Serendipity - Members' potluck and stories. Location to be announced.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

2009 and 2010 Computer Class Schedules

Eastern Washington Genealogical Society announces its 2009 and 2010 computer class schedules. These classes are free for EWGS members, and are held in the Gates Computer Lab on the second floor of the downtown branch of Spokane Public Library. There are two sessions for most classes: a 10:15 - 11:15 AM session and a 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM session. Occasionally, there will be two different classes held the same day; one at the earlier time and one at the later time. There are no classes held in December, due to the holidays. Due to high demand, some classes are repeated the following year.

Our computer classes are a part of our society's education programs, and are designed to help our members learn how to use popular genealogy subscription and free-for-use websites, find online resources for specific ethnic and cultural backgrounds, improve skills in using digital and technological tools targeted specifically for family historians, and network with other researchers using the Internet. If you are looking to learn or improve general computer or Internet-surfing skills, the Spokane Public Library offers free hands-on classes to the public for beginners.

If you would like to become a member of EWGS, please go to our website here and download the membership application. To register for these classes, please e-mail me and let me know your time preference.

2009 Computer Classes:

Jan 17 - Using Google/Boolean Searches to Find Your Ancestors - Barbara Brazington

Feb 21 - Using Online Mailing Lists to Find Your Ancestors - Miriam Robbins Midkiff

Mar 21 - Using the Internet to Research Disasters that Affected Your Ancestors - Bette Butcher Topp

Apr 18 - Learning Computer & Keyboard Shortcuts to Improve Your Online Research Skills - Ruby Simonson McNeill

May 16 - Using Online Historical Newspapers to Find Your Ancestors - Karen Kramer Struve

Jun 20 - Honoring Your WWII Ancestors - Carol Nettles

Jul 18 - Using to Find Your Ancestors & Help Other Researchers - Donna Potter Phillips

Aug 15 - Finding Your Ancestors in Online Census Records - Barbara Brazington

Sep 19 - no class will be held, due to the Washington State Genealogical Society's state conference being held in Spokane the previous weekend

Oct 17 - Using Podcasts to Increase Your Genealogical Knowledge - Miriam Robbins Midkiff

Nov 21 - Finding Your Swedish Ancestors Online (10:15 - 11:15 AM only) - presenter to be announced AND Finding Your Norwegian Ancestors Online (11:30 AM - 12:30 PM only) - Barbara Brazington

2010 Computer Classes:

Jan 16 - Using Google/Boolean Searches to Find Your Ancestors - Barbara Brazington

Feb 20 - Using Online Message Boards to Find Your Ancestors - Miriam Robbins Midkiff

Mar 20 - Using the National Archives (NARA) Website to Find Your Ancestors - Barbara Brazington

Apr 17 - Finding Your German Ancestors Online - Cecily Kelly

May 15 - Using Online Family Tree Websites to Connect and Find Relatives - Miriam Robbins Midkiff

Jun 19 - Finding Your Ancestors in Online Land Records - Bill Hire

Jul 17 - Finding Your Dutch Ancestors Online (10:15 - 11:15 AM only) - Miriam Robbins Midkiff AND Finding Your French Ancestors Online (11:30 AM - 12:30 PM only) presenter to be announced

Aug 21 - Using & Comparing Online Photo Albums to Share Your Family History - presenter to be announced

Sep 18 - Using Animap Software to Locate Your Ancestors' Locations - John Fisher

Oct 16 - Using to Find Your Ancestors - Donna Potter Phillips

Nov 20 - Finding Your Ancestors in Online Vital Records and Obituary Websites - Miriam Robbins Midkiff

What You Missed: The August 2008 Computer Class

"" was the topic of the August 2008 EWGS computer class held Saturday, August 16th in the Gates Computer Lab of the downtown branch of the Spokane Public Library. This free for-members-only class was presented by yours truly, Miriam Robbins Midkiff. We took a look at the genesis of this subscription website, the philosophy of founder Paul Allen (formerly of, and the growth of database offerings that has occurred since the site's founding, many of which are available because of WVR's terrific partnering with other genealogy database websites and resource publishers, such as Everton Publishers, Simmons Historical Publications, and Godfrey Memorial Library, to name just a few. The free social-networking, online family-tree-building, and lookup service of WorldVitalRecords, FamilyHistoryLink, was reviewed as well. Attendees were encouraged to sign up for WVR's free weekly e-newsletter, which lists newly-added databases that are free-to-access for the first seven days they are online. They were also urged to try out WorldVitalRecords one of the local Family History Centers, which have free access to this database-rich genealogy subscription website.

If you would like a copy of the syllabus that was used for this presentation, please e-mail Miriam here.

The next computer class will be presented by Barbara Brazington on "Historical Societies & Museums Online" on Saturday, October 18th (September's class has been cancelled). If you are interested in signing up, please contact me, Miriam Robbins Midkiff, at the e-mail address listed in the previous paragraph, or see our member directory for my telephone number. Currently, there are some spots available during the 10:15 -11:15 AM and the 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM sessions. We no longer offer a 1:30 - 2:30 PM session. You must be a current EWGS member to attend. If you are interested in joining EWGS, please go to our website here and download the membership application.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Homestead Records Available at Footnote


Original Records Documenting the Lives of Early Settlers Offer a Unique View Into 19th Century America

Lindon, UT -- September 18, 2008 – In an event held today at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, along with several partners announced a project to make available hundreds of thousands of original Homestead Records on the Internet for the first time. This project involved the efforts of organizations including The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the National Parks Service, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and FamilySearch.

“It’s exciting to see various organizations with different strengths and capabilities come together to make this information widely available,” says Russ Wilding, CEO of “This record collection is just one example how individuals on can connect their own family history to the big picture of American History.”

The Homestead Act of 1862 was a landmark event at a time when the American Nation was being torn apart by the Civil War. These records, most of which have never been microfilmed, contain more than simply the names of those who petitioned the U.S. Government for land. They tell the rich story of a fast-growing country and those men and women eager to live the American dream by becoming land owners. has already digitized and indexed the Homestead Records from Broken Bow, Nebraska featuring almost 40,000 records. To view samples of these records and see what Footnote users have discovered, click here. Working together with its’ partners, will continue to release more records on the site. has focused on making real history accessible to everyone and providing tools that enable people to connect with history and with each other. recently released Footnote Pages, which allows users to create interactive pages for an individual, group, place or event. These pages bring history to life by allowing users to create:
• Interactive timelines and maps
• Photo galleries
• Stories
• Links to other related Footnote Pages and Footnote Members
“We encourage everyone with an interest in these Homestead Records to come and enrich this content with your contributions,” says Wilding. “When people come together and share their insights, a new and exciting side of history is revealed.”

Learn more by visiting

About is a history website where real history might just surprise you. features millions of searchable original documents, providing users with an unaltered view of the events, places and people that shaped the American nation and the world. At, all are invited to come share, discuss, and collaborate on their discoveries with friends, family, and colleagues. For more information, visit

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Spokesman-Review to participate in Google archiving

Spokesman-Review to participate in Google archiving
The Spokesman-Review will be part of the newspaper archiving project announced earlier this week by Google, according to Shaun O'L. Higgins, The Spokesman-Review's director of sales and marketing.
Under the Google program, all pages produced by The Spokesman Review and its predicessor newspapers, plus the Spokane Chronicle, will be scanned and posted online.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Spokane Area RootsMagic Users Group to Meet Thursday

If you are a RootsMagic user, or are simply curious about this genealogy software program, you may be interested in the RootsMagic Users Group, which meets at 7 PM on the third Thursday of each month (a change from previous meeting times) at the LDS Church at 808 E. Sitka (this month's meeting is on September 18th). Lew and Trudy Lundy lead this group. For more information, e-mail them here.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

SSDI - Free on GenealogyBank

Tom Kemp just announced today that the Social Security Death Index database will now be free to access at his website, GenealogyBank.

"So what?" you may be thinking. "I can access the SSDI in several places online for free already."

BUT, the SSDI database at GenealogyBank is the most comprehensive one on the Internet.

It has expanded & enhanced the data – adding the day of the week when the person’s birth or death occurred and the GPS coordinates that many genealogists like to have for their records.

Also, no other site updates the SSDI weekly. Most update every month or longer.

Check out Tom's announcement here.

Family Trees Grow Virally on

Site Traffic Tops 1 Million Unique Visitors in August.

Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) September 4, 2008 -- Genealogy and family social networking website,, announced today that its traffic in August exceeded 1 million unique visitors for the first time and continues to grow rapidly.

Since Geni spends nothing on marketing, its growth is entirely organic and driven by the virality of its family tree application, which asks users to invite a relative when they add him or her to the tree. That relative can then invite other relatives.

The largest tree on Geni now contains profiles of over 600,000 people and was built by over 40,000 users. No other genealogy site can boast of so many users simultaneously participating in a single tree. As a free, easy-to-use web application, Geni is able to mobilize the efforts of anyone interested in their family, in addition to genealogy enthusiasts.

Geni's goal is to build a family tree of the entire world, enabling families to connect, preserve, and share their lives. Geni's features include but are not limited to photo and video sharing, a timeline to preserve family history, and a family calendar for birthday and anniversaries.

Geni has also invested heavily in privacy features based on relatedness, so user information is shared only with close relatives. This automatically protects privacy-minded users who happen to find themselves in a fast-growing tree.

Recently, Geni released a tree-merging feature, which enables two trees to merge when a common relative is invited to both. This process can be repeated many times over, leading to the discovery of new family relationships and strengthening Geni's network effects compared to other genealogy sites.

David Kaleita, a Geni user, stated, "As recently as six weeks ago, I was connected to approximately 3,000 profiles (2/3 of which were manually entered by me and the rest manually entered by other family members) before merging with anyone. Now, several tree merges later, the stats report that I am now connected to 263,288 profiles! More than half of that growth came within the last two days."

Geni spent a year preparing for tree merging. "Prior to developing the intricate tree-merging feature in itself, we needed to develop an extra layer of privacy features that would maintain the safe family environment necessary for sustainable and continuous growth," said David Sacks, CEO of Geni.

By default, user profiles can be seen only by those in their own blood tree or in directly-connected inlaw trees. Inlaws of inlaws are limited to seeing search results only.

Geni is like a time capsule for your family that you can open anytime. With some family participation in Geni, descendants will no longer have to wonder what their ancestors were really like.

Geni, Inc. was founded in 2006 by former executives and early employees of PayPal, Yahoo! Groups, Ebay, and Tribe. It is backed by venture capital firms Founders Fund and Charles River Ventures.

Geni launched in 2007 and has won numerous accolades. The 2007 Webware 100 Awards named it one of the top 100 sites on the internet and one of the top 10 reference sites. Geni was named again in 2008 in the social networking category. In March 2008 PC Magazine named Geni a top free software application. In May 2008 Time™ Magazine named one of the top 50 Websites in 2008. Last month Family Tree Magazine named Geni to its list of 101 Best Websites.

Press Release from Footnote!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Takes Social Networking into the Past launches Footnote Pages at TechCrunch50

San Francisco -- September 10, 2008 Losing a loved one can result in a range of emotions, from the grief and sorrow to comfort, which often comes from reminiscing stories and memories with family and friends. The challenge arises when there is no single place where all of these stories can easily come together to be shared, enriched and preserved.

Now at, anyone can find or create Footnote Pages where users connect and share stories, photos, and information about the people important to them.

To kick-off the new Footnote Pages, today released over 80 million of these pages created from data from the Social Security Death Index. Most visitors will find existing pages about several deceased friends and family members already on the site. was selected from over 1,000 applicants to launch Footnote Pages at this year’s TechCrunch50 held in San Francisco. Russ Wilding, CEO of Footnote, demonstrated Footnote Pages to an audience of over 1,500 investors, bloggers, and major media outlets.

“We encourage people to upload their personal shoeboxes of photos and documents to,” explains Wilding. “Now with Footnote Pages, friends and family can come together to share stories and memories about the people they care about.”

Described as Facebook for the Deceased, these pages feature a photo gallery, an interactive timeline and map, and other tools that bring people together to create a more colorful and rich picture of the past. “Social networking is not only for the younger generations any more,” explains Wilding. “We are seeing Baby Boomers contribute and connect online in increasing numbers. Footnote Pages are an easy way for this audience to interact with each other and learn things they would not otherwise know about deceased friends and family.”

Beyond profiling people, Footnote pages can also be used to document and discuss historical events or places including: the Vietnam War, the Assassination of JFK and the Lincoln-Douglas Debates.

Unlike other social networking sites, provides content that enables users to tell and share stories from the past. Through its partnership with the National Archives, has digitized over 43 million documents including historical newspapers, military records, photos and more. adds about 2 million new records to the site every month.

Visit to learn more about Footnote Pages and get a new perspective on the lives of your own friends and family who have passed away.

About is a history website where real history might just surprise you. features millions of searchable original documents, providing users with an unaltered view of the events, places and people that shaped the American nation and the world. At, all are invited to come share, discuss, and collaborate on their discoveries with friends, family, and colleagues. For more information, visit

About TechCrunch50
Founded in 2007 by leading technology blog TechCrunch and entrepreneur Jason Calacanis, the TechCrunch50 conference provides a platform for early-stage, and frequently unfunded, companies to launch for the first time to the technology industry’s most influential venture capitalists, corporations, angel investors, fellow entrepreneurs, and the international media. Companies are selected to participate exclusively on merit. TechCrunch50 is supported by corporate sponsors Google, Microsoft, MySpace, and Yahoo!, as well as venture capital firms including Sequoia Capital, Mayfield Fund, Clearstone Venture Partners, Charles River Ventures, Founders Fund and Fenwick & West.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Ancestry and FGS Collaboration on Indexing

Philadelphia Sept. 4, 2008, the world’s largest online family history resource, today launched the World Archives Project, a global public indexing initiative designed to give individuals everywhere the opportunity to help preserve historical records. The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) is the first organization to partner with during this beta phase of this new venture, enlisting genealogists and family history enthusiasts to help test the software and prepare it for a more public release.
Now in public beta, the World Archives Project allows individuals to transcribe information from images of original historical records and to create indexes that will remain accessible for free on and on Ancestry’s localized sites in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Germany, France, Sweden, and Italy. Active contributors* will soon be able to access all original images that are part of the World Archives Project. Organizations can also partner with the World Archives Project and sponsor indexing projects. will donate a digital copy of the sponsored index and images back to partnering organizations.
As a global society, we are falling further and further behind when it comes to digitizing historical records, said Tim Sullivan, president and CEO of The Generations Network, parent company of The World Archives Project allows us to work collectively as a community to preserve and to digitize records that will otherwise surely be lost to the wear and tear of time. By providing free access to these indexes on the world’s most popular family history website, we will provide millions of people with access to records that might help them unlock new clues about their ancestors.
Already, several thousand individuals have joined the World Archives Project private beta, indexing Wisconsin Mortality Schedules and Nebraska State Censuses. Participants provided feedback and recommendations for this public beta release.
We are thrilled to be a part of this cause and to help spread the world about this new initiative, said Wendy Elliott-Scheinberg, president of FGS. The World Archives Project is a great way for enthusiasts and genealogical societies to directly impact and further family history research.
FGS has been enormously helpful in the development of our vision for the World Archives Project, said Sullivan. The 500+ genealogy societies that FGS represents are absolutely critical to the continued health and growth of genealogical research. We’ve been searching for years for the right way to partner with genealogy societies, and we think this project will allow us to help them attract new members by leveraging the popularity of We appreciate the encouragement and support FGS provides and look forward to continuing our relationship as this project marches forward.
For more information about the World Archives Project or to get involved, visit
*Specific guidelines must be met to be considered an active contributor. For more information, visit