Old negatives


Remember your first camera? I was overcome with nostalgia seeing this ad — and recalling coaxing my younger brothers and sisters to pose for snapshots. It took a week for the drug store to process the film. Later, in the 1970’s the budget camera of choice was an Instamatic — with those funky little blue flash bulbs.  Many of the photos were lost, damaged or given away over the years. I recently came across a large box of negatives and had no idea what was on most of them. To preserve them one possibility was to use a scanner with a special attachment. It would have taken months to complete the job so I contacted Larsen Digital, a company whose booth I visited at RootsTech 2015.  They converted the negatives to digital prints and emailed them back.  Now they reside on my computer along with the photos taken with an iPhone. They can be emailed to those same brothers and sisters who seem to appreciate them more now.

WWII Memories


This project started as a simple PDF document submitted to DAR. They were compiling a book of Washington State WWII Vets’ memories. Mostly it involved interviewing Dad and his brother Melvin a couple of times and adding a few photos. Later I decided to expand the story, starting the Sunday afternoon they heard that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor, through the remaining months of high school to enlistment, service in the South Pacific, returning home, marrying Mom and starting a business. The book (front and back covers shown) is about 25-pages and 65-illustrations — it includes family photos, newspaper clippings, maps, copies of a V-Mail Valentine to Mom and even a photos of Dad’s high school athletic and music letters.

Dad and Melvin, who recently turned 90-years-old, were thrilled to be honored in print for their service to the country. The book was also a great gift for my siblings, nieces and nephews. I hope they will ultimately pass it on to their children.

We are cousins?


Marlene and I met at Palouse (WA) High School about 50-years ago. We have kept in touch ‘irregularly’ over the years.  Recently we were working on her son’s family tree one night after dinner. Suddenly it hit me that we are related.

Mom’s first cousin, Claudelle, married Marlene’s Dad’s first cousin, Harry. Even though the marriage ended in divorce, technically we are first cousins, once removed, by marriage.

What a hoot to be able to call your great friend ‘cousin’! Who knows, we may plan a special adventure to celebrate National Cousins Day, next July 24.

DNA ethnicity estimate


This is a recent ethnicity estimate from FTDNA (Family Tree DNA) — of course the Central Asian connection is the most intriguing!  Three companies: 23andMe, FTDNA and Ancestry do the majority of genetic genealogy DNA testing. All use either a simple saliva or a cheek swab collection kit. Each organization differs in their primary focus, reference populations, website tools and the tests they offer – making it a good idea to think through which best suits your goals before investing in the kit.

Experts tell us that our history is in our cells. DNA testing can help push your story back beyond where the paper trail ends. Excellent resources for learning more about the subject are available on-line, for example – For those who lack time or interest in the science, experts are available to assist you in understanding and applying your test results.

Later: What I have learned from DNA tests results for Dad, Mom, brother Chuck and a few cousins

Oregon Trail

Years ago when I first started researching Mom’s family, the Kerbys,  it was disappointing to find no mention of them in Oregon Trail books and data bases. We always assumed that was how they came west.

Oregon Trail Certificate

Apparently only a small number of families who were part of that great migration have been documented. Oregon, Idaho and Washington state genealogy societies encourage descendants of western pioneers  to submit their family’s information for the records. Census information can be used to give proof of the journey.  In this case, the 1860 Federal Census for Missouri and the 1870 Federal Census for Oregon were used.  Birth and death certificates or obituaries  are good sources for documenting direct descent from your ancestor.

Wouldn’t a personalized Oregon Trail Certificate make a perfect gift for a child or grandchild studying Pacific Northwest history?


The Stories That Bind Us

The Stories That Bind Us

Preserving Veteran’s Memories

Preserving Veteran’s Memories

The Importance of Cultural Heritage

The Importance of Cultural Heritage