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!

Tuesday’s Trivia

Did you know where Fort Worden (in Port Townsend) got its name?

We all saw Officer and Gentleman filmed there, right? And perhaps we’ve been there, right?

But did you know it was named after U.S. Navy Rear Admiral John Lorimer Worden (1818-1897), commander of the USS Monitor during the Civil War?? In 1862, commanding the Union’s only warship of this class, USS Monitor, Worden challenged the Confederate vessel Virginia, a converted steam-frigate that had sunk a Union blockader and damaged two others. After a four-hour battle, both ships withdrew, unable to pierce the other’s armour.

But why was a fort 3000 miles from any event in his life, and where he had never been, named for him???? Politics??

Tuesday Trivia

Was enjoying a browse through an 1876 Monitor Guide to Post Offices & Railroad Stations in the United States and Canada. It was fun to search and find four Washington cities listed: Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia and Spokane Bridge in Stevens County. That raised my eyebrows because I remembered that Spokane County was formed from Stevens County in 1858. Humm. And that was the only listing for Spokane. How come the inaccuracy, I wonder?


Walla Walla onions. Everybody knows and admires Walla Walla Sweet Onions. My sister-in-law in Missouri once hauled home a #30 bag of them! Did you know they were developed by an Italian family? Immigrants from the Lombardian village of Lonate Pozzolo in Italy (now a suburb of Milan), came to the Walla Walla area in 1857. By 1900 there were two thriving colonies of Italians living near Walla Walla. The iconic Walla Walla Sweet Onion emerged in the 1920s but the name wasn’t coined until 1960. They are unique because they have the highest moisture content and they are now a gourmet export onion. (Thanks to Columbia magazine for this.)


Tuesday Trivia

Do you know the difference between the two words


They are both nouns and according to Grandma Google, they are pretty much synonymous. Think of a query as a question of inquiry and a question as a sentence asking for information. Does that help? Maybe?

Why do I ask that today?  Well, TA-DA!

As of today, the WSGS blog will gladly accept and happily post (for all to see!) YOUR queries (or your questions?) pertaining to your Pacific Northwest ancestry.

Maybe your query will be like this: “John Peter Oswald died in the 1940s in the Seattle area but I cannot find his cemetery location….help?”  Or even this:  “My father served at Fairchild Air Force Base in the 1950s…could anyone in the area get on base to take a photo of the house where they lived?” Or this: “Are there any records for Point Roberts, Washington, which is accessible only through Canada?”

So whether you have a query or a question about any aspect of your Pacific Northwest ancestry, send them my wayDonna243@gmail.com   (P.S. We may set up a specific email for this; stay tuned.)

Tuesday Trivia….. Story from Virginia Majewski

A Washingtonian in Tennessee Looking for Kin by Virginia Majewski.

On a recent trip to visit my daughter and grandchildren living in Knoxville, Tennessee, I made time to do some research.  I found the East Tennessee History Center.  This archive is located in the heart of old downtown Knoxville at 601 Gay Street.    The History Center is a lovely old building with marble floors, high ceilings and old art hanging on the walls.  The first floor houses a gift shop and a museum, which is well worth the price of admission.  The second floor holds the archives of Knox County.  The third floor houses the McClung Historical Collection and is a genealogists’ paradise.  While the McClung Historical Collection specializes in records of Eastern Tennessee, it contains records from all over Tennessee and the South East and so much more.  All total this archive has over 75,000 books, 3,000+ printed genealogies, over 19,000 rolls of microfilm, city and phone directories, Native American and African American records, the “First Families of Tennessee” collection, old maps, photographs and much, much more.  One room alone is dedicated to information from all the counties in Tennessee and the room is huge!

Before visiting, check their website for information and the catalog of their collections, www.easttnhistory.org .  Ask for help when you arrive.  Be aware, no pictures may be taken or use of scanners of any kind are allowed.  You must check all your belongings into a locker when you enter.  Your papers must be submitted for examination before you leave.   Located ½ block from Market Square, many eateries are nearby when you are ready for a break.  Street parking is very limited, however there are two pay to park lots within a block.   If you have any Tennessee kin, you need to visit this archive.  Tell them Ginny from Sequim sent you.