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.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Don't Forget Church Records

By TCGS Member, Connie Estep

Church records may be able to fill in our research blanks, especially since governments did not always require recordings of births, marriages, and deaths. Richard Kyle, Librarian and Resource Specialist for the Yakima Valley Genealogical Library, discussed on-line access to church records.

Church records vary by denomination and may include births, marriages, deaths, christenings, baptisms, and confirmations.  Sometimes they will have newsletters that could provide a more personal glimpse. Kyle recommended FamilySearch Wiki as a starting place. For U.S. church records go to The Wiki is searchable by country and denominations. (In case you haven’t used it much, the Wiki has a treasure trove of genealogy help, from basic concepts to very specific details. It is well worth the time to get to know this site.) For many years the Catholic Church allowed the LDS Church access for copying records. They no longer allow this. Google is also a good place to search for church records.

Kyle also recommended that many of us are familiar with, plus two I never heard. he said has a faster interface than FamilySearch. The other one,, he also said was very fast. These are both free sites; MooseRoots requires registration and log-in. Both sites offer a paid subscription to avoid pop-up surveys.

Kyle also discussed searching U.S. Census records not yet indexed or for family members not showing up in indexes. Since the censuses are handwritten lists they can be hard to decipher. These lists were made by the census takers (enumerators); each enumerator had a district. To search the handwritten lists you need to know not only the city the person lived in but also the address or the general neighborhood to find the right enumeration district.

Both the National Archives federal census website ( and the FamilySearch Wiki provide specific information (finding aids) to help your census research. I played around a bit with both and the FS Wiki and found the Wiki was recently upgraded. If you have problems with the Wiki, try the federal site.

To record information from the hand written lists, Kyle recommended downloading census research forms and hand writing the information to make it easier to refer to. With each census the list of questions was usually changed somewhat.

Kyle also discussed resources of the Yakima Valley Genealogical Library (available for our free use).  Go to for more details. Fifty-one people attended this meeting.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

It's A Wrap - Archived Document Contest Winners

This last year we have been entertained and amazed with various entries to the Archived Document Contest. The contest began 1 April 2015 and ended 31 March 2016. The goal of the contest was to prove that not all genealogical records are available online while simultaneously celebrating computerized genealogy.

The contest was open to the public. All that was needed to enter the Archived Document Contest was a scanned image of a document that was not found online. Individuals wanting to enter the contest uploaded these scanned images to the TriCity Genealogical Society Facebook page with an explanation of where the document was found and how it tied into the researcher’s family history.

Each month entries were bundled together and sent to a panel of judges. The judges reviewed each entry and selected one entry as that month’s winning entry. Prizes typically encouraged computerized genealogy and included digitized subscriptions to magazines like Internet Genealogy and Your Genealogy. Other prizes were subscriptions to online databases like Mocavo,, and Fold3.

True celebration, however, came in the excitement of what was discovered by the documents that were found in offline repositories. As we read the entries we cheered for many tender facts that would not have been discovered by simple queries entered into large databases.

There were a total of 33 entries submitted. The majority of these documents came from family archives, but not necessarily the archives of the home. Many important documents came from collaboration efforts and were provided by relatives who were excited to share their treasures. Here is the breakdown of where documents were found that were submitted to the contest.
·        Family Archives - 13
·        Family History Library and Family History Centers – 9
·        Government records (city, county, and state) – 4
·        National and State Archives – 4
·        Local non-government agencies (funeral homes, museums) – 3

It is important to note the variety of repositories that held information shared in this contest. The Archived Document Contest showed us that when researching family history all of these repositories should be explored.  

All winning entries were automatically entered into a separate contest to determine the winner and runner-up for the full year. The first place prize was a one year subscription to A runner- up prize was a one year subscription to Find My Past.

The judging panel had a very difficult job in selecting the two winning entries from a collection of twelve entries that were already deemed superior. They did select Margie Stein Beldin’s entry submitted in April 2015 and Loren Schmid’s entry submitted in February 2016.
Margie Stein Beldin -
Archived Document Contest Winner

You can read Margie’s entry by going to or you can read the TCGS blog article about her entry at She shared with us her struggle of reading old handwriting found on a preprinted form. In her search she collaborated with other researchers, asked assistance from an expert genealogist, kept her research current by reading various publications, and emailed the National Archives. She never gave up and she was rewarded with her 2nd great grandfather’s Declaration of Intent. She is also awarded a one year subscription to The judges felt that Margie had used many traditional research methods in order to fulfill her quest.

Loren Schmid -
Archived Document
Contest Runner-Up
Loren Schmid, on the other hand, won the runner-up prize for using more modern techniques. In his February 2016 entry he shared how DNA research opened up many doors. You can read his entry by going to blog article about her entry at There is a TCGS blog article about Loren’s entry at Loren shared with us the success that can be found by using DNA to find researchers to collaborate with. He also gave us wonderful examples of how collaboration can be enjoyed and reciprocated.   

Thank you to everyone that participated in this contest. Those that submitted entries helped us to learn from their success stories. A huge Thank You goes to our panel of judges. Their input was essential to the success of this contest. The Judges were Bill Floberg (Chairman), Mary Kay Walker, and Walt Wood.

Friday, April 22, 2016

2nd Genealogy Class: The Research Process, April 13, 2016

By TCGS Member, Connie Estep

Now that we have recorded all the family information we know, it’s time to begin the research process. With the wealth of information on the internet it is very easy to get sidetracked. That’s why we need a plan before we start. Instructor Margie Beldin provided a detailed outline for making that plan in her handouts available at the TCGS website (click here to go to the Education page).

Her advice is to work on one family at a time and include all family members, their friends, associates, and neighbors (the F.A.N. Club). Margie included a worksheet template for recording our research plans. Besides working on one family at a time, Margie says we should limit the research to one individual in the family and one specific question at a time. Here again this will keep our research from getting sidetracked on rabbit trails. She suggests we pick off the easiest objectives first.

A little time spent planning where to search can help this process. Margie provided a copy of the U.S. Record Selection Table with sources for life events. She brought a copy of the book The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy, Third Edition (the latest version) by Szucs & Luebking containing just under 1000 pages of resources. Both Richland and Kennewick Family History Centers have copies of this. Kennewick may have the latest version but Richland does not. Family History Wiki has the latest version available to anyone.

It also helps to learn about records in the places your family members lived. The Family History Wiki also has the Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources. Red Book is organized by state and is very easy to use. It led me quickly to my mother’s California birth record (I knew the date and town) and the information that birth records were not kept in Kentucky when my father was born. The Kennewick F.H.C. also has the Red Book.

The research plan template in our handout is a place to record the family and person we will research and what we want to know about them. (Remember, one question at a time!) Adding the sources we want to check will make it easier to focus our research. I’ve found this especially helpful when I’m going to the Family History Center or to Yakima for research.

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 second class was attended by 26 people and gave me great ideas for my research. The 3rd session of Beginning Genealogy will be on Recording and Sourcing. Don’t miss it!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Finding Our Way through the DNA Maze

By TCGS Member, Connie Estep

Genetic genealogy uses DNA testing along with traditional genealogy, but it cannot replace
traditional methods. It can add an incredibly useful dimension to traditional genealogy. Margie Beldin and Marianne Orton titled their April meeting program “A Taste of Genealogy.” Their “taste” led us through more science than many of us have seen in years!

The reason for so much science is that there are three kinds of genealogy tests available. To find what we are looking for we need to know what each test can and cannot do. There are also limits to what the tests can find. The more we know about the science behind DNA, the better we can tailor it to our research needs. DNA testing is just one more tool in our genealogy research toolbox.

There is much more to absorb about DNA than can be done in an evening program but Margie and Marianne provided a handout to help that process. It includes sources for written and video formats. If you missed the meeting you will find the handout on the TCGS website (click here to go to the “Meetings and Events” page).

Ethnicity testing is available from all three tests. Autosomal DNA (atDNA) not only suggests your ethnicity but could possibly also find relatives within five generations (for relatives that are also in the database). This test is for both the mother’s and the father’s lines.

Testing of mothers’ lines is done from mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Unlike the autosomal, it doesn’t stop at five generations but goes all the way back to deep ancestry. It is the same for fathers’ lines, done from Y chromosome testing (Y-DNA, or guY-DNA).

Something to remember is that we only get half our DNA from each parent. If it is still possible to have your parents tested that is of prime importance. If that is not an option find a sibling or cousin to test or your mother's sisters or your father's brothers. The more people tested in your family the better the results will be because DNA must be compared with others’ DNA to find the links in our ancestry. Testing of the maternal and paternal lines requires direct descendants. If you are female, you would need yourself for your mother’s line and your brother for your father’s. If no siblings are available then aunts, uncles, cousins are another option. Grandchildren would also work but there would be even less of your parents' DNA.

Testing is available from Ancestry, Family Tree DNA, and 23andMe. See the handout (click here to go to the “Meetings and Events” page) for links to their websites. The meeting was well attended with 61 people.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Filling in the Holes, Beginning Genealogy Classes

By TCGS Member, Connie Estep 

Most of us learned genealogy a little at a time as we pieced together our family histories. I started that way about 2 ½ years ago but found this left holes in my background. Margie Stein Beldin gave us an organized way to begin research in this first Beginning Genealogy class on 9 March 2016.

Identify Known Family Information was the March topic. Margie provided sample forms as a starting place. These are available at the TCGS website (click here to go to the Education page). The computer will be a major tool in our research with genealogy software access and on-line searching capabilities.
TCGS Education Chairperson,
Margie Stein Beldin

The second step is to record what you know about your family; she provided a form to free-flow family details. There is also an LDS booklet for recording the same kind of information. You can order this booklet at the website in the 
My Family link.  The third step is to look through your house for family history records. I think many people would be surprised at the records they already have on hand. She also gave us a checklist of documents we might find in our homes.

The nitty-gritty of genealogy is recorded on pedigree charts for multiple generations, and family group records for details of one couple and their children. As you gather information and complete pedigree and family group records you need to think about organization. That was a major hole in my background as I’d gathered a number of documents and it became hard to locate information in the pile. Margie recommended we make a loose-leaf notebook for each of our parents. This can solve the “pile” problem.  I’ve found that a pile will avalanche once it reaches critical mass!

The Beginning Genealogy classes are scheduled through December before monthly TCGS meetings from 6:15-6:45 p.m. This first class was well attended and gave me great ideas for my research.

(or the Education tab on the TCGS website) (My Family tab on the FamilySearch website)

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Janis Littlefield Crosses the Pond in Salt Lake City

As the Archived Document Contest came to an end entries submitted in March provided us a lot to appreciate. For an entire year we enjoyed stories of fellow researchers’ successes by finding information to enhance their research in locations that were not on the Internet. It was a little surprising that new sources could be exposed in this last month.

Mary Kircher Roddy submitted a Last Will and Testament that was over 200 years old and was filed in Lunenburg County, Virginia. Mary didn’t find this document online, but she didn’t have to travel to Virginia to obtain a copy of it either. She located it on a microfilm at the Family History Center in Salt Lake City.

Linda Stephens shared a story of heirloom napkin rings that had been turned into Sterling Silver bracelets. The pre-1890 napkin rings had been engraved with the names of family members, and this information led to additional curiosity. The curiosity led to a telephone call to a cemetery, who provided scanned images of 8 documents of family information.

Janis Littlefield won the contest for March with her submittal of a Wurttemberg Emigration document. In the late 1800s individuals that wanted to emigrate (or leave) Germany, often did so through Wurttemberg. In order to be given permission to emigrate they were required to file an application. Many did sneak out of the country, but later found it necessary to send documents back to Germany to complete immigration requirements into another country. Documents collected included family history information often complete with copies of records. This collection contains over 60,000 names and fills 8 volumes. Janis found her family in this collection while researching at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. She was able to identify three generations in one record. She declares it the best document for “crossing the pond”.

Janis wins an annual subscription to Fold3 for her winning entry. Fold3 is one of genealogist’s beloved websites. It focuses on military history and claims to have more than 482 million original documents available to browse and download.

The Archived Document Contest is officially closed. In the next month the judges have some important work to do. The twelve winning entries from each of the year’s monthly contests will be reviewed to determine two winners. The judges will be reviewing everything from 20th century vital records to Civil War era letters. They will examine documents that tied researchers to various generations of ancestry. They will once again be exposed to records written not only in English, but also in French and German. The two final prizes are a subscription to and Winners will be announced in May 2016 and announcements will be made in this blog and on the TriCity Genealogical Society Facebook page.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Why Do You Do Genealogy?

Submitted by Margie STEIN Beldin, TCGS Education Chair:

When I returned home from having lunch with some friends today, I took the time to carefully read a message Renée Tomlinson Petersen had printed for us. The message was written in the early 1900s by Della M. Cummings Wright:


No sooner had I finished, when I looked at my emails and read Legacy News from Legacy Family Tree. Guest blogger Lorine McGinnis Schulze of Olive Tree Genealogy website asked "Why Do We Do Genealogy"? I had never really answered that question myself, but it did give me a reason to pause and think.

After reading Renée's handout and the above blog, can you answer why you do genealogy?

I like that the blog writer's reason for researching her family evolved from what she wanted as a beginning reasearcher to why she continues to research today. I think that may happen to a lot of us.

It's kind of like, we marry for love but over the years that love becomes a bond of security, comfort and contentment which wasn't really present at the beginning.

Doing genealogy makes me content. I don't find watching TV interesting but learning about my family and their life and times does make me pause and ponder. I imagine myself in their place. I have no family stories and just a couple of photos but when I read about someone who lived when my ancestor lived or who lived where my ancestor lived, I can envision my ancestor being there too and what his or her life might have been like.

So, why do you do genealogy?

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Photos Make it Real!

by TCGS Member, Connie Estep

It’s hard to imagine a time without photographs. On March 9th Rick Reil (rhymes with smile) beguiled the audience of the TriCity Genealogical Society for an hour in the world of photographs, using humorous examples and stories. He stressed the need to label our photos with people’s names, dates, and places now while we can remember this information, recommending we use a #2 pencil, not a pen.
1853 Ambrotype of Sally Slate's 

Photographs are a relatively recent invention and went through quite a few distinctive formats. Knowing some of this history can provide date ranges for photographs in the early formats. TCGS member Sally Slate attended the meeting bringing several examples. She is extremely knowledgeable about these formats. This photo of two boys in a gold framed oval, an ambrotype, shows her grandfather, Charles Warren Spaulding (age 10) and his brother in 1853. Check out the Photo Tree website link below for other examples.

Sally Slate showing Margaret
Dunn her daguerreotype locket 
Other things Rick used to help date photos include women’s clothing fashion (men’s didn’t change as much) and items in the photos. Vehicles especially are helpful but other things can also offer clues. Rick provided a handout with details on these clues including types of women’s fashions that covered the 1850s to the 1920s. His handout also described six different formats of photographs through the 1920s. A copy of his handout is available at the TCGS Meetings & Events website. The Richland Family History Center has several books on dating photos, including a very good one on fashions from 1850 through 1920s. See Resources below for details.

Rick Reil helping Art
Kelly with picture dating
At the conclusion of his talk Rick looked at undated photos brought by audience members. There was quite a line of people for this but he spoke with everyone individually, telling them the approximate date and pointing out the date clues in the photos, referring them to his handout.


  • article titled Identifying 19th Century Photography Types at
  • Wonderful World of Ladies Fashions 1850-1920s; edited by Joseph J. Shroeder, Jr., c. 1971 This is a terrific book with illustrations from period clothing catalogs and fashion magazines. Richland Family History Center catalog # BK57.609; other photo dating books are shelved with this one.
  • Meetings and Events calendar at the TriCity Genealogical Society website at

Monday, March 7, 2016

Susan Davis Faulkner to Purchase “History Magazine” Subscription

February’s Archived Document Contest only had two entries but they were packed with points to consider when researching. Susan Davis Faulkner submitted a copy of a birth register that she obtained from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Her great-grandmother was listed but without a first name and with a variant spelling of her surname. If Susan had relied strictly on one surname spelling she would have overlooked this important document.

Loren Schmid shared a wonderful success story that began with a DNA test. This test connected him with a researcher of two second cousins who had many documents to share. In return Loren shared a family reunion. The emphasis of Loren’s success came from collaborating with not only another researcher but also by reminiscing with living family members. He asked questions which validated the claims made by documents that were discovered.

Loren is the winner of the February contest, and he has won a subscription to History Magazine. History Magazine is a consumer magazine covering social history, in particular the day to day life of ordinary people. Loren probably has some interesting stories that he can submit to this magazine. Susan, on the other hand, plans on purchasing her subscription.

There is still time to enter the contest. March is the last month of this one-year Archived Document Contest. The winning entry for March will get a one year subscription to Fold3. Fold3 provides convenient access to US military records, including the stories, photos, and personal documents of the men and women who served. Once the winner for March’s contest is announced all winning entries will be entered into a final contest. There are two Grand Prizes. They are subscriptions to and Findmypast.

To enter the contest upload a copy of a document that you obtained in any method other than downloading from the Internet to the TriCity Genealogical Society Facebook page. Include how you obtained the document and how it ties into your family history research. Entries can also be sent to Susan Davis Faulkner at

Monday, February 15, 2016

Who Visits Cemeteries?

by TCGS Member, Connie Estep

Tom Sawyer & Huck Finn aren’t the only ones. Stacia Gunderson plans her vacations around them visiting not at midnight, but during daylight to read the gravestones. She shared her passion for cemetery history and the symbolism found on older gravestones with us at the February 10th TCGS meeting.

Older gravestones have a language all their own; the various pictures and symbols tell about the
people buried there. The significance of a flower or plant varies widely: daisies for innocence, ivy for immortality and fidelity, roses for beauty, a wheat sheaf for old age, and dogwood for resurrection to name a few. There are many web sites that show the symbols and their significance. I’ve listed a couple below.

Sometimes very old gravestones are extremely difficult to read. Stacia brought rubbings she made that clearly showed details from older gravestones. Rubbings must be done without damaging gravestones; she uses rubbing wax, essentially a three inch hockey puck crayon. Crayons themselves should not be used as their sharp points can cause damage. A kit is available with a book (including the necessary information), rubbing wax, paper, and other helpful items. (See the listing below)

A local cemetery she mentioned with particularly interesting gravestones is Riverview Heights in Kennewick (more than a hundred years old). Examples of white bronze gravestones may be found here.
Resources: (U.S. Genealogy & History Network)

"The Old Stone Rubbing Kit: Preserving Epitaphs and Artwork from Historical Gravestones & Monuments" is available from

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Collaboration Opens Many Doors

For the Archived Document Contest in January, Marian Halverson entered a newspaper article titled “Washington Man Finds His Family Roots in Cottonwood Area” that was printed in the Tri-County News (Cottonwood, Minnesota) on 4 June 2003. This may not seem like a deeply historical article to most of us, but it contained a marvelous success story of how collaboration can work in genealogy. Marion didn’t download this article. It was a prized family possession as the article was about her husband’s, Richard Halverson’s, personal search for his paternal side genealogy.

On 19 February 2002 Richard Halverson wrote a letter to a local historical society asking general questions about some surnames he was researching. The letter was given to a historian who was not familiar with those particular surnames but was curious enough to ask other local citizens a lot of questions. One lead led to another. Enough information was soon gathered that Richard Halverson decided a road trip was in order only 2 months and 18 days after he penned the original letter.

Richard was invited to stay with the historian. Richard brought additional historical documents with him, and it was soon revealed that the historian and Richard actually shared the same great-great grandparents. Not only was it a startling discovery but the discovery stirred a family reunion to be held immediately that brought together 17 family members.

There are more surprises in the article that Marian shared. You will enjoy reading it yourself. You will also be amazed at the discoveries that were shared without the Internet. Some of these discoveries were family photos and naturalization papers. In the meantime Marian will enjoy her prize for winning the January contest of the yearlong Archived Document Contest. Marian wins a $100 Red Lobster gift certificate from Technical Training Mall LLC. Technical Training Mall LLC wants to remind all genealogists to take periodic breaks. They also want to remind you to back up your files and protect your prized paper documents.

The February contest for the Archived Document Contest is underway. The winner of the February contest will win a one year pdf subscription to History Magazine. History Magazine is a consumer magazine covering social history, in particular the day to day life of ordinary people. It provides interesting and thought provoking accounts of key events in global history. This should be an enjoyable prize, so enter your submission on the TriCity Genealogical Society Facebook page today.

Monday, February 1, 2016

New Member's Orientation on January 27th

There was New Member’s Orientation for TriCity Genealogical Society members on January 27th. It was well attended and a lot of fun. Pamela Keller is not only a new member but also the TCGS Historian. We are thrilled to share Pamela’s comments in her first blog contribution below.
"Being a new or prospective member of any organization can be a bit intimidating – meetings to attend, new faces and names, more time out of an already full schedule. Or, so I thought … until I had the pleasure of attending the TriCity Genealogical Society’s New Member’s Orientation on 27 January at the Richland Family History Libraries. Attendees were provided a packet prepared by the chapter leadership with an outline of the many resources available to us as members of TCGS.  There is a chapter website, bulletin, Facebook page and Blog. We also have access to the Richland Family History library, where the society’s 3000+ library books, CDs, Microfiche and microfilm are housed. Volunteer librarians are always welcoming and helpful.
There are many reasons why each of us made the decision to join TCGS.  For me, I want to ensure I am honoring my ancestors by collecting accurate information, researching, organizing and protecting the collection as best as I am able for our descendants.  I am inspired and encouraged by the members I’ve met in our local chapter, and appreciate their willingness to enthusiastically share their knowledge of genealogy.
Thank you to the TCGS Board members for offering a New Member’s Orientation, with a special thank you to President - Walt Wood, Publicity Committee Chairperson -  Susan Faulkner, Education Committee Chairperson - Margie Belden and Library Committee Chairperson - Sandra Floberg."

Monday, January 18, 2016

But what about Hollywood?

Mike Inman not only entertained but educated those who attended the January regular meeting. We got to hear stories and statistics not often shared when discussing the Civil War.

In a bloodied apron standing in front of a table loaded with medical instruments, Mike Inman shared stories about battles and personalities that brought the Civil War to a much more personal place than we had ever adventured. We heard about women carrying letters from President Lincoln that provided these ladies great power and the lack of formal education required of doctors. We learned that disease and dysentery were the most successful enemies of the war, and that the war still needed to go on even if a drought caused a complete lack of water.

Linda Stephens has done a wonderful job of capturing many of the details of this presentation. It has been emailed to all of the TCGS members. Take the time to read it and be reintroduced to interesting facts that Hollywood and textbooks have ignored or completely overlooked.

Linda wraps up her write-up by giving the following description of what tools were displayed during
the presentation. “Mike Inman explained about the pieces in his collection of surgical instruments. In addition to scalpels, knives and other sharp devices, he had an hour-glass-shaped metal tool, open on both ends, that was used to listen for heartbeats. Since it was only effective if all was silent in the surrounding area, the surgeon probably just put his ear to the chest to listen or his finger to feel a pulse in an artery. Mike also has a trepanning tool that was used to drill a hole in the skull to relieve pressure. There was a tooth extractor that was used after the surgeon sliced a cut inside the cheek next to the gum, anchored the extractor and popped off the tooth. Unfortunately, when the tooth shattered, forceps had to be used to dig out the rest. He also brought a Civil War crutch that was made without nails. When massive numbers of soldiers were wounded, the surgeons would rely on local butcher shops to provide additional sharp saws. Mike concluded by showing several very heavy Civil War weapons including: .69 caliber musket, .58 caliber rifle, Henry 16-shooter, which was a precursor to the Winchester; 1866 Winchester called the ‘yellow boy’ (1866 was the first year it was produced); 1860 Colt .44 caliber revolver; a small Derringer like the one that was used to kill President Lincoln; and a .42 caliber LaMat 10-shot revolver with a 20-gauge shotgun—that’s a large handgun!”

Over 80 people attended this fascinating presentation. It was our first meeting at Charbonneau and it was a full house yet there were seats brought in for everyone. Art Kelly is the new TCGS Program Chairperson and he has done a great job with this opening act. Watch for emails and Facebook posts on more fascinating presentation coming to TCGS this year.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Be Curious. Be Very Very Curious.

To "Be Curious" could be the motto and seems to be the theme of December’s Archived Document Contest. Curiosity leads us to look closer and ask questions instead of merely being satisfied with simple facts. We can build a pedigree chart with simple facts but fulfilling family history research comes from wanting and obtaining much more information. This information provides color and interest to the stories we accumulate about our family history.

In December Ray Baalman encouraged us to pay attention when we see narrative in any list of events that occurred in our ancestor’s town or neighborhood. We should be curious and ask ourself how this event could have impacted their daily life.

Art Kelly encouraged us to use our curiosity to ask questions. He provided his testimony of how he hit what he called the “jack-pot” of ancestral artifacts including letters, pictures, and certificates. By communicating with a cousin he showed that he was worthy of being handed this treasure trove because he was curious and wanted more information about his family’s history.

Lawrence Clay
The winner of December’s contest was Lawrence Clay. Obtaining death certificates of his grandparents made him curious. Both of their death certificates provided a birth location that he didn’t expect. By asking questions a beautiful story was discovered that helped him understand his great-grandparents motives and life in more detail. Lawrence wins a subscription to "Your Genealogy Today" magazine for his entry to the contest.

Clay's grandparents Death Certificates

Be curious. Don’t be merely satisfied. Ask questions and watch the color of your family stories become vivid recollections.

January’s Archived Document Contest is in process. To enter the contest simply submit a digital image of an archived document that you obtained in any method other than downloading from the Internet. Provide how you obtained the document and how it pertains to your family history research. You can either post the image and narrative on the TriCity Genealogical Society Facebook page at or email them to Susan Davis Faulkner at denmother4 at January’s contest is sponsored by Technical Training Mall LLC and the winner will receive a $100 gift certificate to Red Lobster.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

TCGS Finally Has a Human Side

As genealogists we study people history. Our passion is finding and placing together one tidbit of information after another in an attempt to get to know our ancestors in a clearer light. The biggest thrill in our family history research are the personal interest stories that give us colorful glimpses of our ancestors’ lives. We often dig deep for the uncommon and are ecstatic with such discoveries.  

People history is our passion but sadly it has not been a focus regarding the history of our society. We, the members of the TriCity Genealogical Society, create important personal interest stories daily and now we have a member who has taken on the task of collecting this information. Pamela Mackey Keller is the new Historian for the TriCity Genealogical Society and we are thrilled to have her fill this much needed position.

Pamela is a third-generation Montanan who is very proud of her pioneering ancestors. She is the eldest child, grandchild and great-grandchild in her family and takes her responsibility as this generation’s genealogist very seriously. Her paternal line surnames include Mackey, Rollyson, Watt and Leonard and her maternal line surnames include Kerr, Perry, Hemmer and Phillips.

Pamela shares the following personal interest stories about herself and her passion for genealogy.
Pamela Mackey Keller - TCGS Historian
“My maternal grandfather, Laurence Perry Kerr, was a major influence during my childhood and I’ve been fortunate to locate and preserve a great deal of information on my family’s history in Ravalli County, Montana. As a family tradition, every year on Memorial Day we’d drive 36 miles south of my hometown of Missoula to the Pioneer Cemetery in Victor, Montana.  We’d decorate the graves of our many family members with arrangements of white, deep purple and lavender colored lilacs and retell stories of our family history.

Probably the greatest influence on my interest in genealogy was my 2nd Great Uncle, Robert Delanson Watt, born 1899 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  Uncle Bob was an educator and member of the Montana State Legislature from Missoula, Montana, serving six terms in the House of Representatives and three terms in the Senate. In about 1981 he self-published “The Life and Times of Charles Columbus Watt and Minne Ellen Royster Watt, their descendants ancestors & collateral relatives”. In about 1991, at 92 years of age and nearly blind, Uncle Bob arranged for a caretaker to travel with him from Missoula, Montana to Spokane, Washington to personally (and proudly) deliver my copy of his book.”

Pamela’s personal goal is to someday provide a new edition of her family history with hopes that the torch will be passed on to a new generation.

Please help us welcome Pamela as we look forward to the ability to look back on the human side of the TriCity Genealogical Society.