Online Genealogy Class Starts Tomorrow

It’s not too late to sign up for my Beginning Online Genealogy class through the Community Colleges of Spokane’s Institute for Extended Learning! Even though the first class will be held tomorrow evening, Monday, October 1st from 6:00 – 8:00 PM, you can call the IEL during business hours tomorrow at (509) 279-6000 to enroll. We will be meeting every Monday evening until October 22nd at the Spokane Valley IEL location, Centerplace at Mirabeau.

This class will cover the basics of genealogy including using basic forms; finding genealogy software; interviewing family members; using vital, cemetery and census records; citing your sources and tracking your research; and using the Internet to begin building your family tree by visiting popular genealogy database websites. We will also explore networking such as using or reading message boards, mailing lists, online newsletters and blogs. Basic preservation of family documents and photos will also be included. Competency in using the Internet and having an e-mail address is a requirement for this class.

For those who have taken this course already, we are now offering an Intermediate Online Genealogy class beginning January 28th. This will be a six-week class on using military, court, land, and immigration records, as well as exploring some of the newer genealogical and historical websites, such as Footnote and WorldVitalRecords. Spokane-area residents, look for your Winter Quarter community college catalog to enroll in that class.

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Report on September Scanfest

Our September Scanfest earlier today was so enjoyable! Colleen from The Oracle of OMcHodoy joined me, as well as a newcomer, Teri from The Cheeky Librarian and User Education Resources for Librarians. Teri had been referred by Sally of The Practical Archivist, who gave Scanfest the ultimate compliment by referring to it as “a quilting bee, but for scanning”! Craig from GeneaBlogie dropped by for a while, as did Apple from Apple’s Tree.

We all had our little projects: Colleen was sorting through a box of 200 photos; Teri had scanned some documents for her career portfolio and had moved on to newspaper clippings and family photos; Apple had scanned some bus photos for her work blog (she’s a school bus driver in her “other” life); Craig didn’t scan, but we enjoyed chatting with him and telling Teri about his HARP Project. I was working on getting my maternal grandmother’s baby book scanned, and I actually completed the entire scanning project in the three hours we set aside (a first for me)!

We had plenty to talk about as we worked, too. Colleen was multitasking and watching the football game, so she interjected with comments about that. She also found a snapshot of movie star Jeff Chandler with her mother’s photos, which looked like it had been taken on the streets of Niagara Falls, New York! Teri said she found some great “blackmail” photos of her brother that she was sure her nephews and niece would enjoy! We shared advice about scanning and preservation, and all-in-all, felt good about taking the time to care for the precious family documents and photos that have been entrusted to us as family historians!

I hope that you will join us for the next Scanfest, to be held Sunday, October 28th from 11 AM to 2 PM, Pacific Daylight Time (in the U.S., we’ll be switching back to standard time the first Sunday in November this year). You don’t have to be a genealogist or have a blog or website to join us. We’re just looking for some people who want to preserve their family heirlooms and enjoy getting to know others online.

Online Genealogy Class Starts Tomorrow

It’s not too late to sign up for my Beginning Online Genealogy class through the Community Colleges of Spokane’s Institute for Extended Learning! Even though the first class will be held tomorrow evening, Monday, October 1st from 6:00 – 8:00 PM, you can call the IEL during business hours tomorrow at (509) 279-6000 to enroll. We will be meeting every Monday evening until October 22nd at the Spokane Valley IEL location, Centerplace at Mirabeau.

This class will cover the basics of genealogy including using basic forms; finding genealogy software; interviewing family members; using vital, cemetery and census records; citing your sources and tracking your research; and using the Internet to begin building your family tree by visiting popular genealogy database websites. We will also explore networking such as using or reading message boards, mailing lists, online newsletters and blogs. Basic preservation of family documents and photos will also be included. Competency in using the Internet and having an e-mail address is a requirement for this class.

For those who have taken this course already, we are now offering an Intermediate Online Genealogy class beginning January 28th. This will be a six-week class on using military, court, land, and immigration records, as well as exploring some of the newer genealogical and historical websites, such as Footnote and WorldVitalRecords. Spokane-area residents, look for your Winter Quarter community college catalog to enroll in that class.

Report on September Scanfest

Our September Scanfest earlier today was so enjoyable! Colleen from The Oracle of OMcHodoy joined me, as well as a newcomer, Teri from The Cheeky Librarian and User Education Resources for Librarians. Teri had been referred by Sally of The Practical Archivist, who gave Scanfest the ultimate compliment by referring to it as “a quilting bee, but for scanning”! Craig from GeneaBlogie dropped by for a while, as did Apple from Apple’s Tree.

We all had our little projects: Colleen was sorting through a box of 200 photos; Teri had scanned some documents for her career portfolio and had moved on to newspaper clippings and family photos; Apple had scanned some bus photos for her work blog (she’s a school bus driver in her “other” life); Craig didn’t scan, but we enjoyed chatting with him and telling Teri about his HARP Project. I was working on getting my maternal grandmother’s baby book scanned, and I actually completed the entire scanning project in the three hours we set aside (a first for me)!

We had plenty to talk about as we worked, too. Colleen was multitasking and watching the football game, so she interjected with comments about that. She also found a snapshot of movie star Jeff Chandler with her mother’s photos, which looked like it had been taken on the streets of Niagara Falls, New York! Teri said she found some great “blackmail” photos of her brother that she was sure her nephews and niece would enjoy! We shared advice about scanning and preservation, and all-in-all, felt good about taking the time to care for the precious family documents and photos that have been entrusted to us as family historians!

I hope that you will join us for the next Scanfest, to be held Sunday, October 28th from 11 AM to 2 PM, Pacific Daylight Time (in the U.S., we’ll be switching back to standard time the first Sunday in November this year). You don’t have to be a genealogist or have a blog or website to join us. We’re just looking for some people who want to preserve their family heirlooms and enjoy getting to know others online.

Spokane’s Lost Battalion Veteran Remembers The War

This morning’s front page story in Spokane, Washington’s local paper, The Spokesman-Review, is about Fred Shiosaki, a Japanese-American who served in the Lost Battalion, which will be featured in Episode 5 of Ken Burn’s The War on PBS tomorrow evening. The links include audio interviews of Mr. Shiosaki, and the site’s home page (on 29 Sep 2007, only) includes a photograph of the veteran:

Shiosaki was a member of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, 3rd Battalion, Company K, which spent a week on a wooded ridge in northern France trying to break through to the Lost Battalion, a unit from Texas that was surrounded by German troops. He was wounded by shrapnel – not seriously, he adds, but enough for a Purple Heart and five points towards his discharge – and many of his unit were killed. Scenes of the casualties in the documentary might jog some unpleasant memories.

“I know I saw them get killed but I can’t remember anything about it,” the 83-year-old said this week in an interview.

Unlike many Japanese-Americans who were relocated to interment camps, Spokane’s “enemy aliens” were not, probably because the city is located so far from the Pacific Coast; thus they were not considered such a “threat.” Spokane has a good-sized Japanese-American population with a proud, celebrated heritage, which directly or indirectly influences most Spokanites today, including myself. Besides my having several good friends and co-workers of Japanese descent, my sister and her children retain a Japanese surname legally taken by my ex-brother-in-law, in honor of the Japanese stepfather who raised him.

The Spokesman-Review archives most of its articles into pay-per-view format after only one day, so read it now! You can also purchase a month-long online subscription for only $7 here, which will give you access to all portions of their website.

Spokane’s Lost Battalion Veteran Remembers The War

This morning’s front page story in Spokane, Washington’s local paper, The Spokesman-Review, is about Fred Shiosaki, a Japanese-American who served in the Lost Battalion, which will be featured in Episode 5 of Ken Burn’s The War on PBS tomorrow evening. The links include audio interviews of Mr. Shiosaki, and the site’s home page (on 29 Sep 2007, only) includes a photograph of the veteran:

Shiosaki was a member of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, 3rd Battalion, Company K, which spent a week on a wooded ridge in northern France trying to break through to the Lost Battalion, a unit from Texas that was surrounded by German troops. He was wounded by shrapnel – not seriously, he adds, but enough for a Purple Heart and five points towards his discharge – and many of his unit were killed. Scenes of the casualties in the documentary might jog some unpleasant memories.

“I know I saw them get killed but I can’t remember anything about it,” the 83-year-old said this week in an interview.

Unlike many Japanese-Americans who were relocated to interment camps, Spokane’s “enemy aliens” were not, probably because the city is located so far from the Pacific Coast; thus they were not considered such a “threat.” Spokane has a good-sized Japanese-American population with a proud, celebrated heritage, which directly or indirectly influences most Spokanites today, including myself. Besides my having several good friends and co-workers of Japanese descent, my sister and her children retain a Japanese surname legally taken by my ex-brother-in-law, in honor of the Japanese stepfather who raised him.

The Spokesman-Review archives most of its articles into pay-per-view format after only one day, so read it now! You can also purchase a month-long online subscription for only $7 here, which will give you access to all portions of their website.

Ancestors in the 1930 U.S. Federal Census – Part 12

View historical documents and photos from America’s Boom and Bust era (1920 – 1935) here.

April 1st was Census Day for the 1930 U.S. Federal Census. In honor of that census day, throughout the month of April I posted lists of my known direct ancestors and where they were residing during that census. I am continuing this series into the subsequent months. I’ll also list who’s missing; for us family historians, missing individuals on census records can be the most frustrating and intriguing challenges of genealogy!

I introduce you to Martin HOEKSTRA and Jennie TON, my great-great-grandparents on my mother’s side. Both first-generation Americans born of Dutch immigrants, it is possible they met while working in the laundry business, perhaps the American Steam Laundry Company of Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan, in the mid 1880s. Martin was a teamster; his job would probably have entailed driving wagonloads of dirty clothing and linens from the customers to the steam laundry, and then delivering the cleaned items back to their homes. Jennie was a laundress, and doubtless had one of the hardest and most thankless tasks in the business! Isabella Mary Beeton’s Book of Household Management (paragraph 2372) describes the duties required of laundry maids in private homes in the 19th century…they must have been similar to those in a laundry company of that era. Hot, wet, and dirty work involving dangerous machinery and chemicals would have been the working environment for a laundress in those days.

Jennie and Martin were both probably very used to hard work. As children of immigrant laborers, they had grown up expected to do their share. Jennie, especially, had had a hard life. Her parents had immigrated from Nieuwerkerk, the Province of Zeeland, the Netherlands, with an infant daughter to Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio in 1857. Although they apparently had nine children in all, only three–Jennie and sisters Nellie and Mary–survived to adulthood. By 1873, the family had moved to Grand Rapids, and her father died the following year. Jennie’s widowed mother remarried to a widower in 1875, but died herself three years later. The step-father in turn remarried another widow, and Jennie and her sisters were expected to contribute to the household. The older girls worked as domestics and Jennie, at 11 years old, was working as well. Probably not welcome in a household where both adults were step-parents, she ended up living with her mother’s brother and sister-in-law, never obtaining more than a third-grade education.

Martin and Jennie were married in his parents’ hometown of Holland, Ottawa Co., Michigan on 27 November 1886. It’s possible that Jennie was expecting their first child at that time, as she was born less than eight months later. I have blogged about finding their marriage record in a previous post.

By 1930, the days of working for a laundry company were long over. Martin and Jennie had raised four children, Grace, Maude Mae, my great-grandfather John Martin (I blogged about his 1930 enumeration here), and Peter Louis Ton HOEKSTRA. These children were married with families of their own, producing eleven grandchildren. Martin had worked for years as a carpenter and contractor, both privately and for the railroad. Sometime between 1920 and 1927, they had bought a home at 1225 Cooper Avenue in Ward 3 of southeast Grand Rapids, a predominately Dutch immigrant neighborhood. In 1930, Martin was working as a decorator in building construction. Their home was worth $3,000, although they did not own a radio. Neighbors on both sides of them did own radios, so that indicates there was electricity in the neighborhood.

On 15 April 1930, Martin and Jennie were enumerated at their home at 1225 Cooper Avenue in Ward 3, Block 1478 of Grand Rapids (ED 26, Sheet 21A):

Household 7; Family 7; Hoekstra, Martin; Head of household; owner of home worth $3000; No radio; Family does not live on a farm; Male; White; age 61; Married; age at first marriage: 19; Did not attend school since 1 September 1929; Able to read and write; Born in Michigan; Parents born in the Netherlands; Able to speak English; occupation: Decorator for Building Construction company; Works on own account; Employed; Not a veteran

Jennie; Wife; Female; White; age 62; Married; age at first marriage: 19; did not attend school since 1 September 1929; Able to read and write; Born in Ohio; Parents born in the Netherlands; Able to speak English; occupation: none

Jennie was very close to her granddaughter, my maternal grandmother, Ruth Lillian HOEKSTRA, who shared stories of her grandmother with my mother and me over the years. According to Grandma, Jennie was sweet and gentle. She had learned how to cook and make bread at a very young age. She called her husband “Pa,” and did whatever he said. My grandmother, an independent-minded woman, used to get riled up over this, because according to her, Martin was “a tartar”!

I look forward to when the 1940 U.S. Federal Census is publicly released, as Martin and Jennie should appear on it in either Grand Rapids or Allegan, Allegan Co., Michigan. The latter location is where their son Louis lived and they moved in with him and his wife in their old age. Jennie died at the age of 76 in Allegan. Martin was visiting or living with their daughter Maude when he died in Detroit the following year, also at age 76. Both are buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Allegan, along with son Louis. Their graves can be seen at the Find A Grave website here. They are the only photographs I have of this couple’s life.

(Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11)