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On vacation this week in Maui. May have an interesting post later today. Until then I'm just enjoying the sunshine.

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1951 Headstone advertisement

The advertisement below was found in a February 1951 Workbasket Magazine.


I too use the BillionGraves iPhone app.  Below is a great posting by Lynn Cassity about using it to "Pay It Forward".

Originally Published for Dearborn, Missouri (Area-Info.net Dec. 31, 2011)

Paying It Forward with an app

By: Lynn Cassity

Trekking through a cemetery in December is not something one can normally do in the Midwest. But this past week I spent a few minutes in the oldest cemetery in St. Joseph, MO, taking photos of headstones. I do this to ‘pay it forward’ for genealogy help I’ve received over the years. It also combines my interests in genealogy, photography and technology.

To do this I use an iPhone app from BillionGraves.com, a company with a mission. Their aim is to photograph and transcribe headstones throughout the world for family historians. The app for iPhone and Android uses the phone’s camera to take photos of the tombstone and uploads the photo to BillionGraves’ database. There the photo awaits volunteer transcribers to enter the data into a searchable database. This makes family data available with just a few keystrokes instead of a journey of many miles. The program also uses Google maps to locate the cemetery with the GPS coordinates attached to the photos uploaded.

I’ve added small rural cemeteries to the database and my families’ tombstones. When logging into BillionGraves this week I saw that someone, or perhaps a team of people, has recently added over 1500 headstones at the National Cemetery at Ft. Leavenworth, KS. Another worthwhile project and hundreds of those photos are waiting for transcription.

The program is free and can be searched by going to BillionGraves.com and creating an account and then searching. The genealogy treasure trove of family information, headstone photos, and cemetery location and satellite pictures is available to all. I’m hoping someone in Kentucky will find this app and take photos of my ancestors buried there. This simple app makes it possible for all genealogists to ‘pay it forward.’
at the IOOF cemetery in Coburg, OR

One of the photos I posted to Billions Graves from the IOOF cemetery in Coburg, Oregon.  (Peri)

January 1, 2012 -- Goals for the year

* Keep  a Gratitude Journal (I want to pay better attention to the small things people do for me not just the big things). And to say "thank you" to those people.

* Create a "Bucket List" (places I want to visit or things I want to experience before I die)  and cross off at least 2 things on it.

* Cut Calories but not taste. Maybe take a cooking class at the community college.

* Take more walks and participate in atleast one 5K walk for charity.

* Clean out and reorganize one drawer or part of a closet in my house or office every month.

* Write a narriative history about atleast 2 of my family members

* Have a weekend get away with some girl friends

* Communicate more with my neices & nephews, including sending them a personal note on their birthday

* Volunteer for the pioneer cemeteries in the area, researching, writing & documenting the "residents" 

* Make a quilt

* Help someone discover the thrill of finding their ROOTS

* Regularly do something (what ever the need may be at the time) to give a hand up to someone in need, remembering how blessed I am and sharing what blessings I can.

* Tell the people in my life as often as I can that they are loved and appreciated.

Writer's block

Sometimes when I sit down to put the wonderful stories I have learned in my research to paper I find that I struggle to finish the story because I am so preoccupied with making sure I have the proper sentence structure, grammar, punctuation.

I came across this quote recently and when I read it it was as if someone had smacked me across the back of the head...

The unconscious creates;  the ego edits.  (Stanley Kunitz,1905-2006, American poet).

I have found a wonderful writing instructor who says "just write".  "Be a kid."  "Tell stories."  "Later, once the story is on paper, you can go back to rewrite and edit."

So in 2012 I'm going to let the kid in me come out and tell her stories.  Then when she is done I'll let someone else do the editing for me.  ;-)

Goals for 2012

It is the time of year again when I start thinking about what I want to accomplish in 2012.

This last year I had an epiphany of sorts.

In years past I have been concerned with getting my research on the Mercer Girls published. Then a little voice in my head told me that as important as that research is it is not as important as passing on to my family members the stories and histories of our family.

This year around Memorial Day I spent 8 days in Butte, MT with a cousin of my husbands researching the Muhich family. We were able to piece together the story of how this branch of the Muhich family came to America from the country now known as Slovenia.We also learn of the trials and tribulations of working as a miner in Butte at the turn of the 19th centry.

My father-in-law was to celebrate his 75th birthday in June. He knew nothing about his grandfather's journey to America or his life as a miner. So, I gathered all I had learned and collected and put together a booklet, in narrative form, to tell him about his heritage. I made several copies (so that everyone in the family would have one) and presented it to him at the celebration of his birthday, with all of his children & grandchildren present.

I'm pretty sure I saw the glimmer of pride in his eyes as he read about a grandfather he had never met.

Over the past few months I have been working on a similar project for my sister-in-law about an immigrant ancestor she knew nothing about but who was a well known citizen in the early days of Seattle. This was my Christmas gift to her this year.

I still want to publish my research on the Mercer Girls in a formal format, because I know it is valuable information, but it is not my first priority. I have been researching & lecturing about these women for over 15 years so their stories are out there and have been told. All you have to do is google "Mercer Girls" and you will most likely find something that will link you to my research.

There are many family's stories that haven't been told and I owe it to my family and to our future generations to tell and preserve them.

So the first goal that I'm writing on my list for 2012 is to research, write & share more of MY FAMILY'S stories.
The City of Vancouver, Central Park Neighborhood Association, Clark County Genealogical Society and the Vancouver Heritage Ambassadors are working together to bring life back to the Old City Cemetery in Vancouver.  

They are working to bring better lighting and maintenance, wheelchair friendly walkways, and informational tours to this historic cemetery.  Currently plans are underway for a fund raising event to be held in August.

The article below was published in the Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Washington on Dec. 2, 2009, page D1.
10 year plan to revamp history at cemetery

Headstones Cleaned

On Sunday, May 17th, eight members of the Vancouver Heritage Ambassadors and Richard Engstrom from the Clark County Genealogical Society, meet at the Vancouver Old City Cemetery to do some headstone cleaning in preparation for the Memorial Day weekend.

 Before getting stared we had a nice lunch of hot sandwiches from Dominoes, courtesy of VHA. 

Becky Oswald from Lone Fir Cemetery in Portland, OR was there to share her knowledge about the proper way to clean headstones.

The photo to the right shows some of the proper tools to use when cleaning headstones.  You should NEVER use any anything such as bleach, 409, Comet, etc.  Only non-abrasive brushes should be used.

 It was a beautiful, sunny day and we all enjoyed the socializing and seeing some previously unreadable headstones once again become readable due to some simple cleaning.


Flags will be set-out on veterans graves for the Memorial Day weekend on Friday, May 22 at 3:00 pm.
Anyone who would like to help set out the 120 + flags are welcome to come.

The cemetery is located at the corner of Mill Plain and Grand Ave. in Vancouver, Washington.

Restoration Update

A meeting was held yesterday (April 20) to kick off the restoration project.  We will be at the cemetery on Friday morning to photograph the headstones which need repair.  Then we will be ranking them in order of most work needed.  After that the photos will be submitted to the contractor to get estimates of cost and time.  We hope to start seeing some results by the end of the summer!Spring 2009

South gate on Mill Plain BlvdThe Clark County Genealogy Society (CCGS) was recently awarded a grant from the Clark County Historical Promotions Grant Program.  The purpose of the grant is to initiate a repair and resoriation initiative at the Old City Cemetery.  CCGS is required to match half of the funds awarded by the grant.  The Vacouver Heritage Ambassadors (VHA) has agreed to partner with CCGS and will make an initial donation of $1000.00 toward the program.

CCGS & VHA envisions this as the first phase of a long term effort to retore and rehabilitate the Old City Cemetery.  In addition to this grant they are seeking additional funds to develop a pamphlet detailing the history of the cemetery as well as highlighting many of the proinet individuals buried there.

We would like to hear from indivuduals who have family members buried at the Old City Cemetery or who are interested in participating in this project.  You can contact;
Richard Engstrom (CCGS) rengstro60@yahoo.com  or Peri Muhich (VHA) pmuhich@yahoo.com

Snow Tues. Jan 27, 2009 
A dusting of snow