Let’s Talk About: Shackleton Crew Desdendants

Are You A Descendant?

Of one of the men who sailed to Antarctica with Ernest Shackleton?

By Donna Potter Phillips, 2023

Might you possibly be a descendant of a member of The Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1914-1916, led by Sir Ernest Shackleton?

The story of the ship Endurance and her 28 brave crewmen is well known. Multiple books, movies, TV specials and YouTube videos can be accessed to learn the full (and horrifying) story of the unspeakable trials these men lived through. (For instance, marooned on ice, they survived eating seal and seaweed.)

My interest was piqued and I asked Google for information on each and every one of those 28 men with Shackleton. Many never married or had no children. But some did:

Crewman name                   Wife                            Children                   

Ernest Shackleton              Emily Dorman           Edward, Cecily, Raymond

Thomas Crean                     Ellen Herlihy             Mary, Eileen, Kate (d. young)

Alfred Cheetham                 Eliza Sawyer             “13 children”

Lewis Rickinson                 Margaret Snell          Lewis, Betty

Alexander Kerr                    Lillian Mitchell          Jack, Eileen

Alexander Macklin              Jean Hanton             Alexander, Richard

Reginald James                  Annie Watson          John, David, Margaret

George Marston                  Hazel Roberts           Heather, Bevis

Thomas Orde-Lees             Rhoda Musgrove     Grace

Harry McNish                       Lizzie Littlejohn        Thomas

William Stephenson           Edith Binks               Doris, Mellie, Gladys (d.y.)

Ernest Holness                    Lillian Bettles                        Lillian, Renee, Stanley, Ernest (d.y.)

Walter How               Helen Varey                          “2 daughters”

John Vincent           Alice Parker                          “4 children”

Perce Blackborow  Kate Kearns                          Jim, Peggy, Joan, Kenneth, (2sons d.y)

Daniel Gooch          Mary Munro                           Lancelot, Phyllis, Robert, Daphne

So do you carry one of those sixteen surnames? Or do those surnames appear on your family tree? Is your interest piqued?

Disclaimer:  I did not do extensive research for this bit. And I only was looking at the 28 men with Shackleton and not the other 28 men comprising the Ross Sea party. And admitting that Grandma Google furnished my information, I admit to any mistakes!

P.S. Did you know that in March 2022 the ship Endurance was found? She rests upright nearly 10,000 feet deep in the Weddell Sea. Ask Grandma Google for images!

Let’s Talk About: First U.S. Navy Death in Pacific

1856: First U.S. Navy Death in the Pacific

“Curiosity got the better of Gus Englebrecht. He poked his head above a log to view a Brave just fired upon and wrote himself into history.”

Thus, Gustavus/Gustave Englebrecht became the first U.S. Navy casualty in the Pacific. He died on 21 November 1856 during the Battle of Port Gamble.

The Battle of Port Gamble is an isolated engagement between the U.S. soldiers and the Tlingit native peoples. A minor incident, it is historically notable for the first U.S. Navy battle death in the Pacific Ocean. Here’s the story:

In November 1856, a Tlingit party of about 100 warriors and their families, in a fleet of canoes, entered Puget Sound in what was then Washington Territory. Why they came was never asked; their presence spooked the alarm among the white folks. When the fleet of canoes approached Steilacoom, the residents alerted the U.S. Army garrison at Fort Steilacoom who, in turn, sent word to the nearby U.S. Navy gunboat, the U.S.S. Massachusetts.

On November 20th, the Tlingit approached the logging community of Port Gamble and the nearby band of S’Klallam Indians. (Note: The Tlingit were likely on a slave raiding party a most common custom then.) The superintendent of the logging mill blew the mill’s whistle prompting the community to evacuate to the nearby blockhouse.

The U.S.S. Massachusetts arrived at Port Gamble soon thereafter and finding the natives landed and camped at the edge of town, put ashore an armed force of 18 sailors. The Massachusetts’ skipper had twice sent messengers to the Tlingit chief with offers to tow them to Victoria but both offers were refused. The next morning, the captain began shelling the native camp, inflicting heavy casualties. During this melee, small arms fire was exchanged between the war party and those 18 sailor/soldiers resulting in the death of Cosxwain Gustave Englebrecht.

Donna’s note:  I searched all the “low-hanging” fruit for more information on Gustave/Gustavus but found hardly anything. His official military death notice said he enlisted 15 June 1855. He is buried in a lovely fenced plot in the little hilltop cemetery in Port Gamble. Most information for this bit came from www.historylink.org, the free Washington history website.

Was he the Gustave Englebrecht, age 18, born 1832 in town of Heiligenstadt (Bavaria), and who left Bremen on 22 May 1850 bound for Baltimore, Maryland, on the ship Rebecca??

Guess it’s up to somebody else to solve the mystery of Gus Engelbrecht, the man “who wrote himself into history.”

Information and images below are from www.findagrave.org

“United States Navy Sailor. He was serving as a Coxswain on board the wooden steamer warship “USS Massachusetts” when it was part of the United States Navy’s Pacific Squadron in 1856. He was killed in a minor engagement between the ship and the Native American Tlingit people at Port Gamble, Kitsap County, Washington Territory on November 21, 1856, making him the first Navy combat death in the Pacific. A historical marker that was erected near his burial site reads: “1856. National Historic Site. First U. S. Navy man to die in action in the Pacific. During the Indian depredation, Port Gamble was attacked. Mill workers hoped for relief from a U. S. Navy Warship the ‘Massachusetts’. The ship arrived, and the skirmish resulted in this American casualty. Curiosity got the better of Gus Englebrecht. He poked his head above a log to view a brave just fired upon, and wrote himself into history.”

Tacoma Pierce County Genealogical Society DNA SIG

Tacoma-Pierce County Genealogical Society DNA Special Interest Group Meeting

Tuesday, September 26 at 7:00 pm via Zoom

We will continue studying Genetic Genealogy in Practice by Blaine Bettinger and Debbie Parker Wayne.

This month we will continue discussing Chapter 7: Incorporating DNA Testing in a Family Study..

This book is available from The National Genealogical Society (the publishers,  Amazon, or perhaps through your local public library or via Inter-Library Loan.

Check WorldCat to see what libraries may have copies.

Topic: TPCGS DNA Special Interest Group Meeting

Every month on the Fourth Tue beginning at 7:00 PM Pacific Time

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Let’s Talk About: Newspapers, Community Voice

FIND 2-Inch Nail In Baby’s Throat – Spokesman Review, 5 Nov 1921

Cut Child’s Windpipe and Use Magnet With Success

A nail two inches long as been removed from the lung of a 15-month-old baby at the Deaconess hospital. The child, who is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Leo Dahlin of Nine Miles, swallowed the nail October 29th, and the mother did not discover the trouble until X-rays four days later disclosed the nail.

At the time the child choked (sic) until it was black in the face, but when Mrs. Dahlin was ready to start for town the trouble seemed to depart and the baby appeared normal. Later the lungs of the baby began filling with mucus and the mother brought the child to Dr. T.E. Hoxsey. On October 24 the child’s condition seemed alarming and an operation was decided upon. Dr. O.M. Rott, a through specialist, assisted Dr. Hoxsey.

An incision was made in the neck through which the windpipe was cut. But inserting a powerful magnet the nail, which was two inches long, was drawn out. The parents of the baby report that it is well on the road to recovery. 

Karen Mitchell Named President’s Award Recipient

WSGS President Kathleen Sizer is pleased to announce the recipient of the 2023 Outstanding Achievement Award: Karen Mitchell from the Clallam County Genealogical Society. The announcement was made at the WSGS Annual Meeting on 31 Aug 2023.

Created in 2015, the President’s Award for Outstanding Achievement is designed to single out that rare individual, society or organization who has demonstrated exemplary service above and beyond expectations. The award is not given every year as it is based on merit and accomplishments. As you’ll see from reading about Karen’s dedication, she is worthy of this recognition.

Karen Mitchell

A founding member of the Clallam County Genealogical Society (CCGS), Karen has consistently displayed the values of the society through her commitment, determination and leadership.

During her 42-year history with the society, she has succeeded in developing the CCGS Research Center into one of the largest private genealogical libraries on the West Coast. The center is home to over 5,000 cataloged items which can be accessed using LibraryThing. The Research Center is a place to view maps, land plats, photographs, do research and check out materials. Visitors can also view vintage photographs and maps mounted on walls and atlases and periodicals.

Karen was instrumental is obtaining a rare bookcase that now houses books written before 1910 and have never been reprinted. She has created a lending room where members can check out items of interest.

As CCGS’s librarian, Karen was at the forefront of their successful move into a larger facility in 2020. She supervised the packing of over 3,000 items from the previous facility, removal of bookshelves, shipment to the new facility, reinstallation of shelving, books, maps, files, and all the material that make up the expanded library.

Karen has served as president twice and is currently seated on the board of directors as Past President. She obtained certification as a school librarian, worked as a librarian for 30 years, and brought her experience and commitment to record preservation and skill to CCGS.

Karen continues to volunteer at the Research Center along with her husband, Tom. She is often the go-to person on CCGS operating rules and bylaws regarding governance matters.

Because of her lifelong learning (she first worked in a library at age 14), her organizational talents, her patience and persistence have made CCGS’s facility a first-class resource center.

More about the award

If you want to know more about the qualities needed for this prestigious award, click here. Previous recipients are listed here.

RootsTech 2024 Registration Open Now

Registration to RootsTech 2024 is open! rootstech.org The major event will be held February 29 – March 2, 2024, both in-person in Salt Lake City, Utah and virtually.  The first 1,000 registrants will receive a special limited-edition pin! 

RootsTech is the premier event to celebrate your heritage and other meaningful connections through a deeper understanding of family history and genealogy. Discover your story at RootsTech 2024!  For more information, visit the Rootstech website.

Let’s Talk About: Bits & Pieces, This ‘N That

 Who has not seen this fantastic image of the Titanic’s bow as she rests nearly a mile deep in the Atlantic:

Bet you did not know:

  • She was the largest moving man-made object until 1912.
  • Some 4000 workers took 2 years to build her in Belfast, Ireland
  • She cost $10,000,000 in 1912 dollars (about $322,000,000 today)
  • The 4-day, one way, first-class passage cost about $80,000 in 1998 dollars
  • Lifeboat requirements were based on tonnage, not passenger count
  • New York Evening Sun ran a headline: ALL SAVED FROM TITANIC
  • The 1997 movie, Titanic, cost 24 times what the ship itself cost to build in 1911 (you do the math!)
  • One body, still floating in its life vest, was found 2 months la
  • More than 3000 books have been written about the Titanic
  • The last funnel on Titanic was  “dummy” for ventilation and aesthetics and no smoke came out of it
  • The Titanic Historical Society, founded in 1963, has 5000 members; PO Box 5153, Indian Orchard MA  01151


August, 2023: Miami, Florida:  Archaeologists have found a submerged gravestone in Dry Tortugas National Park near the Florida Keys and they say the discovery could also mean there’s a cemetery and hospital in the area. The site could have been used for quarantined yellow fever patients on a small island that has since eroded into the sea.


Jeanne Coe, a longtime member of EWGS, does indexing under the SCRIBE project for the Washington State archives. She notes odd and unusual names………. like these:

  • America Jane Chamberlain, b. Oregon
  • Ralph Oregon Dunbar, b. Illinois
  • Mary Nevada Kiner, b. 1877 in Iowa
  • Nevada Melvina Cameron, b. 1901 in Washington
  • Hazel Inez Price, b. 1892 in King County, WA; her father was Lake Erie Price, b. Minnesota and her mother was Capitola Albatross Fuller, b. Kansas.
  • Denver Colorado Sayler, b. 1906 in Kansas


From Kenneth Roberts’ book, “Trending Into Maine,” published in 1938, I learned that the Salish word for white person was soo-yap-ee, which meant “upside down face.” This happened because most 19th century Euro-American men wore beards. 

Let’s Talk About: Comic Strips

What would you guess was the longest running newspaper comic strip in the U.S.?? A strip most like your grandparents laughed over? 

If you guess the Katzenjammer Kids, you win a prize! This strip ran from 1897 t0 2006. 
Next in order were…… do you read any of these today? Which ones might you remember your parents, or grandparents, chuckling over?  P.S. They’re not all carried in our local newspaper. Makes one wonder how they can still be relevant today…… Prince Valiant?

  • Gasoline Alley – 1918 to now
  • Barney Google & Snuffy Smith – 1919 to now
  • Little Orphan Annie – 1924 to 2010
  • Popeye – 1929-1994
  • Blondie – 1930 to now
  • Dick Tracy – 1931 to now
  • Prince Valiant – 1937 to now
  • Brenda Starr, Reporter – 1940 to 2011
  • Beetle Bailey – 1950 to now
  • Dennis the Menace – 1951 to now
  • B.C. – 1958 to now

Since we’re enjoying humor today, here’s a “Chuckleberry” for you (from the Huckleberry Press):
“Okay, so a Texan rancher comes upon a farmer from Maine. The Texan looks at the Mainer and asks, “Say, how much land you think you got here?” The Mainer answers, “Bout 10 acres, I’d say.”  The Texan (boasting), “Well, on my lot, it takes me all day to drive completely around my property.” The Mainer (doubtless with a straight face) replies, “Yep, I got one of them trucks too.”