Tuesday Trivia

Surnames; we all chase family surnames, right? And many of our lineage-surnames go back into Merry Old England, right?

“Surnames were brought into England by the Normans. About the year of our Lord 1000 surnames began to be taken up in France…but not in England until about the time of the Conquest under King Edward the Confessor (ruled 1042-1066). Surnames were not settled among the common people until about the time of King Edward III (ruled 1327-1377). It is now settled that all surnames fall into one of four classes: (1) patronymics, (2) place names, (3) occupations, and (4) nicknames. In summary, it was towards the end of the 13th century in England when surnames were generally adopted. Do keep that in mind with your early-early English genealogy.

(Sons of the Conqueror: Descendants of Norman Ancestry,”  by L.G. Pine, 1973.)

Tuesday Trivia

Do we have tornadoes in Washington? And why so many in the U.S.??

Yes, we (unfortunately) do experience tornadoes in Washington….. KOMO news in Seattle caught the one on the right; one on left is from WSU in Pullman.

The Ask Marilyn column in Sunday’s Parade Magazine posed this question: Do we really have more tornadoes in the U.S. than around the world? The answer is YES. “The U.S. experiences an average of 1000 tornadoes yearly while Canada, which ranks second, gets only about 100. The rest of the world gets a total of about 200.” 

Why is that because? (The phrase I repeated endlessly as a 3-yr-old.) Marilyn didn’t say; do you know why? And do you think our ancestors would have so happily settled in the American Midwest if they really knew about tornadoes???

Tuesday Trivia

Know where a statue of the world’s largest egg can be found? Right in our own backyard, in Winlock, Washington (Lewis County). The 12-foot tall, 1200-pound concrete sculpture is not to be missed if you love eggs and enjoy visiting funky sights and places. In June, Winlock holds their annual Winlock Egg Days Festival….. perhaps a good time to go??

Tuesday’s Trivia

John Fiske came to the Pacific Northwest in 1892 as an invited speaker (forgot to note where) and was quoted as saying, “One thing about the Pacific coast condemns it fatally for me….. the beer is poor.”  Poor soul.

Did your Washington ancestors perchance live in Ruby? Conconully? Loomis? These were mining towns in Okanogan County in the 1886-1920 era. It’s not enough to know where your ancestors settled but why they settled where they did.

Researching in Illinois or Missouri? The St.Louis Public Library has a dandy genealogy collection and a great website for help. Click to www.slpl.org and then “genealogy.”

Are you a birdwatcher? How about a bluebird watcher? You’re in luck for Bickleton, Washington, is said to be the Bluebird Capitol of the world. Back in the 1960s, Jess and Elva Brinkerhoff started putting up bluebird houses in and around their little town and now Bickleton is “the place” to go to see more bluebird than you can count! Google it for more information.

Tuesday Trivia

Have a great trivia tidbit for you today! It comes from a book published in 1978 by the Franklin County Historical Society titled Railroads, Reclamation & The River, A History of Pasco, by Walter A. Oberst.

In this book, Oberst explains how the town got its name. On page 6 of his book, he quotes from an article in the Pasco Express, a Pasco weekly newspaper, on July 31, 1914:  Man Who Named Pasco Visits City.

“V.C. Bogue, now an eminent engineer of New York City, renews acquaintances in Pasco on Monday. This was his fist visit in nearly thirty years. Mr. Bogue, as an engineer for the Northern Pacific Railroad, located the route of the N.P. through Stampede Pass in the Cascade Mountains, and he also located and named Pasco.

“Just how he came to choose the name was news to this reporter …… just prior to his engagement with the N.P., Bogue had successfully constructed a line of railway across the Andes Mountains in South America. The highest point on the railway was a mining town named Cerro de Pasco. It was distinguished as a windy, dusty place, and so on the first day he spent in our city, and meeting with a good old-fashioned dust storm, he was reminded of this place in the Andes and tagged the new townsite “Pasco.'”

P.S. This town still exists! This from Wikipedia: Cerro de Pasco is a city in central Peru, located at the top of the Andean mountains. It is the capital of the Pasco region, and an important mining center.

Tuesday Trivia

Apparently Washington State has a designated, official, item for more things than you or I would ever guess. Our trivia for the day is this list:

State Bird —  American Goldfinch

State Dance  —  Square Dance

State Fish  —  Steelhead Trout

State Flower  —  Coast Rhododendron

State Folk Song  —  Roll On, Columbia, Roll On

State Fossil  —  Columbian Mammoth

State Fruit  —  Apple

State Gem  —  Petrified Wood

State Grass  —  Blue Bunch Wheatgrass

State Insect  —  Green Damer Dragonfly

State Marine Mammal  —  Orca

State Ship  —  Lady Washington

State Song  —  Washington, My Home

State Tree  —  Western Hemlock

State Vegetable  —  Walla Walla Sweet Onion

How many of these would you have known, had I not included the answers? Do you know of any others???


Tuesday Trivia

Could you identify the oldest apple tree in Washington? It’s in Vancouver, near the waterfront and happily tended and protected by a fence. They say it was planted in 1826…..when I was there I could see sprouts coming up from the roots? Way cool to see that venerable apple tree.

On the topic of apples, fellow named Dave Benscotter has become a self-proclaimed “apple detective” in Eastern Washington, mainly in and around Steptoe Butte (north of Pullman). In his research he found that there were 17,000 named varieties of apples in the past in North America, but “only around 3000 still exist today.” He’s hoping to identify some of these long lost apple varieties from sleuthing around the old orchards planted around Steptoe Butte and in Whitman County. He’s working with the Whitman County Historical Society on the “Lost Apple Project” to search, find, rescue and identify “apple varieties that have become extinct.” Or thought to be so. Google that project for an interesting read.

Tuesday Trivia

You remember how taken I am with smaller museums and historical societies. In fact, I’ve asked that you share a list with me of those that are in your area.  Here are some from near Grand Coulee Dam (for your summer vacation??):

WILBUR……. Big Bend Hx Soc Museum in Wilbur; most popular is the photo room which features a wide assortment of photos of the early town, its neighbors and its pioneer families. Museum vault contains copies of all the old Wilbur Registers dating back to 1889 (available on microfilm). Museum open Saturdays, June through August, 2:00-4:00, or by appointment.

DAVENPORT…. Lincoln Co Museum & Davenport Hx Soc; open 1 May to 30 Sep, 9:00-5:00, Mon through Sat, or by appointment. Website:  www.davenportwa.org

COULEE DAM…. Colville Tribal Museum, Founded in 1987, the CTM “provides a valuable link to the rich heritage of the peoples who make up the Colville Confederated Tribes:  the Lakes, Okanogan, Entiat, Chelan, Methow, Moses Columbia, Newpelem, Palouse, San Poil, Nez Perce, Colville and Wenatchi bands.” Open 7 days a week, 8:30-5:00; located in city of Coulee Dam. Website:  www.ctmuseum@couleedam.net

Somebody’s ancestors settled these places….were they yours????


*** Banks Lake is 30 miles long by about one mile wide, nearly 25,000 acres of water. Arranged in a north-to-south line across the Columbia River along Banks Lake are the towns of: Coulee Dam, Grand Coulee, Electric City, and at the far south end, Coulee City.

“Tuesday’s” Trivia

Yes, I’m a day late with this; please forgive me!

Today’s day-late trivia is this:  Did you realize that early Washington settlers quickly realized that the Cascade range formed a geological barrier between the forested lands of mild climate of the western part of the state and the dry deserted area to the east. So the east side of the “Cascade Curtain” was not rejected in those earliest years; it was simply ignored. Yes, Washington, straddling the Cascade range, has stood division, in terms of climate and geography, from its inception.” 

This came from the publication Columbian, Winter 1989.

IS the “Cascade Curtain” a real or imaginary barrier today? Do we hesitate or balk to drive 250 miles east or west to attend a really great seminar, program or workshop? And why is that because? We happily drive that far for a vacation, business meeting or family rendezvous, so it’s really not that far and really not a barrier for our genealogical learning. Or shouldn’t be.

Tuesday Trivia

Did you know that way, way back in 1909 some 79 people (including famed photographer Asahel Curtis and several women in LONG SKIRTS) made the 3-week trek to the top of Mt. Rainier?? Members of the fledgling group, the Mountaineers, they spent an hour on the summit on that June day and posted a flag for the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition which was being held in Seattle at the time.

Can you imagine climbing Mt.Rainier in a LONG SKIRT? Or going camping in what today we might call “Sunday dress?” And our ancestors did!