Serendipity Friday


Something rather different today. Few days ago I first drove west over the Vantage Bridge and then drove east coming home. I took the top photo and spent a few miles thinking about perspective.

I’ve flown over the Vantage Bridge and I’ve boated under the bridge. Looking on Google for different-angle photos, I found these two:

As I drove the 140 miles from Vantage on home to Spokane, thinking about perspective, I thought about how different the bridge looks from up high, from looking east, from looking west and from looking north, and from looking up (as we boated under it).  Same bridge; different perspective.

Applying this to genealogy, the “bridge” for us is our current genealogical problem. Have we looked at it from all possible angles?? Some of those angles might be looking forward in time to him/her (as starting with him/her as a child) or looking backward in time to him/her. How about looking through the eyes of his parents? His siblings? His/her children? His employer? His military leader?

Perspective can make a “bridge” of a difference. Must keep that in mind.

Friday Serendipity

*** News Flash: Washington is the cloudiest part of the U.S.!

*** Images of America books

*** Washington’s Ethnic Diversity

*** Cats and Commas


According to a blurb in the Tacoma newspaper back on April 2, 1937, and coming from Cambridge, Massachusetts, a Harvard meteorologist proclaimed that St.Petersburg, Florida, was America’s sunniest spot. And the State of Washington the cloudiest section of the country. And the Olympic Mountains deemed the rainiest place. At least we didn’t get the Snowiest section or Driest Section or Thunderstorm Section.  (Another blurb on another page I copied for March 6, 1939, said that “one of every 1000 citizens in Washington is a prison inmate, a penitentiary census statistic indicated today.” Hummmmm……


Ever wished you had a picture book of your hometown showing what it looked like back in the olden days? Images of America just might have what you crave. Take Washington state, for instance. There are 175 titles listed for our state with nearly forty for the Seattle area alone! There is a picture book for Ruston, Shelton, Oysterville, Camas, Forks, Soap Lake and even Pullman, so they do have smaller towns too. Click to and check it out. (I just checked; they have a book for Kalamazoo, Michigan, where I was born!)


According to “Washington State Facts,” the Evergreen State in 2004 was 10% foreign-born. And the six largest reported ancestries are German (19%), English (12%), Irish (11%), Norwegian (6 %), Mexican (6%) and Filipino (3%).  By 2015, this had changed (according to Google). Our state was 75% white, 8.7% Asian/Pacific Islander,  20% non-white which included Native Americans. I enjoy the ethnic diversity of our state.  Hope you do too.


Serendipity Friday

*** Melons Costing $10,000??  (thanks to Charles Hansen)

*** Ancestry & Ancestry DNA: Two Sides To Every Family Story

*** Welsh Ancestry Has Its Challenges

*** Clam Digging: A Washington Activity

Charles shared a link to a website explaining that cantaloupes were developed in the 1700s in the Italian papal village of Cantalup. Watermelons were enjoyed in Merry Old England. Early explorers sometimes used watermelons as canteens. The most expensive melon in the world is the Yubari King, a kind of cantaloupe, grown in Japan. Recently two sold for $20,000! The Yubari is below…….. see much difference between it an the one you ate????


Ancestry and Ancestry DNA are two sides to the same story, or so their advertising states.  Here is the comparison:

                     ANCESTRY DNA                                                                      ANCESTRY

                     * Discover your ethnic origins.                                              * Start with a name and build your family tree

                      * Connect with cousins you never knew you had.             * See how your ancestors lived in billions of


                      * Find new ancestors—and take your family tree             * Share your discoveries and connect with

                         to entirely new places.                                                              our community.

   “Visit to get started today!” So stated the ad in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly.


During RootsTech 2017, I attended a presentation by Darris Williams on the topic of Welsh genealogy. He explained the” blessings and the curses of doing Welsh genealogy.” The Blessings: (1) More records are available online than ever before; (2) Even the Non-Conformity records are becoming available; (3) The National Library of Wales is a great resource; (4) Welsh probates are becoming available; (5) the patronymic system, once understood and if followed, it a great help. The Curses: (1) Common names are used endlessly! (2) You won’t find your answer in just one record; you must use all available records; (3) You must plan for no quick answers; plan to take plenty of searching time; (4) Patronymics is often difficult to understand and follow;  (5) the Welsh language is impossible!, in the Library Card Catalog, has plenty of records from Wales cataloged. All the pre-1850 probates are available and the post-1850 wills are indexed. Williams stressed that the Five Basic Record Sets to use for researching in Wales are: (1) Census (1841-1911 all indexed); (2) Civil registration for vital records; (3) Church records; (4) Probate records; (5) Cemetery records and tombstone inscriptions.

“Non-conformity,” Williams explained, “was a big deal. This meant that if your ancestor didn’t belong to the Church of England and those vital records will not be found in the Church of England parish registers. With the exception of marriage records. Between 1754 and 1837, any and all marriages had to be Church of England marriages.”


If you’ve living in Washington for a long time, you probably have gone clam digging on the Washington coast. I remember driving from Spokane to Kalaloch to camp and dig those tasty clams in the late 1950s.  I did not realize that clamming has been a way of life on the Washington coast for thousands of years; shell middens have been dated back to 5000 years ago. When the early settlers arrived in the mid-1850s they happily discovered a rich abundance of clams which they used for food and for commercial purposes. Commercial clamming was begun in 1898 and during the heyday (1920-1950) tons of clams were dug, canned and exported to the eastern U.S. and to Britain. By today, there is still a few days/weeks of clamming season but many difficult factors have severely restricted the appeal of these tasty shellfish.  Do you have memories of clamming?? And do you remember what a clam gun was?

Serendipity Friday

*** Digital Public Library of America (DPLA)

*** Have you shared your family recipe with FamilySearch?

*** Mayonnaise?

*** Merging duplicates on FamilySearch

You have, with the clicking of a mouse, an enormous library of books right at your fingertips and I’ll bet you didn’t realize it. The Digital Public Library of America (http://DP.LA) is a free, national digital library that provides acces to millions of materials from libraries, archives and museums across the U.S. Are you looking (perhaps without success?) for a letter, yearbook, military record, family bible, certain photograph or a certain map? It just well may be included in the DPLA holdings. And it’s FREE!


Besides collecting the names-dates-places of our family history, FamilySearch is collecting our family stories, memories (written, audio,video) and recipes! At RootsTech last February, at one of the opening sessions, a recipe card was placed on each of the 5000 chairs inviting each of us to share a favorite family recipe….. and to share the story of that recipe. Wanna participate? Click to


What’s a BLT sandwich without mayo?  Do you know when this condiment was invented? According to Wikipedia, the anecdotal history of mayo is this:  “One of the most common places named as the origin of mayonnaise is the town of Mahón in Menorca, Spain, where it was then taken to France after Armand de Vignerot du Plessis‘s victory over the British at the city’s port in 1756. According to this version, the sauce was originally known as salsa mayonesa in Spanish and maonesa (later maionesa) in Catalan (as it is still known in Menorca), later becoming mayonnaise as it was popularized by the French.”

Ever wanted to make your own mayonnaise? Dorothy Dean, the homemaker’s guru in Spokane between 1935-1985, shared the secret: “1 egg, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp dry mustard, 4-6 tsp lemon juice, 1 c. salad oil. Place all in blender and blend until smooth and thick. Store in refrigerator.”  Don’t know about you, but sounds like too much work to me.


Just because FamilySearch has given so very much to the genealogical community at large, asking nothing in return except that we all share our family trees, doing so has caused heartburn for some. One of the “problems” that FamilySearch asks us to deal with is the problem of duplicates. Ron Tanner, who works for FamilySearch, explained this problem to us at Roots Tech. “Think of ten kids having 10 kids, so there are potentially 110 people who can or might enter information on Grandma. See why merging is to important??”  To the computer, Catharine, Catherine, Katharine and Katherine are all totally separate names but to you and me they are not. We know that all could equally refer to our Grandma, right?

Please do consider uploading your GEDCOM to FamilySearch (folks at any Family History Center will assist) and plan to take the necessary time to manage/compare potential duplicates.  (I started with 1744 and I’m down to 1243! If I can, you can!)

Serendipity Friday


*** I saw the Geico gecko…. and he spoke nary a word.

*** Spanish woman gives birth at age 62…WOW.

*** Have you read a real/paper book lately?

*** Don’t we love a happy-ending adoption story?


This is serendipty trivia for sure…… while in Maui last January, I spotted the Geico gecko basking in the sunshine on a rock. He was not upright; he was not big-shiny eyed; he was not looking at nor speaking to me; he was not a very good Geico advertisement. And he was not driving a car!!


26 Oct 2016, Madrid, Spain:  A 62-year-old woman gave birth to a healthy girl and encourages women in their later years to imitate her if they want to. Sorry, NO WAY would I want to……how about you??? Having a teenager to deal with when you’re in your 80s??? Yikes.


2016, AP story in my paper:  Adult readers in the U.S. still strongly favor paper over e-books according to a new research study….. around 65% of those surveyed had read a paper book over the past year compared to only 28% who had read an e-book. Where you figure into these figures? How many book-books do you read in a year? How many e-books?


19 Dec 2016:  “A mother’s search for a Christmas gift for her adopted daughter took an unexpected twist. Jennifer Doering, of Wausaw, Wisconsin, wanted to give her 10-year-old daughter, Audrey, a copy of her “Finding Aid.” That’s the advertisement that under Chinese law is published after a child is “found” and placed in an orphanage as an infant. So to shorten a lovely long story, Jennifer scoured the records and contacted international help agencies and learned that Audrey had a twin! Within days, they found Gracie (adopted by a family in Richland, Wisconsin), and the two sisters were meeting and talking nearly every day through FaceTime “in a cloud of tears and haven’t stopped talking in a week.” Don’t we all wish them a long, happy and prosperous life?!?!

Serendipity Friday

*** Washington State’s Scenic Road Trips

*** World War I Helped Shape Washington

*** Bird’s Eye Panoramic Maps

*** Outhouse Races in Conconully

Washington is blessed to have 29 officially designated National and State Scenic Byways….. perhaps your summer travels should include one of them?  You can request a FREE guide and FREE road map by calling 1-877-260-2731.  Taking a scenic byway won’t add much time to your journey but will add plenty of memories.


Did you realize that World War I helped shape Washington into the state it is today? According to Lorraine McConaghy, a historian for this topic, said that “expanding shipyards and factories, mobilizing the timber industry, and giving Boeing its start building airplanes for the Navy came as a bonanza for growth in the Evergreen State. Connections to the war can be found in almost every city and town, from statues, stadiums and parks to street named for President Woodrow Wilson. By war’s end, some 1642 Washingtonians lost their lives in World War I.  (Thanks to Jim Camden, Spokesman Review.)

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Serendipity Friday

At one time, there must have been a whale of a big shipwreck off the Port Angeles beach.  My son and family live there and since I love beaches, I always visit Ediz Hook and other local beaches when I go visit them. About four years ago I found a HUGE HUMUNGOUS rusty old chain. It was easily fifty links long and each link weighed close to 100 pounds! While I would have loved to haul it home for my garden, my son just un-politely laughed when I proposed that he and grandsons might help me.

Fast forward four years. Son Benjamin took his two beagles down to that same beach for a walk and, as he texted me, “Guess what I found!!” There was that chain, peeking out of the sand! Still too heavy to carry home as a treasure unless we wanted to hire a helicopter but still so cool to see it again.

I would love to know what wrecked ship that humungous chain came from. Would it have been an anchor chain??

Those of us who live in a coastal state (like Washington) know that the ocean and the beach both TAKE and GIVE in their own due time. That chain is still there being lost and found forever.

Serendipity Friday

*** Ridgefield, Washington, Bits

*** Hooverville in Seattle, 1931

*** U.S. Winter Olympics in 1935 on Mount Rainier

*** Bold Spirit, by Linda Lawrence Hunt, A Must Read

*** Friday’s Funny

Ridgefield, Washington, is almost a suburb of Vancouver. Did you know that Ridgefield was the home of U-Haul? And that the first speeding ticket in Washington was handed out in 1910 in Ridgefield to a fellow from Portland. And Ridgefield’s High School mascot name is the Spudders….from the early days of potato growing. (Made me think of the Beet Diggers, a high school mascot/name in South Jordan, Utah. I’m sorry, but to me it would be hard to yell “Go Spudders!” Or “Go Beet Diggers!”)


A “Hooverville” was a shanty town built during the Great Depression by the homeless in the United States. They were named after Herbert Hoover, who was President of the United States during the onset of the Depression and was widely blamed for it. Did you know that there was a Hooverville in Seattle in 1931 on the waterfront? (Picture comes from The Columbian, magazine of Washington History.) Were any of your ancestors ever living in a Hooverville?? Would like to hear from you about them. Does sound like pretty poor living conditions.


Did any of your ancestors participate in those Olympics? Wooden (laminated wood) skis were still in use then but aluminum skis were becoming available. What did your ancestor use? Tell us about it!?


“In 1896, a Norwegian immigrant and mother of eight children named Helga Estby was behind on taxes and the mortgage when she learned that a mysterious sponsor would pay $10,000 to a woman who walked across America.  Hoping to win the wager and save her family’s farm, Helga and her teen-aged daughter Clara, armed with little more than a compass, red-pepper spray, a revolver, and Clara’s curling iron, set out on foot from Eastern Washington. Their route would pass through 14 states, but they were not allowed to carry more than five dollars each. As they visited Indian reservations, Western boom-towns, remote ranches and local civic leaders, they confronted snowstorms, hunger, thieves and mountain lions with equal aplomb. Their treacherous and inspirational journey to New York challenged contemporary notions of femininity and captured the public imagination. But their trip had such devastating consequences that the Estby women’s achievement was blanketed in silence until, nearly a century later, Linda Lawrence Hunt encountered their extraordinary story.”

I copied this blurb straight from rather than try to explain this marvelous story in better words. Need a good summer Washington history read? You cannot do better than read this book!


Serendipity Friday

*** Clark County Gen Society REALLY Honors Their Honorees

*** A Really, Truly Great Success (Teaching!) Story

*** WSU Press: Uncommon, Undeniably Northwest Reads

*** Ghost Towns….In WASHINGTON?

*** Today’s Laugh

When I visited my friend Lethene Parks, librarian for the Clark County Gen Society, and she showed me around their library, a wall display really caught my eye. They had framed and proudly displayed the certificates of honor from WSGS awarded to CCGS members! Dear Folks, receiving a Certificate of Merit from WSGS, based on your society’s recommendation, is a Big Deal. And was really a Big Deal to the Clark County folks.


When I found I had early/colonial New York/Dutch ancestors, I went after them! My findings pointed to Ulster County, NY. I was at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, I checked the Library Catalog to see what materials they might hold for Ulster County. I found The Genie, publication of the Ulster County Gen Society. I hauled all the issues they had to a table and spent a happy hour paging through all of them and did find some likely clues. I next determined to contact that society to follow up on the clues.
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Serendipity Friday

*** Rivels?

*** Daffodils vs Narcissus?

*** Cuspidors in the Washington State Capitol

*** Bicycling in the Early Days

*** Columbia River Gorge: Why Steeper on the North? 


Ever eaten rivels?  Bet your grandparents and beyond surely did. Here is the recipe for Rivels:  “Mix flour and some salt. To this add one drop of water at a time to stir into the flour and salt. Mix well each time water is added. When flour has stirred into “rivels” add them slowly to hot milk. Ladle into bowls and serve with butter and sugar.”  (This was a recipe in my Aunt Ruth’s cookbook saying the got it from her grandmother.) Think you’ll try rivels??? Let me know if you do.


What is the difference between daffodils and narcissus? Not much, according to the good folks at Roozengarde near Mount Vernon. Daffodils and jonquils belong to the narcissus family; daffodils usually have longer trumpets. Narcissus have shorter, flatter, “cups” with often frilly edges. Now you know. (NOW is the time to order tulips and daffodils for fall planting from Roozengarde; call to request their catalog or view online.)


According to the magazine Columbia, publication of the Washington State Historical Society, ” In 1928 the cuspidors for the new Washington State capitol in Olympia cost $47.50 each and no one objected to the spittoons themselves…..every well-equipped office had them at a time when most men chewed…it was the price of them that was shocking.” I guess so!


This from an article in the periodical Clark County History for 2015 titled  “Bicycling in the Late 19th and Early 20th Century,” by Jan Anderson:  “Bloomers are not only not coquettish, but (are) hideously ugly and unbecoming.” (Quoting a New York journalist on women’s bicycling fashions.) Around 1900 “women took to the wheel and protest came from many critics including fashion experts, clergy, society mavens and even medical professionals, who warned ominously of over stress to weak female bodies, juggled reproductive organs and lascivious urges.  A major cause for panic was the need for a new style of women’s clothing: floor-length skirts and tight corsets didn’t make for safe cycling. Part of the answer was biking bloomers which scandalously showed an inch of ankle.” My, my, my but we have come a long way, baby.


Doing some reading on the Great Ice Age Floods, which carved Washington and Oregon, I finally learned why the Gorge is much steeper on the Washington (north) side than the Oregon (south) side. A speaker on that subject at a recent conference I attended in Vancouver, WA, explained that the Washington side is less steep “due to the 15,000 years of land slides and mud slides.” Duh. Yessiree. In some places you can certainly see evidence of those slides.