Monday, May 25, 2015

How to Find Your Ancestors in Limited Edition Regional History Books

Until Karen Drain read a newspaper account about her Honberger ancestors in Behind These Mountains , she said,
“I knew only that they were present for part of Heron’s history, for good or for bad! I found your books through genealogy research. My ancestor is listed in a newspaper clipping you included in a book.
When I found the listed page, I thought that the books would provide great reading material for my [91-year-old] Great Uncle Jack, who is helping me build the family tree. [And] my thoughts of buying your books in hardcopy were my only hope of sharing them with him."
She’d read the 1919 Sanders County Independent Ledger account of a “saloon keeper” whose business had been robbed. She contacted me. I connected her with people still living in the Heron area who might be helpful. Through them, she touched bases with others who also added to her knowledge about her family connection to former Heronites.
Karen said,
“Heidi [Dettwiler], Phoebe Harker, Linda Rocheleau, Fredi Pargeter, and Helen Meadows have all reached out to me and I am so humbled by everyone’s generosity in assisting me in my family search. You all are so wonderful!”
However, the Behind These Mountains trilogy she wanted to purchase has become rare out-of-print collectible books. Like most regional history books, they were limited editions; 1,000 volume 1 copies and only 500 copies of volumes 2 and 3.
Until I told her about requesting books through Inter-library loan, Karen wasn’t aware of that library service.  A librarian searches for them and when located, requests a copy that library clients can check out to read.
In 2009, Kindle editions of Behind These Mountains, Volumes I, II & III became available. Since there are about 1,000 vintage photographs from homesteader’s private albums in them I also offer .pdf formatted editions of the trilogy on a DVD for $50. The .pdf editions are a popular choice for those wanting print books because I include permission for a buyer to print [or have printed] a personal copy of each approximately 1200 page book. Karen elected to buy the DVD.
“I received my DVD today,” she wrote, “and I cannot wait to begin reading [on her computer’s large screen]! My hope is to print out a chapter at a time and send it to my great Uncle Jack. .. My thought is that he will have something to look forward to every week as I send him one or two chapters at a time.

I believe I mentioned that Jack is 91 and he doesn’t even have a working television, let alone a computer. His phone is not a fancy one either so hardcopy is the only way for him to read your book. I want to [print and] send a few chapters at a time so he has something to look forward to and he will check his mail more often than he does! Thank you so much for sharing all of your research!”
Her uncle plans to save the printed chapters and someday return them to Karen.
As she began reading the .pdf copies on her computer, Karen discovered Heron was beset in 1909 by smallpox brought in by a child who had returned from visiting relatives back east. Coincidentally, her relative, Flora Emma Honberger Dingley, died in Heron in January 1909. Now she wonders if smallpox caused Mrs. Dingley’s demise.
In a post on my Bygone Montanans blogspot, which is designed to help people with their genealogy research, I shared family information and photos of the Honberger and Dingley ancestors in Heron, that Karen had sent.
She responded, 
“Thank you for sharing my family history in your blog. Perhaps another family member will read it and add to the information. We are shaking the bushes, so to speak… We are very thankful to find you and your work.”
Laura Becquart, David Miller, Cindy Raynor, Tracey Lewis and Teresa Morkert are also among those who found the regional Montana history online.
When he got in touch, David said, 
Laura also emailed, 
“My name is Laura Becquart and I am interested in purchasing the pdf printable version of Behind These Mountains. I already have the book for volume 1 [original out-of-print edition], and it contains quite a few pictures. Do you know if the pdf version will contain pictures as well? Also, is the $50 for all three volumes?"
When I replied, she responded,
“Oh, this is too cool - I think I'm actually talking to Mona herself! You even signed my original edition of volume 1. My great uncle Lank (Loren Jameson) was able to get a signed copy for both my Mom and I. My Mom is Lucille Jenkins, the grand-daughter of Lucy Jenkins from Noxon.
My brother was trying to find volume 2 and 3 for my Mom for Mother's Day. I told him I would look around on the Internet and see if I could find anything for him. Of course, there wasn't anything out there, but I did stumble upon your Behind These Mountains website. 
Would it be acceptable for me to mail you a check? I'm fine waiting for you to cash the check before you would mail me the pdf file.”
We emailed back and forth as I related personal memories of times my husband and I enjoyed with her ancestors during the 60-years we lived near Noxon. Her check arrived and the DVD went in the mail the next day.

Tracey Lewis found ancestors in my books, connected with living kinfolk she learned about using Internet reseach, and traveled hundreds of miles to meet some of them in person. As the families connected, they used emails, phone calls and letters, to discover other members of the family tree, and organized a grand family reunion for fhose they found.

We learned much about our Gremaux family ancestors from a little-known out-of-print book in a library in Indiana. More information about that branch, and also the Vanek branch of our family tree, is located in a library in Lewistown, Montana. Many northwestern Montana settlers relocated to the lower Clark Fork River valley from the Plentywood area in Montana. The library there hosts detailed accounts of their lives.
How can you find your ancestors?
  • Locate a library or museum in a town where an ancestor lived. Ask if any regional history books have been published. Request any that you find through Inter-library-loan. 
  • Ask if there is a talking book or digital version. Many old books have been republished in a digital book, or online.
  • Type family names into several online search engines. Each may return different results.
  • Utilize You won’t need to subscribe to if your local library has access that you can use free.
  • Research ancestors through The Church of Latter Day Saints’ genealogy resources. is an excellent resource for locating books, periodicals and authors. The website has a powerful search engine, and is intended to provide convenient access to a large quantity of high-quality content material, mostly published over the last 150 years in America and England. It accesses over one million readable items, and titles of another million items not readable due to copyright.

You, too, might find and learn more about your ancestors in a little known regional history book. In doing so, you'll also make a author as happy as I am ~ knowing my work connects families.You may also have a grand reunion, like Tracey Lewis and her kinfolk, of family tree members you have yet to meet.


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Open Invitation to Mardi Gras Party at Broadway Court Estates, Spokane Valley, Wash.

On March 17th this year this domain will no longer be funded at which time my understanding is that the website will become extinct. However, before the Palouse website just disappears in March and GoDaddy advertises the domain for sale, Joel Kimball, owner of Palouse Internet, a small town Internet Provider in Tekoa, Washington has been interested in incorporating it with his services. If you favor that, you can contact Joel at 509-284-2518.

Eric Eden listed our house at Rockford that we enjoyed while I was publishing The North Palouse Washington eNewscast. We hope you'll find touring the house and property fascinating!! Please share it. We believe another family should be enjoying that lovely place as much as we did during the ten years we lived there. 

We're happy to report that our move to Broadway Court Estates Assisted Living Retirement Community has turned out well. Fabulous Valentine's and Mardi Gras entertainment will enliven this month. And Broadway Court Estates  extends an open invitation for everyone to come February 17th to enjoy the special entertainment for Fat Tuesday from 1-1:30 p.m.

Only five apartments in this privately owned establishments are available for rent now, and tours are available. Come and enjoy the camaraderie and special entertainment planned for the public that day. Mention to the sales representative, Jennifer Jordan that you read about it in The North Palouse Washington eNewscast!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Adieu North Palouse Washington

Dear Readers,

Until last spring my husband and I had always been active and independent. We entertained, played cards, went fishing, attended fairs and festivals, RV traveled, grew a garden, maintained our home, and enjoyed a variety of hobbies.

We envisioned living in a home of our own the rest of our days.

We never for a minute thought we'd reside in an assisted living community.

And then during Easter weekend I suffered an attack of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo [BPPV]. You may have read my story at that time. Shortly afterwards, I put Palouse enews on hiatus because of numbness in my hands and nerve pain in my arms.

To friends and family, during the weeks following my BPPV, I described how doctors twisted neck in the CPR Epley maneuver that was
performed in a hospital, and the follow up treatments I had at a rehab center. Emails about them flew between us for a couple of months afterwards, often crisscrossing in the Ethernet.

Doctors didn't tell me about CPR's potential complications which include the possibility of neck/back injury, or I would have refused the treatment. Forty years ago my neck was broken when the pickup I was a passenger in was rear ended.

On the Monday after Easter weekend, 2014, the medical specialist who performed the Epley maneuver on me failed to consider my previous medical history, or perhaps the doctor hadn't read my medical chart and didn't know about the 40-year-old graft in my neck.

As a result, my life changed overnight. I went from being primary driver and helpmate to my husband to being dependent on him for everything.

During the next three months I was transported by ambulance five times to hospital emergency rooms, before a doctor ordered an MRI. C-6 and C-7 discs in my neck were damaged by the Epley head maneuvers.

He referred me to a neurosurgeon.

Before the neurosurgeon's "earliest available appointment" on July10th, I accidentally became a drug-addicted great granny for seven days, overdosed and went blind for several minutes--who quit cold turkey, and plunged into withdrawal hell!

Names of doctors omitted to protect them--however, in all honesty what happened to me was partly my own fault, because I'm conditioned to naively trust physicians.

Since I don't even take OTC pain pills I hadn't a clue about today's reality.

A prescription for Hydocodone only meant pain relief. I didn't realize it was a narcotic drug! A very addictive narcotic drug! And it always means you need more, more, more ...

When my doctor's assistant said, "The goal now is pain management until you see the neurosurgeon: Increase the dose,"  to me it meant just that. Take more Hydocodone. It didn't translate in my 81-year-old brain to "doctor's orders don't always include 'no more than X per day'" or "go online and educate yourself about the medication."

Later, my neurosurgeon said Hydocodone doesn't work for nerve pain. She prescribed Gabapenten, and increased the dosage in small increments to achieve temporary relief. I went online to Mayo, and read all about Gabapenten before one pill went into my mouth!

Suffice to say, it was a summer of convincing events and steep learning curves until we accepted the inevitable--our health, stamina, and safety issues showed it was time for a major lifestyle change. So moving into an Assisted Living Community [ALC--not to be confused with assisted living *facility] seemed to be our best option.

Our only previous experience with an assisted living place was visiting friends who moved into
Orchard Crest in Spokane Valley, Wash., a few years ago. We've since learned that many former Palouse region residents also live there.

For those wondering what assisted living means,
A Place For Mom is a premier website to learn about assisted living, where this link provides an explanation of the basic services.

Late this fall we rented an apartment at Broadway Court Estates, an ALC where the meals, maintenance and transportation we desire are included.

We appreciate the conveniences. Personally, my health is improving and I welcome the safety of walking indoors, as well as outdoors on the community's landscaped grounds. Use of my hands without bringing on unbearable pain is improving.

Walking in the warm pool daily, prescribed by my neurosurgeon, may help me avoid neck surgery.  I'm  hopeful that I'll be "fixed"--as my neurosurgeon promised--and someday I'll be able to drive again, and regain some of my former independence.

So there you have it. That's our story of how we came to live in an ALC--and I assure you that although the details vary widely, fellow residents of Broadway Court Estates each have a story of what brought them here.

Two weeks after the shock of moving into an apartment nearly the size of the Montana home where we raised our three children, the happiest things we've learned are that other residents are impressively friendly, meals are good, and the housekeeping and maintenance staffs are excellent.

It's easy to see why those who've lived in this assisted living community anywhere from a month to a dozen years--when asked how they like it--invariably answer, "I love it! Wouldn't live anywhere else."

Although many people live in assisted living communities because of health problems, aging and/or diminished mental status, others choose this lifestyle for a wide variety of reasons, including the simple convenience of not owning/maintaining a home. Most find the social aspects, which often include stellar entertainment, attractive. Many appreciate the convenience of indoor pools and exercise equipment with personal instructors.

I have created 21st Century Old Folks Home, *** ASSISTED LIVING COMMUNITY ~ A LIFESTYLE OF FULLNESS *** ~ The goal of this website is to help and encourage those who never imagined they'd move to an Assisted Living Community, but nevertheless are faced with the challenge.

I hope you visit the blog, and share the URL with others. There's no telling when you, too, might be suddenly faced with the tough decision of moving to an assisted living community.

Come back often. Please leave a comment to guide me as I take up this new challenge, and to encourage others embarking on this phase of life.

It's been a pleasure to share the news on the Palouse, and I'll miss that, and interacting with librarians, town clerks, clubs, organizations, and the friendly residents on the Palouse.

Sadly, the time has come to say "Adieu."

The North Palouse Washington e-Newscast and it's links will stay live until the domain expires, March 27, 2015.

Mona Vanek, Editor

Friday, August 29, 2014

A Best Seller Before Publication!

Charles Hobbs, a member of Internet Writing Workshop, who sent his book through the non-fiction list as he was writing it, is fast becoming a best selling author on Amazon before the November 4, 2014 release of Hidden History of Los Angeles Transportation by Charles P. Hobbs.

As of August 19th, "Hidden History of Los Angeles Transportation" had a sales ranking hovering between 10-12 in the category  "Mass Transit."

Congratulations to Charles, and watch for more here after the first of November, about how and why he wrote this book. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

"Going Home" by Sue Ellis, is published by MUSED, Bella Online Literary

MUSED - Bella Online Literary, published
Going Home, by Sue Ellis, in their Summer 2014 Volume 8, Issue 2. Ellis' story gives life to a house built on the Palouse in 1909 while weaving into it the vagaries of raising a family in Waverly, Washington. She also portrays the vintage home in it's new life today.

Readers who are familiar with Ellis's charming stories won't want to miss this one in which she outdoes her usual superior evocative and charming style.

Another recent story, a very short piece of fiction, is published in the Short Takes at Persimmon Tree, where you'll need to scroll down to read her story about a tree-faller, enticingly titled
Burned Pancakes. 

Enjoy Sue Ellis' stories that have been highlighted here in past issues:

Life on the Palouse History - A Bucket of Dirt Clods, published in Poor Mojo's Almanac(k) Classics 2000-2011.

Living On The Edge, published at Blue Lyra Review.

Friends a delightful poem about her great-granddaughter Mici and a year-old Labrador pup.

Poetry and Short Stories by Sue Ellis Published , includes links to a few of her delightful stories, published at a variety of venues.


Friday, June 20, 2014

Don't Let Mushrooms Endanger Your Children ~Teach Them Caution

Keep your children safe by teaching them to not mess with mushrooms they find in the playgrounds, parks and vacant lots in and around your community!

Amanita magniverrucata mushrooms with their exaggerated warts on the cap are certainly spectacular enough to attract attention from curious kids.  The large erect warts on the cap set it apart, making it look like a white pine cone or a glob of meringue. Buttons (emerging mushrooms) resemble a puffball, and the two buttons, found near this pair of mature older Amanita magniverrucata in the Seed Company Park in Rockford, Washington, resembled rounded puff balls with no warts appearing yet, and the gills on the underside were pinkish.
Known also as Pine Cone Amanita they can be found growing gregarious under pine trees, or solitary like this pair found close to the pine tree at the southwest corner of the playfield ~~ far enough away from the swings and ball diamond to not attract attention from youngsters who frequent the park.
The specie develops slowly and persists for weeks without decaying. Edibility is reported in "Mushrooms Demystified" by David Arora as "Unknown--do not experiment! It belongs to the Lepidellas, a subgroup of Amanita that contains poisonous species."

Like most mushrooms, this specie are often difficult to positively identify without a microscope but they should not be eaten, and if handled, hands should be thoroughly washed with soapy water so as not to transfer toxins to other foods.