Enter to Win a 2019 RootsTech Pass!

***The contest is now closed! Thanks for entering. The winner has been notified!***

RootsTech registration opened this week, and now I have an exciting opportunity for you: the chance to win a FREE 4-day pass to the conference!

What is it: If you haven’t heard of RootsTech, it is the largest family history and genealogy conference. Over 300 classes and 200 vendors, geared towards beginners and experts alike! Learn more about the conference HERE.

When is it: February 27-March 2, 2019

Where is it: Salt Lake City, Utah

If you have already bought your pass, you can still enter! You will be refunded the full amount of a 4-day pass.

Aside from classes and vendors, RootsTech has great speakers (to be announced!) and evening events. It will be a fun conference, and I hope you join us in Utah!

You can come back every day to enter, now through September 30th at 11:59 PM PDT. I will reveal the winner both here and on my Facebook page.

The prize: one 4-day pass to RootsTech 2019 (a $299 value). No transportation, accommodations, or other expenses will be included.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Full disclosure: I am an ambassador for the 2019 RootsTech conference, and have received a pass in exchange for this post (and others that will be upcoming) and giveaway.


52 Ancestors: Unusual Source

For this weeks 52 Ancestors post, I considered a couple different sources. I have genealogy collections about the Eby Family, and I have my maternal 2x great-grandparents family bible, but I was not sure either of these would be unusual enough. Then it occurred to me, an unusual source I use, something that most people could create and access for themselves: a family Facebook group.

After a family reunion four years ago with my dad’s side of the family, one created a Facebook group, where we could share photos and stories, and ask questions if needed. While it is not highly used, I have used it for photographs or to ask questions I could not find the answer to.


Photo of a family history board from our family reunion. Dallas Eby was my great-grandfather.


In one instance, I shared my post on my great-grandfather’s time in prison. People posted what they had heard from others, including that Dallas took mistreated horses to rescue and rehome them out of the area. His time in prison was the only time he was caught.

So why should you have a group?

Not everyone is on Ancestry or Family Search, and not everyone wants to fully trace their own family history. But they may have photos, stories, or other information to pass down, and a group allows for that. You can make it public or private, allowing for a level of security as well.


My 2x great-grandfather John Stuart, a photo posted on our Facebook group. I would never have seen this otherwise.


People also post pictures, making it a nice way to share information between family members without having to be Facebook friends. It is a nice way to keep in touch as well! Of course, not everyone is on Facebook, but we have a nice number in our group.

Thanks for reading, as always you can find all my 52 ancestors posts by clicking the tag! There is also a new, handy-dandy search bar to help find posts.

Until next time,


Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Growing up, my parents would plant a large garden in our yard, and during the summer we would partake in various fresh vegetables. But like all gardens, it always seemed like we had an abundance of zucchini. I remember being sent to our neighbors, zucchini in hand, sharing our harvest.

We used to eat a lot of squash for dinner, but my mom would also bake delectable desserts, including the one I want to share today: Chocolate Zucchini Cake.

IMG_2507This is the easiest cake to make, and the pop of zucchini makes it so moist. Even my nephew, the pickiest eater I know, scarfs down pieces of this cake.


And even though I put in four cups of grated zucchini, you can barely see it in the cake. This photo has the tiniest bit of zucchini present.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake


1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup buttermilk

2 1/2 cup flour

4 Tablespoons cocoa

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1/2 teaspoons salt

2 or 3 cups zucchini (I used 4 cups — this recipe is very forgiving)


Cream butter, oil, and sugar.

Add eggs, vanilla, and buttermilk. Continue beating.

Sift dry ingredients together. Add to moist ingredients.

Add grated zucchini.

Bake in a greased 9×13 pan, 325 degrees for 40-45 minutes.

The original recipe calls for topping with chocolate chips or nuts, or ice with chocolate icing. I top with canned chocolate icing, as my mom did. Tastes like my childhood summers!

This is a moist cake, and oh so good.

I hope you enjoy!

52 Ancestors: Closest to Your Birthday


This weeks 52 Ancestors prompt is Closest to Your Birthday. I was born on Memorial Day, May 31, and the closest event to my birthday would be the death of my paternal great-grandma Myrtle Edith Sanford Crowe. She died on May 29, 1978, four years and two days before I was born.


Myrtle Edith Sanford, circa 1918
Myrtle Edith Sanford, c. 1918. Myrtle would have been around 18.


The date of her death being so close to my birthday is something I heard about many times growing up. I was actually due on May 29, something that displeased my grandma.

As a history buff from a young age, I remember reading the book “If You Lived at the Time of the Great San Francisco Earthquake,” and my grandma telling me that to a matter of luck, her mother survived the earthquake, with a chimney crashing down at the end of the bed. If her bed would have been situated differently, she may not have survived.


Sanfords @ Sunnyvale CA
Walter (her father), John (uncle), Myrtle, Mabel (her mom), Eldon, Grace, Eva, and Lester Sanford in Sunnyvale, California, before the earthquake.


The Sanford’s moved back to Oregon by 1908, where Myrtle met my great-grandfather, Chester Crowe. They married in 1918 and had two kids: their son Merle and daughter Veva, my grandma.


Merle and Myrtle Crowe, 1944
Myrtle and her son Merle, 1944.

She died of a heart attack on May 29, 1978. She loved pansies, and as I got older, I accompanied my grandma to visit the graves of her parents and my grandfather. We always placed a tray of pansies on her grave.


Myrtle and Chester Crowe, Carol and Vickie Comstock
Myrtle, her husband Chester, along with my cousins Vickie and Carol Comstock, c. 1972.

Thanks for reading, as always you can find all my 52 ancestors posts by clicking the tag! There is also a new, handy-dandy search bar to help find posts.

Until next time,


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52 Ancestors: Work


My grandfather Captain William Gordon McCallum served in the Merchant Marines prior to, during, and after World War I, and when he was discharged, he could not find a job in Seattle.

William Gordon McCallum

He ended up moving to Portland sometime between 1950 and 1951 and living in a boarding house when he finally got a job working for the Portland branch of the Marine Underwriters of San Francisco (according to my mom). However, a blurb about him later, published by Brady-Hamilton, said he came from the American Hawaiian Steamship Company.


He left the job after a few years (my mom thinks around 1955, but definitely by 1957) to work for Brady-Hamilton Stevedore.


He told them how to load things on the ships, overseeing the loading of ships at various ports, including Portland, Astoria, and Longview. Towards the end of his career championed moving towards container shipping.


He worked seven days a week in the beginning, and would often go back to work after dinner. My mom recalls many nights where her and my grandma would go and sit in the dark in the car, waiting for my grandpa to finish up work.


He retired in 1973, as Brady-Hamilton celebrated their 50th anniversary. The photographs in this post are from a booklet produced by the company, celebrating their 50 years in business.

Thanks for reading, as always you can find all my 52ancestors posts by clicking the tag!

Until next time,



52 Ancestors: Back to School


I was looking at some of the boxes I have for my family history items and came across this stack of books. These books used to sit in our childhood home, in the family room on a higher shelf, out of reach of the prying hands of children.


Each book is from a different ancestor, obviously important enough to hold on to and eventually pass down. Some even contain information useful to genealogy.


The oldest book belonged to my great-grandfather William McCallum. “The Miner’s Son, and Margaret Vernon,” written by M.M. Pollard was presented to him from Carleton Place Public Schools in Ontario, Canada, a prize for “General Proficiency” in December 1883, when William was 11.


The next oldest book is from my great-great-grandmother Louisa Jennie Ishmael, a copy of “Daniel Baker’s Talk to Little Children,” a present given to her on her 11th birthday, 20 December 1884.


Interestingly, the book also contains notes from my grandma about her genealogy that are incorrect. Her grandmother was named Louisa but went by Jennie. Her mother’s name was actually Mary. (Always double-check information given to you!)


The next book was a gift to my great-grandfather Chester Crowe on Christmas Day 1902, from his uncle Orvill Crow. The inscription in the book is a little odd, as the family has added the “e” to the end of their surname two generations before, but yet it is not reflected in the book.


A worn copy of “Jack and the Beanstalk” is inscribed to my grandfather, William Gordon McCallum, but was known as Gordon growing up. This book was gifted to him on his fourth birthday (27 November 1911) by Dan William Drummond. As I type this, I realize I have not attempted to find out who Mr. Drummond was, but now I must!


The final book is a copy of Shakespeares’ “Merchant of Venice,” which belonged to my grandma Veva Crowe. The inscription reads “Veva Crowe Salem, Oregon class of 1935-36.” This copy states “for use in schools and classes.” My grandma went to school in Salem but graduated from Monmouth High School in 1939.


These books obviously held meaning to my ancestors, and they hold meaning for me as well.

Thanks for reading, as always you can find all my 52ancestors posts by clicking the tag!

Until next time,