THE GENEALOGICAL FORUM’s Thursday Evening E-News Edition July 25, 2019
Curious about the status of your GFO Membership? We’d love to have you as a GFO Member! | 503-963-1932 | Be sure to check the complete GFO CALENDAR.
Also, don’t miss the current issue of The Forum Insider
Beginners’ Boot Camp is back!
On Tuesday, August 20, join Laurel Smith for a full day of beginning genealogy from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. in the GFO Library. There will be sessions about the census, vital records, discussions about genealogy software and database use, organizing your research, using, and more — all geared toward beginners — but basic computer skills are a prerequisite. All communications are done via email, and you must be able to download and print the class notes. Bring a sack lunch, snacks, and a beverage so you can keep going as the class does. GFO members may attend for free, non-members $20.
Register Here
September Half-Day Seminar Registration Now Open!
Newspapers can provide information about births, deaths, marriages, moves, business, naturalizations, court cases, and more. The GFO provides access to several newspaper subscription sites, plus additional databases. Join GFO’s Janice Sellers for a half-day workshop to get an overview of what is available and techniques to help improve your chances of finding information about your relatives. Janice is a professional genealogist who specializes in forensic, Jewish, Black, and newspaper research. The session will be held in the GFO Library, Sunday, September 8, from 9:30 a.m. – Noon. For more detailed information, download the flyer. Registration is $25.00 for GFO members, $30.00 for non-members. Register before August 12 and save $5.00!
Register Here
Where Are You? We Took a Look
To all of you E-News readers who are members of the GFO, thank you for your support! We were curious where all our members live. Google Maps made it easy see at a glance. We enjoyed seeing the results and thought you might too. The big picture: you’re all over the U.S.!
Naturally, at lot more of you live in the Portland area. We zoomed in and found a pretty even distribution around the metro area.
Freebie Reminder!
Don’t forget, the GFO Library is free to everyone on the First Monday of each month. That’s next Monday, August 5. Plus, we’re now open late until 8pm that day. Please tell your friends.
The Virtual Genealogical Association is announcing open registration for its upcoming 2019 Virtual Genealogy Conference being held online Friday, November 1 – Sunday November 3. The cost is $59 USD for VGA members and $79 USD for non-members. You also have an option to join the VGA for $20 USD/year to get member benefits along with the discounted conference registration.
▪ Registrants will have access to the recordings and handouts for all sessions until May 3, 2020. Watch any time, any place, on any device. ▪ Socialize and network with fellow attendees during the conference via a private Facebook group. ▪ Conference is held via GoToWebinar. All registrants will receive an emailed link. ▪ Closed captioning via will be added to recordings of all sessions and will be made available to registrants within 7 days of the live broadcast. ▪ Full refund if cancellation request is received before October 18; no refund after October 18, 2019. There are a number of well-known speakers this year, including Judy G. Russell, Blaine Bettinger, Nicka Smith, and many others – refer to the conference schedule for more details. This is a great way to attend a genealogy conference without any expensive travel!
Surplus Book: Own History Printed When President Lincoln Was Still Alive
Here’s your chance to own some rare history: a first edition book that lists President Abraham Lincoln, and former presidents Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce and James Buchanan as still alive. The United States Register, or Blue Book for 1864, was printed one year before Lincoln’s assassination.
It includes lists of federal officials, military leaders, the U.S. Census of 1860 in city populations, and many more statistics of the era.
You’ll find lists of the sitting members of Congress feature large gaps. Every southern state is shown without any representatives or senators at all. They were part of the Confederacy and this was the height of the Civil War. In the census pages, you’ll find Oregon included once, but not Portland. It lists Eugene City having a population of 2,500. This was five years after Oregon’s statehood.
This surplus book shows wear. It’s spine is damaged and frayed. Yet none of the pages are loose and all are crisp and clear. A few library stamps are found inside, but no other markings. Also, an originally enclosed map is missing. Due to its rarity, the price is higher than many of our surplus books, but not exorbitant, due to the condition of its cover. We’re selling this book on eBay with a starting price of $99. If you’re interested, click here to bid before the auction expires in one week.
Survey Results: The Impact of Storms
The survey results are in, and the results are pretty evenly split as to whether respondents’ ancestors were affected by a hurricane, cyclone, or tornado:
Yes 39.4% No 27.3% Don’t know 33.3% Here are a few of the stories we received:
▪ My great-great-grandparents married in Boston, then moved to Le Mars, Iowa, in 1882. On June 14, 1885, a tornado struck the town and their house was moved “5 feet off the foundation.” It was said to be the main reason that they moved to Los Angeles in 1889, where I was born many years later! ▪ A cyclone on 21 Sep 1894 ripped through Cylinder, Iowa, killing my great-great-grandmother’s brother Alex, plus his wife and one child. Alex had actually purchased tornado insurance two years before. Court documents show total losses at $1210. One young son, Owen, survived. My great-great-grandmother, Bridget, then took in Owen and became his guardian, 20 years after she gave birth to her last child. Bridget had to file court reports adding up everything she spent on Owen each year until he became an adult. ▪ No, but the relatives back in Wisconsin thought the whole family had died in the Galveston Hurricane.
New Survey: Surviving the Cold
Among the replies to last week’s survey were several that encouraged us to ask about other disasters—and so we will. This week, we’re asking about disasters related to the cold—snow, ice, and hail.
Take the Survey Now
This week at GFO …
Saturday, August 3rd
German Ancestry Group 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
DNA – presenter Heidi Mathis
– How is ethnicity determined from DNA
– How reliable are ethnicity results (“Recall vs Precision”)
– Brief History of Population Dynamics in “Germany”
– How well do these tests work for German-Americans
– Best Tests for German-Americans
– Case Studies
For more information or questions about this group, please contact the facilitators, Mike Fernandez and Tia Cobb at
Sunday, August 4th
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.
Monday, August 5th
Free First Monday 9:30 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
GFO Library open to non-members for free, come early–stay late.
Tuesday, August 6th
Italian Ancestry Group 10:00 a.m. – Noon
This month’s topic: How to find your immigrant ancestor’s ship!
Your immigrant ancestor’s ship and the passenger list it created usher in a new wealth of information from which to uncover more great puzzle pieces about your Italian family heritage. In this lecture, we’ll focus on the Great Migration of paesani from Italy 1880 – 1924, when 4 million Italians immigrated to the United States, leaving us the 5th largest ethnic group in America.
We’ll review a brief history of Italian migration and relevant U.S. immigration laws, dissect components of the U. S. passenger list to help you better understand the magnificent clues awaiting you, and learn valuable tools for locating and searching them.
Instructor: Nancy Bronte Matheny, MLIS, MBA.
If you have questions or want more information, email
Wednesday, August 7th
Open Late to 8:00 p.m.