THE GENEALOGICAL FORUM’s Thursday Evening E-News Edition September 12, 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
Volunteer Shortage Threatens GFO Hours
The GFO has always been an all-volunteer organization. Keeping our library open 7 days a week is a tribute to everyone who gives their time so generously.
We require a minimum of two people on duty per shift for the safety of our volunteers. However, not enough volunteers are offering to serve as research assistants. Our schedule is full of regular holes.
The board of directors has now begun grappling with some difficult questions. Should we reduce hours of operation? Do we close entirely on certain days?
We are making one change immediately due to lack of demand and volunteers: First Free Mondays will close at 5 p.m. rather than staying open late to 8 p.m. Might you be willing to help at our reception desk or aid our patrons in their research? We need you. We offer training! We’re not experts and you don’t need to be either. It’s all about sharing what we know and learning together. Please contact volunteer coordinator Alice Duff at
GFO Fall Seminar – Coming Soon!
Seats are still available!
Come for a full day of German Genealogy lessons and a half day of Dutch resources. Professional genealogist Fritz Juengling returns to Portland for the GFO’s 2019 GFO Fall Seminar On Saturday, Do a deep dive into locating German
records using FamilySearch, and learn key German words, phrases and phonetics to decipher records, as well as naming conventions to
identify who is who. Understand the various
factors that led to emigration. On Sunday, learn key words, phrases and naming patterns to decipher
Dutch records, then get started locating those records. Sign up for one or both days! The full-day German session on Saturday, October 5th, will be held at the Center for Self Enhancement (3920 N. Kerby Ave., Portland). The half-day Dutch presentation will be at the GFO Library on Sunday, October 6th. Download the flyer for full details.
Register Now
Dr. Juengling brings amazing expertise as a German, Dutch, and Scandinavian Research Consultant at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. He is an Accredited Genealogist® (through the International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists) for Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Sweden, and is certified by the Verband deutschsprachiger Berufsgenealogen. We hope to see you there!
September Free Gen Talk
Evernote is a cloud-based app designed for note taking, organizing, task lists, and archiving. Notes can be made up of written information, audio
files, photos, and even video files. Once created, files can be viewed and worked on across all of your electronic platforms (iOS, Android, etc.). Join Dale Deatherage at the GFO for this free GenTalk, Evernote for Genealogy, Part 2, on Saturday, September 21 from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. This is a continuation of the presentation Dale gave at the GFO Open House in March. He will review the basics and spend more time helping you dial in some of the more advanced features.
Columbia County Conference Features GFO Speakers
Just a reminder that the St. Helens Public Library is offering a full day of genealogy classes in its Bridges to the Past conference on Saturday, September 21. You can choose from an array of GFO stars to hear from. Every single speaker is a GFO Member! Kate Eckman offers the keynote address. Laurel Smith teaches five classes, Gerry Lenzen two, and Janice Handsaker and Sue LeBlanc each teach one. The best part…this conference is entirely free to attend! Registration is limited. Only 80 seats are available. If you would like to attend, you may register here.
New German Books at GFO!
These are just a few of the German books we have at GFO to aid your research. We hope you’ll come in to check out the robust collection—remember, it’s not all on the internet. And don’t forget to register for our Fall Seminar with Fritz Juengling. He dazzled attendees when he was here last. This is one not to miss!
Volunteers needed for GFO Fall Seminar
The Fall Seminar is less than a month away and event preparations are kicking into high gear. Even if you do not plan to attend the seminar, there are still ways you can help fulfill one of the GFO’s core missions: Education!
Volunteer opportunities are available on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at both the GFO and the venue (Self Enhancement, Inc., which is on N. Kerby just above Fremont). Many positions are only a couple of hours, but those couple of hours are really important! Please click on the link below to see if one of the seminar tasks is a fit for your schedule. Thank you so much for your help!
Volunteer Here
Cemetery Seeks Volunteers for the Tour of Untimely Departures
Photo provided by Friends of Lone Fir Cemetery The Friends of the Lone Fir Cemetery need volunteers now for the 2019 Tour of Untimely Departures event at Lone Fir Cemetery. All positions are available; actors, guides, set up, and logistics, starting now and up to the evening of the event, Saturday October 26th. They need folks to make this popular Halloween event amazing. You will help protect the cemetery while learning about Portland history and having fun. Volunteer opportunities available (listed in order of time/experience requirements from most to least).
Set Up: The weeks and days leading up to the event are full of preparation. ▪ Actors: Dress in costume as a cemetery resident from long ago and tell your tale of untimely departure to groups of 20 as they stop by your grave site. ▪ Tour Guides: Dress in costume and act as a historical tour guide or assistant tour guide. ▪ Greeters: Dressed in costume, greeters welcome guests, provide information and help set up tour logistics. ▪ Ghouls: In costume, “ghouls” roam the cemetery re-lighting candles and torches, checking on actors, giving breaks, monitoring gates and providing frightful ambiance for guests. ▪ Logistics Volunteers: Help set up and/or take down tents, tables, candles, torches. Assist our site maintenance coordinators ▪ Gate: Seeing 1200 people, there will be long lines needing organizing and questions that need answering. ▪ Musicians/Entertainers: Do you love to perform? Or have a skill to share? Lend a bit of ambiance to the tours. Station yourself, or wander the grounds. Friends? Family? Group?: Sign up together and share the duties of the night. Enjoy your Halloween together a fun, unique way for a good cause! Proceeds from this event go towards the historic preservation efforts at Lone Fir Cemetery. For more information and to sign up please email
Surplus Book: Skamania County Obits 1900-1929
Know anyone with roots in the Columbia Gorge in Skamania County? Here’s a great resource for them. Obituaries from the Skamania Pioneer Newspaper, 1900-1929, features 476 death notices compiled by Homer and Alice Townsend. Don’t judge this book by its 116 photocopied pages. Its rarity and the stories inside make this so valuable that others are selling this book on the internet for $53.
Our copy happens to be autographed by Homer Townsend himself! Your price to pickup at the GFO Library: $24
Price to mail it: $28 Contact if you’d like to buy it.
(Please don’t just come to the library to get it.)
Survey Results: Transportation Accidents
It’s not surprising that trains and automobiles grabbed the lead as the most reported accidents.
Some of the stories you sent were very interesting. Here are a few of our favorites: On a stormy night, in the winter of 1925, Grandpa’s pickup slid into the Rouge River when driving home after a party at Agness. Both he and Grandma Dolly managed to escape the sunken truck and were eventually picked up several miles downriver by others heading home. My father was given the job of driving his grandmother, Mur, from Papa Nelson’s farm to her home into Dublin, Georgia. As a teenager Dad couldn’t resist applying leather and the buckboard dashed down the country road. At a turn, Mur bounced off and laid unconscious in the dust. She recovered, promising not to tell when Dad swore he’d be a safer driver.
My great-great-grandparents Anthony Simpson and Helen Crawford and their four children, including my great-grandmother Emma Jane age 8, departed New York on May 22, 1865, aboard the 530-passenger steamer Golden Rule destined for Nicaragua. They planned to cross to the Pacific, then continue up the coast to Oregon where Helen’s brothers lived, and where Anthony was to take up a post as a minister with the Presbyterian Church. Only eight days later, the ship ran aground on the infamous Roncador Reef off the Nicaraguan coast. Miraculously, all passengers survived and took refuge on a nearby island for 10 days before they were rescued and taken to Aspinwall, Panama. They crossed the isthmus by train and boarded the steamer America for San Francisco on June 30. Helen wanted to stay longer in San Francisco to replace their clothing ruined in the disaster. Anthony insisted they take the next boat north – the Brother Jonathan. They averted another shipwreck by leaving quickly. On July 30, the subsequent journey north of the Brother Jonathan, the ship wrecked off Crescent City and only 19 of the 240 persons aboard survived.
New Survey: Closest Brick Wall
This week we’re asking about your first (generationally) brick wall ancestor. Take the survey to tell us the closest generation where you are stuck.
Take the Survey Now
This week at GFO …
Saturday, September 14th
Great Lakes Region Interest Group 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
We will be welcoming two guest speakers. First, Ray Ashmun will tell the story of his great-great-grandfather’s brother, Samuel Ames Ashmun (1799-1886). At 19 years of age, Samuel walked from his home in Champlain, NY to Montréal to become a “clark” with the American Fur Company. He then spent time traveling the Great Lakes and was a pioneer of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. Our second topic addresses a common quandary: Now that I’ve collected all this great information about my family, how do I organize it all? Second, Elsie Deatherage will demonstrate a spreadsheet system that can help both organize and analyze our genealogical research data.
For more information or if you know someone who might be interested in speaking to our group, contact us at
Writer’s Forum 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
We are currently working with Bruce Tarshis’s “How to be Your Own Best Editor,” chapters 14 and 15. and If you are already a part of this group, look also for the message coming with more specifics about this month’s meeting. If you are new to the group, just show up and we’ll get you started!
Peggy Baldwin facilitates this group and can be reached at
Sunday, September 15th
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.
Family Tree Maker User’s Group 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
The topic will be importing media and photos into the program. Users of FTM can also bring other questions to discuss with the group. Join other users who want to work through the 2017 Companion Guide to Family TreeMaker.
Bring your laptop with 2017 version of FTM installed and an empty usb thumb drive. Facilitated by Joyce Grant-Worley.
French Canadian Interest Group 3:30 – 5:00 p.m.
Share stories of our history. Come and join this group to learn more about French Canadian ancestry and Acadia. The group leader is Bob LaMarche.
Wednesday, September 18th
Learn and Chat 10:00 a.m. – Noon
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 Jeanne Quan and Sandy Alto. Questions?
DNA Q&A: The Basics 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Today’s presentation will cover DNA Basics, which includes YDNA, mitochondrial DNA and autosomal DNA. It is ideal for those new to DNA testing for genealogy. It will include an introduction to DNA terminology and what DNA tests are available from various companies.
General questions regarding DNA testing are welcome at the end of each planned discussion. Lisa McCullough leads this group.. Questions?
GFO Library Open Late to 8:00 p.m.