Serendipity Day

*** Historic Apple Varieties Found on Steptoe Butte

*** Lesson In Newspaper Research

*** Finding Your Ancestors on Facebook

*** Abby William Hill, 1861-1943, Painter of the West

An article in The Spokesman-Review last week told how “apple detective” Dave Benscoter has found two more apple varieties long thought to be extinct. And he found them on the slopes of Whitman County’s Steptoe Butte. Experts have confirmed the finds of Arkansas Beauty and Dickinson varieties. Benscoter and his devoted group of apple hunters were quoted as saying that “as many as 13 more lost apple varieties may be growing in Whitman County.”  It is estimated that of 17,000 named apple varieties in North America only 3000 still exist today so Benscoter’s finds are wonderfully interesting. Here’s a link to the Whitman County Historical Society’s Lost Apple Project:


In the long ago and not so far away day of early American newspapers, money was always an issue. Newspaper publishers and editors of the day knew they HAD to have subscribers in order to stay in business (and ads, of course). Not every little town had its own newspaper but wily newspaper editors carried all the news from a large geographical circle surrounding their headquarters. For instance The Weekly Vidette published in Montesano, Washington, (on Friday, 30 Nov 1894) carried newsy tidbits from Elma (11 miles away), Ocosta (25 miles), Porter (17 miles) and Cosmopolis (11 miles). These tidbits are chock-full of names….and to get your name in the paper surely likely meant that you would buy a copy of that paper. (This from Porter: “Albert Iliff returned Tuesday from an extended visit at Aberdeen. What is the lady’s name, Al?”)


“Did you realize that Facebook can be a great place to connect with your ancestors…. or at least to find the answers you need to connect your ancestors to your family tree? With FamilySearch’s Facebook groups, you can interact with other people tracing their families who lived in the same areas as your family and perhaps even break through your brick wall or help others break through theirs.” Do a Google search for FamilySearch Facebook Groups and you’ll be directed to the correct page…. I copied this as a brief example…. this shows there is a Facebook group for those researching in Canada and Greenland. It’s FREE to join this, so what be you waiting for? (Thanks to Leslie Albrecht Huber, 16 Aug 2016, FamilySearch Blog.)

Canada Genealogy Research Community Canada & Greenland


Abby Williams Hill was born at the start of the Civil War and lived until 1943. Her work spans 50 years and was mostly of Western Landscapes. Recognize this place?

I was reading about this remarkable artist in the Winter 1981 issue of Columbia and my first thought was WOW and my second thought was “I want that for my desktop image!” If you are interested, the Washington State Historical Society published a book of her work in 1989 with 120 pages and 57 images of her paintings.

Serendipity Day


*** Governor’s Mansion Offers Tours in March

*** Museums in Washington–A Follow Up

*** George Eastman Museum Releases over 250,000 Photos

*** Costa Rica ROOTS Tours??

*** Washington State’s Favorite Comfort Food?


Wish I lived closer to Olympia! Visitors to the state Governor’s Mansion during Women’s History Month in March will have the option of choosing a special “Women in the Mansion” tour. During special tours on March 15th and 22nd at 1:00pm, volunteer docents will talk about women who have influenced Washington’s history from inside the mansion. The standard mansion tours will also be available. For more information, click to or call the tour office at 360-902-8880. What a neat opportunity; I sure with I lived closer to Olympia.


Remember a while back I asked for folks to send to me a list of museums in their area/city/town? Two wonderful people responded, Bonnie Moore from Yakima and Jim Bull from the Columbia Gorge Gen Society. Jim sent the list he uses in their society; Bonnie sent me the copied page from the Yellow Pages.

Here is the point I’m making and working to resolve….. with your help. If you Google “museums in Washington state” a nice list will be shown courtesy of Wikipedia. Comparing the Wikipedia list to the phone book page that Bonnie sent, there were three museums listed for the Yakima area in those Yellow Pages that were NOT on the Wikipedia list. 

The Wikipedia list can be amended and updated and I will learn how and be happy to do that. But I need input from YOU all. I need your society lists or Yellow Pages lists to compare with what’s already included in that Wikipedia listing. 

So once again I’m asking for the lists (and contact info like website, address and phone) of the museums and perhaps historical societies in your town or area. Scan and send the Yellow Book pages would be dandy fine. I shall keep you posted on the progress.


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Serendipity Friday

*** British Isles Research Seminar…FREE

*** BYU Family History Library Teaching Videos….FREE

*** What the FHL will and will not accept; guide for all?

*** QuirKy Genealogy….new to us here in Washington

*** Gotta love the Quaker marriage records 🙂 


The Family History Library is presenting a British Isles Research Seminar from 13-17 March 2017 at the FHL in Salt Lake City. Classes include topics for England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. AND IT’S FREE! If you can attend in person, super. But if you cannot, you can attend via webinar. Use this link to register:* .  “All handouts will be made available digitally and will be made available for download at: .  (Yes, those are crazy looking web addresses.) The brochure I’m looking at lists 13 classes from which to choose…. 


As long as we’re on the topic of webinars, here is another opportunity for FREE genealogical learning. The BYU Family History Library offers  about fifty different videos on their YouTube channel that offer free genealogical learning to you. Click to and search for the BYU Family History Library channel. (Didn’t know that YouTube had channels? Yep, just like TV, it does!)


Any society library has faced this situation: a member passes on and their relative bring in boxes of their research…which they profess not to want and it may be organized or messy. In any case, most time a genealogical society will sadly turn down such a donation. Does your society need guidelines for donations? The Family History Library has a one page Gifts, Donations and Loans policy sheet. Google these words:  donations genealogy. This will take you to the FamilySearch WIKI; then click an embedded link to the above title. Good, bottom line, advice.


Evelyn Roehl, APG member, and one “who has been hunting for ancestors as a livlihood since 1995” is offering “a monthly info-sharing service for you by Kin Hunters, Seattle, Washington, USA.” The February 2017 edition (two pages) gave a tip for finding names in the census and the quirks for same: “When is a surname not a real surname?” She says that next month’s topic will be “Field of dreams…”   Evelyn’s email is  Send her a quick message and request to be added to her mailing list for her QuirKy Genealogy Tip Sheet of the Month. You won’t be sorry you did.


Browsing through the Minutes of the Philadelphia Monthly Meeting I came upon this entry, dated 7 Oct 1685:  “Edmond Bennett and Elizabeth Potts appear the second time and declare their intentions of marriage, all things appearing clear, friends left them to their liberty for consummating the same.” 

Serendipity Day

*** NWGC….. Save the Date! Are you going?

*** Washington Rural Heritage…. do you know about this?

*** King County Court Cases Index, 1881-1980 Available

*** “Tons of Soil Go Into Sea”

“Where does your story begin?” That is the 2017 theme for the Northwest Genealogy Conference, sponsored by the Stillaguamish Valley Gen Society next 16-19 August in Arlington. Click to for more information. This is a fabulous event and worth your time, money and effort to attend. WSGS will have a large presence at this conference. Get registered and stay tuned!


“Washington Rural Heritage provides access to digitized historic primary sources documenting the early culture, industry, and community life of Washington State. The collection is an ongoing project of small, rural libraries and partnering cultural institutions, guided by an initiative of the Washington State Library.” So states the introduction to their website, The website tells us that (as of when I printed this out a while ago) there were over 102 participating institutions and 288 privately held collections throughout the state.  This project spotlights little rural places like the Kettle Falls Public Library, Lopez Island Historical Society, Cathlament Public Library and the Battle Days Museum. Quoting again from the website, “The physical collections are housed locally by owning institutions around the state, while the digital collections are housed by the Washington State Library. Participating institutions select, scan, and describe items which tell the stories of their communities.” If your Washington ancestor lived in a small (rural) place, do check this out.


For a $5 fee, The Seattle Genealogical Society will search for your ancestor’s name in the index they compiled to the King County Court Cases for the years 1881-1980. SGS compiled this information from a card file of 100 boxes and contains over 1.7 million entries encompassing “virtually every case” in the following categories: Marriage disolutions and divorces; wills and other probate actions; changes of name; guardianships; community property agreements; bankruptcies and commitments. To take advantage of this opportunity, click to and follow directions to submit a query from the KC31 database. If your ancestor’s name is found in the index, for an additional fee to the King County Court Clerk will get you a copy of the entire file. 


From The Washington Farmer,  January 19, 1933, article by W.A. Rockie, Superintendent, Northwest Soil Erosion Station, Pullman:  “How many of you have been at Palouse Falls in Adams county, Wash, in the springtime? Once seen, one cannot forget it. In the early spring months the snow is melting from the Palouse region and the water flowing down there streams at this season is not clear, but a chocolate brown in color.” The article is a long one and I shall glean from the rest of it:  “This flood of muddy water has been gathered from thousands of Palouse farms…… by measurements a typical Palouse slope land for winter wheat lost about 30 tons of soil per acre last year….the Palouse River drains about 3600 square miles and so an estimated 35,000,000 tons of soil from highly productive land is lost every year…..These lands are one of the mos valuable assets of the Pacific Northwest but they cannot continue to produce abundantly as they do now unless they are farmed differently than is being done today.” Isn’t it good that those farming practices did change!


Serendipity Day

*** Museums in Washington State

*** Needing a High School or College Yearbook?

*** The Rewards of Apathy 


As an education project for the WSGS, I would like to assemble a list of museums in Washington state. I realize this could be a 500-page compilation but I think it would be quite interesting and possibly useful to vacationers and travelers. Would you help me, please?  I can ask Grandma Google and get the big museums and/or historical societies but you know of those smaller ones in your area. Care to make a list and send it to me?     I would appreciate your help.  (This pix is of our MAC museum here in Spokane.)


I was working on a project last year to help better document the sailors who went down with the U.S.S. Arizona on December 7, 1941, in Pearl Harbor. Pictures of these young men were what was wanted. With Grandma Google’s help, I discovered  For $20, I had one year’s full access to any yearbook I needed! You search by state and then name of school….. the list of school (divided into high school and college) would print out several pages long for there ARE that many available. When you click on the school of choice, you’ll see the years that yearbooks are available and, of course, some years are missing. Go look for yourself, your partner, your parents, even your teachers! It’s fun. 

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Serendipity Day……. Christmas Serendipity!

The official White House Christmas Tree has come from Washington State only once, back in 1961.  It was a 75-foot tall Douglas Fir. I don’t think the above tree was it; Wikipedia said it was placed in the Ellipse.  (You can ask Grandma Google anything; I asked her “white house christmas tree from washington state” and from Wikipedia came an article listing each year this has been a tradition and from which state the tree came.)

Sugar Cookies  —  This addictive holiday essential was originated by the Amish and is now the Pennsylvania state cookie.  (Ask Grandma Google about other state’s cookies???)

Gingerbread Houses  —  Gingerbread dates back to Greece in the year 2400 B.C. and by the late Middle Ages Europeans had their own version. But Gingerbread HOUSES originated in Germany in the 1500s. The largest gingerbread house on record was erected in Bryan, Texas, in 2013. It required a building permit and covered 40,000 square feet and was constructed of 4000 gingerbread blocks. (Texas always has to be biggest.)

Eggnog  —  Eggnog derives from the British aristocracy. The wealthy drank warmed milk and egg beverages with expensive spices and brandy or sherry. The origin of the word nog is disputed but it may come from a noggin a kind of wooden mug. And did you know, December is National Eggnog month, so drink up!

Happy to be politically incorrect, I wish you all a Merry Christmas.

Serendipity Day

*** Kudos to WSGS Past President Steve Baylor

*** Should Washington Split Into TWO States? 

*** Astoria’s Beginnings: Trees

*** Chehalis Town Name


Dear Archives Volunteers,
The holidays are here and I want to take the opportunity to thank all of you volunteers for your massive contributions to the Archives’ mission. Our ultimate goal is to make all of our information freely accessible to the public, and that would not be possible without you. While the records are already free, they are not as accessible as they can be, but we’re getting there. As you may already know, we have digitally indexed nearly 200 million records. That’s a huge success! There are still hundreds of millions more records to go, and there isn’t another group of volunteers we would rather have.
I would like everyone to congratulate Stephen Baylor, the December Volunteer of the Month. Stephen has indexed over 65,000 records in SCRIBE this year, leading the pack. Thank you, Stephen!

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Serendipity Day

*** Jacobus’ TAG article still good advice.

*** Swedish/Norwegian/Danish meatballs

*** DNA Quicksheets


Back in 1954, The American Genealogist (TAG) published an article by Donald Lines Jacobus, M.A., F.A.S.G. titled Tricks In Using Indexed Genealogy Books. He began his article with a touch of humor:

“Intelligent and experienced readers will, I fear, feel insulted to be told things they long have known. Those who are sure they know all the tricks that can be employed in handling the indexes in family histories are therefore requested to skip this page with a sniff of disdain.”

From the article I outlined his points for you:

** Many old family histories are just not indexed but somewhere along the line some group may have compiled an index.

** Many older family histories have a series of indexes and unless you pay attention and peek at only one, you won’t find much.

** Some family histories have indexes at the front and some in the middle…. “one 7-volume set has an index plump (sic) in the middle of the 7th volume!”

**Some family histories have a total, every-name index but some only the main surnames and not the married-in surnames.

** Some index these married-in surnames only by surname, not first name.

**Some list surnames with a string of pages numbers, rather than breaking the listing down by first name.

** Some names are indexed under spellings that you would never guess.

** Some index all spellings: Wooster/Worchester;  Gaylord/Gaillard.

Jacobus ended his article with this: “Those who use the indexes in genealogical books must bear all the above factors in mind….. many (of these indexes) have been compiled by inexperienced people, some by careless people, and some by doctrinaires who followed their own eccentric—even bizarre–notions. The best and most experienced indexers are occasionally guilty of some oversight or of a lapse in judgement. The moral is for the searcher not to give up too easily……”

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Serendipity Day

*** Legacy Family Tree Webinars: Great Idea & Value

*** Grandpa’s Moustache cup

*** Funny names in YOUR family tree?

*** Researching UK Vital Records Getting Easier

*** More Washington Trivia


Online learning, or personal-to-you-at-home learning, is a great thing. Legacy Family Tree Webinars fill this bill entirely. And they’re having a Black Friday sale!  With membership, you get all the new webinars as well as having access to the webinar archives.  I signed up and have mentally committed myself to viewing these webinars and increasing my research knowledge. How about you? 

Price: $49.95 $34.95 annually

1 year unlimited access to our recorded webinars at Also includes access to the instructors’ handouts, chat logs from live webinars, and 1 year of 5% off anything in the store (must be logged in at checkout), and a chance for a bonus subscribers-only door prize during each live webinar.
Do you have a cup that looks sorta like this? Know what it is? It’s a moustache cup!  From Wikipedia:  The moustache cup (or mustache cup) is a drinking cup with a semicircular ledge inside. The ledge has a half moon-shaped opening to allow the passage of liquids and serves as a guard to keep moustaches dry. It is generally acknowledged to have been invented in the 1860s by British potter Harvey Adams (born 1835).  These cups were specifically constructed so men could drink from them without wetting their perfectly groomed moustaches. 
What were those momma’s thinking? I keep coming across really (to me) bizarre first names for yesterday’s children. How about Barzilla? Ambrosia? The Family Tree Magazine , Jul-Aug 2015, had an article on this topic and listed these names:  Petronella, Quixana, Hyacinthe Flower (for a boy!), Kunagunda, Hatevil, Cincinnatus and Orange. Those are not Bible names!
A recent blurb-update from NGS (National Genealogical Society) shouted that the GRO (General Records Office) in England now has FOR FREE and online indexes to all their birth and death records that have been already been digitized. The index is accessible via the GOV.UK website.   Once at the website, this question pops up:  “What would you like to do?” You then choose what you want: Search the GRO Indexes, Place an Order, Find out about GRO services, contact GRO, or Find out about researching my family history. Is this is a genealogical need for you, do check it out.
Who does not know that the headquarters of Microsoft Corporation is in Redmond (north of Seattle)? That the Gov. Albert D. Rosellini Bridge at Evergreen Point is the longest floating bridge in the world? The bridge connects Seattle and Medina across Lake Washington.  That Washington is the birthplace of both Jimi Hendrix (Seattle) and Bing Crosby (Tacoma)?
May I post a contest question to YOU: Bet you know that Seattle is the biggest city in Washington but what is the teeniest incorporated town???  Email me at 

Serendipity Day

** Identical Twins Question

** Ode to Moses Lake

** Queries: Would you pay for a query placed here? 


From the “Ask Marilyn” in the Sunday Parade magazine:  “If identical twins marry identical twins and each couple has children, are the children genetic cousins or siblings?” Her answer: “They are genetic siblings. If their DNA were examined, you couldn’t even tell which child was born to which set of parents. Not that any of the kids would look alike. They would look just as different from each other as any other siblings.” Any twins marry twins in your family tree?


Found this in the Big Bend Register, Vol. 25, 2004, “Ode to Moses Lake,” penned in 1908:

There has been a wild commotion on Moses Lake’s green shore

A big dam has been constructed that will all the water store.

Upon its blue and sunlit waters you’ll hear the whistle of a boat

From the chuck, chuck of a gas launch to the steamboat’s deep toned note

It has lain long years as idle water dancing in the sun

God put it here for usefulness; man has now the work begun

Where the sly coyote and rabbit roamed at will so wild and free

Man has planned to make a city and a hummer it will be

It surmounts a grassy hilltop; pick the place you like the best

Where the sun rises at morning or where the boats land on the west

Streams of water will be flowing through the sagebrush and the sand

Big red apples will be growing; the finest fruit of the land

Then we’ll give to great Wenatchee the closest race of her life

And if you don’t just believe it see this land and bring your wife

Railroad lines will soon be running north and south and east and west

And the steamboats will be sailing on the blue lake’s rolling crest

And when other people tell you how their land is just a snap

Just brace up, be sure and answer Moses Lake is on the map!


The WSGS Board is considering some simple fund raising ideas; we must fund our project and educational grants, of course.

 Would you pay $5.00 for a Pacific Northwest query placed on this blog????  Your query would remain “forever” in the blog archives and would instantly reach hundreds of eyes. Think about the possibilities!

Please email and let me know: