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.