Serendipity Friday


*** I saw the Geico gecko…. and he spoke nary a word.

*** Spanish woman gives birth at age 62…WOW.

*** Have you read a real/paper book lately?

*** Don’t we love a happy-ending adoption story?


This is serendipty trivia for sure…… while in Maui last January, I spotted the Geico gecko basking in the sunshine on a rock. He was not upright; he was not big-shiny eyed; he was not looking at nor speaking to me; he was not a very good Geico advertisement. And he was not driving a car!!


26 Oct 2016, Madrid, Spain:  A 62-year-old woman gave birth to a healthy girl and encourages women in their later years to imitate her if they want to. Sorry, NO WAY would I want to……how about you??? Having a teenager to deal with when you’re in your 80s??? Yikes.


2016, AP story in my paper:  Adult readers in the U.S. still strongly favor paper over e-books according to a new research study….. around 65% of those surveyed had read a paper book over the past year compared to only 28% who had read an e-book. Where you figure into these figures? How many book-books do you read in a year? How many e-books?


19 Dec 2016:  “A mother’s search for a Christmas gift for her adopted daughter took an unexpected twist. Jennifer Doering, of Wausaw, Wisconsin, wanted to give her 10-year-old daughter, Audrey, a copy of her “Finding Aid.” That’s the advertisement that under Chinese law is published after a child is “found” and placed in an orphanage as an infant. So to shorten a lovely long story, Jennifer scoured the records and contacted international help agencies and learned that Audrey had a twin! Within days, they found Gracie (adopted by a family in Richland, Wisconsin), and the two sisters were meeting and talking nearly every day through FaceTime “in a cloud of tears and haven’t stopped talking in a week.” Don’t we all wish them a long, happy and prosperous life?!?!

THE GENEALOGICAL FORUM’s Wednesday Evening E-News

THE GENEALOGICAL FORUM’s Wednesday Evening E-News 17 May 2017

For more information visit, contact us at, or call our library at 503-963-1932. We love hearing from you!

Also, if you missed your free copy of our monthly Insider for May 2017, you’re in luck because we saved you a copy HERE. NOTE: The Insider issues are now located under the “Learn” –> “Our Publications” menu at our new website (still

Curious about the status of your GFO Membership?? We’d love to have you as a GFO Member!


It’s GFO’s GenTalk This Saturday, May 20th, at 2pm

Don’t forget this month’s Free (don’t be silly! they’re always free) GenTalk!
WHERE: The GFO Library
WHEN: Saturday, May 20th, at 2 – 4pm
WHO: Author Zita Podany

Zita Podany will be presenting her book Vanport which is part of the Images of America series.

Zita is a longtime Portland resident with a wonderful new perspective on the history of this area that was lost so suddenly to raging flood waters on May 30, 1948.
Remember! All the GFO GenTalks are FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC so bring your history-lovin’ friends and family.


Call For Volunteers – Are ya feelin’ helpful? Are ya?!

The GFO needs your help and expertise in the following areas:
1. Fall & Spring Seminar Raffle Coordinator – This is a position for someone who loves organizing all the STUFF that we get as donations for the raffles we hold at each of our semi-annual seminars.

2. Tours Coordinator – We need someone who can be the point person to receive requests for tours of the GFO Library, and who can then communicate the subsequent needs for tour guides and research assistants with our Volunteer Coordinator, Cathy Lauer.

3. Marketing Committee Chair – This has been a vacancy for some time. We need someone who is willing to put himself or herself OUT THERE to promote all things GFO. This position would include coming up with a marketing strategy and looking for ways to advocate for GFO within the genealogical community. You know you want to!

4. Obituary Editor – We need a person to coordinate the writing/editing and polishing of obituaries for our GFO members and friends as needed (usually two per quarter). Some interviewing skills recommended.
Click HERE to submit a volunteer form or to request more information. We can’t wait to hear from you!


Birds do it, Bees do it, Every Generous Fred Meyer Shopper Does it!

Donate to the GFO while you shop?? That’s crazy!
Just link it! Linking your Fred Meyer Rewards Card to the GFO will automatically send a donation from good ol’ Freddy’s to the GFO, with no reduction in Rewards benefits to you. Click HERE to just link it!

How does this happen? This is part of Freddy’s very own “Community Rewards” program for sending separate corporation donations to non-profits and the like.

What if I don’t have a Fred Meyer Reward Card? Ask your local Fred Meyer checkout assistant for a Rewards Card application next time you’re at the register!

Won’t you help us get to 100? If 100 GFO members link their Freddy’s cards and continue to use them, the GFO could receive over $1,000 per year. Well!!?? What are we waiting for??


Remembering Those Who’ve Gone Before…

The GFO Bulletin is Calling for Stories!
Next year is the 100th anniversary of the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 and 1919.

The GFO is putting out a special call for articles having to do with the Spanish Flu for March 2018 Bulletin. Stories (500-5,000 words) about the Spanish Flu or how the Spanish flu touched their family.

The Bulletin Editorial Group invites readers to submit articles, essays, and other articles for publication in the Bulletin.

We look for articles that are of interest to members of the GFO and those that encourage the sharing and research of family history. We appreciate articles about families with Northwest connections, but welcome articles with other geographic focuses.

Possible topics include:
· memoirs
· personal essays
· problem-solving articles
· research articles
· source guides
· articles on family history travel
· how-to articles
· using technology
· transcriptions or extractions from original sources, i.e. Bibles

More info can be viewed here:

The submission deadline for the March 2018 Bulletin is January 1, 2018. Submissions should be sent to


This Week at the GFO…

GenTalk 9:30 – 11:30am

Nestled in the floodplain between North Portland and Vancouver, a housing project was built to help house World War II shipyard workers. Its very name, Vanport, is derived from Vancouver and Portland.

When the United States entered the war, the demand for ships and for workers to build those ships became a huge priority. Workers were recruited from all corners of the United States. Portland had a serious lodging shortage, so much so that these workers lived in cars, tents, parks, and whatever shelter could be found. Vanport, built in a little over a year, was a city that did not sleep.

In its heyday, Vanport was the second-largest city in Oregon with a population of over 40,000 residents. But on May 30, 1948, it was a city that disappeared.

This Saturday at the GFO, come hear Zita Podany discuss her book, Vanport, which is part of the Images of America series by Arcadia Publishing, celebrating the history of neighborhoods, towns and cities across the country.
Library Work Party 9am – noon

There’s another work party at the GFO library this Sunday for those of you who can make it! There’s lots to do and we’d love to have your help. Doors open at 9am and work usually wraps up around noon. Come for as long or as short as you can. Any time you can share is so invaluable. Hope to see you there.
Open Late Wednesday Night 9:30am – 8pm

Did you know the GFO Library is open late every Wednesday!? What’s that? You have after-dinner research you want to do or late-evening assistance finding information within one of GFO’s online database subscription sources? NO PROBLEM!! We’re open till 8pm every single Wednesday of the year, barring catastrophes, natural disasters, and holidays.

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.