Series Introduction: 1940 Obituaries

Over the next three months, I plan to post obituaries from the Pacific Northwest states. These posts will ostensibly be part of the Geneabloggers “Sunday’s Obituary” prompt. The overall theme, though, is that they all come from Alaska, Oregon, and Washington, and the months of January, February, and March in 1940.

Washington and Oregon have the best coverage of the four states that I focus on, so I’ve decided to focus on these two. Instead of my current location, Seattle, Spokane’s Spokesman-Review will provide the post content. Oregon’s Oregonian, out of Portland, will provide obituaries from there.

One interesting thing is that the two Alaska newspapers I’ve looked at for source materials, from Anchorage and Fairbanks, have no obituaries in them. My tentative workaround for this issue is to find articles about deaths through accident, murder, or other event, including of course, old age.

For Idaho, the University of Washington’s Suzzallo & Allen Library’s Microfilm and News department doesn’t have anything for the right time period. The closest interesting newspaper microfilm from that place and time period is at the Washington State University library in Pullman. Thus, Idaho will not be covered in the series, even though it is a Pacific Northwest state.

It will be an interesting series to read and I’m having fun putting it together. Enjoy.


© 2012 N. P. Maling

GeneaBlog Award – “Best Reanimated Genealogy Blog”

Thanks are due, once again, to that erudite scholar of genealogy, Tamura Jones, for recognizing this blogger’s efforts. He has given me the honor of, ummm, rising from the dead?

Thank you to everyone for making this award worthwhile.

Michael Hait’s recent piece on the genealogy blogosphere, and Thomas MacEntee’s, also, highlight the higher significance of our contributions to the community.

These two writers have inspired me over the past five-odd months to continue blogging into the next year. I’ve got plans for 2012, with some reconsideration of set-aside items, to start with.

Right now, though, I’m trying to get a book to press. Look for it by the end of the month, or, at worst, in January.

Happy holidays, everyone.


Resources to replace a deceased FHC

Green Lake Branch, Seattle Public Library, Sea...

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Family History Centers, or FamilySearch Centers, are a less and less used resource. Why? One writer, Mike Voisin, discusses the realities of their use, and I’ve also written about the subject — The New (Ir)Relevance of FamilySearch. One critical example of their resources I’ve used is in A Brief Genealogy of the Maling Family.

Some areas of the country may or may not have access to the resources I do, but here are some sources I use that we can all share.

Private foundations can be handy. Seattle has the Fiske Library, cataloged on WorldCat.

Local and regional genealogy and history societies are great resources. The Seattle Genealogical Society has an improved website and their catalog is online.

The Seattle Public Library has great, nationally recognized genealogy and special collections departments.

The University of Washington’s Suzzallo/Allen Library history and special collections are geared toward academic use, but contain lots of useful material.

The National Archives and Records Administration facility here in Seattle, is a national resource.

Sites like the Internet Archive, and Google Books have content which FamilySearch is trying, and failing, to duplicate.

A great example of how these resources are used is Researchers working with’s site focus on materials found in all the above resources, and more. Are these resources available to researchers at an FHC? More likely than not, no. Are they better resources? More direct, original, and primary? Yes.

The librarians and collections curators at these research facilities are far more knowledgeable about their materials and other resources than the volunteers you find at the Family History Centers. These folks will help you decide what is appropriate material, given their area of expertise, and point you to other potential resources. I’ve never been able to get that kind of help from an FHC volunteer.

Will I miss the demise of a local FHC? No.

Professional Genealogist in the News

I found it interesting in light of my more recent posts that there are other professional genealogists out there, who are actually called such and respected by the mainstream media.

Megan Smolenyak (her website), was on the NewsHour last night interviewing about Mrs. Obama’s slave ancestor. What was interesting was that the Obama family did not have anything much to say on the matter. I suppose there is the privacy issue of delving into the lives of high-profile people.