Let’s Talk About: Cemeteries

Did you realize that there are more than 4.1 million people buried in the 167 national military cemeteries of U.S.? This includes personnel who died on active duty, as well as veterans (with other than dishonorable discharges), their spouses and dependent children. The National Cemetery Administration’s Nationwide Gravesite Locator at https://gravelocator.cem/va/gov  allows searches for burials in the national cemeteries and some burials in private graveyards. This from David A. Norris’ article in the Jun-Jul 2021 issue of Internet Genealogy.  And did you know this factoid:

25 American military cemeteries

The American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) has tried to keep a tally. They created and maintain 25 American military cemeteries located in 10 foreign countries, including France, Belgium, the United Kingdom, the Philippines, Panama, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, and Tunisia.

Closely related to the topic “cemetery” would be “burials.” Here are two I photographed near Kona, Hawaii, last February; think they’re on Find-A-Grave?

Let’s Talk About: Scandinavian Research

Sharon Fowler, a dear friend of mine, just completed the FamilyTree course on Finding Your Scandinavian Ancestors and she graciously shared some of her notes with me for you all. (Family Tree University: Find Your Scandinavian Ancestors in Denmark, Sweden and Norway, $99.00. The text to accompany the course was The Family Tree Scandinavian Genealogy Guide: How to Trace Your Ancestors in Denmark, Norway and Sweden by David Fryxell, 2019.)  Anyhoo. A most interesting bit of trivia was the 3-part list of common surnames in each country:

Denmark                                   Norway                                     Sweden

1-Jensen                                   1-Hansen                                   1-Johanson

2-Nielsen                                 2-Johansen                               2-Anderson

3-Hansen                                  3-Olsen                                    3-Karlsson

4-Pederson                               4-Larsen                                   4-Nilsson

5-Andersen                              5-Andersen                              5-Eriksson

6-Christensen                           6-Pedersen                               6-Larsson

7-Larsen                                   7-Nilsen                                   7-Olsson

8-Sorensen                               8-Kristiansen                            8-Persson

9-Rasmussen                                      9-Jensen                                  9-Svensson

10-Jorgensen                            10-Karlsen                                10-Gustafsson

In skimming this list, did it catch your eye that both the Danish and Norwegian surnames end with “EN” and the Swedish names end in “ON?” Interesting, no?

History:  Early Scandinavian immigrants settled in Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania but set their sights on the Midwest as early as the 1830s. Why? The region offered opportunities and unclaimed land. Chicago became both a destination and a jumping-off point for the immigrants.  Why did they come? Religious freedom, economic opportunity and simple survival. (The Irish potato blight in 1845 soon spread to Norway; I didn’t realize that fact.)

The Swedes headed to Michigan, Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota

The Norwegians headed to Minnesota, Wisconsin, North/South Dakota…then on to

      California, Washington, Oregon and Texas

The Danes headed to Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas

They were a literate lot; all three groups had official state Lutheran churches. Scandinavian newspapers sprouted and flourished.

When we think of early New York City we think “Dutch” but the borough of the Bronx was actually named for a Scandinavian. Jonas Jonasson Bronck, a Swede, brought 90 immigrants to New Amsterdam in 1639. For this, he received a grant of 680 acres which became known as Bronck’s Farm, then Broncksland and ultimately the Bronx.

Let’s Talk About: Trivia

** Every coin has two sides. The front is called “heads” and, from early Roman times, usually depicts a country’s head of state. The back is called “tails,” a term possibly originating from the British ten pence depicting the raised tail of a heraldic lion. (Our Daily Bread, April 2020)

** In 1787, Benjamin Franklin designed America’s first penny, often referred to as the Fugio cent. Fugio, Latin for “fly,” was stamped on the coin next to an elaborate sundial with a shining sun overhead. The ever-pithy and quick-to-quip Franklin was sending the message that time flies.” (Boyd Matteson, Deseret News)

**Did you realize that thanks to DNA, they are still identifying veterans’ remains after 80 years??  William Eugene Blanchard, age 24, serving on the U.S.S. Oklahoma, went down with his ship on December 7, 1941, in the attack on Pearl Harbor. Once remains were found, the soldier’s son provided DNA samples which identified him. Blanchard had been buried in the National Memorial Cemetery in Honolulu but will be reinterred in Tennessee. I found this a heart-warming story. Wonder if it would work on Civil War remains???

** Vonnie’s ring. That’s what I call this next photo. Vonnie is a dear friend living here in Spokane. She has 6 children and many grandchildren. She also has been recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. During a lunch together recently, she was talking about all she was going to do “before it’s too late to think of what to do.” She showed me this photo of her mom’s wedding ring set. Their wedding day and time is written in the lid of the box. Vonnie is giving this NOW to her eldest daughter. Giving it NOW while she can still enjoy the giving.

Does this spark ideas in any of you????

Let’s Talk About: Yearbooks

Lesson for you here:  if in yard sales, garage sales, flea markets or thrift stores, you come upon discarded high school or college yearbooks (the older the better), rescue them and contact the folks at e-yearbook. You can check yourself to see if they have or don’t have the ones you just found.  What a good pay-it-forward thing to do. Here’s how it works: You find old yearbook; you check the website to see if they already have that one; if they don’t, you email and ask do they want; you measure and weigh the book(s) and they will send you a postage paid sticker!! Such a deal. Note: they do not include really new ones for the privacy situation but they will take them for future adding.

Let’s Talk About: Freebies!

FREE Genealogy Cheat Sheets

Download a variety of easy-to-use, free genealogy cheat sheets created by genealogy expert Thomas MacEntee of GenealogyBargains.com

Please SHARE these 2-sided cheat sheets with your genealogy friends and fellow genealogy society members!

©2020, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved.

Let’s Talk About: Chief Dan George

“If you talk to the animals, they will talk to you. And you will know each other. If you do not talk to them, you will not know them. And what you do not know, you will fear. What one fears, one destroys.”

Born Geswanouth Slahoot, known as Dan Slahoot, on 24 July 1899 in North Vancouver (Canada), the boy’s name was changed at age 5 when he entered a residential school. Dan George was well known for his poetic writing style and in 1974, George wrote My Hearts Soars followed by My Spirit Soars in 1983 (both available today as The Best of Chief Dan George). He was also an actor, appearing in several movies. Dan George was the band chief for a dozen years of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, whose Indian reserve is located on Burrard Inlet, North Vancouver. He died 23 September 1981.

Canadian actor Donald Sutherland narrated the following quote from his poem My Heart Soars in the opening ceremonies o the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver:

The beauty of the trees,

the softness of the air,

the fragrance of the grass,

speaks to me.

And my heart soars.

Why do I share this with you today??? We often hear quotes from Chief Seattle but other Pacific Northwest chiefs shared words of profound wisdom to teach us yet today.

1950 Census……….. Will You Help Indexing?

Surely you know that the 1950 census will be released to us eager genealogists on April 1st. But if I understand correctly, the U.S. Census Bureau will then release just the IMAGES and it’s up to “we the people” to do the indexing so we can use this new resource. FamilySearch.org seems to be spearheading the indexing project (like they did for the 1940 census, remember?) and to that end they are inviting both individuals and groups/organizations to participate. Why not help with this “pay it forward” project? Click to www.familysearch.org/1950census to read how YOU can help.

I think perhaps we can work on indexing the place where our ancestor lived (or heck, where I lived, age 7 in Kalamazoo, Michigan!!!) or work on a state as a group………… why shouldn’t we Washingtonians “do” our state??? By genealogy society groups perhaps? I have already registered my group, the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society. We be ready to help!

Place Names In Washington

Recently I enjoyed a browse through The Atlas of the North American Indian, by Carl Waldman, first published in 1985 and updated in 2009. I found the pages explaining the Northwest Indians and their culture to be so interesting.

One unexpected thing I gleaned from this book was a list of place names in Washington that are of native origins. Could you have come up with this list of 73 places?? (The list does include two names of French derivation.)

“TN” denotes a tribal-origin name. Places were tribal names, chief’s names, or of Indian derivation. For some names, the tribe was designated and for others it was not. Sometimes the meaning was given and sometimes not. Enjoy!

Anatone – TN

Asotin – Nez Perce “elk creek”

Cathlamet – TN

Chehalis – TN “sand”

Chewelah – TN

Chimacum – TN

Chinook – TN

Clallam – TN “big brave nation”

Conconully – TN “cloudy”

Copalis – TN

Cowlitz – TN “power”

Ilwaco – Chief El-Wah-ko-Jim

Entiat – TN “rapid water”

Kalotus – TN “hole in the ground”

Kittitas – TN “shoal people”

Klickitat – TN “beyond”

Latah – Nez Perce “place of pines”

Methow – TN

Moclips – Quinault “place where girls were sent during puberty rites”

Napavine – TN “small prairie”

Naselle – TN

Nespelem – TN

Nisqually – TN

Okanogan – TN “meeting place”

Omak – TN

Palouse – TN “grassy expanse”

Pend Oreille – French; “ear pendants”

Potlach – TN “give”

Puyallup – TN “generous people”

Queets – TN

Quilcene – TN

Quillayute – TN

Quinault – TN

Sanpoil – TN

Seattle – Chief Sealth

Selah – TN “still water”

Sequim – TN “quiet water”

Simcoe – TN “waist spine”

Similk – TN

Skagit – TN

Skamania – TN “swift water”

Skamokawa – Chief name

Skykomish – TN “inland people”

Snohomish – TN

Snoqualmie – TN “moon”

Spokane – TN “people of the sun”

Stehekin – TN “pass”

Steilacoom – Chief name

Sultan – Chief name

Suquamish – TN

Tacoma – TN “mountain god”

Tenino – TN

Tieton – TN “roaring water”

Toppenish – TN

Touchet – French; “fire cured salmon”

Toutle – TN

Tucannon – TN “bread root”

Tukwila – TN “land of hazelnuts”

Tulalip – TN “by with small mouth”

Tumwater – TN “heart”

Twisp – TN

Wahkiakum – Chief name

Walla Walla – TN “little river”

Washtucna – Chief name

Waukon – Chief name

Wauna – TN “spout creature”

Wenatchee – TN “river from canyon”

Whatcom – Chief name

Willapa – TN

Yacolt – TN “haunted place”

Yakima – TN “growing families”

Were your ancestors miners….. east or west?

Did you have an ancestor whose occupation was a miner? Many were. And many immigrants with a mining background came to places in America where they pursued that same occupation. (Welsh coal miners to Pennsylvania.) I just discovered a cool website, Discover Mining History with the Mining History Association. Right on the home page is this question: “I am working on my family tree and have relatives who worked in mines. Where can I find more information?” And next, “My relative worked at the XYZ mine. How can I find records of his/her employment?” So if you do have an ancestor whose occupation was miner, I’ll bet you’d find some good stuff on this website. www.mininghistoryassocation.org


Have you visited our Roslyn cemeteries? It’s located just east of Snoqualmie Pass. This is actually 27 separate cemeteries bundled together in the wooded Roslyn hillside with nearly 5000 graves representing 24 different nationalities that used to live in the town……… many of these folks came to be miners and work in the coal mines. Lots of mining history right in our own Evergreen state.