GENEALOGICAL FORUM’s Thursday 2020 E-News

THE GENEALOGICAL FORUM’s Thursday Evening E-News Edition March 26, 2020
Memberships will not expire during the crisis, and will be extended a month beyond the date of our re-opening. | 503-963-1932 | Be sure to check the complete GFO CALENDAR.
Also, don’t miss the current issue of The Forum Insider
You Are Not Alone
Sign in Ford Food & Drink cafe above the GFO. We are home.
All of us.
Living through one of the most significant events in world history. At the GFO we are more concerned than ever for the well being of you whom we serve. This week, Oregon Governor Kate Brown issued an Executive Order instructing everyone to stay at home, and closing all non-essential businesses. This means we will not re-open as hoped on April 1. Our shutdown is now indefinite. It’s vital that we protect each other by staying a safe distance from each other to slow the spread of COVID-19. In the midst of this great time of uncertainty, I think it’s worth reminding all of us that the history we preserve matters. Libraries like ours provide valuable spaces to gather. Unfortunately, that is a service we cannot fulfill at this time. Our collections contain our ancestors’ stories, and ours too, all saved for future generations. We will survive and return. In the meantime, we hear that a number of you are making some great genealogy discoveries as you have extra time for online research. As we hear about more online research opportunities, we’ll pass them on here in our weekly E-News and on our GFO Facebook page. The GFO has already begun looking at how this crisis will affect our budget. We’re spending money while unable to provide on site services. To that end, we’ve asked vendors and our landlord if they’ll offer any relief in the monthly bills we pay for services we’re not currently able to offer. Finally, I’d like to echo the message from a sign on the window of Ford Food and Drink, the café upstairs from the GFO: You Are Not Alone. ▪ Vince Patton, President
GFO Board Election Now Open
We have an official ballot now for this year’s GFO Board election. Vince Patton is running for re-election as president. Alexa Waddle is running for secretary. Joyce Grant-Worley seeks re-election as a Director at Large. And Geoff Smith has offered to serve again on our Endowment Committee. While voting on a GFO election may not seem like a top priority right now, our bylaws require that the election be held. We are attempting to follow our bylaws despite the difficult circumstances. Only active GFO members are eligible to vote. You will receive ballot instructions in The Forum Insider for April. Please note that the Insider is only being delivered electronically this month. Due to our closure, we are unable to print it.
GFO British Group Offers Resources Instead of Meeting
Our British Special Interest Group is offering links and resources in lieu of its usual meeting. Click on the link “England and Wales Civil Registration” for a free webinar, offered by FamilySearch. Before watching the webinar, you can familiarize yourself with what is available by going to the FamilySearch Wiki: English Civil Registration. Duane Funk, the leader of this group, is working on other resources to share. If you’d like to be added to his group’s email list, please contact him at
1918 Flu Pandemic More Relevant Than Ever
Amid the current crisis, a number of stories have mentioned the 1918 flu pandemic. It was nicknamed the “Spanish Flu” despite the very first case being detected in Kansas. (New Yorker, 1997). GFO member pointed out a fascinating local Portland blog called Alameda Old House History, which recently focused on how hard that pandemic hit Oregon. In October of 1918, the city health bureau said that Portland remained dangerous. Of note, there was a ban on public gatherings. That sounds familiar. That ban was lifted and flu cases surged, increasing by 50% in one week.
Doug Decker is behind the Alameda Old House History website. He writes, “The first mention in the papers in early October 1918 was a simple sentence buried on an inside page: “Seattle thinks it is getting the flu.” At first, the news percolated in conversation and people weren’t sure what to make of it. Jokes were made in small talk:
Decker continues, “But on October 10th, Portland Mayor George Baker implemented an order that required downtown businesses to close by late afternoon each day, and completely closed “schools, churches, lodges, public places of meetings, and places of amusement.”
To read the complete blog entry, click here.
Text and images reprinted with permission of Doug Decker
American Ancestors Offers Free Organizing Guide
© 1996–2018 New England Historic Genealogical Society. All Rights Reserved. Now is your time to get a free digital copy of The Portable Genealogist: Organizing Your Research, from American Ancestors. “No matter how monumental the task of organizing your research may seem, a systematic method saves valuable time and creates more accurate work. This Portable Genealogist, [authored by Rhonda R. McClure, Genealogist at the New England Historic Genealogical Society], offers practical advice on how to organize your research and files, keep track of families, and create goals to guide future research.
Even if you are a seasoned family historian, it’s not too late to incorporate these practices into your work!” Click this link and enter your email to receive a free copy of the guide.
Hall of Fame Nominations Sought
It’s time for GFO Hall of Fame Nominations! Any GFO member may nominate another member by May 1. Nominees must have a well-documented history of service, leadership, and accomplishment in more than one facet of the GFO, over a long period of time.
Please include:
* Name, list of services, activities, positions, and accomplishments;
* A narrative describing the nature of their work in terms of its importance to the success of the GFO;
* A short biography.
Please send to by May 1.
The board will decide if any merit selection. Winners are awarded in June and receive a free Life Membership and their name on our Hall of Fame plaque.
What’s New in Online Digital Resources
Since we are unable at this time to process new books and new digital content for the GFO Library, we will be temporarily suspending our “What’s New” weekly feature. In this time of physical distancing and responsible sheltering in place, we will instead share online resources so that you can reach out and connect as well as continue to learn and build on your genealogy skills from home.
• Do you have kids or grandkids in your life, or even neighbors and friends with kids who are now coping with the challenges of being schooled at home? If so, the latest blog entry at Billion Graves: “20 Homeschool Genealogy Ideas,” may be a way that you can lend support to them and their parents with creative ways that they can incorporate genealogy in their lessons. • Starting on March 23, 2020, MyHeritage In Color™ will be free and unlimited for one month “to give people who are isolated at home a fun way to pass the time and enjoy genealogy. Colorized photos can be shared with the whole family, and can help you see your historical family photos in an entirely new way.” A weekly drawing for a free MyHeritage Complete subscription is being held for those who share their colorized photos online.
Survey Results: Preserving Research
Last week, we asked you about your plans for preserving or passing on your genealogical work. Only 63% of respondents say they’ve made plans. We hope those who haven’t will think about doing so. Please don’t let your hard work and discoveries end up in a landfill. Here are a few of the responses from those with a plan:
I am bequeathing it all to the one nephew in the family who enjoys genealogy. I’m also making sure the Family Bible record pages are donated to the GFO. All records are to be given to Salt Lake Mormon Library. Instructions have been included in our wills. I have written a series of books. Digital life changes so quickly that I fear what I produce there may not be accessible when the children grow up. It will be split between two relatives who really want it. I definitely need to update my will so that what I have written is preserved, even if the well-sourced chapters I have written and the documents to back up my research end up in boxes at the GFO.
Spread it out through my cousins Yes, BUT I’ve only half way implemented my plan. I have print outs of records plus copies of originals filed in binders. Each ancestor has their own plastic file in the binders. I maintain a running timeline summary with notes also for each ancestor and keep a copy in each file. I make binders for my sibling and my husband’s siblings so someone somewhere knows what I did. I’m sure there is more I could do and look forward to other people’s comments to see what ideas I might implement. Organizing my research materials so that my children will be able to understand what they are. Last year I sorted all the research materials for fifty years of work for my own family and the families of others. While staying at home for the current health concerns I want to finish that process and then move on to the pictures. The early pictures are scanned, but many more have been taken since the early 1990s.
My plans are still in progress. Part of my plan, is to give all my records to GFO. I’m trying to tie up loose ends, reduce my actual paper files, and prepare my records for the GFO. I hope that GFO sees themselves as being the repository for all their members’ work! Also, I would like to recommend the creation of some guidelines for members to get our records in the shape GFO would like to receive them in! I’m using Google Blogger to write about my ancestors. Each blog entry is about a different person on my pedigree chart, including their vital statistics, children, and a few paragraphs about their life (plus a list of sources). Whether or not my genealogy research papers and files get passed down, the blog should survive as long as there’s a Google!
New Survey: Safe at Home
Our question this week is about whether you’re spending more time on your genealogy lately?
Take the Survey Now
This week at GFO …
The Week Ahead: The GFO Research Library is closed, and all on-site groups, classes, and work parties are canceled