Monday, December 23, 2013

A Puzzle for New Year's Day ?

I've decided to be come a SCRIBE! This only means that I'm helping to index Washington state birth records from the Washington Archives site  ( ) which is VERY fun and VERY easy. I recommend it to all of you!

Doing some entries for Spokane County births, I came upon a female child, unnamed but born alive, to Henrietta Day, age 34, and was her 6th child, and father John McNeal. The little girl was born on 3 Sep 1893. What caught my eye was that under "location" it stated that she was born "on bluff street near river bank." Hummmmm..... thanks to some images from our Spokesman Review found in Google images, I wondered:  is this where the family was living???

So here is your puzzle for New Year's Day if you do not care to watch football all day! In all fairness, I did check the 1900 and 1910 censuses for Washington and did not find the McNeal family. Nor did I find any listings in our Washington Digital Archives.

If you would care to weigh in on this puzzle, please do! And please let me know what you find.............. did this baby girl grow up and have a life??


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas Greetings from Donna

Hello and Merry Christmas to each and every one of you EWGS members. It has been a pleasure serving with you and working with you this past year and I look forward to a very Happy New Year growing and learning with all my EWGS friends.

To all of you who have also served EWGS this past year, please accept my sincerest thanks and hugs! EWGS would not be the organization it is without YOU.

I was in Salt Lake City and so missed the December meeting. I wish I could have walked about on Temple Square, in a sea of zillions of Christmas lights, with you. And yes, there was snow!


I can share something really Christmasy-funny with you. On my Delta flight home, the napkin that came with my tomato juice said, "Watch our NEW Coca-Cola Polar Bear family at  I stuffed that napkin in my bag and yesterday I clicked and watched this short little movie......... and it was delightful. I recommend it to you for a big happy holiday smile and to warm your heart. 

Looking forward to our January 4th meeting and luncheon. We'll have to share some new Christmas memories!


Saturday, December 7, 2013

What you Missed December 7, 2013 EWGS Meeting

This months program was a celebration of families, vice president Mary Holcomb asked some of us to bring something from our families, and so looking at what others brought was a lot of fun. We had probably the longest gab session during the break. Also many of the people brought cookies, and so we got to sample great cookies. There were also some family stories..
Mary Holcolmb's Quilt

Pat Bayonne Johnson's Scrapbooks

Shirley Penna-Oakes cookbook and jello molds and cookie cutters

Jeanne Coe's family photos, and Dolly Webb's books

The father of Charles Hansen postcard collection and 
Marge Mero's fathers whittling and her mothers first

Monday, December 2, 2013

EWGS & KSPS: Partners For A Good Cause

A very good time was had by all on Sunday, December 1st, when we gathered at the KSPS Public TV station to take pledge calls. The shows that afternoon were right up our alley: Ed Sullivan and memories of the music of the 60s.  We had fun swapping stories how how we remembered such-and-such a tune or a group.  Ah, memories.

Hope YOU will chose to join us next time.

Cheryl Beck (upper right in the red shirt) has volunteered to be the KSPS coordinator from now on. The station has pledge drives in March, June, September and December. (I'd like to think that most of us enjoy our KSPS station and programming; did you know that 70% of their income comes from membership drives?) So be expecting Cheryl to be asking for volunteers for the next afternoon or evening at KSPS. And please do say yes.

Charles Hansen alerted me that he saw the small obit mention for Mary Gant: " In Thursday's Spokesman Review was the death notice for Mary Gant from the Neptune Society. Mary was EWGS president in 1989-1990, I started coming to EWGS meetings in 1990, and joined the next year. Mary was on the first auditing committee I was on for EWGS and she was a stickler for accuracy. I was hoping to see an obit in today's Sunday paper, but nothing."

EWGS lost two past presidents in one month: Mary Gant and Maxine Pence. Their legacy endures and EWGS gives thanks for their help and leadership. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Wikis: Did you realize you can learn from two Wikis??

Did you realize that there are TWO "online genealogical encyclopedias?" Called WIKIs, there is one at and one found on .  So what are Wikis? They are websites where information and answers to most all your genealogy questions are posted and not just posted but also maintained and corrected and updated by experts and users. Think of them as online tutorials. They do not just teach about and explain Ancestry or FamilySearch.

I suggest that this holiday week you sneak some time for yourself and go Wiki exploring. It will be fun and you will be most thankful for the learning opportunities.

Welcome to the Family History Wiki
A great place to learn more about family history
A service from

Monday, November 18, 2013

A Whale In Spokane? Yepper, in 1930!

I picked up a 2004 issue of Nostalgia magazine and the blurb right on the cover caught my eye:  "A Whale Visits Spokane."  Wwhhaaaatt?

Author Peggy Cunningham (a past EWGS member) wrote how in the summer of 1930 her Dad loaded up the family and off they went to Spokane to see the whale. Let Peggy tell the story:  "As I remember it was a warm day and Dad let us off by the railroad station. Mom paid for us, maybe ten cents each. Following the "SEE THE WHALE" signs, we soon were caught up with the rest of the crowd. When the pace of the crowd began to increase, we followed and soon smelled the reason for their hurry. We could see the (railroad) flatcar completely covered with the huge smelly carcass! With hankies to our noses we hurriedly looked and then made a hasty retreat to meet Dad."

Peggy explains the beginning of this "whale tour."  "The whale tale started in Massachusetts in 1930 when two friends happened to find a dead whale washing ashore on a local beach. Seeing an opportunity to make some money, they rented a railroad flatcar, pumped the monster full of formaldehyde, hoisted it onto the flatcar, and went from town to town charging admission to see the whale. They made sure that local papers in the towns along the route where they were planning to stop received an enhanced story....... their bonanza ran out when an unendurable odor began to rise from the corpse. (They soon) made a decision to call it quits, rolled the whale off the flatcar onto a vacant lot near the railroad tracks and buried it under a scant three feet of earth."

This same photo appeared in the Nostalgia article but was taken about 1913 in Florida. Guess there were more than one "whale on tour."

In 1930 my husband's father was living in Spokane. Wonder if the family also went to see the whale?? Did somebody in your family?

Monday, November 4, 2013

EWGS Board for 2014

Also at the Saturday, November 2nd, meeting, the EWGS Board for 2014 was member-vote approved.

Your Board for 2014 will be:  President, Donna Potter Phillips;  Vice President, Pat Bayonne-Johnson; Recording Secretary, Dianne Doneen Bongarts; Corresponding Secretary, Evelyn Small; Past President, Bill Hire; Trustee, Dolly Webb; Historian, John Ellingson; Librarian, Juanita McBride, and Member-at-Large, Lola King McCreary.  (Kathy Bowen, Trustee, was absent, as was Oweta Floyd, Treasurer.)

We, your Board, thank you for your support. Together we made EWGS great!

EWGS Meeting Nov 2nd Features John Richards, "Patsy" Clark's Gr-Grandson

The Saturday, November 2nd, EWGS meeting was a winner. John Richards, one of the great-grandsons of Patrick "Patsy" Clark, told the story of his locally-famous ancestor and of the Patsy Clark Mansion.

Patrick J. Clark was born in 1851 in Ireland and died in June 1915 in Spokane. He was a warm-hearted but strong-minded man who was at the right time and right place in the mining arena of the 19th century west. He made a fortune and when he asked Kirtland J. Cutter to design his family home in 1896, Cutter was told to spare no expense and went to Europe to gather building materials and furnishings. In today's money, the mansion cost $1,000,000.

"Patsy" Clark was a generous benefactor to Our Lady of Lourdes Cathedral in downtown Spokane. Much of the rich interior was made possible with gifts from Clark. In 1908 he gave $15,000 for the beautiful main altar in the church.

EWGS members in attendance were enthralled with John's recounting of his ancestor and we thank him for sharing his family and his time with us.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

What You Missed November 2, 2013 EWGS meeting

Today started out rainy, and so you probably did not see all the progress Avista is making on Huntington Park across the street from the Library, so here is a couple of pictures of the park.

The EWGS board meeting started soon after 10 a.m. and I passed some old photo's I took in 1997 of EWGS setting up our booth at the conference at Fife, Washington in 1997 and a photo of Cyndi Howells of Cyndi's List who had a booth near us. She had just finished her talk on Genealogy Research in your Pajamas and Bunnie Slippers. So why was this interesting, EWGS has asked Cyndi Ingles (her maiden name) to be our October 2015 speaker, and the board had to approve this which we did with very little discussion. Note to EWGS members the board meetings are open to any EWGS member.
At lunch in the food court at River Park Square was a concert on the main floor, but a nice serenade while I ate lunch.

After lunch we were shown the new slate of EWGS officers for 2014.

President Donna Potter-Phillips, Vice President Pat Bayonne-Johnson, Recording Secretary Dianne Doneen Bongarts, Corresponding Secretary Evelyn Carpenter-Small, Past President Bill Hire, Trustee Dolly Gorrod Webb, Historian John Ellingson, Librarian Juanita Linton McBride, and Member at Large Lola King McCreary. Not present Treasurer Oweeta Homer Floyd, and Trustee Kathy Bowen. A special thank you to our nominating committee Lola McCreary.

Then the program by John Richards a great grandson of Patrick F. "Patsy" and Mary (Stack) Clark. Very interesting story on Patsy from his birth in Ireland during the potato famine to his ending up in Spokane a very rich mine owner and builder of the Patsy Clark Mansion.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Smallpox Was A Terrible Scourge, Part 2

(( Continued from last week's post................ can you see where these blisters would form sores that would heal with terrible scarring?? I share this information with you for smallpox was a terrible scourge to our ancestors.))

"At the March term of the Frederick County Court, 1776, the Court granted a license "for inoculating for small pox at the dwelling of Robert Throckmorton and of Isaac Zane's several plantations, they using caution to prevent the said infection from being communicated from the said places." Later James Wood asked permission to inoculate his family at his plantation and Alexander White did likewise. In all these cases permission was granted but under specified conditions. Due to the dispersal of the population, the spread of the disease was slow but inexorable. On May 6, 1778, small pox had broken out in the family of Isaac Hite ** and "in most parts of the county." The Court continued to grant permission for inoculating the members of the various families with the customary recommendation for using every precaution against spreading the disease."

"Protective inoculation had been known to the ancient Chinese. It had long been observed that when one once had the disease he was immune to it thereafter. The ancients reasoned that if the disease be given under controlled conditions the chance for survival would be greatly increased. Inoculation was introduced into western Europe from Turkey through a report issued in 1716 by the Royal Society. In five years' time, 1721, this type of prevention was being practiced in New England at the time of the great Boston epidemic. It was a precarious form of treatment."

"A sharp object was pressed to the forehead at the base of the hair, or on one of the cheeks, or chin, or preferably, on an arm of leg. An incision was made. The pus from an infected sore was then dropped upon the wound which was then carefully bound by a dressing. The patient was kept in bed for several days and placed on a diet of meat and bread. Observations continued for forty days. Although the disease appeared in seven days, its virulence was diminished to a mortality rate of one in 68 as compared with one in ten for those not treated. The trouble with inoculation was that it practically insured contracting the disease with no guaranty that the prospective cure would not prove fatal. The worst aspect of the cure was that each person so inoculated automatically became a carrier of the plague." 

From The Story of Smithfield (Middleway), Jefferson Co, Virginia, 1729-1905,  by Robert Lee Bates, 1958.

** Isaac Hite was my ancestor!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Smallpox Was A Terrible Scourge

Was reading The Story of Smithfield (Middleway), Jefferson County, West Virginia, 1729-1905, by Robert Lee Bates, 1958, and was horrified to read his accounts of smallpox in Colonial America.

"In those days smallpox was a plague, indeed, a scourge, that people were powerless to combat. Gen. Arnold made his ambitious and unsuccessful campaign against Quebec and he was defeated not so much by the enemy as by smallpox and Canada was lost to the Colonies. Washington dreaded it and he was fearful of those who had been inoculated as he was of those with the disease."

"This dreaded disease invaded the (Shenandoah) Valley. The counties of Frederick and Berkeley became infected areas. People craved social intercourse and it was that (person-to-person) contact that spread the contagion. A yellow flag placed in front of a dwelling was an uphappy signal:  "Beware!" People then gave the infected homes and occupants a wide berth. The word smallpox evoked expressions of horror. The best records of what happened are to be found in the neighboring county of Frederick.

( To be continued.)

Archives Month Celebration October 26, 2013

Monday, October 14, 2013

EWGS Invites Cyndi Ingle for 2015

Now known by her maiden name (since her divorce), Cyndi Ingle gave a wonderful presentation last weekend in Sumner, Washington, at the Heritage Quest Research Library's AutumnQuest. She took over an hour to explain and teach us CyndisList 2.0........ all the new updates, changes and re-vamps. And it is still all hers; all 300,000+ links are verified, added and checked by her alone. Whew! What a great job she does.

Best of all, she verbally promised to me that she would come to EWGS in 2015!! She's never been to Eastern Washington and said eagerly that she would come. Assuming that the Board and membership would want her to come???

Cyndis List ( ) is "a categorized and cross-referenced index to genealogical resources on the Internet." Telling by example of how up-to-date she keeps her list, she told how she'd recently added an "Antarctica" and a "Schwenkfelder (a church group) category to her list. And yes, there are links at the Antarctica site.....there are folks buried in Antarctica, did you know?

I have a dual recommendation: check out, use and benefit from CyndisList and stay tuned to the EWGS calendar for when Cyndi comes in 2015.

Monday, October 7, 2013

EWGS Fall Workshop A Success!

A goodly and excited crowd attended the EWGS Annual Fall Workshop and were taught by wonderful speakers and presenters:  Barbara B., Paul Manly (Hillyard Evergreen Cemetery), Cheri Casper (Daughters of the Union Veterans), Dolly W., Paula Davis (Heritage Funeral Home), and Dani Lee M. If you were unable to be there, you missed a great day. Shirley O. was our lunchtime entertainment and she had us laughing and spitting cookie crumbs!

We opened the day with Dani Lee M. recognizing the winners of our recent writing contest; again, Lois T. took first prize for the narrative of her scoundrel ancestor. Her prize was a $100 gift certificate to the MAC Museum Bookstore. Way to go, Lois! (We hope YOU will participate in our next writing contest.)

Saturday, October 5, 2013

October 2013 Workshop What You Missed

This October workshop consisted of six half hour sessions, a pot luck dinner and a very quick board meeting. Note you can click on any of the photos for a bigger picture.
First was the presentation of the winners of the writing contest, and only Lois Thomason was the only one present and she won first prize.

Next was Shirley Penna-Oakes with some announcements.

Barbara Brazington started our with her session on the definition of genealogy and how to get started recording your ancestors.

Paul Manley talked about the Evergreen Cemetery how it came about, who is buried there, and what they want to do to keep it cleaned up and a functioning cemetery.

Cheri Casper talked about the Daughters of Civil War Veterans and the
 Lisabeth A. Turner Tent #4

Next was the board meeting, and a very good pot luck dinner, with a very funny
Shirley Penna-Oakes telling about her Farr ancestors. 

After lunch Paula Davis from Heritage Funeral Home talked
about writing your own obituary before it is too late.

Dolly Webb showed her half life story volume 1, and if you missed this story you missed a lot.
Ask her sometime about her brother trying to kill her.

Last was Dani Lee McGowan on digitizing your genealogy records, photos, etc.

Monday, September 30, 2013

EWGS Presents......... Our Annual Fall Workshop!

presented by Eastern Washington Genealogical Society 
“A little bit of everything, for everybody”

OCTOBER 5, 2013
9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Country Homes Christian Church
 8415 N. Wall Spokane, Washington 

Six Topics - Six Presenters
Stories, Research Tips, Wars, Local History, Cemetery, Obituary, and a few surprises thrown in for good measure. Presenters: Barbara Brazington, Paula Davis, Chuck King, Paul Manly, Dani Lee McGowan, Shirley Penna-Oakes

A - I -----Desserts ** J – R ----Main Dish ** S – Z ----Salads 
NO Reservations

 Come if you can, or hear about what you missed from your friends. 
Sign In at 8:30am – find your chair 
Welcome 9:00am – 9:15am
1st talk – 9:15am – 9:45am: Barbara Brazington
2nd talk – 10:00am – 10:30am: Paul Manly
3rd talk – 10:45am – 11:15am: Dolly Webb

Lunch - with very cheap entertainment: Shirley Penna-Oakes

4th talk – 12:30pm – 1:00pm: Paula Davis
5th talk – 1:15pm -1:45pm:Cheri Casper
6th talk – 2:00pm – 2:30pm:Dani Lee McGowan


By attending this EWGS workshop you consent to the use of your photograph, voice, likeness, and image in the broadcasts of this event and in subsequent productions drawn from video or audio recordings of this event

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Genealogy Roadshow Survey

I was lucky as I got to see the Genealogy Roadshow twice last night, our cable company has 3 PBS stations and one station had the Genealogy Roadshow at 8 and one at 9. Several months ago I signed up with PBS to do some surveys on shows they air, and they had a first survey that asked what types of shows I liked and watched, so about a week or so ago PBS sent a short survey asking if I would be interested in a survey after the first Genealogy Roadshow, I said yes, then they asked if I was interested in a survey after each of the four shows, and again I said yes, so last night after the show I went to the URL PBS sent me and took that survey.

The survey had 33 questions , some with multiple questions, so I will just do a few here.

  1. Which city was this episode based? Memphis, Nashville, Boston, Detroit, Austin or San Francisco
  2. How did you rate this episode?
  3. What did you like about Genealogy Roadshow?
  4. What did you dislike about Genealogy Roadshow?
  5. Pace of show? too fast, too slow, just right
  6. Main Stories? too long, too short, just right
  7. Number of stories  just enough, too many, too few
  8. Did you like historical segments focused on cities where episode filmed?
  9. Did you like that the stories were focused on everyday people?
  10. Did the show inspire you to do genealogical research?
  11. Were the family tree graphics easy to read?
  12. Have you done genealogical research on your own?
  13. Did you learn something new about history while watching?
  14. Would you apply to have your family history researched by this show?
  15. How frequently have you watched History Detectives, Antiques Roadshow, American Pickers, Finding Your Roots, Who Do You Think You Are?
  16. Rate Kenyetta Berry, Josh Taylor and Emmett Miller
  17. The next one was to rate each segment which I will skip here.
  18. Three Best Segments
  19. Three Worst Segements
  20. How important was the audience?
  21. How important was DNA testing?
  22. How important was technological devices used in the show to show pictures, documents and family trees?
I did skip a few that were mainly repeats of other questions, just worded differently 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Orrin J. Gould: Among the Forgotten Buried Here

Orrin J. Gould lies resting in Fairmount Cemetery. His death certificate says he died on 6 Dec 1907 not 3 Dec. He was 38 years old; had been born in New York; was the son of James Gould also born in New York; and he was a printer by occupation; his address was Five Mile Prairie in Spokane. He died of pernicious anemia ("diagnosis of former attendant").

Beyond this, Orrin is a mystery. I did not find anything about him in the 1880 or 1900 U.S. Federal Censuses. Or any documentation in our Washington State Digital Archives beyond his death certificate.

How many "unknown" rest in our area cemeteries? They may have a name and dates, they may have a death certificate, but the rest of their story is unknown. I think that is too bad. Surely Orrin J. (likely James after his father) Gould must have some family somewhere who is trying to find and document his final resting place? Who paid for the lovely tombstone??

EWGS stands ready to assist any family member claiming Orrin James Gould in their family tree.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Walking with Ancestors 2013 The Iron Horse Era in Spokane

This is the group photo.

These are several of the Actors

This is Miriam Robbins one of our team bloggers and a guide in hat with red flowers
Inland Empire Tour bus stopped to tour our group
Special Thanks to Shirley Penna-Oakes (center) our Walking with Ancestors Chairman
Special Thanks to Barbara Brazington (center) our hard working everything