Tuesday, December 29, 2020

EWGS Looks Forward To 2021


Dolly Webb is the current EWGS president and has great plans for 2021. Check out our website (www.EWGSI.org) and come do genealogy education and research along with us. EWGS exists not to perpetuate the organization but to HELP YOU with your family history and we have since 1935. 

These are some of the EWGS past presidents (L to R):  Bill Hire, Pat Bayonne-Johnson, Jeanne Coe, Donna Potter Phillips, John Zeimantz and Susan Beamer. 

Do plan to join us on January 9, 2021 (via ZOOM..... instructions for using ZOOM are on our EWGS website) for a wonderful introduction to 2021. 

Annual Luncheon and Officer Installation
Saturday, January 9, 2021
Annual Luncheon and Officer Installation  (EWGS Meetings)
12:00 pm to 3:00 pm
Meeting via Zoom
We will have a "virtual" luncheon, meaning prepare your own favorite dish for lunch and why not include a fun beverage ;)
We will acknowledge past presidents and install new officers for 2021.
Janice Fritsch, PLCGS will present on the Civil War

Friday, December 25, 2020

Beautiful Christmas Light Display on Temple Square


A Christmas light display anywhere is wonderful but this display on Temple Square is special. A white Nativity is spotlighted in the middle of a 12-inch deep reflecting pool in which lighted "bubbles" float. The decorated trees around the pool enhance the scene. Good reason to go to the Family History Library in Sal Lake City in December?????

Friday, December 18, 2020

Christmas project with grandkids.......... making memories.


Spotted this at a craft show....... it's a Nativity Set made from/with plain old river rocks and wire. (And they wanted $75 for it.)

Think of the possibilities! Paint the rocks? Glue the rocks? Just going out to gather the rocks would be a family-fun-Christmas thing to do. 

Do go make Christmas memories with your family. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Want another sweater from your kids for Christmas? Or this!!


Give the gift of family history: MyHeritage Gift Membership

Posted: 23 Nov 2020 06:29 AM PST


Introducing the MyHeritage Gift Membership

Just in time for the holidays, MyHeritage has announced the launch of the new MyHeritage gift membership! You can now give someone special the MyHeritage Complete plan, the best plan for family history research. To celebrate the launch, gift memberships are now available with a 50% introductory discount.

You can choose to give either a 1-year or 6-month gift membership. Gift memberships are one-time and do not renew.

The gift membership includes the following benefits of the Complete plan:

  •       Unlimited family tree size and unlimited photo storage 
  •       Access to MyHeritage’s 12.7 billion historical records
  •       Automatic Record Matches for the family tree 
  •       Automatic Smart Matches™ to millions of family trees
  •       Instant Discoveries™ consisting of Person Discoveries and Photo Discoveries
  •       Tree Consistency Checker that identifies mistakes and inconsistencies in the family tree
  •       Unlimited use of MyHeritage In Color™ and the MyHeritage Photo Enhancer
For more information see the following video and the linked blog post.

Here is the link to the blog post: Introducing the MyHeritage Gift Membership

Here is some additional important information from the blog post.

At the end of the gift membership period, the recipient will retain access to their MyHeritage account and all family tree data and nothing will be deleted. If they wish to continue enjoying the full benefits of a membership, it will be up to them to extend their plan (or you can decide to be kind to them and give them another gift membership — it’s up to you).

If you gifted someone and they don’t want the gift, don’t worry! You can ask our customer support to transfer it to someone else. If you gifted someone and it turns out they already have a paid account on MyHeritage, you can also transfer it to someone else. Until a gift is activated by the recipient, the membership period doesn’t begin so no time is lost. The gift needs to be activated within 6 months of its delivery to the recipient, and then it will start.

Friday, December 11, 2020

House Museums..... ever been to one?


Living in Spokane, I'd bet you have been to a house museum. Our own Campbell House. Wasn't it wonderful and didn't you feel the history?

The definition of a house museum is simple: it is a museum OF a house IN that house. Massachusetts leads the way with more house museums than any other state. Listening to a webinar from the Massachusetts Historical Society, house museums are layers and layers of history in one place, a place to see different people through the different lenses of time. 

Want to taste and see and touch and feel a bit of history from a certain period in a certain place? Visit a house museum. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Ghost towns of eastern Washington


Most of the ghost towns in eastern Washington have long since completely disappeared but, for a few, a building or two still stands. This old school house was in the town of Govan, in Lincoln County, and is oft photographed today. 

Ever heard of the town of Mock? Rodna? Chesaw? Molson? Peach? Mold? Of Govan? 

Thing is, people settled these towns for a reason. They lived and died there. There is a Pinterest page for Washington Ghost Towns and it states: "Many Washington towns began with a boom and ended with a crash due to radical shifts of economy, access or natural disaster." 

YOUR ancestors and MINE lived in this long-ago towns...... what do you know about them? 

Friday, December 4, 2020

Why did people in those old photo look so sour?


Why did our ancestors look so sour and sad in those old black and white photos? Even on a happy occasion, they were seldom shown smiling. How come? The "Ask Marilyn" in Sunday's Parade magazine furnished one answer:  Perhaps it was because it was harder to hold a smile for the long exposure needed. Perhaps they didn't want to reveal their bad teeth (especially in older folks). But most likely, Marilyn states, for the average person in those long-ago days, having their photo taken professionally might only happen once in their lives and a more formal picture reflected the "gravitas" of the occasion. 

And have you notice that little children often are seen as a blur? That's because they wiggled. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Mayflower Month: First Thankgiving Dinner


Think you'd want to share Thanksgiving dinner with the Pilgrims in 1627? Very likely not because the menu was not what the artists have shown us all these years.

"As the day of the harvest festival approached, four men were sent out to shoot waterfowl, returning with enough to supply the company for a week. Massasoit was invited to attend and shortly arrived..... with ninety ravenous braves! The strain on the larder was somewhat eased when some of these went out and bagged five deer. For three days, the Pilgrims and their guests gorged themselves on venison, roast duck, roast goose, clams and other shellfish, succulent eels, white bread, corn bread, leeks and watercress and other "sallet herbes" with wild plums and dried berries as dessert. All washed down with wine, made of the wild grape, both white and red, which the first Pilgrims praised as 'very sweet and strong.'" 

There was no mention of "turkies, whose speed of foot in the woods constantly amazed the Pilgrims." There were cranberries by the bushel in neighboring bogs but the Pilgrims had not yet contrived a happy use for them. "Nor was the table graced with a later and more felicitious invention, pumpkin pie." 

Q: If you choose to celebrate a "real" Thanksgiving, will you include "succulent eels" on your menu???

(Quoting from Saints and Strangers, by George F. Willison, 1945.)

Friday, November 27, 2020

Mayflower Month: Houses .... did they build log cabins?


Did the Pilgrims build log cabins? Nope. "Neither then nor later did the pilgrims build log cabins for the good reason that they did not know how." 

 (Believe it or not, Scandinavian immigrants arriving about 1640 to settlements along the Delaware, brought the know-how to erect log cabins.)

Most spent that winter of 1620-1621 still onboard the Mayflower (at least it was shelter). As soon as spring finally came, they began building a few small cottages of wattle and daub construction with steep thatched roofs, typically English in design. Each family was to build its own house and each family to take in one or more of the single persons. But it was not until March 21st that the last of the Pilgrims finally left the Mayflower and "came ashore with much adoe to live henceforth on ye firme and stable earth, their proper elemente." It had been eight long wintery months since the ship first sailed into Provincetown harbor. 

I've been blessed to visit Plimouth Plantation. These replica "cottages" are not someplace where you or I would want to live. They were dirt floored, tiny in area, windowless, crowded with living and with people. Yet they did survive; I am a descendant of nine passengers who were on the Mayflower, both Saints and Strangers. 

(Quoting from Saints and Strangers, by George F. Willison, 1945.)

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Mayflower Month: Where to finally settle


It was November; it was winter. The group had been 66 days out of Plymouth and four months out of Leiden. They were in New England and obviously not Virginia. The problem was that their charter or patent was for them to settle in Virginia and nowhere else. So what to do?

"The malcontents among them had become quite defiant, openly proclaiming that when they came ashore they would use their own libertie for none had the power to command them" since they were not in Virginia. This fractional separation led to the composing of the famous Mayflower Compact. 

But they were not in Virginia and Capt. Jones was loath to attempt, in November, to sail back into the Atlantic and south to Virginia. So it was decided; here they would stay. 

And perhaps this was the best choice after all. There was no established church so they would be free of interference in their affairs. 

All this was well and good but it was cold; it was November; it was winter and they had nobody and nothing and certainly no shelter of any kind awaiting them on the shore of this New World. 

(Quoting from Saints and Strangers, by George F. Willison, 1945.)

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Mayflower Month: The storms which changed history


Having left England for the last time in mid-September, they initially were cheered because September passed "under fair skies and with a fresh breeze blowing."

"Then suddenly, the weather changed as fierce storms came roaring out of the west. For days at a time it was impossible to carry a yard of sail, the ship drifting under bare poles with the helmsman desperately trying to hold her into the wind as she wallowed through mountainous seas which often had her lying on her beam-ends."

(Donna:  we can scarcely imagine how terrible awful it was for that dear group of 102 people crammed into a space the size of a living room.)

Finally,  November came and their course had brought them to the wrist of Cape Cod. They were glad to be sight land again, as "the Mayflower seemed to be in great danger and ye wind shrieking upon them withall." So they, with a sigh of relief, sailed into the safety of Provincetown harbor. 

But this was not Virginia..............what to do?

(Quoting from Saints and Strangers, by George F. Willison, 1945.)

Friday, November 13, 2020

Mayflower Month: The voyage and the people


Finally on September 6th, after two aborted starts, the Mayflower finally set out across the North Atlantic. 

"According to the usuall maner, many were afflicated with seasickness." As the ship had only the crudest of conveniences (a bucket) and no provision for even cursory washing, the air in the narrow, crowded quarters below duck must have been nauseating at best and at worst simply staggering. The North Atlantic is always cold and the passengers found it almost impossible to keep warm and dry. Except for an occasional hot dish, they lived on a monotonous and upsetting diet of hard tack, "salt horse," dried fish, cheese and beer. 

The Mayflower was packed to the gunwales for 102 passengers had been crammed on board with their goods and supplies. It is a pleasing and fanciful notion that these first Pilgrims were a homogeneous and united group, but indeed they were not. Only three of the company were from Scrooby and a third of those onboard came from Leyden, 41 to be exact. The others were "strangers" largely from London and southeastern England and were good members of the Church of England. This religious perspective/viewpoint led to "considerable irritation" among the group. 

The one thing all the passengers had on common was that they were all of the lower classes, "from the cottages and not the castles of England." There was not a drop of blue blood to be found anywhere among them in the Mayflower; they were common people............ a fact which seems to have escaped some of their descendants with their proofs of "blood" and pathetic interest in coats of arms." 

(Quoting from Saints and Strangers, by George F. Willison, 1945.)

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Mayflower Month: How did they choose where to go?


The big question in these soon-to-be-Pilgrims was where to go? And there was much discussion around the tables in their Leiden homes.

"Some favored establishing a colony in the New World. Many violently objected, however, citing their want of funds for so ambitious a venture, the hardships of a long voyage, the dangers of perishing of starvation and disease, not to speak of the savagery of the Indians, a 'cruell, barbarous and most trecherous' people whose practice were such that a mere recitation of them caused their 'bowels to grate within them.'"

Many destinations were discussed, including Guiana or some spot along the Caribbean coast of South America. Some voted for Virginia but against this it was argued that the Anglican church was already established in the colony and they might be as harassed and persecuted there as they had been at home. But in the end, the vote was for Virginia. 

(Quoting from Saints and Strangers, by George F. Willison, 1945.)

Friday, November 6, 2020

Mayflower Month: Why did they leave Leiden?


WHY did the soon-to-be-Pilgrims leave Leiden for the uncertainties of a New World?

"The leaders of the group were worried, above all by the poverty in which most of the congregation lived. Many were getting on in years, and even worse, were compelled by age and situation to put their children to work..... their situation aroused an uneasy fear that within a few years they would either scatter by reason of necessity of 'sinking under their burden, or both.'" 

They wished to find a place where they might live more comfortably and still enjoy freedom of religion. They also wished to retain their identity as an English group, having no desire to be absorbed by the Dutch. They were especially fearful of the "seduction of their children by 'ye great manifold temptations of ye place.'" 

So they left Leiden.............. the story continues. 

(Quoting from Saints and Strangers, by George F. Willison, 1945.)

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Occupations of the Mayflower Men


Jerri McCoy will be giving our program on Saturday, November 7th. She is the Historian for the Washington State chapter of the Society of the Mayflower Descendants. As a "teaser-preview," I thought you might find of interest that I've learned that many of the Mayflower men had bonafide occupations:

             Isaac Allerton was a merchant.
        William Bradford was a magistrate.
        William Brewster was a publisher and church leader.
        John Carver was the first governor.
        James Chilton was a tailor.
        Samuel Fuller was a surgeon (doctor).
        Degory Priest was a hatter.
        Edward Winslow was a merchant.
        Moses Fletcher was a blacksmith.
        Stephen Hopkins was a tanner and merchant.
        Richard Moore was a mariner.
        John Alden was a cooper.
        Miles Standish was a soldier. 





Friday, October 30, 2020

Cemeteries: Did you know about segregation in Washington's cemeteries?


This tombstone might be funny but the story in our Spokesman a few days ago was not. 

Did you know that there was on the books of Washington that allowed cemeteries to discriminate on the basis of race? This was on the books following a 1960 decision. 

Washington cemeteries could "refuse burial to any person because such person was not of the Caucasian race. This very court once held that a cemetery could lawfully deny grieving Black parents the right to bury their infant.... we cannot undo this wrong but we can recognize our ability to do better in the future," said the justices in the letter.

Recently, the Washington State Supreme Court reversed that decision, a rule considered irrelevant anyway as federal and state regulations had already made it illegal. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

1920 And Our Museum Begins?


Jim Kershner's "100 Years Ago Today" in this morning's Spokesman, quoted from an article ono 26 Oct 1920:   "The Eastern Washington Historical Society announced its intention to seek federal money to expand its fledgling museum into a large, permanent institution.

"I believe museums are even more important than libraries," said Harl J. Cook of the society. "We should teach our children natural history. At the present time, a child goes out of the schoolroom and doesn't recognize it." 

He claimed that Spokane was in the center of the finest prehistoric field in the world and that 'within the next 25 years it will be the most popular hunting ground for ancient fossils on the entire continent."

Well, I don't know about that, but I do remember going to the museum in about 1957 and being mesmerized by the gem/mineral/rock collection. It was in an upstairs room in the mansion in those days. Anybody else remember those wonderful specimens? Wonder what happened to them????

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Follow-Up From Oct Workshop: Answer To WHY Take An Inventory?

Our recent EWGS October workshop featured a presentation on Probate Records by member Susan Beamer. I sent her a follow-up question asking WHY did every little thing have to be listed in an inventory? Wouldn’t and why not the widow just get everything?? Here is her answer: 

 In order to disperse the estate to the heirs, you have to know what's there. Part of that is anything owed the estate (anything the deceased lent--money or otherwise) or any outstanding bills the deceased owed themselves. They collect what is owed.  So the bills are paid first out of what is left of the estate. If things have to be sold to do that, then they are sold. This is especially true when people die without a will--intestate. What is left is then dispersed to the heirs. Most often heirs of those who die intestate aren't wealthy and there are enough of them (often enough) that everything sellable is sold, pooled and divided by the number of heirs, given as cash.

When people die with a will, the will sets out what heirs get. Wills are most common when there is real property and larger items. With a will, unless the deceased was in debt, you often don't know what is in the estate. They will say the wife can have use of what is left after debts are paid for the rest of her life, or the other--she can have what she brought to the marriage, meaning she basically gets nothing from his estate only what she brought in. Then after the wife dies, typically one of the kids gets the rest of the estate.

I've not seen where the widow's items are sold. If it is his estate, all those things of hers are really his. Then, if he was in debt when he died, they will sell all they can to pay the debt, even things the widow would need. Unless she can prove some items she brought with her to the marriage (dowry), but then again, depending on the time and laws, once they marry, all of her things are his. There probably are exceptions for the last couple hundred years, but not many.

Friday, October 16, 2020

WPA & CCC October Workshop Handout.... in case you missed it.


Forging Ahead: The WPA & The CCC

By Donna Potter Phillips, Donna243@gmail.com, please do not use without permission.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on 6 May 1933, signed into law the Works Progress Administration (WPA). FDR was elected president because he had a plan to bring America out of the Great Depression. His 3-part plan called for relief, recovery and reform, and he was willing to commit federal dollars to achieve this plan for America. The goal of the WPA was to employ most of the unemployed people until the economy recovered. The WPA put men to work building airports, dams, highways, roads, bridges, schools, courthouses, hospitals, post offices, museums, community centers and swimming pools, playgrounds, zoos and much more. By June, 1941, the government had spent $11,000,000 on projects which would be $186 billion today.

Besides all those building projects, the WPA created programs of employment for those involved in the arts, education, historians, archeologists, geologists and researchers. The “best thing” for genealogists to come from the WPA was the compiled inventories of manuscript collections…. Burial listings in cemeteries, federal and state census indexes, naturalization records indexes, newspaper indexes, inventories of courthouse and church records and compiling historical oral narratives of slaves, immigrants and Native Americans.

Another project of the WPA was the establishment of the CCC, the Civilian Conservation Corps. This program, operational between 1933-1942, was established to provide employment to unmarried men between the ages of 17-28 and some 2,000,000 men were enrolled. The men were paid $25 per month and all were required to send $20 of that home to their families. The CCC program ended in 1942 as war was needing young American men.

Want to learn more about the WPA/CCC?

***Paula Stuart-Warren offers a 55-minute webinar/video for Ancestry Academy telling the complete story.

***Google the terms adding your state or area. A simple search for “WPA records” yielded 16,100 hits in under a second.

*** The National Archives at St. Louis is where to go for personnel records. (Fill out a form; pay a fee; be patient.)

*** The Minnesota History Center offers tips, databases and helps.

*** Click to Cyndi’s List, then U.S. History: The Great Depression; Works Progress (Projects) Administration-WPA; there you’ll find 15  links to various WPA/CCC records.

*** American-Made: The Enduring Legacy of the WPA, by Nick Taylor, 2008, available on Amazon.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

FamilySearch Offers A Pay-It-Forward Project

 I'd bet that most of us use FamilySearch.org to some extent in our research. Do you realize that a great deal of the data that you search for, find and use from that FREE website comes from data entry from volunteers? Folks just like you and me?

Currently, FamilySearch is asking for volunteer help to fix place-names. This surely does look like a fun and an easy and a worthwhile project. Check it out? 

Friday, October 9, 2020

YouTube Channels for Genealogy

 I follow James Tanner's Genealogy's Star blog (and I do recommend it to you) for he always has good teaching. Few weeks back he did a post about YouTube channels for genealogy. Besides the piece of his blog I snipped and posted here, there are probably hundreds of genealogy or history related channels on YouTube. Go learn something today!

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

More On The Mayflower


We've been whining these past few months about being stuck at home. And yet we have our entire house, running water, probably too much food, TV, books and Internet. We might compare our current "journey" to the 66-day voyage of the Mayflower and count ourselves much luckier.

Some 102 passengers spent most of their time in an area 60-feet by 12-feet. Think of this; how big is your living room? Your house? And with your ENTIRE family it still wouldn't be 102 folks. The ship was 100-feet by 25-feet but there was cargo, ship stores, crew quarters, etc. The pilgrims were squeezed into a small area, "a wooden bathtub with masts," one source said. 

Of course they drank beer; each passenger was allotted one gallon per day. The water was buggy, filthy and undrinkable.  Think how much space was needed for all those people for all those days. 

Jerri McCoy, historian for the Washington State chapter of the Society of Mayflower Descendants, shared a super presentation with EWGS for our September program (via ZOOM).  She reminded us that "today, some 35,000,000 people can trace their lineage back to a Mayflower passenger." 

Those were some H-A-R-D-Y people. After the first winter, when 45 of them died, the surviving 57 souls created a legacy beyond belief. At least to me. (I'm a x8 Mayflower descendant.)

Friday, October 2, 2020

EWGS Fall Workshop Is TOMORROW

It might not be too late for you to register and attend our EWGS Fall Workshop. Our ZOOM contract only allows for 100 people to attend. I hope you make it into the virtual audience! 

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Needing Scots-Irish Research Help? It's HERE!


Dwight Radford has been a professional genealogist, specializing in Scots-Irish and Irish research for decades. I know him well personally as he's helped me and many others on the annual Salt Lake Christmas Tour. The subtitle of his book tells the story:  "Strategies and Sources in the Quest for Ulster-Scots Origins." The list of maps and illustrations takes three pages! You will not find list of names in this book but with your ancestor in mind, you'll gain new ideas of where to look for him to document his/her life. 

Friday, September 25, 2020

EWGS Member A 12-Year Volunteer with NEHGS


Bet you'd never guess that an EWGS member is a 12-year volunteer with the New England Historic Genealogical Society. Sue Richart is an EWGS member and a member of the Northeast Washington Genealogical Society. She's been a presenter for EWGS a number of times. Know how her volunteering has helped you and me?

If you use the NEHGS website, www.AmericanAncestors.org, and take advantage of their many, many databases (mostly pertaining to New England ancestors) you can thank Sue. She's helped get a number of things ready to be posted online.


Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Let's Spend Our COVID Time Learning


This voluntary/mandatory house-bound quarantine has seemed forever, surely yes. So let's finish it off with learning something new..... or reviewing something old. I'm talking about the FamilySearch WIKI. Use the WIKI to learn more about the PLACE you are researching and the RECORDS available there. Or just boning up on your genealogy research skills in general. Besides studying (take a good half hour, please!) there are six free video tutorials to help you learn all the tips and tricks for using the WIKI. These are available in the FamilySearch Learning Center,  www.familysearch.org/ask/learningViewer/1035