Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Review of 2017

Sixteen of my twenty-eight posts for 2017 focused on the Watts house and the collections created from the major organization project that started in August 2016. There are still a few things that require finishing touches, but for the most part the work on the collections is finished. We are currently having the pictures digitized by the Columbia County Museum volunteer staff. Their staff has been very supportive of this project, offering time doing the inventories and then sharing materials in their collections. Patricia Oberndorf, who I met originally at a local Association of Professional Genealogists meeting and works at the Columbia County Museum, got me involved with the Scappoose Historical Society. We encouraged joint meetings of all the Historical Societies of Columbia County and they now meet on a quarterly basis. These meetings are very productive and we share what is going on with each society and within the county. Some societies from neighboring counties have also joined us. Next month we are meeting in Clatskanie, Oregon with lunch and a talk by someone from the Oregon State Archives.

In the coming year we hope to finish inventorying the few remaining items, review the thirty notebooks created, look for material to digitize and purchase the lateral, fire proof and water resistant file cabinet. That cabinet will hold all items that are irreplaceable and others unique to materials not found elsewhere. The County Museum will have copies of the items digitized and we will work together to create an online website where we can share our materials. Eventually we hope to have a computer and copier/scanner set up for local researchers to use. When this phase is completed we will focus on family histories of local families and creating tours of the city of Scappoose.

We were pleased to receive a generous donation from Senator Betsy Johnson for the purchase of the lateral file cabinet. I felt compelled to offer a gift in return. Two notebooks were created, one for each of her parents, with their genealogy printed from a database based on online information about the families. These were delivered to her this month. She is very generous in our community and we appreciate her support in many ways.

Recently we were visited at the Watts house by John Watts Clothier, his daughter, granddaughter and her child. They enjoyed a tour of the house and were pleased to find it well cared for. In the previous year John shared with me the family genealogy he planned to place online. Just before finding out they were coming I finally started comparing his information with the database created while going through all the materials in the house. This was finished just prior to their arrival and they received a copy of the list with additions and corrections. Then he was given a copy of the descendants list from the database and a flash drive with all the materials from the computer file for the family and the house. They were pleased with the materials and he made copies of the flash drive for the other family members.

Now that the month of Christmas Tours at the Watts house is wrapping up it feels like we have truly contributed to the Scappoose Historical Society this past year. One highlight for me was the visit of our local APG members for one of our APG meetings. They had a tour of the house and then we went to St. Helens, Oregon for lunch at the Klondike Restaurant. After lunch some went on a tour of the Columbia County Museum.

The APG meetings were set up locally for morning coffees by Leslie Lawson so we could share our work and interesting information to support one another. These have been one of the best benefits of being a member of APG. The President of APG joined with us by Skype at one meeting and we enjoyed visiting with her for a few minutes. Being a genealogist, especially one who works professionally, can be an isolating job. Being able to meet with like-minded people is instrumental in learning things that we can all benefit from.

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