THE GENEALOGICAL FORUM’s Thursday Evening E-News Edition August 29, 2019
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Labor Day Closure Delays Free Monday
Please remember that the GFO Library will be closed on Labor Day, Monday, September 2. Our usual Free First Monday for the public will be honored one week later on Monday, Sept. 9.
Newspaper Research: Do You Know What GFO Offers?
Newspapers can provide information about births, deaths, marriages, moves, business, naturalizations, court cases, and more. The GFO provides access to several newspaper subscription sites, plus additional databases. Join GFO’s Janice Sellers for a half-day workshop to get an overview of what is available and techniques to help improve your chances of finding information about your relatives. Janice is a professional genealogist who specializes in forensic, Jewish, Black, and newspaper research. The session will be held in the GFO Library, Sunday, September 8, from 9:30 a.m. – Noon. For more detailed information, download the flyer. Registration is $25.00 for GFO members, $30.00 for non-members.
Register Here
Fall Seminar Needs Raffle Donations!
As we prepare for our upcoming Fall Seminar this October, 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!
Jewish Genealogy Presentation
The GFO’s own Janice Sellers will be delivering a presentation entitled “Jewish Genealogy: How Is This Research Different from All Other Research?” at the upcoming September meeting of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Washington State. The meeting will be held beginning at 7:15 p.m. Monday evening, September 9, 2019, at the LDS Factoria Building, 4200 124th Ave SE, Bellevue, WA 98006 Admission is free and refreshments will be served. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. for all to enjoy the extensive JGSWS Library’s genealogical resources, including free access to the Family History Center computers and genealogical websites! Free Wi-Fi is available. Come early to network with other attendees!
Columbia County Conference Features GFO Speakers
There’s a genealogy conference coming up next month in our own backyard. The St. Helens Public Library is offering a full day of genealogy classes in its Bridges to the Past conference on Saturday, September 21. You can choose from a cavalcade of GFO stars to hear from. Every single speaker is a GFO Member! Kate Eckman offers the keynote address. Laurel Smith teaches four classes, Gerry Lenzen two, and Janice Handsaker and Sue LeBlanc each teach one. Oh, and here’s a really special feature. This conference is entirely free to attend! Registration is limited. Only 80 seats are available. If you would like to attend, you may register here.
Multnomah County Library Class: The Historical Oregonian
The Historical Oregonian is an amazing resource for finding obituaries, death and funeral notices, and even researching your house history. The Multnomah County Library will be offering a class to help you learn the skills and techniques for searching this computer-based archive of local newspaper articles. There will be two offerings of this class. Registration is currently open for the class offering at 1:00 p.m., Wednesday, September 11, 2019 at the Central Library Computer Learning Center, 801 SW 10th Avenue, Portland, OR 97205.

Registration will open September 1, 2019 for a second offering of the class to be held at 2:00 p.m., Sunday, September 22, 2019 at the Library’s Belmont Reading Room, 1038 SE César E. Chávez Boulevard, Portland, OR 97214. Seats are limited and you can register here.
Railroad Expert Explains Train Dilemmas Near GFO
Fifty-year railroad industry employee Bill Burgel gave an eye-opening presentation at the Ford Food & Drink cafe above the GFO library on Monday about why we see so many trains blocking the roads near the Ford Building. Bill did not speak on behalf of any company, but he’s been intimately involved in rail operations in Portland for years, so he knows the ins and outs of the rail lines and roads. Thirty-six people came out to hear him, including State Representative Rob Nosse and employees of the city of Portland.
GFO President Vince Patton spoke up for our 1088 members, expressing concern about the safety risk of people getting trapped – literally – either on 11th Ave., or in the parking lot, by the stopped trains. Vince says he was “gobsmacked” by a couple of details:
Trains leaving the Brooklyn Yard just southeast of the GFO can stretch to 8,000 feet – more than 1.3 miles long. Before a train leaves, a brakeman must do an important safety test at the rear of the train, then walk more than a mile to the front of the train before it can move. Vince says he was dumbfounded to learn that the Union Pacific considers this the most efficient way to operate.
Next time you see a train parked for 45 minutes to an hour, there’s a good bet they’re waiting for the brakeman to walk the entire length of the train.
Surplus Book: French Cookery of 1950
Sometimes we receive books that have nothing at all to do with genealogy. Here’s a perfect example. The Home Book of French Cookery by Mme. Germain Carter includes a foreword by T. C. Rapp, British Ambassador to Mexico. Carter wrote this recipe book in 1950, eleven years before Julia Child released her tome on French Cooking. What is most remarkable is that she wrote the bulk of it while a prisoner of war during World War II, exiled to four different internment camps, as Germany controlled her French countryside.
Rapp, who was imprisoned with her, writes, “unbelievably succulent food was produced from the contents of Red Cross parcels (and how sought-after were the occasional American and Canadian parcels with their tin of real butter!)” Read about her remarkable story, and learn the cooking at which she excelled. Recipes include Duck with Orange, Veal Cutlets with White Wine, Potato Croquettes, and Hasty Cake. This 278 book features recipes and suggested menus for all seasons. This book is in sound, sturdy condition, with a few stains on pages and many yellowed edges from age. Someone previously (and oddly) encased the cover in shelf paper. Your price to pickup at the GFO Library: $14
Price to mail it: $19 Contact if you’d like to buy it.
(Please don’t just come to the library to get it.)
Survey Results: Fire Survivors
Not many of you reported the impact of fire on your ancestors.
Percentages approximate:
5% forest fire
5% major city fire
45% other fire events
45% don’t know But those who responded shared stories of loss and survival. (Responses have been edited for brevity) A Christmas Eve fire broke out in my grandparents’ house while they were babysitting an infant cousin. Everyone survived unharmed and my cousin has a tale for her children and grandchildren. My maternal grandfather lost his first wife and their two infant children to a coal oil explosion/stove fire in 1888. He then married his second wife (my maternal grandmother) in 1895. My great-grandmother’s skirts caught fire while she was cooking … She was badly burned and although it was 1924, they did skin grafts, and these were effective. It is amazing to me that she lived before antibiotics. My great-grandparents had just immigrated from Switzerland. They were living in Bakeoven, Wasco County with their first child. A chimney fire chased them out of the house, and they lost everything. But Aunt Minnie always said, “They saved the most precious thing, me!” Bakeoven, remains today only as a cemetery.
New Survey: Other Natural Disasters
If we haven’t hit on a natural disaster that impacted your ancestors—perhaps this is the week for you: Landslides, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and more.
Take the Survey Now
This week at GFO …
Sunday, September 1st
Library Work Party – Manuscripts 9:00 a.m. – Noon
Explore our manuscript, personal papers and Bible collection while we organize, scan and create finding aids. Drop by at the time that works for you. Questions? Send a note to
Monday, September 2nd
GFO is closed in observance of Labor Day. Our usual Free First Monday for the public will be honored next week on Monday, Sept. 9.
Tuesday, September 3rd
Italian Ancestry Group 10:00 a.m. – Noon
This month’s topic: Find your ancestor’s naturalization records.
Your Italian immigrant ancestor’s journey to U.S. citizenship comes alive in U.S. naturalization records. Learn the twists and turns your ancestor navigated when we learn about the naturalization process, what laws governed the application process, and where to find this genealogy gold during the Great Migration of paesani from Italy 1880 – 1924.
Instructor: Nancy Bronte Matheny. If you have questions or want more information, email
Wednesday, September 4th
Learn & Chat 10:00 a.m. – Noon
Co-facilitator Sandy Alto aptly named Learn and Chat as a “genealogy self-help” group. We are reconvening after the traditional summer hiatus. Please bring tales of your latest genealogy related adventures and a wish list of subjects to build our calendar.
If you have questions or want more information, email
DNA Q&A Beyond the Basics 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Emily Aulicino will be joining us and giving her presentation “DNA Led the Way: A Y-DNA Case Study”
Do you have Y-DNA matches for which you cannot find the common ancestor(s) even though the genealogy time frame is reasonable? Have you hunted all over the web to find the answer, but are still fighting that brick wall? Learn how several Y-DNA matches were able to find their common ancestor(s) in just one day! You can download the handout here.
Lisa McCullough leads this group..Questions?
GFO Library Open Late to 8:00 p.m.