Seattle and Portland are Great Places for Genealogy Research

Recent numbers from Google’s Trends spotting service show that Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon consistently show up in the top 10 places to do genealogy, family history, and ancestry research.

These numbers are encouraging as the rest of the states and cities indicated by the trends service are in the south and southwest.

Among the top cities for genealogy, excluding that center for name collecting in Utah, are

  • Denver, Colorado,
  • San Diego, California
  • Phoenix, Arizona
  • Houston and Dallas, Texas
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota

For family history and ancestry research, San Antonio and Austin, Texas join the top 10 mix.

What makes Texans so hot on genealogy these days? Comments welcome and warmly solicited.

© 2012 N. P. Maling — Sea Genes – Family History & Genealogy Research

Sunday’s Obituary: Leslie H. Ennis – Alaska Territory

Due to a search engine abuser, I’ve had to remove the text of this obituary and place it into a PDF document. Please view it that way. Thanks!

 Leslie H. Ennis Obituary, 1940-01-10_p8_c2_PDF

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

Re-starting look-up services

I’m planning to begin offering look-up services in Pacific Northwest area archives in the coming weeks. I’ve been a member of Genealogy Freelancers for some time and had participated in the beta several years ago. I’ll be restructuring my offerings and fees this weekend and should have them posted on those sites next week sometime.

You may see references to in some of my older posts. That site name has been taken over by a completely unrelated person and does not deal with genealogical issues. I think it was an unfortunate occurrence, but it was unavoidable under the circumstances. Seattle Book Scouts is also no longer functioning as a web site at, so those references should also be avoided.

Ancestral Time-lines


When creating a family history it is almost a necessity to include a time-line of their life in relation to their environment. For instance, a pioneer family in Washington Territory lived through a some momentous events. The major one is the pioneer life-style, which in their time was share by many other people. These people interacted with your ancestors to form a uniquely documented group. While you may not find much, if any information specifically on your ancestor in a local history, there are general facts about the population and environment in that local history which add color to your ancestor’s time-line and life-style.

There are many local histories for the Pacific Northwest that have been produced since the area became a popular place to live and work. Some, more than others, are rich in detail of the area, while others focus more on the people and businesses they built. For instance, I’m reading Far Corner, by Stewart Holbrook, a personal overview of the region written in a light way. It covers a lot of what was, and is no more.

Also, there are many historical works published that are not strictly local histories. These are histories of communities and groups that built the Northwest. Boeing, for instance, has been a major contributor to the local historical scene since it has been involved in many communities over the years. Some the histories of that company may contain important details about the community in which it operated and the people who were directly and indirectly involved with the company.

Many local histories are, by their very subject matter, not New York Times best sellers and thus are not commonly available. Many such histories have been written by local residents, and self-published. These histories often are found in the special collection areas of libraries and have limited circulation. An example is Totem Tales of Old Seattle, by Newell & Sherwood.

Another type of writing, not necessarily related to the Pacific Northwest only, is the fiction of the region. Song of the Axe, by N. C. McDonald, about life in Puget Sound and Seattle, is fascinating for the author’s depiction of life on the streets of Seattle and in the islands of the Sound.

By reading what other authors and authorities have to say about an area, you can get a broader picture of your ancestor’s life and weave parts of their accounts into your own. Carefully documenting and differentiating between what is fact and fiction, however, is a major consideration when writing a history.