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: 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  

Wordless Wednesday: Guthu – Harrington Marriage Certificate

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

Grandpa Jude

Junior Carl “Jude” Loundree was born on 04 Apr 1924 in Oregon City, Clackamas, Oregon.  He was born at the home of a family member or friend (I’m not sure which) because they would not admit his mother, Ruby (Dodd) Loundree into the hospital because she had chicken pox, and they were afraid she’d infect all the other mothers and babies.

Jude was the only child of Ruby and Carl Loundree.  He grew up and attended school in Sandy, Clackamas, Oregon. The story goes that my grandmother, Helen (Guthu) Loundree, spotted him across the playground when she was about 14, and declared to her friends “That is the man I am going to marry.”   In 1946, they were married in Vancouver, Clark, Washington.

Helen and Jude had 3 children; Judith Ann, Larry Dean (my father), and Charla Dee. I believe they were all born in Portland, Multnomah, Oregon, but I will correct this post if I am wrong.

Loundree family: (l to r) Judy, Char, Jude, Helen, Larry in front

Jude served as a cargo pilot in the US Marine Corps from 1942-1946 in the Pacific Theater.  In civilian life, Jude was a carpenter. He built many houses in the Sandy area, including Half-Round House on Loundree Drive in Sandy (where I lived as a baby), and the duplex my grandmother still lives in in Sandy.

Somewhere along the way, Jude contracted tuberculosis. I’ve been told he got it while demolishing old chicken coops. In May of 1980, Jude passed away from a brain tumor. He donated his body to science, and he is listed as a donor up at Oregon Health Sciences University.

l to r: me, Gt-Grandpa Carl, Grandpa Jude

I don’t know much about Grandpa Jude; I was only 2 when he died. If you can share a story about him, please leave a comment below. If you are reading this from the home page, click up at the top on the title “Grandpa Jude” and it will reload the screen. At the bottom there will be a box where you can leave a reply.  I’d love to hear from you!

Published in: on December 9, 2010 at 11:34 am  Leave a Comment  

Been away for a bit…

So I haven’t been blogging much lately. I’ve been swamped with the holidays and helping getting my grandmother ready to move. Also, my external hard drive crashed, and I lost all the family pictures I had spent weeks scanning in, as well as all my tombstone photos. I am currently in the process of recovering what I can from various sources, resorting them, and hopefully getting back to blogging in the next few days. I’m also trying to get a website set up, so this blog may be moving. I’ll keep you posted!

Happy Ancestor Hunting 🙂


Published in: on November 30, 2010 at 5:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

Birthday reflections

I woke up this morning to my six year old wishing me a Happy Birthday and demanding I find his DS, all in one breath. I thanked him, and shooed him out of the room.

Shortly thereafter, I received a phone call from some guy trying to sell me adspace on Google. Said he was looking for a professional genealogist to feature on the front page, and was thrilled to have found one in Oregon. I didn’t buy, but it was kinda neat to know that, somehow, people are finding me. And it got me to thinking, as I start on my 33rd year, what have I accomplished thus far in my chosen field, as well as in my personal research, and what are my goals for this next year?

Among my professional accomplishment I can list that I have established myself as an “Expert” with I have started the National Genealogical Society’s Home Study Course, and completed their course on Special Census Schedules. Most incredible to me is that I have actually gotten paid to do what I love!

In my personal research, I have found new online sources of information. I have downloaded birth, death and marriage certificates for numerous family members. I have connected with living cousins half-way across the country. Who knew I had something like 50 cousins in Michigan? I daily thank the powers that be for Facebook, which has allowed me to connect with these wonderful relatives I never knew about.

I have also begun to fill in the gaps. After years of collecting vitals and census records, I find my research is really starting to turn towards filling in their lives. I want to know what my great-grandparents were like before there is no-one left to tell me. Why did my 3Gt-Grandfather move his family from Wisconsin, through Minnesota, to Independence Oregon in 1902? What was life like in Carl Junction, Missouri when my grandmother was a kid? How did my ancestors feel when they hopped on that boat in Norway, bound for America? What about the ones who came from Sweden two generations later?

Some of these questions are easier to answer than others. I am blessed that I can still ask my grandmothers about their childhood and get amazing answers. I no longer have my grandfather to question, but I have connected with his younger brother. And I’ve got the oodles of cousins I mentioned earlier.

Looking forward, I have a pretty clear idea of my goals. I’d like my genealogy business to become profitable. I’m going to finish the NGS Home Study Course. And then, perhaps, I will go for my certification. Or maybe I will go for a degree in Genealogy. I love to learn. I love to study. I love to research.

I have a burning need inside of me to know where and who I came from. I can’t possibly be the only one who feels this way, and I love to help others find answers. It rekindles my love for genealogy every time I do research for someone and find them what they were looking for. It always leads to more questions, but that’s fine. The research is the fun part for me. Being able to dig through mountains of paperwork to find that one document with your gt-gt-grandmother’s name on it. Walking through an old cemetery to find an ancestor buried a hundred years ago, and knowing that your ancestors stood in that very spot, looking at the same tombstone you are.

What an amazing ride it’s been. And this year looks more promising than ever. So here’s my birthday wish for you. May you break down your brick walls, identify that mystery picture, and connect with that cousin that has the answer. May your research be fulfilling, even when it is not productive. And may your ancestors smile kindly upon you, always.

Published in: on September 2, 2010 at 8:27 am  Comments (2)  
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