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."