The Family Mystery Blog has moved!

As of today, this blog has moved to its new (and permanent home) at  Not only has the blog moved, but it now has a whole brand new website attached to it! Come and check it out, and be sure to update your subscriptions.

See ya’ over there!

Published in: on June 23, 2011 at 7:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

Fearless Females, Day 2: Helen Ruth GUTHU

This is my grandmother, Helen Ruthu GUTHU, who married Junior Carl “Jude” LOUNDREE. In the photo she is holding my aunt Charla Dee LOUNDREE. My father, Larry Dean LOUNDREE is the little boy leaning against the chair. This is one of my favorite family pictures, even though my aunt Judy and my grandfather aren’t in it.

Published in: on March 2, 2011 at 7:18 am  Comments (1)  

Fearless Females, Day 1: Sophia Laundree

Lisa Alzo over at The Accidental Genealogist blog has come up with a way to get our blogging to relate to National Women’s History Month, which starts today. For the next 31 days, Lisa will be providing blogging prompts to help us get in touch with our family tree’s feminine side. Day one’s prompt is to write about a favorite female ancestor, or one you are drawn to and want to learn more about. For me, that is Sophia LAUNDREE.

Sophia was born in Wisconsin about 1839. I know very little about her; not even her maiden name. She was Native American, and because of where she lived I assume she was Chippewa. Sometime before 1860, she met and married Joseph LAUNDREE. Together they had three children, Elizabeth (in Jan 1860), Josephine (17 Jul 1865), and Joseph Carl (14 Jan 1871) all born in Wisconsin.

In 1874, when Joe Jr was just 3 years old, Sophia died from consumption. She was maybe 35.

That’s it. That’s all I’ve got. I find her on the 1860 and 1870 censuses with Joseph and children, but other than that, and the small death notice from the local paper, I’ve got nothing to prove she ever existed. No death record, no marriage record, no idea where she was buried. No family stories handed down. She is my ghost, the person I can’t quite pin down, but I know she existed.

The wonderful people at the UW-River Falls library have dug through their archives for me numerous times, and we still come up with nothing. She lived her entire life in Polk County, Wisconsin (as far as I know). I don’t know where to try next, so if any of you have a suggestion, I’d love to hear it.

Published in: on March 1, 2011 at 3:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

Funeral Card Friday: Pearl Mae Oak

Pearl Mae (Harrington) Oak died on 10 January 1976 at a Portland, Multnomah, Oregon hospital following a short illness. She was 92.

Pearl was born on 04 April 1883 in La Porte, La Porte, Indiana to Orlando and Amanda Harrington. On 21 December 1901, she married William Henry Oak in La Porte, Indiana.  The couple moved to Oregon in 1923. She enjoyed gardening and crocheting. Her husband passed in 1951.

She was survived by her son Clarence, three daughters, Margaret (C.G.) Fellows, Gertrude (John) Harris, and Lila (Bob) Larson, seven grandchildren, 17 great-grandchildren, one great-great-grandchild, and her sister, Sylvia Guthu.

Services were held 13 January 1976 at Carroll Funeral Home, Gresham, Multnomah, Oregon, followed by interment at Forest Lawn Memorial Park.

Published in: on December 24, 2010 at 6:13 am  Leave a Comment  

Thrifty Thursday: Genealogical Forum of Oregon

The Genealogical Forum of Oregon, located in southeast Portland, houses one of the largest independent genealogy libraries on the west coast. The collection consists of approximately 10%  Oregon resources, with the other 90% being made up of regional, national and world wide resources. The library is open to the public 9:30-5 Monday -Thursday, 9:30-3 on Saturday, and noon-5 on Sunday. They are closed on Fridays. Admission for non-members is $7, except the first Monday of each month, when admission is free. Membership is $35 a year for individuals, and gets you free access to the library, as well as subscriptions to The Bulletin (quarterly which contains a free query section for members)  and The Insider (their newsletter – back issues can be viewed online), and the privilege of checking out books and periodicals from the library.

In addition to the library, the GFO has several searchable indexes available on their website:

  • Oregon Provisional Land Claims
  • Donation Land Claims
  • Early Settlers Forms
  • Multnomah County Marriages 1855-1910+
  • 1890 Veterans Census
  • Oregon Death Certificates 1903-1905 (they have paper copies)
  • Portland Death Certificates
  • Little Chapel of the Chimes Funeral Home records
  • Multnomah County Probates
  • Multnomah County Naturalizations
  • Jackson County Funeral Cards
  • WWI Draft registration – Oregon
  • 23000+ Oregon Obituaries
  • Family Genealogies

Their library catalog is also available online. If you are outside the Portland area, the GFO has a small staff of volunteers who will perform up to one hour of research at the rate of $10 per half hour ($10 minimum), plus $0.25 per copy. They also offer monthly programs, which are free and open to the public on the second Saturday of the month, and feature a different speaker each month.  In addition, the GFO holds seminars twice a year. For more information, please check out their website at

Published in: on December 23, 2010 at 10:19 am  Leave a Comment  

Thrifty Thursday: Databases available through Multnomah County Library (Oregon)

Do you have a Multnomah County Library Card? Do you have internet access? Do you want to get some research done on your family tree? Then check out these databases available through the local library for free!

Genealogy resources can be accessed on the Multnomah County Library’s website at (How sad is it that I have that address memorized? lol) Once you’re there, you will find the following databases:

  • America’s Obituaries and Death Notices

Owned by NewsBank (who also owns Geneabank), this database is a collection of obituaries and death notices from newspapers across the United States. Each obituary/death notice is indexed by name, as well as the full text being searchable. Years covered vary from newspaper to newspaper. The Oregonian obits are available from 1988-present. Don’t miss out on other resources offered from this page, such as the recently updated Historical Oregonian (full issues, not just obits, February 04, 1861 – December 31, 1987 even though it says 1861-1972)

  • Biography and Genealogy Master Index (BGMI)

The BGMI indexes current, readily available reference sources, as well as the most important retrospective works that cover individuals, both living and deceased, from every field of activity and from all areas of the world.

  • Heritage Quest Online

At HeritageQuest Online, you have access to the complete set of  US Federal Census images from 1790-1930, 28,000 family and local histories, PERSI, selected records from the Revolutionary War Era Pension & Bounty-Land Warrant Application files, the records of Freedman’s Bank (1865-1874, organized to serve African-American’s), and the U.S. Serial Set.

  • New York Times 1999-Present

Actually, this option takes you to ProQuest and searches not only the NYT, but also several other databases, including the LA Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and Christian Science Monitor.

  • Historical New York Times (1851-2005)

Another ProQuest search, the historical newspapers must be searched separately from the databases above. ProQuest currently has NYT issues from September 18, 1851 – December 31, 2007.

  • The Oregonian (1987-present)

Offered through NewsBank, you can search full issues of The Oregonian from September 1, 1987-present.

  • Sanborn Maps 1867-1970

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps of towns and cities in Oregon, Washington and California.

Most of these databases will request your library card number and PIN in order to access them. If you don’t know your PIN, try the last four of your phone number, or call the library. There are also many other resources listed on the library website; I have only listed the databases here.

If you don’t have a library card, you can get one for free at any branch of the Multnomah County Library IF you live in Multnomah, Washington, or Clackamas County, Oregon; Clark, Skamania or Klickitat County, Washington; or in the city of Woodland, Yale or Camas, Washington.

Published in: on December 17, 2010 at 3:54 pm  Leave a Comment  

Funeral Card Friday – Oscar Palmer Guthu

In Memory of Oscar Palmer Guthu

Born: February 11, 1880    Died: May 15, 1964

Services in the Chapel of Carroll Funeral Home, Gresham, Oregon

May 18, 1964 10:00 am

Rev Fred King, Officiating; Mrs. A. Bishop, Organist; Mrs. F. King, Soloist

Private Interment, Sandy Cemetery, Sandy, Oregon

Published in: on December 17, 2010 at 9:35 am  Leave a Comment  

Treasure Chest Thursday – 1930s West Virginia Yearbooks

While digging through my grandmother’s closet yesterday, I came across a plastic tote containing what we believed to be my uncle’s yearbooks. Upon closer examination, however, I discovered that it also contained my grandfather’s yearbooks from Charleston, West Virginia. I am now the proud owner of the 1931 Charlestonian, the 1939 Charlestonian, and the 1936 Lincoln Junior High “Searchlight.”

My grandfather, Fred S Greybill, Jr, graduated high school in 1939. He graduated junior high in 1936. But the 1931 Charlestonian is a mystery to me. I’m not sure who it belonged to, as my grandfather was the oldest of all his siblings. He would have been 10 in 1931, so it’s definitely not his. I haven’t had a chance to go through the whole book yet (it’s in pretty bad shape, and three pieces), but hopefully I’ll find an answer as to why he had it.

Anyway, it looks like I’ve got some fun stuff took look through. And if you want me to check for any names, just let me know.

Published in: on December 16, 2010 at 12:46 pm  Comments (1)  

Wordless Wednesday: Guthu – Harrington Marriage Certificate

Published in: on December 15, 2010 at 6:15 am  Comments (1)  

Tombstone Tuesday – Ruby (Dodd) Loundree

Memory is one gift of God that death cannot destroy

Ruby Isabelle Dodd was born 17 Jan 1903 in Kenniston, Ward, North Dakota to Elkanah John and Elizabeth Ann (Somers) Dodd.  On 19 Oct 1923, she married Carl Dean Loundree in Vancouver, Clark, Washington. Ruby and Carl were my great-grandparents. They had one son, Junior Carl “Jude” Loundree.

Ruby was the first female postmaster in Sandy, Clackamas, Oregon. As of 1973 she was the only woman to have ever held that position.

On 15 Jul 1951, Ruby passed away from ovarian cancer. Her Oregon Journal Funeral Announcement, published on July 16, 1951 read Loundree, Ruby Isabelle, Sandy, OR July 15; beloved wife of Carl; mother of Carl Jr; sister of Mrs Elsie Danielson, Mrs Ellery McDougal, Mrs Edna Goheen, Mrs. Dell Larson, Mrs Stanley McDonald, Mrs Curtis Bacon, George and Wilbur Dodd.  Funeral Services Tuesday, July 17th at 2pm Chapel of Carroll’s Funeral Home, Gresham.  Interment Sandy, OR.

Published in: on December 14, 2010 at 10:28 am  Leave a Comment  
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