GENEALOGICAL FORUM’s Thursday Evening E-News

Curious about the status of your GFO Membership? We’d love to have you as a GFO Member!
THE GENEALOGICAL FORUM’s Thursday Evening E-News Edition December 6, 2018
For more information visit, contact us at, or call our library at 503-963-1932. Be sure to check the complete GFO CALENDAR.
Also, don’t miss the current issue of The Forum Insider
GFO’s Annual Appeal: It’s a Time of Giving!
What do you call a group with no paid staff, the largest genealogy collection in the Pacific Northwest, and a library that’s open daily? You know the answer: Portland’s very own Genealogical Forum of Oregon! Did you also know that member dues cover only 24 percent of our budget? Our rent is going up $1,200 every year. Oh my!
Our database subscriptions now cost almost $5,000 each year. Once a year we ask for your support. Now is that time. During this Annual Appeal we need to raise $25,000.
We’re confident you can help us make it happen. Please make your tax deductible donation to the GFO today.
Give Today
The GFO belongs to the Oregon Cultural Trust. We have a Silver Star rating on GuideStar. Please check with your employer on possible matching donations, especially through Benevity. Thanks for all you do to keep GFO going strong!
Join Library Tour for Hispanic Heritage Resources
Do you have an interest in Hispanic heritage? GFO’s Mexican Ancestry Group invites you to join a tour of the Multnomah County Library’s Hispanic genealogical resources.
The tour begins at 12:30 p.m. on Monday, December 17th at Multnomah County’s Central Library 801 SW 10th Ave. There is paid parking across the street and in the area. PLEASE RSVP by emailing
Don’t Miss It! Free Mac Class for GFO Members next Wednesday
Photos 101 – As genealogists, we do a lot of photo handling. Apple’s free Photos App is a great tool to edit and organize your photos to make them look their best for all archiving purposes. Don’t struggle with tasks like fixing/cropping images from sites like FindAGrave when you can get a solid grasp of the basics in this free class. The Portland Mac Users Group offers this PMUG College class on Wednesday, December 12th, from 6 to 8 p.m. at GFO’s very own library. This class is completely FREE for GFO and PMUG members. $10 for non-members. (Become a GFO member here!) More information is available on the PMUG website.
Boot Camp: No Boots, Tents or Experience Needed!
Join Laurel Smith at the GFO for a day of beginning genealogy on January 8th. There will be sessions about the census, vital records, immigration and naturalization, discussions about genealogy software and database use, organizing your research and more — all geared toward beginners. Bring a sack lunch so the discussion can continue while we eat. GFO members may attend for free, non-members $20. Here’s what attendees are saying: “Boot Camp was rocking, wow do I regret not having it before I started my work . . . such a good teacher . . . a marathon that was time well-spent . . . informative and motivational . . . with humor and positive energy . . . more than exceeded my expectations” Member or not, please let us know if you plan to attend and REGISTER ONLINE by January 3rd. A link to the class notes will be emailed on Saturday, January 5th.
This week at GFO …
SATURDAY, December 8th Writers’ Forum 1 – 3 p.m. We are currently working on Bruce Tarshis’s How to be Your Own Best Editor, chapters 10 and 11. Everyone is welcome, whether you have participated before or not. This is your chance to get started writing or to improve your writing, whether you are writing for yourself or for others. We learn about good writing techniques — write and read what we write to each other. Without exception, everyone who has participated in this group over the last fourteen years writes better than they did when they started.
Purpose: This is a peer group of genealogists, who meet to learn about writing and to share our writing with each other. Peggy Baldwin facilitates this group and can be reached at or 503-916-9410. SUNDAY, December 9th Library Work Party 9:00 a.m. – Noon There’s another work party at the GFO library today for those of you who can come. There’s lots to do and we’d love to have your help. Doors open at 9 and work usually wraps up around noon. Some people come for just an hour or so; others work the full time. You are welcome to do either. Any time you can share is valuable. Hope to see you there. WEDNESDAY, December 12th PMUG – Mac Users’ Class 6 – 8 p.m. Portland Mac Users Group offers its college class at GFO library. The class this time will be about the Photos application, which is included on all current Macintosh systems. Free to GFO and PMUG members. More information available at PMUG’s website.

Banner Photos Identified

Have you noticed the Blog banner changes every time you visit? The photos are submitted by readers like you — and Carol Ballard of Olympia. Carol recently sent us three beautiful scenic photos:

  • A wintery shot of Henderson Inlet near Olympia (pictured at right)
  • State ferry on its way to Bremerton
  • Millersylvania State Park near Olympia

We’re always looking for scenic photos of our beautiful state for the rotating photo gallery on the blog banner. It’s easy — just send a Washington State jpg image to with a description of the photo. The blog masters will take care of the rest!

Friday Serendipity

What do you know about catsup? Or ketchup? Or tomato sauce, as it’s called in some parts of the world?

In New Zealand they call it Tomato Sauce but the bottle and the contents were quite familiar to us and worked dandy fine for dipping french fries.

Bet you didn’t know that (according to Google) our concept of catsup/ketchup comes from a Chinese condiment? The word originally meant fish sauce in a dialect of Fujian province and then people from there immigrated to America they brought their food tastes with them.

Here is a recipe for Tomata (sic) Catsup in 1817:

“Gather a gallon of fine, red and fully ripe tomatas; mash them with one pound of salt; let them rest for three days then press off the juice and to each quart add a quarter pound of anchovies, two ounces of shallots, and an ounce of black pepper; boil up together for half an hour, strain through a sieve and put to it the following spices: quarter ounce of mace, the same of allspice and ginger, half an ounce of nutmeg, a drachm of coriander seed and half a drachm of cochineal; pound all together; let them simmer gently for twenty minutes and strain through a bag; when cold, bottle it,a dding to each bottle a wineglass of brandy. It will keep for seven years.”

A “drachm” is 1/8 of an ounce; cochineal was for red color and came from a certain seashell.

Makes me wonder: what is the list of ingredients for modern-day ketchup or catsup??? No brandy, I’d guess.


Wednesday Nostalgia

What’s better than German Chocolate Cake? Nothing much, eh? Did you know it did not originate in Germany?? Nope, not a “German food.”

“German chocolate” was developed by an English/American baker, Samuel German, in 1852. The Baker’s Chocolate Company used Samuel German’s creation of a dark baking chocolate to ultimately develop a recipe for a chocolate-coconut cake. On 3 Jun 1957, a recipe for “German’s Chocolate Cake appeared as the “Recipe of the Day” in The Dallas Morning News. It was created by Mrs. George Clay, a homemaker from Dallas.”

General Foods, which owned the Baker’s brand at the time, took notice and distributed the cake recipe to other newspapers and sales of Baker’s Chocolate are said to have skyrocketed. The possessive form (German’s) was dropped in subsequent publications forming the “German Chocolate Cake” identity and giving the false impression of a German origin.”

(Thanks to both Wikipedia and Der Ahnenforscher, newsletter of the German Genealogy Group ( ……. to which you might want to subscribe iffen you have German roots and not just a love of German Chocolate Cake.0



2019 International German Genealogy Conference


6 months to go … 6 gifts to choose from

The 6th of December is celebrated as St. Nicholas Day in many parts of German-speaking Europe. The real Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of children, sailors, students, teachers, and merchants. Since he delivers gifts to children on his feast day, Dec. 6, the saint is often confused with Santa Claus, who came about much later.

While Nicholas doesn’t use reindeer, he does travel with a companion known by different names. Be warned that this is no jolly elf. One alias, Krampus, actually enjoys scaring the children!

So how did we get from St. Nicholas to Santa Claus? Thank Martin Luther, who, in his effort to give Protestants their own Christmas traditions, introduced an angel-like Christ Child (Christkindl) who brought gifts. This religious figure was later replaced by der Weihnachtsmann (Father Christmas) a.k.a. Santa Claus.

Whether you’re shopping for St. Nicholas Day or Christmas, check out these gifts for those attending the International German Genealogy Conference in Sacramento next June.

You could wrap up a tour of San Francisco, the Wine/Gold Country or Lake Tahoe for the non-family researcher accompanying you to the conference.
Or, if you’ve been extra good in doing your research, treat yourself to one (or more) of the free Genealogical and Historic Walking tours in downtown Sacramento.
Krampus with the children. Postcard circa 1920.
Shop for others
Shop for yourself
REGISTER NOW. Take advantage now of the early bird registration rates, which end Jan. 15. With limited seating available, it’s best not to hesitate. If the conference is full, your registration will go on a wait list.
BOOK A ROOM. The conference hotel, The Hyatt Regency, now has limited availability. But you can get a conference rate at the Marriott Residence Inn, just two blocks from the conference hotel.

Tuesday Trivia

Did you realize there are 17 different species of penguins in the world? Not counting whatever species Opus belonged to.

We’ve been watching Planet Earth, the Frozen Planet series, and have become quite enamored with these black-and-white flightless birds. Asking Grandma Google for more information, I was introduced to a wonderful website, . There I found descriptions and super photos of all different 17 species and a map of locations where they are found.

They live in Antartica primarily, but South America, New Zealand and the bottom of Africa. Those places may seem widely separated but looking at a map with Antarctica in the center those others places are just “inches” away in reality.

Hope you’ll click to that website and have a fun learning experience for yourself.

And how many flightless birds are there? You’d never be able to list them all and neither would I: 70 is the number!


Tri-City Genealogical Society December Meeting

Dear TCGS Members and Guests:
Our December 12th meeting will be at the Benton County PUD Auditorium in Kennewick on the corner of Hwy #395 and 10th Street
The program for this year will be the Show & Tell event and we will not have a Beginning Genealogy Class that evening. The program  activity starts at 7:00 p.m., but for those of you who are setting up displays, you can come as early as 6:15 p.m.
Show Off Your Heritage
Members and guests are asked to bring items about your family heritage/history as well as what interests you have.
1. Photographs
2. Documents
3. Family heirlooms, antiques
4. Hobbies, collections or recreation interests
Your legacy will one day be handed down to your children/grandchildren/great-grandchildren and they will want to know what hobbies and collections you had as a child/teenager or as an adult.
You can display your family photographs and documents on a poster or a tri-fold or on the table.
This will be a fun event for everyone to have a glimpse of your family history as well as the antiques/heirlooms, hobbies and collections that you either inherited or have or previously engaged in.
Please bring homemade or store bought cookies, candies, fudge, muffins, quick breads (banana, zucchini, apple, pumpkin), cake, etc.  Beverages, plates, napkins and utensils will be provided.
Thank you for your continued interest in TCGS

Bainbridge Island Genealogical Society Genealogy Holiday Fest

The Bainbridge Island Genealogical Society (BIGS) hosts their Annual Genealogy Holiday Fest “Show and Tell” on Friday, December 21, 2018, at 10am to noon at the Bainbridge Island Pubic Library.  Bring your Family Treasures, Stories, or Research to share. Light Refreshments will be served. Free to members, a $5.00 donation is suggested for nonmembers. For more information go to BIGS is a 501c(3) non-profit organization. Parking available in the Madison Ave lot and the High School Road lot.
Thank you,
Sue Elfving
Bainbridge Island Genealogical Society

Monday Mystery

Reading this article was laughable, mysterious and terrible all at once. The Oct-Nov 2018 History Magazine carried this article: “A Weighty Issue-Mailing Babies,” by David McCormick. Yes, this really happened!!

(Smithsonian image)

McCormick wrote: “Starting in 1913, people legally sent babies and toddlers through the mails. The rate of postage was far less than the price of a train ticket.  The U.S. Postal Service initiated its parcel post service on 1 Jan 1913, thus allowing millions of people throughout the country access to any and all manner of goods. An Ohio couple was the first known to have availed themselves of the new Parcel Post to ship their child. James, then eight months old was sent from Glen Este, Ohio, to his grandmother in Batavia, Ohio. James weighed just under the 11-pound maximum requirement at the time. The price of postage for James’s delivery was fifteen cents. And in an off-handed aside, they insured their son for $50.00.

Can you imagine? Did you have an ancestor who was mailed like a package via the U.S. Postal Service?

Seattle Genealogical Society Tip of the Week

 MyHeritage Live 2018 – Online

At the beginning of November, MyHeritage hosted their first ever 3 day user conference in Oslo, Norway. It was a big success. Hundreds of people attended from 28 different countries. Now, for those that were not able to attend, two dozen of the lectures were recorded and are available for viewing online, absolutely free. Thanks to Dick Eastman, one of the presenters at this conference, for this great tip.

Visit MyHeritage Blog for a list of each of the lectures, as well as a brief description, and a link to each lecture video. You’ll find the MyHeritage Blog here: