Tuesday Trivia

Tomorrow, May 16th, is the birthday of my only granddaughter, Aleena Christine. We live 300 miles apart and don’t get to hug nearly often enough. Here she is about age 10:

My purpose here today is not to brag, but to tell you about a something project I’ve done for each of my grandchildren. I wrote up my memories of “The Day You Were Born.” For instance, she was born in the middle of the night, in a very nighttime-quiet hospital, and both of us grandmas were blessed to hear her first HOLLER echoing loudly down the hall right after she was born. Now don’t you think she’ll want to know that someday??? I just wrote what each family member was doing that day, and especially what Gramps and I were doing in eager welcoming anticipation of her arrival. I happily pass the idea on to you all.

Tuesday’s Trivia

Today’s Trivia is Part 2 of my notes compiled from Carol Buswell’s talk to EWGS on April 7th:


“We genealogists must remember that governmental archives must, by mandate, keep and preserve the records of the governmental doings of that agency and that’s mostly pretty boring stuff,” Carol smiled and said.

How do you figure out which libraries, historical societies and museums might have the information you seek? “Take the papers of the famous architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, for instance,” Carol said. “Some of his papers are in the National Archives, some in the Library of Congress, some in the Frank Lloyd Wright Museum, some in the Getty Research Institute….well, you get the idea,” she quipped. “No one repository or source will furnish all there is to know or that you want to know on a given topic; you MUST keep looking for new sources.”

On the other hand, government archives keep EVERYTHING created in government offices that is deemed “permanent.”  The rest is destroyed.  So it is easier to figure out exactly where government-created materials will be than it is in a library, historical society, or museum.  It will be in the archives of that government!

Critical to finding anything in an archives is using the card catalog. In the case of our U.S. National Archives, that address is www.catalog.archives.gov .  “Just go there and poke around,” Carol advised, “and use a different mindset than you’ve used before.” With 27 billion documents of primary sources, using the catalog is a must, so we must learn to use the catalog and use it creatively.  “Looking at something without understanding what you’re looking at is like looking at a black hole,” Carol laughed.

Carol shared some statistics with us. “Less than 1% of material held by the National Archives has been digitized; most stuff is still in boxes and some of those boxes are opened, on average, once every 87 years! NARA has the records of every federal agency that ever existed….. If those records survived and were turned in.”

One good use of archival records is for furnishing background to enrich the timeline of life for an ancestor. “So they were born in 1851 and died in 1910, what was going on around them in their lifetime?” Carol asked. “A wonderful feature of the National Archives is the website www.docsteach.org.  At this website you’ll have access to thousands of primary sources…. Letters, photographs, speeches, posters, maps, videos and other document types…spanning the course of American history and we’re always adding more,” as was shown in Carol’s slide from the home page of this website.

(to be continued/completed next week)

Tuesday’s Trivia




Did you know that on May 6, 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order creating the Works Progress Administration (WPA). The WPA was just one of the many Great Depression relief programs all designed to put unemployed American to work in return for temporary financial assistance.

If you live within driving distance of the TriCities,  Donna Potter Phillips will be presenting a program on the WPA to the Tri-City Genealogical Society on Wednesday, May 9th. Come on down!


Tuesday Trivia

This is Part 1 of three parts of my article to summarize the presentation from Carol Buswell to my gene soceity, EWGS, last 7 April 2018;

Carol Buswell, from the National Archives at Seattle, was our afternoon speaker at our recent EWGS Spring Seminar. She was invited to teach us about the archives and how to find wanted records there.

Right off the bat she wanted us to know that “most generally, you do not search for a name in an archives; you search for a group of records pertaining to either the time period your person lived there, a geographic location,  or, perhaps to a government project or program he was involved with.” She really wanted us to realize that!

First off she asked did we know what a primary source was? We agreed that such are mostly documents created at or near the time of the event. “Well, she said, “ primary sources are what the archives collect.”  Such archives can be on the national, state, county or city level or they can be from companies, schools, historical societies, religious denominations, etc. But she was quick to point out the difference between public and private records and the National Archives collects only Federal Government-related, public records.

One slide Carol showed helped us to better understand:

Federal Agency Records are in the National Archives

State Agency Records are in the State Archives

County Agency Records are in the County Archives

City/Town Agency Records are in the City/Town Municipal Archives

A further explanation would be (hypothetically) rather like this, Carol explained. “Each agency holds records created since the inception of that agency.”

 *XYZ statehood date was 2 July 1820 so that state hold records FROM that date

  • ABC county was set off on 15 Sep 1824 so that county holds records FROM that date
  • EFG county was set off from ABC on 4 Mar 1830 so their records are FROM that date
  • CITY-A was created on 22 Dec 1844 so their records are FROM that date
  • CITY-B was set off from City-A on 5 Oct 1850 so their records are FROM that date

“Does that make sense to you?” Carol asked. “You cannot expect to find archival records from a time period when they did not have legal jurisdiction to gather records.”


NOTE: Please stay tuned for Parts 2 and 3 of my summary-article on Carol Buswell’s presentation to EWGS.


Tuesday Trivia


According to Wikipedia, the Shrimp Louie Salad originated in California….BUT if you were to come to Spokane and order that salad at the Davenport Restaurant you’d learn a different story! Here’s the scoop:

Chill out with some of Spokane’s best salads | The Spokesman-Review

Shrimp Louie is a traditional salad from California made with shrimplettuce, egg and tomato. The dressing is similar to Thousand Island dressing and is made with mayonnaise, ketchup, chili sauce, Worcestershire sauce, onion, salt, and pepper. Shrimp Louie originated in San Francisco in the early 1900s.

Tuesday Trivia

We here in Washington all recognize a Douglas Fir. But do we know who named that tree?? Reading a book on Perth, Scotland (hoping for ancestor information), p. 16-17 of “Perth & Kinross: The Big Country” by Jeremy Duncan, 1997, caught my eye. “The Douglas Fir was named after David Douglas who was born in Scone in 1799 and was the first to bring back to this country (Scotland) the seeds of that great tree.Well over 200 other plants wee introduced to European soil by Douglas including the Sitka spruce, the flowering currant…… and a host of others. He is commemorated by a tall memorial erected in 1841 in the grounds of Scone Old Church. A panel on the reverse lists some of the hundreds of plants he discovered.”

Surprise your friends with your newly-learned trivia info about our Washington state Douglas Fir!

Tuesday Trivia

Some tombstone inscriptions from the 18th century that I found in a book on Rattray Parish, Perthshire, Scotland: This one was 1754.

“Remember man impartial fate knocks at the cottage and the palace gate.

Life’s span forbids these to extend thy cares and stretch thy hopes beyond thy years.

Night soon will seize and you must go to frightful ghosts and dismal shades below.”


“Not gone from memory nor from love

but to our Father’s home above.”


“We loved them much, we loved them well.

We loved them more than tongue can tell.

God loved them too and thought it best

To take them home with Him to rest.”


Have you given any thought to what thoughts/words you’d want inscribed onto your tombstone?

Tuesday Trivia


Parnell, Washington, founded on 6 Aug 1889, on a site about 1/2 mile south of Hartline. Ever heard of it???

Even Grandma Google couldn’t find anything on this bitsy place! Seems it’s been forgotten? (There were several hits for folks named Parnell Washington, oddly enough.)

Parnell was established because of the need to survey the line for the railroad…..which failed to materialize. So the hopeful founding fathers, Brower & Reeves, moved their merchandise store from Parnell to Hartline and indeed, the Northern Pacific Railroad did come through Hartline a bit later. The town of Hartline was named by John Hartline on 28 Jul1890.

Anybody in WSGS have an ancestral connection to Parnell or even Hartline???

Tuesday Trivia`

Prospective parents ponder long and hard to find just the right name for their baby. This is true today and it certainly must have been true yesterday. In our genealogy we often “fuss” when Richard Allen-1 names his son Richard Allen-2 and then comes Richard Allen-3, and so on. But we raise our eyebrows equally high to find some downright (          ) (you fill in the blank!!) first names. I say odd, unusual, seemingly crazy and hard to spell much less pronounce.

Did you read where Kanye West and Kim Kardashian have three children named, North (girl), Saint (boy) and now Chicago (girl). Those dear children will never find their name on a doodad.

Yesterday first-naming a baby was no different. Cases in point:

Nicholas, King of the Jews……….. a baby boy in 1870 in Tennessee.

Alabama, Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia, all big sisters to baby brother Northwest Territory, another census finding.

What crazy-odd-funny-unusual first names are found in your family tree?

(Thanks to Google and “meandmason” blog on WordPress.)