Friday, May 29, 2020

Grave Markers: Often A Testimony To Not Caring

We've just passed Memorial Day 2020. Were you able to get to the cemetery of your choice? Weren't the flag displays magnificent? 

Sometimes grave markers just make you cry. Example:


The marker for "unknown child" is found in the Fort Wright Cemetery; if you've not visited and walked around you've missed a pleasant and thoughtful experience. There are several "unknown child" markers. 

At least somebody scratched away the brush and pine needles to remember the deceased in the lower photo. But the others? I'm just showing two examples of different kinds of "not caring." What lasting/forever good is a marker reading "Big Mama?" And if we don't care for the grave markers of our ancestors, who will???

Guess Memorial Day brings all sorts of thoughtful thinking and remembering. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Joggly Board. Know what it was and is?

If your ancestry extends into the South, then perhaps you'll recognize a joggly board. It looks like a bench but see the rocker legs? You sit on the top and "joggle" or bounce up and down. Can do it alone or with others, depending on the length of the board. 

I first learned about joggly boards when we lived in Charleston, South Carolina, in the 1960s. Seems every front porch had one of these. And believe me, they were FUN to use.

I want hubby to build one for our great-grandchildren; there are all sorts of plans available on the Internet. Just ask Grandma Google. 

And as you "joggle" think of your Southern ancestors doing the same thing. And laughing. 

Friday, May 22, 2020

1950 census? Have questions? I do!

Bet you already know that the 1950 census will not be available to us until April 2022, following the 72 Year Privacy Law. But did you realize it will not be indexed upon release?  The link below will take you to LisaLouise Cooke's 2015 post on this subject and I'm sure you will find it interesting. 

Here's what I think will happen:  Remember when we were expecting the 1940 census release? FamilySearch jumped right on it and launched an indexing campaign. Within five short months, the entire 1940 census was indexed. I'd just bet that this will happen with the 1950 census too. We'll see. 

An enumerator interviews President Truman and the First Family for the 1950 Census. Image from

The photo above is of 1950 census enumerators interviewing President Harry and Bess Truman for the census.

Friday, May 15, 2020

This essay of mine first appeared in our EWGS Bulletin back in September 2008. I think it's still a worthwhile read today.

Tradition Is A Chronic Deceiver

Tradition is a chronic deceiver and those who put total faith in it are self-deceivers. This is not to say that tradition is always false. But sometimes a small falsehood lies at the base of the tradition and gets increasingly “blown up” as the years go by……especially if it was a claim of grandeur in the first place. To show how quickly and easily a tradition emerges out of nothing, let us invent a story.

During the presidency of the first Adams, a humble Adams family is living in a frontier settlement. The Adams boy is asked by another whether he is related to the great man. The boy is intrigues; if a kinship can be claimed he will be able to hold his own against the sheriff’s son when boasts of parental importance are made. So he takes the question to old Granther Adams as the most likely to know. The aged man, his own days of activity over, becomes animated when thus appealed to as an authority on the family history. Well, now, he doesn’t rightly know, but when he was living as a young blade back in New England, he once met a man named Adams in a tavern and come to talk things over they were related somehow and he had heart it said as how this man he was talking with was connected with the Braintree Adamses. Come to think of it, there probably was a connection way back. Yes, sir, wouldn’t be surprised if there was.

The elated youngster next day, when exchanging boasts with the sheriff’s son, proudly announces that he is related to President Adams. Why back, of course, but it was the same family. His grandfather told him, and he guessed his grandfather knew what he was talking about.

Well, twenty-five years later the Adams youngster is a man of affairs with boys of his own. The Adams myth, from constant retelling in his own boyhood, has become fixed in his mind as an implacable fact, true as gospel. He could not repeat exactly, if asked to do so, the maundering words of his grandfather, but he was certainly left with a distinct impression that a relationship existed. In all these years, the reality of the claim never has been disproved, probably not even challenged. When with pride he tells his own boys about the Adams family, he believes he is telling the strict truth. Yes, boys, we belong to the same family as President Adams; I had it straight from my grandfather’s own lips.

Thus in a quarter of a century a strong enduring tradition has completed its miraculous growth. Thus do the tiny seeds of vanity germinate and produce the towering trees of an illustrious family.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

1910 and 1970 U.S. Census pins


These are the official pins that my grandfather, Henry Melville Potter, wore in 1910 to take the census in his town of Nashville, Washington County, Illinois. The other is from 1970 and I wore it when I went door-to-door in NW Spokane helping with that census.   It's such fun to see his beautiful handwriting on those 1910 census pages. And the shank on that metal pin is the diameter of a small nail. Ouch. 

Friday, May 8, 2020

German Church Photos from Adams County

Our very own EWGS member, Barb Jolly, deserves a big pat on the back for this project. She writes:  "I'm working on a project to get the confirmation pictures from the old German churches in Adams County on to FamilySearch. These are so important because they go back to the early 1900s when few people finished high school so no high school yearbook photos for those people for that age. And, best of all, these photos have the names typed onto them so they most likely are accurate. And FamilySearch is eager to work with me on this project." 

What Barb requests help with is this: "Are there other German churches in the state that would also have photos like these? These old churches are closing fast, congregations thinning out and young people no longer attending. I wonder if the Washington State Historical Society could help us find these churches if they still exist?" 

Well, Barb, when the bell rings and the starting gate opens (think horse racing) and we can get back to the MAC/Ferris Archives, I'll go looking for you.......... and invite you to come hunt too? 

Anybody else able to help Barb?  (

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Is your brain still working? Test it to see!


How many words can you find in just these 8 letters??  Most can find 50+.  You get extra points for 5-letter words. 

Just thinking of some solitary fun to do on a solitary day....... ask your dog/cat for help?

Friday, May 1, 2020

Ever taken a virtual tour?

11 Science and Tech Museums You Can Tour Virtually

During these stuck-in-house days, here's some bright news. Virtual tours! Doing a Google search for those two words brings up 435,000,000 hits. This means that without leaving home you can tour the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History (pix above), the Grand Canyon, the Biltmore Mansion, Yellowstone/Yosemite National Parks, the Great Wall of China, the San Diego Zoo.............. hundreds of places. Where did your ancestors live? Perhaps there is a virtual tour of that place or something near that place? 

This is a way to have travel fun without having to put on your shoes. Do they still fit, by the by??