Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Mystery Woman

In September I attended the Family History conference at the St. Helens, Oregon public library. So many wonderful people. I even taught a class. There was one woman who spoke to me twice telling me she had to leave early to go to a baby shower. She looked so familiar, but I still can't think of her name. Please note that my brain processing is not so good when I am focused on other things. If this was you or you know who she is please let me know.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Sharing Family Pictures

This past weekend members of our family met for dinner at my sister's house. Three siblings came and one brother did not. In preparation for this get together I completed a project I started over a year ago. At that time when we met I shared my mother's picture albums with them and they all tagged the pictures that they wanted with their individual colored stick on tags. Later one of my nieces also tagged the pictures that she wanted copies digitized. Each of their pictures was filed in their scan files. When I was finished there were over 200 pictures. I decided to give them their own pictures and all the other picture files on a flash drive. Now those files will be saved on four different computers besides my own and our back up hard drive. I still want to scan the pages of most of the albums. It is a challenge to share and then preserve the memories of our families. This is a great project for Family History Month in preparation for Thanksgiving when we may be together with our families. Just do it and you will be so glad that you did.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Setting the Record Straight - Genealogy

On August 9, 2019 I was invited to be on the Columbia County Talk Radio on station KOHI with Melinda Bernhert. Her show is Setting the Record Straight and the show focused on Genealogy. The digital copy access was recently sent to me and I want to share it with the people who missed the show. It is interesting listening to the show as the one hour in which I was sharing information was unscripted and passed in a flash. Melinda was fun to work with and guided the discussion well. The following link should take you to the digital program. I downloaded it to Google Drive and the recording was better.


Monday, September 23, 2019

A Year of Great Accomplishments

A Year of Great Accomplishments                                                                  September 23, 2019

This has been a year of great accomplishments. DNA has taken me where I needed to go in so many projects. My own family has had some unknown people come forward and others were confirmed in our relationships. Then I ventured into the DNA of the Watts family. We have confirmed distant cousin connections and are awaiting the YDNA of a direct line male to hopefully confirm that distant ancestor. 

Just recently two of the descendants visited Scappoose, Oregon where I have worked on the Watts family for three years. We had a great visit discovering on the internet, traveling the DLC land claim of the original settlers for the family, visiting the Watts House, the Scappoose Public Library, the local cemetery, the Columbia County Museum in St. Helens, Oregon and going through the records of these places. In December an article about Rose Ewing Watts, the lady for whom the Watts House was built, will be published in the Bulletin, the quarterly of the Genealogical Forum of Oregon. This article highlights the collections we have today due to her diligent efforts to collect items of importance to the Scappoose community. A followup article on the DLC land claims is set to be published next year.

This past weekend the St. Helens public library held a one day genealogy conference. There was a key note speaker and then two tracks of classes. One track was five classes on beginning genealogy. People who attended those classes were shocked at all they were learning. The second track was five classes including Native American research, US Federal Land Records, Oregon Donation Land Claims, Washington County, Oregon history (which I taught) and Finding Columbia County, Oregon Information. I was thrilled to attend most of these classes. Continuing education locally is wonderful as we connect with others who share our love of research.

In Columbia County, Oregon we have quarterly meetings with the six historical societies and/or museums. I feel honored to participate in their meetings. These meetings have fostered a better awareness among the groups of what each is doing. They created a brochure to share with the public about their holdings. The meetings rotate through each facility and we enjoy visiting, eating lunch and learning about the facility.

In Washington County, Oregon there is a museum which also has a research room for their collections. Recently our Oregon Association of Professional Genealogists had a behind the scenes tour of this facility after I went there to view their collection with regards to my own family. My previous visit about twenty years ago resulted in a three page list of items I wanted to see. Tricia Oberndorf, the current president of the Oregon APG group, went with me and was able to photograph materials for the Watts family. When we left we felt our local group should go for a tour. I almost wondered if I needed to go as I had seen what I thought was the museum. Midway through the tour they opened a door to a huge warehouse area I had never seen before. It was full of artifacts from Washington County. Everyone in the group was amazed. It felt like when Dorothy steps into the Land of Oz!

The year of great accomplishments has taken me to places I never imagined going. New discoveries that fully enhance my own family research and that of other families. Follow those leads as they may well take you to the most wonderful places. Doing it with others is even more exciting.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Andy and Ian and the Watts Family, 14 September 2019

                                Andy and Ian and the Watts Family, 14 September 2019

What an amazing experience. The last three days were a culmination of my experiences with the Watts House in Scappoose, Oregon. Two of the descendants, Andy and her son Ian spent three days here discovering a place where her ancestors once lived.
The first day we went out to dinner and then spent about four hours on our computers. We worked on the family, DNA matches and GLO records for maps of the Watts' family DLC lands.
After living here for four years I was able to establish the boundaries for a drive by tour, which we did first thing the next morning. It is amazing trying to view a place where their ancestors lived and imagine how it looked when they first arrived in 1852. We drove Dike Road, which is the flat lands out close to the river, where the family had timber lands. As we came to the highway Andy mentioned the cemetery, so we stopped there for a few minutes. It really is in a lovely place overlooking lower Scappoose.
Next we spent a couple of hours at the Watts House where they had a tour of all three floors. Then we had a wonderful desert and visit with four of the members. It is amazing all that is contained in the house and the stories that it holds. After that I returned home and they went to Sauvie Island for a hike. It was perfect weather for seeing the wildlife and surroundings. When they returned we ate the delicious dinner provided by my husband, David.
Then yesterday after they had been for a hike on the Scappoose/Vernonia trail, we met at the Columbia County Courthouse in St. Helens, Oregon and spent about three hours at the County Museum. Tricia Oberndorf, who instigated and supported my work at the Watts House, spent most of the time with us looking at the museum's collection on the Watts family. Then we proceeded to the Plymouth Pub and had a nice, relaxing dinner.
When I landed back at home I was exhausted, but thrilled to have accomplished so much. My sincere thank you to Andy for all she has shared with us in the research on the Watts family. She is an earnest researcher and a delight to work with. Ian was very patient and such a gentleman. This journey with the Watts family is so beyond anything I even remotely considered when I began the work three years ago.

Friday, August 9, 2019

The Quilt

For years the finished squares of a quilt have been in my sewing collection. I never had the time, space or energy to finish the quilt. Finally I asked a friend if she would be willing to sew it for me. She has a reputation for creating beautiful quilts. In a weeks time she finished the quilt and then made a small runner with the left over six squares. It is amazing. She purchased a lovely backing fabric and had enough for both. This is truly a gift of love. I am not even sure how I came to have it, but I believe it is from my Great Aunt Anne whose house I helped to prepare for their move to senior housing. It most likely came from my grandfather Olsen's older sister Helen Olsen Erickson who owned a sewing shop in Hillsboro, Oregon. My friend feels the fabrics date from the 1930s to the 1950s and she is amazed how well they have held their colors. This is a serendipity moment for me!

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Local Radio Program - Setting the Record Straight

Friday August 9, 2019
Spent the morning doing a radio program with Melinda Bernert of KOHI in St. Helens, Oregon. We had a delightful hour chat on Setting the Record Straight: the ins and outs of genealogy, the ethics surrounding DNA testing and how to get started on your own family tree. It was the morning of the local Association of Genealogist coffee meet up at Elmers. While I did miss being with them it was well worth my time to have this other experience. It also provided an opportunity to advertise for the upcoming Columbia County Genealogy Conference on September 21, 2019 at the St. Helens Public Library. It is a free conference, but registration is required and they only have eighty spots available. Registration begins August 19 at www.ci.st-helens.or.us/library.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Birthday Greetings

Thank you to everyone who sent birthday greetings via facebook and in so many other ways. Turning 65 has an odd feeling and this has been a challenging week. The greetings came from almost as many genealogy friends as all my other friends combined. That is especially true as anyone who knows me well knows a little about genealogy. What a blessing to live in this time of easy communication and DNA matches. This year many of my important items on my bucket list have been accomplished. I am grateful for wonderful, supportive family and friends. We are blessed to live in a beautiful area. Our home is comfortable and our lives are busy! Thank you again for being apart of my daily life in so many ways.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

An angel came to visit me yesterday

An angel came to visit me yesterday and stayed to clean our house She swept, vacuumed and mopped the floors, cleaned the bathrooms, removed the trash. She brought her charming, handsome young helper who entertained me as she worked. It was lovely getting to know them and amazing to watch as they went about their work. I will look forward to their coming again. There have been others, a darling daughter in the fall and a young one from church came in the summer. They are each truly appreciated and bring joy to my heart. Angels come in all types, but the ones who serve others are certainly heavenly sent to encourage us in our struggles. Now I rest more peacefully and feel such joy as I look around our house and see it clean and sparkling for all to enjoy.

Friday, May 31, 2019

jamboree 2019, California this weekend

Watched three genealogy presentations from the jamboree 2019 conference in California this weekend. Very well done. It is free to watch and download the syllabus after you register. There will be five classes on Saturday and five on Sunday. You can look at the list and see which ones are of interest to you. Thank you to the presenters, providers and sponsors for making this happen. For those of us who can't travel easily this is absolutely wonderful! http://genealogyjamboree.com/ under live streaming.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Washington County Museum, Hillsboro, Oregon

Tonight my feet are just killing me, but it is worth the cost of researching at a local history center. The Washington County Museum in Hillsboro, Oregon, has a wonderful repository of records. Some of my ancestors donated some nice pictures and two priceless autograph albums. Years ago, likely about twenty, I made a couple of trips there. In doing so I created a three page list of items to look up. Now after almost four years of living closer I finally made arrangements and made the journey to follow up on those records. My good friend Tricia drove and looked up stuff for the Watts family for me. The researcher was fully prepared with having the boxes ready for me to start working. Then we saw another friend and later on another friend came to oversee the fun. After four hours of photographing items of interest, 190 pictures, documents and other materials, I had to quit for the day. There is one more box that I hope to get to in a couple of weeks. Now I need to compare my collection of family pictures and see what they do not have. This is all part of my focus for the present to organize and make useful what we have and then share with others. Now I need to go put up my feet for a few days!

I would like to sincerely thank Debi Knox for preparing records for me to come and take pictures of for our family history. The collection included items from my grandfathers older sister and his older brother. There are two autograph albums, one of which my great grandfather wrote in. It was so nice to arrive with things organized for our four hour work out in taking many pictures. Debi went one step further and pulled information for the Watts family who lived in Scappoose, and Milwaukie. Friends joined in as Tricia and I worked very patiently to capture the images of history held in this collection. What a fantastic place to visit!

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

My Friend from Oaxaca, Mexico

My friend of thirty years came to visit with her daughter and brought me these lovely flowers and vase. We met at school and been good friends ever since. We celebrated her getting her green card after living in the US for thirty years. It took her five years and thousands of dollars. She had several lawyers and many people willing to help her. It will take another five years to be naturalized. When she came to the US with her family, to be with her husband who was already in Oregon, she came with just one small suitcase full of documents and pictures of her family.

Now she can legally make a visit to Oaxaca, Mexico to visit her elderly parents whom she has not seen in thirty years. Two of her daughters became naturalized citizens. It is wonderful that they are now able to make a visit and be able to return to the US afterwards. I love these people. They have been hardworking, honest, caring and taught their children to appreciate the important things in life. She has certainly persevered and accomplished this major step forward!! 

I met her in the grade school at Clackamas, Oregon. They were registering her children for school and I volunteered to help them get settled here. They had four girls and one boy. I taught her how to cook a turkey for Thanksgiving that year. The school staff literally provided their Christmas, tree, presents and food! She has had a huge struggle these past thirty years. One thing we share in common is our love for the Savior.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Happy Blogiversary

Happy blogiversary to my blog at gophergenealogy.blogspot.com. Eight years and it continues to serve others. More posts to come.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Almost Finished Initial Sorting

Almost finished with the initial sorting of twenty years of family history research. I already have notebooks for each ancestral line with family artifacts and pictures. I have sorted by families and places. I have just about finished all of my unsorted materials and now can focus on what to scan, keep in a notebook or shred. For my favorite family and New England line there is one large tote of materials. All my other ancestral lines fill just one large tote for all of them. The last large tote is for work for others which most likely will be scanned for teaching information. Any materials may be given to the clients, which I have already done. It is a long hard process, but this is over twenty years of research and numerous trips to the Family History Library in SLC. The wonderful thing is I am now at a time in my life when I can focus on organization so when I am gone the family might have some interest in it. I may also do more writing and even print a book or two. By knowing what I have there is less chance for duplication, but so far I have done well in the copies that I made.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

DNA and what it can do for family history.

In 2000, probably before, I signed on for ancestry.com. In 2016 my husband and I took our first genealogy tests. In three years the journey of discovery has been amazing. At this point for me fourteen close relatives have been tested through ancestry.com. Of two immediate family members, two close family members, three first cousins, and twelve second cousins, only four second cousins am I unsure of. Of the thirteen third cousins seven are known relatives. There are a total of 40 matches through to the fourth cousins. Fourth cousins are way out there and will wait until I have more time to play with this. Searching by surname or location does help to pull up connections to the unknown.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Susie Watts Almond Collection At the Watts House in Scappoose, Oregon

On Friday my husband and I delivered the seven notebooks, containing the Susie Watts Almond collection to the Watt's house. The Columbia County Museum Association volunteers scanned the entire collection. They even provided a copy on a flash drive so now I have a copy on my computer. I will also send one to Andrea. It is absolutely amazing what is contained in these notebooks. There is one other notebook that I already left at the house and we hope to scan it also. This project is a miracle that happened because we connected and shared information. She thoughtfully sent me the collection of loose papers as a birthday present in August of 2018. It is an odd thing for a present and it required significant time to make it workable. It is not perfectly organized but it is usable, with page numbers added by the CCMA group. They are an amazing group of volunteers who are dedicated to preserving the history of this county. It is an honor and privilege to work with them.

The Future of My Work

I made great progress in organizing my research, class, client, volunteer work, etc. paperwork for the last few years. Following a similar process to that which was done in sorting the materials at the Watts' house, the collection is now divided up by family and personal mementos; volunteer work and donated time; my personal family research collection; the collection of work for others including clients. Those are contained in three small totes and one large tote. The remainder of materials to sort are in two large totes from when we moved. This is a project that has been patiently waiting for me!

There are a few things I learned along the way and I hope to be more careful in the future of my work. Here is a list of items to consider when processing genealogy work either for yourself or others.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Two Brain Surgeries

As I got caught up in my reading of the Ensign Magazine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (available to read online for free at lds.org) I enjoyed each and every one of them. Then on Saturday I was reading the one for June 2018 when I looked in the back at the last article. There was, "The Lord's Help Through Two Brain Surgeries" by Bryn Booker. It has been almost ten years since my two brain surgeries and this article means so much to me. While the reasons for our surgeries varied a little, there was so much more we could share with each other. After my surgeries I longed for someone or group where I could get understanding and support. I contacted Bryn and we spent time yesterday making that connection. I am so grateful that she wrote her article. While I have written about my experience of this very unique type of surgery, I have not felt ready to share it publicly. Even though Bryn and I are separated by thirty years in age, we now know someone who will truly understand what we are talking about. I have had many surgeries and I agree with Bryn that these were very painful and emotionally challenging surgeries. My husband, six children and six grandchildren are my motivation in moving forward. I know my life is in God's hands and he will lead me along.  I know Bryn will have the same support both from her family and from God. Our blessings surely outweigh the challenges that we face. Facebook.com/ensign.magazine

Saturday, January 26, 2019

November 2018 Month of Gratitude

November 2018 Month of Gratitude

November 1
Let gratitude month begin. This is a year of looking at things with a renewed perspective. I am so grateful for my parents and all the good that they instilled in our family. My Dad's birthday is in two weeks and he would have been 84 and Mon's was in September and she would have been 84. Two very kind, generous and loving people that continue to bless our family in so many ways. They always put others first and worked hard to support our family. As we age and face personal struggles we continue to be encouraged to follow these values.

This week I completed a genealogy project for the Watts house. Over 700 pages of research notes, documents, family stories, etc. donated by Andy Watts Harrison. This collection certainly enhances what there was preciously. Not only did Andy copy the entire collection, but she paid for mailing it. It arrived as a birthday present for me about six months ago. It is now contained in eight 1" notebooks, with a list of what is found in each included. After 2 1/2 years this a nice capstone project to all that we have accomplished. Below is an updated listing of the materials as there was some reorganization to the materials.