Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Family History Discovery Day at the Richland LDS Church

by Connie Estep

This four hour event on March 24th was packed with all kinds of activities. They had a large exhibit area with a wide
variety of displays. TCGS member, Janet McKinnon, displayed family history games she made for her family. She had a set of blocks that could be rearranged to show 6 different photos, one at a time. She made them by cutting each photo into squares and gluing the photo squares to the block sides with just one square per photo to each block. They were all black and white photos with people and cars. The blocks fit on a small tray that showed the 6 pictures as a guide. Another was a set of homemade cards based on the game "Authors"; each card featured a picture of an ancestor with a list of facts about them. 

TCGS was represented at this event with a great display put up by Art Kelly. He included samples of various records spanning birth, military service, marriage, fraternal organizations and death. My favorite was the 1868 marriage certificate for his great-grandfather George William Kelly.

There was also a display of free genealogy handouts with info I found quite useful. One is titled “An Attempt to Answer Some Never-Ending Questions”; it includes help in sorting cousins. The “removed” cousins always puzzled me. No, they don’t divorce their families! It means two related people are in different generations. This includes a chart to make it easy to figure it out.

There was also a variety of classes. Although I helped Art at the TCGS display, I attended the story writing session where I definitely found new ideas!

The exciting part of the event for me was the “Coaches Corner”. I needed help finding information on my maternal grandfather and brought the little info I had to help. These grandparents were probably divorced at least by the time my mother was 6. She had given us a few details of her father (height 6’6”, shoe size 17). I had two records showing him: my mother’s birth certificate with his age and birth state and a Yakima City Directory entry giving a middle initial. Brian and David McShane were my coaches and great at negotiating on-line searches. They were able to locate a death record for him (we had never known his birth and death info before), a census record when he was 16, a WWI draft registration record giving his middle name (very helpful with a name like Robert Carson!), plus two employment records. This was a wealth of information compared to what I had before!

I am hoping with these clues to locate marriage and divorce records for this grandmother who was
incredibly unlucky in love! She moved with her family from West Virginia to Washington before she was four where the 1900 census found her. Married five times, her first marriage ended in 1916 when he died in a Montana coal mining accident. In 1918 she was in the Yakima City Directory living with husband #2 who she nursed until he died of tuberculosis. Her third marriage was the only marriage record I had found for her. It was in Los Angeles (Jan 1920) to an AWOL sailor who was already married. She found this out when the MP’s took him away soon after the wedding. Marriage #4 was to my grandfather; they were living in Sacramento in 1923 when my mother was born. This was her only divorce. The McShanes located the record for her final marriage: 1928 in Yakima, WA. She had contracted TB from husband #2 and was in and out of TB sanitariums during my mother’s childhood. She died when my mother was 10. She lived mostly in Yakima, WA after my mother was born, where her father and uncles lived. My mother gave me many of these details when I did an oral history with her.

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