September 2008 EWGS General Meeting to Be Held at Shadle Library

The first meeting of the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society’s 2008 – 2009 genealogical year will be held at Shadle Branch (2111 W. Wellesley Ave.) of the Spokane Public Library in the meeting room next Saturday, September 6th. This is a different location from our regular meeting place, the Downtown Branch Library. Coffee, cookies, and conversation will begin at 12:30 PM. At 1:00, the business portion of our meeting will begin, and at 1:30 our main program will begin. The topic of this meeting is “Oh, the Places We Went,” and members and guests alike are invited to partake in sharing the great genealogical finds during summer research trips. This meeting is free and open to the general public and will end around 2:30 PM.

Parking is free, but somewhat limited in the library parking lot. Street parking along the east side of Belt Street is available, with a short walk across the edge of the park to the library. The library is also accessible via several of Spokane Transit’s bus routes.

There will be various genealogical items sold at our society’s Ways and Means table, as well as raffling a certificate worth $25 towards our October Workshop with Barbara Nuehring! Because the workshop cost is $25 for society members and $30 for non-members, for the winner this means either free registration or having to only pay $5 towards registration, depending upon whether they are a member.

Raffle tickets will be $1 each or $5 for half a dozen tickets.

This is a great opportunity to learn a little about the society in an informal manner and get to know others who are as passionate (or crazy!) about family history as you are!

If you have any questions, please e-mail Miriam Robbins Midkiff.

Advertisements

Some Random Acts of Kindness

If there were an award for “Worst Genealogy Lookup Volunteer,” I’m sure I’d be the winner, hands down! With all my computer/Internet problems this spring, coupled with a busy life, I haven’t been able to keep up with my lookup requests until recently. Yet I can’t blame everything on my busy life; I have a tendency to overcommit, and I’m learning (the hard way) to say no. When a distant cousin on my husband’s side asked me if I could build her another website to promote her newest book, I had to turn her down, since I haven’t even been able to stay on top of a site I’m currently working on!

All that said, last February, I posted a series on “Random Acts of Kindess” Week, and encouraged my fellow genea-bloggers to post about their contributions. I wanted to report to my readers what I’ve done, not as a “break-my-arm-in-patting-myself-on-the-back” way, but to give an idea of what giving back to the genealogical community entails. I have been the recipient of so many kindesses, that of course, I want to pay it forward. Perhaps in reading this, others will be inspired to do the same.

First of all, I made a couple of small financial contributions to a couple of favorite genealogy-related websites, because I believe in what they are doing to help out the genealogy community. When I’ve had to make non-genealogy online purchases recently, I’ve tried to do them through my fellow genea-bloggers’ affiliate stores. I’ve also tried to remember to click on their various advertisements, although many times, I read blog posts through my Google Reader instead of at the actual blog site.

Secondly, I took some training from Carol Nettles, the volunteer coordinator at the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society. EWGS is creating an index of the Patchen file that will eventually be put on our website. The Patchen file was begun 50 years ago by Lee Patchen, who worked for 20 years, clipping out obituaries from Spokane newspapers and pasting them onto index cards, which were filed in dozens of those old fashioned card catalog drawers. A number of us are adding data from these obits to an Excel file which will eventually allow anyone with Internet access to lookup their ancestor and request a copy of the obituary. So far, I’m about 2/3 of the way through a drawer. I’m a pretty fast typist (keyboardist?) and yet it’s taken me about 4 hours to index about one foot of cards (some prep work is involved; there are references to published works mixed in with the obits)! While I have no ancestors buried in this area, I feel this is a great payback to the genealogical community, especially since I’ve used the wonderful results of such work at the Western Michigan Genealogical Society’s databases!

Next, I’ve taken some random photos of graves at Greenwood Memorial Terrace here in Spokane, and using the Washington State Death Index online at FamilySearch Labs, I’ve slowly been adding memorial pages to Find A Grave for these individuals. Graves that have caught my eye include Civil War veterans’ and the many graves in the old part of the cemetery, which for some reason, is not kept up like the main part. It is very rural-looking, no grass, lots of trees and bushes, and has an old-fashioned feel to it.

Lastly, I’ve had 11 lookup requests since March 27th, most of which I’ve fulfilled. Two requested death and cemetery records for Muskegon Co., Michigan (I have access to these on microfilm at my local Family History Center). One of those requests occurred before FamilySearch Labs added images of Michigan Death records from 1867 – 1897 to their site. One of the requests was for a death after the early 1910s, which were not microfilmed, so I gave the requestor the link to the online Muskegon County Death Index and recommended if she found the death listed there, to purchase the record through the county clerk’s office, rather than the state department of vital statistics (it’s cheaper through the county).

Another individual e-mailed me to ask if I had access to all Michigan marriage records (such as a state index) or just Muskegon County Marriages. I wrote back to tell her it was only the county records. However, just today I wrote again to inform her that Michigan Marriages, 1867 – 1925, are now at the FamilySearch Labs site.

There was a request for four lookups for family members in Greenwood Cemetery in Walker Twp., Kent Co., Michigan. I could not find three that died in 1896 in the index; the death in 1870 occurred before the records were kept (and I believe when the cemetery opened) in 1880. I recommended a local researcher in Kent County who is inexpensive, professional, and thorough, and whom I’ve used on occasion with excellent results.

Three requests, one through RAOGK and another through Books We Own, asked for burial information at Park Hill Cemetery in Vancouver, Clark Co., Washington. I used to own the burial books for this cemetery, as a large number of my husband’s ancestors and relatives are buried there. However, I donated the books to my genie society’s upcoming book auction, because the listings are now online. However, I keep my volunteer information available at these websites for this cemetery, because there are many people who are unaware that the burial records are online. I was happy to pass this information on to the three requestors.

I’ve had three requests for lookups in the microfilmed 1899 City Directory of Washington, DC, which happens to be one of many items on a microfilm that contains Muskegon County, Michigan records. I’ve fulfilled two of these requests. There is also an unfulfilled request for lookups in the microfilmed Grand Rapids City Directory in the 1860s and 1870s. All of these films are those I’ve put on permanent loan at my local Family History Center.

Speaking of lookups, Genlighten will soon open has recently opened its website as a place where individuals can connect with low-cost volunteer researchers. Dean Richardson, who Randy mentioned at the Jamboree, has also started a blog for the site. Given my terrible record for looking up records in such an untimely manner, I’ve not signed up as a researcher, although I am considering it (must finish other commitments, first). I see that DearMYRTLE endorses the site, and I think this will become a wonderful resource for our genealogical community. UPDATE: Dean posted some clarifications and corrections in the comments section of this post. Please take a moment to read these!

I’ve wanted to do more FamilySearch Indexing, but other commitments, time contraints and my laptop not working well have created challenges in this department.

How am I doing? Not too badly, I hope–except for taking so very long to fulfill lookup requests. I’d like to read posts from other genea-bloggers on their contributions, too, so if you have some, please add your post links to my comments section. Also, be sure to read Renee’s Genealogy Blog as she writes about her adventures in FamilySearch Indexing.

Some Random Acts of Kindness

If there were an award for “Worst Genealogy Lookup Volunteer,” I’m sure I’d be the winner, hands down! With all my computer/Internet problems this spring, coupled with a busy life, I haven’t been able to keep up with my lookup requests until recently. Yet I can’t blame everything on my busy life; I have a tendency to overcommit, and I’m learning (the hard way) to say no. When a distant cousin on my husband’s side asked me if I could build her another website to promote her newest book, I had to turn her down, since I haven’t even been able to stay on top of a site I’m currently working on!

All that said, last February, I posted a series on “Random Acts of Kindess” Week, and encouraged my fellow genea-bloggers to post about their contributions. I wanted to report to my readers what I’ve done, not as a “break-my-arm-in-patting-myself-on-the-back” way, but to give an idea of what giving back to the genealogical community entails. I have been the recipient of so many kindesses, that of course, I want to pay it forward. Perhaps in reading this, others will be inspired to do the same.

First of all, I made a couple of small financial contributions to a couple of favorite genealogy-related websites, because I believe in what they are doing to help out the genealogy community. When I’ve had to make non-genealogy online purchases recently, I’ve tried to do them through my fellow genea-bloggers’ affiliate stores. I’ve also tried to remember to click on their various advertisements, although many times, I read blog posts through my Google Reader instead of at the actual blog site.

Secondly, I took some training from Carol Nettles, the volunteer coordinator at the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society. EWGS is creating an index of the Patchen file that will eventually be put on our website. The Patchen file was begun 50 years ago by Lee Patchen, who worked for 20 years, clipping out obituaries from Spokane newspapers and pasting them onto index cards, which were filed in dozens of those old fashioned card catalog drawers. A number of us are adding data from these obits to an Excel file which will eventually allow anyone with Internet access to lookup their ancestor and request a copy of the obituary. So far, I’m about 2/3 of the way through a drawer. I’m a pretty fast typist (keyboardist?) and yet it’s taken me about 4 hours to index about one foot of cards (some prep work is involved; there are references to published works mixed in with the obits)! While I have no ancestors buried in this area, I feel this is a great payback to the genealogical community, especially since I’ve used the wonderful results of such work at the Western Michigan Genealogical Society’s databases!

Next, I’ve taken some random photos of graves at Greenwood Memorial Terrace here in Spokane, and using the Washington State Death Index online at FamilySearch Labs, I’ve slowly been adding memorial pages to Find A Grave for these individuals. Graves that have caught my eye include Civil War veterans’ and the many graves in the old part of the cemetery, which for some reason, is not kept up like the main part. It is very rural-looking, no grass, lots of trees and bushes, and has an old-fashioned feel to it.

Lastly, I’ve had 11 lookup requests since March 27th, most of which I’ve fulfilled. Two requested death and cemetery records for Muskegon Co., Michigan (I have access to these on microfilm at my local Family History Center). One of those requests occurred before FamilySearch Labs added images of Michigan Death records from 1867 – 1897 to their site. One of the requests was for a death after the early 1910s, which were not microfilmed, so I gave the requestor the link to the online Muskegon County Death Index and recommended if she found the death listed there, to purchase the record through the county clerk’s office, rather than the state department of vital statistics (it’s cheaper through the county).

Another individual e-mailed me to ask if I had access to all Michigan marriage records (such as a state index) or just Muskegon County Marriages. I wrote back to tell her it was only the county records. However, just today I wrote again to inform her that Michigan Marriages, 1867 – 1925, are now at the FamilySearch Labs site.

There was a request for four lookups for family members in Greenwood Cemetery in Walker Twp., Kent Co., Michigan. I could not find three that died in 1896 in the index; the death in 1870 occurred before the records were kept (and I believe when the cemetery opened) in 1880. I recommended a local researcher in Kent County who is inexpensive, professional, and thorough, and whom I’ve used on occasion with excellent results.

Three requests, one through RAOGK and another through Books We Own, asked for burial information at Park Hill Cemetery in Vancouver, Clark Co., Washington. I used to own the burial books for this cemetery, as a large number of my husband’s ancestors and relatives are buried there. However, I donated the books to my genie society’s upcoming book auction, because the listings are now online. However, I keep my volunteer information available at these websites for this cemetery, because there are many people who are unaware that the burial records are online. I was happy to pass this information on to the three requestors.

I’ve had three requests for lookups in the microfilmed 1899 City Directory of Washington, DC, which happens to be one of many items on a microfilm that contains Muskegon County, Michigan records. I’ve fulfilled two of these requests. There is also an unfulfilled request for lookups in the microfilmed Grand Rapids City Directory in the 1860s and 1870s. All of these films are those I’ve put on permanent loan at my local Family History Center.

Speaking of lookups, Genlighten will soon open has recently opened its website as a place where individuals can connect with low-cost volunteer researchers. Dean Richardson, who Randy mentioned at the Jamboree, has also started a blog for the site. Given my terrible record for looking up records in such an untimely manner, I’ve not signed up as a researcher, although I am considering it (must finish other commitments, first). I see that DearMYRTLE endorses the site, and I think this will become a wonderful resource for our genealogical community. UPDATE: Dean posted some clarifications and corrections in the comments section of this post. Please take a moment to read these!

I’ve wanted to do more FamilySearch Indexing, but other commitments, time contraints and my laptop not working well have created challenges in this department.

How am I doing? Not too badly, I hope–except for taking so very long to fulfill lookup requests. I’d like to read posts from other genea-bloggers on their contributions, too, so if you have some, please add your post links to my comments section. Also, be sure to read Renee’s Genealogy Blog as she writes about her adventures in FamilySearch Indexing.

More Syllabuses Available

In both January and February of this year, I gave presentations to the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society’s members-only computer classes (see the list of past and future classes here). I’m very proud of the educational programs that our society provides its members and the general public through its classes and meetings. To get an idea of the types of topics we cover, see the “What You Missed” feature of our blog. This helps keep our absent and snowbirding members current with our calendar of events.

If you are interested in any of the syllabuses for the classes I’ve taught, I offer them freely to anyone who requests them by e-mail. My e-mail address can be found here. My topics are:

  • *Finding Vital Records and Obituaries Online
  • *Footnote.com
  • *How to Use Online Message Boards
  • *Finding Volunteer Researchers Online
  • *County Genealogy Websites (USGenWeb, USGenNet, etc.)
  • *Find A Grave
  • *How to Fix Broken Links, and Other Tips and Tricks

More Syllabuses Available

In both January and February of this year, I gave presentations to the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society’s members-only computer classes (see the list of past and future classes here). I’m very proud of the educational programs that our society provides its members and the general public through its classes and meetings. To get an idea of the types of topics we cover, see the “What You Missed” feature of our blog. This helps keep our absent and snowbirding members current with our calendar of events.

If you are interested in any of the syllabuses for the classes I’ve taught, I offer them freely to anyone who requests them by e-mail. My e-mail address can be found here. My topics are:

  • *Finding Vital Records and Obituaries Online
  • *Footnote.com
  • *How to Use Online Message Boards
  • *Finding Volunteer Researchers Online
  • *County Genealogy Websites (USGenWeb, USGenNet, etc.)
  • *Find A Grave
  • *How to Fix Broken Links, and Other Tips and Tricks

This and That Again

From the random thoughts bouncing around in my head:

Every morning, I enjoy reading the latest Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories posts. I’ve been catching up on my own, and now have numbers 1 – 11 complete. I’m working hard to fill in the ones from when I was so busy the last week of school. I’ve also added pictures to a couple of ones already posted. The ones I’ve got in on time to be included in Thomas’ daily posts have been sent to him fairly late at night (usually midnight, his time). He probably dreads getting e-mails from me (“can’t that gal in Spokane get it together?”). This is what happens when you’re competing for computer time with teenagers. They somehow think MySpace and Runescape are so much more important than blogging or genealogy. Sheesh!

I’ve also been busy with Christmas preparations, like most of you out there. I’ve got my Christmas letter all written and mailed out (if you would like to get your own copy, just e-mail me; see my address in my profile). Last night I put together the dough and filling for banket, and today I’ll roll it out, fill it, and bake it. I’ll also bake up a casserole for my hubby’s workplace’s annual Christmas potluck dinner. Today’s plans include finishing up my shopping, and perhaps getting started on the wrapping.

Yesterday brought a nice surprise. We did not know that Norm’s oldest niece, nephew-in-law, and grandniece (almost 3) were in town from Illinois. We haven’t seen them since they left for Germany a couple of years ago; over the summer, they moved back to the states. They came by our house for a visit, since my husband is working longer hours due to the holidays, and won’t be able to make it to the family holiday gathering this weekend. The highlight of my day was when little Evelyn, who doesn’t remember me from past visits and was being a little shy, asked me to read a story to her!

A month or so ago, a co-worker brought in a catalog of fund-raising merchandise her son’s school was promoting. I saw this bracelet, and simply had to have it! Since it holds six photos in alternating heart- and oval-shaped marcasite-look frames, I’ve got copies of the six generations of women that I blogged about here. I’ve received many compliments, and it’s a great genealogy conversation starter! Kathryn Beich is the fundraising company, but I can’t find it on their website.

EWGS members have been getting their due in the local paper lately. Yesterday’s featured past president and current Bulletin editor Doris Woodward, who has written a book on Spokane’s circus clown, Harper Joy. The Circus Room on the seventh floor of the world-famous Davenport Hotel honors Joy, and today, Doris will be conducting a book-signing at the Signature Store in the hotel from 4:00 – 7:00 PM. Complimentary hot cider and gingerbread cookies will be served. To read the article, go here. To read the full article without going through the subscription process, simply click the “printer-friendly” link near the top of the page.

What genealogist doesn’t love books? Kimbooktu is a blog about all things bookish, including reading accessories and book-themed furniture. Today is the one-year anniversary of the blog, authored by Kim from the Netherlands. Drop by, admire the great finds she’s written about, and give her your congratulations.

This and That Again

From the random thoughts bouncing around in my head:

Every morning, I enjoy reading the latest Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories posts. I’ve been catching up on my own, and now have numbers 1 – 11 complete. I’m working hard to fill in the ones from when I was so busy the last week of school. I’ve also added pictures to a couple of ones already posted. The ones I’ve got in on time to be included in Thomas’ daily posts have been sent to him fairly late at night (usually midnight, his time). He probably dreads getting e-mails from me (“can’t that gal in Spokane get it together?”). This is what happens when you’re competing for computer time with teenagers. They somehow think MySpace and Runescape are so much more important than blogging or genealogy. Sheesh!

I’ve also been busy with Christmas preparations, like most of you out there. I’ve got my Christmas letter all written and mailed out (if you would like to get your own copy, just e-mail me; see my address in my profile). Last night I put together the dough and filling for banket, and today I’ll roll it out, fill it, and bake it. I’ll also bake up a casserole for my hubby’s workplace’s annual Christmas potluck dinner. Today’s plans include finishing up my shopping, and perhaps getting started on the wrapping.

Yesterday brought a nice surprise. We did not know that Norm’s oldest niece, nephew-in-law, and grandniece (almost 3) were in town from Illinois. We haven’t seen them since they left for Germany a couple of years ago; over the summer, they moved back to the states. They came by our house for a visit, since my husband is working longer hours due to the holidays, and won’t be able to make it to the family holiday gathering this weekend. The highlight of my day was when little Evelyn, who doesn’t remember me from past visits and was being a little shy, asked me to read a story to her!

A month or so ago, a co-worker brought in a catalog of fund-raising merchandise her son’s school was promoting. I saw this bracelet, and simply had to have it! Since it holds six photos in alternating heart- and oval-shaped marcasite-look frames, I’ve got copies of the six generations of women that I blogged about here. I’ve received many compliments, and it’s a great genealogy conversation starter! Kathryn Beich is the fundraising company, but I can’t find it on their website.

EWGS members have been getting their due in the local paper lately. Yesterday’s featured past president and current Bulletin editor Doris Woodward, who has written a book on Spokane’s circus clown, Harper Joy. The Circus Room on the seventh floor of the world-famous Davenport Hotel honors Joy, and today, Doris will be conducting a book-signing at the Signature Store in the hotel from 4:00 – 7:00 PM. Complimentary hot cider and gingerbread cookies will be served. To read the article, go here. To read the full article without going through the subscription process, simply click the “printer-friendly” link near the top of the page.

What genealogist doesn’t love books? Kimbooktu is a blog about all things bookish, including reading accessories and book-themed furniture. Today is the one-year anniversary of the blog, authored by Kim from the Netherlands. Drop by, admire the great finds she’s written about, and give her your congratulations.