GENEALOGICAL FORUM’s Thursday E-News

THE GENEALOGICAL FORUM’s Thursday Evening E-News Edition May 14, 2020
Thank you to all who have renewed their membership, especially those who included a donation with your renewal.
We are so grateful for your loyalty and support.
Renew Now
Curious about the status of your GFO Membership? We’d love to have you as a GFO Member! gfo.org | 503-963-1932 | info@gfo.org Be sure to check the complete GFO CALENDAR.
Also, don’t miss the current issue of The Forum Insider Want to share an easy-to-read version of this E-News? Click here.

GENEALOGICAL FORUM’s Thursday E-News

THE GENEALOGICAL FORUM’s Thursday Evening E-News Edition May 7, 2020
Memberships will be extended after we reopen.
Thank you to all who have renewed already, especially those who included a donation with your renewal.
We are so grateful for your loyalty and support.
Renew Now
Curious about the status of your GFO Membership? We’d love to have you as a GFO Member! gfo.org | 503-963-1932 | info@gfo.org Be sure to check the complete GFO CALENDAR.
Also, don’t miss the current issue of The Forum Insider Want to share an easy-to-read version of this E-News? Click here.

GENEALOGICAL FORUM’s Thursday 2020 E-News

THE GENEALOGICAL FORUM’s Thursday Evening E-News Edition April 23, 2020
Memberships will be extended after we reopen.
Thank you to all who have renewed already, especially those who included a donation with your renewal.
We are so grateful for your loyalty and support.
This is different from how I have posted the GFO Evening E-News before, they now have it in PDF format online, so click on the easy-to-read version below.
Want to share an easy-to-read version of this E-News? Click here

GENEALOGICAL FORUM’s Thursday 2020 E-News

THE GENEALOGICAL FORUM’s Thursday Evening E-News Edition April 16, 2020
Memberships will be extended one month beyond the date of our reopening.
Thank you to all who have renewed already, especially those who included a donation with your renewal.
We are so grateful for your loyalty and support.
Renew Now
Curious about the status of your GFO Membership? We’d love to have you as a GFO Member! gfo.org | 503-963-1932 | info@gfo.org Be sure to check the complete GFO CALENDAR.
Also, don’t miss the current issue of The Forum Insider Want to share an easy-to-read version of this E-News? Click here.
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GFO Interest Groups Go Virtual
These times have made it essential for all of us to adapt to self distancing and finding a new normal as far as interacting with family, friends, colleagues, and others in our orbit. Nowhere is this more apparent than in our media as we watch many of our newspeople, favorite performers, and a host of others reach out and connect to the wider world via electronic platforms. The GFO is no different, and while we work to inform you about a wide array of available resources, we are proud to provide resources to support and showcase our Special Interest Groups (SIG’s) as they transition to virtual meetings and webinars in order to provide the community with a continuing connection to their genealogical specialties. Below, in this issue, we have supplied details for two meetings this Saturday, April 18, along with registration information, for both the Genealogical Problem Solvers as well as the African American Interest Group. Next week, we will feature registration details on these additional upcoming meetings:
DNA Interest Groups Saturday, April 25 from 10:00 – 11:30 a.m., the Advanced DNA Group will be hosting a GoToMeeting Webinar, entitled, “Triangulation for atDNA – Three is Not a Crowd.” To see if this meeting might be useful for you, you can read the handout for the meeting, here. For additional info, contact Emily Aulicino at dna@gfo.org
FTM SIG The Family Tree Maker – Beginners Group, will hold its first virtual meeting on Sunday, April 26 at 1:00 p.m. If you’d like to sign up to attend, please request the meeting link from Laurel Smith at FTM@gfo.org. If you are interested in a particular topic or have expertise to share, reach out to the appropriate SIG and explore the possibilities. By working together, we can stay connected and help each other through these challenging times.
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GFO E-News Now Available in PDF Format
GFOPDF image How often have you considered sharing a copy of your weekly GFO E-News? We would like to make it easier for you to do just that. Take a look on the bottom of the banner of this newsletter. There is now a link which will enable you to access an easy to read copy of each week’s GFO E-News in PDF format. You can use it to archive a copy for your personal files, or you can share our content and send the link to your friends, to your colleagues, share it to your organization’s newsletter, or to your personal blog.
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Genealogical Problem Solvers Goes Virtual
GPS Logo GFO member Sheila has asked us to identify the parents of her 2nd great grandfather, Austin Baldwin, born 1810, in either Canada or New York. Ordinarily, border crossing records would help us sort out the family, but prior to April 1908, people were able to move freely across the U.S. border to Canada and back, and typically no record of immigration exists. Join the Genealogical Problem Solvers at our virtual meeting on Saturday, April 18, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. as the GPS team sorts out the Baldwin family as they moved from the East Coast to Iowa and on to the Pacific Northwest. To obtain the link to join the meeting, contact Katy Daly at gps@gfo.org.
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African American Special Interest Group Webinar
AA Sig Join the African American SIG online this Saturday, April 18 at 12:00 p.m. as group member Sherylita Mason shares methods that have enabled her to break down brick walls. She will explain how she used autosomal DNA to identify living and recent family connections and include traditional genealogy research, going back as far as a 3rd-great-grandfather. She hopes her methods can also help you in your research. Please use the button below to register for: DNA: Connecting the Present and Past (GFO AA SIG) on Apr 18, 2020 12:00 PM PDT. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. If you have any questions, contact african_american@gfo.org
Register for Webinar Here
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Yes, We Take PayPal
paypal A very kind GFO member wrote to us last week wondering if we accept donations via PayPal. Yes! Thank you! We are so grateful for any support you can lend. While our website is set up to accept donations via credit card, if you prefer to use PayPal, just log into your PayPal account and select “Send Money,” then send it to payments@gfo.org.
(Please be sure to use .org, not .com.) Be sure to enter a note to let us know that you are making a donation. Or, you can always follow the tried and true method by giving online with a credit card. Either way, we thank you for your ongoing support!
Yes, I’ll be there for the GFO!
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Offer: Professional Help at a Discount, Bonus for GFO
ltg logo1 Feeling overwhelmed? Perhaps you’ve considered hiring a professional genealogist to help. Legacy Tree has a team of pros (including the GFO’s own Kate Eakman) available, and they’ve made a special offer to help you and the GFO at the same time. Click the button below to get $50 off and the GFO will receive a 10% bonus.
Go to Legacy Tree Offer
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Election: GFO Members Please Vote!
Vote We have an official ballot now for this year’s GFO Board election. Vince Patton is running for re-election as president. Alexa Waddle is running for secretary. Joyce Grant-Worley seeks re-election as a Director at Large. And Geoff Smith has offered to serve again on our Endowment Committee. While voting on a GFO election may not seem like a top priority right now, our bylaws require that the election be held. We are attempting to follow our bylaws despite the difficult circumstances. Only active GFO members are eligible to vote. The Forum Insider for April included (page 5) online voting instructions. The deadline is Monday, May 4 at 5 p.m.
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Hall of Fame Nominations Sought
cup-1010916 640 You have two weeks left to send us your GFO Hall of Fame Nominations! Any GFO member may nominate another member by May 1. Nominees must have a well-documented history of service, leadership, and accomplishment in more than one facet of the GFO, over a long period of time.
Please include:
* Name, list of services, activities, positions, and accomplishments;
* A narrative describing the nature of their work in terms of its importance to the success of the GFO;
* A short biography.
Please send to secretary@gfo.org by May 1.
The board will decide if any merit selection. Winners are awarded in June and receive a free Life Membership and their name on our Hall of Fame plaque.
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What’s New in Online Digital Resources
cable-4498741 1920 tip Since we are unable at this time to process new books and new digital content for the GFO Library, we will be temporarily suspending our “What’s New” weekly feature. In this time of physical distancing and responsible sheltering in place, we will instead share online resources so that you can reach out and connect as well as continue to learn and build on your genealogy skills from home.
ConferenceKeeperVirtual Here is a good site to save in your bookmarks. Tami and Conference Keeper is constantly updating her list of virtual genealogy events.
Many of them are free.
genealogy-bingo Legacy Tree Genealogists has some great suggestions on their page, “When Life Gives You Lemons: Genealogy Activities for Coronavirus Quarantine.” They have some creative ideas and have even supplied a fun genealogy bingo card with suggestions to help spark your genealogy creativity.
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Survey Results: Recent Discoveries
We asked to hear about any exciting genealogical discoveries you’ve made during this “stay at home” time. A few people replied, and their responses have been edited for brevity. • I found a new cousin on Facebook who added information to what I know.
• I finally found what happened to the daughter of a 2nd great-grandfather from his first marriage and consequently a bunch of half 1st and 2nd cousins.
cook-1375788 1920 • I always wanted recipes from my relatives. Yesterday, I found 3 from my maternal grandmother (d.1953) that were published in a fundraising cookbook. They were submitted by her sister in 1914 and 1920. Can’t wait to try them.
• I learned my husband’s great aunt died from the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918 at the tender age of 9. No current family member knew about this. It’s ironic I learned this during our COVID-19 pandemic.
• I am cleaning up on lots of research and entering all the newfound stuff into RootsMagic and MyHeritage.
• My grandmother’s best friend in the new world was someone we called Auntie Jean Kingston. My grandmother had said they came over together on the boat. I’d found the ship manifest listing grandma but no one with the first name of Jean. I found the B.C., Canada, marriage records to find her maiden name. Sure enough, she was on the ship with an unusual last name and Jane as her first name, not Jean. Not that surprising, since Grandma had surprised me when I found she has christened Jane but called Jean by her family. In all her documents, since coming to Canada, she was Jean, I don’t know if my dad or uncle even knew her original name.
• More than a year ago I contacted most of my 23 cousins with an offer to share the family history I had. Almost nobody replied. Then, just after Christmas 2019, a cousin called. We met and shared lots of information. She must have clout with the family. Now, everybody is reaching out to me. Couldn’t have happened at a better time!
steinbach-56641 1920 • I am working on school records in Columbia and Washington Counties, Oregon. The U.S. federal census records often record if a person (child) was attending school during that year and/or if they were teaching. The school records are from 1871 to 1889. It is interesting to look back in time at a community and how it evolved. Such records may be buried at local repositories.
• I discovered through DNA, a cousin from a line of family that we did not know existed. I found that my great-grandmother had married a second time and had several (previously unknown) children. Because of DNA I was able to find him, and in turn, he was able to find his father’s birth certificate which had our common grandmother on it. I then shared a picture of our common 2x great-grandmother with him.
• My grandmother came to Argyle, Illinois, with her family when she was 3 years old. I found that almost all the residents of the village (in the late 1800s) had come from the Argyll/Campbelltown area of Scotland. I also found a website by the Ralston family who had posted a link to an entire book about the village! It was amazing to see information about the village when my great-grandmother, her siblings, and her parents were living there – and they were mentioned as well!
• I found that James A Brady died of tuberculosis. The family thought he and his wife died in the Spanish Flu pandemic.
• I discovered the maiden name of the wife of one of my husband’s ancestors on Ancestry when I viewed the death certificate of their son.
• I stumbled across the Find A Grave memorial for my great-granduncle. He died in southern Oregon but was buried here in Portland—and the person who created the fabulous, fact-filled memorial is someone I know at the GFO! Thanks Jan!
New Survey: How Else Can We Stay Connected?
woman-789146 1920 We’re all in this together. And we can help each other get through it. GFO is providing the resources for you to connect with the Special Interest Groups, we send you the weekly eNews, and we’re brainstorming other ways to help our members stay connected. We’re looking for feedback and for other ideas that we may not have considered. Please, take our survey now.
Take the Survey Now
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This week at GFO …
The Week Ahead:
The GFO Research Library is closed, and all on-site groups, classes, and work parties are canceled.
Saturday, April 18
Genealogy Problem Solvers 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Join us online for a virtual meeting as we tackle the brick wall surrounding Austin Baldwin. See article above and contact gps@gfo.org to obtain a link to join the meeting.
African American Group 12:00 – 2:00 p.m.
Webinar led by Sherylita Mason: DNA: Connecting the Present and Past.. Registration Required. See details and link to registration in article above. Questions may be sent to african_american@gfo.org.

GENEALOGICAL FORUM’s Thursday 2020 E-News

THE GENEALOGICAL FORUM’s Thursday Evening E-News Edition April 9, 2020
Memberships will not expire during the crisis, and will be extended a month beyond the date of our re-opening. Curious about the status of your GFO Membership? We’d love to have you as a GFO Member! You may renew online with a credit card now; membership materials will be sent later after the closure ends. We are grateful for all your support.
gfo.org | 503-963-1932 | info@gfo.org Be sure to check the complete GFO CALENDAR.
Also, don’t miss the current issue of The Forum Insider
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GFO Adapts to a Different World
GFO’s Italian Special Interest Group met online. Have you been feeling a bit numb? Being out of touch takes a toll. What a pleasure then it was to be able to see and talk to fellow GFO members. On Tuesday, Stephanie Silenti held the Italian Special Interest Group meeting online via Zoom video conferencing. And on Wednesday, the Library Committee got a chance to catch up in the virtual world too. Yes, we had a glitch or two. No one cared. We got to chat while we waited.
1-Library Video Meeting GFO’s Library Committee had a virtual meeting that cheered everyone up. Library Chair Laurel Smith said it felt very healing to finally see and talk with each other again. I couldn’t agree more. The GFO will have some more virtual special interest group meetings and you’ll get advance notice of them here. I hope you’ll take part and find them as valuable as I have.. We got a bit of good financial news in the last week. Ancestry and Fold3 have agreed to suspend our pricey contracts for as long as the library is closed. They’ll extend our subscription by an equivalent number of months. If you’re a member, we’d welcome your renewal online using a credit card. It would certainly help us to continue paying our rent. (This keeps 74-years of collected holdings safe and sound for the future.) You’ll still receive an extension of your membership once our shutdown ends, and membership materials will be sent later. (Sorry, please, no checks sent by mail to an empty library at this time.) ▪ Vince Patton GFO President
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Access Ancestry From Home For Free
We wish we had the website infrastructure to extend our library edition of Ancestry to you at home.
ancestry-logo2 MCL
Absent that, here’s the next best thing. If you live in Multnomah County, Oregon, or one of many of its surrounding areas, the Multnomah County Library is now offering you remote access from your computer. If you don’t currently have a card, you can learn how to get one online, here. Once you have your card, you can then use the Library’s Ancestry subscription.
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Virtual Events Galore
Virtual Events We might as well make the best of being stuck at home. What a great time to learn new genealogy skills! (Some of you already have. Please see the survey results below.) The genealogy conference website Conference Keeper has launched a new page dedicated to online events. Tami, the organizer of the site, is doing a great job compiling virtual genealogy lessons from all over the country. Many of them are free. Check this page and bookmark it. She updates it regularly.
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60 Minutes Features a New Method to Preserve History
Genealogists may be very interested in a report done by Leslie Stahl during the April 5, 2020, broadcast of CBS’s 60 Minutes. Stahl reported on the Dimensions in Testimony project designed by Heather Maio, who wanted to build upon the more than 55,000 stories of Holocaust survivors that have been recorded by Steven Spielberg’s Shoah Foundation and take them a step further.
Lesley Stahl speaks with Aaron Elster’s digital image. Copyright © 2020 CBS Interactive Inc. All rights reserved. The aim of Maio’s project is to preserve the stories of remaining Holocaust survivors in a way that allows them to directly answer future generations’ questions about their experiences. Through the use of Artificial Intelligence, coupled with advanced filming techniques, people can interview these survivors directly. In fact, Leslie Stahl “speaks” to one survivor, Aaron Elster, who passed away two years ago. The creation of this interactive video database involves meticulous work as well as extensive testing – even by school children. People who have used the system hint at the possibilities for genealogists and historians going forward. “There wasn’t one person, literally not one, that didn’t ask me if they could do a similar interview with either a loved one, [or] for themselves,” Maio said. She has started an independent company that is trying to expand the use of this technology. “Recording interviews with other historical figures like astronauts, and eventually with anyone at all.” To read the story or view the video, click here.
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Election: GFO Members Please Vote!
Vote We have an official ballot now for this year’s GFO Board election. Vince Patton is running for re-election as president. Alexa Waddle is running for secretary. Joyce Grant-Worley seeks re-election as a Director at Large. And Geoff Smith has offered to serve again on our Endowment Committee. While voting on a GFO election may not seem like a top priority right now, our bylaws require that the election be held. We are attempting to follow our bylaws despite the difficult circumstances. Only active GFO members are eligible to vote. The Forum Insider for April included online voting instructions.
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Hall of Fame Nominations Sought
cup-1010916 640 You have three weeks left to send us your GFO Hall of Fame Nominations! Any GFO member may nominate another member by May 1. Nominees must have a well-documented history of service, leadership, and accomplishment in more than one facet of the GFO, over a long period of time.
Please include:
* Name, list of services, activities, positions, and accomplishments;
* A narrative describing the nature of their work in terms of its importance to the success of the GFO;
* A short biography.
Please send to secretary@gfo.org by May 1.
The board will decide if any merit selection. Winners are awarded in June and receive a free Life Membership and their name on our Hall of Fame plaque.
***
What’s New in Online Digital Resources
cable-4498741 1920 tip Since we are unable at this time to process new books and new digital content for the GFO Library, we will be temporarily suspending our “What’s New” weekly feature. In this time of physical distancing and responsible sheltering in place, we will instead share online resources so that you can reach out and connect as well as continue to learn and build on your genealogy skills from home.
This week, we present some leads from GFO Italian SIG leader Stephanie Silenti. In addition to Family Tree Webinars, which is offering a free webinar every day in April, there are even more to choose from. Here are three:
©2020 New York Genealogical & Biographical Society The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society is also offering many free webinars. They do ask you to register, but webinars in April are free.
© 1996–2020 New England Historic Genealogical Society. All Rights Reserved. In addition, the New England Historic Genealogical Society has several upcoming events that are free on the American Ancestors website. Click here to see a list of all their webinars and scan for the ones marked as “free.”
© 2020 Bode Cellmark Forensics, Inc. All rights reserved If you’d like to learn more about DNA and forensic genealogy, Bode Technology is offering a number of webinars, too.
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Support the GFO With Your Grocery Shopping
FredMeyer Rewards Wondering how you can support preserving our history while stuck at home? Here’s any easy way that doesn’t cost you any extra. Please register your Fred Meyer Rewards Card to link it with the Genealogical Forum of Oregon.
Each time you shop, Fred Meyer donates to the GFO, based on your spending. But it does not affect the price you pay. What a great win-win! We thank all of you who’ve done this already. It’ll help us to pay the bills that are still due monthly, even while we are closed.
Link Your Fred Meyer Card Here
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Survey Results: Acquiring New Skills
Some of our respondents shared information about new skills they’ve acquired during their time at home.
letters-2794215 1920 I watched 5 Top Websites to Decipher the German Handwriting. It introduced me to a couple of tools I didn’t know about. The webinar was free and I don’t know how long it may be available. I have been tracing some of the new information that My Heritage constantly turns out, only to find that the actual documents are often stored with FamilySearch which brings me right back to the GFO. I accidentally found important information on the Church History Library website from the LDS Church. This is different from the Family History Library, but both are located in SLC. The Church History Library is found across from the large Church Headquarters building and the Church Conference Center. I have not been there physically, but their online catalog can be very helpful. Watched a terrific free webinar on copyright by Judy Russell. It’s will make me think twice before I snag pictures from Find A Grave and newspaper websites and upload them to my Ancestry tree.
old-photos-1941272 1920 I learned some tricks for searching for the women in my lines from a webinar from the Florida Genealogical Society and watched several Rootstech presentations on German genealogy that were interesting. Colorizing black and white photos on My Heritage and creating a family tree, thanks to the GFO for communicating this temporarily free service! I have been studying BCG’s Genealogical Standards. The second edition came out in 2019. I have also been reading background material for pre-Civil War cousins from the south; just finished Slaves in the Family and am starting Mary Chesnut’s Civil War. I learned how to watch my ancestors on the FamilySearch tree so I know when changes have been made to them. Sometimes the change is record I don’t have. Sometimes it’s a mistake I can fix. I discovered I can also easily reach out to the person who made the change to see why they made it and find out if we’re related. Extremely valuable.
New Survey: Recent Discoveries?
philatelist-1844080 1920 Most of us are stuck at home, and most of those we’ve heard from tell us they are doing more genealogy than normal. We can all use a little inspiration, so, this week, we’d like you to tell us about a discovery you’ve made recently. Please share via our survey.
Take our survey now
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This week at GFO …
The GFO Research Library is closed, and all on-site groups, classes, and work parties are canceled.
Tuesday, April 14: 6 p.m.
GFO Board will meet by video conference.

GENEALOGICAL FORUM’s Thursday 2020 E-News

THE GENEALOGICAL FORUM’s Thursday Evening E-News Edition April 2, 2020
Memberships will not expire during the crisis, and will be extended a month beyond the date of our re-opening. You may renew online with a credit card now; membership materials will be sent later after the closure ends. We are grateful for all your support.
gfo.org | 503-963-1932 | info@gfo.org Be sure to check the complete GFO CALENDAR.
Also, don’t miss the current issue of The Forum Insider
GFO Remains Closed
Originally, we announced the GFO Library would be closed until April 1. Unfortunately, that’s not long enough. Medical experts currently say the peak of COVID-19 cases may come in mid- May. It will take several more weeks after that of steady decline before we can safely get together. If they’re wrong and it peaks earlier, we still have to wait for substantial declines, which could take weeks. ▪ Therefore, the only responsible thing to do is to close the GFO Library through May. ▪ Boot Camp is canceled, as are all Special Interest Group meetings. ▪ A few of our Special Interest Groups have expressed an interest in meeting online by video. Read the next article below for the first one!The Forum Insider for May and the Bulletin in June will be available only in electronic format.
We’re Minding Your Donations & Membership Dollars Safety is the first thing we consider in all our decisions during this pandemic. But we’re also trying to find ways to save money. It’s disheartening to pay monthly bills on a library we cannot open. We are fortunate to be all-volunteer. It would be much more complicated – and expensive – if we had employees. We’d like to publicly thank three vendors who have shared the pain with us to help save us money. Pacific Office Automation is giving us three free months on the lease of our copier. That machine is our workhorse, printing the Insider, Bulletin, and scanning thousands of pages in our digitizing project. It’s also our second largest expense. We agreed to an extended lease with them and they lowered our payments too, when we start paying again. Likewise, WAVE Broadband agreed to suspend our internet service while the library is in “hibernation.” AbeBooks, through whom we sell used books, has also refunded us monthly fees while we are unable to fulfill book orders. They all accepted less money knowing we’re bringing in less. Unfortunately, our landlord, NAI Elliott, only offered to delay payments until later, if we accepted a lease extension. They did not offer any actual savings. Since it does not help our bottom line, we declined. Suppliers of our pricey genealogy databases say they’re not able to suspend service. So, how do we stand overall financially? I’m confident we will weather this storm. That’s because previous GFO leadership saw the importance of creating an emergency reserve fund, and an Endowment. Thank you predecessors! We are setting the budget for the new fiscal year which starts in July. We are certain to need to draw from our reserves. The coming year will be one for tight belts. GFO’s Board will consider the budget at its meeting on April 14 (via video link) and I’ll report back to you after that. If you’d like to continue supporting us, we welcome any donations online with a credit card. Also, you may renew your membership (or join) online with a credit card. Your membership materials will be sent after the library reopens. We cannot accept checks at this time. Please don’t mail anything in; no one is there to receive it. Most important, be safe, and stay well. ▪ Vince Patton, GFO President
Italian Group Goes Virtual
GFO Italian Interest Group leader Stephanie Silenti passes on this invitation: It looks like we have a good amount of interest to move the SIG to digital/video next week, so let’s do it! I will figure out those details and get them out to you this week. For now, please hold our USUAL TIME SLOT for Tuesday, April 7, 10am PT, for a digital gathering. The topic, I think, will be twofold:
a. Check in, say hello, remind you that it’s COMPLETELY NORMAL if you’ve struggled to continue your research while we adjust to these new circumstances.
b. Sharing which genealogy resources have opened up for free in the last few weeks. There have been several. I will try to pull a list together but perhaps we can collaborate. Keep a list of any you know of, and we can share them on Tuesday. Also, if video meetings are new technology for you, don’t worry. This is how I earn a living — I do it daily. I’m confident we can get you all up to speed. If you would like to join in on this webinar, please email Italian@gfo.org.
ORForum—An Interactive Way to Get Answers to Your Genealogy Questions
Did you know that the GFO has an online community of members who can help answer your genealogy questions and point you to the resources you need? Or help you figure out the handwriting on a census or baptism record? Or even recommend a great place to eat when you visit Salt Lake City? If you would like to join this group or just check out the posts simply click below.
Go to ORForum
Flashback: 1918 Pandemic Shutdown
Here’s how the newspaper in Brownsville, Oregon, covered the 1918 pandemic shutdowns. Thanks to Linda Lewis McCormick from the local historical society there for finding this, and to GFO Members Don & Doxie Cook for passing it along.
GFO Board Election Now Open
We have an official ballot now for this year’s GFO Board election. Vince Patton is running for re-election as president. Alexa Waddle is running for secretary. Joyce Grant-Worley seeks re-election as a Director at Large. And Geoff Smith has offered to serve again on our Endowment Committee. While voting on a GFO election may not seem like a top priority right now, our bylaws require that the election be held. We are attempting to follow our bylaws despite the difficult circumstances. Only active GFO members are eligible to vote. The Forum Insider for April included online voting instructions.
Hall of Fame Nominations Sought
We are still looking for GFO Hall of Fame Nominations! Any GFO member may nominate another member by May 1. Nominees must have a well-documented history of service, leadership, and accomplishment in more than one facet of the GFO, over a long period of time.
Please include:
* Name, list of services, activities, positions, and accomplishments;
* A narrative describing the nature of their work in terms of its importance to the success of the GFO;
* A short biography.
Please send to secretary@gfo.org by May 1.
The board will decide if any merit selection. Winners are awarded in June and receive a free Life Membership and their name on our Hall of Fame plaque.
What’s New in Online Digital Resources
Since we are unable at this time to process new books and new digital content for the GFO Library, we will be temporarily suspending our “What’s New” weekly feature. In this time of physical distancing and responsible sheltering in place, we will instead share online resources so that you can reach out and connect as well as continue to learn and build on your genealogy skills from home. • In a recent GenealogyBank blogpost, Gena Philibert-Ortega describes five ways family historians can use library services even when the building itself is closed. Check out her entry entitled Genealogy during Quarantine: 5 Things to Do When the Library Is Closed. • How many of us wish we had a diary or journal from an ancestor who lived through the 1918 Spanish Influenza Pandemic? The Genealogy Reporter, Amie Bowser Tenant has some suggestions for creating your own journal of memories related to our current Covid-19 experience in her post, Journaling about the Coronavirus Pandemic of 2020. • Looking for fun ways to engage kids in finding family history? The National Archives is providing downloadable family trees and charts for kids of all ages. What a great way to spend some of your time with your loved ones in this time of physical distancing. While there, check out some of their other Educator Resources.
Survey Results: Spending Time
Just as we suspected, most of our survey respondents say they’ve been doing more genealogy during the current health crisis. Organization is high on the list. Here’s a sampling of what they’ve been doing:
Writing a family history of one of my ancestral couples. I also wish I had time to organize my files, etc. My room looks like I’m a CPA! Trying to read old French, Spanish and German documents.
Focusing on records I have collected but not put into my data base. Reading newly acquired reference books and preparing for upcoming presentations. Finding people to send old “non-family” photos to. Working on my Ancestry ThruLines, writing to DNA matches. I have been trying to get back to people who have contacted me from my DNA matches. It is hard to maintain ongoing conversations with all these people, but they are so important to moving my research forward. I’ve been researching, organizing, and reading the book “Tracing Your German Roots Online” by James Beidler. Investigating Family Tree webinars through the link the GFO provided (Thanks so much!).
This has given me a chance to catch up on some online classes. I am going through a lot of loose papers to extract information and organize things. I have a new great-grandson, and I have been working on a booklet for him. I am transcribing an old school/cemetery ledger book from 1871 to 1892 for our community. I’m finally taking time to watch some webinars, and I’ve begun to tackle the gargantuan task of organizing my digital images. Pounding my head on brick walls.
New Survey: Acquiring New Skills
Some of you told us you’re reading books, others are watching webinars. We love to hear about any new skills or tips you’ve learned in the last few weeks.
Take our survey now
This week at GFO …
The Week Ahead: The GFO Research Library is closed, and all on-site groups, classes, and work parties are canceled. Tuesday, April 7 10 a.m. – Noon Italian Special Interest Group meets by video conference. (See article above for details.)

GENEALOGICAL FORUM’s Thursday 2020 E-News

THE GENEALOGICAL FORUM’s Thursday Evening E-News Edition March 26, 2020
Memberships will not expire during the crisis, and will be extended a month beyond the date of our re-opening.
gfo.org | 503-963-1932 | info@gfo.org Be sure to check the complete GFO CALENDAR.
Also, don’t miss the current issue of The Forum Insider
You Are Not Alone
Sign in Ford Food & Drink cafe above the GFO. We are home.
All of us.
Living through one of the most significant events in world history. At the GFO we are more concerned than ever for the well being of you whom we serve. This week, Oregon Governor Kate Brown issued an Executive Order instructing everyone to stay at home, and closing all non-essential businesses. This means we will not re-open as hoped on April 1. Our shutdown is now indefinite. It’s vital that we protect each other by staying a safe distance from each other to slow the spread of COVID-19. In the midst of this great time of uncertainty, I think it’s worth reminding all of us that the history we preserve matters. Libraries like ours provide valuable spaces to gather. Unfortunately, that is a service we cannot fulfill at this time. Our collections contain our ancestors’ stories, and ours too, all saved for future generations. We will survive and return. In the meantime, we hear that a number of you are making some great genealogy discoveries as you have extra time for online research. As we hear about more online research opportunities, we’ll pass them on here in our weekly E-News and on our GFO Facebook page. The GFO has already begun looking at how this crisis will affect our budget. We’re spending money while unable to provide on site services. To that end, we’ve asked vendors and our landlord if they’ll offer any relief in the monthly bills we pay for services we’re not currently able to offer. Finally, I’d like to echo the message from a sign on the window of Ford Food and Drink, the café upstairs from the GFO: You Are Not Alone. ▪ Vince Patton, President
GFO Board Election Now Open
We have an official ballot now for this year’s GFO Board election. Vince Patton is running for re-election as president. Alexa Waddle is running for secretary. Joyce Grant-Worley seeks re-election as a Director at Large. And Geoff Smith has offered to serve again on our Endowment Committee. While voting on a GFO election may not seem like a top priority right now, our bylaws require that the election be held. We are attempting to follow our bylaws despite the difficult circumstances. Only active GFO members are eligible to vote. You will receive ballot instructions in The Forum Insider for April. Please note that the Insider is only being delivered electronically this month. Due to our closure, we are unable to print it.
GFO British Group Offers Resources Instead of Meeting
Our British Special Interest Group is offering links and resources in lieu of its usual meeting. Click on the link “England and Wales Civil Registration” for a free webinar, offered by FamilySearch. Before watching the webinar, you can familiarize yourself with what is available by going to the FamilySearch Wiki: English Civil Registration. Duane Funk, the leader of this group, is working on other resources to share. If you’d like to be added to his group’s email list, please contact him at uk@gfo.org.
1918 Flu Pandemic More Relevant Than Ever
Amid the current crisis, a number of stories have mentioned the 1918 flu pandemic. It was nicknamed the “Spanish Flu” despite the very first case being detected in Kansas. (New Yorker, 1997). GFO member pointed out a fascinating local Portland blog called Alameda Old House History, which recently focused on how hard that pandemic hit Oregon. In October of 1918, the city health bureau said that Portland remained dangerous. Of note, there was a ban on public gatherings. That sounds familiar. That ban was lifted and flu cases surged, increasing by 50% in one week.
Doug Decker is behind the Alameda Old House History website. He writes, “The first mention in the papers in early October 1918 was a simple sentence buried on an inside page: “Seattle thinks it is getting the flu.” At first, the news percolated in conversation and people weren’t sure what to make of it. Jokes were made in small talk:
Decker continues, “But on October 10th, Portland Mayor George Baker implemented an order that required downtown businesses to close by late afternoon each day, and completely closed “schools, churches, lodges, public places of meetings, and places of amusement.”
To read the complete blog entry, click here.
Text and images reprinted with permission of Doug Decker
American Ancestors Offers Free Organizing Guide
© 1996–2018 New England Historic Genealogical Society. All Rights Reserved. Now is your time to get a free digital copy of The Portable Genealogist: Organizing Your Research, from American Ancestors. “No matter how monumental the task of organizing your research may seem, a systematic method saves valuable time and creates more accurate work. This Portable Genealogist, [authored by Rhonda R. McClure, Genealogist at the New England Historic Genealogical Society], offers practical advice on how to organize your research and files, keep track of families, and create goals to guide future research.
Even if you are a seasoned family historian, it’s not too late to incorporate these practices into your work!” Click this link and enter your email to receive a free copy of the guide.
Hall of Fame Nominations Sought
It’s time for GFO Hall of Fame Nominations! Any GFO member may nominate another member by May 1. Nominees must have a well-documented history of service, leadership, and accomplishment in more than one facet of the GFO, over a long period of time.
Please include:
* Name, list of services, activities, positions, and accomplishments;
* A narrative describing the nature of their work in terms of its importance to the success of the GFO;
* A short biography.
Please send to secretary@gfo.org by May 1.
The board will decide if any merit selection. Winners are awarded in June and receive a free Life Membership and their name on our Hall of Fame plaque.
What’s New in Online Digital Resources
Since we are unable at this time to process new books and new digital content for the GFO Library, we will be temporarily suspending our “What’s New” weekly feature. In this time of physical distancing and responsible sheltering in place, we will instead share online resources so that you can reach out and connect as well as continue to learn and build on your genealogy skills from home.
• Do you have kids or grandkids in your life, or even neighbors and friends with kids who are now coping with the challenges of being schooled at home? If so, the latest blog entry at Billion Graves: “20 Homeschool Genealogy Ideas,” may be a way that you can lend support to them and their parents with creative ways that they can incorporate genealogy in their lessons. • Starting on March 23, 2020, MyHeritage In Color™ will be free and unlimited for one month “to give people who are isolated at home a fun way to pass the time and enjoy genealogy. Colorized photos can be shared with the whole family, and can help you see your historical family photos in an entirely new way.” A weekly drawing for a free MyHeritage Complete subscription is being held for those who share their colorized photos online.
Survey Results: Preserving Research
Last week, we asked you about your plans for preserving or passing on your genealogical work. Only 63% of respondents say they’ve made plans. We hope those who haven’t will think about doing so. Please don’t let your hard work and discoveries end up in a landfill. Here are a few of the responses from those with a plan:
I am bequeathing it all to the one nephew in the family who enjoys genealogy. I’m also making sure the Family Bible record pages are donated to the GFO. All records are to be given to Salt Lake Mormon Library. Instructions have been included in our wills. I have written a series of books. Digital life changes so quickly that I fear what I produce there may not be accessible when the children grow up. It will be split between two relatives who really want it. I definitely need to update my will so that what I have written is preserved, even if the well-sourced chapters I have written and the documents to back up my research end up in boxes at the GFO.
Spread it out through my cousins Yes, BUT I’ve only half way implemented my plan. I have print outs of records plus copies of originals filed in binders. Each ancestor has their own plastic file in the binders. I maintain a running timeline summary with notes also for each ancestor and keep a copy in each file. I make binders for my sibling and my husband’s siblings so someone somewhere knows what I did. I’m sure there is more I could do and look forward to other people’s comments to see what ideas I might implement. Organizing my research materials so that my children will be able to understand what they are. Last year I sorted all the research materials for fifty years of work for my own family and the families of others. While staying at home for the current health concerns I want to finish that process and then move on to the pictures. The early pictures are scanned, but many more have been taken since the early 1990s.
My plans are still in progress. Part of my plan, is to give all my records to GFO. I’m trying to tie up loose ends, reduce my actual paper files, and prepare my records for the GFO. I hope that GFO sees themselves as being the repository for all their members’ work! Also, I would like to recommend the creation of some guidelines for members to get our records in the shape GFO would like to receive them in! I’m using Google Blogger to write about my ancestors. Each blog entry is about a different person on my pedigree chart, including their vital statistics, children, and a few paragraphs about their life (plus a list of sources). Whether or not my genealogy research papers and files get passed down, the blog should survive as long as there’s a Google!
New Survey: Safe at Home
Our question this week is about whether you’re spending more time on your genealogy lately?
Take the Survey Now
This week at GFO …
The Week Ahead: The GFO Research Library is closed, and all on-site groups, classes, and work parties are canceled

GENEALOGICAL FORUM’s Thursday 2020 E-News

THE GENEALOGICAL FORUM’s Thursday Evening E-News Edition March 19, 2020
If any membership expires during the time we are closed, the member will still be considered active for one month after the library re-opens.
gfo.org | 503-963-1932 | info@gfo.org Be sure to check the complete GFO CALENDAR.
Also, don’t miss the current issue of The Forum Insider
A Message from GFO’s President
This is a tough time we’re living through. Our parents and grandparents survived through a decade of deprivations during the Depression and then faced even more during World War II. We’re living through a global calamity ourselves that rivals or surpasses anything in the last 100 years or more. Ironically, the best thing we can do to help each other is to stay apart. An epidemiologist in my family is very firm; we must stay home and away from other people. A journalist I know in British Columbia, Anne Casselman, put it very well. “Think of COVID19 as a fire. And each person who carries it is emitting all these embers that can in turn start their own fires. Social distancing starves the fire of new fuel and thereby extinguishes the flames.” Even people who are not at risk need to act for the most vulnerable members of society. To be honest, once the scale of this pandemic was clear, the decisions we made were clear cut. Here’s a quick rundown of the latest: * If your membership expires(d) during February, March, April, or until the closure ends, you will still be considered active for one month after the library re-opens. *The GFO is closed at least until April 1, likely longer. *Printing of the Insider is suspended. It will only be available electronically. *No volunteers are allowed in the library, even die hards with keys, who might wish to come in. *During the closure no memberships will be processed, no deposits will be made in our bank, and all book sales are suspended. * This week we changed our Membership Meeting for ballot nominations from in-person to a telephone conference call. * The Board Election ballot itself is going electronic. You won’t need to print it, then drop it off or mail it. If we’re still closed, we might not even receive print ballots in time. (GFO members will receive an email later with voting instructions.) * We’re going to use a video conferencing service so the board can meet safely from each of our own homes. Finally, I’m thrilled that African American Special Interest Group leader, Janice Sellers, has changed her presentation into a free webinar this Saturday. Read the article below. And sign up! I hope you are well and staying home to keep others healthy too. #dontbeaspreader —Vince Patton, GFO President
GFO’s Black Newspapers Lecture Moves Online
Special Webinar! We hated having to cancel the talk planned for Saturday about Using Online Historical Black Newspapers for Genealogical Research. Professional genealogist, and GFO African American Special Interest Group leader, Janice Sellers is moving this presentation online! Saturday, March 21, 2:30 – 4:30 p.m. Pacific Time. Historical newspapers often provide key information needed to break through brick walls. Many historical Black and abolitionist newspapers are available online, with more being added. Most are on subscription sites, while some are free. This class provides an overview of the historical roles of Black newspapers, how they can be a substitute for missing vital records, what is online and where to find it, and strategies for access and searches. This way we can all be safe at home while we continue to learn.
Register for Webinar Here
By the way, Janice has another lecture available at Legacy Family Tree Webinars called Mining the Newspaper Databases on MyHeritage for Your Family History. It’s free as well.
GFO March Star: Anita Davidson
Anita Davidson Anita is a GFO research assistant who recently went above and beyond the call of duty. A generous woman in the area wanted to donate dozens of books to the GFO. Anita agreed to personally go to her home to pick them up. Upon arriving, she learned the woman wanted to inventory the donations first. Anita spent another hour with the donor creating that list on the spot. Then she brought six heavy boxes back to the library.

For this, the Board unanimously makes her our GFO Star for March. Thank you, Anita!
Hall of Fame Nominations Sought (Correction)
It’s time for GFO Hall of Fame Nominations! Any GFO member may nominate another member by May 1. (Date is correct now.) Nominees must have a well-documented history of service, leadership, and accomplishment in more than one facet of the GFO, over a long period of time.
Please include:
* Name, list of services, activities, positions, and accomplishments;
* A narrative describing the nature of their work in terms of its importance to the success of the GFO;
* A short biography.
Please send to secretary@gfo.org by May 1.
The board will decide if any merit selection. Winners are awarded in June and receive a free Life Membership and their name on our Hall of Fame plaque.
Copyright: Donna Cox Baker.
You are living history…
Reprinted with permission from Donna Cox Baker, The Golden Egg Genealogist. What would you give to have an in-the-moment diary from an ancestor who was living through a world disaster? Wouldn’t you cherish the opportunity to see it through their eyes? To know their hearts in a bad time? To watch it unfold, through the eyes of a person who didn’t know how it was going to turn out? We are living history. History books will devote energy to telling this story in hindsight, in generalities. They’ll describe it from the perspective of those who know how it turned out. We don’t yet have that luxury. Here is another worthwhile project to consider as we confine ourselves for the greater good. Think about a diary, written for your descendants. You can even write it as a letter–adding new thoughts as your experience unfolds. An open and honest look at what COVID-19 looked like the first time you saw it. What have your opinions been, and are they changing? Are you worried? Are you sick? Talk to them about the experience. Let them feel how this situation is unfolding in your home, in your town, in your state. Your descendants will treasure it. They won’t care if you are a brilliant writer. They won’t care if you overreacted or underreacted. Had a mundane or dramatic experience. They will care about you–as a person facing the unknown. If you wait until it’s over, hindsight will color your depiction. Start today, and let it unfold. Don’t edit it later. Keep it real, and make sure they can find it a hundred years from now. Take care, friends, and stay well.
What’s New in Online Digital Resources
Since we are unable at this time to process new books and new digital content for the GFO Library, we will be temporarily suspending our “What’s New” weekly feature. In this time of social distancing and responsible sheltering in place, we will instead share online resources so that you can continue to learn and build on your genealogy skills from home.
• While you’re protecting yourself and your community by staying at home, how are you filling your time? The Occasional Genealogist has lots of ideas for your family research. Check out: 5 Genealogy Tasks When You’re Stuck at Home • For tips on where to find Digital Historical Books online, see the latest entry at Empty Branches on the Family Tree: 5 Resources for Finding Digitized Historical Books Online
Survey Results:
A whopping 85% of respondents to last week’s survey said newspapers have been a valuable resource for solving genealogical problems. Here are some of the many responses we received (edited for brevity). We hope you find some helpful resources within these comments.
Using the Family History Center Portal, I found obituaries for two of my great-grandmothers. They both died young. I was pleased to learn more about each of them. Those small town newspapers are full of information.
I was unable to access the newspaper obituaries of my family in Vancouver, B.C., Canada online, but a local woman, found on Cyndi’s List, obtained copies for a very reasonable price. My great-grandparents were apparently a very loving little (very short) couple.
I finally found my ancestor’s village in Alsace mentioned in the obituary of the youngest son! The newspaper was accessible through the local library in Vincennes, Indiana.
Online Salem newspaper research and the Multnomah County Library online Oregonian databases have answered many questions. I’ve Interlibrary loaned many microfilm newspapers for many places including New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, and others I can’t remember. I LOVE newspaper research!
I found mention of my grandfather skipping out on a court care in North Dakota and fleeing to Montana where he was tracked down. It was in the Discover America’s Story Archive
I discovered what happened to my paternal grandfather who I could not find after 1912. He died and was buried in Mt. Angel in 1957. Thanks go to Knight Library in Eugene for their vast collections of newspapers.
I could not find what happened my gggrandfather. I searched (unsuccessfully) on GenealogyBank in his home state. I expanded the search to all states and eureka! IN another state, he had tragically died by drowning while walking on a frozen river. His brother tried to save him but had to watch him as he “sunk to rise no more.” What a dramatic end to my quest…now I had the date, place, and circumstances.
Finding a record of a divorce; Oregonian; Accessed at GFO using a website on GFO computers. Found the named individuals, date and place of the divorce decree.
I was stunned to find newspaper articles about my great-grandfather, an immigrant from Koblenz, Rhineland, who was a founding member of a floral society in San Francisco California. I had no idea he’d been west of St. Louis.
I had found a marriage license, but the return portion had not been filled out, so I didn’t know if the couple were actually married. In a digitized version of the newspaper on NewspaperArchive.com, I found an announcement that was published the day after the wedding with a full description, including the name of the officiant and the wonderful comment, “[A] large number of useful presents [were] given to Mr. and Mrs. Bender
© 2019 Wyoming State Library; all rights reserved. • In Wyoming NEWSPAPERS, I found my grandparents’ 1900 wedding announcement, and references to them “coming in from the ranch,” (I thought they lived in the city) and an article saying my grandfather was going to Oregon with the intention of relocating if he liked it. The real eye-opener was an article detailing the funeral service for my grandfather’s father. It named his surviving brother, who lived in Laramie since 1870s. I didn’t know he had a brother!! But now I know why their destination upon immigrating in 1888 was “middle of nowhere” Laramie, Wyoming. What a treasure that online site turned out to be. It led me to 3 different newspapers.
I was able to track down exact dates for events (in an ancestor’s autobiography) in newspaper articles thanks to the U of O Historic Oregon Newspapers collection. (I LOVE this resource!)
Old Fulton Postcards has a remarkable and freely accessible compilation of New York newspapers, and some beyond New York.
This wasn’t a genealogical problem so much as an amusing footnote, but I learned from some online historic issues of The Oregonian that my 3rd-great-grandfather ran twice for Polk County Commissioner on the Prohibitionist Party ticket (in 1900 and 1902). He lost both times, which might’ve had as much to do with his party affiliation as the fact that he actually lived in Yamhill County.
Repeated stories about my Oregon pioneer ancestors revealed to me small town life and how an ordinary person may hold many positions and be a force in the community. Who knew? Not me, the city dweller.
New Survey: Preserving Research
What will happen to your research when you die? Have you made plans to preserve all you hard work?
Take the Survey Now
This week at GFO …
The Week Ahead:
The GFO Research Library is closed, and all on-site groups, classes, and work parties are canceled
Saturday, March 21st
African American Interest Group – Special Online Webinar 2:30 – 4:30 p.m. Pacific Time
Join Janice Sellers as she moves her planned presentation, “Using Online Historical Black Newspapers for Genealogical Research” to a webinar format. For details on content and how to register to connect to this free webinar, see the article above. Additional questions to: african_american@gfo.org.

Genealogical Forum Closes Until April 1

GFO Closes Library Until April
The Genealogical Forum of Oregon is immediately closing its library in Portland until April 1. We will re-evaluate that status later based on how the coronavirus progresses in our community. In addition, here is a full summary of all GFO Events canceled and rescheduled: ▪ Canceled Special Interest Group meetings and Volunteer Work Parties. ▪ Canceled GenTalk about PERSI on March 21. ▪ Rescheduled the free Genealogy Open House to Sept. 25-Oct. 4. ▪ Rescheduled the DNA Seminar with Karen Stanbary to August 8-9. Tonight the Multnomah County Library system announced it is closing all branches immediately. An epidemiologist I’ve personally consulted believes we should do the same. A majority of the GFO Executive Committee has agreed we should do the same. We need to control the contagion. If closing our library to the public helps to “flatten the curve,” as epidemiologists say, then we want to play our part.
Vince Patton
GFO President
The Genealogical Forum of Oregon is an all-volunteer nonprofit founded in 1946 which exists to promote, preserve and publish genealogical history.
The GFO operates the largest genealogy library in the Pacific Northwest and offers more than 150 classes each year.