GENEALOGICAL FORUM’s Thursday Evening E-News

THE GENEALOGICAL FORUM’s Thursday Evening E-News Edition January 10, 2019
Curious about the status of your GFO Membership? We’d love to have you as a GFO Member!
For more information visit
Contact us at or 503-963-1932.
Be sure to check the complete GFO CALENDAR.
Also, don’t miss the current issue of The Forum Insider
We Don’t Look a Day Over 50, Wouldn’t You Say?
The GFO Turns 73 Years Old This Month! Thank you Dorothy Van Pelt, Caroline Higley, and Daisy Smith. On January 22, 1946, these three women created the Genealogical Forum of Oregon. They were members of the Daughters of the American Revolution but wanted to belong to a genealogy group. Miss Higley served as GFO’s very first Chair. That year, they met at the Central Library and dues were $2 per year. We’ve come a long way since then! The library, which started in a member’s home, finally found an independent space in 1968. It moved four more times, in 1974, 1994, 1999, and 2011. Now, with 50,000 holdings, the GFO has grown to become the largest genealogy library in the Pacific Northwest. There’s a great retrospective of our history in the September 2016 edition of The Bulletin. It’s now available online to everyone.
Stump Your Friends with Portland History
Trivia Time: On January 11, 1855, history was made right here in Portland. What happened that day? The answer rests in the rare books section of the GFO Library. That was the day Perry Baker married Maria Ward. What made this wedding so special? It was the first marriage ever recorded in Multnomah County. Even better, one of their direct descendants is a valued volunteer at the GFO today! Our library holds dozens of the county’s original marriage record books and we’re still in the process of indexing them. If you know anyone looking for marriage records, send them to the Marriage Indexes on our website.
We Need You to Run for the GFO Board
When I first attended classes at the GFO I wondered why I’d never heard of this place before. “It’s a hidden gem,” people would say. I knew it shouldn’t stay hidden! So I volunteered to boost the GFO’s Facebook page and later was recruited to be a Research Assistant.
A year later I was asked to join the board. It has felt great to contribute in a meaningful way to what we do. The GFO Board has three seats opening this year: Vice President, Treasurer, and Director at Large. Would you consider running for one of them? The GFO is an all-volunteer organization, and we could not function without the people who step up to serve. Some positions require more time, like the Treasurer, which requires bookkeeping experience with QuickBooks.
Others take only a few hours a month like the The Vice President and the Director at Large (who functions as a liaison with our Special Interest Groups). Board members are expected to attend a minimum of nine of the monthly board meetings which are held in the evening of the 2nd Tuesday of each month, and to actively participate in one or more of our significant events. Candidates must file by our annual membership meeting on March 16 at 2 p.m. New board members will take office in July when our new fiscal year begins.
We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment and encourage anyone to apply. If you have questions please email Or, if you’re ready to run, send in your bio and a brief statement of candidacy. Vince Patton
President, GFO
Own This History
Forget Portlandia. Would you like a copy of Portania? That’s the yearbook from 1910 for Washington High School in Portland. We have a copy for sale at the GFO, along with The Beaver yearbooks of the 1920s from Oregon Agricultural College, now O.S.U. Find them all on our $10 shelves at the front of the library.
Share the Word – It’ll Help Us
Can you lend us a hand?
We’re not asking for money.
All we need is for you to share our news. Too many people refer to the GFO as a “hidden gem.” We’ve got to take “hidden” out of that equation.
Please tell others about all we offer: 50,000 holdings, access to expensive databases, and 180 free classes every year. Here’s a really easy way to do it: Please share our posts on Facebook and. Twitter to your circle of friends. It’ll help us reach a whole new community!
SCGS Jamboree 2019 Registration Now Open
The Southern California Genealogical Society has a big conference planned May 30 – June 2 to celebrate its 50th anniversary. Registration is now open. SGGS says, “If your members are thinking of coming and want any of the limited supply events – Workshops, Meals, Marriott reservations — please consider registering this week.” The Jamboree features more than 70 speakers, including the GFO’s own Emily Aulicino and Pam Vestal.
Update to Last Week’s German Guidebook Tip
Last week we passed on a handy tip about a great German guidebook called Where does my family come from? It turns out this guide is not just in German. They have an English version of their guidebook too!
This week at GFO …
FRIDAY, January 11th Mexican Ancestry Group 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. This Special Interest Group (SIG) pertains specifically to Mexican ancestors from Mexico and the American Southwest (New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, and California). Beginning and intermediate researchers are welcome. Some subjects will include online parish records, Hispanic genealogy societies, Family History Library/,, solving genealogical problems, methodology of organizing your research, etc. Of course this group will also be about sharing our research experiences, and having fun. If you know of any other people interested in Hispanic genealogy tell them about the up and coming group. They don’t have to be a GFO member to participate.
For questions or comments, please email Vince at

SATURDAY, January 12th Great Lakes Region 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. Have you ever wondered if your ancestor was a Mason or Elk or Odd Fellow? Our first hour features guest speakers Dale and Elsie Deatherage who will discuss techniques for researching the records of fraternal organizations. It is an interesting topic that might shed some light on your family’s history. In the second hour we will share our genealogy brick walls and success stories. Feel free to bring your research questions to share. If your ancestors were in the area of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, or Ontario CANADA, this is the SIG for you! Contact the group leaders at

Writers’ Forum 1 – 3 p.m. 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

SUNDAY, January 13th Library Work Party Yes, of course there’s another work party at the GFO library today for those of you who can come. There’s always lots to do and we’d love to have your help. Doors open at 9 a.m. 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, January 16th Learn & Chat 10 a.m. – noon “Maps: A Rich Resource – How and Where to Find, How They Change Over Time, Follow Your Ancestors Path.” At Learn & Chat some of the learning comes from speakers with particular expertise but most of it comes from the sharing of experiences and knowledge of attendees who have developed methods that work for them. And if you have been doing genealogy for any length time you have likely experienced the wonderful moments of exhilaration, the successes that you then share with others and that drive you to continue researching. Unfortunately those times can be few and far between. Join us to talk about your genealogy questions and help provide support to others. Facilitated by Jean Quan and Sandy Alto. Send questions to Open Late to 8 p.m.