52 Ancestors: Conflict

The thing about coming from a large family is if there is something special about your family, something that isn’t a photograph or something that can be duplicated, only one person can have it. It’s just a fact.

My great-grandma Ida Borchert Gall was the oldest of six kids. Before my grandma Pauline Gall McCallum died, her aunt Katherine (Ida’s youngest sister) gifted her the family bible, which my mom then inherited. I do not know why Katherine didn’t pass it down to her direct descendants.


Pauline McCallum and Katherine Howell
I found this picture with corresponding information (in my mom’s handwriting) tucked inside the Bible.


However, this has created a conflict within the family. Others are upset that they were not given the Bible, while my mom has no problem sharing the content, but does not want to give it up.


Borchert family bible.



The Bible is stamped from Cincinnati, where the last four children were born and the family lived between 1887 and 1897. The pages are coming loose, and there are some momentos (mostly written in German) tucked inside.


Bible from German Methodist Deaconess Home in Cincinnati, Ohio.
The spine and pages are coming loose.
A memento stuck in the pages of the Borchert family bible, from Lincoln Glee Club.


The Bible is nothing special: it is written in German and is starting to fall apart. It does list the names and birth dates of all the children, including Katherine’s descendants.


The pages from the family bible. I am unsure what the last entry is (if anyone can help out!).
The children of Hermann and Dora Borchert.
The descendants of Katherine Borchert Howell.

I love this heirloom and being able to see my great-grandma’s handwriting. We don’t have much from her side of the family, so this is really special.

Thanks for reading! With my new menu, on the homepage, you can click on blog and it will dropdown 52ancestors, so all the back postings are easy to find!

Until next time,










Etta’s Eats: Mother’s Ginger Cookies

Welcome to the launch of a new series on the site! Among the many family recipes we have, I came across a recipe box belonging to my great-grandma Etta McCallum.These recipes are unfamiliar to my mom and I, so I have decided to make them all!


recipe box
The recipe box of Etta Moore McCallum.


(Maybe make them all.) There are some interesting ones (to say the least), but I wanted to start a recipe that probably meant something to Etta: a recipe titled Mother’s Ginger Cookies.

Etta was ten years old when her mother died in 1884. The recipe card is dated 1882, with the initials C.M. Her mother’s name was Catherine Moore.


ginger cookies with card
Ginger Cookies.


This recipe, like many in the box, was partially there. Some words were illegible while other key details, like baking time and temperature, were left off. But off I went, and the cookies ended up being really good!


2 cups flour

1 cup (two sticks) butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup molasses

3 Tablespoons ginger


Cream butter and sugar together. Add molasses.

In a seperate bowl, mix dry ingredients.

Slowly add dry ingredients to wet and mix until incorporated.

To Bake:

Spoon tablespoon-size lumps onto parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Leave room as the cookies spread! I did about 8 on a sheet to get them not to run into each other.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, 8 minutes if you want a softer cookie. At 10 minutes the middle is soft but the edges have a nice crisp. (12 minutes will burn and not make the cookie crisp.)

The recipe called for rolling the dough thin, but it was really wet, so I just dolloped it on the tray. They came out thin, but soft and flavorful!

The verdict: they were delicious! The cookies got high marks from my mom, nephew Colton, and niece Kaydence. (My niece London tried one bite and was disappointed they were not chocolate chip.)

Would I make them again?: YES. They were a nice treat with few ingredients. Very appropriate for autumn.

52 Ancestors: Sports

My dad was a huge sports fan. Growing up, he played football and wrestled, but his true love was baseball.


My dad with his sister and parents at a wrestling meet at McNary High School, Salem Oregon, in either 1966 or 1967.


His family would go to San Francisco (from Portland) to watch Giants games, but he was always a Dodgers fan.

However, as us kids grew up, our family rooted for the Seattle Mariners (except my brother, who from some strange reason is a Cubs fan). We attended many games at the Kingdome, which was a giant concrete building filled with astroturf and no sunlight.

kingdomeI remember clearly one night my dad coming home from work and taking me down to Ticketmaster, to try to get tickets to see the Mariners play the Yankees the next day. I was 16.

Since it was last minute, the only tickets we could get for the six of us (my parents, me, my brother, my sister, and my grandma) was the very top row of the 300 level. Right up against the concrete wall. Literally, we sat in bleacher seats and leaned against the wall of the Kingdome.


dad kingdome
My dad climbing the stairs. You can almost see the regret on his face.


I do not remember who won the game (I actually had to look it up, but the Mariners lost 5-3, you can see the box score HERE if interested), but I do remember clearly getting the tickets with my dad, running down the concrete ramps with my sister to get player autographs, and how horrible the green turf was. (It was bad. Really really bad.)


My favorite player (and now Mariners hitting coach), Edgar Martinez, on the turf at the Kingdome.

The Kingdome was replaced by Safeco Field in 1999, and I remember attending two games there with my dad: Ichiro’s 1st bobblehead day, and Edgar Martinez Day, where the Mariners honored Edgar at his second-to-last game as a player.

Edgar Martinez weekend, August 2017. Safeco Field is much more picturesque.


After my dad died, it was hard for me to watch the Mariners for a while, but I am back to being a hardcore fan, even going to Opening Day this year with my mom.


My nephew Colton and I outside Safeco Field, August 2017.

So thanks Dad, for instilling my love of baseball. And calling me at work when Edgar retired so I could listen to the press conference over the phone (ah, pre-smartphone days). And although my dad has been gone 11 years, he hasn’t missed a single playoff appearance. Oh, the trials of a Mariners fan.

Thanks for reading my ode to my dad and my Mariners. 🙂




52 Ancestors: Ten

This week I would like to share the story of my 3x great-grandma Sarah Jane Thrush, who was born in the tenth month, October!


Sarah Jane Thrush Crow
Sarah Jane Crow.


Sarah was born on 1 October 1844 in Lee County, Iowa. She was the second born daughter of John Thrush and Elizabeth Trimble. I wrote about John previously, which you can read HERE.

Sarah is one of my pioneer ancestors. Her family traveled to California in 1853, and a few years later settled in Oregon. On 1 September 1857, Sarah married Richard Crow in Lorane, Oregon. She was only 12 years old.

A year later she gave birth to her first child, Cynthia. Over the next 19 years, Sarah gave birth to 15 (!) children, including her sixth child, my 2x great-grandpa Benjamin. Remarkably, all of her children survived infancy, although she had a daughter die at 16.

Her obituary said she was referred to as “Aunt Jane” by her friends.

Sarah died on 17 September 1936, at the age of 91. She outlived nine of her children and was survived by twenty grandchildren, sixteen great-grandchildren, and eight great-great-grandchildren.

I imagine that she must have been a strong woman, having traveled across the country and surviving a marriage so young, and carrying so many children. Sarah outlived her husband by twenty years, and her son Benjamin by just over a month.

Sarah is buried with her husband Richard in the Crow Family Cemetary in Lorane.

You can click the 52 Ancestors tag to see previous posts!

Until next time,





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!