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.