What’s New in the ‘Hood: Historic Seattle

2014 0913 KCA Luci 2At the start of the tour of the King County Archives this past week, Luci Baker Johnson, program staff person for Historic Seattle, made  announcements about up-coming programs.

The repository tour “Digging Deeper” is such a success that Historic Seattle is going to tour even more archives/repositories next year!  “Digging Even Deeper” will start in January. Commitments have already been received from archives at Seattle Public Schools, Tacoma Public Library (Northwest Room), Washington State Historical Society and East Side Heritage Center.  Luci is waiting to hear from other groups including Fiske, a local repository of four separate archives in Madison Park area of Seattle.

Tradition and Change on Seattle’s First Hill: Propriety, Profanity, Pills and Preservation, a history of the First Hill neighborhood, will have its book debut on 4 December.  The First Hill Walking Tour on the 17th of this month is sold out but they will anticipate others in the future.

On November 19, Susan Montgomery, a noted expert on tile will give a lecture at Frye Art Museum.  I have found these materials lectures extremely interesting.  One of the first I attended was on Sttckley furniture which focused on stains and the wood used by Gustav Stickley, an well-known early 1900’s furniture designer/manufacturer.

On December 29, Jeff Ochsner will debut his next book, a follow-up to his very successful Shaping Seattle Architecture: the Historical Guide to its Architects.

Finally, Historic Seattle will launch a new website in the next couple of weeks.  Stay tuned for improved navigation and access to content.

These and other great programs can be accessed at the Historic Seattle website.

Congratulations to Historic Seattle for continued great programming which reaches all who have an interest in history and our built environment.

Happy Hunting!


What I have done since the last posting:  worked on syllabi for the presentation I have coming up for SGS “I Found my Family on the Internet! Now, What Do I Do;” I am also working on two other presentations, “Using the Non-Population Schedules.for Context & Evidence” and Ostfriesen Culture & Society: an Overview”


What’s New in the ‘Hood: King County Archives

2014 0913 KCA LuciOn Saturday, 13 September, Historic Seattle hosted another of their “Digging Deeper” series of tours of archives/repositories in the Seattle area.  The King County Archives staff opened up the archives off-hours to a group of 15 of us for the last tour of the series and a spectacular one it was.  This was a stellar presentation, tour and handouts!  We even had cookies!

Luci Baker Johnson of the program staff of Historic Seattle introduced us to the archives staff—see photo at left (Luci, Kelley Gradey and Carol Shenk, Director of the Archives) . Carol gave an overview of the holdings of this archive and how to access the documents.  I was one of three attendees who had used this repository prior to the tour (when I was pulling the documents for the house history of my home.)  I had no idea the extent of the other documents that can add even more depth to place-based research.

Seattle does not make this easy! The title company does not hand you a nice packet of all of the deeds etc. of a property when you purchase it as we received when we purchased our home in Oklahoma.  Instead, you have to research in at least three different archives and online to gather the requisite documents to get to the equivalent.  It consumes a lot of time for just the document pulling.  And this does not include the architectural assessment of the house, its construction and the neighborhood which is a critical element of a house history.

2014 0913 KCA GregAfter Carol completed her overview, Greg Lange, also on staff and formerly of the Puget Sound Regional Archives,(see photo no.2) used a house in West Seattle as a case study to illustrate the extent of the holdings.

Greg “walked us through” the variety of documents which are available at the Archives and of help to the house historian in King County. The following were included in our packet:

  1. Cadastral Survey Map (1862)
  2. Deed granter/grantor index showing a sale (1922)
  3. a Deed (1871)
  4. map of incorporations (the property my house sits on was incorporated in 1891)
  5. Plat maps (2, one of which was a revision to accommodate the topography) (1909)
  6. Statutory Warranty Deed (you can count the tax stamps and if you know the tax rate and the conversion rate you can calculate the appraised value of the improvements)  (1962)
  7. Real estate Tax Receipt (1962)
  8. List of building permits (latest entry 1919)
  9. Building Permit Street Ledger (1910)
  10. Map by Baist’s Real Estate Atlas of Surveys (1912).  Comparable to Sanborn Insurance Maps but compiled for the real estate industry
  11. Property cards (OK, everyone in the country can now be envious–each card has a photo of the improvement on the property taken in 1936 conducted by  the WPA.)
  12. Marriage certificate (1913) (see photo no. 3: the first recorded marriage of early settlers in Seattle, David Denney and Louisa Boren in 1853)
  13. Death certificate (1924)
  14. Bill of Sale (1915)
  15. Honorable Military Discharge (1919)

2014 0913 KCA 1st marriageAll these documents reside at the King County Archives! These were just the documents they showed us.  They gave us numerous finding aids and how to guides to make research at the King County Archives easier.

Happy Hunting!


What I have done since the last posting: made some progress on my BCG Case Study; committed to attending SLIG 2015 (Advanced Practicum) and Professional Management Conference (PMC) sponsored by Association of Professional Genealogists (APG); decided to submit a poster session proposal “Gender Balance in Authorship in Genealogical Publications,” finalized arrangements with Jefferson County Genealogical Society for an all-day presentation in March; finalized arrangements with Whatcom County GS for an all day presentation in early October.  Was accepted to make 3 presentations at the local LDS Family History Expo 2014 and received my rejection on my presentation proposals from Ohio GS.  Busy time ahead.

Blog Assessment: How am I doing?

computer clipGenealogy in Time (GIT) recently listed “Twenty Tips on What Makes a Good Blog.”  In review of the list I see some things I could do better and some questions I wish ask you, the reader.  Of course, it is not my desire to be a good blogger; I want to be a great blogger!

Here are my responses to the GIT list.  Your perception may differ and I would appreciate those comments.

  1. I use original content. I cannot say I never will use content by others, but so far, all is original research, opinion, commentary, etc. (We are not talking about quoting here.)
  2. I do not try to emulate anyone and their writing style (distinctive voice).  I have a hard enough time writing as it is, much less to analyze someone else’s and copy!
  3. I started this blog because no one else was filling the need for a blog about the process of educating oneself in preparation for certification. I do believe that individuals who are “on the clock” should share more, but it appears to me we are all uncertain of the boundaries.  I figure as long as I talk about the certification process and not the product, I should be in good shape.   When I took the architect’s exam, the boundaries were the same.
  4. By writing this blog, I have learned to write better and have gained appreciation about how hard it is to do it well.  Whether that has made me a better quality writer I cannot say; I hope so.
  5. Who knew that writing a headline would be so hard?  I often will rewrite the headline two-three times while I am composing. And making the headline reflect the article seems obvious, but may be not. (This headline was rewritten 3 times.)
  6. I try to blog once a week.  At times I don’t achieve that goal.   I will sometimes write 2 or 3 in a single day (like today) but I schedule their publication so I do not swamp your mailbox.
  7. I use no filler…some may say my writing is filler but I ignore them! :-)
  8. I strive for quality and originality.  I try really hard to not be boring!  That’s the worst.
  9. I find I am writing three blogs right now and compressing then into one…certification topics, house histories and Jens Dahle. GIT urges you to stay on topic.  Do you, the reader, see the multiple topics as an irritation or a relief?  Should I be writing two blogs?  Certification and everything else? Or, is it OK?
  10. My pace is not consistent.
  11. I haven’t used multimedia–but I now insert a picture in every posting.  I think it adds interest.  I am thinking about doing a YouTube video on some of my lectures.  What do you think?
  12. This blog began because I had a vision of a simple journal of my journey.  It evolved, as I did, to reflect my personal education.  I hope along the way there have been things that have made a difference for you.
  13. I rarely am critical–in fact, genealogists can be irritatingly non-critical. but there also is constructive criticism and I hope my approach falls into that category.
  14. I do not copy material of others.
  15. I provide attribution where appropriate.
  16. I recognize that attribution is not approval to use.  I find myself reading more of the Terms of Service than I used to. For example, for this posting I read the Terms of Service for GIT to know what I could do to compose a blog based on their “Twenty Tips on What Makes a Good Blog.”
  17. I have no sponsorships that give me a percentage of the click through’s that originate on a website.  I cannot imagine there is a product out there that I would ever find so wonderful that I would risk losing readers if posted.  I also don’t like graphic clutter.
  18. I cite my sources; they are relevant to the topic.  Sometimes, there is a better quality  source out there, but this is a blog, for heaven’s sake.
  19. I believe that by sharing the “wandering in the woods” that I do/am doing to get certified, I can offer hope to those who are going through the same conundrum.  We are all in this together.
  20. I hope that some small part of what I write inspires you, the reader.  That inspiration might be to go get a beer out of the fridge–but something is better than nothing!

Happy Hunting!


What I have done since the last posting:  Worked on a client report and worked on my Ostfriesen Overview presentation. Did you know that Ostfriesland was about 30 miles wide by 35 miles long?  That’s not very big. I signed up for the Illinois State Genealogical Society webinar on how to use IRAD (This is the archive that has Dirk’s records!) Check out Geneawebinar.com. I confess to being a webinar junkie.



Questions for NGSQ Study Group: Linkenheim

to educate clipI volunteered to facilitate the NGSQ Study Group for September.  For these online events, an article is selected from the National Genealogical Society Quarterly (NGSQ), one per month.  The group then meets online on the third Tuesday of  every month to discuss about the article.  The facilitator ‘s responsibility is to questions and lead the discussion.  The goal is to educate ourselves about writing successful proof arguments by reading and analyzing articles selected from the magazine.  About 8-10 participate in each chat.

After reading a few of the “Q” articles, as they are often called, you realize that these are not about whether you have a family member mentioned in the article the discovery of the methodology the author used to uncover the answer to the research question.  Each article is a case study of a proof argument.

I thought I would blog about the study group and the questions I will pose to the group on 16 September.  Sometime after the 16th, I will post a summary of the answers to the questions.

The article:  Lynn Fisher, “Uncovering the Linkenheim, Baden, Origin of Ludwig Fischer of Cook County, Illinois,” National Genealogical Society Quarterly, 99 (September 2011) 199-212.

The questions:

  1. What is the research question?
  2. Based on Tom Jones’s book, Mastering Genealogical Proof, there are three methodologies for the organization of a proof argument: single hypothesis, multiple hypotheses or building blocks. (MGP p. 89) What type of proof argument do you think this article represents and why?
  3. The author says this was solved using “standard genealogical methods.” Do you agree? (NGSQ p. 208)  What are your standard genealogical methods?
  4. Which of the tables helped your understanding of the argument?  Did any tables seem superfluous or even  hinder your understanding of the argument?
  5. Did the author convince you of her conclusion?
  6. There are different approaches the author could have taken in writing her conclusion.  Discuss some alternatives for this article.
  7. This article had a Genealogical Summary.  Have you every written one?  If so, tell us about your experience.  What style did you use — Register or NGSQ?
  8. What did you learn from this article that you can apply to your own writing or research?

Thanks to Patty McIntyre for organizing us and being a great cheerleader for the group. If you would like to join contact Patty at linked2ancestors@gmail.com.

Happy Hunting!


What I have done since I last posted: Went to yoga!  restrategized my submission to BCG for certification.  I am transcribing a different document.  got pretty far with it.  woohoo!  filled out an evaluation about the Washington State Genealogical Conference; got to final draft on the client report and worked on a couple of my new presentations.

Some Comments about ProGen.

ProGenCyndi Ingles (of Cyndi’s List) and Mary Kathryn Kozy recently asked (via Facebook) Miriam Robbins and me to comment on whether they should take the ProGen Study Group classes.  Regular blog readers know that I enjoyed the experience and many of the class assignments precipitated blog postings. I decided to quote myself, with some minor editing for flow, what I posted on Cyndi’s page.

I highly recommend the program.

Why you should think twice about participating in ProGen:
1. Life gets in the way. You do need to prioritize getting the assignments done, on time. There will be times when you won’t (or don’ want to) but then you still have to do them.
2. If you are not committed to doing the program, don’t sign up. Sounds simple but you are cheating the cohort if you drop out.
3. If you are not planning on starting (or having a business) many of the assignments seem less interesting. A friend of mine who has no intention of starting her own business did not put much effort in those related to business inception.
4. The Coordinator can help or hinder the building of the community of the cohort. The Coordinator needs to have a “presence” and sheperd the class by checking in, following up and making sure folks are doing their assignments. (We had a great Coordinator—Teresa Scott)
5. Contrary to popular belief, the Mentor is not responsible to read your assignments and comment, only to attend and participate in the chats. (We had a terrific Mentor—Craig Scott.)

Why you should do it….
1. Gives you a discipline about what you know you should do anyway.
2. Builds/Adds to your genealogy community (individuals within our group are still asking for comments, and supporting each other in many ways.)
3. You will get out of it what you put into it. I always strove for a very good product to turn in. Sometimes, I accomplished my goal and sometimes I did not. But, there was nothing to gain by letting the assignment go until the last minute. I got a lot out of the program because I felt I put a lot into it.
4. You need to be open to the criticism of the group. While you may disagree with some of the comments, others will make a significant difference in how you see your work.
5. I enjoyed (most) the assignments.
6. The class definitely elevated the level of my genealogy work—perhaps substantially.
7. I feel much more confident in applying for certification.
8. The class and cohort members provided access to materials which support the certification process. (templates by example)
9. You will see different ways of accomplishing the same task. Then you can pick the one that you liked the best.

I am a “professional student.” I love the act of education. I think you both would be extremely successful in the class and bring the same kind of life to the group that we had in ours.

Happy Hunting!


What I have done since my last posting: my lecturing is certainly ramping up this fall.  I got my first two all-day sessions (3 presentations each).  Some of the new speaking engagements are due to my friend Eric recommending me where he had other commitments.  Thanks, Eric, for the recommendation–big shoes to fill!  You can see my schedule on Genealogical Speakers Guild. I will have to pace myself in November! I am therefore building my resume of lecture topics.  Right now I am working on internet evaluation for quality of evidence, an overview of Ostfriesen  culture and society, unraveling family traditions, and the non-population censuses.  I am also reading a lot about Swedish agrarian reform in the late 1700s and into mid-1800s.  I am in the process of requesting the mental health records in Illinois on Dirk Bode.  That will be another blog posting.  I also have worked on my transcription (changed the document) and the KDP for certification.

What are the “Lessons Learned” after lecturing at the WSGC 2014?

WSGC 2014I was honored to be selected to present at the Washington State Genealogical Conference 2014 in Arlington, Washington this month.  Of the five ideas for presentations that I submitted, the conference planning committee selected “Just Do It! Writing Your Memoirs & Self-Publishing.”  The venue was terrific and was attended by 300 + attendees.  Josh Taylor of Our Family Heritage was the keynote speaker on Saturday. Eric and Karen Stroshien did a great job in planning it.

I had an audience of about 40 who were totally engaged and a delight.  They asked terrific questions of which I could even answer!  I was so energized by the audience, I felt good all day.

My good friend Steve Morrison attended the session and like all good friends he gave me a great critique.  He thought I truly engaged the audience at the beginning but lost them at the end.  (I tried to do an actual publication but due to a mix up in the timing, I did not quite complete.  This is a big no-no!).  I should focus more directly on the topic–probably shouldn’t have taken questions during the presentation as they consumed too much time and he thought it siderailed the presentation.  He noted that some of my slides had a point size of font that was too small.   (The experts say 32 point.  I increased mine to 24.).  It is better to stop early than to run out of time.  He also thought my handout could be much improved.

I agree with all his suggestions and when I gave it again that next weekend to SGS I incorporated much of what he said.  (I actually had a person who attended both.  She was disappointed at first because she thought it would be repetitive.  It was; but with a much smaller audience, we could get more personal.  She confessed that liked hearing the presentation again and thought it was good to have heard it twice!)

So, I am also excited that I will be presenting three presentations to the Jefferson County Genealogical Society in March 2015.  This will be an all day event.  While we have agreed on terms, they have not decided which of my presentations they wish to hear.  I will find out that information in September.

I asked the Association of Professional Genealogists listserve for comments specifically geared to day-long presentations. Here are their recommendations:

  1. Know your topic inside and out
  2. Start early to deal with contractual issues
  3. Start early with presentation preparation
  4. Practice, practice, practice.
  5. Take questions at the end of each segment or you cannot get through the prepared presentation
  6. The time in-between sessions must be managed to allow yourself time to “reset” (physically and mentally) for the next presentation.
  7. Have a table to place your brochure, business cards, publications etc. (Bring a nice tablecloth and other items to “dress” the table.)
  8. If you have a product to sell, include in the contract the rights to sell at the event.

i don’t have anything to sell but I do have a little “give-away”.

I have applied to two other conferences to speak and am waiting to hear from them. I have already heard that I was not accepted to present at FGS in February. I plan on submitting to at least two others soon. This is fun!

In addition to my 3-day gig, I will be speaking at four SGS events in the coming months.  Drop by and learn something new.  These sessions will be:

  • 28 September: “I Found my Family on the Internet! Now What Do I Do?” Evaluating genealogy, specifically those with family information, websites
  • 12 October: “Soldiers, Spies & Farm Wives: the Changing Roles for Women during the Civil War” A look at how Rosie the Riveter was not an anomaly.
  • 9 November: “Using the Non-Population Schedules” For context and even restricted records, nothing is better than the non-population schedules–short of paying the lawyer!
  • 7 December: “Family Myths: Using Analysis & Correlation to Resolve” Do you have an Indian Princess in your family?  Well, somebody has to!  We will explore how to resolve this often puzzling family stories–and sometimes they are true!

Happy Hunting!


What I have done since the last posting:  Well, not exactly, but I really worked on the presentation for the 28th of September.  It was lacking a construct which popped into place this weekend.  I really feel like it is in a good place now.  I need to revisit the content of my lecture proposals; I do not believe I have done a very good job of pointing out the uniqueness of the different proposals.  I am getting very comfortable with my hardware.  That’s good.  The new laptop is doing great.  I worked up a lecturing contract for Jefferson County and worked on a client report which is very interesting–Scotland!



A Year in the Life of Jens Dahle: ~ 30 August 1864

Belle IslandOn or about this date, the Confederates moved Jens Dahle, and James Everhart, the diarist, from Libby Prison, crossed the James River to Belle Isle.  This prison was located an island overlooking Richmond, Virginia.  Jens and James stayed at Belle Isle until October of 1864. [1]

Belle Isle was a “tent” type prison in that there was no permanent structure to house the prisoners who were housed in tents. The James River served as  a deterrent to escapes. [2] This view  in the photo is taken looking at Richmond. [3]

Early in the war, prisoners would be exchanged between the two armies.  In April of 1864, General Ulysses S. Grant recognized that this exchange program was advantageous to the Confederates as the Confederate exchanged soldiers went back into the Confederate Army contrary to their oath upon release, whereas the Union soldiers went home.  Grant cancelled all further exchanges.  Prisons like Belle Isle, sized for 1000 prisoners, swelled almost overnight to many times that number. [4] This was true for prisons in the north and the south.  As a consequence, housing became crude, food shortages were chronic and deaths mounted as sanitary conditions became rudimentary and pathogens infiltrated what water supplies were available.  Death became common place. [5]

Next posting: 8 October 1864. Jens is transferred to Salisbury Prison.


[1] CMSR, Jens Dahle.
[2] “Civil War Prisons,” Civil War Home (http://www.civilwarhome.com/prisons.htm : accessed 24 August 2014)
[3] “Belle Isle, 1863,” NARA.
[4] “Exchange of Prisoners in the Clvii War,” Civil War Home, online (http://www.civilwarhome.com : accessed 18 January 2012)[4] McLaughlin, 245.
[5] “Civil War Prison,” Civil War Home.