Gehrke Windmill Garden at Grand Coulee

Emil Albert and Stella Veva Gehrke had lived in the Grand Coulee area since 1958. In 1965 Emil began his unusual occupation of making windmills from scrap metal. The couple traveled some 62,000 miles picking up thrown-away materials to create over 500 windmills, whirligigs, and merry-go-rounds in their yard. Emil died in 1979 and Stella followed in 1980. Some 120 of their many windmills were acquired by the town of Grand Coulee and are displayed at North Dam Park as a memorial to the Gehrkes.

I visited this unique Washington garden last weekend and signed the guest book…. bottom photo…. even the guest book cover is made from an old rusty 8×11 pan. Do  stop whenever your travels take you through Grand Coulee. You will enjoy seeing this, I guarantee.


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Central Branch, WA State Archives, Ellensburg Visit

I took some extra time before the recent state conference in Ellensburg to visit the Central Washington Branch of the Washington State Archives.

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Brigid Clift is the director of the Archives Branch and a most sunshiny and helpful gal she was! I emailed her ahead of time with a short list of things I wanted to view (their catalog/holdings is online) and she had them ready for me, no problem.

One really fun thing I wanted to look at was a mimeographed newsletter titled The Goodfruit Grower. The first issue of this local publication..

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Pend Oreille County: Historic & Beautiful


Pend Oreille County is located in the far upper northeast corner of Washington and boasts some of the state’s most stunning natural beauty as well as being rich in history. The Pend Oreille runs through it and is one of only 20 north-flowing rivers in the U.S.

How many cave tours are there in Washington? One is Gardner Caves where rangers will lead you down 500 feet and let you experience true darkness when all the flashlights are turned off. Nearby is the tour of Boundary Dam, so named due to its proximity to the border.

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New From Ancestry: Ancestor Discoveries

Posted by Anna Swayne on April 2, 2015 in Site

Today, we announced a new AncestryDNA experience called “New Ancestor Discoveries” based on years of research and development by our science team that is revolutionizing the way people discover, preserve, and share their family history. New Ancestor Discoveries combines DNA testing with the power of 65 million trees to help you discover your story in a way never before possible—until now.  Learn more about the announcement here.


This announcement from Ancestry appeared in their blog a month ago and I was excited to learn more. Then a couple of weeks later, Anna Swayne, Ancestry’s DNA Educator, posted a blurb, “Getting the Most from Your New Ancestor Discoveries.” I do recommend that you go ask Grandma Google (who knows everything) to read and learn more about this exciting development.

Bottom line, Ancestry is taking the results from the DNA that you or I submitted to Ancestry. Then they do their internal magic to make facts and connections know to us that were unknown previously.

Assuming you’ve taken the Ancestry DNA test, log into your Ancestry account, go to the DNA tab and check your DNA homepage. If you have a New Ancestor Discovery, it will show up on you results page! Maybe you will have none (currently, none, but do check back) and maybe you’ll have several. Just click on the card/circle about which you’d like to discover more information. It really is as simple as that. 

Of course, all the connections and facts that Ancestry finds for you will come from the Ancestry database but that is a good thing for Ancestry is one of biggest databases of information available to us.

I’m confident that there will be several learning opportunities and tutorials made available by Ancestry to help us learn about this new opportunity but I’m also confident that unless you go searching and want to learn, your new Ancestor Discoveries will remain hidden to you. “Try it, you’ll like it,” I do recommend.

Dedication of a Stone for George Murphy Civil War Marine

George Murphy was a Marine in the Civil War, and since there were only 4000 Marines in the Civil War, so to have two Marines buried in Spokane, Washington is kind of rare. George did not have any kind of a military marker at Fairmount Cemetery and so Barbara Brazington tried to get a Civil War marker for him, but since she was not related they refused, so she contacted the local Marine League, and they got a marker donated by a local company and set up a wonderful memorial service. Go here to see the full story .


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More from Ancestry: Ancestry Academy

Thought that since we started last week with some Big News from Ancestry, I would continue this week with more Big News from them.

Would you like to attend a free online lecture chosing from a dozen topics presented by Ancestry?

The Ancestry Academy is then the choice for you! Click to

There you will find the list of courses available to you. Most are 45-60 minutes in length, doable in one session (if you’ve been “down the hall” and have a water bottle and some snacks).

I could list all the topics but new topics are being added monthly so any list posted here would soon be incomplete.

Does it seem to you, like it does seem to me, that Ancestry is getting more and more worthwhile and worthy of our subscription? Yes, the Ancestor Discoveries ( explained last blog on May 11th) and this Ancestry Academy are free to us, but of course they all will point to using the Ancestry database. We cannot and we should not expect everything in genealogy to be free to us; some things are just worth the money.

Get started in using, understanding and appreciating Ancestry by sitting in your ‘jammies and watching an online presentation of your choice……. since they’re free, I advise taking two!


Civil War Images: Newly Found & Posted Online

Did you catch the article in your newspaper the other day titled “Library of Congress buys trove of Civil War images?”

This story told how “a Houston housewife who has quietly collected rare Civil War images for 50 years has sold more than 500 early photographs to the Library of Congress. The library announced the acquisition and is placing the first 77 images online.”

To me the cool thing about this is that they are almost all stereo-pictures, like the gizmo we used as children, the View Master.

Most of the images were taken by Confederate photographers and many are never-seen-before images.

Robin Stanford, the Houston grandmother who collected these images for over four decades, said the images are like ghosts form the past that reflect part of American history.

I cannot wait to click to the Library of Congress and take a look-see at some of these photos!


Do you know about and use Heritage Quest??

Mary Holcomb is a vitally important member of the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society. She was telling me recently about the updates with HeritageQuest/ProQuest, the public library online database. With her permission, I share her penned comments with you:


The “New” HeritageQuest —  By Mary Holcomb – March 2015

Heritage Quest/ProQuest  has for years been a genealogy tool available to all genealogists through their local public library (not individual subscription). Those who have used this database of information know its value and are excited about the transformation this website has undergone for our benefit. Those unfamiliar with the HQ database should plan a visit to your public library  and inquire about this. We just hope your public library has this subscription!  Now for Mary’s update:


I’m excited to be telling you about this update! As of March 3, 2015, HQ has undergone a face lift. The site is now powered by Ancestry with a different but similar search format.  I for one will miss the old search but find the new site exciting and very manageable. The images are much improved, the search boxes are user friendly and much more information is available.


There still are six major categories to search:

CENSUS — Includes all the US federal Population schedules (1970 – 1940). Slave, Non Population, Veterans Schedules and more. There is also included an extensive list of Indian Census Rolls.

BOOKS & DIRECTORIES —  lets you search where your ancestors lived with Local Histories from History Books and City Directories.

REVOLUTIONARY WAR —  Search has actual copies of the requests for pension and benefits for many soldiers and their spouses. I found this section much improved over the old search. I gained five more pages of information for my Patriot.

FREEMAN’S BANK —   A searchable data base of ancestors  (Afro American and white) who applied to a federal banking program during Reconstruction period after the Civil War (1865 – 1874).

US SERIAL SET —  A unique area to search for Information. If your ancestor petitioned a State Representative or the President for special help (Amnesty, exceptions to existing law or other assistance) paperwork documenting this could probably be found here.


While the above categories were made more user-friendly than the original versions, there are a couple new and very exciting additions. Under the HeritageQuest banner on the home page and next to SEARCH are RESEARCH AIDS and MAPS.

Here in MAPS you will find in one place, all the state’s county maps and how they changed over the years. The original states, new states and then the territory’s breaking down to the states as we now know them, It’s all here.   Down-loadable state research guides are available here as well.

RESEARCH AIDS is a gold mine. Tips and tricks to help when you get stuck are here. Sub categories for Military, Immigration, Census and ethnic Research are here. Also here are sections for “getting started” and “beyond the basics”.

I hope you will take a trip to your nearest public libary and check out the new HeritageQuest. This is truly another wonderful tool to add to your genealogy toolbox.



Washington State Town Names & More

Looking at a map of the Evergreen State, how many of our Washington place names are unique to Washington would you guess? Doing some Googling, I only found five:  Seattle, Port Townsend, Ritzville, Mossy Rock and Moses Lake. But my oh my the other names:

Custer  —  MN, SD;  Oak Harbor  —  TX, GA, FL, LA;  Spokane  —  OH, SD, MO, LA;  Bellingham  —  MN, SC, MA;  Arlington  —  13!;  DesMoines  —  CA, NM, IA;   Edmonds  —  ID, NC;  Raymond  —  11!;  Black Diamond  —  MT, PA, FL, AL, AR, AZ;  Cheney  —  ME, IA, KS, MO;  Pullman  —  AR, IL, TX, MI, WV;  Rosalia  —  KS;  Odessa  —  9!”   Starbuck  —  MN;  Colville  —  KY:  Chattaroy  —  WV;  Kettle Falls  —  MN;  Mesa  —  TX, MS, AR, AZ, CO (with many more with this as part of the name).


Here is a lesson for all of us.  She had come early to a meeting and took out the packet of photos she just picked up at Fred Meyer and was writing the particulars on the back of each photo. Would that we all would follow suit.




As you zoom along I-90 over Snoqualmie Pass, have you ever thought to stop at Snoqualmie Falls? The falls are quite magnificent (even on a gray day):

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In the parking-park, there is a kiosk explaining about the falls and the importance of these falls to the Snoqualmie people:

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And I realized that I had been mispronouncing the name all these years.

It is Sno-qual-mie and not Sno-qual-A-mie.  How about you?

Kinpoint….. New Kid On The Block…. Share The News!

Have you heard of Kinpoint??  This is a fairly new website that offers you simple-to-use help in filling in missing information and finding more branches of your family tree.

KinpointKinpoint is “family history simplified…. find records for missing information in minutes, not hours…. we’ll work for you, so you aren’t looking for a needle in a haystack…. quickly find and fix problems with your family history.”

How does this work? Kinpoint creates a fan chart with you as the center circle and your ancestors fanning out for as many generations are you want. The information populating this chart comes directly from your Family Search account.  

It’s easy to obtain a FamilySearch account, just log in to and create one….. and then upload your tree, in whatever genealogy program you have it, to FamilySearch.

I could go on for paragraphs but you must click to and try it for yourself.

Cost? A “whopping” $2.50 a month………. and if you sign-up really soon that price is locked in for life. Such a deal.

Please do check this out; you will be happy with the results and glad that you took the time. I promise!