52 Ancestors: Travel


I have written before about how my mom’s family were new immigrants to the United States, with three of her grandparents born abroad. We have to evidence that her German ancestors had any contact with their relatives back home, but her Canadian grandparents are a different story.

My mom’s paternal grandparents, William McCallum and Etta Moore, immigrated to the United States from Carleton Place, Ontario, Canada. The first Declaration of Intention I have from William lists his arrival as July 1905:

July 1905 Declaration of Intention

William and Etta married in Orilla, Washington on 10th October 1905.

Marriage certificate

Their two sons, Donald and William (my grandfather) were born in Seattle in 1906 and 1907, respectively.

In 1914, William and Etta enter Canada through the Port of Vancouver, B.C.:


This lists Etta’s father as still living in Ontario but also lists William’s occupation as a dredger. He went to Canada at this time to work building the seawall in Victoria, B.C.

William re-enters the United States from Canada in October 1914:

1914 Declaration of Intention

The 1920 census lists William and Etta’s immigration year as 1914, and William’s occupation as a farmer. They are both alien citizens.


I do not have any evidence of William and Etta traveling back to Ontario, but Etta did keep in touch with relatives. A few years ago a woman reached out to me and had photos Etta had sent to her cousin in Canada.

That baby is my grandpa! It was remarkable to receive copies of these photographs, and I am so thankful these photos were held onto.

And today when I was looking through our emails, I found a photo of the house in Seattle the McCallum’s lived in.

McCallum home,Seattle
5412 41st Avenue SW, Seattle. The McCallum family is listed as owning this house in the 1910 census and lived here throughout the decade. By 1920 they had moved to Sumner, Washington.
The same house in 2017.

You can find the rest of my 52 Ancestors posts by clicking the tag at the top of the post.

And you can follow along on Instagram as well: @familyhistoryfood.

Until next time,







52 Ancestors: Independence


I would like to introduce you to Ezekiel Sanford, born 21 December 1745 in New Haven, Colony of Connecticut, my 6x great-grandfather. His mother died when he was 2 and his father when he was 15, and at the age of 30 joined the American Revolution.

A copy of Ezekiel Sanford’s application for a pension after his service in the Revolutionary War.

And why yes, he served under Benedict Arnold, in 1775 for 8 months. This was before Arnold defected to Britain in 1780. He served until 1779, and applied for a pension in 1818, at the age of 72.

The most exciting find is a letter from Ezekiel to his wife Sarah, dated 27 April 1778 from Valley Forge. (He was at Valley Forge with George Washington and Alexander Hamilton!)

This letter is found in his Revolutionary War pension file, and was transcribed on Ancestry:


Camp Valley Forge, 27th Apr 1778

Dear Wife:

A sense of my conjugal obligation and tender afection for you and the children whom God hath given us induces me to write at this time and I doubt not you have earnest desire to hear from me as you have frequently manifested.  I have been very sick and nigh to Death for a long time, but God of his infinite mercy has lenthened out my life and so far restored my helth that I have returned to the Camp under circumstances of comfort and am able to attend the exercises of the _____ and am gaining strengh very fast.  Hope soon to enjoy a confirmed state of helth, great and maniford have been the favors and Blessings which God of his infinite goodness has bestowed on me who am unworthy of any motive from him, may his name be suitable praised, and all his benefits Remembered by me and all concerned for me:  I received your letters my :Majs” Curtis camp, am obligated to you for the care and concerne for me therein manifested.

Rejoiced greatly to hear of your welfare, but am not without the greatest concerne and anxiety for you and the Children.  I know the times are difficult and I consider the care upon you to be very great under your particular circumstance–the duty of parents to children is very important and as it is necessarily devolved upon you, I cannot forbare, nor do I think it inconsistent with my Duty to express my concerne for them and earnest desire that they may be well instructed in the ways of virtue and piety, if they are not, Sin lieth at the Dore and we must be answerable for the neglect, and I can do my duty in no other way than by recommending them to your care and the care of a kind and indulgent Providence.

I understand the neighbors are kind and careful for you which I am very glad of, as I think it must of no small comfort to you and greatly softens your cares, be not discouraged but surmount the difficulties with all becoming Patience, and God bless your indeavors and preserve your helth __________.

I intend to come home but now do not expect, this summer–it would be very agreeable and gratifying to me to see you once more and hope I may at the close of another campaign, but that is uncertain.  We appoint and God disappoints and it becomes us to prepare for the event of his will with all due submission and that His blessing may ever attend you.

Peace be restored to our land and our hearts prepared for the receipt of so great favors is the desire and prayer of your Loving Husband.



sanford_ezekiel_real estate
Property of Ezekiel Sanford, as listed in 1820.

By 1820, Ezekiel claimed 23 and a half acres of land, valued at $100. Ezekiel died in Springwater, New York on 1 September 1833 at the age of 87.

I am proud of all of the members of my family who have served, but Ezekiel fighting for our independence holds a special place for me!

You can find the rest of my 52 Ancestors posts by clicking the tag at the top of the post.

And you can follow along on Instagram as well: @familyhistoryfood.

Until next time,







52 Ancestors: Same Name


When I was in high school, my grandma recruited me to go on a day-long genealogy road trip. She wanted to visit a small town named Crow, Oregon, where she believed her family came from, as Crowe was her maiden name. (Same name, see what I did there?)


Veva Eby Obituary
My paternal grandma, Veva Loene (Crowe) Eby.


Our first stop was a small diner outside of town (which does not seem to exist anymore, according to a quick internet search). My grandma was always really friendly, and began talking to the waitress about our trip. And it turns out this waitress knew a lot about our family, including that they were not from Crow, but from the small town of Lorane, located less than 15 miles south.

So we headed to Lorane, where it turns out two generations of my family had been born, and three had died there. We made another stop (my recollection is a little fuzzy about where), and my grandma was told about a cousin who lived in Arizona and who was the family historian. They corresponded for many years, and from him our family gained an extensive family tree.

My great-grandfather (my grandma’s dad) Chester was born in Lorane in 1895. His father Benjamin was born there in 1867. It appears Benjamin was the one to add the “e” to Crow.

Benjamin Crow
Benjamin Grant Crowe.

Benjamin’s father Richard Crow was born in Missouri in 1833, and his father John was born in Kentucky in 1796. John arrived in 1853 and Richard the following year, when it was still the Oregon Territory. Both Richard and John are listed in the Early Oregonian Index as farmers.

John Crow and Mary (Polly) Kent
John and Mary Crow.

So the moral of this post is you never know where you can find genealogy information! By opening up to someone at a diner, my grandma was able to uncover a great deal of information and pass it down.

You can find the rest of my 52 Ancestors posts my clicking the tag at the top of the post.

And you can follow along on Instagram as well: @familyhistoryfood.

Until next time,



52 Ancestors: Father’s Day


In 1972, my dad traveled Europe with his friend for nearly three months. We had his photo albums sitting on our bookcase growing up, and we would hear some stories about his visits. However, my favorite story was uncovered through letters given to me about my grandma died.


My dad wrote countless letters home during his visits, and in one he told a particularly colorful story of how he acquired a mug from the Hofbräuhaus in Munich, Germany.


He wrote to his parents how his friend and fellow traveler Randall and another guy they had met distracted the security guard so my dad was able to swipe a mug. This story was never retold. In fact, after my dad died and my mom sold our childhood home, the mug was donated to Goodwill. We had no idea the mug was acquired in such a way!


Most of the letters are filled with details of his travels, like being able to see the Grateful Dead in concert or how much his luggage weighed (which is so my dad). My grandma saved every letter, every postcard, and ticket stubs and other items. One letter even includes a sample of European toilet paper (or as my dad wrote, we know it as wax paper).

Happy Father’s Day, Dad. I am glad you wrote all these letters, so we had these stories to read after you passed.

You can find the rest of my 52 Ancestors posts my clicking the tag at the top of the post.

And you can follow along on Instagram as well: @familyhistoryfood.

Until next time,





52 Ancestors: Going to the Chapel


For Oregonians wanting to run off and get married, Washington is a short jaunt across the river, where you can get married with no waiting period. Three generations of my family went to Vancouver and were wed.

The first instance I remember clearly, the marriage of my paternal aunt Susan. We had a family gathering at our house, and my aunt wanted to show a video, which turns out was  of her wedding.


I had never seen my grandma so mad. I was six at the time, and didn’t really know what the big deal was, but now I know that because of that wedding my aunt lost the ability to claim her dad’s social security benefits.


They remained married for 26 years, until Roger’s death in 2014.

The second marriage was of my paternal grandma and her first husband.

Veva with first husband, Edmond _Chad_ Comstock
I assumed my grandma destroyed all photos of her with her first husband, but after she died my aunt found this hidden behind another picture in a frame.

My grandma was only 17 at the time, and her new husband Chad had just turned 23. She would later tell me she was too young, but would also only refer to him as “the bastard,” even when I was a kid. I am not sure about their marriage, but their divorce had a lot of hostility.

They had one son, David, born on their third wedding anniversary. Chad and Veva divorced in 1946, and she married my grandpa Gerald Eby the following year. Chad remarried in 1948.

Veva Crowe and Chad Comstock marriage

The final marriage is that of my great-grandparents.

Myrtle Sanford and Chester Crowe


Obviously as a genealogist I love their marriage certificate the most, because it lists addresses, parents names, and even occupation. Their witnesses were Myrtle’s sister Eva Sanford Lebengood and her husband, Carl.

They're Goldenweds

Chester and Myrtle remained married for 54 years, until Chester’s death in 1972.

If you are interested, you can find the rest of my 52 Ancestors posts my clicking the tag at the top of the post.

And you can follow along on Instagram as well: @familyhistoryfood.

Until next time,



52 Ancestors: So Far Away


I have written before about my mysterious great-grandfather, and my efforts to learn more about him. John August Gall has been a tough person to research. I know he was in the Prussian Army and had a photo taken in Danzig (now Gdansk).

John Gall in Prussian Army uniform
John August Gall.

However, we actually have a couple items that he brought with him to the United States, one being a steamer trunk. This trunk came from Germany to the U.S., ending up in San Diego, where it remained for many years. My mom had the trunk shipped to Oregon in 1990, where it now lives with us.


It is beat up, has a broken handle, and a quite lovely musty smell, but all those things have stories behind them.


But the most interesting part is the inside, where my great-grandfather glued photos, cartoons, advertisements, and even cigar bands throughout. If nudity offends you, scroll down past the first image.


My mom always wanted to display the trunk, but was afraid the parents of our friends would not approve.


We have no idea who the woman in the photos are. John Gall was divorced when he married my great-grandmother, so it may be her.


Some of the items have dates (and his name!), so we know that he was here for a while before he married by great-grandma in 1912.


My goal is to photograph and research each item, as one of them may hold a clue to who John Gall was.

This is just a sample of what is in the trunk! If you see anything that stands out to you, please let me know!

If you are interested, you can find the rest of my 52 Ancestors posts my clicking the tag at the top of the post.

Until next time,





52 Ancestors: Military


I wrote a post here about my great-grandfather Chester Crowe, who served for the United States Army during World War I. He passed some of his records to my grandma, who left them for me, so I am lucky to have to have them.

Both of my grandpas also served the country during World War II. My paternal grandpa served in the U.S. Coast Guard, both in Washington’s Puget Sound and in New York harbor.

My maternal grandpa, however, served in the Merchant Marines. He joined after having to drop out of the college due to the Depression.

William Gordon McCallum
William Gordon McCallum. This photo (in this exact frame) has always been displayed in our home.

My mom had heard stories of his travels throughout the world. We even have some momentos: trunks and dolls from Japan, a doll from India, coins from Egypt.

A doll from India, which is stored away while our home is under construction.

A couple years ago, my mom acquired his service records. It was incredible to see his travels in print.

His records show his service in World War II, entering into active duty on 22 June 1942, and being discharged on 18 April 1945. The records also list his rank and which ship he was on, and any decorations, medals, badges, and citations.

list of ship and ranks
His World War II service records.

There is also a picture and many places with his signature.

William G McCallum
William Gordon McCallum, from his Merchant Marines service record.

The records do not show specifically where he was sent, but do show where he left port and returned, usually for three month periods.

record of entry
Example of William Gordon McCallum’s Record of Entry.

My grandfather remained in the Merchant Marines after the war, until the early 1950’s. Until the 1970’s he kept up with his certifications, and remained in the shipping industry until he retired.

If you are interested, you can find the rest of my 52 Ancestors posts my clicking the tag at the top of the post.

Until next time,