GENEALOGICAL FORUM’s Thursday 2020 E-News

THE GENEALOGICAL FORUM’s Thursday Evening E-News Edition March 5, 2020
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 Postpones Open House Due to Coronavirus Concern
After weeks of telling you how excited we were about our upcoming Open House, we have now made the difficult decision to postpone it until this fall. The COVID-19 outbreak caused by the coronavirus in the Portland area has many people worried about gathering for public events. We share that concern. It does not make sense to host an event that people may be afraid to attend. We will let you know when we have new dates set.
Coronavirus Prevention In Full Swing at GFO
Courtesy TriMet We also want you to know we are taking the advice of medical experts. Our volunteers are wiping down surfaces that people touch with disinfecting wipes multiple times a day. This includes computer keyboards, mice, printers, and door handles. Hand sanitizer bottles now sit in several locations throughout the library. We ask you to do your part too. Doctors advise: ▪ If you or anyone in your household**** has flu-like or respiratory symptoms (fever, coughing, or shortness of breath) please stay home. ▪ If you cough or sneeze in the library, please do so into your elbow, not into your hand. If you have tissue in your hand and cough into it, please immediately wash. ▪ Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Since the library typically attracts small numbers, members have felt comfortable coming in. We are following the advice of health authorities in order to continue offering our services. Special Interest Groups may decide to postpone meetings. Please check the GFO Calendar before you come in for any SIG gathering.
Update: Spring Seminar Sunday Full, Saturday Still Has Seats
We had a hunch that DNA would be a popular topic for our Spring Seminar, and we were right. The Sunday half-day seminar is full! If enough of you join the wait list, we may be able to find another venue. Sign the wait list right away so we can gauge the interest. (Click the Register button below, then scroll down to add yourself to the Wait List.) Saturday’s full-day seminar still has seats in our ample auditorium at SEI.
We hope you will join us for our 2020 Spring Seminar, Nationally-known genetic genealogy author and educator Karen Stanbary, CG®, MA, LCSW brings her “Solve Puzzles with DNA,” lectures to Portland on April 4 & 5.
Register Now
The Saturday, April 4 classes, will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 Portland’s Center for Self Enhancement (SEI). Classes include:
* Tips to Manage Conversations about Unexpected DNA Results:
* The DNA You Need – Elements of Creating a Testing Plan: Who to Test and Why
* Avoiding Common Mistakes When Working with atDNA:
* Spit and You Shall Find! Autosomal DNA Identifies a Charming Scoundrel The Sunday half-day classes on April 5 will be held at the GFO from 9:30 a.m. – Noon. Karen will focus on two complex case studies. Download the Seminar Flyer for more details.

This is a great opportunity to learn more about solving those genealogy puzzles with the use of DNA.
Surprise! App Reveals GFO Leaders are Fifth Cousins
Loretta Welsh and Laurel Smith, both GFO board members, discovered at Roots Tech they are fifth cousins. Chalk this up to the wonders of modern technology. GFO Library Chair Laurel Smith attended the giant RootsTech conference last week and agreed to allow the FamilySearch app Relatives Around Me to access her online tree to see if she had any shared matches who were also attending the conference. 10,000 people were there in Salt Lake City using the app. Relatives Around Me said Laurel was linked to more than 4,000 of them. When it revealed her very closest match among those, Laurel was dumbfounded. The app pointed her to Loretta Welsh, who has worked with Laurel at the GFO since 2011! Both serve on the GFO Board of Directors. Now after 9 years of knowing each other, they also know they are fifth cousins. Time to cue up the It’s a Small World music!
Volunteer Opportunities – Research Assistants and Receptionists
One of the most impressive things we do is keep a library open seven days a week without a single paid employee. It’s a real tribute to all our volunteers who care so much. We need a bit more help keeping the library staffed, especially during the upcoming Open House when expect more visitors than usual. No prior experience is needed; we will train you on the job. If you can help for half a day, once or twice a month, please contact Alice Duff, our Volunteer Coordinator at
Volunteer Opportunities – Digitizing Periodicals
I’m asking for your help in digitizing GFO’s periodicals collection. There are several steps to the process (preparation, scanning, PDF processing), and one of them is probably right up your alley. Monday and Tuesday, March 9 and 10, I will be providing training for anyone who’d like to know more. Sessions are scheduled from 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. Once you know the process, you could continue helping on your schedule, anytime the library is open. Please join the GFO library team in preserving content, making records more accessible, and clearing space on our packed library shelves. Laurel Smith
Tip: Check Out Mountain West Digital Library
Here’s a collection that those researching in western states should know about. Mountain West Digital Library is a portal that links you to digital collections in Utah, Nevada, Idaho, Montana, Hawaii, and other parts of the U.S. West. “Other parts” includes Oregon. Here’s a sampling of the Oregon content: A selection of historical maps from the Oregon Highway Department
An enormous collection of yearbooks from Oregon State University Numerous photograph collections at the University of Oregon, including:
* Angelus Studio photographs, 1880s-1940s
* C. L. Andrews photographs, 1880s-1948
* Charles W. Furlong (1874-1967) photographs, 1895-1965
* Lee D. Drake (1882-1957) photographs, ca. 1910-1957
* Frazier Augustus Boutelle photographs, c. 1865-1900 University of Oregon has collections from the African Studies Program, the Center for Asian Pacific Studies, and the Latino Roots Program as well as personal papers, family papers, and manuscript collections.
News from the Library
New Books A Fragile Freedom: African American Women and Emancipation in the Antebellum City A Troublesome Commerce: The Transformation of the Interstate Slave Trade Abuse and mMurder on the Frontier: The Trials and Travels of Rebecca Hawkins, 1800-1860 East Hampton: A History and Guide Freedom at Risk: The Kidnapping of Free Blacks in America, 1780-1865 Front Line of Freedom: African Americans and the Forging of the Underground Railroad in the Ohio Valley Hirelings: African American workers and free labor in early Maryland Index to West Virginia estates before 1866 Speculators and Slaves: Masters, Traders, and Slaves in the Old South The Bayfront Book: Coastal Histories The King’s Best Highway: The Story of the Post Road from Boston to New York, the Forgotten Road That Made America The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million The New England Merchants in the Seventeenth Century The Price of Freedom: Slavery and Manumission in Baltimore and Early National Maryland The Puritan Family: Religion & Domestic Relations in Seventeenth-Century New England The Ragged Road to Abolition: Slavery and Freedom in New Jersey, 1775-1865 Travels in the American Colonies War On All Fronts: Oregonians Remember the Second World War Wayward Puritans: a Study in the Sociology of Deviance
New Digital Content None this week.
Surplus Book: Map Guide to Censuses 1790-1920
Genealogists know that location matters. But county lines have changed a lot. We need to know where our ancestors were living and what that area was called back then. This is an incredibly handy guide to solve those mysteries. Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses 1790-1920 includes maps for all 50 states, displaying old county borders and names
and the newer ones that replaced them. Flip to the state you’re curious about and you’ll find your county markings instantly. William Thorndale and William Dollarhide published this 420 page book in 1987.
Our copy is in mint condition.
Online copies of this book sell for $30 in fair condition. Ours is pristine.
Pick up at the GFO price: $20
Ship to you price: $30 If you’d like this handy reference guide, contact
Survey Results:
Last week, we asked about how many different regions of the world respondents have been told that they are from. The answer varied significantly from question to question:
Additionally, we would like to apologize for using the term “ethnicity” rather than speaking of regions of the world. also uses “ethnicity” for its test results, while 23andMe uses “origins” and FamilyTreeDNA uses “ancestry composition.” One respondent was kind enough to point out the inaccuracy of “ethnicity” in their response; here is that response, in addition to some others we received: ▪ The word Ethnicity is a social construct and not a scientific one. Too many people mistake the DNA percentages as ethnicity when they are really admixture, bio-geographical or regional comparisons. The public needs to be educated on using the correct terms. I feel it is GFO’s responsibility to do so along with it’s members. After all, what makes one Irish or Swedish…is it because family lived there for 100 or more years? How can you call a person who has half their family white and half black …or even a drop of African heritage…as African American? We need more sensitivity and just state that they have ancestors from various REGIONS of the world. I know two people who are from England and look VERY English, but the Y-chromosome is African. He has no features similar to Africans, so he is considered white. Please do not use the term ethnicity; it’s better to even say cultural groups for your survey. Thank you. ▪ The stories were confirmed by the genealogy research and both were confirmed by the DNA testing. ▪ My ethnicity is Western European: German, French and Scots-English. DNA tests corroborated genealogy research and family stories. ▪ The “ethnicities” in the DNA tests are the most useless part (even if they are what helps sell them), so I don’t count them as anything other than white noise or cocktail party conversation. ▪ DNA can bring some real ethnic surprises. A very small amount of Black showed up in my sisters, second cousins and myself. Also a bit of Jewish and Native American where it comes from is a bit of a mystery. Our mother’s family was from Virginia and had been slave owners. The Jewish possibly came from dad’s Eastern European folks on his mother’s side is my guess. Sis and I are having a good laugh over it because mom was very adamant there was no Indian in her family and that grandpa was “black Irish” he had a dark complexion with black hair. Also how dare anyone think there was any thing but English and Irish in her back ground? We think it’s a real hoot for that reason. So much for family stories. ▪ Discovering the different ethnicities based on DNA has taken my research in a different direction–which has led to some successful discoveries. ▪ Fascinating to see that my ethnicity is more diverse than I’ve found or been told. But then, I don’t have all my ancestors for the last 200 years discovered yet! Do you? Onward …
New Survey: Must-visit Destinations
Which major libraries and archives for genealogy have you visited? And which one is on your list to visit next?
Take the Survey Now
This week at GFO …
Saturday, March 7th
Virginia Interest Group 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
June Ralston Anderson will join us to discuss
finding Scottish ancestors and will focus on beginning research in the US with online resources such as source finding aids, repositories, and libraries. Some examples of what you may find will be shown. There will be information about why the history of the pertinent times is very important. The talk will include some key historical events centered around those leading to both emigration and immigration; the push, pull events of geographers. For those with very early immigrants, some helpful websites and sources will be shared as will some of June’s favorite resource books.
If you would like more information about this group or have questions, please contact Judi Scott and Carol Surrency at and see our blog at Virginia Roots and Vines.
German Interest Group 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Our aim is to be a source of information and inspiration for anyone with German speaking ancestors as we focus on a variety of topics related to Germanic history and migration. We also will provide time for members to share their research journeys and connect with others who may be researching the same region or time period.
For questions and information, contact
Sunday, March 8th
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.
Monday & Tuesday, March 9th & 10th
Digitizing GFO’s Periodicals Training
Please see the times and description above.
Wednesday, March 11th
Work Party – Digitizing Periodicals 11:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Come and help us preserve the periodicals!
We’ll be working to prepare periodicals for scanning and doing some scanning too! 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.
Portland Mac Users Group College 6:00 – 7:55 p.m.
Topic: Get creative with Apple’s free apps: Pages, Numbers & Keynote
To register: Call 503-228-1779; Email: Bring your Mac/iPad to participate with instruction. If you would like additional info for attending this class, please email us
GFO Library Open Late to 8:00 p.m.