Twins Leona Mary and Lee Joseph MARTIN


(click photo several times to enlarge)


(reverse of photo)

Source: Martin, Leona Mary and Lee Joseph. Photograph. C. 1907. Original photograph in the possession of Michael Midkiff, Spokane, Washington. 2008.

Isn’t this a darling photo? The little girl on the arm of the sofa is Leona Mary “Sis” MARTIN, about a year old, and her twin brother, Lee Joseph “Mick” MARTIN, is on the sofa back. Leona was my husband’s maternal grandmother. This photograph was sent to the children’s maternal grandparents, Isaac LUKE and Rebecca HEWITT, as evident by the message on the back: “for Grandpa & Grandma”. The children’s paternal grandparents, Francois Joseph MARTIN and Rachel HUBBY, had died in 1887 and 1892, respectively, so they could not have been the recipients of this photographic gift, perhaps sent as a Christmas gift when the children were a year old.

Lee and Leona were the youngest of twelve children born 17 December 1906 to John Franklin MARTIN and Angelia Rebecca LUKE. A large Catholic family of French, Scottish, and English roots, they were living in Bonners Ferry, Bonner (now Boundary) County, Idaho in 1906, where Frank worked for the railroad (probably the Northern Pacific). At the dinner after Leona’s funeral in 1993, Mick’s daughter, cousin of my mother-in-law, told me the story she had heard about the day the twins were born. Apparently, no one knew that Mama Martin was pregnant with twins. The family at that point consisted of five sons and five daughters, and there was a competition on as to whether the next baby would be a boy or a girl, since Mama had declared that there would be no more babies. According to the family story, the children, ranging in age from 21-year-old Gertrude (who was married) down to five-year-old Steve, were waiting outside the house to hear the news (seems somewhat inaccurate, given the fact that it was December in Northern Idaho–brrr! Perhaps instead they were waiting in the front room.). The doctor came out and announced, “It’s a boy!” to the rousting cheers of Frank Jr., Clarence, Isaac, John, and Steve. He went back in to the house/bedroom and returned not much later to announce, “and it’s a girl!” to the delight of Gertrude, Maude, Jane, Agnes, and Viola.

True or no, it’s a fun story. When Lee grew up, he settled in Eastern Washington. He was married three times and fathered five children. Leona also lived in Eastern Washington, but spent her latter years in Vancouver, Clark County on the southwest side of the state. She and her husband, Forrest “Frank” L. CHAPLIN, had three children, the youngest of whom is my mother-in-law. Leona was present at our wedding, along with our other three grandmothers, my paternal grandfather, and our two step-grandfathers. This was the only time I got a chance to meet her, as her health was poor and she lived on the other side of the state. Lee died in 1984, before I knew my husband or his family. Interestingly, his Social Security Death Index information states he was born 17 December 1907, rather than 1906, while Leona’s has the correct birth date. I spoke with my mother-in-law to verify their birth year (Idaho didn’t record births until 1908), and she told me that an error had been made on Lee’s birthdate, either by the Social Security Administration (or perhaps by a surviving family member after his passing) but no one in the family wanted to go through the paperwork to correct it.

As an aside: we know that giving birth to fraternal twins is a genetic female trait, usually appearing every other generation, while giving birth to identical twins is not genetic (it’s a “mutation” in the development of the embryo, where one splits into two complete embryos). Leona’s oldest daughter had twin fraternal daughters. I imagine that eventually one–or both–of them may have twin grandchildren someday.

Twins Leona Mary and Lee Joseph MARTIN


(click photo several times to enlarge)


(reverse of photo)

Source: Martin, Leona Mary and Lee Joseph. Photograph. C. 1907. Original photograph in the possession of Michael Midkiff, Spokane, Washington. 2008.

Isn’t this a darling photo? The little girl on the arm of the sofa is Leona Mary “Sis” MARTIN, about a year old, and her twin brother, Lee Joseph “Mick” MARTIN, is on the sofa back. Leona was my husband’s maternal grandmother. This photograph was sent to the children’s maternal grandparents, Isaac LUKE and Rebecca HEWITT, as evident by the message on the back: “for Grandpa & Grandma”. The children’s paternal grandparents, Francois Joseph MARTIN and Rachel HUBBY, had died in 1887 and 1892, respectively, so they could not have been the recipients of this photographic gift, perhaps sent as a Christmas gift when the children were a year old.

Lee and Leona were the youngest of twelve children born 17 December 1906 to John Franklin MARTIN and Angelia Rebecca LUKE. A large Catholic family of French, Scottish, and English roots, they were living in Bonners Ferry, Bonner (now Boundary) County, Idaho in 1906, where Frank worked for the railroad (probably the Northern Pacific). At the dinner after Leona’s funeral in 1993, Mick’s daughter, cousin of my mother-in-law, told me the story she had heard about the day the twins were born. Apparently, no one knew that Mama Martin was pregnant with twins. The family at that point consisted of five sons and five daughters, and there was a competition on as to whether the next baby would be a boy or a girl, since Mama had declared that there would be no more babies. According to the family story, the children, ranging in age from 21-year-old Gertrude (who was married) down to five-year-old Steve, were waiting outside the house to hear the news (seems somewhat inaccurate, given the fact that it was December in Northern Idaho–brrr! Perhaps instead they were waiting in the front room.). The doctor came out and announced, “It’s a boy!” to the rousting cheers of Frank Jr., Clarence, Isaac, John, and Steve. He went back in to the house/bedroom and returned not much later to announce, “and it’s a girl!” to the delight of Gertrude, Maude, Jane, Agnes, and Viola.

True or no, it’s a fun story. When Lee grew up, he settled in Eastern Washington. He was married three times and fathered five children. Leona also lived in Eastern Washington, but spent her latter years in Vancouver, Clark County on the southwest side of the state. She and her husband, Forrest “Frank” L. CHAPLIN, had three children, the youngest of whom is my mother-in-law. Leona was present at our wedding, along with our other three grandmothers, my paternal grandfather, and our two step-grandfathers. This was the only time I got a chance to meet her, as her health was poor and she lived on the other side of the state. Lee died in 1984, before I knew my husband or his family. Interestingly, his Social Security Death Index information states he was born 17 December 1907, rather than 1906, while Leona’s has the correct birth date. I spoke with my mother-in-law to verify their birth year (Idaho didn’t record births until 1908), and she told me that an error had been made on Lee’s birthdate, either by the Social Security Administration (or perhaps by a surviving family member after his passing) but no one in the family wanted to go through the paperwork to correct it.

As an aside: we know that giving birth to fraternal twins is a genetic female trait, usually appearing every other generation, while giving birth to identical twins is not genetic (it’s a “mutation” in the development of the embryo, where one splits into two complete embryos). Leona’s oldest daughter had twin fraternal daughters. I imagine that eventually one–or both–of them may have twin grandchildren someday.

Oral History Project in Spirit Lake, Idaho

Spirit Lake Youth Equipped For Success has received a grant to complete an oral history project as part of the Spirit Lake Centennial Celebration. Part of the training will be conducted by Kathy Hodges, Idaho’s Oral Historian, on February 20th. She will be speaking later that evening to the Spirit Lake Historical Society at their regular monthly meeting. It is open to the public and will be at 7:00 PM at the Spirit Lake Elementary School, 309 North 5th Avenue, Spirit Lake, Idaho. The SLHS welcomes anyone interested in hearing more about capturing oral histories and the importance of this medium as a record of historical content to plan on joining them. The elementary school is adjacent to Highway 41, just past the library (you can’t miss it).

On February 21st, the historical society has made arrangements to seat 20 at Templin’s, 414 East 1st Avenue, Post Falls, Idaho at a no-host luncheon so that Kathy can share information on oral history and answer any specific questions that any of the area historical societies might have. The Spirit Lake Historical Society is inviting Kootenai County, Westwood, and Post Falls Historical Societies’ members to this meeting. While it isn’t necessary to make reservations, it would be nice to have an estimated attendance from your group prior to the event.

The contact person for this is:

Shelley Tschida
Quality Services
P. O. Box 1162
Spirit Lake, ID 83869
(208) 623-2539 phone
(208) 623-6618 fax
(208) 691-9150 cell
qsistATverizonDOTnet

Oral History Project in Spirit Lake, Idaho

Spirit Lake Youth Equipped For Success has received a grant to complete an oral history project as part of the Spirit Lake Centennial Celebration. Part of the training will be conducted by Kathy Hodges, Idaho’s Oral Historian, on February 20th. She will be speaking later that evening to the Spirit Lake Historical Society at their regular monthly meeting. It is open to the public and will be at 7:00 PM at the Spirit Lake Elementary School, 309 North 5th Avenue, Spirit Lake, Idaho. The SLHS welcomes anyone interested in hearing more about capturing oral histories and the importance of this medium as a record of historical content to plan on joining them. The elementary school is adjacent to Highway 41, just past the library (you can’t miss it).

On February 21st, the historical society has made arrangements to seat 20 at Templin’s, 414 East 1st Avenue, Post Falls, Idaho at a no-host luncheon so that Kathy can share information on oral history and answer any specific questions that any of the area historical societies might have. The Spirit Lake Historical Society is inviting Kootenai County, Westwood, and Post Falls Historical Societies’ members to this meeting. While it isn’t necessary to make reservations, it would be nice to have an estimated attendance from your group prior to the event.

The contact person for this is:

Shelley Tschida
Quality Services
P. O. Box 1162
Spirit Lake, ID 83869
(208) 623-2539 phone
(208) 623-6618 fax
(208) 691-9150 cell
qsistATverizonDOTnet

Frugal Genealogy

Jasia of Creative Gene has written a thoughtful and interesting five-part series called “What is Your Genealogy Worth to You?” (click here to go to the first post in the series). She starts off with “Have you ever thought about how much your genealogy addiction costs you? What price have you paid to collect all those names on your family tree? If you had known what the cost would be when you began, would you still have started down this road?”

I’ve been gathering information and organizing it since early 1987. In 1990 and again in 1999, I helped to organize a Midkiff Family Reunion. In 1995, I made my first forays into research by requesting the marriage record of my paternal grandmother’s biological parents, and not long after, visited a Family History Center for the first time. I haven’t looked back since! Back then, I didn’t keep track of my expenditures, but I never had a lot to work with and would just make do with about $5 or $10 a month in ordering microfilm from the FHC. Since purchasing Quicken software three-and-a-half years ago, I’ve kept pretty good records on all my expenditures, and ran a report to see how much I’ve spent. Since May 2004, I have spent a total of $823.65 on paying society fees, ordering vital records and microfilms, paying for subscriptions to genealogy websites like Ancestry, making photocopies of documents and forms, buying office supplies specifically for my genealogy files, and purchasing genealogy books, CDs, and magazine subscriptions. I’ve been able to offset these costs: my sister-in-law reimburses me half of my online subscription costs since I help her research her family tree; I also get paid for teaching Online Genealogy at my local community college district’s community ed and for doing presentations at area genealogical societies. When I consider the after-tax income and reimbursement I’ve received in comparison to the expenditures listed above, I actually have a credit of -$52.81.

There are several other costs, however. While I don’t figure in the cost of gas in going to genealogical society meetings or going to my local Family History Center, it does cost to park when I attend society meetings and computer classes at the public library, and my three-and-a-half year cost for that has been exactly $127.00. I gladly would park in a free parking area at the bottom of the hill half-a-mile away; however, since I’m the Ways and Means Committee Chair, I usually have many boxes of books and bags of supplies to haul in, and even with my cart, that’s simply not practical. The parking garage I normally use is the cheapest in the downtown area: 50 cents per half hour.

Another cost would be printer ink (which I haven’t bothered to account for here, since I list it under Consumable Household Goods). I am very frugal with it, and only print when I have to, using the “quick print” and black-and-white settings. Still, it does cost, but I recycle my cartridges or trade them in for reams of paper or photo printing.

Because I use my computer and Internet service almost exclusively for genealogy in one form or another, I have to consider those costs. The first computer I had used Windows 3.1 and was found by my brother-in-law at a garage sale. I paid $100 for it, along with some software and a decent (for that time) printer in 1999. I used Juno’s free Internet dial-up service, then later tried a free dial-up service which was accessed through my local public library. For several years, I used AOL free trial dial-up service. It was good for two months; I’d call them up at the end of the trial service and “cancel” and they’d “persuade” me to try it again for two more months. It was great! However, when we had a friend build us a new computer (with the Edsel-like Windows ME operating system!), AOL wouldn’t work well with it. We went to Juno’s pay dial-up service of just under $10 a month. That computer cost us about $600 and included everything–monitor, speakers, software, keyboard, mouse, etc.–except the printer. We later bought a quality printer/scanner/copier/fax machine at Costco for about $300, which I still use. Since my husband works for a company that produces heavy-duty laptops for the military, police and fire departments, and service repairmen, he’s been able to pick the brains of engineers and tech geeks that he works with, educating himself along the way. Armed with this advice and knowledge, two years ago, he built a complete new computer with Windows XP ourselves, with a little help from his nephew. This one has a high-resolution flat-screen monitor, a cordless keyboard and mouse, and all kinds of bells and whistles, and set us back only about $1100. We also obtained an older laptop, which has come in so handy with four computer users in this household. Along the way, we switched to DSL broadband Internet service through a small local company that contracts with the local phone company, costing us a discounted $45 a month. Offsetting this expense, we have chosen not to get cable television (I have always been one to willingly live without a television!), nor do we use long-distance telephone service (using an inexpensive 10-10 code for our infrequent long-distance calls). For us, the Internet is our main entertainment and long-distance communication resource.

So there you have some of my tangible costs of genealogy, although as Becky at kinexxions wrote, genealogy is priceless. The family I’ve found, the friends I’ve made, the discoveries I’ve happened across, the life-long learning process…all are invaluable! And yes, I’d do it all over again, in a heartbeat!

Coincidentally, I’ll be giving a one-hour presentation to the Kootenai County (Idaho) Genealogical Society this week, Thursday, October 18th at 7:00 PM, entitled “Frugal Genealogy (or How Not to Spend a Fortune on Your Family Tree!).” We will be meeting at the Hayden Family History Center at 2293 West Hanley (west of off Ramsey) in Hayden, Idaho. This is not the normal meeting place, as the Hayden Lake Library is being remodeled. I hope that if you live in the area, you will join us (meetings are free to the public). I had the opportunity to meet some of the fine folks of the KCGS at the Bonner County (Idaho) Genealogical Society’s June conference, and look forward to meeting more of their members. I’ll also be giving this presentation to the Northeast Washington Genealogical Society in Colville in July 2008, if you wish to catch it then. If you are not able to attend, you can e-mail me to request a copy of my syllabus (see “View my complete profile” in the right-hand sidebar to obtain my e-mail address).

Frugal Genealogy

Jasia of Creative Gene has written a thoughtful and interesting five-part series called “What is Your Genealogy Worth to You?” (click here to go to the first post in the series). She starts off with “Have you ever thought about how much your genealogy addiction costs you? What price have you paid to collect all those names on your family tree? If you had known what the cost would be when you began, would you still have started down this road?”

I’ve been gathering information and organizing it since early 1987. In 1990 and again in 1999, I helped to organize a Midkiff Family Reunion. In 1995, I made my first forays into research by requesting the marriage record of my paternal grandmother’s biological parents, and not long after, visited a Family History Center for the first time. I haven’t looked back since! Back then, I didn’t keep track of my expenditures, but I never had a lot to work with and would just make do with about $5 or $10 a month in ordering microfilm from the FHC. Since purchasing Quicken software three-and-a-half years ago, I’ve kept pretty good records on all my expenditures, and ran a report to see how much I’ve spent. Since May 2004, I have spent a total of $823.65 on paying society fees, ordering vital records and microfilms, paying for subscriptions to genealogy websites like Ancestry, making photocopies of documents and forms, buying office supplies specifically for my genealogy files, and purchasing genealogy books, CDs, and magazine subscriptions. I’ve been able to offset these costs: my sister-in-law reimburses me half of my online subscription costs since I help her research her family tree; I also get paid for teaching Online Genealogy at my local community college district’s community ed and for doing presentations at area genealogical societies. When I consider the after-tax income and reimbursement I’ve received in comparison to the expenditures listed above, I actually have a credit of -$52.81.

There are several other costs, however. While I don’t figure in the cost of gas in going to genealogical society meetings or going to my local Family History Center, it does cost to park when I attend society meetings and computer classes at the public library, and my three-and-a-half year cost for that has been exactly $127.00. I gladly would park in a free parking area at the bottom of the hill half-a-mile away; however, since I’m the Ways and Means Committee Chair, I usually have many boxes of books and bags of supplies to haul in, and even with my cart, that’s simply not practical. The parking garage I normally use is the cheapest in the downtown area: 50 cents per half hour.

Another cost would be printer ink (which I haven’t bothered to account for here, since I list it under Consumable Household Goods). I am very frugal with it, and only print when I have to, using the “quick print” and black-and-white settings. Still, it does cost, but I recycle my cartridges or trade them in for reams of paper or photo printing.

Because I use my computer and Internet service almost exclusively for genealogy in one form or another, I have to consider those costs. The first computer I had used Windows 3.1 and was found by my brother-in-law at a garage sale. I paid $100 for it, along with some software and a decent (for that time) printer in 1999. I used Juno’s free Internet dial-up service, then later tried a free dial-up service which was accessed through my local public library. For several years, I used AOL free trial dial-up service. It was good for two months; I’d call them up at the end of the trial service and “cancel” and they’d “persuade” me to try it again for two more months. It was great! However, when we had a friend build us a new computer (with the Edsel-like Windows ME operating system!), AOL wouldn’t work well with it. We went to Juno’s pay dial-up service of just under $10 a month. That computer cost us about $600 and included everything–monitor, speakers, software, keyboard, mouse, etc.–except the printer. We later bought a quality printer/scanner/copier/fax machine at Costco for about $300, which I still use. Since my husband works for a company that produces heavy-duty laptops for the military, police and fire departments, and service repairmen, he’s been able to pick the brains of engineers and tech geeks that he works with, educating himself along the way. Armed with this advice and knowledge, two years ago, he built a complete new computer with Windows XP ourselves, with a little help from his nephew. This one has a high-resolution flat-screen monitor, a cordless keyboard and mouse, and all kinds of bells and whistles, and set us back only about $1100. We also obtained an older laptop, which has come in so handy with four computer users in this household. Along the way, we switched to DSL broadband Internet service through a small local company that contracts with the local phone company, costing us a discounted $45 a month. Offsetting this expense, we have chosen not to get cable television (I have always been one to willingly live without a television!), nor do we use long-distance telephone service (using an inexpensive 10-10 code for our infrequent long-distance calls). For us, the Internet is our main entertainment and long-distance communication resource.

So there you have some of my tangible costs of genealogy, although as Becky at kinexxions wrote, genealogy is priceless. The family I’ve found, the friends I’ve made, the discoveries I’ve happened across, the life-long learning process…all are invaluable! And yes, I’d do it all over again, in a heartbeat!

Coincidentally, I’ll be giving a one-hour presentation to the Kootenai County (Idaho) Genealogical Society this week, Thursday, October 18th at 7:00 PM, entitled “Frugal Genealogy (or How Not to Spend a Fortune on Your Family Tree!).” We will be meeting at the Hayden Family History Center at 2293 West Hanley (west of off Ramsey) in Hayden, Idaho. This is not the normal meeting place, as the Hayden Lake Library is being remodeled. I hope that if you live in the area, you will join us (meetings are free to the public). I had the opportunity to meet some of the fine folks of the KCGS at the Bonner County (Idaho) Genealogical Society’s June conference, and look forward to meeting more of their members. I’ll also be giving this presentation to the Northeast Washington Genealogical Society in Colville in July 2008, if you wish to catch it then. If you are not able to attend, you can e-mail me to request a copy of my syllabus (see “View my complete profile” in the right-hand sidebar to obtain my e-mail address).

The Bonner County (Idaho) Genealogical Society Conference

Yesterday I had the pleasure of speaking at the Bonner County Genealogical Society Conference at the East Bonner County Library in beautiful Sandpoint, Idaho. The building itself is spacious, bright, and modern and you can view photos of the exterior and interior here. The BCGS is a small but enthusiastic group who is doing well to become more visible and inviting to their community by collaborating with the library district and the local Family History Center, as well as the neighboring Kootenai County Genealogical Society (several members from that group were also in attendance).

My presentations were “Local Genealogical Resources You Can’t Afford to Ignore,” “Getting It Together: Organizing Your Files,” and “Goals and Strategies: Organizing Your Research.” Although my focus was aimed at the intermediate and experienced researcher, I did answer many questions from some obvious beginners, and encouraged them to attend society meetings to learn more. I especially stressed this in my first presentation, as the local resources I mentioned were: your local genealogical society, your local library, your local Family History Center, and the Internet. I felt a lot of energy from the attendees, and hoped they enjoyed themselves and much as I did! After the conference, several members of the board generously took me to lunch, and we had great conversations on the future of genealogical societies, trips to Salt Lake City, and upcoming area genealogy conferences.
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The trip to Sandpoint was a refreshing experience in itself. I drove up Highway 2 under a cloudless sky, with little traffic and the sparkle of the Priest River on my right. It was later in the morning, so I didn’t have to worry about deer and little critters being on the road, but still early enough to just enjoy bright morning sun, the radio cranked up (yes, Randy, it was country music!), cup of coffee on hand, and the road beneath my wheels! A friend recently reminded me that the West is God’s Country, and I as took in the woods, mountains, farms, and old railroad, lumber, and mining communities, I was filled with gratitude for being able to live in the gorgeous Inland Northwest. The country began only 10 minutes from my doorstep.

My travel homeward was a bit slower, with more traffic and clouds quick to cast their shadows below. My mind was filled with the events of the day, wisps of conversations flittering about, anxious to return home and unwind. A day like this comes by once in a while to call attention to the great blessings in our lives, and I was listening.