Friday, April 9, 2021

Route Taken: "U.P.R.R. route by wagon"

 An 1878 application to join the Spokane Historical Society (housed in the Spokane Public Library) where Rev. Jonathan Edwards was on the Board of Trustees, was a delight to find. As was the newspaper story................

Name: A.L. Christian

Where born: Fondulac (sic) County, Wisconsin, March  30, 1852

Ancestry: Mother: French / Father: German

States settled in turn: Moved from Wisconsin to Washington

Married to: Juliaetta Gifford at Mondovi, Wisconsin on 4th day of Oct 1876

Children: 3 - Gifford A., Eva May and Mabel A.

Started to Washington: May 1st, 1878...5 months by wagon route

Where from: Mondovi, Buffalo County, Wisconsin

Route taken: U.P.R.R. route by wagon  (Union Pacific Rail Road)

Arrived at Spokane on 1st Oct 1878

First location in Spokane County was Stevens County, now Spokane

Final settlement: 40 miles south of Spokane, now Latch, was then known as Hangman Creek P.O.

Occupation: Farmer to H.D. NE 4th Sec 24 T21 R 44.

Religious preference: wife Baptist

Politics: Republican always

Present residence address: 1704 Mallon Ave, Spokane

Other wars:  Uncle John Christian was in the Civil War; also uncle Jeremiah Plennon in Civil War, both from Wisconsin

A bit in the newspaper:  3 Oct 1936, Pioneers Observe Wedding Anniversary

"M/M Henry Luppert, W 3214 Glass, Sunday honored Mrs. Eva May Luppert's parents, M/M A.L. Christman, who were celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary. M/M Christian wee married in Mondovi, Wis, October 3, 1876 and have lived in Spokane since 1878 comping here after spending a few years in Latah. 

They came west in 1878, crossing the plains in covered wagons as members of a party of 42 people who left Mondovi May 1, 1878. Mr. Christian has in his possession a copy of a diary of the trip......Gifford Christian, now deceased, was a baby in arms when his parents started across the country. They encountered terrific rain and thunder and snow storms. Their wagons leaked and they counted 25 poles struck by lightning. Death diminished their ranks and at one time they were in the midst of a band of Indians who were on the warpath.  All reached Washington Territory safely......

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Spokane History: Websites Abound is just one website where you can find the tidbits and facts about Washington history. Another is

Other sources to learn about Washington's history include YouTube! Click to YouTube and do a search for Washington State History................ keep you entertained for hours.

Okay, maybe you don't really care about Washington State history. Your ancestry is in other states. I'd lay odds that whatever state you want to know more history about that they would have websites similar to these for Washington. Check it out?

Friday, April 2, 2021

Following Up On RootsTech Connect...... Don't Miss Out!


Did you realize that more than 1,117,000 people attended RootsTech 2021???  They were from 242 countries and territories (and there are only 192 sovereign countries in the world!!) and offered more than 1200 learning sessions????

Did you print out the 18 pages of those sessions and highlight the ones you want to watch, knowing you have a full year to do so??  (I did.) 

Will RootsTech be virtual again in 2022? I'd bet a nickel on it to be so. 

Click to RootsTech Connect to start learning now............ with 1200 sessions and only 365 days in a year, we're gonna have to watch 2 or 3 per day to get them all in!

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

EWGS Spring Seminar Will Be A Big WOWEE!


P.S. By today, March 30, it's too late to submit your photos, but not to late to enjoy the day! Register at the website. 

Spring Seminar
Saturday, April 3
Spring Seminar  (Seminar)
9:00 am to 3:00 pm
Meeting via Zoom
We have 2 NATIONALLY known speakers!!
Karen Stanbary - Author/Lecturer will be presenting:
1) DNA: A Power Tool in the Genealogist's Tool Box - Learn the many ways DNA test results confirm and advance documentary research. Fun and entertaining lecture. All levels.
2) The Everleigh Sisters: A Case Study in Conflict Resolution - Minnie and Ada Everleigh, Chicago's most famous pair of sisters, fabricated many details of their lives in order to run their shady business. Learn to sort the fact from the fiction.
Maureen Taylor - The Photo Detective will be presenting:
Photo Detective Roadshow - EWGS members submit photos and Maureen does a live show weighing in on our mysteries! 
Please submit photos to Lynn Krogh at and please include any information you know about the photo. Maureen will choose 10-15 photos to talk about and help solve your mysteries!
Cost is $25 for EWGS members and $40 for non-members.
Stay tuned for more registration information!

Friday, March 26, 2021

Church Records: What You Need To Know


Sunny Morton, on (YouTube's) Lisa Louise Cooke’s Elevenses with Lisa, 28 Jan 2021:

Sunny’s stated goal with her presentation was:  How might YOU use church records to answer your own genealogy questions?

In answer to Lisa’s question to her about what is the most unique thing about U.S. church records, Sunny’s answer was: their diversity!  “Think how many churches there are, even in a tiny rural town. Each one is unique, even if it is part of a bigger “mother” organization. It was a very U.S. “thing” for folks to do their own thing and that philosophy spilled over to their churches too. A group could, and often did, carve out their own church from the parent church.

Think of “church records” as looking through a lens at a uniquely American town, a unique ancestor and his unique time. “We’re always looking for things to make our ancestor more alive and more interesting………. We want more of his/her social history and church records might give us that part of his story.”

Think of the many and varied kinds of “church records:” registers, histories, jubilee celebrations and certainly the expected vital records. “Churches reflect the history of a town. Even if a person did not believe, nor was a member of a certain church, they might have joined friends/family in that church’s social activities …… maybe the only “fun” in town!

Sunny cited a study showing an immigrant’s home town is most likely to show up in church records…. Some 70% and way above any other kind of record.

TIP:  Be sure to research/check both civil and church records for vital records, especially marriage.

TIP: Many denominations have regional archives which could have records of a closed church…. IE, go from the top down if bottom up doesn’t work.

TIP:  Obituary might give church name; then go after the records of that church.

TIP: Part of a story she shared was using PERSI to find a list of members in a small rural (black) church……this list was published as a local group’s publishing of their local records.

TIP:  Cannot apply what record you find in XX church as something you’ll find in another denomination’s records. Must ask: why did that denomination keep records? And then ask where are they?

**In church records you might/can/will find many unique stories and often answers to stubborn, long-standing questions.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Ice Cream, Ice Cream, We All Scream for Ice Cream


Who invented ice cream? According to "Grandma" Google: 

An ice-cream-like food was first eaten in China in 618-97AD. King Tang of Shang, had 94 ice men who helped to make a dish of buffalo milk, flour and camphor. A kind of ice-cream was invented in China about 200 BC when a milk and rice mixture was frozen by packing it into snow.

Historians estimate that this recipe evolved into ice cream sometime in the 16th century. England seems to have discovered ice cream at the same time, or perhaps even earlier than the Italians. "Cream Ice," as it was called, appeared regularly at the table of Charles I during the 17th century.

What is your favorite ice cream flavor? Nearly one quarter of Americans will say "chocolate" in some form, with vanilla a close second. My favorite is a long-ago flavor offered by Baskin-Robbins, Mississippi Mud, the thickest, deepest, gooey-ist chocolate one could imagine. 

According to Costco Connections, July 2020 issue: "There's no end to the bizarre and wondrous ice cream flavors in the world."  Here are some examples:

Whiskey & Prune - Australia
Foie Gras - France
Beef Tongue - Japan
Squid Ink - Japan
Crocodile Egg - Philippines
Gin & Tonic - Spain
Garlic - United States
Lobster - United States

Which one would you not never try????

Friday, March 19, 2021

EWGS Writing Contest...... Sent In Your Entry?


You don't have to wear a red hat or black boots to enter the EWGS Writing Contest. 

All you need to do is sit down and WRITE. The theme for 2021 centers around family legend, rumor or a skeleton in the closet. Wouldn't you like to tell your story, be it spicy or bland? 

I have submitted my story, yahoo. I just told the stories I remember about an ancestor and some were sad and some were "juicy." The side benefit of doing this is that you've created a mini-biography for an ancestor that can then be saved and shared. That would make you a winner in any contest. 

All the entering details are on our website ( under Members Only as this is a contest for EWGS members only. There will be prizes: 1st place-$100.  2nd place-$75.  3rd place-$50.   Entries are due 31 May 2021. 

So get your pencil and hop to it. 

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Coats of Arms: Does Your Family Have One?


Our EWGS member (and former door-greeter at meetings…when we HAD meetings)….in February 2021, Tony Birch  (aka Anthony Durnford deGray Birch), compiled this bit for me to share with you. He be our local expert for sure. (This cartoon is from Google, not Tony.)


COATS OF ARMS:  As one studies their family history it is not unusual to come across a wonderful image of something (looks like a squirrel), with your family surname written upon it and perhaps a motto.  Aha!  You have just found your family coat-of-arms.


The study of these images and how they might relate to your ancestors is called Heraldry.  Unfortunately, there is really no such thing as a “family coat of arms” and it is unlikely you can claim the image as your personal coat of arms.  The rules of Heraldry state that arms are granted to an individual - almost always a man.  Rule setting bodies that make the grants are found in many countries:  England’s College of Arms  is an example.


Nonetheless, “Family Arms” evolved in the 18th Century and have widespread use.  Though not “official,” family arms are well documented in the literature and may provide useful information about your ancestors.  The image of the squirrel might be identified to a family that lived in Nutsville, PA, in 1876.


I have reference books on American Heraldry and would be pleased to help  family historians decipher a coat of arms.  I can be found at



HERALDRY:  Heraldry is the use of symbols to identify an individual.  Over time these symbols became hereditary - they were handed down according to specific rules.  Heraldry has now become the term used to encompass the science and art of these hereditary symbols.  A more precise term is “armory.”


Heraldry can be a tool for the family historian and may provide clues about the lives and activities of your ancestors.  The study of your ancestors’ heraldry may also identify some intriguing mysteries which may provide the basis for further research.


There are many origins of heraldry, but it is mostly attributed to 12th Century Europe.  Symbols were used to identify Knights in battle.  Heralds displayed the symbols of their “masters” and the symbols also appeared on battle armor to identify the wearer.


Most heraldry experts state that heraldry is not identified to a general surname.  They make it clear that there are no arms for “Smith,” but perhaps there are for a Sir Henry Arthur Smith of Andover, England.  However, there are authoritative texts on family arms that can be quite useful to the family historian.


The rules of heraldry state that arms are granted to an individual - almost always a man.  A woman may claim her father’s arms if she had no surviving brothers or sons of brothers.


If you have arms associated with your ancestors, the main question is are they real (blessed by an official body such as the English College of Arms)?  Are these arms consistent with your family tree?


Major reference texts are Ordinaries (identifying which symbols were used by which families) and Armorials (identifying which persons/families used which symbols).  There are also specialized reference texts (e.g. mottoes and crests).


The peerage (Dukes, Marquesses, Earls, Viscounts, and Barons) always had arms as did Baronets and Knights. Esquires and Gentlemen may or may not have arms.  If the arms had supporters (animals on each side) and crowns, then clearly a peer was involved.  If you have arms associated with an ancestor, any symbol on those arms must be a part of their ancestry.  Conversely, not all ancestors of your ancestor are represented on the arms of your ancestor (provided that the arms were correct in the first place).


The language of heraldry is mostly attributed to Norman French.  To “blazon” is to describe the design of the arms.  The “coat of arms” is made up of the crest, wreath, mantling, helmet, supporters, shield, compartment, and motto.  Each of these parts can tell you something about the owner.  The shape of the shield may identify a woman or a country of origin.


The blazon (description) of a coat of arms follows a very specific set of rules which are universally followed.  These rules result in the depiction of a coat of arms which can be described in detail without the benefit of a picture, drawing, or the use of colors.  Examples include Tinctures which describe a limited palette of colors and patterns, Hatching uses lines and dots to indicate the metals and colors of a coat of arms, Charges identify symbols (like a cross or a standing lion), Cadences uses symbols to indicate sons on paternal arms in order of birth, Marshalling allows two or more coats to appear on a shield (and may identify marriage partners, children, grandchildren, and marriages to an heiress of arms), Crowns and Helms can denote noble rank, Mottos can help solve puzzles on the origin of family artifacts, Cantons can explain the history of a coat of arms and Crests (which must be associated with a coat of arms) that can provide the link to a family.


Bookplates came about as soon as individuals began owning books.  In the 18th and 19th Centuries bookplates often used a heraldic symbol.  Finding old bookplates with ancestors’ coat of arms/crests might aid your study as would wax seals used by your ancestors.  These bookplates and wax seals can help to identify marriage partners, grandparents, etc.


Tomb art can be a helpful heraldic source.  Coats of arms/crests were often displayed and the Tomb inscription may identify the history of an ancestral coat of arms.


Other excellent places to find heraldry of your ancestors would include Visitations and family histories.  Old family pedigrees often displayed coats of arms for significant individuals.


I have reference books on American Heraldry and would be pleased to help  family historians decipher a coat of arms.  I can be found at

Friday, March 12, 2021

Maple Stars and Stripes..... Do Check It Out

 For our February 2021 EWGS program, Margie Beldin shared a wonderful presentation with us on Finding Our French-Canadian Ancestors. Many of us, including me, have no F-C ancestry, but I was intrigued to learn so as to possibly be of help to others.  

One thing that Margie shared with us was that WE ABSOLUTELY MUST tune in to this FREE podcast by Sandra Goodwin. There are 96 podcasts posted to her website ( with more to come. Here's a snip-blurb of #96 posted just last month. 

A good genealogist, in my opinion, is one who either (1) knows everything or (2) knows where to find everything. I know nobody who fits that #1 category and we all can be in the #2 category.  If you need help with your French-Canadian ancestry, I'll right off refer you to the Maple Stars and Stripes podcasts!

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Chinese Year of the Ox

 The Chinese New Year begins on February 12th; on that day in 2021 Chinese said goodbye to the Year of the Rat and welcomed in the Year of the Ox. 

What does this mean to we westerners? Nothing, really, but it is a fun thought. If you were born in 1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009 or this year, 2021, you were born under the Sign of the Ox. 

Every creature in the zodiac represents the personality and character traits people born in that year are supposed to have. People born in the Year of the Ox are reliable, strong, fair, patient, kind, methodical, calm, and trustworthy. Not all the traits are positive though; oxen are also opinionated and stubborn.

Do you know anybody born in those years who seems to embody those traits??? Might that explain something about an ancestor????  Just a thought. 

China Zodiac Animal - Ox2021 is the Year of the Ox according to Chinese zodiac. This is a Year of Metal Ox, starting from Feb. 12, 2021 (Chinese New Year) and lasting to Jan. 31, 2022. Ox is the second in the 12-year cycle of the Chinese zodiac sign. Years of the Ox include 1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021, 2033...

Oxen used to be capable farming tools in an agricultural society, which attach to the symbol of diligence, persistence, and honesty. In Chinese culture, Ox is a faithful friend that made great contributions to the development of the society. Like the ox, people born in the Year of the Ox are industrious, cautious, hold their faith firmly, and always glad to offer help.

It is said that Ox ranks the second among the Chinese zodiacs because it helped the Rat but was later tricked by it. The myth goes that the Jade Emperor declared the order of zodiac signs would be based on the arrival orders of 12 animals. Ox could have arrived the first but it kindly gave a ride to Rat. However, when arriving, Rat just jumped to the terminus ahead of Ox, and thus Ox lost the first place

Earthly Branch of Birth Year: Chou
Wu Xing (The Five Elements): Tu (Earth)
Yin Yang: Yin

Friday, March 5, 2021

Come Join the EWGS Virtual Meeting Tomorrow!!


Records: 1 to 6 of 6

Monthly Meeting
Saturday, March 6
Monthly Meeting  (EWGS Meetings)
12:30 pm to 3:00 pm
Meeting via Zoom
Jane Haldeman will present: 
Researching Colonial American Ancestors: Southern Colonies
Did your ancestor live in one of the Original Thirteen Colonies? Were they here before the Revolutionary War? Each colonist came to the “new world” for different reasons and each colony was different. They came for both religious and economic opportunities. The Southern Colonies, Maryland, Virginia, North and South Carolina, and Georgia were rural, with planters and farmers. Besides English immigrants there were Scots, Scots-Irish, Germans and Africans. Find out what records are available and where they are, so you can learn about your Southern Colonial American Ancestors.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Researcher's Guide to American Genealogy

Does that book title ring something in your mind? It might should because for 50 years this book by Val Greenwood has been "the gold standard" textbook for learning how to do American genealogy. 


 I tuned in to hear Val Greenwood during RootsTech because I was kinda surprised to learn he was still going strong. I say that because the first edition of his book was in 1969!  During that RootsTech interview, he said "The computer age was born, grew up, had children and now grandchildren. My book's first edition did not mention "technology" and the second edition had only a brief chapter. The advances in technology are both mind boggling and wonderful."

"Much has and will continue to change but the basics of genealogy will not change...... we still seek adequate evidence to document our ancestors' lives." 

Val Greenwood's Researcher's Guide to American Genealogy would be a super addition to your library and a perfect personal study textbook.  Be sure to get the 4th Edition, 2017.  You can order the book from Amazon or from Genealogical Publishing Company. 

Friday, February 26, 2021

"Stop & Think Before You Post!"


Remember how we enjoyed Dave Obee's presentation on Canadian Genealogy a year or so back? When we could have in-person workshops!

Dave writes The Back Page, a regular feature in YourGenealgoyToday magazine. In the Jan/Feb 2021 issues he really spoke my mind:

"How do I say what I want to say without sounding cranky?"

"In the past few weeks, I and several of my friends have pulled out of genealogy groups on Facebook. We have all had the same reason: There is too much bad information out there and the bad is drowning out the good."

"Here's what happens. Somebody will ask a question, hoping that someone will be able to solve a mystery. Within minutes, one or two or a dozen well-meaning souls will chime in giving answers that range from silly to ludicrous.

Dave's sweet rant continues: 

"I understand that many of us are eager about what we do and we want to share our excitement with others. I understand that no harm is intended when incorrect answers are given. But please, please, slow down and make sure the information you are giving is indeed information that the other person can use."

And how to do that, he asks? By keeping yourself informed to ensure you are giving correct answers and information or (I'm adding this) by keeping your fingers off the keyboard. 

Thanks, Dave. We needed that. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Timely Tips for Today


1. Went looking in the Family History Library Catalog (online at FamilySearch) for a 1926 book on the Sutphen Family. To my surprise, it was NOT listed. But then, following another blog-post-tip, I looked in FamilySearch Books. Viola! There is was.

2. The Cobb Salad made its debut in 1937 at the Brown Derby in Hollywood and was named after its maker, Bob Cobb.  Google will tell you that the Crab Louis Salad was invented in 1919 in San Francisco but I learned at our Davenport Hotel here in Spokane it was Louis Davenport (1858-1951) who created this salad and had fresh crab rushed daily from Seattle. 

3.  Mayonnaise was invented in 1756 by the cook of French Duke Richeleu to help him celebrate the French capture of Mahon on the Spanish Island of Minorca. Richard Hellmann brought mayonnaise to New York City.

4.  Our colonial ancestors had some of the same flowers in their gardens we do we:  Hollyhocks, foxgloves, daylillies, irises, peonies.  If you're interested in planning or planting a Colonial garden, here's a link to a guide:

Friday, February 19, 2021

Amasa Campbel & His House

Amasa B. Campbell died, finally, on February 17, 1912. I say "finally," because it was a horribly long, slow, painful death. An article in the Spokane Daily Chronicle, told the story:

"The illness which let to Mr. Campbell's death began about two years ago with a serious swelling in the throat. He went to Paris and consulted a celebrated physician, who, forseeing that Campbell's breathing might eventually be stopped, inserted a silver tube in his throat below the seat of the trouble. 

"After his return to Spokane from the European trip, Mr. Campbell became worse, and went to Rochester, Minn., to consult with the Mayo Brothers. After the usual careful diagnosis, they pronounced the growth to be a malignant cancer and refused to operate on the ground that it would merely hasten death. 

"Campbell then proceeded to New York where he was treated by a cancer specialist. The serum injections then prescribed were continued without affording obvious relief until a month before his death.

"Only the ironlike constitution and determination of Mr. Campbell kept him alive for the last two months. For days preceding death, he took only ice, being able neither to drink water nor take the weakest foods. For weeks he has been unable even to whisper." The cause of death was starvation. He died, asleep, at his home on West First Avenue. 

Born in 1845 in Salem, Ohio, Campbell came west at age 22. "The deceased was a generous supporter of local charities and a liberal contributor to all public enterprises."  He made his millions in mining. 

Grace Campbell, his widow, died on November 24, 1924, "after suffering for 14 or 15 months and he strength gradually waned until the end." 

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Future of the National Archives in Seattle


How many of us have been over to use the National Archives Branch located on Sand Point Way in Seattle? (I have; that's where I learned that the Soundex for Phillips and Phillip was different!  That was using the un-indexed 1920 census. So much easier now.)

Surely you've heard that it's been proposed to sell that building (developers are chomping at the bit, of course) and re-locate all the records to Kansas City, Missouri.  

My opinion: those eager developers are pushing the government to sell under an old law aimed at unloading excess federal property. 

W-H-A-T? What is "excess" about a collection of "invaluable historical records dating to the 1840s and used all the time for research about everything from tribal history to Japanese internment during WWII and fur seal hunts on remote Alaskan islands." (So wrote Gene Johnson on 4 Jan 2021.)

"This is the DNA of our region," said the Washington Attorney General. "These documents are no digitized. Moving them 1000 miles away essentially and effectively eliminates public access to these critical documents."

So what might you and I do about this???? Find out the facts and contact our/your state legislatures to express your opinion. 

Friday, February 12, 2021

Travel Today Surely Isn't What It Used To Be


This little bit appeared in The Spokesman Review on June 9, 1937, page 6:


R.S. Cholmley from the Interior of British Columbia is making what may be a record for travel time from Spokane to England. He was called to Southampton, England, owning to a sudden death. He took a bus from the interior of British Columbia via Nelson, B.C. to Spokane, arriving here yesterday morning, making connection with United Air Lines noon plane to New York where he will arrive at 9:00 Wednesday morning.

The local United office wired its New York office to meet Mr. Cholmley on his arrival at the Newark, N.J. airport and transferred him to the Queen Mary, which is scheduled to sail at 11:00 on Wednesday. He will arrive in Southampton on Sunday, June 23, taking only six days for the entire trip." 

Just looked; today the flight time from Spokane to England is about 12 hours. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Quaker Conference Upcoming From the Rogue Valley Gen Soc of Oregon


I have some Quaker ancestors and I'll bet many of you do too. If you need to know more about the Quakers or finding records of your Quaker ancestors, here's an idea for you.

The Rogue Valley Genealogical Society (Medford, Oregon) presents Steven W. Morrison on Saturday, February 20, 2021, 10:00 to 4:00 Pacific Time with a presentation titled:  Profile of  A Quaker: Finding A Friend in Colonial America.

The four seminar sessions are:  (1) Profile of a Quaker; how to identify a Quaker ancestor;  (2) Simply Amazing - U.S. Quaker Records Online;  (3) Quaker Migrations Across Ye United States; and (4) Ye Best Books - for Quaker Research. 

Cost is $55 (for non-RVGS members) and register online at>programs & classes > seminar registration. Paid registrants will receive the ZOOM link the day before the seminar.

Friday, February 5, 2021

Revolutionary War: Strange, Amazing, and Funny Events that Happened During the War.


Just spent some delightful time with a new book by Jack Darrell Crowder (title above), published in 2019 by Clearfield Company, a division of Genealogical Publishing Company, which has been offering genealogy books for decades.

Author Crowder gives snippet-stories by chapters of time periods spanning 1765 to 1783. Each little bit has a reference, which I greatly appreciated.  Examples:

"Doctor James Thacher served for eight years in the Revolutionary War. In the diary he kept he wrote about a very lucky soldier: 'A brave soldier received a musket ball in his forehead, observing that it did not penetrate deep, it was imagined that the ball rebounded and fell out; but after several days, on examination, I detected the fall laying flat on the bone, and spread under the skin, which I removed. No one can doubt but he received his wound while facing the enemy, and it is fortunate for the brave fellow that his skull proved too thick for the ball to penetrate." 

"At the time of the Revolutionary War about 20% of the Colonial population of 22-million were black and the number of blacks that fought for the Americans was over 5,000. By 1779, some 15% of the army was black. These men served in an integrated army which would be the last one until the Korean War."

"Once the war began gold and silver coins were scarce. Each state printed its own money to pay for the way and because so much was printed and it was easy to copy, the paper money lost most of its value. When one soldier was paid $80 Continental money, the dollar was worth less than 1/4 of a penny. It was just enough money to pay for breakfast and a bit of rum. Many people called the money 'shin plasters,' because they felt that the only use it had was to bandage a sore leg."

If you'd enjoy reading the entire 145-page book for yourself, click to  Price is $30 but tell them Donna Potter Phillips sends you and ask for your discount. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

EWGS Special Interest Groups Offer Education


Like finding gold nuggets in a stream bed, it is super exciting to make a genealogy find. Do you agree?

EWGS, in addition to our monthly programs, offers several Special Interest Group meetings. Two of these are TAG and GRF.  Are YOU availing yourself of these learning opportunities?

TAG is The Ancestry Group, honcho'd by Marge Mero for years and now under the leadership of Janice Moershel.  All the details for taking advantage of this group (and all the other special interest groups) is on the webpage.

GRF is The Genealogy Refocus Group, honcho'd by Sonji Rutan for years and now under the leadership of Lynda Keenan. 

These groups offer monthly ZOOM meetings........... and if you're having trouble with ZOOM the directions are also on the EWGS webpage.

These wintery-at-home days are perfect for more genealogy education!

Friday, January 29, 2021

Timely Tips for Today


Tips for Today: 

(These come from Joe Grandinetti’s article in the Dec/Jan 2021 issue of InternetGENEAOGY.)

Of course, all your ancestors were law-abiding sorts. But what if they were not?  If you’ve not fully documented your roguish relatives, then you might want to look at Ancestry’s worldwide collection of court, governmental and criminal records.  Or click to Cyndi’s List and then the category of Prisons, Prisoners & Outlaws (501 links as of Oct 2020).

“We’re no longer on our own deserted islands of research; the internet has become a connective landmass for us. As I suspect many of your do, I use social media (Facebook) for genealogical purposes via liking/following groups dealing with my specific areas of interest. It’s a convenient platform for education and information exchange. Expand on this by viewing or joining roots-themed blogs.”

Then Joe posts these blogs as some of  his favorites:

·        Eastman’s Online Genealogical Newsletter,

·        FamilySearch blog, www.familysearch.orgblog/en

·        Megan Smolenyak’s blog,

·        American Ancestors blog (New England Historic Genealogical Society),

·        Blaine Bettinger’s DNA-focused blog,

·        Randy Seaver’s Genea-Musings blog,

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

"Wurst" Case Scenario

 Let's lighten up a bit today, especially since it's rather dreary outside.

Statistically we're told that 1/4 of our collective American ancestry is from Germany or German-speaking countries. Do you eat "wurst?"

Friday, January 22, 2021

2021 Genealogy Volunteer Opportunities


2021 Genealogy Volunteer Opportunities

Anybody remember the 2000 movie Pay It Forward? The story was about a young boy’s goodwill movement known as “pay it forward.” That’s where we genealogists learned about the great necessity of stepping up, paying it forward, to help index or transcribe any number of genealogical records.  Remember?

The simplest way to define “pay it forward” is that when somebody does something for you, instead of paying that person back directly, you pass it on to another person instead.  The idea in genealogy is that we all use websites like FamilySearch and Find-A-Grave.  We can use those website, we can and do find information and answers on those (and other) websites because somebody thought to give their time to “paying it forward,” to helping with indexing.

In this coming year, especially this first six months when we will all still likely be under voluntary-mandatory-quarantine, beside learning new techniques and about new resources for ourselves, how about we give back a bit? Help with one of these needful projects? Pay it forward?

Here are some ideas to get you thinking:

1.      Here in Washington, our digital archives offers SCRIBE. This is a template-based program to index digitized state records. I worked some on early 20th century school records and now am working on Spokane County marriage records. It just feels good to “fix” these records so that other genealogists can find and use them. I have no Washington State genealogy myself but I know others who do.


2.      Other state archives have similar projects; I know the Georgia Genealogy Society offers a parallel project. What is your state of research interest? Might you be willing to offer time to index records in “your” state? Check with your state’s archives to see what might be available.


3.      Find-A-Grave is a wonderful website that everybody uses. But here’s the behind the scenes truth of the matter: way more people take and upload their tombstone photos than there are people who index the information on those stones so that the image might be found. What you as a volunteer would do is offer your help, then tombstone images would come up and you would enter whatever is carved on that stone into a template. Super extra points if you could read a language other than English.


4.      My good friend, Cynthia Turk, who lives in Ohio, volunteers for Unclaimed Persons. This project was begun a decade ago by Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak who came to realize that many deceased persons (their ashes in urns) rested on the dusty shelves of funeral homes and coroner’s offices. Why? Because no family could be found to claim the ashes. Their motto is “Every Life IS Worth Remembering” and I believe that is so true. If you wish to try your hand at helping here, Google “Unclaimed Persons” and check out the FAQ link to learn about volunteering.


5.      FamilySearch is always in need of indexing assistance. Quoting from Cynthia Turk’s handout, "There are some interesting projects (waiting here) where you might learn some history, about types of records or enhance your transcribing skills on early documents.” Click to to learn more and take the virtual tour.


6.      Our National Archives offers a Citizen Archivist project that involves transcribing, tagging and/or adding comments to digitized documents. Check it out at


7.      How about Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness, ? This is a really wonderful opportunity! You sign up for where you live if you are willing to visit a local cemetery and photo a tombstone or go to a local library or courthouse for somebody who cannot come in person for whatever reason.


I could probably go on with a list counting up to ten pages but you get the idea. IF you want to give some time to “paying it forward,” here are some opportunities for you. Remember that 2021 will come to December once again and what will you have to show for your twelve months’ of time?

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

January Brain Teasers

 It is my opinion that my brain has smoldered and maybe moldered a bit during these last months of social inactivity. Perhaps you too? We need our fully-functioning brain to utilize genealogy tools and to solve our research problems, right?  In my effort to help us all (smile), here are some brain teasers to get you going again:

1. Five NFL teams are named after real and made-up birds. What are they?

2.  What word can you come up with that has the most vowels?

3. Why did King Charles II (1660-1685)  want ravens kept at the Tower of London?

4.  Do you, or does your family, today, really have a heraldic crest?

5.  What years were the U.S. Mortality Censuses taken?

6.  Which is over-all the most nutritious, an apple or an orange?

7.  Would you vote thumbs up or down for the new state of Columbia? (Eastern WA and Northern ID)  Why or why not?

8.  After about how many years are graves in Germany recycled?

9.  When was EWGS founded?  How long have you been a member?

10. Stating and then sharing a goal usually aids towards its implementation and ultimate completion. What is your goal for 2021?

LOVE to have your answers. Copy/paste/retype/whatever, if you wish, to me, Donna, at