Thursday, October 30, 2014

From the Archives: 29 East LaCrosse - Haunted or Not?

"From the Archives" highlights favorite or popular blog posts from this blog's past from 2006 to the present. This particular post features a haunting tale, appropriate for Halloween. It was originally published Sunday, October 14, 2007.

Friday, October 12th, marked the eleven-year anniversary of the day we signed on our home at 29 East LaCrosse. Built in 1908 (some documents say 1907), it is certainly by no means old by East Coast or European standards, but here in what was once a Wild West city where frontier soldiers, Idaho miners, and Northeastern Washington lumberjacks would freely spend their hard-earned cash, the fact that it's still standing and habitable says a lot. Add to that the discovery while researching our home's history that it has been a rental for much of its structural life, along with the fact that it bumps up against a commercial zone, and it's doubly amazing that it hasn't been razed by now. Built on what was once the rural edge of town with no houses on the lots behind it, it now sits squarely in a north central neighborhood, several miles from the the city limits.

Its history as a rental becomes all too apparent whenever we start a remodeling job (which has seemed continuous over these past eleven years!). Shoddy worksmanship, dangerous wiring, and poor construction have all been uncovered, replaced, and redone. More than once, we've scratched our heads and wondered aloud, "What were they thinking?" There are days (usually in the winter) when I feel the walls close in on me and deeply feel the cramped living arrangements and lack of privacy in this seven-room residence. But most of the time, even while wishing it were bigger, I love this house! Five years ago--our sixth anniversary at this address--it became the home I had lived in the longest during my then-35 years on this planet. That realization felt odd to me, since my years in my childhood homes felt longer than the time I've spent here. Still, there are many memories, like ghosts, that flit around me within these walls. In the early mornings and late at night, the floors creak beneath my feet as I walk from room to room. The ladderback doors and old frame windows give a character to the place as I consider how those before us spent their days and nights in this abode. There were many who lived here; more, I'm sure, than the city directories will ever reveal, as renters moved in and out between the dates of publication.

Eight years ago, a reporter from the local paper knocked on our front door and said he was doing a human-interest story for Hallowe'en. Following up on archived stories from The Spokesman-Review, he was visiting the current residents of homes that had once been reported as being haunted. Intrigued, we invited him in as he handed us an undated clipping from the Depression years about two young women who claimed to have experienced a ghost in what was now our home. Had we ever heard this story, he asked us. Had we ever seen a ghost or heard anything that was unexplainable? No, we replied, and no, again. Nevertheless, he interviewed us and wrote up a nice piece for the Entertainment section of the paper. In reading the old clipping further, we realized that the young women had fallen behind in their rent, and had concocted the story to avoid paying their bill once they had moved out. So our insistence that our house was not haunted was justified...or was it?

Three years ago, we had to put our beloved apricot tabby, Sammy, to sleep after she became fatally ill. Sammy had loved our children with a protective fierceness rivaling that of a dog. Every night, she would cuddle up with Matt at the beginning of the evening, both of them falling asleep. In the middle of the night, she would pad quietly into Missy's room and spend the rest of the early morning hours with her there. It was a ritual; I'd tuck Matt and Sammy in every night, and wake Missy and Sammy together every morning. Never allowed in the adults' bedroom, she nonetheless would jump up on our bed and nuzzle me awake every time one of the kids was ill in the middle of the night. Although by the time Sammy died we had acquired Tessa, our current feline companion, her loss was devastating to us all. We brought her home in a cardboard box, which my [ex-] husband buried deeply between our shed and the alley, filling the hole with large rocks and earth so that it could not be dug up by unattended dogs.

Several months ago, my son mentioned that he still sees Sammy. At nearly 14, he loves math and science, has an ironic sense of humor, and can out-argue an attorney. I mention this because he's the least likely of any of us to be whimsical, a dreamer, a believer in fantasies. But he's seen her, in our yard, on the couch, in his bedroom. About once a month, in the corner of his eye, he'll see her there, and when he turns to look directly at her, she's gone. A ghost, an angel, a whisper of a memory...whatever she is, she's welcome to stay in this very small, somewhat old, creaky-floored house.

This post was [originally] written for the 34th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy, "Halloween and the Supernatural!"

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Sunday, October 26, 2014

October 2014 Scanfest

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Friday, October 24, 2014

Friday Finds and Follows: 24 October 2014

October is usually the busiest month of the year for me, between working for my local school district and teaching genealogy classes for my local community colleges district. I plan to resume "regular programming" on this blog in mid-November.

Articles and posts that caught my eye:

National Archives Virtual Genealogy Fair by Dick Eastman at Eastman's Online Genealogiy Newsletter

Juneau Archives Named for William L. Paul, Sr. written for the Juneau Empire - this is a familiar name from my childhood; the fact that this was announced the week of Alaska Day was not lost on me. How fitting!

Detroit News Archival Materials Moving to the State Archives of Michigan by Leland Meitzler at GenealogyBlog

Halloween Tales: "The New Wife and The Old" (Part 1 and Part 2) by Bill West at West in New England - there's nothing quite like a New England ghost story! You'll also want to check out New Hampshire's Haunted Halloween History by Janice Brown at Cow Hampshire

NUCMC and its cousins: "missing" manuscript locators by Paula Stuart-Warren at Paula's Genealogical Eclectica - I'd forgotten about this great resource!

The 2014 New England Geneablogger Bash (two posts by different bloggers: Heather Wilkinson Rojo at Nutfield Genealogy and Bill West at West in New England) - now this sounds like fun! Perhaps we should have a Pacific Northwest Geneablogger Bash?

Ebola, Disease Pestilence & Family History by Leland Meitzler at GenealogyBlog

My New Genealogy Follows at Twitter:

@URROOTS, @allrelatives, @GenealogyJambo, @ElaineHannon1, @ARSDGenealogy, @MichaelAOrrA, @FindMyKin, @sammymojo74, @mattburt1979, @genealogiah, @GENiSYSS

Genealogy Facebook Pages I've "Liked":

Follow Me

Check out my websites:

Online Historical Directories 

Online Historical Newspapers

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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Scanfest is Coming!

The October 2014 Scanfest will take place here at AnceStories this coming Sunday, October 26th, from 11 AM to 2 PM, Pacific Daylight Time.
What is Scanfest? It's a time when geneabloggers, family historians, and family archivists meet online here at this blog to chat while they scan their precious family document and photos. Why? Because, quite honestly, scanning is time-consuming and boring!

Scanfest is a great time to "meet" other genealogists, ask questions about scanning and preservation, and get the kick in the pants we all need on starting those massive scanning projects that just seem too overwhelming to begin.

To get started, you need to know the basics about scanning:

1. Don't use commercial glass cleaners (i.e. Windex) or paper towels to clean your scanner's glass plate. Use a soft, clean cloth, preferably microfiber. If you must use a liquid, use water sprayed directly onto the cloth  and make sure to let the plate dry thoroughly before placing photos or documents on it.

2. Wear cotton gloves (available at many art and/or photography supply shops) when handling photos and old documents.

3. Don't slide the photos around on the glass plate. Place them exactly where you want them. Photos should NEVER be scanned by a scanner that feeds the document through the machine, but ALWAYS on a flat-bed scanner.

4. Set your scanner to scan at no smaller than 300 dpi (dots per inch). Many experts recommend 600 dpi for photographs.

5. Photographs should ALWAYS be scanned and saved as .tif files. Use "Save As" to reformat the .tif file to a .jpg file for restoration and touchups, emailing, or uploading to an online photo album. ALWAYS retain the original scan as a .tif file.

6. Documents can be scanned as .pdf files or .tif files.

7. When you are done scanning your photos, don't put them back in those nasty "magnetic" photo albums. Place them in archival safe albums or boxes found at websites such as Archival Products or Archival Suppliers. Do NOT store any newsprint (articles, obituaries, etc.) with the photos. The acid from the newspaper will eventually destroy the photograph.

Now about the chatting part of Scanfest:

We will be using Blyve, a live blogging platform that you access right here at AnceStories. On Sunday at 11 AM, PDT, come right here to AnceStories and you'll see the Blyve live blog/forum in the top post. It's not really a "chat room," per se, it's more like a live forum and anyone visiting this site can read and see what is happening in the forum.

You will not need to download any software.

We look forward to having you participate with us!

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Friday Finds and Follows: 17 October 2014

Articles and posts that caught my eye:

What Teaching First Graders Has Taught Me About Genealogy by Elyse Doerflinger at Elyse's Genealogy Blog: On a Journey to Find My Roots

150-Year-Old Confederate Diary Gives Up Secrets to Volunteer Code Breaker by Eric Durr at HumanEvents (hat tip: Leland Meitzler at GenealogyBlog)

I Share DNA with my Adopted Son by Becky Jamison at Grace and Glory

Use Sealed Wood or Metal Bookshelves to Protect Your Book Collection by Dave Greenbaum at Lifehacker - because genealogists have books (usually more books than shelves!)

Hiding Out in the Open: Researching LGBT Ancestors by Thomas MacEntee at GeneaBloggers

Free Genealogist’s Toolkit to Power Your Family History Research by Julia Szucs Smith at the Blog

My New Genealogy Follows at Twitter:

@Crestleaf, @CindyDragon57, @MVgenlady, @vjthpsn, @ForensicFamily, @FindMyOrigins, @patsy19901709, @JennyLanctot, @Barbw6kids, @StoredTreasures, @confusethedead, @CherylsTwigs, @parJude, @GenealogyTrackr, @yourlineage, @TeamGenealogica, @100YearsToday, @HistoryRemnants

Genealogy Facebook Pages I've "Liked":

Follow Me

Check out my websites:

Online Historical Directories 

Online Historical Newspapers

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Friday, October 10, 2014

Friday Finds and Follows: 10 October 2014

Articles and posts that caught my eye:

FamilySearch Search Page Changes Cause Consternation by the Ancestry Insider at The Ancestry Insider

Good news for Ohio researchers! by Harold Henderson at Midwestern Microhistory: A Genealogy Blog

Archives Open House in Cheney this Saturday by Larry Cebula, Assistant Digital Archivist at the Washington State Digital Archives, at the Northwest History Blog

October by Bill West at West in New England - I love the colors of autumn and I wonder, as does Bill, if our New England ancestors loved them as much as we do. Bonus: a Robert Frost poem!

Relatives of adopted adults now able to trace family tree, a press release by the United Kingdom's official government website

How Iceland's Genealogy Obsession Leads to Scientific Breakthroughs by Olga Khazan at The Atlantic

The exotic history of British fish and chips by Paul Levy at The Telegraph (Note: it's not originally a British dish!)

QuickLesson 11: Identity Problems & the FAN Principle by Elizabeth Shown Mills at the Evidence Explained: Historical Analysis, Citation & Source Usage site

My New Genealogy Follows at Twitter:

@still2stepn, @AMCgenealogy, @MaryJoSonntag, @BudnyEnterprise, @Procoolgranny, @JS_Genealogist, @gensearchdeb, @Ghyxion, @BonnieM707, @CathyNapolitano, @KassieLNelson

Genealogy Facebook Pages I've "Liked":

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Check out my websites:

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Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Upcoming Genealogy Classes and Family History Fairs

October is Family History Month, and boy, do we have a lot of upcoming events! First of all, I have begun my fall quarter classes for the Institute of Extended Learning, held at the Magnuson Building on the SFCC campus, Tuesday evenings from 6:30 to 8:30 PM. The classes are $8.00 each. A couple are new and put together at your request! Please let your family members and friends know! Here is the upcoming schedule:

  • Finding Your Ancestors in Online Obituaries and Cemetery Records - October 14
  • Finding Your Ancestors in Online Census Records - October 21
  • Organizing and Preserving Your Genealogy (NEW!) - October 28
  • Finding Your Canadian Ancestors Using Online Records (NEW!) - November 4
To register for these classes, call (509) 279-6030, or visit and look for the "Master Your Technology" icon.

 * * * * * * * 

 Next, there are two upcoming Family History Fairs put on by area LDS (Mormon) Churches for free. The first is brand new and will be held this Saturday, October 11th from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM in Otis Orchards. There are 18 class topics, and workshop participants will receive a “My Family History” folder with a family tree chart and other handouts as a starter kit. A complete list of classes, along with more details, can be found at

The second one will be Saturday, October 18th from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM at the Hayden Lake LDS Church north of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. This also is free, including a delicious lunch. Visit to view the class topics and register. They suggest you register by October 10th so they can plan accordingly. I will be presenting "Online American Digital Archives and Databases" during the first session. There are 25 classes to choose from for four sessions, plus your lunch hour.

 * * * * * * * 

Come enjoy learning how to trace your family tree and dig deeper into new resources.

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Friday, October 03, 2014

Friday Finds and Follows: 3 October 2014

Articles and posts that caught my eye:

Our Pacific Northwest card file is now online! by Steve Willis at Between the Lines: Washington State Library Blog

Documentary a reminder of Eleanor Roosevelt's kindness by Stefanie Pettit at The Spokesman-Review - the local "Landmarks" columnist retells meeting the Former First Lady at age 5

Northern Pacific Railway employee records at by Paula Stuart-Warren at Paula's Geneaogical Eclectica

Massive Online US Obituaries Project Will Help You Find Your Ancestors by Paul Nauta at FamilySearch Blog

Mark Twain & Copyright by Erin Allen at the Library of Congress Blog - did you know that Mark Twain was a mover and shaker behind modern copyright laws?

Then and Now: Inland Empire Highway by Jesse Tinsley at The Spokesman-Review - I learned some things about our country's highway system

Two kinds of genealogy and the question that sorts them out by Harold Henderson at Midwestern Microhistory: A Genealogy Blog

Legal Serendipity by Judy G. Russell at The Legal Genealogist - lately I've been re-reading Hank Z. Jones's Psychic Roots: Serendipity and Intuition in Genealogy, and this would fit right in!

Meet Ello: The Hip New Social Network You Need To Know About by Matthew Hughes at MakeUseOf - I'm still figuring this social network out!

News About and More News About on the Newberry Library Blog

Top 10 Tricks for Shopping at Amazon by Melanie Pinola at Lifehacker - great ideas for your genealogy and other shopping. P.S. If you use and bookmark this link to access Amazon for any of your shopping, I get a small kickback as an Amazon Associate.

Citing Vital Records: Four Questions by Elizabeth Shown Mills at QuickTips: The Blog @ Evidence Explained

A Case of Murder by Amy Crooks at Untangled Family Roots

Finding Evan: The boy in the picture by Judy G. Russell at The Legal Genealogist

My New Genealogy Follows at Twitter:

@DanteEubanks@TapGenes, @FamHistoryBuff, @CummingsPFH, @huboutourville, @KyHistSoc, @smokeyluna, @HeirHunterUK, @RachelPopma, @HeatherKramer80, @pdbiallas, @ratrodwidow

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Check out my websites:

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