Exciting Rootstech Updates!

Have you signed up for Rootstech yet? If yes, awesome! It will be an exciting time!

If no, there is still time! If you register by January 25, you get the promotional price of $209! For more information: click here. Rootstech will be held in Salt Lake City February 27-March 2, 2019 (three months away!).

Rootstech is more than the world’s largest genealogy conference and informational sessions. Guest speakers and musical performances also mark the event. Already announced: Steven Rockwood, the president and CEO of FamilySearch; Saroo Brierley, subject of the award-winning film Lion; and ukulele artist Jake Shimabukuro, with more announcements to come!

Plus, the full list of sessions is now available! I have been going through each description with a fine-tooth comb. The session I am most looking forward to? The Magic of German Church Records by Katherine Schober. I have a ton of German ancestors, and I am always up to learning new tips and tricks to hunt them down!

Please let me know if you want any further information! And with the holidays fast approaching, a ticket to the conference would be the perfect thing to gift the budding family historian of the family!




52 Ancestors: Thankful

One thing this project has taught me is how lucky I am to exist. Writing down stories of ancestors who survived wars, unfortunate accidents, and of ancestors who came from all over the globe, it truly is a miracle that I was born.

I am constantly amazed that my parents even met. My dad’s family has been in the United States for hundreds of years, traveling the Oregon Trail and settling in the middle of Oregon. My mom’s family, on the other hand, traveled to the United States at the turn of the century, from Germany and Canada. Part of her family settled in the Midwest, while others traveled across Canada and settled in Washington.


My parents on their wedding day.


My maternal grandparents met in San Diego, where my grandfather would dock while in the Merchant Marines. It was only after the war when he could not find a job in Seattle when he moved his family to Oregon. My parents met at college.


On their honeymoon.


It really is a miracle that everything fell into place. Thousands of ancestors had to be in the right place at the right time. One death, one movement to a different place, and things would have been totally different.


Their first Halloween, 1978.



So today I am thankful for each of my ancestors. For the ones who left home and came to a new country and the ones who stayed close to home. Every one of my ancestors was right where they were supposed to be.

Until next time,




52 Ancestors: Random Fact

I have written quite a bit about my great-grandfather Chester Crowe, but the most surprised I have been in my research was learning where he died.

Chester and Myrtle Crowe, 1967.

Chester and Myrtle were big outdoors people and would go camping at all times of the year, something that is unusual for Oregon. And it was during one of these camping trips where on December 2, 1972, Chester died of a heart attack. They were camping in the Santiam Wilderness, in the Cascade Mountains.

Even more surprising, the box for hour of death on his death certificate is marked with a question mark. Myrtle woke up and found that Chester had died in his sleep. He was pronounced dead at 10 AM.

Death certificate
Chester Crowe’s death certificate.

And they weren’t camping in an RV; they were in a tent. My mom assumes they were in a campground, as Myrtle didn’t drive, but there is nothing nearby now.


Myrtle and Chester Crowe, Carol and Vickie Comstock
Myrtle and Chester Crowe with their granddaughters Carol and Vickie Comstock, c. 1972.

Oregon camping is usually limited to the summer, so seeing this on his death certificate was rather a shock.

For more about Chester, I wrote about my favorite photo, his time in the US Army, and his wedding.


Until next time,







52 Ancestors: Bearded

I had a hard time finding an ancestor with facial hair, as I seem to come from a long line of clean-shaven individuals. The few I found, I had already written posts about.

I did find one mustache worth noting, that of my 2nd great uncle Neil McCallum.


Neil McCallum portrait
Neil McCallum


Neil was born 12 October 1869 in Grey, Ontario, Canada, three years before his brother (and my great-grandfather) William. Neil was the sixth child of Thomas and Margaret.

Neil lost his mother at the age of 7 and his father at 16. He spent some time living in the United States around the turn of the century, even marrying his wife Margaret Stoughton in Eden Prarie, Minnesota on 12 January 1899.

Maggie Stoughton portrait lo res
Margaret “Maggie” Stoughton


Soon after they married Neil and Maggie settled in Vancouver, Canada, where they had three girls: Maud (born 14 June 1900), Bessie (born 12 November 1901), and Mabel (born 19 September 1903).


McCallum Family portrait
Neil and Maggie McCallum with Mabel, Maud, and Bessie.


My grandpa was close with his cousins Maud and Bessie, visiting them often, even later in life. My mom recalls many visits to Vancouver throughout her childhood. I wonder if my grandpa even named my mom after his aunt Margaret.

This is a short but sweet post, mainly to show off Neil’s great mustache.

Until next time,