Sunday, January 31, 2016

Windstorm Damage at Fairmount Memorial Park

November 17, 2015 Spokane had a bad windstorm gusts to 70+ miles an hour and a lot of trees in our area were blown down taking power lines with them and so about 250,000+ people out of power for up to 8 days in cold November. I was lucky as I lost one tree and all it did was bend a part of my fence, but our cemeteries did not do well either. Fairmount Memorial Park where my parents, grandparents and a few other family friends are buried had a lot of trees down, and closed due to the dangerous trees that had broken off or just uprooted some hitting gravestones and leaving a horrible mess to clean up. A couple of weeks ago the loggers had removed all the salvageable timber they opened for the public again.
Piles of brush left from the downed trees  

Piles of brush left from the downed trees 

Piles of brush left from the downed trees  Between the front 
two tombstones and back a way slightly to the right is a large 
pine tree stump.

Just to the right out of the photo is my grandparents grave and 
it was not damaged, but it used to be between two large pine
 trees which we always used to find our grandparents grave, 
both are gone.

This is the dirt filling the hole the stump left when one of those
 big pine trees fell over.

There were two gravestones that had been lifted by the falling
pine trees, and Fairmount had promised they will reset them 
when the weather warms up.

Brush pile on road close to my grandparents grave.

The GAR section of the cemetery lost several trees and a few
 of tombstones were damaged. They are supposed to be fixed 
when it warms up.

Looking the other way from the GAR section.

Tree stump in front of the Sunset Mausoleum.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Serendipity Day

WASGS_LogoPresident Mike McKinnon and I as WSGS vice-president, as you to consider contributing some of your time and talents to WSGS by taking the position of Region Rep. The duties of a WSGS Region Rep are:
  • Attend Board and general meetings to represent the society members in their region.
  • Communicate regularly with all societies within their region.
  • Share with WSGS the activities, concerns and interests of all societies within their region.
We need a representative for Region 7 comprising the counties of Spokane, Pend Oreille, Ferry, Lincoln and Stevens (with only two busy societies).
We need a representative for Region 8 comprising the counties of Chelan, Douglas, Okanogan and Grant (with only 2-4 busy societies).
We need a rep for Region 1 comprising the counties of Whatcom, Skagit, San Juan, Island and Snohomish (not sure how many societies).
WSGS meeting are held quarterly, January-April-June-September. The meetings are usually held in Yakima with the exception of the state conference (2016 will be in Tacoma during the Tacoma Pierce County Conference in June).
WSGS could surely use your ideas and your help, as could the genealogical societies within your region. Won’t you consider helping? Please contact me, Donna Phillips, at 

Good follow-up to Charles Hansen's post; this image needs no more words.
To those who poo-poo the usefulness of FamilySearch, here is a great answer.  According to the compiled statistics for 2015, show these things:
  1.  There are more than 1.1 billion people in the Family Tree.
  2.  There are 5.31 million searchable reccords.
  3.  Over 12 million volunteer hours via FamilySearch Indexing have made the above possible.
  4.  There are nearly 300,000 visits daily to
  5.  There are nearly 5000 Family Search Centers around the world with half being in the U.S.
  6.  Nearly 4000 folks serve as volunteer online FamilySearch support missionaries.
Are you asking yourself, "Why am I not making more use of this great resource???"  I surely am!
American Ground
Book Review:  The American Ground by Nathan Dylan Goodwin
“The dawn sky appeared deep grey, as if it had been sucked up from the sea itself. The snow that had threatened for several days finally began to fall, a fine dusting coated the rooftops and untrodden  edges of the pebble-beach walkways. The dimness of the day had forced the early illumination of candles throughout the Ground; to a stranger out at sea, the scene before him would have been one of resplendent beauty.”
“The squat oblong of glass and concrete that was the Kent History and Library Centre, just outside of Maidstone town centre, had been purpose-built in 2012. It was, like many other modern archives, light and open-plan with crisp white pillars and wooden flooring throughout.”
“(After talking to Bunny in her shop) Morton nodded absentmindedly as the door clattered open behind him and a large group of pensioners began to throng through the door.”
Harriet, speaking to a solicitor, “I be here about the inquest….is there anything you can be a-doing to help us? Blame me, everyone on the America Ground be as worried as I ever did see them.”
“Oh, Christopher,” Harriet wailed. “I be needing a rest, I’m rattleboned,” she announced, heading out of the door. “I’m going for a lie down.”
Is there any doubt that author Nathan Dylan Goodwin is an Englishman and writes from his home in Kent?
I quite fell in love with both Morton Farrier and Nathan Dylan Goodwin’s books after reading his first book, Hiding the Past. Goodwin weaves the dozen complicated story lines into a genealogical mystery and then unravels the mystery by going back and forth in time as we follow Morton into libraries, archives and using
The American Ground is Goodwin’s third book chronicling the genealogy-mystery solving abilities of Morton Farrier. The first two books, Hiding the Past, and The Lost Ancestor, were try-to-read-in-one-sitting books…..they were that good.
In the Author’s Note, Goodwin writes:  “This novel is set against the backdrop of a real moment in history and a real place. The American Ground; a piece of land outside Hastings, Sussex in the 1820s.”  Those facts are true; Goodwin’s work is a work of fiction.
In a stretch of new land created at the base of a high cliff near the sea, folks built a town and living for themselves. When threatened by the King to take away their property, they declared, “like America,” that they were free, independent and part of America.  Into the hundred years or so of the town’s history, Goodwin weaves a tale of intrigue and murder as told through the people who lived the story (a fictional story). Goodwin added that he “took the opportunity of reviving some colourful nouns, verbs and phrases from the wonderful old Sussex dialect…sadly now forgotten.”
The American Ground can be purchased through either in paperback or for Kindle. Goodwin’s first two books are also available through Amazon.
P1120320 (640x480)
I'm sure you recognize this as one of those pamphlets handed to you as you enter, or at the Visitor's Center, of our national parks and monuments. I have a box of these wonderful resources (from all over America) and am looking to give them away. Great for teachers; great for home-bound travelers; great for personal interest.  Please contact me at and I'll ship them off to you.
The following might really be of immediate interest to all of us as we plan our summer genealogy travels....................
Editorial, 2 Jan 2016, by Froma Harrop, as appeared on our paper, The Spokesman Review (quoting only portions of her editorial):
“In America, any state-issued driver’s license had long been acceptable ID for passing security checks at airports. That lax attitude changed after Sept 11, 2001, when terrorists turned four commercial jetliners full of passengers into missiles, killing thousands more on the ground. All four planes took off from U.S. airports.
“On the recommendation of the 9/11 Commission, Congress passed the Real ID Act. It tightens standards for state driver’s licenses used to board flights. Among other information, applicants must provide their Social Security number and immigration status. The licenses must also contain a chip of other technology that can be read by a computer. The deadline for compliance is approaching.
Some state have done their duty and issued secure driver’s licenses. Other have made enough progress that their licenses are acceptable for the time being. And a few states….Washington, Minnesota and New Mexico, for example…. Have largely not complied.  Barring another extension of the deadline, their driver’s licenses will soon be inadmissible as proof of identity at airport security.”
The article/editorial went on for several paragraphs discussing the ideas the nay-sayers are blathering (“too hard,” “violation of rights for immigrants,” yadda yadda) but all the fussing will not change these rules. The day is coming when to go through airport security you will need what Washington (state) calls an Enhanced Driver’s License.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

EWGS Classes? Did we say EWGS classes??

"Regarding future EWGS classes....not the monthly EWGS programs but additional classes.... Donna polled you all via email and at the January meeting as to what classes you would like to take. The choices she offered at that time were (1) DNA;  (2) New York Research; or (3) Writing YOUR Story.   A class on DNA won, hands down. After all, this technology is becoming a standard in the tool box of resources for genealogical research and we might as well try to understand it if not use it.  Writing YOUR Story was a close runner-up. Donna feels sure that she can motivate you to really get your words down on paper! The vote was also in favor of having such classes at the Shadle Library and during the daytime. Accordingly, as soon as Donna gets her head above water  she will begin planning and offering these classes.  Please stay tuned...........


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal.

Serendipity means a "happy accident" or "pleasant surprise"; a fortunate mistake. Specifically, the accident of finding something good or useful while not specifically searching for it. The word has been voted one of the ten English words hardest to translate in June 2004 by a British translation company.[1] However, due to its sociological use, the word has been exported into many other languages.[2]

The first noted use of "serendipity" in the English language was by Horace Walpole (1717–1797). In a letter to Horace Mann (dated 28 January 1754) he said he formed it from the Persian fairy tale The Three Princes of Serendip, whose heroes "were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of". The name stems from Serendip, an old name for Sri Lanka (aka Ceylon), from Arabic Sarandib. Parts of Sri Lanka were under the rule of South Indian kings for extended periods of time in history. Kings of Kerala, India (Cheranadu)were called Chera Kings and dheep means island, the island belonging to Chera King was called Cherandeep, hence called Sarandib by Arab traders.

For more on serendipity

Monday, January 25, 2016

Keep Up With Genealogy Events All Around the State

Do you subscribe to the Washington State Genealogical Society's blog??  Do you know what it can offer to you?

The purpose of this blog is to keep genealogists all over the Pacific Northwest informed of events, activities and goings-on of all the genealogical societies in the region. Perhaps you live in Walla Walla and need to travel to Spokane for business or family reasons...would it be exciting to know that a genealogy seminar or conference was going on while you were there that you could attend??

That's the purpose of the WSGS blog.  Click to and then "blog" and sign up today for notifications to come to your email box whenever a blog posting is made.

What have you got to loose??

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Ancestry: Is More....Better???

Doing some research on one of my colonial families using Ancestry, of course I had to look at the tips in the 18 online family trees. BUT I will say I usually look at those trees LAST after I've looked at the other tips. (And I summarily delete or ignore the references to the Family Data File, the Millennium File, SAR applications and that ilk.) But back to business.......

One of the trees Ancestry wanted me to compare with mine showed the compiler had 23 sources!! "Wow, that's one I want to check out," thinks me. Boy was a disappointed but not fooled.

Those 23 "sources" we're all no darn good for they came from those files mentioned above.....those compilations done by other well-meaning-but-who-knows-how-much-they-KNOW folks. (Now don't get your knickers in a knot, yes, I know they're all good for clues but are NOT sources, in my opinion.)

Only one of those 23 listings was likely: Massachusetts Town Death Records.....but when I clicked on that the info that came up had nothing to do with that family!

Good grief, says Charlie Brown, and me too.

So what''s a genealogist to do? How are we to use these Ancestry trees (or any other online trees)? How are we to consider them sources???

How do YOU use the Ancestry (or other online) trees???

Oh, and that fellow had attached the family coat of arms for this daughter who was born in 1598 in England. Really??

Sunday, January 3, 2016

First Meeting of 2016 a Fun Time!

EWGS member Sonji Rutan was the winner of a Kindle Fire at the January 2nd EWGS meeting! She won by having her name drawn from all of those who "found the acorn" in the most recent issue of the Digital Digest. Does she look happy???? Doug Floyd and Dani Lee McGowan presented the gift. 

That's John Ellingson in the left background..... at nearly 100 he still attends meetings and does email. What an inspiration to us all, eh?

Nearly 80 of EWGS members and guests gathered at the China Buffet for our 2016 kick-off meeting. A delicious lunch was enjoyed by all ( I saw lots and lots of desserts going by :-)  

EWGS has had 41 president since its beginning in 1935. Three past presidents were in attendance: Jeanne Coe, Bill Hire and Donna Phillips. 

I hope it is part of your New Year's Resolution list to make EWGS a bigger priority in your life and schedule. If you're a genealogist of any degree, EWGS exists to share knowledge with you.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

EWGS January 2016 Luncheon, What You Missed

Today started out cold again but with the bright sun out we headed to the Pearl China Buffet for the EWGS Board meeting. Lunch was a buffet, and even though I am not a real explorer of food it was a good lunch and the price was very good also. The room we were in at the back was pretty private, so a good place to hold the annual meeting where we honor the past presidents. Three were there, Jeanne Coe, Bill Hire and Donna Phillips.

The regular meeting started with a prize give away from the Digital Digest contest to find a Kindle Fire. and it went to Sonji Ruttan.  

The meeting continued and then the passing of the gavel from Donna Phillips to our new EWGS President Pat Bayonne-Johnson.

 Congratulations Pat.