Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Northeast Washington Genealogy Society marks 40 years!


September 2021 – I met with the NeWGS (Northeast WA Gen Soc) this month as they marked their 40th anniversary. The group of 20 met in the city park for cupcakes and ice cream and for President Susan Dechant to share the history of NeWGS.  (Susan has been president for 23 of the 40 years the group has been in existence; that’s dedication. Treasurer Sue Witham has been treasurer for 25 years!!)

The group was organized in 1981 when Susan placed an ad in the Colville paper; ten budding genealogists came. NeWGS was formally organized in Sept 1981. In 1985 they began publishing Pioneer Branches which finally ceased publication in 2016. The years 1981 through 2016 saw the group hosting several national speakers (Heritage Quest Roadshow, Evertons, Dollarhide, Schweitzer, Bremer) and publishing many volumes of local records. They were an active and eager group!

As Susan sat on a picnic table and told the NeWGS story, many of those named in the narrative were present…. So many in that group became active and have stayed so.

NeWGS is the legal custodian of Evergreen Cemetery there in Colville. The group has spent hours sprucing the grounds and making headstones where ones are missing. (Member Lora Rose is a cement expert J

The group’s website was launched in Dec 1999; they began a page on Facebook in 2015. Their last in-person meeting was Mar 2020 (thank you COVID) but meetings have continued via ZOOM. Susan reported that by Oct 2020 the group had 491,000 entries in various local databases and the group intends to keep finding and adding more.

Susan ended the anniversary party by saying, “We’ve been a busy bunch for 40 years. We accomplished lots of good stuff. And we’re still having fun! But hasn’t our way of researching changed in these past 40 years,” a truism we all applauded along with a standing ovation for Susan’s nearly three decades of leadership of the Northeast Washington Genealogical  Society.


Friday, October 15, 2021

Washington State History: Want to know more?


Spokane, in Washington State, might not be your ancestral home but it is your NOW-home. Would you like to learn more of Spokane's most interesting history? Here are links for learning:

** www.historylink.org - "the free online encyclopedia of Washington state history" with nearly 8000 articles now available.

** www.spokanehistorical.org - maintained by EWU professor, Larry Cebula, this is "a web and mobile platform for telling stories of Spokane and Eastern Washington."

** YouTube has a good dozen or more videos concerning Spokane history. One particularly good one, dating back to 1969, was "Spokane: First 100 Years," by Robert Pryor. 

** I also enjoyed these: 

     * Remembering Spokane, a KSPS Documentary

     * Chief Spokane Garry

     *  Kiss of Death: Remembering Liberty Park

NOW with that idea in your head, wouldn't you guess that there were history-explaining-exploring websites on your ancestral place???

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Old Farmer's Almanac: Part 2


Besides tidbits of "Jeopardy trivia," the Old Famer's Almanac always contains Words of Wisdom; here are a few:

** Do good if you expect to receive it.
** Gratitude preserves old friendships and procures new ones.
** He who prizes little things is worth of great ones.
** Action is the proper fruit of knowledge.
** Every light is not the sun.
** Luck comes to those who look for it.
** The morning is wiser than the evening.
** Kindness, like grain, increases by sowing.
** Patience is a flower that grows not in every garden.
** Deliver your words not by number but by weight.
** Mirth and motion prolong life.
** Better untaught than ill-taught.

AND best of all:  Definition of a mosquito: A syringe with wings.

Just thought you'd enjoy some "warm fuzzies" once in a while.

Friday, October 8, 2021

Old Farmer's Almanac: An Oldie But Goodie, Part 1

Just for fun while grocery shopping, I picked up a copy of the Old Famer's Almanac. SUCH a delightful read! Here are some trivia facts I learned:

** The computer mouse was patented in Nov 1970
** NORAD began to track Santa Claus in 1955
** The last old-style VW Beetle left the plant in 1978
** The Yankees bought 10acres in Bronx for a stadium in 1921
** The Tootsie Roll was introduced in 1896
** The first U.S. weather report broadcast was in 1921
**  Coca-Cola goes on sale in Atlanta in 1886
** An alligator fell from the sky during a hurricane in Charleston, SC, in 1843
** The U.S. Federal Income Tax was imposed in 1861
** Walt Disney World opened in Orlando in 1971
** Love Me Tender, Elvis' first movie, debuted in 1956
** A 5.6 pound avocado set a new world record, Kahului, HI, 2018

Remember these when you decide to audition for Jeopardy!


Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Whitman County Genealogical Society's Library Is OPEN!


Well, we don't have an EWGS library to use, and the Family History Library in Utah is a long way away, but it's only 75 miles south to Pullman and the Whitman County Genealogical Society library.

AND the really good news is that thanks to member, Janet Damm, their holdings list is available on their website!  I downloaded that list, went through it highlighting what I wanted to see, and am planning a research trip to Pullman in the darn near future. 

Shall we arrange a carpool trip before the snow flies? 

Friday, October 1, 2021

Auschwitz Sculpture: Remembering


Last June I flew to Kansas City, Missouri, to visit family. While there, Sharon took me to Union Station's Auschwitz Exhibit. We spent nearly 3 hours walking through this sobering and educational exhibit. Then we went to the nearby Jewish Community Center where in the 1950s many surviving Jews relocated to Kansas City (home of Harry Truman who they revered). An large aluminum sculpture graces the grounds. 

My photo shows only a small portion of this sculpture. It was meant to show the dead Jews reaching out to be remembered. That it does. 

I mean no sacrilege but I also see any dead ancestor reaching out to be remembered. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Thomas MacEntee Is Zooming To Town!


Thomas MacEntee returns to share time with EWGS coming up this Saturday, October 2nd. Our Fall Workshop will be a ZOOM meeting. (If you need help, click to our website for instructions: www.EWGSI.org) 

Thomas will teach us four really good lessons in a 9:00 to 3:00 day. 

If you haven't already, do click to our website to register!! And get your pencil sharpened and your note-taking-tablet ready. 

Friday, September 24, 2021

Hypotheek Bank In Spokane: Did your ancestor benefit from this bank?


This lovely old image is of the Bank of Spokane Falls; couldn't find an image of the Hypotheek Bank......... this bank was a Dutch mortgage bank established in Spokane Falls in June 1889 to lend money on the security of real estate. "From it's beginning the Hypotheek Bank did a brisk business." When 32 blocks of the city's business district burned in August of 1889, the bank, which had insured with British Insurance companies, received payments on its destroyed properties within two weeks. As the town rebuilt, the Hypotheek Bank was a willing lender and by the end of 1891 it had made loans totaling $4.5 million on urban property..........

One might quip that this quaintly-named bank was a savior of Spokane? Did your ancestor's nascent business benefit from a Hypotheek Bank loan? 

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Digital Archives Teaching Example: Oswald


 Here is a teaching example from my own work. We have a fabulous Washington State Digital Archives (www.digitalarchives.wa.gov) . 

I did a search for hubby’s grandmother who I knew died here in 1963 and she did not come up. Why?

 Look closely and you’ll see that she’s listed as MRS. Mary Oswald and so a search for Mary Oswald turned up zip. She was indexed under "Mrs" and not Mary. 

So I just did a search for Oswald and there she was! 

Just something to keep in mind when searching records in-putted and indexed by volunteers.



Friday, September 17, 2021

What To Do With Old High School Yearbooks?


Have you ever wondered what to do with your old high school or college yearbooks that you really no longer want........ and your kiddoes surely do not want? Here's your answer and it's a good one.

E-Yearbook is a website where you can find old yearbooks that have been donated to them and they are always looking for ones that they do not have to add to their collection. Checking on their site, if you find that they don't have the one you have, then bingo!

Send them an email (amber.eyearbook@gmail.com) telling them what you have. Amber (as of Aug 2021) will ask you for the dimensions and weight and then send you a FedEx shipping label!!  

They cannot post on their site yearbooks newer than 1988 but they do accept them for the future. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Spokane's Airport History: Wonder Why It's GEG?


Quoting from the website, HistoryLink:  "In 1938 a growing Spokane County decided to develop a local commercial airfield and acquired land on the West Plains where "Sunset Field" was born. Sunset Field ran commercially until 1941 when it was purchased by the War Department. By 1942 it became one of the most important airbases in the West. The Army renamed the airfield to honor the late Maj. Harold Geiger, a pioneer of air travel. 

The above photo (Google images) dates from 1948, "Spokane Airport." In 1942, when Fairchild AFB was established, Geiger was turned into an auxiliary base along Fairchild. 

Now you know why our airport's official initials are GEG. How many times have you flown in/out of GEG??

Friday, September 10, 2021

Lynda & Duane: Obituary Team Duo


Most Fridays for two hours, Lynda and Duane (along with four other EWGS members) go to our MAC museum and volunteer their time to index obituaries from the 25 files of biographies (see the filing cabinets?). Lynda pulls the envelopes, opens each one and pulls out the contents. Sometimes there is no obit, just biographical stuff. Both of them say it's such fun and they often pause to read these old (like 100 year old) newspaper stories as they search out obituaries. 

EWGS thanks you, Lynda and Duane!!

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

EWGS Meeting, Sep 11th, topic of Civil War


Don't know how to ZOOM? Click to our website, www.EWGSI.org, for directions. DO join us for this great September meeting!

Friday, September 3, 2021

Spokane Smith, 1916-1984; know anybody else named Spokane?


Spokane "Spokie" Smith Hutchison was the daughter of Del Cary Smith (aka Delphine Cary). Born in Spokane in 1916 in Spokane, her father named his second daughter after his adopted hometown. She passed away in 1984. I share this obituary tidbit with you all today wondering if any of you have ancestors named for the town where they were born??

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Mudlarking Along the Thames in London


If you've never heard the term mudlark or mudlarking, then you're in for a fun surprise.

London has hundreds of years of history and bits and pieces of that history are lodged in the mud along the Thames River running right through the city. I've been watching several of the mudlarking videos on YouTube and the things they find are so fascinating and history unearthed and right in their hands! 

Besides just pulling things out of the muck, sand and rocks, they look for words on the artifacts and then research the history of that company or tavern or whatever. So one can learn English/London history while enjoying "luck in the muck," as mudlarker Si-Finds says.  He or Nicola White are my two favs to watch. 

Give it a looksee on YouTube. Bet you'll be hooked as I've been. 

P.S. There is even a new museum in London containing many of these finds; if the item is over 300 years old, the finder is expected/encouraged to turn it in to the museum. 

Friday, June 25, 2021

Linda Morgan, EWGS Shining Star Volunteer


That is EWGS member, Linda Morgan, hiding behind the mask....... as required for entry and research at the MAC archives.  Linda is embarking on a huge but so worthwhile project: creating a much more thorough index to the New England Funeral Home (Undertaking Company) records. Yes, EWGS has a lengthy index on our website but Linda is creating a much better index. All with the blessing of Anna Harbine and Alex Fergus, resident archivists there at the MAC. 

Linda is indexing many more points of information from the dozens of boxes filled with binders/folders of that defunct funeral parlor's records. See what she's holding up? Each record take a whole page........... age, address, cause of death and more. 

She is going the extra mile and using the resources of City Directories and the Digital Archives and even Find-A-Grave to double check when she is unsure of the spelling.  This will be a super good index when she finishes.............. want to help her?  Let her know. 

Meanwhile, big hand-clapping for our EWGS Shining Star volunteer!

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Is A Name Appearing In The Newspaper Always Spelled Correctly??

 What is the correct name-spelling for "Grandma" Hibben?

Spokesman Review, 21 Mar 1922   ///   Here Since ’55; Dies; Poor Farm

Ox Team Brought “Grandma” Hibben to Washington.

Caroline “Grandma” Hebnier, who came to the Inland Empire 65 years ago and resided in Spokane county for the last 42 years, died Sunday at the county poor farm. She was 87 years old and one of the oldest inmates.

Superintendent J.S. McCormick sent the following report to The Spokesman-Review:

“Mrs. Hebnier was born in Berlin, Germany in 1835 but came to America when she was but 6 years old. They settled in Pennsylvania. She came to Washington in 1855, having crossed the plains with her husband behind an ox team.

“They settled near Clarkston but came to Spokane county in 1879 and settled southwest of the city in the direction of Medical Lake and Cheney.

“Mrs. Hebnier came here 14 years ago with her son, who died her about 12 years ago. She was known as “Grandma” Hebnier and was well liked by all. During the war she knit socks for the Red Cross and did what she could for the United States which she always claimed as her country.”

The funeral will be held from Shepard’s Undertaking company rooms. The aged woman had funds to pay for her burial.


Just for fun, I did some sleuthing to learn more about "Grandma" Hibben............. no luck, under either spelling. 

Nothing for her in our Washington Digital Archives.

Ditto for Ancestry.

Ditto for FamilySearch.

Ditto for Find-A-Grave

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Bowl & Pitcher: Spokane's Treasure---Been There?


Everybody in Spokane either has been to the Bowl & Pitcher Park or wants to go soon or should go! It's a one-of-a-kind-special feature on the list of things that make Spokane great. My first date with future hubby was a walk across that bridge. How about you? Bowl & Pitcher memories? 

Why is it called Bowl and Pitcher Spokane?
The Bowl and Pitcher are contains large basalt rock formations surrounding a turbulent Spokane River. Supposedly, several of the rock formations look like a bowl and a pitcher.
Rushing waters of the Spokane River go through and around the cave. The cave looks like a bowl placed on the side of it brim surrounded by other rocks. On the west side of the river, south of the bowl is a mass of basaltic rock that is shaped like a pitcher. This mass of rock is known as the pitcher of the park.

If you really want to read more about the geology of the Bowl & Pitcher, click to the link below (copy and paste if it won't click on).

Friday, June 11, 2021

Yeggman? Was Your Ancestor of That Profession?

 Thanks to Jim Kershner's 100 Years Ago Today in our paper a few weeks back, I learned about yeggmen.  So what profession was a yeggman? Perhaps a quote from his article would help:

"The area's gang of yeggmen struck again in the night. It broke into the safety deposit vaults of the Lamont State Bank in Whitman County and made off with thousands of dollars of bonds, securities and other valuables....."

Would you have guessed that a yeggman was a safecracker??? The article went on to state that "one crew of yeggs has been responsible for the theft of a total of $75,000 worth of securities." 

Would you be proud of a yeggman ancestor???? 

Butch Cassidy and Sundance were obviously yeggmen and were pretty cool. At least in that movie. 

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Keuterville, Idaho, anybody?

Yes, long time EWGS member (and past president), Jeanne Polumsky Coe, has an ancestral line going back to this bitty place in Idaho County, Idaho.  We were doing our volunteer indexing stint down at the MAC when we came upon an obit that stated that the fellow was from Keuterville. That sparked a lovely memory from Jeanne and she wrote up the story for us.

How Keuterville, Idaho, Got Its Name

By Jeanne Polumsky Coe, 2021

“The small town of Keuterville, in Idaho County, Idaho, was named after my great-grandfather,” wrote Jeanne Coe. “His surname was spelled KUTHER but the request for the town’s name change was garbled and the government spelled it Keuterville. It’s now a ghost town and I’ve not visited there in years.” 

This small town in Idaho County, Idaho, began as St. Peter.  The 1903 HISTORY OF NORTH IDAHO states “July,1884, the town site of Keuterville was preempted by Anton Hendricks, and the patent secured in 1889.  The first store was erected by Mr. Henry Kuether in 1888...The post office was established in 1888…(in the early 1880s) a considerable immigration of German farmers flowed in.” 

Like Mr. Kuther many of those farmers came to central Idaho from Illinois to take up farm land when the Nez Perce Indians were removed to the reservation.  The post office apparently was located in Mr. Kuther’s store as he was appointed the post master in 1888.  Another man by the name of Henry Fisher may have been the first postmaster but Henry Kuther was the first mail carrier (sources disagree).

A petition was sent by Henry to Washington, D.C., in 1888 requesting the town’s name change from St. Peter to Kutherville, but it apparently was misread as the Post Office Department granted the change to KEUTERVILLE and not Kutherville. 

At any rate, the town survives to this day with only a couple of businesses, a Catholic Church, a cemetery, and a few residents.  It is listed now as a ”ghost town” but is very popular during hunting season.  It is off the main highway from Lewiston to Boise but worth the side trip (St. Gertrude’s museum is on the way too).  

In 1985, the descendants of Henry Kuther, and his wife Katherine Herboth, gathered at Keuterville for a large family reunion which was organized by Shelley Kuther.   Many of Henry and Katherine’s descendants still reside in the area.  In researching my Kuther family, I must check all spellings:  KUTHER, KEUTHER, and KUETHER. 


Friday, June 4, 2021

Lee Pierce, Our Favorite Archivist

Lee Pierce is our best-known and favorite archivist and he will bring us up to date on the status of the Washington Digital Archives at our June 5th meeting. (A ZOOM meeting; click to our website for ZOOM directions.) 

I met with Lee in May (to donate a book and to have lunch at the Mason Jar in downtown Cheney) and we had a good visit. Lee is an ex-Marine, married with grown children and two granddaughters. He said he "loves being a paper archivist for Eastern Washington!"

I asked "how full is the physical archives?" He answered that they have 33,000 feet available and 29,000 are already filled. I asked about saving electronic records and particularly government emails. His answer: "This presents us with a problem that we don't yet have a good solution for..." I'm sure the powers to be are working on this.

I asked "when will the archives be open to in-person research?" Soon, hopefully, he promised. He smiled at me when he said "We've encouraged folks over 65 to participate in the SCRIBE indexing program." :-)  

Lee did explain that they do have a humungous project just waiting for volunteers to come help get it scanned and indexed. "We have 4300 binders or volumes of Property Record Cards, some 3 1/2 to 4 million cards. These were created and kept to justify property taxes and date from the 1840s to early 2000s. We hope to get students soon to come help with this.... images can be scanned and indexed in one fell swoop."

As we finished our sandwiches, Lee gave me this pearl:  "An archives is where truth resides." He says he considers himself an acolyte in the temple of truth.


Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Arcadia Publishing: Want A Picture Book Of Your Hometown??


You really should click to this website and you will be amazed at the scope of the books published by Arcadia. There are books available for towns, places, hotels, events, ethnic activities and much more. All the book follow a format: same number of pages, same size, each to have certain number of photos, etc. And the average price is $22.00.

Arcadia lists 313 books for Washington State and 11 for Spokane.  (Early Spokane, Bridges of Spokane, Mount Spokane, African Americans of Spokane, Spokane Hot Rodding, Spokane International Railway, Spokane's Expo '84, North Western Journeys, Influential Women of Spokane and Cheney.)

My birth town is Kalamazoo, Michigan. Yep, there are four books for that place. We lived in Fairfield, California. Yep, one for for there. Dad was stationed at Mountain Home Air Force Base (just east of Boise) in Idaho and there is a book for that!

Much of my family history involves St. Louis, Missouri and (of course) there are 78 books for that place. 

Do check this out. You might be surprised.

Friday, May 28, 2021

Only-In-Washington Humor


Coming home from western Washington a couple of weeks ago, I first spotted this highway road sign:

"Watercraft must take Exit 80."

My first thought was to laugh out loud and look for "Water Craft" zooming along on I-5.  (Kinda hard on the propeller too.) 

Then a bit further on was this one:

"Vehicles with watercraft must take Exit 80 for inspection."

Whew. That was a relief. 

Friday, May 21, 2021

Washington Laws In 1914


For $10 at a thrift store, I brought home a copy of Washington Laws Made Plain compiled by Hon. J.T.S. Lyle, Attorney-at-Law, Tacoma, Washington, and presented by the Okanogan State Bank, Riverside and Loomis, Washington.  It is  hoot!

MARRIAGE:  Marriage is a civil contract which may be entered into by males of the age of 21 years and females of the age of 18 years who are otherwise capable. (What does THAT mean?)

Then there was a paragraph of prohibited marriages between "nearer of kin" with the ending admonition that "If any person being within the degrees of consanguinity of affinity in which marriages are prohibited by this section carnally know each other they shall be guilty of incest and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state penitentiary for a term not exceeding ten years and not less than one year."

Here's the "dessert:"  No woman under the age of 45 years, or a man of any age, except he marry a woman over the age of 45 years, either of whom is a common drunkard, habitual criminal, epiletic, imbecile, feeble-minded person, idiot or insane person, or person who has theretofore been afflicted with hereditary insanity, or who is afflicted with pulmonary tuberculosis in its advanced stages, or any contagious venereal diseases shall intermarry or marry any other person within this state."

Goodness gracious indeed. 

Names In Spokane: Then & Now


Jim Kershner's column, 100 Years Ago Today, for 24 March 2021, was all about names...names in Spokane. He wrote:

"Spokane's 1921 Polk's City Directory ---- the era's version of a phone book --- had over 7000 more names than the 1920 directory, indicating that the city was growing.

Other factoids: the most common name in Spokane was Johnson (627 entries), followed by Smith, Anderson and Brown." 

While I certainly did not access that 1921 directory myself, I'd bet that except for a sprinkling of "foreign" names, they were mostly white-European. 

I personally think it's good and right that we're seeing names of ethic origins that too many of us have never heard of. Case in point: Tesfamariam Obgit Nehab's obituary appeared in our paper on 29 April 2021. This dear man had been born in Eritrea. His wife and four children survive him here in Spokane, all with distinctly Eritrean names.

I welcome that family and am sorry for the loss of their father and am glad that this family chose Spokane for their new home. 

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Tombstones Aren't Forever

 Diamonds may be forever but tombstones are most definitely not. I photo'd these two in Ocean View Cemetery, the west end of Port Angeles and looking right out over the Straights. The left one is barely readable and the right one is totally un-readable. So sad. Is is the location? Is it the material used? Is it nobody cares no more?? Think about your family's tombstones...................

Friday, May 14, 2021

Hardy Phillips: 1849 Cause of Death


Question: Why are genealogy friends important?? Why are genealogy society gatherings important? 

Answer: So we can network and toss out our questions!

On the 1849 Mortality Census, State of Georgia, I find husband's ancestor, Hardy Phillips listed. His cause of death?

What do YOU think?

It was "chronic" whatever it was. 

Tossing it out to several genealogy friends, I now believe it was TYPHOID F(ever). 

Get the message? "Ask and ye shall receive."

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Nurture Your Family Tree Online Or On Your Device Or Both?


Cyndi Ingle (who "purples" everything) gave a bang-up and comprehensive talk for Legacy Family Tree Webinars. This presentation is in their archive/library and I strongly suggest that a $49 annual subscription to hear/view this and 1000 others is worth your money and time.

Cyndi began by asking "where are you keeping your tree? Online or off line.... as in a program on your own computer. Or both? There is no right answer to this question; it is a personal choice. It's your hobby and it's okay to do it your want. You are not right or wrong."


A 6-page handout explains all the reasons Pro and Con for keeping or not keeping your tree online. Page six is a Comparison Chart of 14 different desktop software programs and the specifics for each...... cloud based? web based? crowd sources? mobile App? App system? Private/public tree? Fee/Free?

My take: I strongly suggest you think seriously about this. As I've said so often, do you want to leave a legacy or not? If you're doing family history solely for yourself, then don't worry about what will happen to your genealogy when you're gone. If you're doing it for your posterity, then MAKE SURE you're putting it/keeping it in a fashion that will be easy for descendants to find, to use and to appreciate. 

Friday, May 7, 2021

Livestock Brand Book: State of Washington


At a barn sale out beyond Wilbur, Washington, in a box of free books, I found a treasure! I found a Livestock Brand Book: State of Washington for 1966. According to the title page, the book contains 13,406 brands AND AND AND the name of the person for that registration. 

For example: On page 453 I found "Oswald, J.M. Spokane, Route 1, Box 51." This is my husband's uncle! (Third down on left.)

I'd be happy to look up your farmer family's surname and see if they had a registered brand and then to send you a copy. Just let me know. 

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Time For A Little Hygge??


Pronounced hoo-ga, I think we all could use a little hygge as we limp out from under all the COVID-19 ramifications of the past year. 

Although there is no literal translation, hygge alludes to a feeling of cozy intimacy and contentment. It's all about creating feelings of happiness, friendliness and wellbeing within everyday life. 

So how to Hygge Your Life?

  • Spend quality time with family and friends
  • Avoid multi-tasking
  • Remove stressors
  • Wear comfortable clothing
  • Go outdoors
  • Bring the outdoors in with plants
  • Don't deprive yourself
  • Pick up a book; put down the phone
This concept of hygge was originated with the Scandinavian peoples. I think they knew something we should learn. 

Friday, April 30, 2021

Why Join A Lineage Society?


Why would you want to join a lineage society? To have a monthly lunch date with like-minded friends? Or to honor and help perpetuate the memory of a patriotic ancestor?

Lineage societies are organizations created to honor a specific heritage or event and to document an ancestor's participation in that event. 

Those joining such societies must prove with documentation their descent from an ancestor involved or participating in historical events. That creates paperwork!! Such paperwork can be so valuable to future descendants seeking to know more about that ancestor. 

Click to www.lineagesocietyofamerica.com for a long list of such societies. Pick one to join that appeals to you and click to their website for details on how to join. 

I chuckled as I read through the list of societies:  Bloodlines of Salem? Descendants of the Illegitimate Sons & Daughters of the Kings of Great Britain? Descendants of Whaling Masters? Military Order of the Carabao? Noble Society of Celts?  Order of the Daedalians? 

There were lineage societies for Mayflower passengers, early New England towns, ethnic heritage and most military wars. 

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Early English Census Occupations (Funnies!!)

 So which of these occupations, as officially listed in the British census of 1881, would you wish was the occupation of YOUR ancestor????   Fatuous pauper? Fish-Bender? or maybe Electric Bath Attendant??

Friday, April 23, 2021

Why Care About Historical Societies??


Why Care About Historical Societies?

By Donna Potter Phillips, 2021

Why keep historical materials? Why, indeed, keep all this “old stuff?”  How did this idea begin?

A Massachusetts Historical Society online presentation in January 2021, with speakers Alea Henle and Peter Drummey, answered that question.

“Historical societies preserve the cultures of the early United States,” Henle stated, “by preserving the papers and artifacts that were in their everyday use.” Where else can you go to see (and perhaps touch) kitchen tools from 1889 or 1920?

How did the idea of historical societies begin? Before 1791, when the Massachusetts Historical Society began (as The Historical Society), there was no National Archives, no Library of Congress, no big history collections. There were collections in private hands but often these were sold and scattered when the family died out. Harvard University was the first to attempt to collect the scattered materials of our country’s history which were widely scattered, some even in Europe.  The New York Genealogical & Biographical Society was formed in 1804 and the New England Historic Genealogical Society in 1845. Many historical societies came from states, counties or towns wishing to mark their centennials. The Massachusetts Historical Society had as its original mission to collect materials pertaining to the whole of U.S. history but never had the money to ensure that mission’s survival. “It was only due to the dedicated officers and volunteers of these organizations that kept them alive,” said Henle.

Alea Henle showed a slide of a guest register from 1850 for the Connecticut Historical Society and remarked that in that year the Society had over 100 visitors! There were some folks who did value and seek out their history.

Today, historical societies are spread across the nation. As folks moved from east to west they took this idea with them. Initially they collected selectively and only what “they” (usually males of white European ancestry) felt was important. Native American and minority histories were not of much interest to the majority. Thankfully, that notion has long since disappeared for the most part.

Today, and I’m thinking of my own state of Washington where I have road-traveled the most, nearly every little town proudly has its historical society. And what’s in these places? Artifacts collected or donated from the people who lived there through time! If your ancestor lived in Okanogan County, surely the Okanogan Historical Society would have some item they used during their life time or something quite like it.

Historical societies are places housing the cultural history of America. The items in these places aren’t just “artifacts,” but are their things, their everyday things, the things they used.

 I must say that I have enjoyed with wide eyes and open mind each and every historical society I have visited.


Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Finding Catholic Records In Washington



By Jeanne Coe, March 2021

 If you are researching Roman Catholic records in eastern Washington, first contact the parish where you believe your family may have resided. The Diocese of Spokane covers approximately all of eastern Washington from Canada to Oregon, from Idaho to the Columbia River. Each parish within the diocese has their own records (marriage, baptism, confirmations, sacramental records, parishioner records, etc.) but some may have been transferred to the diocesan office.  After checking with the parish of interest (if known), check the diocesan website (https://dioceseofspokane.org/archives2) to read a brief history of the diocese and what records are in their archives department and list of parishes.  Currently Rev. Mike Savelesky is archivist and available by appointment only at (509) 358-7300 or (509) 358-7336.  The diocesan office is located at 525 East Mission Avenue in Spokane. 


The two oldest Catholic churches in the area are St. Joseph’s on West Dean Avenue and Our Lady of Lourdes Cathedral on Riverside Avenue.  The Cathedral was originally also named St. Joseph’s, so for records prior to about 1919 check both for possible records.  St. Joseph’s on Dean Avenue was established about 1890 and the building now standing was constructed in 1910.


Keep in mind when researching any church records, their primary mission is religious, so be patient when requesting access.  Their office hours may be limited and the records may be offsite.  Contact by phone or email will clarify what and when records are available.  Be specific as to what records and the time period you are interested in in order to help the staff find what you want.  Also, since most parishes are run by charitable donations, consider asking about the cost of copies and the time they spent finding what you want.  You might not be able to just peruse their records so ask about their procedures for research.


In the early years when there were few priests or churches, people wanting their marriages performed by the church or their children baptized, etc., they may have gone some distance from their homes to get the church’s blessings.  For instance, I know of one couple who traveled 30 miles from their homes to another state to get their marriage solemnized in a Catholic church.  So consider that also when searching for records. 


In Washington state there is also the Yakima Catholic Diocese that covers several counties of east central Washington.  Check out their website also if you are researching in that area.  The third diocese in Washington is the Seattle Archdiocese with an informative website.  The entire state of Idaho is in one diocese; see their website for information.  In the United States, Roman Catholic dioceses vary in size and location so check the internet for the area of interest. 

Friday, April 16, 2021

Irish Potatoes Or Inca Potatoes?



The potato (Solanum tuberosum) belongs to the solanaceae family of flowering plants. It originated and was first domesticated in the Andesmountains of South America.

The potato is the third most important food crop in the world after rice and wheat in terms of human consumption. More than a billion people worldwide eat potato, and global total crop production exceeds 300 million metric tons.

There are more than 4,000 varieties of native potatoes, mostly found in the Andes. They come in many sizes and shapes. There are also over 180 wild potato species. Though they are too bitter to eat, their important biodiversity includes natural resistances to pests, diseases, and climatic conditions.

Potato is vegetatively propagated, meaning that a new plant can be grown from a potato or piece of potato, called a “seed”. The new plant can produce 5-20 new tubers, which will be genetic clones of the mother seed plant. Potato plants also produce flowers and berries that contain 100-400 botanical seeds. These can be planted to produce new tubers, which will be genetically different from the mother plant.

Potatoes can grow from sea level up to 4,700 meters above sea level; from southern Chile to Greenland. 

One hectare of potato can yield two to four times the food quantity of grain crops. Potatoes produce more food per unit of water than any other major crop and are up to seven times more efficient in using water than cereals. They are produced in over 100 countries worldwide.

Since the early 1960s, the growth in potato production area has rapidly overtaken all other food crops in developing countries. It is a fundamental element in the food security for millions of people across South America, Africa, and Asia, including Central Asia.

Presently, more than half of global potato production now comes from developing countries.


 History of the potato

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The potato was first domesticated vegetable in the region of modern-day southern Peru and extreme northwestern Bolivia[1] between 8000 and 5000 BC.[2] Cultivation of potatoes in South America may go back 10,000 years,[3] but tubers do not preserve well in the archaeological record, making identification difficult. The earliest archaeologically verified potato tuber remains have been found at the coastal site of Ancón (central Peru), dating to 2500 BC.[4] Aside from actual remains, the potato is also found in the Peruvian archaeological record as a design influence of ceramic pottery, often in the shape of vessels. The potato has since spread around the world and has become a staple crop in many countries.

It arrived in Europe sometime before the end of the 16th century by two different ports of entry: the first in Spain around 1570, and the second via the British Isles between 1588 and 1593. The first written mention of the potato is a receipt for delivery dated 28 November 1567 between Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Antwerp. In France, at the end of the 16th century, the potato had been introduced to the Franche-Comté, the Vosges of Lorraine and Alsace. By the end of the 18th century it was written in the 1785 edition of Bon Jardinier: "There is no vegetable about which so much has been written and so much enthusiasm has been shown ... The poor should be quite content with this foodstuff."[5] It had widely replaced the turnip and rutabaga by the 19th century. Throughout Europe, the most important new food in the 19th century was the potato, which had three major advantages over other foods for the consumer: its lower rate of spoilage, its bulk (which easily satisfied hunger) and its cheapness. The crop slowly spread across Europe, becoming a major staple by mid-century, especially in Ireland.