Wednesday Nostalgia

This was a schoolhouse near the fairgrounds a bit west of Walla Walla. I took the “stairs” photo through the locked-door-window. How many of you, and certainly of your ancestors, went to a rural schoolhouse like this?

Can’t you just hear the hundreds of footsteps clomping up and down those wooden stairs?







Tuesday Trivia

Ever heard of Tusko the Elephant? He was a figure in Washington history in the 1920s. Here is the first paragraph of the story about Tusko found on (the website for Washington history):

On May 15, 1922, Tusko the giant circus elephant rampages through the Skagit Valley town of Sedro-Woolley.  No circus elephant in twentieth-century America engendered more outlandish and comical tales than he. Captured at age 6 in the wilds of Siam (now Thailand), the animal was a mere five feet high when he lumbered off a sailing ship at New York harbor in 1898. Yet by 1922 circus hawkers touted him as “the largest elephant ever in captivity.” Although, at 10-feet-2-inches tall, he was seven inches shorter than Phineas T. Barnum’s Jumbo of the 1880s, Tusko was a good ton heavier than that better-known pachyderm. Even before Washingtonians set eyes on Tusko, they’d read newspaper accounts of his antics, from the night he did a “moonlight dance on the newly laid asphaltic pavement” of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, to his unexpected defeat of six snorting killer bulls in an arena in Juarez, Mexico. But few stories rival the one about this tusker’s wild romp through the Skagit Valley logging town of Sedro-Woolley in 1922.

Click to the above link and do a search for “Tusko elephant” to read the entire story. Who knew???


Monday’s Mystery

Here’s a travel-question-mystery for you today:  The Vantage Bridge over the Columbia River connects which two counties?? Gonna see who knows their Washington geography!

A great big gooey WSGS cupcake to Arlene Rowden for knowing that Dixie, Washington, was a bitty burg between Waitsburg and Walla Walla. And extra cherries to Patty Olsen, Anne Grimm, Sonji Rutan and Roger Newman who also knew (and even had been there!) about Dixie.

Serendipity Friday

*** Washington Road Signs

*** Cooperation between Genealogical & Historical Societies

***Don’t Kick These Rocks! 

***What To Do With Your Rock Collection


Recently I drove from Port Angeles down to the Bainbridge-Seattle ferry. Saw two most interesting signs along that route. One was a highway department Tourist Activities sign showing three things: a distillery, a winery and a brewery. A better sign was a bit further along. This was one of those we-sponsor-road-clean up signs and was from the Geezers of Fury Bicycle Club. Liked that one way better.


Chatting recently with Ginny Majewski and Roberta Griset (current and former Clallam County Gen Society presidents), we talked at length on the topic of the clear need for all museums, genealogical and historical societies in a given region to co-operate in their endeavors to both preserve history and serve the public. Ginny explained that there are eleven similarly-minded groups on the Peninsula and that CCGS is on the road to establish co-operating between them all. Shouldn’t this be a priority in your area?


Smack-dab in the middle of Washington sits something you’ve zoomed past several dozen times without stopping. Just a mile north of Vantage is the Gingko Petrified Forest and Interpretive Center. This unusual forest on its 7500 acreas but they are all fossilized trees, the largest stone forest in the world. When you take the 3/4-mile walk along the Trees of Stone Interpretive Trail, you’ll see examples of more than 200 species of fossilized trees including Douglas fir, spruce, elm and the ginkgo, the rarest form of fossilized wood. And it’s a free stop!!


Are you like me and pick up a rock or two from places you’ve traveled to visit? We even brought home a piece of granite from the Three Gorges Dam area in China in our suitcase! But then you’re confronted with what to do with those rocks. May I offer my idea? Make stepping stones for your garden!

Get some 9×13 aluminum cake pans, a bag of Quikrete, buckets for water and mixing, gloves and (most importantly) your rock collection. I spread an old tarp over the picnic table, had my rocks ready, mixed 4 soup cans of concrete mix to 3/4 can of water in a bucket and then dumped it into the cake pan. I “puddled” it with a flat piece of wood. The tray should be about two inches full. Then I placed my rocks. If it’s too soupy, they will sink out of sight. If too dry, they won’t seat well.  Let them sit several days before turning them out and then several days more to ensure that they are thoroughly dry. One bag of mix made eight stepping stones. Next I’ll have my scratcher and hose ready and scratch up soil/mud in the area where I want the stone and settle it in good and tight. It will hold when the soil/mud dries.  Go for it! It is a fun project.

NE Washington Genealogical Society Civil War Headstone Dedication

Evergreen Cemetery

Headstone Dedication Ceremony

Saturday, July 1, 2017

1:00 PM

(Located on Aladdin Road about 1 mile north of Highway 20)

Honoring four American Civil War veterans whose burial locations are unknown

Genealogy can sometimes produce a great “who dunnit.” Stevens County auditor’s records have been an indexing/scanning project of the Northeast Washington Genealogical Society for many years. Over the winter of 2015, a couple of shining stars emerged that had been waiting for us to find.

Amongst the neat little boxes tied with cotton string was a letter to the Stevens County Commissioners asking them to appropriate funds and issue a warrant to D. J. Zent for a burial plot at Evergreen Cemetery for all old veterans (dated April 13, 1899, Colville, Washington). He states: “As a veteran of the late war I with others have had the care during the sickness and death of George B. Williams an ex-soldier of the Civil War and a member of the 12th Michigan Cavalry – and after his death I contracted for a lot in the cemetery near Colville known as the Evergreen Cemetery agreeing to pay therefore – The lot contains room for 20 graves – and the price to be paid is ten ($10) dollars.”

Further research shows the commissioners approved the appropriation and issued a warrant at the next Commissioners meeting in April, 1899, thereby the County owned the plot for old soldiers to be buried in. Evergreen Cemetery has many unmarked graves but George B. Williams was not listed in our enumeration of the interments. After 18 months of extensive research, we are no closer to identifying George B. Williams other than to say he served and is buried at Evergreen Cemetery. The research also unearthed three other men who are Civil War Veterans with grave sites of unknown location. These veterans are William Aldridge, Dennis Huntley, Jr and James (Benjamin) Moore.

On Saturday, July 1, 2017 a memorial dedication ceremony honoring these veterans will begin at 1:00 pm at Evergreen Cemetery located on Aladdin Road about 1 mile north of Highway 20. Included in the program is Gordy Struve (Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War) emcee, Boy Scout Troop #921 presenting the colors, Pastor Dave McCue (Colville Community Church) offering the blessings, Colville High School trumpeters playing “Taps” and NeWGS members Gary Sheehan, Lora Rose and Jim Witham laying wreaths and a rose. Also attending is Major Gary Michie and his reenactors of the Washington Civil War Association displaying artillery. The community is invited to attend.

THE GENEALOGICAL FORUM’s Wednesday Evening E-News


Wednesday Evening
21 June 2017

For more information visit, contact us at, or call our library at 503-963-1932. We love hearing from you!

For a complete GFO CALENDAR click here.

Also, if you missed your free copy of our monthly Insider for May 2017, you’re in luck because we saved you a copy HERE. NOTE: The Insider issues are now located under the “Learn” > “Our Publications” menu at our new website (still
Curious about the status of your GFO Membership?? We’d love to have you as a GFO Member!
We Still Need Everyone’s Help in this Ongoing Search!!

Click HERE for the latest and greatest as far as the updates we’re getting in on this community-based effort. We don’t want ANYONE’s research time or efforts wasted. Check HERE to make sure you’re not duplicating your efforts!
Latest & Greatest RLGraham Research Updates

GFO’s June 2017 Star – Jackie Olson

Jackie Olson stepped up to help several years ago when the previous Forum Insider editor resigned. She consistently produces an attractive publication filled with interesting content. The Insider’s publication timeline is tight, and many times she receives information at the last minute, and she is always adaptable to making last minute adjustments to the publication before printing. She attends the Board of Director’s meetings in order to become aware of current information so she can keep our readers informed.
Thanks, Jackie!!

Wow! It’s Portland in the 40’s!!

The Oregonian/OregonLive is producing a book focused on Portland in the 1940s.

Portland Memories II: The War Years will feature nostalgic images of Portland including street scenes, education, celebrations, and commerce and will also showcase Portland’s role in the war effort as well as the rise and fall of Vanport.

You are being asked to participate. If you have photos that meet our guidelines, please bring them to one of the planned scanning sessions. For guidelines and scanning schedule click HERE.
How do you Save Memories? A Historic Preservation Conversation – Gresham City Hall

Memories surround us in the historic landmarks and architecture of Gresham’s houses and buildings.

Reflecting back, moving forward

Hear about Gresham’s historic places and local projects, what Oregonians are saying about historic properties, and what’s happening around the state.

Includes open panel discussion, short lectures, refreshments and raffle.

Hosted by the City’s Historic Resources Subcommittee. The GFO will be on the agenda as part of the panel discussion for this event! Come out and learn all about preserving the landscapes we live in.
This event is open to the general public including students, seniors, professionals, organizations and agencies.
This Week at the GFO…


Italian Interest Group noon – 2pm

Ciao to everyone interested in Italian genealogy research. This is a great opportunity to learn, share, and enjoy others with a common interest. Italian genealogy research in the Portland area now has a home. Come join our group. Facilitated by Keith Pyeatt.

Library Work Party 9am – noon

There’s€™s another work party at the GFO library today for those of you who can come. There’€™s lots to do and we’d love to have your help. Doors open at 9 and work usually wraps up around noon. Some people come for just an hour or so and you’€™re welcome to do the same. Any time you can share is valuable. Hope to see you there!!

Cataloging Meeting 1 – 3pm

GFO library cataloging volunteers will get together to discuss our processes and progress on the recataloging project. Anyone interested in cataloging for GFO is welcome to attend but must RSVP in advance to

Nostalgia Wednesday

“Today is the day that is filled with surprises…….” Remember that opening song from the Micky Mouse Club show on TV in the late 1950s? I loved that show! Especially the “Spin and Marty” segment. 

Today we introduce a new blogging-segment-day on the Washington State Genealogical Society blog…… Nostalgia Wednesday. Hope you enjoy these little trips down memory lane……


These are called “Shoe Lasts.” Wikipedia explains: A last is a mechanical form that has a shape similar to that of a human foot. It is used by shoemakers and cordwainers in the manufacture and repair of shoes. Lasts typically come in pairs and have been made from various materials, including hardwoods, cast iron, and high-density plastics.

At least they come in right-left pairs.  In the first shoe-making days, it was a one-foot shape and they molded to your foot with use. Doesn’t that sound like fun?? 

Looking for Ideas to Energize Your Local Society?

The Washington State Genealogical Society is offering two free society management classes on Wednesday, August 16, 2017, at the Northwest Genealogy Conference in Arlington, WA. The classes will be held on “Free Day Wednesday,” along with a Genealogy 101 class with professional genealogy Peggy Lauritzen from Ohio. WSGS’s society management classes are:

How to Attract & Keep Members…Awake
Presenter: Donna Potter Phillips, WSGS Vice President

Donna will share some new, some old and some WOW ideas for your society to use to increase and retain your membership. She will also present some program-giving tips for keeping members “awake” and eager to attend your society’s programs. You’ll leave this class with ideas and energy galore!

The Nuts and Bolts of Society Management
Presenter: Virginia Forney Majewski, WSGS President

This presentation is geared toward officers, board members or those considering running for office. Attendees will learn about different types of societies and the legal requirements of maintaining each, insurance needs and about developing policies or rules to protect the society when problems or problem makers arise. You’ll leave this class knowing how to help your Board be functional, responsible and active.

Did you see that these classes are FREE? Ginny and Donna are long-time leaders in their local societies and experienced instructors. Attending “Free Day Wednesday” is a great way to start the Northwest Genealogy Conference. For more information about this premier conference, including registration information, click HERE.