SGS Meeting July 15, and Other News


Why Are We All So Obsessed with Genealogy?

A recent post on the Literary Hub website used that title for Libby Copeland’s book The Lost Family. While the phrase ‘obsessed’ may be a bit strong, the author looks at “lineage consciousness” with both a historical and modern perspective. She claims the availability of home DNA test results has played a significant role in changing our lives. The article is well worth the read, whether you agree to being obsessed or not.  Read an excerpt from the book HERE.

Occupations from the Past

Dick Eastman’s recent genealogy newsletter includes an interesting (and mostly humorous) link to The ABCs of Old Time Occupations (by Jenny Ashcraft), a post from Fishwrap, ‘the official blog of Newspapers’. The list of ancestral jobs includes:

Hokey-Pokey man (sold ice cream from a push cart, 1800-1900’s), Knocker-Upper (tapped on windows to wake up morning workers in British mill towns), and Uptwister (textile yarn worker). More occupations are described HERE.

Ink Cartridge Recycle Update

Since its inception, SGS has received $1,267.06 from the collection and recycling of ink cartridges. Thank you Pat Rongey for your continued efforts and initiative!

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Remembering the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR)

SGS member Sally Daugherty shares a Memorial Day tribute to her great grandfather, Charles L. Robinson, Sr. (1845 – 1943).

For once our official Memorial Day is on the 31st, like the original day of celebration back in my great grandfather’s day. He (Charles L Robinson, Sr.) was a leader in the GAR (Grand Army of the Republic, our first national vet organization) and the last surviving member of his”Post” as the local groups were called. It was named The U S Grant GAR post 004 of Melrose, MA. When he died it ceased to exist, as every GAR post eventually did. So that great groundbreaking veterans organization ceased to exist in my lifetime. But their good works live on today, in Oregon: veterans pensions, housing, homes for aging vets and their wives, counseling  services and most of all that first national holiday to honor veterans, the memory and sacrifice, with a day of remembrance. 

When the first Memorial Day celebrations began there were no national US veterans cemeteries. So the dead were buried in each hometown cemetery. The purpose of Memorial Day was to locate and at least visit every civil war grave, clear away the weeds and lay a memorial wreath showing gratitude for their sacrifice. In Melrose there was also a big parade, speeches and of course, visits to each veteran grave. Wreaths were made in advance by school children in order to learn the history and about patriotism. 

My GGR Robinson was the leader of at least one parade during the 1930’s. He was followed in turn by visiting GAR members, their wives plus widows, and then organizations of the sons, daughters of Civil War vets. Then came the vets of other wars, the American Legion, etc. It was an important community event. (I have copies of the newspaper clippings, saved during the depression by the WPA) in my files if you would like a copy

After WWII was declared, civil defense restrictions put a damper on time spent absent from work and public displays. And after my GGR passed on (1943) there was no longer a local GAR post to organize such things. Younger folks carried on the tradition in Melrose but it evolved as a matter of course.

Nationally the WWI Vets secured a separate day of remembrance, Nov 11, and in recent years steadfastly refused to give it up. Not so for the Memorial Day of May 31st, our first national day of remembrance. Soon overshadowed by generations of younger vets, it has been converted to just another floating Monday holiday; time enough for a short road trip or a spendy shopping spree. Who remembers the civil war dead anyway? Well, this year we might be in for a change. Lessons long overdue as the recent Jan 6th insurrection warns us. Could a civil war happen again?”

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1950 Census Preview

Genealogy Gems presents a Preview of the 1950 Census on the questions as well as differences from previous census years. The actual 1950 census responses will not be released until April, 2022 (to be followed by the digital version). This video by Lisa Louise Cooke provides a glimpse into what we can expect. View the 18 minute preview HERE.

What questions were asked?

A total of just 20 questions were asked, as compared to the 1940 census of 34. Look for new codes for the marriage question (Mar, Wid, Sep, D, Nev), and new employment questions.

The Agricultural Census. More information may be available to you should you be researching someone who lived on a farm. The 1950 population Census will include a reference number which can be used to locate a person in the agricultural questionnaire.

Additionally, like the 1940 Census, 5% of the population were asked supplemental questions. (i.e. if a female never married, how many children has ever been born not including stillborn). Stay tuned.

Merilee Mulvey shares a link to an incredible story of Civil War drawings (soldier’s sketches) discovered beneath  layers of wall covering. It was only when the home went through historic preservation, was the century old graffiti revealed. View the remarkable story HERE.

Jacquie Beveridge shares a link to Gray Eagles, a wonderful documentary (28 minutes)of a WWII pilot who is miraculously reunited with his P-51 Mustang war plane after 60 years.  He re-lives his war-time stories for the first time with his grandchildren.

Merilee Mulvey discovered a great article called The Postcard That Came Home After 60 Years. As the title implies, the story tells the journey of a woman who stumbles upon a thrift store find of a 1942 postcard and her determination to research and locate the soldier who wrote it. Read the story HERE.

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24-Hour Genealogy Webinar Marathon

My Heritage/Legacy Family Tree will be hosting the second annual FREE 24-Hour Genealogy Webinar Marathon on April 8-9th. Registration is now open!

Many titles to choose from: Factors Influencing DNA Ethnicity Results (Diahan Southard); Create Your Own YouTube Channel to Store and Share Family Videos (Lianne Kruger); American Female Ancestors Prior to 1850 (Gena Philibert-Ortega); Osiyo to Cherokee Ancestry (Nicka Smith); Nature’s Impact on Family Migration & Relocation (Wayne Shepheard); Record, Cite, File as You Go (Cindi Ingle of, and a lot more!


5 Genealogy Helpful Hints – 5-Minute Finds

Merilee Mulvey recently discovered’s YouTube videos with helpful genealogy hints done in 5 (short) minutes! Wide variety of topics – begin viewing HERE or search genealogy 5-minute finds on

Merilee also shares news that BillionGraves has created an app for smart devices (phones, tablets, etc.) to locate and identify unmarked graves by GPS location.  This is an ongoing project, hoping to build a database of unmarked grave locations with images and information (obtained from cemetery records).  To find out more about this project, volunteer or submit a photo, click HERE.

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Adieu to Dianne Carlton


Message from new SGS President Jacquie Beveridge:

Thank you to Dianne Carlton for her service as president!  Circumstances prevented her from helping our society accomplish all she hoped for, yet she persevered.  As she and Greg move to a warmer climate, we wish them all the best!  And, look forward to them returning to visit.
Wouldn’t it be great if it’s when we’re able to have a picnic again?

As I try to fill her shoes for a short period of time it is with the hope that we’ll soon be able to meet in person.  Hopefully,  we’ll all have stories to share about our pandemic discoveries! 

According to our bylaws, The President shall appoint a nominating committee for new officers at the April meeting to present a slate at the May meeting and the election is to be held at the June meeting.

So, please put your thinking caps on and let’s look forward to reenergizing our society!  As we know more about meeting guidelines and library availability, you’ll be kept informed.  We hope to see you soon! 

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Spotlight on SGS Library Research Assistants

Among the primary goals of the Siuslaw Genealogical Society (SGS) is to provide an educational resource for those interested in family research. The SGS Library Researchers have always been among the major contributors in this effort. The Siuslaw Library is temporarily closed to the public (due to Covid-19 restrictions) however, during an otherwise typical week the researchers volunteer to assist those not only interested in getting started in family research, but inquiring about DNA testing, and seeking guidance to research questions.

SGS Library Researchers Debby Wright and Pat Rongey enjoy helping others in family research and have a number of memorable experiences to share.

ebby Wright is usually kept busy welcoming walk-ins or ‘regulars’ with appointments. Most often, she encounters individuals requesting assistance in searching for biological family members who have become estranged due to any number of circumstances. One unusual request however, came from an individual interested in researching the family who were previous owners of the home she purchased. Debby soon discovered that despite her research efforts, she was unable to locate any information. Undeterred, she pursued resources at the Pioneer Museum. It was there she began to unravel the mystery – a neighbor woman recalled the previous owners had legally changed their name shortly after moving into the house. A quick review of the museum’s records set Debby on the path to BLM records, the Siuslaw News and census records. In the end, Debby located information on the previous owners and their son and was able to share the research results with the present owner of the home.
Pat Rongey reports having received the following note of thanks:

“Today marks one year since the first time I saw a picture and the name of my father (name omitted) and I never would have found him without your help. I’m forever grateful for you Pat and appreciate what you do to bring families together it’s truly amazing— you’re amazing!”

Pat recalls assisting another gentleman at the library who was seeking to find his birth father. As an experienced researcher, this was not a particularly unusual request for her. As Pat inquired a bit more regarding his request, she learned that although he had used his stepfather’s name for many years, it became apparent that the need for him to know his original surname was of great importance. In time, Pat located his birth family’s information and revealed it to him. He was thankful and in the following weeks would often stop by the library’s Siuslaw Room to again express his gratitude. Pat learned shortly thereafter, the gentleman had passed away from cancer.

As a reminder, the Siuslaw Public Library is currently closed to the public until further notice due to Covid restrictions.  Therefore, SGS Library Researchers are not on-site to assist in family research until the library re-opens.

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Items of Interest

Merilee Mulvey shares an article from Family Tree Magazine of a very handy tip (three short steps) which just may help you in locating those ancestors ‘impossible to find’.  The article is Trick for Hard to Find Ancestors.

The Science On Being an Early (in the morning) or Late Riser
A recent Oxford University Study suggests 46% of your sleep pattern is associated with your DNA.  Read the DNA and Sleep Pattern Study HERE.

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