Monday, January 27, 2014

Writing Contest.......... More Stories

Once again I'd like to remind you to scribble down YOUR story of how YOUR family came to the Pacific Northwest and enter it into our EWGS writing contest. Do not stew over your writing ability, or making mistakes. Ask for an editor's help if you feel so inclined, but please DO submit your story.

Reading in the Sept 2013 Readers Digest, there was an article titled "The Stories That Bind Us."  Quoting from the article:  "Researches have recently revealed stunning insights into how to make families work more effectively...."  The article was developed from studies done with children who had lived through some harrowing experiences (like 9-11) and the results showed that "the single most important thing you can do for your family is to develop a strong family narrative. Why does knowing where her grandmother went to school help a child overcome something as minor as a skinned knee or as major as a terrorist attach? Children who have the most self-confidence have what (the researchers) called a strong intergenerational self. They know they belong to something bigger than themselves.......... the ones who knew more about their families proved to be more resilient."

If you see the wisdom presented in that Readers Digest article, then let it encourage you to write your story.... and save a copy for your children and grandchildren.

Dani Lee is a descendant of five ancestors who crossed the continent between 1846-1851 to settle in the Williamette Valley of Oregon. Dani Lee was born in Portland and came to Spokane in 1973. She's had much to learn and to share with her family about their pioneer ancestors' experiences on the Oregon Trail.

Patricia smiled as she told me she came to Spokane on a Greyhound bus from Wenatchee in 1965 to take a government job. She originally was from New Orleans by way of California.

Another Patricia said she was the first of her family to come to the Northwest and she came in the year 2000. She worked for the Border Patrol in El Paso, Texas, and longed to serve her remaining years to retirement in a place with water, trees and grass.

Three stories. All so different. And all so interesting. What about YOUR story?

Friday, January 24, 2014

EWGS Writing Contest.......... Have You Entered?

The theme of this year's writing contest was chosen so that every single member of EWGS could enter. The theme is how/when/why My Family Came To the Northwest. We're here; we came..... or our parents or grandparents came...... so that's our story!

Bill came in 1991 to Spokane but his several-generations-back great uncle's children came in 1882 from Illinois and Ohio to become farmers in our Lincoln County. 

Diane's folks on both sides were pioneers of Moscow, Idaho, in the 1860s when it was in Washington Territory before statehood. Then her grandfather was born in Tacoma and she was born in Spokane. There's a great story in all those migrations!

I'm sure YOUR story parallels theirs in some respects............ please tell us!!

Click to our website for Writing Contest details:

Monday, January 20, 2014

EWGS's Digital Digest Committee

Your Digital Digest committee works constantly behind the scenes to ensure that you, EWGS member, has an interesting and worthwhile publication to read. Chair Dani Lee is a very organized person (see her agenda and printouts?) and spends hours planning each of our Digest's quarterly issues.

The Digital Digest is posted on our society website,, and current issues are available only to members while the archives holding past issues are open to all.

Dani Lee obtains some of her material via writing contests. Here is her blurb for the 2014 contest:

This is a reminder that the 2014 Writing Contest deadline is May 31, 2014.  

The subject or topic chosen (“How My Family Came To The Pacific Northwest”) is very broad and was selected to give everyone in EWGS an opportunity to write for the contest. Please refer to the flyer published in the Winter 2013 issue of the Digital Digest  (at our website, for specific writing guidelines.

Additionally, we still need judges.  If you are just not interested in writing, you can be a judge to read all the entries! Please let me know you would like to judge the contest by sending your name and email address to  Judges shall remain anonymous.

Sharpen those pencils, get the fingers on your keyboards and give us some great stories of how you or your family came to the Pacific Northwest.

And please remember the deadline is May 31st !!!

Dani Lee McGowan, Digital Digest coordinator and Writing Contest Guru

The Digital Digest is our publication...... and it is ours only because we, the members of EWGS, take ownership in the publication by submitting materials, articles, contest entries and ideas. Hope you jump in and join us.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Family of Maude E. O'Leary, Spokane, ca 1938

Not far from my house is an old tumbling-down farm house. Poking around in this old house I found some papers stuck behind wallpaper in the living room.

It was an "Instrument Revoking Proxy" from the Guaranty Liquidating Corporation, Los Angeles, California. The letter was dated 7 Oct 1938.  It was sent to Mrs. Maude E. O'Leary, 4011 N. Madison St., Spokane, Wash. The house where I found it was quite a ways from North Madison i north Spokane ...... the old farm house is three miles due north of the airport. 

How did those papers get hidden in that old farmhouse? The proxy was never why were they valuable enough to keep? Does any O'Leary family descendant want them???

Monday, January 13, 2014

EWGS & Volunteers

 "Volunteers are not paid....... not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless."

Don't know who crafted that quote but it's really wonderful. Without the many volunteers who keep pushing EWGS forward there would not be an EWGS. 

THANK YOU to all the wonderful EWGS volunteers!!

Since you were so good as to read the above, I'll share some of Bill Dollarhide's 50 Genealogy Rules:  (1)  Treat the brothers and sisters of your ancestor as equals.... even if some of them were in jail.   (2) Death certificates are rarely filled in by the person who died.  (3)  When visiting a funeral home, wear old clothes, no make-up, and look like you have about a week to live...the funeral director will give you anything you ask for if he thinks you may be a customer soon. 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Finding Stories while Digitizing Records for Scribe

I have been using Scribe to help digitize records for the Washington State Digital Archives, and while it is kind of time consuming it helps everyone in the long run. I started out with the Spokane County Marriage Applications since they were from 1939- and my parents got married in Spokane in 1942, so I was hoping to find their application, but I guess several others liked the Spokane County records since the names were typed on a typewriter, and soon they were well past when my parents got married, so I started working on Pend Oreille County Marriage Affidavits. These are the applications for a marriage license and they have the signature of the bride and groom, ages of both, and residence of both. Some have an occupation, and some have a section filled in by the parents if either the bride or groom were under age when they applied for the marriage license.
Why Pend Oreille county? My dad's parents homesteaded near Blanchard, Idaho and the nearest town to Blanchard was Newport, Washington the county seat of Pend Oreille county and so I know a lot of the people in that area.
After doing the affidavits for a while I found out a lot of people from Spokane came to Newport to get a marriage license, but people from all over came there also. I did affidavits for couples from Acron, Ohio, Cripple Creek, Colorado, Omaha, Nebraska,  and Portland, Oregon. I also had several were one of the bride or groom were from California, Minnesota, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Oregon. Since Pend Oreille county is close to Idaho a lot of people from Idaho came to get their marriage license, and even many from British Columbia in Canada. Now does that mean they got married in Pend Oreille county? Not necessarily, since that license could be used anywhere in the state of Washington, but it was an easy stop on the Great Northern Railroad, and at least in Spokane they did not publish those marriage licenses in the Spokane newspapers.

Well One day I ran into a couple in one of the pages I was working on:
Alfred M. Vanderpool and Faye E. Gertler June 1, 1933

This was an index page for the affidavits, and so I was hoping for the actual affidavit, but I did not find it. My Great Grandmother was Donna Vanderpool, so I was wondering if Alfred was related. I sent this to my cousin Myra Vanderpool Gormley since she has the Vanderpool genealogy that has been collected for years by various Vanderpool descendants. She sent me back an E-Mail that Alfred was part of the northern Vanderpools and wanted to know more about him and Faye. Seems that Alfred was the THIRD husband for Faye, and that Faye and husband #2 Nels Gertlar were in the 1930 Spokane census. I already had a request to go to the courthouse so I asked if I could look up a divorce for Nels and Faye. Myra E-Mailed back that Faye and Willis LaFayette were in the 1910 Spokane census so look for that divorce also, and the divorce for Faye's parents, and a divorce for Alfred and Faye so now I had FOUR divorces to look up.I now knew That Alfred was a 13 or 14th cousin also.

Spokane County Court records are indexed on two different microfilms, criminal and civil cases, we all know what criminal cases are, and civil cases are everything else, so armed with the approximate dates and names the clerks started looking. Found the divorce case for Nels Gertler and Faye Gertler. The microfilm showed that Nels and Faye filed for divorce August 20, 1922, but the decree was never completed so were they divorced when she married Alfred in 1933? I did not find any of the other three divorces, but did find a lawsuit where Willis Lafayette sued Nels Gertler. So husband #1 was suing soon to be husband #2. That microfilm was very interesting Willis was accusing Nels for taking away his wife, and in that suit filed in April of 1914  said Faye had filed for divorce from  Willis about November 13, 1913 and that Nels had taken his wifes love and affection away from Willis. Willis was asking $10,000.00 damages. Now a little background, Nels and Faye were both musicians and they played at various venues occasionally and were friends. Well they described riding together on street cars to Natatorium Park and a couple of other places, and meeting on the streets and talking. Natatorium Park had dances a lot on weekends and that had local musicians play for the dances. 
Reading to the end of the lawsuit, all charges dropped by the plaintiff Willis as he found after further investigation that all the charges were false.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Charles Agustus Libby Photographer

The other day I was reading an article in the Inlander and they had a list of top 10 articles for 2013, while most were good one caught my eye. It was an article on Charles Libby a photographer here in Spokane that took thousands of pictures of the area and people, and he kept a list of where each picture was taken, why and date it was taken. The part of the Inlander article that caught my eye was that they did not know where he was from or much about his family. Charles and his son Charles Jr. operated the photography business till 1969.

This is a picture Charles Libby took of the baseball team my grandfather managed. On the back they said it was taken at Underhill Park in 1934 and the list of the players. You can see the Libby mark on the lower left of the picture, and I added the names of the players. My grandfather was the tall man in the back row. All of the players worked for the Great Northern Railroad in Hillyard, and win or loose after the game they went to my grandfathers for a homemade beer. Royal Arcanum was a fraternal group something like the masons.

So where did Charles Libby come from? I did a little online searching and found this:

Charles was born in Olympia, Washington to George A. Libby and Elizabeth Mauree born in Germany, George was the son of Aaron and Ruth Libby and born in Maine. George died in Olympia January 7, 1898 of consumption. George is listed in the 1879 Thurston county census as a lumberman and in the 1892 census as a miner. After death of George, Elizabeth moved the family to Spokane and Addice the older sister to Charles set up a photography and art studio. Charles joined Addie and soon after set up his own studio for commercial photography.
Charles married Gretchen Schlussler  in Spokane July 12, 1905 and they had a son Charles Agustus Libby, Jr. May 24, 1907. Gretchen was born in St. Paul, Minnesota  about 1885 to August Schlussler and Minnie Meyers.
Elizabeth was listed in the 1900 census in Spokane with her children George H. age 29, Addie C. age 26, Charles A. age 21, and Ruth H. age 10. Elizabeth died May 27, 1932 in Spokane and is buried in Thurston County with her husband George Libby. So why did Elizabeth move her family to Spokane after her husband George A. Libby died? Well there was a Dr. George W. Libby also born in Maine, living in Spokane then, so was he a cousin to Elizabeth's husband George A. Libby?, possibly. There were a lot of Libby families in Maine in the 1800s.
Gretchen Pauline Libby died April 6, 1957 and Charles Agustus Libby died July 1966 both here in Spokane.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Your New 2014 EWGS Board

Take your choice of photos.......... think of your new EWGS Board members and sorry I did not get a new photo! (Those are darn cute pix, don't you think? Which one is John Ellingson???)

We all enjoyed a great lunch at Timber Creek, and a fabulous program from Don McLaughlin about his work identifying the old Colville Road (between Walla Walla and Colville). Loved the snippets we learned:  This was the original spelling:  Wallah Wallah. A large portion of northcentral Washington was titled the Colville region after a dude who never set foot there. The ruts from that road are still visible in many places.

We also recognized our past presidents and our distinguished service members. We are blessed to have so many of these good folks with us but we did lose two past presidents in 2013.

Our new Board is eager and ready to serve:  Donna Phillips again as president, Pat Bayonne-Johnson as vice-president, Oweta Floyd as treasurer, Diganne Bongarts as recording secretary,  Evelyn Carpenter Small as corresponding secretary, Lola King McCreary as member-at-large, Bill Hire is still past president, and Dolly Webb and Kathy Bowan are our new trustees. Juanita McBride continues as Librarian. We are so lucky to have these good folks keeping EWGS not only alive but thriving!

Hope somebody will send to me or post themselves a pix of this great crew!

If you missed then you missed a great lunch, an informative and most interesting presentation and a chance to throw tomatoes at the new Board. See you in February for our Book Auction..... and if you have material to donate, Juanita requests it be brought down to the library, preferably on a Tuesday, by Jan 14....with a grace period to the 21st.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

What You Missed January 2014 Annual Luncheon

This nice and sunny morning started out cold, but soon arrived at the Timber Creek Buffet where EWGS was holding the 2014 luncheon to introduce the new officers and honor past presidents and the DSMs (Distinguished Service Members). At 10 am was the start of the board meeting and so we discussed our upcoming meetings. February is a book sale, March is the visit to the Digital Archives, April is going to be Leslie Lawson from Portland, Oregon. Also talked a little about Steve Morrison the October workshop speaker.

Here are the 2014 EWGS Officers

The Speaker was Donald McLaughlin 
Project Director for the Stevens County
Historical Society.
He talked about the Fort Walla Wall to
Fort Colville Road.

The food was good and the conversations between the
members is even better.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

EWGS Member's Premature Obituary!!

While doing a search on Ancestry, imagine Ardis Zacker Storms' reaction to finding her own obituary!!

Ardis is a longtime member of EWGS and one day while idly doing a birth-marriage-death search on Ancestry found an obituary for Ardis Zacker, born 5 January 1943 in Washington. "That's me!" she said.

She pretty quickly realized that the obit was for her baby brother, Dwaine, who had passed away in June 2013 and somehow the indexing of that information had a huge hiccup.

"Darn," said Ardis, "I didn't even get to see what they said about me!"

Please come to the next EWGS meeting on Saturday, January 4th, 11:45, at the Timber Creek Buffet on Argonne in the Spokane Valley. And be sure to hug and tell Ardis that you're REALLY glad to see her alive and kicking!