Friday Serendipity

Is your favorite morning juice apple from the Tree Top company?

Back in 1944, a co-op of over 1000 apple growers was formed with headquarters in Selah under the leadership of William H. “Bill” Charbonneau. Realizing that the public was dissatisfied with “fruity drinks that contained only 15% real juice” which he called “belly wash masquerading as the real thing,” he determined to do better with Washington apples. He founded the Tree Top company with the high standards of “all natural, no sugar added,” which still is followed today.

Today, Tree Top’s seven plants produce a long line of apple products with apple juice and cider being the backbone of the retail market. Bill’s genius was to take the “culls,” those fruits deemed undesirable as eating apples, and turn them into a useful product. Up to this time, the culls had been dumped by truck loads into the landfill.

The name, Tree Top, arrived in 1947, with the contest winner to name the company. Today, America’s #1 selling apple juice is Tree Top, made right here in Washington!

(From Tree Top: Creating a Fruit, great book by David H. Stratton, published in 2010 by the WSU Press.)

Friday Serendipity

IS there a book with my family in it?  I’ve been asked that question many times and not just in beginning classes. The answer is this: You won’t know if you don’t go looking.

  1. has a huge collection of family histories.
  2. Google books,  ditto.
  3.,  ditto
  4.,  ditto
  5. Digital Public Library of America (,  ditto.

So please don’t dump genealogy for knitting or sky diving until you’ve looked for your Bazeleel Jinglemeyer in every place you can think of.

Diane Huckabee told the story of finding the name LaStone for a child….. and after much pondering, she realized it must stand for “Last One!” (Just had to toss that in here for you; thanks, Diane, for sharing.)

Friday Serendipity

Spotted a book in the Fiske Library in Seattle: Washington Ghost Towns, by Lambert Florin, 1970, WSU Press. Intrigued, I hauled it back to my table. The index listed 23 different ghost towns! I would never have guessed that Washington had that many. But wait! Doing a Google search for “ghost towns in USA” and then “Washington” I found a list of 55 ghost towns in our Evergreen State!

This was Ruby, Washington, just 13 miles north of Okanogan. Quite a town; did your ancestors struggle to live there? Was it a mining or lumbering town? (Grandma Google knows the answer.)

Thinking ahead to your next summer’s road trip, and if you’re a ghost town nerd, pin that list to your map and away you’ll go!

Friday Serendipity

Kenyatta Berry was a keynote speaker at the Northwest Genealogy Conference I attended in August in Arlington, WA. One thing she told about was how exciting it was to work on the Genealogy Roadshow with Josh Taylor and Mary Tedesco. (This is a PBS series; call your PBS station and lobby to ensure that it carries this season of Genealogy Roadshow.) Anyway. The magazine Your Genealogy Today (Sep-Oct 2017 issue) carried an interview with Mary Tedesco. A question the interviewer, Leslie Michele Derrough, asked was “what are the first 5 important steps to take to get started?” Mary explained:
(1) Stay at home. See what you already have hidden in boxes in your home; interview all living relatives, especially the older ones. (I found it interesting that she did not say “start” at home.) 
(2) Stay organized.  OHMYGOSH.  Thomas MacEntee is the honcho of the Genealogy Do-Over which stresses the importance of getting and staying organized. Google this and start????
(3) Online research. (Mary did add microfilmed records, but we know by now that the Family History Library does not loan films any longer; but getting seasick looking at films at that Library is still an option 😵 ) Don’t re-invent the wheel; see what others have found before you! What you find may be wrong or right but it’s a place to start. 
(4) Onsite research. Most genealogists after the first few months or years realize that not everything they need is online and that they must travel to Virginia or Massachusetts for onsite research. OHDARN. 😉
(5) Take a DNA test. “DNA is a powerful tool when paired with traditional research.”  (I’ve read several places that a super beginning point for DNA testing is Ancestry.)

Serendipity Friday

A drone to walk your dog?  Yep. A company in England has created a drone that has a built-in, retractable leash, and a hands-free pilot that uses GPS to walk your dog on the route you select. All for a mere $2300. The article does state that “a Great Dane probably could overpower the drone, while a Yorkie might be lifted into the air.”  Think I’ll sit on this awhile…..


Are you an alumni of WSU (Washington State University)? If so, you’re entitled to a free subscription to their Washington State Magazine which comes quarterly out of WSU in Pullman. Contact the Biographical & Records Team, PO Box 641927, Pullman WA  99164-1227 to state your subscription. For a $15 annual fee, you can subscribe if you’re not an alum.


What does it really mean to be healthy? A bit in a recent National Geographic Magazine from Vivek Murthy, former U.S. Surgeon General, explains emotional well-being is just as important as eating a healthy diet and staying active. So how do we fix that, Murthy was asked. “The first thing we need to change is how we think about emotions. Emotions are a source of power…. but too many people think of emotions as a source of weakness…. we must learn to cultivate emotional well-being tools such as sleep, physical activity, social connections, and contemplative practices like gratitude and meditation. Murthy’s bit was ended with his fear that the level of stress among people today is what kills emotional well-being. Something to think about for sure.

Friday Serendipity

Most everybody in the world of today’s genealogy knows of Thomas MacEntee, the Tech Guru and All Around Crazy Guy.

Thomas is a nationally-in-demand speaker and (I’m so proud to say) is one of the main presenters for the annual Salt Lake Christmas Tour. (  He recently announced some big changes in his business model and what he offers to all of us and how he offers it to us. I asked him for a re-cap and now share it with you:

How Is SLCT Instructor Thomas MacEntee Spending His Summer?

Well besides trips to Southern California, too many visits to Reno to visit some one-armed bandits, Thomas has been busy retooling and reprogramming his genealogy business and various websites. Here’s an update directly from Thomas:

  • As of June 1st, Thomas has stopped updating his site and has transferred much of the community organizing efforts to a new group named GeneaBloggers Tribe( The new group is run by Pat Richley-Erickson (aka Dear Myrtle) and focuses on resources for genealogy bloggers. So why did Thomas decide to leave the blogging community after starting GeneaBloggers in 2009? As he says, “I didn’t leave blogging as much as I realized that over the past eight years the genealogy community has gained knowledge of many social media skills including blogging. I felt that my energies were better directed towards education involving genealogy methodology and working with those new to family history.”
  • Thomas’ new site Genealogy Bargainslaunched in March 2017 and is now his main focus. Genealogy Bargains posts daily deals and coupons on products such as AncestryDNA, 23andMe, genealogy books and webinars. You can save as much as 80%! So before you click that CHECKOUT button, remember to visit Genealogy Bargains at
  • And what about DNA and genealogy? Well Thomas has hopped on the bandwagon with his new site DNA Bargainswhich debuted a week before National DNA Day which is April 25th. Not only will you find the best deals on DNA test kits, but you’ll find his reviews and opinions about each test. Visit DNA Bargains at to figure out which DNA test is right for you and your genealogy research.
  • And finally, Thomas has gathered up all his other small sites (Hack Genealogy, High-Definition Genealogy and others) into one umbrella site called Abundant Genealogy. The new site provides information on the genealogy industry PLUS Thomas posts many “freebies” such as downloads of his popular e-books in both Amazon Kindle and PDF versions.

We all know Thomas is a busy guy and he says that he’s looking forward to teach classes at the upcoming Salt Lake Christmas Tour in December with several new presentation topics. What’s the best way to follow Thomas and keep track of all his content? Sign up for his free genealogy and technology e-newsletter at

Friday Serendipity

Since it’s been a priority this hot summer to work on my genealogy (and our air quality in Spokane….and all across the Pacific Northwest has been awful due to the many forest fires so it’s been advised to stay indoors.) I’ve several bins of “Phillips Research Notes” on my office floor which I’ve been slowly working my way through. In the doing, I’ve discovered some gems……. gems of things I planned to check out but never did. Like this:
The State Library of North Carolina offers a fabulous long list of digital resources. What I first wanted to look for was a Phillips family Bible since the website says they have 1500 Bible records from North Carolina families. My search yielded 151 Bibles…..and the very first one was for a William Phillips, the name I was looking for. Alas, not the right one for me, but what a resource! 
The bottom of their website is a map of North/South Carolina and upper Georgia that is peppered with red dots. Each dot is a LINK…. click on that dot to see records from that place in their holdings. Never seen a website like that, have you? 
This website includes birth and death indexes (1800-2000), marriage bonds (1741-1868), NC county marriages ( 1762-1979) and biographies and Bible records, and cemetery records and more and more!  Oh, and they have the NCpedia “an online encyclopedia about North Carolina” which as of 1 Aug 2017 included 7151 entries and 7539 images. Wowsers. If you’ve research needs in North/South Carolina, better check this out, eh? 

Friday Serendity

You’ll recall that in the past I’ve highly recommended Nathan Dylan Goodwin’s books to you? Stories of Morton Farrier, Forensic Genealogist? Well, this prolific author has done it again with what just might be his most interesting yarn to date. The Missing Man: was to be the most important case of Morton Farrier’s career in forensic genealogy so far. A case that had eluded him for many years: finding his own father. Harley ‘Jack’ Jacklin disappeared just six days after a fatal fire at his Cape Cod home on Christmas Eve in 1976, leaving no trace behind. Now his son, Morton must travel to the East Coast of America to unravel the family’s dark secrets in order to discover what happened to him.
This is book #6 in his series and I especially liked this one because it’s set in places I’ve been…..Cape Cod. And it has the coolest ending! Check it out at Amazon.
Inline image 2
Even the red cardinal perched on the snowy tombstone figures into the story; you will enjoy it, I guarantee.

Friday Serendipity

Bet you belong to another genealogical society besides the Washington State Genealogical Society, right? Is your society thriving or struggling……….. maybe yes in one area and no in another? The Federation of Genealogical Societies ( has announced the launch of their Society Management webinar series which began on July 20, 2017. This series of free events will bring a much-needed aspect to the array of learning opportunities currently provided in the genealogical community; focusing solely on the leadership and management of non-profit societies. The August webinar will feature David Rencher, CG, presenting on the best practices…and challenges…surrounding the nominating committee. They are schedule the third Thursday of every month, 7:00pm CDT, so set your course for August 17th. 😏 Unless your society does not need help with a nominating committee???

Today’s Serendipity Humor:





Friday Serendipity

This is Part 3 about Mason City, built to house the workers on Grand Coulee Dam, and their local company-published newspaper.

Interesting quotes:

“Up to 1928, a million dollars has been expended in various surveys to where the dam should be built.” (Folks, that is $13,955,606.94 in 2017 dollars!! Nearly fourteen BILLION…just to find the best/correct site.)

“Air is a major item used in the construction of Grand Coulee. Nearly 3,000,000 cubic feet of air is being used daily to run the jackhammers, bit sharpeners, forges, and numerous other devices.”

Tools don’t cause accidents; it’s the men who use them.”

The Mason City theater in August 1935 was showing the film, Call of the Wild, with Clark Gable and Loretta Young.

Produce ads in 1935 in Mason City grocery stores:

  • Thompson Seedless Grapes – #3 for 10 cents
  • Tomatoes – 2 for 5 cents
  • Watermelon – 1 cent per pound
  • Hamburger – 12 cents per pound
  • Weiners – 15 cents per pound
  • Eggs – 21 cents per dozen
  • Brown Sugar – #1 package for 5 cents
  • Peanut Butter – #1 glass jar for 17 cents
  • Lettuce – 2 heads for 7 cents

(Let us do remember that the average weekly wage for a worker in 1935 was $12.00. Likely the Grand Coulee Dam workers got a bit more.)

May 13, 1936:  “The payroll this week: 347,624 checks issued for over $6,000,000.” (I divided that out; it comes to $17.26.)

And there was this cute joke:  “Without doubt woman is the eternal question. It may also be added that man is eternally finding the wrong answer.” 

Did one of your ancestors work on the building of Grand Coulee Dam???