Saturday, May 31, 2014

Another Ancestor Found!

This bit is from Bev Turner, a member of EWGS and the Region 7 rep for WSGS. She writes:

"I began doing genealogy while living in Zillah about 16 years ago, but I didn’t discover that I had a great aunt buried in the neighboring town of Yakima until a few weeks ago.  That gave me a couple of weeks to discover exactly where she was buried. On the way to the WSGS retreat in May, I left Spokane early enough to go to the Terrace Heights cemetery and was able to find her grave.  Between streams of water from their sprinkler I was able to take this picture.  Another ancestor found!"

Don't we all love genealogy success stories!


Friday, May 30, 2014

WSGS Recommends Another "Must Read" Blog

This is a link to James Tanner's Genealogy Star blog............. this is exactly the sort of timely and most important news and ideas that our WSGS wants to provide to all the genealogists of the area.

This is also the sort of information that our WSGS Region Reps might/should/could share with the contact person in each genealogy society in our region to re-send out to their members.

Mind you, I do not endorse copying/pasting other's work. My only intent for posting the complete link to that Genealogy Star blog post is to give you all the complete picture of what Tanner offers.

To thank you for checking out this link, here are some Calorie-Less Chocolate Chip Cookies for you!

(Image from Wikipedia)

Washington's 125th Anniversary Celebration....... Kids Invited

Our (terrific) WSGS secretary, Roger Newman, shared this bit..... did you know that the State is looking for 10-year-old children to be the capsule keepers for this year's 125th anniversary? Click to this link below for more information. How very cool is this!

Smile Thought:  The Ponderosa Pine has been designated the official Spokane tree by our mayor, David Condon.

Posted by Donna

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Dedication of Monument for Marine George Murphy of the Civil War

Today was the dedication of the monument for Marine George Murphy of the Civil War. If you look close you will see a small square above the eagle, if your smart phone can read this it gives the website for the biography of George Murphy.

This all started about 20 years ago, John Witte did a book on the Civil War Veterans buried in Spokane County, and he tried to find information on all the veterans, but many he did not find. Fast forward to today and the internet provides much more information than was available when John did his book. EWGS wanted to put a list of Civil War veterans online and asked John for permission to use his book. 
Using the internet EWGS member Barbara Brazington found information on Marine George Murphy. John had only found one Marine buried in Spokane and the Marine Corps League had put a monument on the first Marine's grave. The government only authorized 4000 Marines in the Civil War and they had to enlist for 4 years, so it took till 1864 to get the whole 4000.
The ceremony started out with the Marine Color Guard, the National Anthum and the Marine Hymn.

T.J.Morgan of the Marine League was the master of ceremony.

T.J. Morgan introduced Barbara Brazington and she told of the life of George Murphy. George was born in Limerick, Ireland about 1842, came to New York about 1858. He enlisted in the Marine Corps 6 February 1862 and did his basic training in Brooklyn, New York. He was then assigned to the USS Fort Henry a steam driven sidewheeled, ferryboat from New York that had been converted to a gunboat, and was ordered to the west coast of Florida as part of the blockade of the Confederate states.

Here is Barbara Brazington telling the story of her George Murphy.
After the war George moved to California and obtained his citizenship. George opened a stationery store in the Dalles, Oregon and returned to California to marry Isabelle Burns. They then moved to Sprague, Washington where George and his brother-in-law J.J. Burns opened a stationery and sundries store. Unfortunately that store was destroyed in the 1895 fire at Sprague, so George and Isabelle moved to Spokane, Washington. George worked as a clerk for the IXL Clothing Store, became a jailer at the county courthouse, and finally as a constable in  Judge Stocker's court. George collapsed while on the job and was sent to the veterans home at Retsil, Washington where he died about a year later. His body was sent back to Spokane and he is buried in Fairmount Cemetery.  His wife Isabelle (1853-1934) is buried next to him. Those records from Retsil are online today at the Washington State Digital Archives. Barbara wanted to get George a military stone, but the red tape made that impossible so she contacted T.J. Morgan of the Melvin M. Smith Detachment #586 of the Marine Corps League to see if he could get a military stone.
T.J. contacted several monument companies in Spokane and Ron Bohman of Genesis Granite Inc., offered to do a stone for free for George Murphy.
John Witte is the gentleman on the left and the three others are Barbara Brazington of EWGS, T.J. Morgan from the Marine Corps League, and Ron Bohman of Genesis Granite Inc.

Our TV station KHQ was there interviewing T.J. Morgan. Lindsey Nadrich was asking T.J. about the dedication of the stone for George Murphy.

Leland Meitzler, Founder of Heritage Quest, Is Moving Home To Orting

Our WSGS secretary, Roger Newman, shares this information:

Leland Meitzler and family are moving back to Orting, WA. Coming with them is the business ‘Family Roots Publishing’. Here is his blog post about this: 

Further history from Donna Phillips: 

Leland was living in Orting, WA, when he first had the idea spark to found Heritage Quest Magazine back in about 1985. This magazine was the first of its kind (only other was The Genealogical Helper) and became an overnight phenomena. Leland received books for review from individuals and genealogical publishers and these books were the genesis of the Heritage Quest Research Library, which is now a thriving independent library.  (Check out this library in Sumner, WA, at

As Leland became more involved with Heritage Quest Magazine, and became nationally known as a speaker, he eventually decided to move his family and his headquarters to the Salt Lake City area. He partnered in turn with several genealogical companies which have long since disappeared but Leland has lasted. His latest incarnation is his Family Roots Publishing book-vendoring business. Check it out:

Leland's biggest brainstorm was the Salt Lake Christmas Tour  ( which is still going strong after 30 years. This annual December rendezvous in Salt Lake brings 70-90 folks each year to spend a week at the Family History Library. I have been honored and privileged to help with this annual tour for all these 30 years. 

We welcome home a long-lost Washingtonian! 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Richardson, long-ago town on Lopez Island

I spotted this postcard in one of those "junque" shops on my trip that my daughter and I so love to visit. In case you cannot quite read it, it does clearly say "Richardson, Washington" in the upper left corner. The postcard shows a group of 37 men, women and children in front of what looks to be a schoolhouse? Or a church?

My curiosity being piqued, I asked Grandma Google (who knows most everything) to tell me about this town.

Seems it was on the south end of Lopez Island, in San Juan County, and derives its name from George Richardson who receives a land patent for this property on 25 Nov 1879. The Richardson family lived there only a few years but a thriving community there bearing that name continued to grow.

And how do I know? I went to, the Free Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History. There were five pages describing the history of this little, mostly long forgotten, place.

The article ended with this statement:  "In 2013 Richardson is a quiet spot overlooking the water at the end of Richardson Road (on Lopez Island)."

Anybody have ancestors who lived in Richardson? What shall I do with this postcard??

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Your WSGS Board May 2014

This is currently your WSGS Board (well, most of them). Photo was taken at the Yakima Valley Genealogical Society Library (designated as the WSGS Library) at the annual Board Retreat in May 2014. The Board includes officers and representatives from all Washington regions.

Active for three decades, WSGS has formulated a new outreach plan to become of real value to all the genealogists within the region. WSGS has, for most of these years, sponsored an annual conference and this will continue......... plus some!

Please won't you check our website and see for yourself?  Click to And then keep clicking back to see the new helps offered by WSGS to YOU.

Donna Potter Phillips, Vice President of WSGS, is the designated blogger but we welcome input from YOU......... updates from you or your societies, personal success stories, Washington history or research trivia, photos, any genealogical bits!

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