Friday Serendipity

Want a really big heads’ up??? Here it be:

NEXT APRIL 6th for EWGS Spring Seminar

And who is Sunny Jane McClellan Morton, you rightfully ask?

Sunny Jane Morton is an internationally-known, award-winning writer, editor and speaker for the multibillion-dollar genealogy industry. She is a Contributing Editor at Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems Podcast, with more than 2.5 million downloads worldwide, and a Contributing Editor at Family Tree Magazine, the U.S.’ premiere publication for genealogy hobbyists. A popular speaker at events across the country (including RootsTech), Sunny is especially known for expertise in tracing U.S. ancestors, particularly in church records; her unique comparisons of the industry’s largest websites; and inspiring presentations on how to reconstruct and tell meaningful stories from the past. Sunny is the author of Story of My Life: A Workbook for Preserving Your LegacyGenealogy Giants: Comparing the 4 Major Websites and the forthcoming How to Find Your Family History in U.S. Church Records (working title), co-authored with Harold Henderson, CG. She is the Co-Editor of Ohio Genealogy News and winner of the prestigious NGS Newsletter Competition (2017) and writing awards from the International Society of Family History Writers and Editors. She holds degrees in history and humanities from Brigham Young University.

Stay tuned to for more information. That’s the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society in Spokane. 


Friday Serendipity

This is not to herald National Donut Day (which is on June 1st, did you know?) but to share with you some donut history.

“Since the early 20th century, doughnuts have been a popular treat in the U.S. More than 10 billion doughnuts are consumed annually in the U.S. due in part to the large-scale expansion of corporations like Krispy Kreme and Dunkin Donuts.”

Did you know that the origin of these sugary treats was at least partially in Germany? A cookbook from 1485, published in Germany, refers to a Gefullte Krapfen or jelly donut. In Germany, donuts have been referred to as Berliners for over 200 years. As they have evolved and spread throughout the world they’ve been given a variety of names. Traditional European donuts have a filling; American ones include a hole.

Have you have your donut or doughnut today? Since they say Americans are, on the whole,of  one-quarter German ancestry, that explains our delight in a fresh donut, right?

(Thanks to the German Genealogy Group Newsletter, Sept 2018, quoting Nicole Glass, Editor of The Week in Germany.)

Friday Serendipity

Hairstyles. We women have been forever fussing with our hair, do we not?

“Marcelling is a hair styling technique in which hot curling tongs are used to induce a curl into the hair. Its appearance was similar to that of a finger wave, but made by a quite different means.” (Wikipedia) The photos I have of my mother-in-law’s high school graduation in 1920 shows her with “marcelled” hair.

How about this hairstyle from an earlier day? Wonder what she used to keep those curls “stuck” in proper place???? No hair spray back then.

Friday Serendipity

My newspaper, The Spokesman Review, is both blessed and lucky to have Jim Kershner as a regular correspondent. Here is his bit from Sunday, 9 Sep 2018……. and fits well for a WSGS Serendipity blog post:

A mass meeting of citizens in Krupp, Wash., west of Odessa, unanimously voted to petition the U.S. Post Office and the Great Northern Railway to change the name of the post office and the station from Krupp to Marlin.

With war raging against Germany, people had turned against German-sounding names. The name Krupp was particularly problematic, since it was the name of a German munitions company.

Apparently few were in favor of keeping the name Krupp. Yet plenty of debate was devoted to selecting a new name. Some of the suggestions included Wheatland, Marne, Merica, and Wheat.

They settled on Marlin, in honor of Henry Marlin, one of the earliest settlers in the area.

“Marlin raised 12 children here, and his cattle ranged all the way between what is now Odessa and Wilson Creek,” said a correspondent.

The name of the post office was, in fact, duly changed to Marlin. Yet changing the official name of the town itself was another matter. The town had already been incorporated as Krupp in 1911, and to this day it has never been changed, even though the post office is still named Marlin.

On maps, the name is sometimes listed as both Krupp and Marlin — or as Krupp, with ‘Marlin P.O.” in parentheses.

In the 2010 census, Krupp had a population of 48, making it the smallest incorporated town in the state.

In 1918, it had about twice as many residents.

Did you have ancestors who lived in Krupp…… or Marlin???

Friday Serendipity

Something has been on my mind lately and the minds of those associated with various genealogical societies to which I belong.
There are Big Problems looming for genealogy societies as perhaps you are aware. I would greatly appreciate your thoughts on these questions:
1. Do you belong to a local gene society?
2. Is it thriving or struggling?
3. Why is that in your opinion?
4. Are most members over 60…and why is that a problem do you think?
5. What is your group doing to attract new and younger members?
6. Do you have a gene library and is that the main factor in what you offer prospective members?
7. Do you have a vision for the future of your group?
Please just highlight-copy-paste those questions into an email to me ( and then you can answer each one in turn and fire it off to me. Appreciate your thoughts and your time.

Friday Serendipity

Falling under the “you really just never know what you’re going to find” category, here’s my story. Visiting the Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society’s fantastic library, I only had time to browse the shelves. (They have feet and feet and feet of books on shelves.) And I came across this:

Tracing Your Icelandic Family Tree, by Eric Jonasson, 1975, published in Winnipeg, Canada. Of course this 20-page, mimeographed guide was (I assume) muchly antiquated, but still. To find such a guide in a little genealogy society library? Made me wonder what other treasures did this library hold?

And what treasures does the genealogy society library in your area hold that you don’t even know about? Perhaps you might ought to go take a looksee?

Did learn from this guide (well, from something stuck in) that an Icelandic gastronomic delicacy includes pickled ram’s testicles.  Okay….


Friday Serendipity

Washington State has so much fascinating history! Perhaps not as much as Massachusetts, for example, but plenty enough to keep a history buff in reading for an entire lifetime.

Isn’t this sculpture fascinating? Here’s the story:

“Tillamook…… wind, much like animals, is thought and spoken of as a person in the Myth Times. There are winds from many directions, and they are associated with people of those specific directions.”

Spotted this in a Native American cultural exhibit at Fort Vancouver.

Does it say “WIND” to you?

Friday Serendipity

Ever heard of “mug books?” These were commercial enterprises, and comprise the earliest histories written about a county. They are so called because individuals paid a fee to have their biographical sketches and photographs included in such books…….. and so of course the biographies in these books were often embroidered histories and compiled with laudatory language. Ever man was a pillar of society, sober and kind, a great husband and father, and dealt fairly with every man. Sure.

But such books also provide fairly accurate information about occupations, family origins and backgrounds, descendants and the dates people moved into an area. So despite the biased personal slants, these Mug Books contained important information on events, transportation, agriculture, commercial enterprises and population.

Think “county history” and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what a mug book was. And we’ve all used them, right?


Friday Serendipity

I quite enjoy learning trivia bits of history….. especially Washington state history…. especially as pertains to old towns and ghost towns.

Ever heard of Hylebos? (1925, Pierce Co) Kamilche? (1929, Mason Co)  Day Island? (1919, Pierce Co)  Manette?  (1910, Kitsap Co)  Monitor? (1917, Chelan Co) Ronald? ( 1902, near Roslyn, Kittitas Co)

These were all real towns….. for a short period of time…. and some still exist, having been incorporated into larger towns.

What about “real life” ghost towns? This colorful map is posted on the website, It’s an interactive map, meaning if you click on a county, up will pop the map of that county with all sorts of little…….now ghost….. towns. Only 18 counties are linked as having ghost towns and Spokane has none.

If you want to spend a hot afternoon hour having some clicking-around fun, click to the link above. Have a cold drink handy.

Friday Serendipity

This was just too good not to share: San Antonio, Texas, just a couple of weeks ago. Very pregnant lady was having contractions when she and husband stopped at a Chick-fil-A restaurant to drop off their kids. Mom had to use the restroom…… and baby girl Gracelyn came… in the bathroom! Company says “Gracelyn will have free Chick-fil-A for life and a job when she turns 14.”  Like I said, too good not to share.