Thursday, August 11, 2016

Award Giving Summer Social

Members of the TriCity Genealogical Society met at the home of Anne Nolan and John Covey for an evening of social interaction on Wednesday, August 10th. Many favorite potluck dishes were shared and enjoyed. John fired up the grill and offered sausage to anyone interested. President Walt Wood and his wife brought the final touch, homemade pies.

Easy conversation was the sweetest dish however. When a group of genealogists gets together topics are endless. Successes from recent research trips were interwoven with stories about grandchildren. Medical issues past and current, including archaic terms and definitions, surfaced and disappeared at will. There was seldom a moment with nothing to say or a repeated story to enjoy.

There was a little official business. President Walt Wood presented the Outstanding Volunteer of the Year Awards which were originally presented in June at the Washington State Genealogical Society Conference in Tacoma. This year’s winners were Bill Floberg and John Covey. The following was not only printed on their certificates but read to those attending the social

Bill Floberg, of Kennewick, Washington, is recognized for his many years of support,
encouragement and assistance to the society. Mr. Floberg is one who is always working quietly in the background tending to the less than glamorous, but absolutely necessary, things that make a society successful. He can always be counted on to help whenever help is needed. For example, he manned the bookstore at the TCGS “Traveling Through Time” seminar in the fall of 2015. Had he not volunteered, there might not have been a bookstore. At present, Mr. Floberg is serving as vice-president of TCGS. He has also served as the membership chair for the last four years and chair of the judging committee for the year-long TCGS Archived Document Contest. Mr. Floberg is the definition of the word volunteer and richly deserves this recognition.

John Covey, of Richland, Washington, is recognized for his leadership and guidance through
challenging times. He was nominated by the Tri-City Genealogical Society (TCGS). Mr. Covey has served two terms as TCGS President. During his extended tenure, he led without hesitancy and he never lost his focus on successfully leading the society during and through difficult times. For many years Mr. Covey has coordinated week-long trips to the Family History Center in Salt Lake City. He has also chaired the 2015 TCGS fall seminar “Traveling Through Time” with William Dollarhide as the featured presenter. Mr. Covey’s dedication to the preservation and success of TCGS makes him richly deserving of this award.

The TriCity Genealogical Society is honored to have this caliber of leadership guide the way. Bill Floberg and John Covey are in good company of Outstanding Volunteers awarded to other genealogical societies in the state of Washington. To read about the recognition given to other society volunteers access the Washington State Genealogical Society website’s article “Outstanding Volunteers and Teams – 2016”.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Antique Valuations Provide a Need to Unravel Stories

by TCGS Member, Susan Davis Faulkner

The TriCity Genealogical Society does not typically meet during the summer months, but those that
attended the Maurer Antique Appraisal Special Event were once again Wowed by an Art Kelly Spectacular on July 13, 2016.

Terry and Kathy Maurer of Maurer Appraisals provided TCGS members their own Antique Roadshow. Those members that registered to have their antiques valuated obtained a better understanding of their items. Everyone in the audience, however, learned something new about history and items that surrounded our ancestors.

Terry Maurer began the evening by explaining the difference between Valuations and Appraisals. Valuations are typically done through a home visit. The Maurers often will visit a client’s home and have discussions about various items. They can provide some interesting tidbits of the history of the item and an approximate value. Appraisals are written legal documents that go into much more detail about an item or a collection. Valuations are typically used when an owner of antiques is curious about their items or collection. Appraisals are necessary when an item or collection is of high value, usually over $5000.00, and addresses issues that come up during probate, taxes, and insurance.

Antique values change because retail interests change. Terry Maurer provided a wonderful example using the well-known PBS television program of the “Antiques Roadshow”. The “Antiques Roadshow” aired a special episode on their 15th year anniversary. They showed the original interaction between the antique owner and the appraiser. 15 years later PBS asked the same appraiser (if they could locate them) to redo the valuation of the same item. Terry found it interesting that there was a very close ratio of values had increased, stayed the same, and decreased. He encouraged the audience to understand that antiques are not a good financial investment, but that the collection of antiques can be an enjoyable hobby.

After this wonderful and educational introduction, Terry and Kathy discussed each item that was brought to the TriCity Genealogical Society Special Event. As interesting as each item was, accompanied by many gasps and giggles, I am still basking in my own personal discoveries.

My husband and I couldn’t agree on which items to have valuated, so I submitted two items and Kathy encouraged me to bring both of them to the meeting. One of my husband’s prize possessions has been an Audubon lithograph. I’ve been skeptical of it for years. Doing a small amount of research I was concerned that it was a fraud. I was much more interested in a cane bottom chair that my husband had inherited. His opinion of the chair was that it didn’t have much value. He grew up with it sitting to the side of the dining room table and wasn’t sure if his mother had purchased it or if her mother had given it to her. He believed that it was manufactured around 1940 and was merely the last survivor of someone’s dinette set. The Maurers valued the lithograph at about $25.00, unless we could convince someone to pay more. The back of the lithograph had a certificate from Calhoun’s Collectors Society and the certificate did specify that it was a Limited Edition, not of Audubon but rather of Calhoun’s. Certificates like this one should be read very carefully and parsed out for what Terry Maurer termed “weasel words”. Kathy Maurer explained that the cane bottom chair was made of solid wood and that the cane-ing was unusual. She explained that the chair was probably made sometime between 1870 and 1890. Alone it didn’t carry a high value, but in that moment it became extremely sentimental to me.

There were much more fascinating items shared during the event. Some antique owners were encouraged to research their item for more detail to get a better understanding of what they had. In order to start their research the Maurers provided them with specific information and told them what to look for. Manufacturing marks etcetera can help place a date or location with an item. With better understanding of the item and its history it would be easier to get a more definite answer to what their item was worth.

Antiques tell beautiful stories and there were many stories explored and unraveled on July 13. Some of the stories are just beginning to surface. In my own situation my husband and I are shocked to discover that his family had such an old item like the cane bottom chair in his impoverished childhood home. We are now looking for additional clues as to where it came from and how it got to him. I’m sure there are other individuals that attended the event that have their own stories to unravel. Marian Halverson, however, is not one of those individuals. The climax of the event was a set of small medallions set in a necklace setting that was accompanied by a beautiful photograph of her grandmother as a young woman wearing the necklace. This proof of provenance is often what makes an antique valuable, yet the value may very well mean so much in a sentimental state that the monetary valuation is mute.

Terry Maurer writes a column titled “What’s It Worth” that is published in the TriCity Herald every other Sunday. To learn more about antiques and their value follow his entertaining column. Here is a link to several of his columns on the TriCity Herald website. Hopefully you will discover more about your ancestors by studying the items that surrounded them. You too may find a story that needs unraveling.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Patriotic Heritage Booth

It is not often that you find members of various organizations coming together to enjoy one great event, but this is what happened on July 4, 2016. The TriCity Genealogical Society joined the Daughters of the American Revolution, and the Sons of the American Revolution at the River of Fire festival. They hosted a combined booth titled Patriotic Heritage.
As citizens of the United States of America we enjoy an amazing amount of freedom and independence. This has not come easy. Many have paid the ultimate price, giving their life so that so many can continue to be guaranteed a continuation of such rights.
The Sons and the Daughters of the American Revolution are lineage societies. In order to qualify to be a member of these organizations an applicant’s genealogy is submitted and reviewed to prove that they are a descendant of a Revolutionary War patriot.
Art Kelly, Keith Deaton (as President Lincoln),
Glenn Allison, and Marjorie Casper

The festival officially began with the Opening Ceremonies. The Sons of the American Revolution presented their Color Guard which brought a deeper dimension to the singing of the National Anthem. TriCity Genealogical Society Program Chairperson, Art Kelly, joined Keith Deaton as President Abraham Lincoln along with his other escorts on stage while the audience was taken back to historical political speeches. The soul of patriotism was stirred with the presentation of the Gettysburg Address.
MidColumbia Chapter of the Sons of the
American Revolution Color Guard

At the River of Fire festival the Patriotic Heritage booth was nicely decorated with red, white, and blue. It was also adorned with many volunteers in historical costumes. Mannequins supported historical military uniforms. Banners with photographs of local fallen heroes bordered one side of the booth area, and the other side of the area was set aside for audience participation. Letters to active military personnel were written and deposited in a beautifully decorated mailbox. A coloring contest for the children allowed them to bring color to historical pictures. Celebrating our country’s independence was fun, festive, and active. Gentle chatting was also embraced as various society members enjoyed the day together.
The evening closed with a bang, literally. Most of the Patriotic Heritage Booth volunteers were home by the time the fireworks exploded however. They had enjoyed the day and felt that they had truly embraced so many aspects of an Independence Day celebration.
Thank you to TriCity Genealogical Society members who helped make this such an incredible day!! Art Kelly, Barry Moravek, Bill Floberg, Carol Powe, Gigi Bare, Ken Powe, Margaret Dunn, Margie Beldin, Marian Halverson, Sandra Floberg, Susan Faulkner, Susan Lohstreter, TJ Lannon, and Walt Wood.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Selecting Records to Research, Part 2

By TCGS Member, Connie Estep

John Covey taught the June genealogy class continuing the subject of record selection. He
John Covey practicing what he teaches
started the class with “guessing games”, discussing the need for educated guesses as to places, dates, and name variations. He also talked about the advantages of learning the history and geography of areas people lived, especially as these can affect why they moved.  He provided a four page handout to accompany his talk. The handout is available on the TriCity Genealogical Society website under the Education tab, or by clicking here.

Selection criteria for choosing a record includes content (does it have the kind of information you are looking for), location and time period. Remember location boundaries can change (as did our own Benton County). Learning about the history of an area can save research time in cases of jurisdiction changes. Access can be another issue, so check to make sure you are allowed to visit the repository and can get copies of records. Reading records can be a problem when there are language differences or hard to read handwritten documents. Another challenge can be a very common family name; knowing at least a given name, and hopefully a middle name will help. The more you know about the person, the easier the research. John also recommends following hunches in choosing records.

John discussed research logs in detail. The most important reason for keeping research logs is that they provide a place to cite data sources. They can also help with search organization to know what has and has not been found. I often have periods of time between research sessions and find it easy to forget what I’ve done and what the next step is. This can solve that problem. He covered specific elements to record and a FamilySearch web address for a blank log. This blank Research Log can be filled out and printed from your computer. It can also be printed out blank and entries can be made by hand while researching.

 The next class in this series is September 14; we will learn about the Soundex system from Susan Davis Faulkner. Classes will continue through December before monthly TCGS general meetings from 6:15-6:45 p.m. This class was attended by 22 people.

Friday, June 17, 2016

County and State Records

By TCGS Member, Connie Estep

Brenda Chilton, Benton County Auditor, provided a wealth of information about public records at our meeting this month. The more current records may be seen electronically at the Auditor’s Annex in the Richland Fred Meyers complex, and in the Kennewick Annex at 5600 W. Canal. The full range of records is available at the Benton County Courthouse in Prosser.

A list of the types of records available with their date ranges can be found at Computerized records are available electronically and in hard copy from 2000 to present at the Clerk’s Office in Prosser and Kennewick. Additionally the records in the table below (copied from this same website) are available in original format, microfilm or as electronic images at the Clerk’s Office in the Benton County Courthouse in Prosser.

The above website directs people to the Washington Department of Health, Center for Health Statistics for birth, death, marriage and divorce certificates. The hot link to this site does not work, but if you cut and paste the department name into Google it will find the correct site. This is not a searchable site. You may order certificates (you provide full details) and you may also order a record search for $8 each. Their search range for births and deaths is July 1907 to the present. The search range for marriages and divorces is 1968 to present; for earlier records they direct you to local county records.

Record indexes and images are digitized from 1984 to present and marriage licenses from 1970 to present. These are searchable at the Benton County Auditor website Go to the Recording tab and click on “Recorded Documents Online”. You may search all record types or specify a record type. I poked around a bit with this search form and most of the records I found when searching “all record types” were land transactions. Land transactions do seem to happen more frequently in a lifetime than births, deaths, and marriages!

Pre-1984 indexes and images are available in Prosser on microfilm. You don’t need appointments for searching records in Prosser or Kennewick. They have terminals set up for people to use.
This table shows the dates for available records in Benton County. The county was formed March 8, 1905 from parts of Yakima and Klickitat County. If you need records earlier than that date, search records from those two counties.

Brenda also discussed other public record sources. Washington State Archives has a death records index from 1907-2000 and prison records. The nearest state archives regional office is in Ellensburg. A website about their holdings and how to contact them can be found at Be sure to call for an appointment before traveling. Washington was the first state to have a digital archives. It is located in Cheney.

Brenda gave a good overview of records available in Benton County. Research in other counties will most likely have some differences. If you plan to travel to other counties it’s best to do as much research as possible to know what to expect before you arrive and try to set up appointments!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Patriotic Heritage Booth at River of Fire Festival

Patriotic Heritage Booth at River of Fire Festival
Columbia Park, Kennewick, Washington
July 4, 2016

Kieth Deaton,
as Abraham Lincoln 
This Independence Day celebrate our nation’s freedom while celebrating your family history. All of us have origins tied to the history of the United States. To help you discover your family’s history visit the Patriotic Heritage Booth at the River of Fire Festival.

The Patriotic Heritage Booth is a unique combination of members from the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Sons of the American Revolution, and the TriCity Genealogical Society. Various members of all of these organizations will join together for one day at Columbia Park while celebrating Independence Day. There will be many of them dressed in Revolutionary War era costumes. Come by the booth for selfies with these historical characters. The Patriotic Heritage Booth will sponsor a coloring contest and provide an opportunity for you to write letters to active military personnel. You can also get information on how to find out more about your family history while you visit this booth.

The River of Fire Festival has been helping our community celebrate the Fourth of July for 30 years. The River of Fire Festival is an all-day event held at Columbia Park. Activities begin at noon and include live music, a children’s area, and an assortment of vendors. This relaxing and enjoyable day will conclude with a beautiful display of fireworks from a barge in the Columbia River. The cost is only $8.00 per carload, which makes this an affordable gathering for the entire family.

Schedule highlights include an Opening Ceremony at 4:00 pm at the Columbia Park stage where Abraham Lincoln will be impersonated by Keith Deaton. Flags will be carried by the Sons of the American Revolution. Additional flags honoring our local fallen heroes will also be displayed. Live music by local bands will follow the opening ceremony and will perform until the fireworks celebration.

If you would like more information about the Patriotic Heritage Booth contact Susan Davis Faulkner at 509-554-1050 or

For more information about the River of Fire Festival go to
For more information about the Daughters of the American Revolution go to
For more information about the Sons of the American Revolution go to
For more information about the TriCity Genealogical Society go to


Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Selecting Records to Research

By TCGS Member, Connie Estep

John Covey taught the May genealogy class which covered selecting records for your search. The first step is choosing a category of sources. The two main types are original sources (examples: birth certificates, city indexes, census) and compiled sources (examples: published family histories, periodicals). John provided a four page handout with many examples of original and compiled records. Click here to download a copy of the handout.

The next decision is to select the type of record. The handout has a list of different kinds of information with the types of records to search. From these select specific records, as you review them, make your notes on a research log.

Reference to research logs has come up in several of these classes. You can find a sample log at This one may be printed and filled in. There are several plusses to keeping a log. Most importantly, the log documents the source of the information. If you do not find the information you searched for in a source it’s a good idea to record that on your log also. By referring to your research log you can save valuable time in selecting records you have not looked at before.

Documents have different kinds of data. Usually a document will give the location of the event it is documenting. Depending on the event other information may also be on the document. My birth certificate gives my parents’ names, occupations, birthplaces, how many children my mother had before me and a reference to how many previous children of hers had died.

When beginning my family history search I started with Yakima city directories because a number of my relatives arrived in Yakima in the early 1900s. This let me gather the easiest information first. I didn’t keep a log, just made a list of my “hits”. Later I had to go through them again as I didn’t remember which names I had searched for unsuccessfully. The second time I took photos of each page with hits, and made notes of people I searched for unsuccessfully for each directory.  

For me this provided a great overview, including where family members lived, their jobs (and often employers), the names of their spouses, and sometimes if they paid county taxes. Since the directories often included county listings as well, I could see the ones farming in nearby communities.

The last section of this class was reference tools; this is a great section to review.  Political boundaries can change. A person born in our area in 1888 would have been an Oregon Territory resident, since Washington State wasn’t established until the next year. County boundaries can change as population fills in; Benton County was made from pieces of Yakima and Klickitat Counties in 1905. Gazetteers can help you find such changes. There are many other types of references listed as well.

The Beginning Genealogy classes are scheduled through December (except July and August) before monthly TCGS general meetings from 6:15-6:45 p.m. This third class was attended by 32 people and continues with a well thought out research plan.