My recent 9-day trip with my wife to Washington state was a busy and productive one. It’ll probably take me a couple of months to write everything up, so in this short post I’ll give you a sneak preview of what’s to come:
- I got to see two of my great-great-great-grandmother’s oil paintings, and my second cousin Carole was kind enough to let me borrow them so that I can have a paintings conservator properly assess, treat, and clean them.
- I discovered that one of my great-great-grandparents’ houses still exists, and I got to spend a night there with my wife.
- I discovered the exact locations of the several of the early family homesteads.
- I learned of a tragic tale of orphans surviving the shipwreck that killed their parents.
- I discovered several new photos taken by my great-great-great-uncle in the 1880s and 1890s.
- My father gave me a previously unknown cache of letters and local newspapers from my grandfather’s teenage years.
- My father gave me over 5,100 scans he’s made of color slides that he and his parents took from the 1950s through the 1990s.
- My father gave me a couple of hundred black and white negatives from the 1940s through the 1960s, as well as many black and white prints.
- My father gave me a ‘crazy quilt’ made by my great-great-grandmother in the 1880s.
- I spent time at the Southwest Regional Branch of the Washington State Archives, the Washington State Historical Society, and the Washington State Library, making discoveries at each of these institutions. My time at the Southwest Regional Branch of the WA Archives was especially rewarding—I spent two days there and could have spent another couple of weeks there, so extensive and rich are their holdings.
- Perhaps most importantly, I got to spend a considerably amount of quality time with family members, listening to family history I didn’t know about, and sharing family history they didn’t know about, doing our best to keep the stories alive.
My time right now is being spent organizing and archivally rehousing as much of this material as possible, as well as scanning all of the negatives I brought back with me so that I can better see the images. I’ve made several unexpected discoveries already, including images of my uncle in the plane that later crashed, and additional photos of my father and his family at the public grand opening of Disneyland on July 18, 1955.
Over the coming weeks and months, I’ll write posts about all that I learned on this trip. There’s a lot to write about, and some of the most interesting discoveries will take a while to write up, so please stay tuned!