Let’s Talk About: Grandma Ethel’s Diary

The year was 1909. Mary Ethel Leverich lived in Danville, Illinois, and was 22 years old, when she and her maiden aunt took a trip “out west” and to Yellowstone National Park.  We are blessed to have her diary of that trip:As you read this, imagine the amount of clothes Ethel was wearing and the likely dressy shoes. Riding in an open coach, no doubt. 

26 Jul 1909  —  Left at 8AM in stage for Norris (Geyser Basin). Rode 20 miles in the rain before lunch. Saw many beautiful things. Passed from God’s Country into the other fellow’s land. After lunch, guide took us to see the geysers and Devil’s Washbowl. The formations were beautiful. This PM rode 20 miles to Fountain Hotel. Failed to see bears. Here is the Firehole Geyser. Whole trip 195 miles.

27 Jul 1909  —  Still raining. Rode to O.F. (Old Faithful) Inn. Very rustic. Passed Morning Glory Pool, Crystal Lake, Three Sisters, Emerald Pool, Paint Pots, Devil’s Punch Bowl. After lunch will go with the guide. Gov. of New York is here. Walked about 6 miles after lunch. Stumbled and was caught by a doctor from Wis(consin). Saw the Castle Play. Morning Glory Pool was beautiful. Dr. was not in favor of my going out tonight. Saw the geysers by search light.

28 Jul 1909  —  Clear day, ready to start for Lake Yellowstone! 9325 feet altitude, 7 miles from the hotel. Saw Lake, Natural Bridge, Knotted Forest, Sleeping Giant, Kepplar Cascades, Continental Divide, Blue Ribbon Spring……place where 18 coaches were held up last year and got $1800 and jewels. Shoshone (?) Lake. 

30 Jul 1909 —  After lunch drove 21 miles to the M.H.S. (Mammoth Hot Springs) Hotel. Left for Seattle at 6:30 from the hotel. Mike bade us goodbye. Mr. Gehender, Miss Galley and Mrs. Newmeyer left for the east.

31 Jul 1909  —  Day is hot and dusty (**trains had open windows, no AC). Had hard time to get into the diner. Reached Spokane about 5 o’clock. Many people went there to register for homestead lands. Will receive a card from Mr.Oswald.

Now the wonderful family story is that Mary Ethel married John Peter Oswald in 1911! Aren’t we lucky to have this diary? Might one be lurking in a box of your family stuff somewhere?

Let’s Talk About: Funnies

·        Trees do not walk. They lumber. (Sign in Port Angeles, WA)

·        Mistakes are good because we can learn from them; I must be a slow learner because I repeat most of mine.

·        I’m wrecked on the lee shore of age.

·        Definition of a volunteer: Someone who didn’t understand the question.

·        The grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence; it’s greener where you water it.

 * What has more letters than the alphabet? The Post Office.

* You can lead a horse to water but a pencil must be lead.

* Definition of a lobster:  An ugly, overgrown, insect-like-puny-brained crustaceon for which we pay $25 to eat.

* Junk is the stuff we throw away; stuff is the junk we save.

* Sign for a bra store: “Where no cup runneth over.” 

* When life gives you LIMES, change them to a SMILE.

* News flash! Did you know that chocolate makes our clothes shrink??

* Maybe that’s why our ancestors aren’t smiling in those old photos….. they had no chocolate in their lives. 

Let’s Talk About: Washington State History

Time for a test. Give yourself a pat on the back for each one you know (answers at the bottom):

1. Washington is the _____ largest state in the nation.

2. The highest point in Washington is ________ with elevation of _______.

3. Where is the geographical center of Washington?

4. Washington ranks _____ in the nation for population.

5. The coldest temperature ever recorded in Washington was ______ on _______ at ___________.

6. The hottest temperature was ________  on ______ at _________.

7.  Washington became a U.S. Territory in _______.

8. Washington became the ______st state on _______.

9. Washington’s state motto is ______ which means ____.

10. Washington contains _______ counties.

11. Washington’s official state name is the ________.

12. Washington’s state flower is the _______ and state tree is ______. 

1. 12th largest / 2. Mt. Rainier, 14,411′ / 3. Ten miles SW of Wenatchee / 4. 18th / 5. -48, 30 Dec 1968, Winthrop / 6. 118 on 5 Aug 1961, Ice Harbor Dam / 7. 1853 / 8. 11 Nov 1889 / 9. 39 counties / 10. Alki, meaning “by and by” / 11. Evergreen State / 12. Pacific Rhododendron/ Western Hemlock

Let’s Talk About: EWGS & Heritage From the Heartland

Betting you have ancestral ties back into the above show “heartland” states. Am I right? Would you like to know more……. and learn up-to-date research “more” about these states?

 The Eastern Washington Genealogical Society is giving you the chance to learn more about researching in the heartland of America in a series of programs beginning in October and ending in June, 2023.

Kickoff for the EWGS series, Heritage from the Heartland, will be the focus of the October 1st meeting. It will be a hybrid meeting (both in person and ZOOM) but PLEASE, EWGS is limited to only so many via ZOOM so you in-towners COME and let the out-of-towners ZOOM, okay?) Besides, come and have lunch with your genealogy friends.

Click to www.EWGSI.org to learn more details and to register (yes, right from the website!).

Let’s Talk About: Names, Yesterday & Today

Picking a name for baby has always been a delightful challenge. Surely it has always been so. I have a family of four siblings born in the early 1700s in Connecticut named John, Mary, Elizabeth…………… and Bazeleel.  Bazeleel? Yep, a Bible name for sure.

We might think that names for baby popping up today are kinda crazy but it was the same decades or centuries ago (as proved by the above example, no?).

Doing some “pay-it-forward” work for the St. Clair County Genealogical Society in Illinois (where some of my ancestors hail from), and helping index and proofread early birth records, I’ve come upon these names…. and they are first names:

Orben, Noal, Truthadoris, Honey, Ermil, Calliem, Argana, Bornodna, Yarlotts, Falenda, Mortha and Ceeylia.

How long ago were these names, you ask? 1916! 

I’m quite sure that a list compiled in 2122 of some of today’s names might sound just as “interesting.” Agree? 

Let’s Talk About: Coats of Arms

I‘ve posted before about Coats of Arms and do we believe them….. or deserve them….today?  Here’s a story that I just HAD to share:

At the town of Stirling began the great wood of Caledon where roamed a number of white bulls, with crisp and curly manes, like fierce lions….and more wild than any other beasts. As soon as any man appeared before them, the bulls would rush forward without fear of hounds, sharp lances or other weapons.

“It is said that King Robert Bruce went hunting in this wood and, having only a small party with him, narrowly escaped with his life. One of the bulls, after being sorely wounded by the hunters, rushed fiercely on the King who had then no weapon in his hand to defend himself from the impact. 

“Then a man of great spirit, who was nearby, leapt before the King and, grappling with the bull, cast it to the earth with great force and held it there while the remaining hunters slew it with their weapons. The man who rescued the King was called thereafter TURN-E-BULL and awarded with rich lands by the King.”

This story is retold in a 20-page booklet titled, I Save the King: The Story of the Turnbulls, by R.E. Scott, 1977. Author Scott cites The History of Scotland, published in Latin in Paris about 1626.

Working on a history of Cyrus Turnbull, for whom Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge (south of Cheney near Spokane) was named (although he never owned land there and only “squatted” for six years), I found a reference to this story. Tracking it down, I found that a copy was held by a library in Michigan. Inquiring of them, a most kind librarian found a copy online for me!

Note the lesson there, dear readers. About helpful librarians, I mean. But back to the question: Do you “believe” in a family today having/boasting of a coat of arms from yore???

Let’s Talk About: Elvis Presley the Man

Did you light a candle or shed a tear today, August 16th, ……. the 45th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death?

We “all” loved or hated Elvis. In 1958 I recall hurrying home from Sunday evening youth group to see Elvis on the Ed Sullivan show! Only from the waist up, of course. 

What did you really know about Elvis the man??

1. He had a twin brother, Jesse, who died at birth.

2. His full name was Elvis Aaron (his father was Vernon Elvis).

3. His favorite sandwich was peanut butter, bacon and banana.

4. His home/mansion, Graceland, was originally a church when he bought it.

5. His first hit? Heartbreak Hotel in 1956.

6. He earned a Black Belt in karate in 1960.

7. He married Priscilla in 1967 in Las Vegas; Lisa Marie was their only child.

8. His first movie was “Love Me Tender.”

9. He made 24 albums.

10. He was reading The Scientific Search for the Face of Jesus at the time of his death.

One last Elvis story:  My father was in Sacred Heart hospital in about the year 2000 and when I went to pay for parking, the attendant said it would be free if I could tell him the date of Elvis’s death. “Easy! I said. Everybody knows he’s NOT dead!”  The fellow laughed and let me pass. 

Let’s Talk About: Websites for Social History

Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

Big thanks to the July/August 2022 issue of Family Tree Magazine for this information.

Why do we want to learn about social history? What has it to do with genealogy? It has everything to do with our family history! Genealogy is the facts. Social history gives the why-when-how of those facts.

When I learned that my great-grandmother took her 8-year-old daughter (my grandmother, Clara) upstream on the Mississippi River to visit family in St. Louis, I wanted to know more about the circumstances of that story. THAT’S social history. 

We’ve probably all used Google to find images of what life was like for our ancestors in any past time period or place. That’s well and good, but there are other website you might consider:

** Encyclopedia Britannica – yes! No more a groaning load of huge volumes on our living room shelves, but all online AND up to date!  (www.britannica.com)
** Food Timeline  (www.foodtimeline.org). What your ancestors ate, and how they fixed their food, tells you much about their daily lives.
**History Net (www.historynet.com). Search for U.S. history topics at this website from the California Gold Rush to D-Day.
**Immigration to the United States, 1789-1930… really long website address:library.harvard.edu/collections/immigration-united-states-1789-1930This Harvard Library resource allows you to search among thousands of digitized books, pamphlets, periodicals, manuscripts and photos to learn more about voluntary immigration to America.
**Library of Congress Digital Collections (www.loc/gov/collections). This site includes Chronicling America (the only US newspaper resource) and more. 

At the bottom of the article was this banner bit:  “Read Shelley K. Bishop’s list of free social history website, categorized by subject at www.familytreemagazine.com/history/top-social-history-websitesThere is ALWAYS more to learn about the lives and times of our ancestors. 

Let’s Talk About: Mr. Spock

One of my favorite TV stars was Mr. Spock of Star Trek. On a whim, I decided to learn more about Leonard Nimoy the man. Perhaps you’ve wondered too?

Leonard Simon Nimoy was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on 26 March 1931, to Dora (Spinner) and Max Nimoy, who owned a barbershop. His parents were Ukrainian Jewish immigrants. (“My folks came to the US as immigrants, aliens, and became citizens. I was born in Boston, a citizen, went to Hollywood and became an alien.”) He had one brother, Melvin. Raised in a tenement and acting in community theaters since age eight, Nimoy did not make his Hollywood debut until he was 20. After two years in the U.S. Army, he was still getting small, often uncredited, parts.

In February 1965, he made his first appearance as Spock in the Star Trek TV pilots “The Cage” and “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” and went on to play the character until the end of the production run in early 1969…… soon followed by eight feature films and guest appearances in later spin-offs in the franchise.

Got his famous role of Spock on Star Trek (1966) in part because discussions among writers and producers of the series about the character of Spock led them to put out the word that they were looking for a tall, thin guy to play the role of an alien crew member. Gene Roddenberry and casting director Joseph D’Agosta remembered Nimoy from his work in Roddenberry’s first TV series, the WWII drama The Lieutenant (1963). After being invited to come look at the sets and props, Nimoy was offered the role…and so was born his most famous role and start as a popular culture icon.

Leonard Nimoy first saw what would become the famous Vulcan salute, “Live Long and Prosper,” as a child. The placement of the hands comes from a childhood memory, or an Orthodox Jewish synagogue service in Boston. “This is the shape of the letter shin,” Nimoy said in the 2013 interview, making the famous “V” gesture. The Hebrew letter shin, he noted, is the first letter in several Hebrew words, including Shaddai (a name for God), Shalom (the word for hello, goodbye and peace).

The “Vulcan nerve pinch” concept on Star Trek (1966) was invented by Nimoy when he and the series’ writers were trying to figure out how an unarmed Spock could overpower an adversary without resorting to violence.

Leonard Nimoy was twice married and left a son and daughter. He was 6’1” tall, was an avid writer of poetry and wrote many books and he was best friends with William Shatner (only a few days older). He spoke Hebrew and Yiddish and was an advocate for keeping that language alive.

Mr. Spock passed away on 27 February 2015, one month away from what would have been his 84th birthday. Cause of death was COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). His final Tweet, posted four days before his death, was “A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP”  (Live Long and Prosper)  He rests in Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery in Culver City, California.

A search with Google will give way more information than I included here.


Let’s Talk About: WORDS!

      This has got to be one of the most clever E-mails I’ve received in a while. Someone out there  must be “deadly” at  Scrabble or Wordle.  

When you rearrange the letters:  BEST IN PRAYER
When you rearrange the letters:  MOON STARER  

DESPERATION: When you rearrange the letters:  A ROPE ENDS IT  
When you rearrange the letters:  THEY SEE  

When you rearrange the letters:  HERE COME DOTS
When you rearrange the letters:  DIRTY ROOM

When you rearrange the letters: CASH LOST IN ME      

When you rearrange the letters:  IS NO AMITY  

SNOOZE ALARMS: When you rearrange the letters:  ALAS! NO MORE Z ‘S  

When you rearrange the letters:  I’M A DOT IN PLACE  

When you rearrange the letters:  THAT QUEER SHAKE      

When you rearrange the letters:  TWELVE PLUS ONE  


When you rearrange the letters:  WOMAN HITLER
Bet your friends haven’t seen this one!!!