Serendipity Day


Counties of Washington

Ethic Population Density in Pre-1850 America

Black Sheep in YOUR Family?

Cold Case: Timothy H. Martin, 1835-1902

Heritage of Pierce County, Washington

Scottish Ancestors from the Lowlands


Of course you know that there are 39 counties in the Evergreen State but can you name them? And do you know the logistical history of them (when formed, etc.)? I didn’t either and so Googled “List of counties in Washington State” and good-old Wikipedia came to the rescue. The largest (in population) county is King; the smallest is Garfield. The largest in area is Okanogan and the smallest is San Juan. Any idea where each of our counties got their name? Each of those 39 counties has a county seat…… how many can you name? That Wikipedia article will teach you!  I found it most interesting.


Want to know how many English and Welsh folks lived in the U.S. in 1790? How about Germans in 1790? Or slaves in 1810? An interactive map series on the Ancestors website will show you. Remember the Ancestors shows on public TV?  The show was produced by Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and is still airing (check with YOUR local station). Click to their website,  (yes, a second “b”) and on the left you’ll see a list of topics which, when clicked, will take you to an episode where that topic was addressed. You’ll find those ethnocentric maps under “Online Tools,” and then “Maps.”

Where, in 1790, would you have guessed that most of the Scottish immigrants settled? Would you have guessed central and western Pennsylvania?


Black soc

Have you a Black Sheep ancestor? Did you know there is an International Blacksheep Society of Genealogists? (Or at least there was; website was last updated in 2011.) Browsing through, I found a link to an article “Ten Things to Know: Black Sheep” from a UK Pinterest board. (Cyndi finds everything.) Here is the list of those ten things: (1) who is the black sheep in your family? (2) Black sheep often have deep paper trails.  (3)  What’s in a black sheep’s name?  (4) Family stories are comfortable homes for black sheep ancestors.  (5) Other people may have written about your black sheep in their own histories. (6) Certain geographic locations attracted black sheep. (Like the American west.)  (7)  Black sheep on the lamb (meaning to run).  (8)  Everyone has a mother, even black sheep.  (9) Even the government tracked black sheep. (10) Other members of the family may not want to talk about the black sheep. If you wish to read this 4-page article, Google the title I bolded above. If you want to contact the IBSSG (International Blacksheep Society of Genealogists), Google that too.


I love working on genealogy cold cases! Wandering in Fairmount Cemetery (Spokane), I spotted this tombstone for Timothy H. Martin:

Timothy 1

Once home, I quickly clicked to our Washington State Digital Archives ( and looked for Timothy and there he was!  The poor fellow, born in Ireland, son of Jerry Martin, had died of pulmonary edema in the state asylum in Provo, Utah…and yet he is buried in Spokane and his death return is from Spokane County.  There’s got to be a good story here. He was a mason by occupation and had been in the state asylum for four years but before that he lived in Park City, Utah. There’s got to be a story here!  I did quickly click to Ancestry and did not find him on the 1850, 1880 nor 1900 censuses. (His tombstone says Timothy H. The death certificate says Timothy S.)

Anybody missing a Timothy H. Martin in their family tree?? Would so love to find his family.


The Tacoma-Pierce County Genealogical Society’s annual conference partnered with the Washington State Genealogical Society and hosted Paula Stuart-Warren as the speaker on Saturday, June 18th, 2016. Since I planned to attend (an easy 290 mile drive west on I-90; two potty stops and the outlet mall J ) I wondered what else there was to do in Pierce County. So I asked Grandma Google (who knows most everything) and found the Heritage League of Pierce County and their website listed two pages of libraries, historical societies and museums. I’m going to have a difficult time choosing where to spend my afternoon! Do I want the Tacoma Public Library, the Washington State Historical Society, the Washington State History Museum or venture further to the Sumner Historical Society, the Buffalo Soldiers Museum, Foss Waterway Seaport, or Native Quest (“a cultural center for honoring the heritage of all peoples”).

This proved a big thing to me: no matter where you go visiting, for whatever reason, there are libraries, historical societies and museums in that place that are worth your visit.


Your Genealogy Today is a dandy-fine magazine published by Moorshead Magazines (  In the March-April 2016 issue there was a 4-page article on “Researching Your Ancestors in Scotland’s Lowlands and Borders.”  Sher Leetooze writes that “Scottish records are fairly complete; some parishes go back 1000 years and some 800 years.” Scotland is a totally different place than England and they did things differently up there, Sher writes. She mentions several websites that she uses but her favorites are “A Vision of Britain Through Time” ( and GENUKI (

The problem or “trouble” with Scottish research, she writes, is that beginning in 1843 there began to be lot of dissention within the Presbyterian ranks. Scots being Scots, and “stubborn as a day is long,” the congregations split and split and split again……….. this event is referred to as “The Disruption.”  This makes finding those old parish records harder and harder.

Another web source she recommends, is Scotland’s People (, which is the Archives of Scotland. Sher also recommends a subscription to Family Tree Magazine ( published in the U.K. and not to be confused with FamilyTree Magazine published in America.

Serendipity Day

“A Brief History of Port Angeles” Booklet

Twin Rivers Gen Society’s Cemetery Walking Tour on July 4th

Jigsaw Puzzles: Pastime or Obsession?

TAG (Ancestry Users Group) In Spokane

Five-Generation Pictures


Did you have ancestors who lived in Port Angeles, Washington? I’m giving away a 24-page booklet, “A Brief History of Port Angeles” by William Welsh, 1941. Yes, I have checked with the Clallam County Historical Society and they tell me that they have several copies. So I’ll send this one to the first requester! (



The Twin Rivers Genealogical Society, in Lewiston, Idaho, is having a fun activity on July 4th. They are doing a Cemetery Walk! They have picked out six historical graves and starting at 9:00am they will offer several 45-minute tours. Locale is Normal Hill Cemetery, 7th Street & 15th Avenue in Lewiston, south of Lewis Clark State College. Did you know that Walt Disney’s wife, Lillian’s, parents are buried in this cemetery? (They spotlighted her last year.) For more information contact Patricia VanBuren, Perhaps this is an idea for your society?


History Magazine, published by the good folks who do Internet Genealogy, carried a great little article in the April-May 2016 issue. This article was all about the history of jigsaw puzzles which “nears its 250th birthday.”  These puzzles “can be found spread out on card tables in hospital waiting rooms, coffee shops and cottages through the world as well as on thousands of Internet puzzle sites.”  In the U.S. alone, there are more than 70 puzzle manufacturers and the sales annually are in the millions. Do the math and then realize that any one of your ancestors might have been entertained (or obsessed?) with jigsaw puzzles since the 1850s. Wow thought, eh?


The Eastern Washington Genealogical Society has a thriving sub-group: TAG. This stands for the Ancestry Users Group and under the guidance of Marge Mero, the group meets monthly at a local public library. We’ve used the book, Guide to Ancestry, as a basis for our exploring. At the June meeting, member Doug Floyd gave the lesson on understanding a bit about probate and finding probate records on Ancestry.


Doug explained that probate means “the official proving of (as in a will),” or “establishing the validity of (as a will).”  He quoted the Legal Genealogist, Judy Russell, as saying that “probate records are the best records in genealogy.” Doug explained the difference in some legal terms; testament refers to disposition of personal property while will spells out personal wishes and guardianship was not necessarily for the child but for the child’s property.

Doug directed us to the Ancestry Academy where there are two specific learning videos there for us to watch. Next he directed us to the Ancestry Card Catalog to look under the topic of “probate records” or jump to doing a locality search and see what Ancestry includes for probate records in your area of focus.

Perhaps this is an idea for a sub-group in your society? (We have a coordinator but take turns with the teaching.)


We’ve all seen those wonderful 5-Generation Family pictures. Our newspaper publishes them regularly. Likely you have sat and posed yourself in one of these photos. My second great-granddaughter, Cora Kathryn, was born on this last June 7th in Everett, Washington. Soon, I imagine we’ll be doing a 5-Generation photo……… Cora, Adam (father), Jane (mother) and then me standing at the top. And I think little Cora has five generations still with us on her mom’s side too. But here is your Sobering Thought for Today:  I remember reading a quote from Jane Fonda back in 1982 when her father, Henry Fonda, died. “It’s sobering to realize you’re next in line,” she said. It is. But with each new baby I understand it to be a sign from God that the world will go on!

Serendipity Day

Dutch Are Still With Us; They Gave Us Cookies!

Public Libraries: Worth Investigating

Southerners Who Went To Brazil After the Civil War

Uploading & Downloading GEDCOM Files on Ancestry

Do You Believe in Dowsing Rods?


Just finished studying (cannot say “reading” for it is a study book!) The Island at the Center of the World, the Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony That Shaped America, by Russell Shorto, 2005.  U.S. history classes seem to gloss over the 150 years when the Dutch founded and shaped Manhattan and this history brings that period to life. Just for fun: on page 269 I learned that “the typical Dutch word for master—baas—would take on a different connotation in the New World and an Americanism came into being: the Boss.”  On page 270:  “In October of 1661 there was a grain shortage in the city and the municipal government issued an order to the bakers of the town to restrict themselves to baking bread and not “to bake any more koeckjes, jumbles or sweet cake.” “ This Dutch word is pronounced “cook-yehs,” which morphed into our word: cookies. Koolsla, or cabbage salad, is our modern cole slaw.  There are more “Dutch-isms” in our everyday language:  Dutch treat, Dutch courage, Double Dutch, Dutch bargain, Going Dutch, Dutch comfort……… which were all considered derogatory at the time (17th century)!  If you’ve ancestors living in the New York City area during the Dutch times, this is a great read for you. (You can buy a copy via starting at 76-cents for a used copy!)


Are you fully using your public library? Did you know that (among many other things) your library can offer you music, movies and books for free delivered to your own device???  Not to mention that most public libraries have a free WiFi area. Here in Spokane, two of our public libraries give our local genealogy society, groups and teachers free use of classrooms. We have an Ancestry Users’ Group, a Re-Focus Group, and we’ve been offering a 3-hour beginners’ workshop, all free to use the classroom and free to the folks who come. Some public libraries offer Heritage Quest online, Ancestry Library Edition and much more. Do check it out!


Did your Southern-dwelling ancestor disappear from the records after the Civil War?  Did you know that many Southerners went to Brazil to start over? There is a free-of-charge online book you may read telling more about this episode in American history.  Google Brazil, the home for southerners and the website with the full title (and content) will come up:  Brazil, the home for southerners: or, A practical account of what the author, and others, who visited that country, for the same objects, saw and did while in that empire.” By Ballard S. Dunn, 1829-1897. This book has been digitized by Google and is located in the Internet Archive.


Current sticky-wicket: Do you put your family tree on Ancestry? How do you upload your tree to Ancestry? What if you want to download it to upload it to another online tree? NO PROBLEM. Ancestry Support is there to help! The good news is that this process involves using GEDCOM which sounds complicated but Ancestry will hold your hand every step of the way. The bad news is that when you do decide to download your tree from Ancestry, any pictures, charts, books, views or similar items found in the original file will not be included in the GEDCOM. Vital information, notes, and sources are usually retained after conversion. (Emphasis mine.) There are other websites where you may want to post your tree: FamliySearch and MyHeritage to name two. I could now copy/paste the very long web link but I advise you to Google these words:  uploading downloading GEDCOM files ancestry 2016.  I printed out the full article for my personal tutorial.




Browsed upon a website all about dowsing rods, , and learned more about the lost art of dowsing. “Although there seems to be no scientific proof for the way that dowsing or divining rods work, they have been used successfully for thousands of years. Generally, they are used to locate underground water sources. It is believed that the rods are simply reacting to magnetic fields or ions. But you can also locate lost graves and headstones….Discover Rods are an important tool for every genealogist!”  The website promises that they are “simple to use and each set includes an instruction guide and tips for locating your ancestors.” Cost is only $25 plus $5 shipping. They even have T-Shirts! Please, if you try this, let me know your story to share with others! I’m neither a believer not a skeptic but would like to learn more.



Serendipity Day

** Genealogy’s Star: A Must-Read Blog (in my opinion) & YouTube Channel

** Washington’s Colville Tribes Selected For The Next U.S. Census Test

**Insects: Future Or Past Food?

**How To Ensure All Will Be Lost



Gen Star

James Tanner crafts his Genealogy’s Star blog nearly two times per week and I read every post and learn something new each time. Back on 5 Mar 2016, he posted about the BYU Family History Library Channel on YouTube. He was discussing a new uploaded video titled, “Why You Can’t Trace Your Family Back To Adam.” Who would not want to view this video?? Here’s how: (1) Click to;  (2) select the BYU Family History Library channel; (3) Chose what you want to view from the list of over 400 videos; and (4) Click the subscribe button to get notification of new videos as they’re uploaded.

May I, as your serendipity teacher today, give you two homework assignments today? First click to (note the two “s”) and sign up for James Tanner’s blog. Next click to and get going with your home learning from there!


An AP blurb in our local paper by Regina Garcia Cano, and from Sioux Falls, SD, read: “The Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation is one of two National American reservations selected as test sites ahead of the 2020 census, as officials mull whether to ask for the first tie about tribal enrollment.” The two reservations are Standing Rock Indian Reservation, which straddles North and South Dakota, and the Colville reservation. “By selecting these geographic areas, we are allowing ourselves an opportunity to test our methods and procedures in areas where it is difficult to deliver questionnaires by mail,” said Deirdre Bishop, chief of the bureau’s Decennial Census Management Division.” I found this tidbit fascinating for many reasons. I’d not realized that the tremendous amount of decade-long work went into the taking of a census.

For more information on this (census taking) Google “Decennial Census Management Division.” Or “2020 U.S. Census.”  And ditto for more info on the two reservation test sites.



According to an article in the Delta Sky magazine for April 2016, the foods in our future may include insects……..bugs. Here is a link to a short video about Andrew Zimmern’s views on eating insects: from the Travel Channel. There has been plenty of buzz about “how are we going to feed the hungry millions on our planet in the future…and are insects the answer?” in the media. But I was not prepared for the picture that accompanied that Delta Sky article: a lollipop with a nice fat caterpillar inside of it! Yum??

Now, you might say, what does this have to do with family history? Let me ask you this:  Did our ancestors eat insects? I think they surely did but not in the way you think. I think poor eyesight, poor lighting in homes, and creepy-crawlies everywhere and in everything ensured that there were insects in our ancestor’s food. Yum.


How to ensure that all your genealogy, your life’s work, will be lost. Eight thoughts from Donna.

  1. Do not ever make time to take to relatives and collect their memories and memorabilia.
  2. Do not make time to share photos with relatives and get positive ID for them.
  3. Do not bother to scan in old photos and memorabilia and certainly do not bother with backups.
  4. Do not both to compile a list of who-in-the-family gets what of all the family treasures you’ve collected over the years.
  5. When cleaning out grandma’s house after the funeral, just bring lots of big black plastic bags for everything to take to the dump or Goodwill.
  6. Do not bother with transferring all the family information you have stored in binders and boxes to an online program.
  7. Do leave so much stuff stuffed in your office that your kids will be overwhelmed and not really know what to keep and what to toss.
  8. Don’t make a plan for without a plan you surely will fail and your genealogy will be lost.

Sad Facts:  Your local genealogy society DOES NOT WANT all your binders and boxes of un-organized papers and stuff. Neither does the Family History Library. And neither do your kids! They want the information and not all the stuff and they want it organized.

Serendipity Day

How many presidents have visited YOUR town?

Ancient Mohawk Cemetery in New York

Eight Critical Thinking Skills

Oregon-California Trails Association

Is there a book with my family mentioned?

Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia


Blurb in our daily paper explained that Spokane has been visited by a dozen U.S. presidents plus some VPs, wives and others. Our list is Taft, Harding, both Roosevelts, Truman, Carter, Nixon, Clinton, Reagan, Ford and GW Bush. How about your town? How many presidential visits do you mark?


Cemeteries have always been of great interest to family historians. It’s always interesting to me to read about cemeteries of yore and of other cultures. In December 1634, three men set out from Fort Orange (now Albany) New York to make contact with the Mohawks to convince them that the Dutch made better trades than the French or English. They visited a series of villages, “surprising Harmen with their level of civilization. They encountered cemeteries, surrounded by palisades, ‘so neatly made that it was a wonder,’ and graves painted red, white and black. A chief’s tomb they found was large enough to have an entrance and was decorated with carvings and paintings of animals.” (From The Island at the Center of the World: Epic Story of Dutch in Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony That Shaped America, by Russell Shorto, 2005.)


Another newspaper article spelled out the “Eight Critical Skills” or attributes that teens need to become well-functioning adults. As I read it, seemed to me that even we adults could tune up our skills in these areas, especially as genealogists:

  • Problem-solving skills
  • Critical thinking
  • Emotional intelligence (“a greater predictor of success in life than IQ”)
  • Values and ethics
  • Resourcefulness and resilience
  • Creative processing
  • Executive functioning, including basic social skills
  • Leadership perspective and the ability to see the big picture


Continue reading “Serendipity Day”

Serendipity from Donna

Even if you don’t live in the Pacific Northwest, you know some local geography……….. like the Strait of Juan de Fuca separating the U.S. and Canada. Just learned that the man for whom the strait was named was a Greek!  Ioannis Phokas, or Apostolos Valerianus (seen it both ways) “is better known by the Spanish transcription of his name, Juan de Fuca, born 1536 on the Ionian island of Cefalonia and died there in 1602.  He was a maritime pilot in the service of the King of Spain, Philip II, and is known for his claim to have explored the Strait of Anian, now known as the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Now we both know!


Serendipity Day

I just discovered a brand new (to me anyway) most interesting website:  The home page for this site boasts:  “Watch 1000+ nonfiction programs to grow curious minds. There are Trending programs, Science programs, Technology programs, Human Spirit programs, and Civilization programs. Some programs are only a few minutes long, others nearly an hour. Some are offered in several episodes. I just watched Scribes of Ancient Egypt (55 minutes long) and it was great.  If you are among those with curious minds who want to know more, perhaps CuriosityStream would be a website that tweaks your beak. The only downer is that it does cost $2.99 per month……… for unlimited watching. Good deal if you ask me.


Here is another recommended new-to-me-too website. If you use it, would you please provide some feedback to me??

Hi everyone:      I didn’t know who to send this to, but I’ve just discovered a site that is new to me, and had a tremendous response.  So I sent it to a few of you, and maybe you can pass it along to more.  Free, no sign up required.

  It is .  Very cool!  In just 20 minutes I have had more response to my genealogy query on this site, than I’ve had on the Rootsweb/Ancestry family message boards, ever.

  I’m excited! Happy ancestor hunting! Jo

Continue reading “Serendipity Day”

Serendipity Day, March 11, 2016

Spotted a new-to-me word at McDonald’s:  Thungry? Meaning, are you both thirsty and hungry, and of course McD’s to the rescue! Got to wondering if our ancestors made up words like we do and my answer to myself was of course they did. Where did the regional pronunciations and definitions come from?? Time was when a Northerner could barely understand a Southerner. Is that still so?


There was a most interesting article in the Church News  titled “FamilySearch 2015 in Review.”  Some highlights mentioned were:

  • There are now 4891 Family History Centers in 129 countries.
  • RootsTech 2015 attracted 300,000 attendees in person, online and through local post-Family Discovery Day events.
  • On October 23rd, FamilySearch celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Family History Library in downtown Salt Lake City.
  • There have been more than 120,000 new contributors added to Family Tree, making a total of 2.47 million trees with 1.1 billion
  • FamilySearch launched 158 new historical collections bringing the total to 2049 and “hundreds of millions” of new published records.
  • Around the world, 319 camera teams go quietly about their work and in 2015 digitally preserved over 122 million records in 45 countries.
  • Online volunteers numbering 304,000 indexed 110 million
  • At the end of 2015, had more than 5.31 billion searchable names in historical records.

There was more but you get the idea; if you are not taking advantage of what has to offer, I must ask: are you an ostrich???


As we entered the RootsTech conference hall (with thousands of our genealogy friends), we were greeted by a surgical mask placed on every chair. Steve Rockwood’s keynote address that morning explained. “You are heart specialists for society and especially for your family. RootsTech is a gathering of thousands and thousands of heart doctors..…we will succeed in delivering medicine in a dose of fun to “fix” their hearts by starting small with stories…we will find ways to weave family history into everybody’s lives, including our families…all the learning of RootsTech is so YOU can become better heart doctors.”

Have you ever thought of yourself as your family’s heart doctor? But we family historians have the power to heal our family’s wounded hearts, don’t we?


James Tanner’s blog, Genealogy’s Star, is a super good, almost-daily, read. On March 7th, he wrote about “Record Loss: Alternative Jurisdictions when Records Are Lost.”  Mid-way though the article was the best news:  “It is rare that the loss of the records in one particular courthouse completely prevents a researcher from finding a family.” So often we genealogists moan and groan about “the courthouse burned,” but in reality there are viable options.

Tanner counsels that we need to understand the concept of jurisdiction. The definition he is referring to in this blog post is “applied to a specific geographic or other legally defined area where particular records are kept.” He makes the points that jurisdictions overlap and that jurisdictions can change over time.  As jurisdictions have changed over time, there are four possibilities pertaining to the records you seek:

  • The records stayed in the originating jurisdiction.
  • The records were moved to the newly created jurisdiction.
  • The records were sent to the state archives or other repository.
  • The records were lost.

In the Wiki at, if you type in “burned counties research,” up will pop a map of the burned counties in the U.S. with record loss………. Way cool.

I do suggest that you click to and read James Tanner’s post for March 7th…….. and perhaps subscribe while you’re there?



A good genealogy friend just alerted me to a database of information that I’d not heard of before, the National Jewish Welfare Board. Rather than explain it in my words, here is what Wikipedia  says:

National Jewish Welfare Board

Jewish Welfare Board poster, New York, 1918.

The National Jewish Welfare Board (JWB) was formed on April 9, 1917, three days after the United States declared war on Germany, in order to support Jewish soldiers in the U.S. military during World War I.[1] The impetus for creating the organization stemmed from Secretary of WarNewton Baker and Secretary of NavyJosephus Daniels.[1] The organization was also charged with recruiting and training rabbis for military service, as well as providing support materials to these newly commissioned chaplains. The JWB also maintained oversight of Jewish chapel facilities at military installations.[2]

Postcard, 1919

In 1921, several organizations merged with the JWB to become a national association of Jewish community centers around the country in order to integrate social activities, education, and active recreation. These merged organizations included the YWCAYMCA, and the National Council of Young Men’s Hebrew and Kindred Association.[2][3]

In 1941, in a response to a mandate from President Franklin D. Roosevelt, six private organizations – the YMCAYWCA, the National Jewish Welfare Board, the Traveler’s Aid Association and the Salvation Army were challenged to handle the on-leave morale and recreational needs for members of the Armed Forces. The six organizations pooled their resources and the United Service Organizations, which quickly became known as the USO, was incorporated in New York on February 4, 1941.[4]


In times of disaster and war, it is often the churches who supply aid and comfort. The Jewish Welfare Board was surely one of those church-organizations helping their own during and after WWII. The example my friend shared with me was a post that she found somewhere online and was from a Stuart Cohn in Indianapolis. Cohn shared the “wounded” card for his father “because he took two pieces of shrapnel during WWII.”

Do you have Jewish back ground, especially during the WWII era? Did you know about this?


I shall wrap-up today with a warm-fuzzy quote that I heard at RootsTech:  “My body is the embodiment of my ancestors who came before me. Celebrate your roots across the generations.”


Serendipity Day!

Few days ago, Cyndi’s List turned 20 years old! That’s a marvelous genealogy milepost…to think that all by herself Cyndi Ingle has created, maintained and updated this everybody-uses-it website for all to use FOR FREE.  For a birthday gift to Cyndi to mark this accomplishment, I proffer that it’s time to give her a gift………..I just made a donation to her website.  Click on the link below and read Judy Russell’s article and then (if you’re so moved) click on the DONATE link and (as Capt. Jean Luc Picard says) “Make it so!”  Here’s the link:


While we were in Hawaii in February, on the Big Island, we visited a heiau or ancient sacred temple site of the Hawaiian people. At the Visitor’s Center, I met Nani, who explained to me that she was an ali’I, or royalty, and was a direct descendant of King Kamehameha. Wow. I asked if I could take her picture.


Upon returning to my own desk, I did some Googling. King Kamehameha died a bachelor in 1872. So that nixes that. But there are surviving collateral lines, according to the websites I searched.  Here is a photo of the royal family:  King Kamehameha III is in the center; his wife is to his left; Kamehameha IV is to the left rear; Kamehameha V is to the right rear; their sister is to the lower right.



I was fascinated by all the Hawaiian street names. Most were Hawaiian but I spotted these:  Pszyk, Peck, Oshiro, Volcano, and Pu’u O’o. I’d guess that 80% of street names were Hawaiian but these others reflect the mixture of cultures in these islands over the decades.


I was doing some FamilySearch Indexing the other evening. The batch was English Probates from 1936; easy to read for it was all printed! I could not help but smile as I spotted the stated professions, not of the deceased, but of the beneficiaries: Dental Surgeon,  Solicitor,  Cabinet Maker,  Farmer,  Surgical Appliance Maker,  Colliery Fitter (has to do with mining),  Butcher,  Poultry Keeper,  Licensed Victualler,  Chaplain H.M. forces,  Locomotive Engineer Driver,  Cloth Merchant,  Carpenter,  Marine Engineer,  Baker,  Coal Miner,  Wholesale Fruit Merchant and Ferry Employee.  I wondered just how many of those occupations would be listed as such today?  And back then, no TV Sportscaster, or Computer Tech. (And by the by, my total is nearly 12,000 records indexed. How about you?)


We’ve been told by everybody who is anybody in the genealogy world, and many from other worlds, to have more than one good computer backup. Many, including Thomas MacEntee, recommend a 2TB portable hard drive (“buy the biggest one you can get!”). But what brand is the best?  A good, reliable, online backup service is Backblaze ( and their website offers a quarterly “Hard Drive Reliability Review.” You might consider using Backblaze ($5 per month) and for sure reading their advice about buying a reliable portable hard drive.


How many of you did photobook projects with MyCanvas, a subsidiary of Ancestry? I had done four projects with MyCanvas myself.  So I was all eyes when reading a recent email from Ancestry:  “As of 4 April 2016, you will no longer have access to your original MyCanvas projects stored on Good news, you can transfer your projects to the new MyCanvas now owned by Alexander’s and continue working.”  Click to and follow the links to transfer your projects. And better be doing it asap!


Do you enjoy learning new words? I surely do.  My latest word is irenic. If used as an adjective it means “aiming or aimed at peace.”  If used as a noun it means “a part of Christian theology concerned with reconciling different denominations and sects.”   How would you use this word in a sentence?

Bits, Bytes & Thoughts from Donna

Leland gives “big information” to you in this blog; I’m delighted to share “bits, bytes and thoughts” as well as the Salt Lake Christmas Tour Week’s Peek. 
I, too, was at RootsTech last week and spent most of my time in the exhibitors’ hall asking questions and learning. 
This was half of the 360-vendors exhibit hall…………. talk about the world’s largest candy story for genealogists!  If you look closely you’ll see that many of the exhibitors had mini-demo areas set up right in their booth and gave a demo/class every half hour. Combine that with the every-30-minutes-demos in the Demo Theater and the 260 big classes and you can see why I say I was submerged in learning. The energy and enthusiasm and eagerness made for a wildly happy atmosphere that it was just so much fun to be there.  I felt submerged in knowledge and by osmosis was smarter for having been there. 
RootsTech 2017 is 8-11 February.  You just might want to consider coming. ​Start dropping dollar bills into an empty mayonnaise jar………….. :o) 


Now Accepting Reservations for the 2016 Salt Lake Christmas Tour!

The 2015 Salt Lake Christmas Tour was an outstanding success! Eighty attendees achieved all kinds of help in breaking their brick walls, and finding ancestors.

The Christmas Tour dates for 2016 are December 4 through 10. Fly in on the fourth, and out on Sunday, December 11. Come early or stay late if you’d like.

For detailed information, see the website.

D. Joshua Taylor Appointed President of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society

The following news release is from Cathy Michelsen, Director of Development at the York Genealogical and Biographical Society.


New York, New York, January 7, 2016. D. Joshua Taylor, the prominent genealogist, author, and lecturer, has been appointed President of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, effective February 1, 2016. He succeeds McKelden Smith, who is retiring after serving as its highly-regarded President of seven years.

Jeanne Sloane, chairman of the board of trustees of the NYG&B, said, “We are thrilled that Josh has accepted this position. He brings to the NYG&B dynamic energy and his well-known passion for the mission of genealogical societies in general. He has broad experience as an advanced researcher and riveting lecturer. Plus he has the expertise we require in the innovative use of technology in our field.”

Ms. Sloane also said that Mr. Taylor already knows the NYG&B unusually well. “Most recently,” she said, “Mr. Taylor was Director of Family History at While he was in this position he coordinated the integration of the NYG&B’s eLibrary with the Findmypast platform.

“Before that, as a consultant, he played an integral role in the strategic planning process for the NYG&B, which resulted in the 2015 publication of the Society’s award-winning New York Family History Research Guide and Gazetteer.

“And Mr. Taylor, as president of the Federation of Genealogical Societies, was a leader in creating the FGS Regional Conference which was integrated with the New York State Family History Conference, co-sponsored by the NYG&B and held in Syracuse, New York, in August, 2015.”

Mr. Taylor noted, “I am thrilled to embark on this new endeavor with the NYG&B. In today’s world, the NYG&B’s mission to help those of all backgrounds discover their family history is essential, and something that I am deeply committed to. I am truly honored to be joining the NYG&B and to being a part of its bright future.”

The NYG&B also played an important formative role in Mr. Taylor’s interest in genealogy. “The NYG&B Record was the first genealogy periodical I came across in my genealogical research,” noted Taylor, “and since that time, my love and respect for the NYG&B’s role as a leader and source of genealogical scholarship has only grown. It is an important legacy that I look forward to continuing for many years to come.”

Mr. Taylor, who holds an MA in history and an MLS in Archival Management, is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including RootsTech’s Distinguished Presenter Award. He has been a featured genealogist on the television series Who Do You Think You Are? and is currently a host on the popular PBS series Genealogy Roadshow, whose third season is currently in production.

The former Director of Education and Programs at the New England Historic Genealogical Society, Mr. Taylor has published numerous articles in American Ancestors, the Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly, and other periodicals. He is the author of The Keane and Sheahan Families of Bridgeport, Connecticut, a study of a family’s immigration and life in New England after the Irish famine.


The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, a membership organization founded in 1869, is the second oldest genealogical society in the United States. The NYG&B Record, a distinguished, peer-reviewed quarterly journal, has been in publication continuously since 1870. The Society publishes the New York Researcher, a quarterly which provides updates on research resources in New York and other subjects; maintains a growing website rich in New York family history content, including the eLibrary hosted on Findmypast; and produces a calendar of educational programs, including the biannual statewide genealogy conference. The Society also publishes books, including the monumental, 856-page New York Family History Research Guide and Gazetteer, and the forthcoming guide to the New York City Municipal Archives. Details about the society are at

30th Annual Salt Lake Christmas Tour A Big Success !!

SLCT Group 2015

If you were among the nearly 90 folks who attended the 30th annual Salt Lake Christmas Tour last week, then you’ll agree with me: One and all had a friend-making, ancestor-finding and Christmas-light-seeing week in Salt Lake City. At our Saturday night Farewell Social, nearly everybody raised their hand to affirm that, yes, they had found new ancestors! And as I circulated with the microphone they told great stories of the fantastic finds.  Some of our tour-comers have come for 29 years and say that “OF COURSE” they find new stuff every year.

If you’ve wavering about wanting to join this happy and successful group, it’s not too early to sign up for the 31st tour next December 2016.  Just click to  (Don’t be upset that Leland has not updated the website for 2016…he will!)

50% Off on Bundle of 3 Popular Civil War Research Guides

Three Civil War books

Regularly 52.85, these 3 books are bundled at 50% OFF! Only $26.43. Sale ends at midnight PST Wednesday, Nov 4, 2015.

Click here to purchase at 50% savings!

Do you already have one or more of these titles? Click on any one or more of the links below and purchase any one or two of them for 35% off during the sale period.

Genealogical Resources of the Civil War Era
Tracing Your Civil War Ancestors
Life During the Civil War

Following is a description of each of the 3 books.

Genealogical Resources of the Civil War Era – Online and Published Military or Civilian Name Lists, 1861-1869 & Post-Civil War Veteran Lists; by William Dollarhide; 2009; Soft Cover, Perfect Bound; 8.5×11; 203 pp; Item # FR0113; Regular $32.95

Most genealogical records during the decade of the Civil War are related to the soldiers and regiments of the Union and Confederate military. However, there are numerous records relating to the entire population as well. This new volume by William Dollarhide identifies the places to look and documents to be found for ancestors during the decade, 1861-1869, as well as post-war veterans. The book is laid out first by nation-wide name lists and then by state listings in alphabetical order.

The following broad categories are identified within this book:

National Resources:

  • Civil War Soldiers & Sailors System
  • The American Civil War Research Database
  • Official Records of the War of the Rebellion
  • General and Organizational Indexes to Pension Files, 1861-1934
  • 1883 List of U.S. Pensioners on the Roll
  • 1890 Federal Census of Union Veterans
  • Roll of Honor & Veteran Burials
  • 1865-1867 Confederate Amnesty Papers
  • Consolidated Lists of Confederate Soldiers & United Confederate Veterans Association
  • Index to Compiled Service Records

Statewide Resources:

  • Compiled Service Records (by state)
  • Index to Compiled Service Records (by state)
  • 1861-1869 State Censuses
  • 1861-1869 Statewide Name Lists
  • 1862-1869 Internal Revenue Assessment Lists
  • Statewide Militia Lists
  • Confederate Pension Applications
  • Pensioner Name Lists and censuses of Confederate Veterans
  • Indexes to Statewide Records
  • Lists of Veteran Burials; State Adjutant General Reports & state-sponsored histories

The Best Civil War Resource Centers for Local & County Research

    • Online Resources
    • Libraries & Archives

——— –

Tracing Your Civil War Ancestors, by David A. Norris; 2011; magazine-style, saddled stapled; 8.5×11; 85 pp; ISBN #: 9780978159276; Item #: MM004.


This informative publication is the latest in Civil War research publications. It is authored by the same gentleman who wrote the popular Life During the Civil War.

This book is also available in PDF format.

The Research Resources You Need For Success!

      • Including:
        • Civil War Newspapers, what you need to know about this vital resource
        • Census Records, state censuses can be a treasure-trove of information!
        • Civilians in the War! How to find non-military relatives on the ‘Net
        • Veterans’ Organizations, a great post-war source of genealogical information
        • And much more!

The following chapters are found in the booklet:

      • The first Steps to Finding a Civil War Ancestor – Some thoughts and tips on getting started in Civil War research.
      • Companies and Regiments: Civil War Army Units – Knowing how the armies were structured will help you understand records and references.
      • Non-Regimental and “Untypical” Soldiers – Some tips for finding soldier ancestors in unusual categories.
      • Emergency Troops, Militia and Home Guard – Records of temporary units might reveal a hard-to-find ancestor’s service.
      • Ensigns and Engineers: Ancestors in the Navies – Though tracking a relative in the navy can be challenging, there are many valuable resources available.
      • US Colored Troops and African-American Sailors – Here are some resources for African-Americans who served in the Civil War.
      • Southern Loyalists and “Galvanized Yankees” – Here are some resources to check for Southern ancestor’s who served with the Union.
      • To Helmira and Back: Prisoners of War – POW resources can fill in holes in your ancestor’s record, or reveal the fate of a missing ancestor.
      • Medical Records and Hospital Personnel – Records from Civil War hospitals contain a wealth of information on soldiers and staff.
      • Military Pay Resources – Civil War payroll records pay off again for genealogists.
      • The Civil War and the Census – Pre- and postwar censuses off important information on the lives and families of veterans.
      • The 1865 Parole Lists: To the Very End – These documents list the Confederate soldiers who endured to the end of the war.
      • Finding You Ancestors’ Flags – Regimental flags had important practical and symbolic purposes for Civil War Soldiers.
      • Buried in History: Civil War Cemeteries – Finding a soldier’s grave can seem impossible, but it doesn’t have to be a lost cause.
      • Civil War Pension Records and Wartime Relief – Pension records are a genealogical treasure trove for soldiers and their families.
      • Confederate State Pension Resources – A state-by-state guide to locating Confederate pension records.
      • Soldiers’, Sailors’ and Widows’ Resources – The records of these institutions may contain a wealth of detail that can’t be found elsewhere.
      • Civil War Veterans’ Groups – Records of veterans’ organizations might let you follow your ancestor into the 20th-century.
      • Wartime Civilian Records– Relatives who were not in the military may still have left a wealth of information about their lives.
      • Amnesty Papers and Southern Claims – Some potentially helpful sources for Southern relatives.
      • Spies, Smugglers and “Disloyal Citizens” – Records of civilian prisoners include ordinary citizens, political prisoners, and even politicians.
      • Finding Civil War Income Tax Records – You might find that your ancestors’ 1860s tax records are a source of family history.
      • A Gift From the Past: Civil War Newspapers – Here are some tips on finding your newsmaker ancestors.
      • A Picture in time: Civil War Era Photographs – You can find photos of people and places connected to your family, or even your ancestors.
      • Best of the Best: Classic Civil War Resources – These records contain the most essential information for Civil War Research.
      • National Archives Records – A soldier’s Compiled Military Service Record contains some of the most essential details of his service.
      • Finding Your Way Through the Civil War With Maps – Maps can help you follow your ancestor during the war or find a family farm near a battlefield.

The booklet is heavily illustrated, highly informative, and a great value at only $9.95!


Life During the Civil War; by David A Norris ; 95 pp; Softcover; 2010; 8.5 x 11; ISBN: 978-0-9781592-5-2; Item #: MM001


This book is also available in PDF eBook format .

  • Life in the Civil War Armies
  • Hospitals & Medicine
  • Letters Home
  • Music of the Civil War
  • Rations & Cooking
  • Civil War Humor
  • News from the Front
  • …And Much More!


The publication starts right off with a 3-page dictionary of Civil War terminology. Did you know that hardtack crackers were often called worm castles? Further on, Norris points out that the hotel business boomed during the war years. My great-grandfather ran a hotel throughout the war, and did well. However, I’d never made the connection with the war effort before. The chapter on music I found especially interesting. Among other things, it’s noted that “Dixie” was written by Yankee abolitionist Daniel Decatur Emmett. The mail was a big deal to both the soldiers and their loved-ones at home. This was the case for both Northern and Southern families. However, keep in mind that when the Confederacy split from the Union, it had dramatic repercussions on the U.S. postal system. I found the entire booklet to be interesting – front to back.

The following is from the table of contents.

      • Opening Notes – Notes From the Publisher, About the Author
      • From Abatis To Zouaves: A Civil War Dictionary – What were some of the popular sayings, slang, jargon and military terms in the 1860s?
      • Tale Of Two Capitals: Richmond And Washington – The war brought great changes to the lives of residents of Richmond and Washington
      • Home Away From Home: Hotels Of The Civil War – From four-star resorts to small town hostelries, hotel business boomed during the war
      • Soundtrack To A Conflict: Music Of The Civil War – Music, whether popular songs or military tunes, was as much a part of life then as it is now
      • Starvation Parties And Confederate Candles? – Southerners found unusual substitutes for scarce staples, like wheat, pins, shoe polish and coffee
      • Slumgullion, Salt Horse And Hell-Fired Stew! – What did soldiers, and their families at home, eat during the war years?
      • Relief From Reality: Civil War Humor – Popular humorists and jokes helped lighten hearts on both sides of the battle
      • Shinplasters And Greenbacks: Money During The Civil War – Banks, businesses, states, the Union and Confederacy all issued their own, incompatible, money
      • Zouaves: New York Firemen And Louisiana Tigers – Instead of the familiar blue and gray, some regiments donned bright colors and turbans
      • Man’s Best Friends: Pets In The Army – From the exotic to the common, animals were kept as companions and mascots
      • Johnnie Reb And Billy Yank: Life In The Armies – Fresh recruits and veterans of past conflicts faced new, and familiar, challenges in the Civil War
      • Fighting For Freedom: The US Colored Troops – African-American troops played a vital role in the Civil War
      • Sutler Shops: Convenience Stores For Soldiers – Where did soldiers get ink, ginger snaps or Valentine cards?
      • Life On Soap Suds Row: Army Laundresses – Laundry was a grueling, but essential, duty in army camps
      • Taking The Cars: Rail Travel During The Civil War – Though far from luxurious, or safe, trains became vital to the war effort and civilian life
      • What The Doctor Ordered: Hospitals And Medicine – Hospitals were understaffed, undersupplied and relied on dangerous cures and treatments
      • Common Civil War Medicines – Hospitals stocked standard treatments of the day, including mercury, opium and brandy
      • Fundraising Fairs: The US Sanitary Commission – Volunteer groups raised millions of dollars to improve military hospital and camp conditions
      • Picturing The Civil War: War Artists – Before modern photography and TV, how did people get a glimpse of the battles?
      • From The Frontlines To The HomeFront: Newspapers – Despite shortages of labor and ink, papers fed the public appetite for news and entertainment
      • Telegrams: At The Speed Of Lightning – The telegraph became an indispensible part of military and commercial communication during the war
      • Worth A Thousand Words: Photography In The Civil War – Despite technological limitations, photography boomed during the Civil War
      • “I Hain’t Got Any Stamps”: Confederate And Union Mail – Two postal systems kept soldiers and families in contact across shifting battlelines
      • The Civil War Navies: Cottonclads And Blockades – Whether they patrolled rivers or the South Pacific, a sailor’s life was far different than a soldier’s
      • The New Naval Warfare: Life On Ironclads – Heavily armored ironclads offered unique advantages, and dangers, to their crews
      • Missed It By That Much…! – From aseptic surgery to moon landings, the years after the Civil War were full of amazing changes

Click here to purchase at 50% savings!

Salt Lake Christmas Tour……. Week’s Peek

This is Leland.

This is a very busy Leland.

This is a very busy with the annual

Salt Lake Christmas Tour Leland.


This is a eats-lunch-at-his-desk because he’s busy Leland.

This is the enormous smile from Leland that will greet you

on your arrival day of the Salt Lake Christmas Tour!

It’s not too late to register and come…. click to

Come see busy Leland smile!