THE GENEALOGICAL FORUM’s Thursday Evening E-News Edition July 18, 2019
Curious about the status of your GFO Membership? We’d love to have you as a GFO Member! | 503-963-1932 | Be sure to check the complete GFO CALENDAR.
Also, don’t miss the current issue of The Forum Insider
GFO Fall Seminar Registration Now Open!
GFO is pleased to announce that registration is now open for the 2019 GFO Fall Seminar, featuring Fritz Jeungling, Ph.D., AG. He is an Accredited Genealogist® (through the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists) for Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Sweden, and he is certified by the Verband deutschsprachiger Berufsgenealogen. The full-day session on Saturday, October 5th, will be held at the Center for Self Enhancement (3920 N. Kerby Ave., Portland) and will focus on German Research, while the half-day presentation at the GFO Library on Sunday, October 6th, will provide an introduction to Dutch research. Download the flyer for full details. Dr. Juengling is also a German, Dutch, and Scandinavian Research Consultant at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, and GFO is excited to bring this exceptional educational opportunity to our members and the community at large. Mark your calendar, spread the word, and register early!
Register Here
Beginners’ Boot Camp Returns
On Tuesday, August 20, join Laurel Smith for a full day of beginning genealogy from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. in the GFO Library. There will be sessions about the census, vital records, discussions about genealogy software and database use, organizing your research, using, and more — all geared toward beginners — but basic computer skills are a prerequisite. All communications are done via email, and you must be able to download and print the class notes. Bring a sack lunch, snacks, and a beverage so you can keep going as the class does. GFO members may attend for free, non-members $20.
Register Here
GFO Star: Joann Taylor
Hi there, President Vince Patton here.
I’m hijacking this section of the E-News from regular editor Joann Taylor so we can shine the spotlight on her. The Board of Directors has selected Joann as our GFO Star of the Month! You may have seen her at our reception desk or in the research area helping patrons with their searches. Recently she came to the rescue when all our computers ground to a halt. She rebooted our network and the computers, getting the library back in action. Joann wears many hats for the GFO. She compiles this weekly E-News you receive. She has dived in to help with research for our Genealogy Problem Solvers group, particularly with her deep knowledge of Irish genealogy. Joann also volunteers on our Research Team, finding answers to questions sent in from people around the world. Plus, she co-taught a recent Gen-Talk on getting the most from Google Searching. A fellow research assistant nominated her saying, “Joann is amazing!” We agree!
Fall Seminar Needs Raffle Donations
We’re getting ready for the Fall Seminar on German and Dutch research. Can you help? We need items for our raffle. Do you have anything to donate? If your item is not new, it must be in exceptionally good condition for us to be able to offer it. Suggestions include genealogically related books, household decorations, carry bags, certificates toward GFO membership or research costs, and computer items. Leave the item(s) at the library reception desk with a donation form noting that it’s a donation for the seminar treasures raffle. At the seminar, tickets are sold for $1 each or 6 for $5, and they are placed in separate paper sacks for each prize, so you win only something you want. Thanks so much!
The GFO’s own DNA group leader Emily Aulicino is one of the featured speakers at Family History Fanatics’ second annual A Summer of DNA eConference coming up on Friday, August 9th. Last year’s eConference was very successful and had great attendance. This year’s speakers will be talking about the following:
Daniel Horowitz – Theory of Family Relativity and Other MyHeritage Tools
Donna Rutherford – Testing Family Members: Why and Who to Choose
Emily Aulicino – atDNA: Verify, Correct, Expand
Leah Larkin – When Your Tree Is a Banyan: Working with Endogamy and DNA The live online sessions will begin at 7:00 a.m. Pacific Time on Friday, August 9th. This event is sponsored by MyHeritage who will be giving away 4 DNA kits during the presentations. It will be possible to ask questions during the presentations using live chat. For those who can’t watch the live sessions, they will be recorded and available to all registered attendees for 30 days after the eConference. As with past events there will be a fifth-hour panel discussion where you can ask questions about any of the topics or anything else related to DNA and genetic genealogy. Early bird registration is only $19.99 until July 31st. Regular registration price is $24.99 after July 31st. Learn more at the website and register today.
Get Some Beaver History: OSU Yearbooks From ’20s to ’50s
The GFO has an extensive collection of Pacific Northwest yearbooks. Did you know we sometimes have more than one copy? That’s why we have nine copies of the The Beaver from Oregon State University available on our surplus book shelves. We have yearbooks from the following years: 1920, 1922, 1923, 1926, 1927, 1949, 1953, 1954 and 1958. Each yearbook costs only $10. If you’re interested in buying one or more, come in to the GFO and check out our $10 shelves at the front of the library.
GFO Supports Moving Trains
What’s the second worst part of coming to the GFO? (We know parking is number one.) The trains!

Those freight trains can inch back and forth or even just park on the tracks for an hour. This blocks traffic and traps anyone who’s parked in the lot behind the Ford Building where our library sits. The Albina Rail Relocation Project is picking up steam in its efforts to fund a study on how to get Union Pacific to move rail yards out of Portland’s Albina and Brooklyn neighborhoods. Studies are expensive: $25,000. The effort has received endorsements for its efforts from Metro and the mayor of Portland. To pay for the needed study, nearly $8,000 has been raised so far, and neighborhood associations nearby have chipped in. The tracks or the roads need to be raised or lowered, or the rail yards need to be moved out of the area entirely. The GFO Board shares your frustration about the impact of the trains near our library, so we’re going to lend our support too. We have donated $200 to the study and sent a letter expressing our emphatic support.
Survey Results: Ellis Island Name Change Myth
One of the most prevalent myths in genealogy is the tale of names being changed by immigration agents at Ellis Island. Last week our survey asked if your family had a story of a name change at Ellis Island. 87% of you said No.
13% said Yes.
A few replies:
“Not only do I not have that myth in my family (thank goodness!), my maternal grandmother actually knew and told me her father’s original name from when he immigrated.” “Spelling of names changed but due to phonics and ancestors unable to write.” “Actually, it is true. Mr & Mrs Kjemphol of Sykkelven in Norway became Mr & Mrs Pederson early in the 20th century.” If you want to learn more about the myth, here’s a terrific article, Debunking the Ellis Island Myth. But wait! Here’s a story about a name that was changed (but it really wasn’t!) Why Your Family Name Was Not Changed at Ellis Island (and One That Was).
New Survey: Genealogy Myths
Our surveys have examined two of the most widespread genealogy myths in the last two weeks. This week’s survey lists some additional genealogy myths. We’d like you know if you were ever a believer.
Take the Survey Now
This week at GFO …
Saturday, July 20th
African American Group 12:00 – 2:30 p.m.
“Bring Your Own Brick Wall.”
Bring your problems, questions, and documents (copies, please, no originals), and we will brainstorm to come up with information and suggestions that can direct your next steps and may help you solve some of your family mysteries.
For more information, contact us at
Sunday, July 21st
Library Work Party 9:00 a.m. – noon
There’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; others work the full time. You are welcome to do either. Any time you can share is valuable. Hope to see you there.
Family Tree Maker for Beginners 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
This is a beginning class for Family Tree Maker users and for those considering a purchase. It will be repeated quarterly.
Questions? Or if you have Family Tree Maker topics you’d like covered, email Joyce and Laurel at
Wednesday, July 24th
Open Late to 8:00 p.m.

Grays Harbor Research Library Is Open For Business

Great news! After a year of restoration and reorganization, the Grays Harbor Genealogical Society Research Library is open for business on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at the Hoquiam Library, 420 7th Street, Hoquiam.

The society’s research library was destroyed by a three-alarm fire that destroyed the Aberdeen Armory on 09 Jun 2018. The fire also destroyed much of the Aberdeen Museum of History, Coastal Community Action Program and the Aberdeen Senior Center. The cause of the fire was never determined.

The Grays Harbor Genealogical Society’s Research Library was housed on the 1st floor of the Amory Building.

The losses were catastrophic to the small society which had been housed at the location since 2003. Staffed completely by volunteers, the research library lost:

  • More than 22,000 hard copy obituaries that were taped to index cards and stuffed tightly in metal file cabinets were lost. Fortunately, a digital newspaper obit index was stored off-site.
  • Thousands of mortuary records from now closed Whiteside and Elerding Funeral Homes, for funerals from 1907 – 2015. The Washington State Library graciously offered to scan their collection of over 200 four-inch binders.
  • Birth, marriage and death records from the 1970s to 1907.
  • Chehalis County Marriage Index from the 1850s to 1990s.
  • Unique compilations of cemetery inventories for outlying cemeteries.
  • Tables, chairs, pencils, pens, notepads, wastepaper baskets, bulletin boards, photographs, signage…you get the idea.

Thanks to the generous donations from fellow genealogical societies and individuals, Grays Harbor Gen Soc was able to purchase signage, a photocopier/scanner, computers, shelving, binders, pencils, and furniture. They were also able to find a temporary space, compliments of the Hoquiam Library.

Donation from the Clallam County Gen Soc

GHGS is still very much on the lookout for Grays Harbor-related materials like old city directories, telephone books, school yearbooks, family histories, obituaries, etc. If you have materials related specifically to Grays Harbor or Chehalis Counties, they’d love to hear from you at

Heritage Quest Research Library Class

                         WEDNESDAY, JULY 24th from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM.

    Join us for our regularly scheduled Class with Janet Camarata.
                            Making Sense of the Supplemental Censuses  

Besides the Federal Population Census, the U.S. Government also collected non-population, special supplemental censuses: territorial data, agriculture, manufacturing, slave schedules, state, veterans, social statistics, and mortality (causes of death) schedules. Learn how to build a personal guidebook for help in reading and understanding each census. Learn what’s available and where to find them in Ancestry, FamilySearch and the National Archives.
                                         $20.00 members / $25.00 non-members

Time is Running Out

Sunday July 28th the bill passed by the legislature to lock up Birth, Death, Marriage and Divorce records starts working. Births for 100 years and Deaths, Marriages and Divorce records for 25 years. You can still get your own record, your parents, grandparents and great grandparents, and the other way your children, and grandchildren, but if you are searching, or are an aunt, uncle, nephew or niece you are out of luck. The cost for a certified record goes up by $5 also. They will have information copies with a big disclaimer that cannot be used for any legal purpose. The information death certificates will NOT have the cause of death. The law did not list a cost for an informational copy.

So if you need a Birth, Death, Marriage or Divorce record right now it is cheaper, and available to all. After July 28th you might not be able to get it unless you wait 25 years or 100 for a birth record.

They did agree to leave the indexes open for research, but finding a Washington birth index is pretty hard. Family Search does have a birth index on microfilm in Salt Lake City from 1907 to 1954 and there are some of the birth certificate microfilms on permanent holds in our state. Problem here is that Family Search does not send out microfilm anymore, so you need to go to Salt Lake City to see the index.

Here is the article with the copy of the bill passed by the legislature.

Still Time to Register for NWGC Advanced Classes

There are still a few openings in the advanced workshops at next month’s Northwest Genealogy Conference. There was a little hiccup at the beginning of the registration period, but everything’s working fine now, so jump on this opportunity.

Open to fully paid, full conference registrants, the class options include:

  • Connecting Your Matches With AncestryDNA with Angie Bush, $40 (class is nearly full, so hurry up & register!)
  • Schivener for Easier Family History Writing Projects with Lisa Alzo, $30
  • Disaster Proofing Your Research with Sara Cochran, $30

The Northwest Genealogy Conference is August 14 – 17, 2019 at the Byrnes Performing Arts Center in Arlington, Washington.

Seattle Genealogical Society Tip of the Week

Established in 1845, the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) is America’s founding genealogical organization, one of the most respected names in family history, and the largest society of its kind in the world. by the New England Historic Genealogical Society is one of the most widely used online genealogical resources in the world, providing access to over 1.4 billion searchable records. Records that reach beyond New England; they cover the entire United States, the British Isles, continental Europe, and more. also provides many educational resources.    

A perk of visiting the SGS Library, you can access absolutely free of charge to you from one of our patron computers. Come see what you can discover about your ancestors in this top-notch database.  

Seattle Genealogical Society News

It was a little over a year ago when young Ian Gunnell and his mother, Tanya, showed up at our library looking for a little help getting started on the tasks Ian needed to do to earn his Boy Scout Merit Badge in Genealogy. The ladies present in the library that day found him to be a little shy, but “delightfully charming”. They said they simply gave him the same advice they would give any beginning genealogist. They answered his questions and offered hints on how to ask open ended questions when interviewing relatives, which they explained to him is a great way to gather family history data.    

Ian and his mother agreed he was going to interview his grandmother that evening. Wouldn’t any grandparent be thrilled to have a grandchild call, showing an interest in their family tree and family stories?  

The ladies in the library said it was fun working with this young man. He brightened their day and we certainly hope he got his Merit Badge.   

Charlotte helps Ian as his mother looks on 
OCTOBER 15 – 19, 2019

  The Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International (CGSI) is the leader in genealogy and family history in the geographical areas now known as the Czech and Slovak Republics. Their 2019 conference is the premier event to learn about techniques for genealogical research in those areas. This is their 17th conference. 
Presentations throughout the conference will explore the history and culture of the Czech and Slovak people. Ethnic-focused bus tours of greater Lincoln, live performances of regional music, and special-interest movies will all be a part of the CGSI Conference. 

For additional information and registration, visit the website:
SGS has a subscription so access to the Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International (CGSI) databases is available for your use from the patron computers in the library. Stop in and use our computers to see what you can discover about your Czechoslovak ancestors.       SAVE THE DATE
“Researching Family in Pennsylvania”,
The Historical Society of Pennsylvania,
Philadelphia, PA
July 29-August 2, 2019
Do you have Pennsylvania ancestors? Is a research trip to Philadelphia on your wish list? If so, here is an opportunity for a one-week immersion in Pennsylvania record sources, in the heart of Center City Philadelphia.
Geared to all researcher levels, with a focus on original record sources as well as the outstanding holdings in the Historical Society of Pennsylvania Library, this course will deepen your research skills and acquaint you with Pennsylvania¹s unique resources. Course highlights:
  * Pennsylvania court and vital records 
* Land and tax records 
* Revolutionary War and militia records 
* Early German, Moravian, and Quaker and Welsh settlers 
* Western Pennsylvania research        
The Holiday Inn Express Philadelphia-Midtown, 1305 Walnut Street, has rooms available for registrants at $144.00/night. To reserve a room call: 215-735-9300 and mention HSP.   
Conference details and registration can be found at:   

“2019 Northwest Genealogy Conference”, 
Stillaguamish Valley Genealogy Society, 
Byrnes Performing Arts Center, 
18821 Crown Ridge Blvd,
Arlington, WA 
August 14-17, 2019 

As they do every year, the Stillaguamish Valley Genealogy Society kicks off their summer genealogy conference by offering free Beginning Genealogy classes on Wednesday, August 14th, from 1:00 pm – 4:30 pm.  

For complete details on the offerings of this multi-day, premier conference, visit their website:

Unless otherwise indicated all programs will be at the SGS Library, 6200 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle. Check the SGS Web Site for additions, changes, and corrections. Programs may be canceled or postponed because of inclement weather. In observance of Labor Day, our library will be closed August 31 –  September 2nd.
Thursday, July 18, 6:00 pm – 7:45 pm, 
“DNA Learning Series”, at Mountlake Terrace Sno-Isle Library, Seattle and Sno-Isle Genealogical Societies are co-sponsoring the   
“DNA Learning Series”. Class 4 of the 7 class series is “Understanding your Autosomal DNA & DNA inheritance”. 

Pre-registration required. To register send an email to
Deadline to register is July 15, to allow you time to complete the required assignment. Class assignments are part of the learning experience and you must be on our list to receive them by email.
Thursday, August 15, 6:00 pm – 7:45 pm, 
“DNA Learning Series”, at Mountlake Terrace Sno-Isle Library,  
Seattle and Sno-Isle Genealogical Societies are co-sponsoring the “DNA Learning Series”. Class 5 of the 7 class series is “Using GEDmatch and 3rd Party Tools”. 

Pre-registration and class assignments are required. To register send an email to
Sunday, August 25, 10:00 am – 11:30 am, 
“SGS Tour of Washelli Cemetery: From Pioneers to Patriots”, special event with tour guides Lisa Oberg & Amber Brock. Tour Washelli Cemetery, 11111 Aurora Ave N, Seattle, WA 98133. Join us for a walk through Washelli Cemetery as we explore the history of this hallowed ground and the stories behind the stones including Seattle’s white founders, Medal of Honor winners, and others less well-known. Good walking shoes are recommended as the ground is uneven in areas. Limited to 15 participants. 
Sign Up for Cemetery Tour

Hay There! Your Photo Could Be Here!

Have you noticed the banner at the top of the page changes every time you visit the Blog? The photos are submitted by readers like you. I just posted a photo of a field of baled hay that I snapped while driving near Brady, just a little east of Montesano.

Hay in Brady, Washington

We’re always looking for scenic photos of our beautiful state for the rotating photo gallery on the blog banner. It’s easy — just send a Washington State jpg image to with a description of the photo. The blog masters will take care of the rest!

Book Review: Hardship to Homeland: Pacific Northwest Volga Germans

Review by Brian Charles Clark. Reprinted with permission, Washington State Magazine, Summer 2019. To purchase this book, visit WSU Press.

By Richard D Scheuerman and
Clifford E. Trafzer. WSU Press, 2018

When the Prussian Princess Sophie of Anhalt-Zerbst deposed (and possibly murdered) her husband, the Russian Emperor Peter III, she became Empress Catherine the Great. Catherine ruled from 1762 to 1796. She ushered in a golden age for the empire. She had herself inoculated against smallpox and her advocacy and example saved millions of lives. She expanded the Russian empire into Poland in the west, and into Alaska in the east. And to shore up her western border, she invited German peasants to settle along the Volga River.

By paying their way and allowing the settlers to retain their languages and cultures, she enabled 27,000 migrants to settle. For 100 years, the Volga Germans prospered and made good use of die Kaisarina Katarina’s gift of land. Dick Scheuerman grew up in eastern Washington listening to his elder tell the tales of the “historic trek” from Germany to Russia—and the great betrayal that forced the descendants of those settlers to embark on another great trek.

By 1871, the Russian Senate had reneged on the deal that brought the settlers to the banks of the Volga. Faced with poverty, and being drafted into the Russian army, some 100,000 Volga Germans immigrated to North America.

As Scheuerman points out, place names throughout the Pacific Northwest reveal their Russian origins. Moscow, Idaho, and Odessa, Washington, “and smaller rural hamlets like Tiflis and Batum” are part of the story of a great Russian-German immigration to the United States in the late nineteenth century.

In 1881, the first wave of Volga Germans traveled from Kansas to San Francisco by rail, and then on to Portland by steamship. The following year, some families crossed the Cascades “by wagon…to establish homes in eastern Washington Territory’s fertile Palouse Country.”

Some immigrants came to Ritzville, an area around the Big Bend of the Columbia River. The land there had been thought to be uncultivable, but Phillip Ritz, a few others, and the new immigrants proved that wrong. “The loam was dark and rich in the area, but without lumber they had to live in sod houses or dugouts and use sagebrush and cow dung for fuel. Through efficient methods of tillage and fallowing, the industrious farmers achieved remarkable success.” Soon, the new farmers were “a distinctive island in the semi-arid pioneer landscapes of Adams County.”

The immigrants brought seed with them, hardy wheat varieties like Saxonia and Turkey Red. They brought names, too, like Weyerhaeuser and others that still figure prominently in Northwest culture and economics. And they brought stories, which Scheuerman and his wife, Lois, have been collecting since the 1970s.

The stories the kolonisty brought with them, and that the Scheuermans preserve here, tell of ties to the great czarina, a gift of a blue teapot that saved lives, and a moving story about a family, pushed by discrimination out of their Volga River home, who relocate to the American West. Respectful of the Native American families living nearby, they made a new home in the hills of the Palouse.

Hardship to Homeland is a fascinating read. First published in 1980, and revised and expanded for this new 2018 edition, the book is not only a detailed history of one of the largest ethnic migrations in the history of the United States, it is also a valuable resource for folklorists, as the authors painstakingly collected numerous stories handed down within Volga German families. It is also a testament to the value immigrants bring in terms of new political, religious, and social ideas, as well as economically important innovations now ingrained in Pacific Northwest farming and forestry methods.