Would you enjoy having in your yard (or town park?) a start from one of America’s historic trees? “With most of the forest giants gone, Americans now focus on saving venerable trees that presided over much of our history. For Phyllis and Tom Hunter, founders of American Heritage Trees (AHT), that means producing saplings of trees associated with historic people or events.” Their farm is located in Lebanon, Tennessee. Would you like a sapling (tree start) from Alex Haley’s home? Amelia Earhart’s birthplace? Mount Vernon? Robert E. Lee’s home? Benjamin Franklin’s??
For more information, click to www.americanheritgetrees.org . The site includes a hardiness zone map; prices range from about $60 to $125, depending on the size of the sapling, plus shipping.
(Thanks to American Spirit, the DAR magazine for tipping me off to this.)
Which genealogical society in the state is in the most northwestern corner? The Clallam County Genealogical Society!
This little-but-thriving group, organized first in 1981, owns its own building, and boasts a library of over 3,000 books. The main thrust of their collection is Clallam County materials and boy-oh-boy do they have a gold mine of information.
Now you may think genealogy in this far-northwest county would be mostly of Native Americans. Hardly. A dear friend who is fourth generation living there told how her Civil War widowed great grandmother came from the Midwest to Port Angeles in 1896. Think of that journey! By rail to Seattle and then by boat to Port Angeles as there were no roads. One reason might have been that President Abraham Lincoln had established Fort Worden nearby in Port Townsend and had set aside land in Port Angeles for Civil War soldiers.
The GAR (Grand Army of the Republic) had a very active post in Port Angeles beginning in 1889. In 1892, a soldiers’ colony from Michigan relocated to the area to work in the timber industry.
The 1900 population of Port Angeles was nearing 2500 souls. And they came from somewhere else, mostly.
Next time you think to visit the Olympic Peninsula, stop in at the Clallam County Genealogical Society. It’s worth your time for sure.
Next after U.S. Federal Census Records, I think that U.S. military records can furnish us much information from one source. Military records offer evidence of service rendered and family connections (pension collecting). Military records are most effective when correlated with other sources.
This was Rick Sayre’s advice for the final talk of the day at the 2018 Montana Genealogical Society’s conference in Great Falls. He stressed that we must (1) Know America’s wars; (2) Know the records; (3) Know the law (laws governing military service and pensions).
For a desktop visual aid to help keep the wars straight in your mind, here’s a help:
List of Major American Wars
The Revolutionary War (1775-1783)
War of 1812 (1812-1815)
Mexican – AmericanWar (1846-1848)
American Civil War (1861–1865)
World War I (1914-1918)
World War II (1939-1945)
Korean War (1950-1953)
There are many resources, both in books and online, to assist your personal education of the specific war your ancestor might have been involved in. You might start with the Wiki at FamilySearch: www.familysearch.org/wiki
For many women today, the United States Daughters of the American Revolution, or DAR, is still a viable and relevant organization. Besides monthly meetings these ladies contribute to service projects and honor and preserve the legacy of patriot ancestors.
American Spirit is the magazine published by the Daughters. In the Mar/Apr 2019, I gleaned these interesting tidbits about the organization.
There is a DAR Genealogy Preservation committee where volunteers categorize documents to make the retrieval process easier for documents submitted with applications.
The group offers helpful research publications such as: Massachusetts/Maine Revolutionary War Source Guide and North Carolina Revolutionary War Source Guide. You can order them in paper form or purchase them as a PDF download. Click to www.dar.org/darstore
American Spirit carries queries! Yes, they still do. The cost is $1.00 per word. Click the website (www.dar.org) for submitting information and any other information about this venerable patriotic organization.
Who doesn’t like a pretzel? Ever given a thought as to the origins of the humble pretzel? Well, it was in Germany…………..
“The earliest recorded evidence of pretzels is their appearance in the crest of the German bakers’ guild in the year 1111….. pretzels were deeply integrated in both religion and German culture. As a result, German immigrants brought pretzels with them when then came to the U.S. in the 1700s. They were a staple food of the Pennsylvania Dutch.”
Don’t have to be German to enjoy a fresh hot pretzel from a fair or mall vendor these days.
(Thanks to Der Ahnenforscher, newsletter of the German Genealogy Group, www.GGG.org, based on Long Island. This bit was quoting an article in The Week in Germany, March 2019.)
The construction of Grand Coulee Dam was a boon for Washington and the entire USA. No argument. But did you realize that many little settlements along the river were drowned and many, many cemeteries and grave sites were buried beneath the water…..forever?
Quoting from a Spokesman Review article from 25 March 1939:
“Undertakers of the state will vie with one another this spring for the biggest mass burial contract in the history of the state. Bids will be called soon for the removal of a thousand graves of Indians and whites within the area to be flooded by Columbia River backwater above Grand Coulee Dam.
“The plan calls for giving the contract to a licensed undertaker. He and a crew of men (preference is to be given to Indian workmen) will dig up the remains along the river shore. Most of the Indian remains will be taken to main Indian cemeteries at Keller and Inchelium. Heirs of white people…..have been notified of the removal plans. The bureau will re-bury their relatives in graves near by, or if it is desired to move the remains to burial grounds far away, will deliver the caskets to relatives.”
It’s not only geese that migrate in their famous “V” formations.
Our ancestors migrated, too, and from here to there and back again, over and over and over. Consider most of that early traveling meant walking, it’s a good think you and I weren’t born pioneers. (Well, me anyway.)
Pamela Sayre followed up her husband, Rick’s, presentation on Mapping the West by teaching us at the Montana State Genealogical Society’s 2018 conference in Great Falls about the various trails.
Missouri was a “jumping-off” place for travel west in the 1800s….. perhaps the reason why was the folks or immigrants could come upstream on the Mississippi, overland to the Missouri, and then strike out west on foot. This would include the Santa Fe Trail, the Oregon California Trail, the Mormon Trail, the Butterfield Trail, and the Pony Express.
If you think, or know, your ancestor traveled on a westward-heading trail, there are many references and resources available to you online. Go for it!
Diane Southard spoke these words at the 2019 RootsTech in a presentation: “We’re all made up of all of us.” Stop and think about that for a second. I think she means that as we genealogists research our ancestors, we want to know about them because we recognize that we come from them. They are a part of us yet.
Since about half the U.S. population in the 19th century was from the British Isles (England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales) it follows that as we’re successful in our research, we will likely get back to having British Isles ancestry. They made a good half of us.
Which brings me to www.findmypast.com. “Findmypast is the ultimate destination for British and Irish family history with unrivaled records…” It was announced at RootsTech 2019 that “over the past year, we’ve added millions of new pages to the British Newspaper Archive, reaching all the way back to 1709…”
Findmypast has twice the Irish records of any other site; the largest online collection of UK parish records; British military records; Migration records you won’t find anywhere else. Their new offering is The Catholic Heritage Archive “making available records from the Roman Catholic Church across the US and Britain that have never been publicly available.”
Think you might ought to click to www.findmypast.com and take a looksee?
In a by-gone era, newspapers carried way more little personal trivia and tidbits than is the standard today. (Today there is Twitter, Facebook, etc.) Also in this by-gone era, a larger city could afford a newspaper while surrounding villages could not.
Take the case of the Montesano, Washington, Weekly Vidette. The issue for Friday, November 30, 1894 featured snippets from the surrounding towns of Elma, Ocosta, Porter and Cosmopolis.
Snippets like from Elma: “Married Nov 22, Wm. Fraser and Miss Carrie Tidwell. Both are well and favorably known in this vicinity.” Or this from Porter: “Albert Iliff returned Tuesday from an extended visit at Aberdeen. What is the lady’s name, Al?” Or this from Cosmopolis: “Mrs. Cullens and sister, Miss Flora Hayes, were in town Wednesday.”
And here’s the point. Even in the 1894 “big town” of Montesano, newspaper publishers had to sell papers to cover costs. And who bought their newspapers? And why did they buy them? The biggest news of a town newspaper was town news, news of the people and what they were doing.
I do recommend using www.genealogybank.com or www.newspapers.com to find these snippets. Yes, there is a subscription cost but would you find these snips on your own?
There are three National Cemeteries in Washington. Know where they are? Tahoma, near Tacoma, is one. The next is near Medical Lake (Spokane). The third is tiny 1.7 acre Fort George Wright cemetery, established before 1900 when the city of Spokane gave land to the government to get the fort established.
Some 669 persons lie resting there, interred before the cemetery was closed to burials in 1959. At one time, there was a bitter fight between those wanting “urban development” and those wanting to preserve the cemetery. Lucky for Spokane, U.S. Rep. Thomas S. Foley spoke up and in 1965 plans to abandon the cemetery were changed. Now the Air Force, with personnel from Fairchild AFB, maintains the cemetery. A list of those buried there is available online.
It’s a lovely place to go walking. The cemetery lies on a bluff with a winding road, and various gravel paths, leading down to the Spokane River.
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