Friday Serendipity

We just gotta love old genealogy books. When, for $1.00, I bought a copy of the 1965 book by E. Kay Kirkham, The Counties of the UNITED STATES and Their Genealogical Value, I was pleased as punch. (What is the origin of THAT??)

Darn! Didn’t realize that dragging it just that much bigger would cause such distortion. Sorry. If you would like a better copy, as an email attachment, holler:

Reading through the county names, county seat names and parent county names, the only new one to me was Sawanish, the parent county of Mason County.

Of our 41 counties now, 20 have the Original County designation. Here’s a spot of real trivia for you: Washington Territory was organized from Oregon Territory in 1853 but Seattle’s King County dates to 1852. Most interesting, no?

Friday Serendipity

We know what a seagull is, right? Would you guess how many different types of gulls there are??  This is Mr. Resting Seagull that I spotted in New Zealand…. just posing for tourist photos, no doubt.

“There are at least 28 types of gull species seen in North America. These birds are fairly well distributed throughout the continent along the coastlines and at sea. Although gulls are referred to as seagulls on a daily basis by most people, they are simply referred to as “gulls” in the birding society.” (Quoting from this website: )

From another website, I learned that there are 50 species world wide! Gracious. Never would have guessed. Would you?

Friday Serendipity

Everybody in the genealogy world today knows Thomas MacEntee. He is the spikey-haired-bead-wearing guru of genealogical websites and presentations (my opinion). He recently did an interview and subsequently created an 11-page handout about DNA and your privacy. He gave permission to share it with one and all………….. here’s the link:


Tiz a very good read, I promise.

Friday Serendipity

Today a most different kind of serendipity……… good news for genealogical societies who have a “pet” cemetery they sponsor:

The newspaper bit read: “Historic cemeteries can now apply for grants for cemetery rehabilitation and preservation through the Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation. Cemeteries must be more than 50 years old, and the funding is for capital project that assist with improving and/or preserving the cemetery.”

For more info click to:

Or call Julianne Patterson at 206-624-9449 for more information.

Friday Serendipity

On our New Zealand trip, we visited the Waikato Museum in Hamilton. A current exhibit there was “The Horses Stayed Behind.”

“Ten thousand horses left New Zealand for the front lines in World War I but only four returned. It was this fact that catalyzed artist Cat Auburn to ask horse owners from across the country (of New Zealand) to donate a small clipping of full length hair from their horse’s tail which she then made into rosettes and flowers in the style of Victorian hair wreaths.”

“In the exhibit each horse is identified in stark contrast to the anonymous fate that awaited thousands of the horses and men who left New Zealand for the war.”​

What feelings did you have as you read this???

Friday Serendipity


Ever seen a gravemarker like this one?

Proving yet again that you’ll find genealogy in the unlikeliest of places….. we were driving the road from Te Anu in New Zealand’s South Island to Milford Sound. At a pull-off along the road, I spotted this…..

This road cuts right through the heart of a humungous granite mountain and this tunnel took 20 years to build……. I’ll bet there were several accidents and many deaths. Standing and looking through the trees at the magnificent view and then turning to this marker…………well, it was sobering.

Friday Serendipity

More thoughts, ideas and sights gleaned from my trip to New Zealand:

Do you have your mother’s or grandmother’s teacup collection??? If so, have you ever wondered what to DO with all of those porcelains??? Well, here’s an idea, found in a cafe in NZ:

Friday Serendipity

Throughout all our years of school, whenever we looked at a map of the world, be it huge on the wall or small in a book, it was always oriented the same. North Pole was up. Always. But are all maps that way??

This is kinda fuzzy but you will get the idea. On our recent trip to New Zealand, I spotted this big map on the wall at a resort. And it stopped me in my tracks! I’d never seen a map like this with the North Pole at the bottom. Have you ever seen a map like this? And if you’re a “map-o-phile” you will love it.

Google “upside down map” and you’ll find a clearer, better image and you can even order one for your own collection. (Russia is how many times the size of America????)

Friday Serendipity….back to New Zealand

We here in Washington state know full well that our Pacific coastline is astoundingly beautiful………. but we (should?) also know that Washington, or even America, does not have the corner on beautiful coastlines. Take New Zealand………. If I had shared this photo of mine and asked if you could identify WHERE it was taken, would you have guessed the Pacific shore of the North Island, New Zealand???

Friday Serendipity

Hubby and I recently spent over two weeks in New Zealand; it was (of course) fabulous. In this blog-spot and over the next few weeks, I shall share some New Zealand serendipity with you………… Scotch Broom, as we call it, is found all over the Puget Sound region…… I look forward to visiting my family in Port Angeles in spring for the extra reason of seeing all the Scotch Broom in bloom. BUT…………………..

This familiar plant, also known as Scot’s Broom, is an invasive flowering shrub that grows commonly throughout the Puget Sound region. Originally introduced from Europe as an ornamental and for erosion control, it is highly aggressive and forms dense, monotypic stands which reduce wildlife habitat and hinder re-vegetation of upland sites and wetland buffers.

We saw this plant (not blooming, too late in the summer) all over New Zealand. Very surprised to see it but people from Scotland did settle there, especially in Dunedin on the South Island.

In fact, Mark Twain must have visited Dunedin because he wrote, “This town was settled by the Scotch. They were on their way home to heaven and stopped here. Thinking they had arrived, they stayed.”

So think of it! Washington and New Zealand have something in common, Scotch Broom!