Making Memories

My wife, Laura, and I just finished up a two-week vacation with our four grandkids—3 boys and a girl. We are very fortunate in that they all get along very well and are a joy to travel with. Hopefully, we left them with something they will remember for a long time.

My preferred method of travel is to wing it, making minimal reservations, and trusting to luck to discover a place to stay. That mostly works out fine for just the two of us. With four teenagers in the motor home with us, we thought it prudent to do more planning and less freewheeling.

There are several programs available to help plan trips. I use a web-based program called RV Trip Wizard. This program lets me enter my stops and waypoints, including fuel stops; calculates fuel consumption; shows a fairly comprehensive park listing across the country; and provides running total of expenses. It’s not free but at $39 per year, it is a pretty good deal.

For navigation, Google Maps on a cell phone is good…if you have service. You can download the maps, which helps. I also took along a GPS device; OK, but the maps were pretty dated for some of the areas we were in. Best was paper maps.  Laura's a pretty good navigator once see gets us located on the maps.

Even with RV Trip Wizard’s travel time estimates, we were always checking in late to the campgrounds. Fortunately, both private and public campgrounds made late check-ins very easy. 

I didn’t think to plan laundry days. As you can imagine, six people can accumulate a fair amount of dirty clothes, even if some of the boys thought wearing the same t-shirt and pants for four days was their contribution to not having to do laundry. I had purchased and took with us a small (so it seemed in the picture on Amazon) portable washing machine. The washer worked fine; the weather didn’t cooperate to give us nice warm drying weather, but we managed (with an assist from sister Susie in Iowa).

With so much to see and do, this truly is an amazing country.

While at Yellowstone we came across a herd of about 100 or so bison wandering back and forth across the road. We parked and watched these amazing animals for an hour or so. All together there are about 5,000 bison within Yellowstone. It is hard to imagine the 40,000 to 60,000 bison roaming the plains in 1800.

I was prepared to be underwhelmed at Mt. Rushmore, but as I read more and took the time to learn about it, I came to appreciate its artistry and meaning. After Mt. Rushmore, we toured the Crazy Horse Memorial. Work is not complete on Crazy Horse, but it is a very impressive tribute to one of the Native American heroes (yes, every culture needs their own heroes).

We missed the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD. Just didn’t have time. We did see a lot of corn. While on the way to Mitchell, we stopped at the Dignity Statue, a tribute to the Native Americans of the plains of South Dakota. It is located at a rest stop overlooking the Missouri River—and it’s free.

We were expecting the Badlands of South Dakota to be unbearably hot, but it was windy and rainy. Not too surprising, really, since wind and water erosion is what formed the Badlands over the last 500,000 years.

Our eastward trek ended in Iowa with a stay at Viking Lake and visit with sister Susie and brother-in-law Jeff. If you want a peek at what life might have been like in the early (Caucasian) settlement of the plains, you only have to visit my sister. She and Jeff have a nice garden from which they harvest and preserve vegetables; Susie spins yarn, from which she weaves, knits, and crochets beautiful items; Susie and Jeff also tend a small flock of chickens. Sure, it’s a new house and there is a truck and car in the driveway instead of a team of mules, but you can imagine…

From Iowa, we headed back home, with a stop to cool off at Roaring Springs Water Park in Meridian, Idaho. Cool off were the operative words. It was just a bit chilly for most of us. It was fun, however. I particularly liked the Cliffhanger and Corkscrew Cavern. Rattlesnake Rapids was pretty good; maybe they should have suggested a deep breath before launching down the tube.

Home at last. Grandkids are back with their parents who were glad to have some time by themselves but were even more glad to have their younguns back home.

Us? We’re busy cleaning up and fixing the motor home (Yellowstone was a bit brutal on the MH), trying to decide where we are off to next.

I’m sure we will discover something. Maybe go back and try some of those brewpubs we passed along the way.  Honey, you’re driving.


I wish I had a tape recorder running when...

Who hasn’t lamented “I wish I had a tape recorder running when...”?

I have an amazingly short memory for many things, people’s stories being one of them. It’s not that I don’t care about what people share. I do, a lot, but if I don’t write it down immediately, details start to fade and I conflate one story with another.

That is why I am so glad that I have one audio tape of my Mom and Dad, Mickie and Fred Stoe, speaking with Howard Richards about where different members of our extended families lived in the Culver and Opal City areas in the early part of the 1900s.  It is so wonderful to hear their voices again.

Click here to play this audio.




It runs about half an hour and the quality is about what you would expect from an inexpensive cassette recorder with the mic on the counter. They are obviously looking at a map of the Culver/Opal City area while speaking. I don’t know which map Howard Richards was using to show where the different families lived. Pickatrail.com has free topographic maps of the area that can be downloaded as PDF files.

Most of the topographic maps that I have date from the middle 1950s to the early 1960s. It would be better to use earlier land maps to find homesteads as several dams and reservoirs have been built that changed the flow of local rivers and creeks: Haystack Dam, creating Haystack Reservoir was built about 1956; Arthur R. Bowman Dam which created Prineville Reservoir in 1961; the Round Butte Dam that created Lake Billy Chinook in 1964.

A trip to one of the local historical societies should be able to produce some land maps from 1900-1950. That would make following the conversation much easier. If I find any, I will post them here.

There are several reference to aunts and uncles and cousins, but, of course, these relationships are to William or Mickie. Some of the names mentioned in this half hour tape include: Ethel and Blaine Burleigh, Sylvia Richards, Kenney, Jay Wilson, Art Richards, Aunt Hattie, Cyrus, Carl King Sr, Perry Reed and his son Jim Reed, Nellie, and Bill McCormack.  I'm still trying to sort out who each person is.

So, there you have it. Enjoy!

Does anyone else have audio (or video) recordings to share? I would love to hear more stories.

Dan Stoe

Junction City, Oregon


Lesson learned

Today was a learning day.

I let my subscription to Ancestry.com expire...other things I wanted to spend my money on right now and they are very expensive...so I had to find other ways of continuing my genealogy research.

Family History 50 Free Genealogy Resources was a good place to start. I had bookmarked this site but hadn't actually checked it out.

I have been looking for 1910 Census records for Deschutes County, Oregon. They should have been available on Ancestry.com but I never found them. No matter how many ways I looked, those records just weren't there. You all probably see where this is heading. Deschutes County wasn't organized until 1916. Before that it was part of Crook County. I knew that many Oregon counties were reorganized over the years but I had stopped thinking and letting Ancestry.com do the work. I wasn't asking the right question and it wasn't giving any hints why I wasn't getting the results I expected.

Now that I know I should be looking in Crook County, I can't browse through Ancestry's collection. Not a problem. Archive.org came to the rescue. I did a search and found this page: Archive.org Oregon 1910 Federal Census. This gave me images of the Oregon 1910 Census in PDF format. Good news/bad news. The files are microfilm images; no index. All of a sudden I am back in the 70s searching census records image by image, but that is OK.

I will find the information I am looking for and in the process I was reminded to ask the right questions and to not stop thinking for myself just because a program makes the work easier.

Dan Stoe

Junction City, Oregon


Web Hosting


A few notes on surnames

Some notes on family names.

As populations grew, it became necessary to identify people with more more than just one name.  Sometime in the Middle Ages last names, surnames, became common.  Often taken from occupations--Smith, Farmer, Miller--or physical attributes--Red, Long, Short (Green must have been a seasick sailor!), last names helped distinguish between Godwin the Miller and Godwin the Farmer, important distinctions when the government is out collecting taxes.  As the practice of using last names grew, they became associated with families and clans, bonding individuals into identifiable groups.

In many cultures, the family name belonged to and followed the male line, with the wife assuming her husband's last name and the children of the marriage given their father's last name.  This convention was far from universal, however.

Scandinavian surnames names used to be derived from their father's first name, suffixing the equivalent of son or daughter so that surnames would change from generation to generation.  I don't have to go back too far in my family tree to find Ane Olava Nilsdatter, the daughter (datter) of Nils Johan Nilsen, or Johannes Olsen , son (sen) of Ole Johannesen.  That naming convention changed when the Scandinavian countries passed laws requiring heritable names (consistent surnames passed from one generation to the next).  Denmark passed naming laws in 1820, with Sweden following in 1901, and Norway in 1923.  When required to adopt heritable surnames, families were not required to use any particular name.  Many continued to use the name in use when the laws were passed, while others chose names associated with their farm, with their occupation, or whatever they felt would be a good surname.  When Scandinavians immigrated to America, they were often at the mercy of the immigration officer who wrote down what ever he though he heard or what he could spell.  Many immigrants also chose to Americanize there names to better fit in with their newly adopted country.  For a much more in depth explanation check out What your Scandinavian name ending in son or sen means or  Understanding Norwegian naming patterns.

While researching my wife Laura's Spanish heritage, I learned quite a bit about Spanish surnames and discovered that I have a lot more to learn.  Surnames consist of two names, the first from the father and the second from the mother, occasionally connected with 'y' or 'e' (and).  Traditionally, women did not change their names when they got married, although it has become common for the woman to suffix "de" and her husband's last name.  Following form, their children's surnames would be a compound surname taken from their father and mother.  Each generation the surnames would change.  This method of changing surnames makes researching Spanish genealogy very difficult but once you have a person that you are sure is related and that you have the correct surname, you have a very good lead on both the father and mother.  Using this form of father's first surname followed by mother's first surname, I'm pretty sure I have errors in my tree but these are the names that I have found and until finding more documentation, probably won't change them.

There are other variations to Spanish surnames.  Each part of the surname can also be a compound name.  An example given in a Wikipedia article:

"...the parts usually linked by the conjunction y or e (and), by the preposition de (of) or by a hyphen. For example, a person's name might be Juan Pablo Fernández de Calderón García-Iglesias, consisting of a forename (Juan Pablo), a paternal surname (Fernández de Calderón) and a maternal surname (García-Iglesias)." (Check out Widipedia's Spanish naming customs).

Typically, Spaniards do not have a middle name. Instead, everything before the surname is considered their given name, and that can be quite a lot.  Unlike Scandinavian countries, Spain continues with their surname tradition and has laws specifying how surnames are implemented.  There are some exceptions to the father-mother ordering of the surnames but any changes have to apply to all the children of the marriage.  As Spanish populations immigrated to America, they encountered many of the same issues as other immigrants with the immigration officers not understanding or knowing how to spell the names they were told, that husband and wife didn't have the same surnames, and that Spaniards had (at least) two surnames.  Usually the maternal surname was dropped; sometimes the paternal surname was mistaken for a middle name and the maternal surname became the family's surname in the US.

Post a comment if you know how other cultures did or now do surnames.  Meanwhile, I am going to dig into Gaelic names and see how those differ and how they have changed over time.

Dan Stoe
Junction City


Dinner For Eight

As I slouch in my recliner eating dinner while binge watching The Game of Thrones,  my thoughts wander to sit-down dinners with family gathered around the table discussing how their day went and sharing their lives.

Poof!  It all disappears as I drop another piece of salad in my lap.  So, let's clean up the salad mess and fire up the imagination again and see who is sitting around our imaginary table.

Of course, my mother, Mickie Stoe (Ethel Maxine Spring) is right there in the middle of everything.  After all, she got me started in genealogy and spent a lot of effort trying to find out about our family.

The first guests to arrive at our family dinner are David and Jean (McClure) Dinwiddie.  Born in Ireland and married in Pennsylvania, thirty years before the American Revolution,  David and Jean could tell us what it was like to leave not only their home but their country to settle in a far away colony across the Atlantic Ocean.  If we are lucky, maybe they can remember the stories of their grandparents and how they left Scotland, willingly or unwillingly, to settle in Northern Ireland.

James H Wilson and his wife Mary (Dinwiddie) arrive next.  Mary is David's and Jean's great grand daughter, but they were invited to dinner to share what  motivated them to leave Indiana to face a difficult and unsure future out West and to tell us about their wagon train trip from Indiana to Oregon, filling in all the personal successes and tribulations that were not written into the Dinwiddie Trail Diary.  We don't know when the Wilsons came to this country.  Maybe James can share stories he heard from his parents and grandparents about their migration to America.

Our last guests are relatively late comers to the American table.  Ivar Olsen and Marianne Iversdatter were married in Norway and immigrated to Oregon about 1880, bringing most, but not all of their children.  How were Norwegians treated in rural Oregon.  Was farming much different in Norway than in Oregon?  Why did some children stay in Norway until brought over several years later?

So there is our Dinner for Eight.  Not just names in our tree, but real people who at different times, pulled up roots and moved great distances to uncertain futures.  Was it the lure of better farmland, religious or political freedom, or just the desire to move on to something new?   How are their stories similar?  How are they different?  There is much to share.  This dinner party will last well into the night.

Thanks for visiting.

Dan Stoe
Junction City, Oregon


Mary Naomi Magee

Mary Naomi Magee

My Great-Great Grandmother Mary Naomi Magee was born on 29 Jun 1882 in Callahan, Texas, USA as the fourth child of Henry James Magee and Margaret Jane Neeley. Grandma Mary died in Coos Bay, Oregon, on 12 January 1989. At 106, she lived longer than any other of my direct ancestors for whom I have birth and death information.

In her long life, Mary outlived at least four of her five siblings, three husbands, and seven of her nine children.

Mary Magee's five siblings were: Joseph Harvey, Wiley David, Idonia Dona, Alice Viola, and Clara Eveal.

When she was 16, she married Asa Prichard,son of Andrew Jackson Prichard and Lydia Ellen Logan, on 26 May 1899 in Wilson County, Texas.

Says on back: This is our pictures taken on mothers day May 1-1951 Henry, Naomi, me (Mary), Ellen, and Allison. Henry is 51-Allison 49-Ellen 47-Naomi 30 and me 69.

Asa Prichard and Mary Naomi Magee had the following children:

1. Henry Jackson Prichard was born on 27 May 1900 in Big Springs, Howard, Texas, USA. He died on 13 Jan 1983 in Roseburg, Douglas Co., OR. He married Ella Etna Pickle about 1928 in Oregon, USA. He married Irene S Wilson in 1941 in Payette, Idaho.

2. Allison Logan Prichard was born on 01 Jun 1902 in Karnes City, Texas. He died on 08 Aug 1996 in North Bend, Coos, Oregon, United States of America. He married Maybelle Katherine Winslow in Bend, Deschutes, Oregon, USA.

3. Maggie E Pritchard was born on 22 Aug 1904 in Karnes City, Texas. She died on 17 Aug 1983 in Oakridge, Lane Co., Oregon. She married Ray Olsen on 04 Sep 1920 in Lane, Oregon, USA. She married Marvin Dale Jonas on 11 May 1940.

4. Lee Prichard was born on 17 Aug 1907 in Karnes City, TX (U). Lee died in 1908 in Big Springs, Howard, Texas, USA.

5. Lora Prichard was born on 17 Aug 1907 in Karnes City, TX. She died on 23 Dec 1927 in Bend, Deschutes, Oregon, USA.

6. Loretta Eva Prichard was born on 22 Apr 1915 in Bend, Deschutes, Oregon, USA. She died on 31 Mar 1963 in Butte, Silver Bow, Montana, USA. She married Raymond B Graham on 14 Jul 1945 in Klickitat County, Washington, USA. She married Theodore John Van Thiel on 18 Dec 1951 in Conrad, Pondera, Montana.

7. Florence Prichard was born on 21 Apr 1917 in Bend, Deschutes, Oregon, USA. She died on 05 Jul 1982 in Bend, Deschutes, Oregon, USA.

8. Haley Ray Prichard was born on 11 Sep 1918 in Bend, Deschutes, Oregon, USA. He died on 02 Jul 1995 in Portland, Multnomah, Oregon, United States of America,. He married Sibyle Marie Daly on 02 Jan 1940 in Payette, Idaho.  In 1945, Haley married Viola Lindstrom with whom he had seven children [Thanks to Robert Prichard for the correction]. He married Kay Dooley on 19 Mar 1965 in Multnomah, Oregon, United States.

9. Naomi Laveal Prichard was born in Oct 1921 in Mohawk, Lane Co., OR. She died on 15 Dec 1974 in Medford, Jackson, Oregon, United States.

Asa and Mary moved to Oregon around 1910. Asa Prichard died in 1924.

Albert Chapman and Mary Naomi Magee Prichard were married around 1927. They had no children. Albert Chapman died in 1930.

Royal Edward Ullrick and Mary Naomi Magee Prichard Chapman were married in Clark Counnty, Washington, in 1936. Royal and Mary had no children. Royal Ulrick died in 1957.

Four Generations - Arden Olsen, Merideth (Olsen, Stoe) Schiermeister, baby Tammie Schiermeister, and Mary Ullrich. 1965

On her 100th birthday, Willard Scott from the NBC Today Show called Grandma Mary to wish her a Happy Birthday.

Mary Ullrick with grand-daughters Opal and Anita.

Mary stayed mentally sharp past her 100th birthday although by the time she died, she could neither see nor hear.

Sunset Memorial Park
Coos Bay, Oregon

If you have any additional information to share about Mary Magee Prichard Chapman Ullrick, please post it in comments.  Thanks for visiting!

Dan Stoe
Junction City, Oregon


Favorite Photo

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 2 “Favorite Photo”

I had originally intended to write about this photo of my great-great-grandfather, Gage Spring.  I don’t know what happened to the original, but one day when I was setting up my scanner for more photo scans, this image was still in the scanner program cache memory.  I hadn’t used this scanner for a couple years.  In fact it was turned off and in the closet. Recognizing the image but not remembering whether I had the image stored on my computer, I copied over the image preview of the scan and saved it.  As it turned out, I did not have a copy of the image on my computer and to this day, I cannot find the original. This fuzzy image has been downloaded and linked to many ancestry trees.  If anyone has the original or at least a better copy, please let me know.

Because of the story surrounding how I came by the photo of Gage Spring, this was going to be my favorite photo.


That was until I received this photo from my niece, Tammie. This is a photo album that I thought was long gone.

When my mother, Mickie, and father, Arden, were divorced and my mother remarried, almost all of my first 8 years were treated as not happening; didn’t exist. My life was severely redacted. Any picture with Arden was put away or destroyed. No one talked about it. 

I loved my mother’s second husband, Fred. He adopted all three of her kids and was every bit “Dad” to each of us as well as our two sisters from their marriage.


But I did have a birth father and my life didn’t begin when I was 8.  When Tammie sent the picture of the photo album, I was so excited. It was like a bit of my childhood was being given back to me.  When she brought out the album, it was almost everything I hoped for. There were still no pictures of Arden, these had been removed, but lots of pictures of mom, my older sister, Merideth “Babe”, me, and my brother, Al (Blaine), and cousins.

There are very few names on the pictures so I will have some fun scanning, naming, dating, and placing the photos. There are a couple of people I don’t recognize right off so cousins will have to give me a hand with the some of these.

I have a lot of photos and it is difficult to pick a favorite. Each one is special in its own way. The pictures of us three older kids is special because it was a time when we were really close to each other and I miss that. The pictures of all five of us kids and mom and dad is special because we were very much one family.

But the picture of the old photo album is my current favorite because it represents memories found and the kindness of my niece in giving me back a little be of me.


Junction City, Oregon


My start in genealogy

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 1

This is the first week of the Amy Johnson Crow's challenge of writing about the results of our ancestry research. This week's challenge is titled "Start". OK, start what?  I guess the best place to start is at the beginning with how I became interested in genealogy.

I got my interest in genealogy from my mother. Serious work on finding our ancestors began sometime in the early  to middle 1960s after reading through a copies of the Dinwiddie Clan Records of 1902  and 1952.  I was fascinated by the history of that one branch of our family.  As I knew so little family history outside of my immediate family and that of my first and second cousins, I latched on to the hierarchy of the records and the historical panorama all those names represented.  I just knew I was Scotch-Irish, descended from David Dinwiddie.  Fast forward about 50 years and through a whole lot of technological advances and my DNA Ethnicity results show only 10% Scotch/Irish/Welsh. OK, not ready for kilt and tartans, but still, it is part of me.

Mom was a letter writer.  She wrote to aunts, uncles, sisters, just about anyone she could think of to get information on more parts of the family.  Unfortunately, she did not keep copies of the letters she sent, but she saved many of the letters she got back. There was love and pain in those letters–love of family but pain in remembering some of the trials and tribulations found in most families.

We learned how to use microfilm readers; what census forms looked like and what information they provided.  As we gathered information, we slowly pieced a family history together. Try as we might, we never produced a coherent genealogy such as was written in the Dinwiddie Clan Records, but that was always our goal and the Clan book was the standard we tried to emulate.  Mostly we got a lot of notes in pretty random order.

Computer based genealogy programs have given order to our findings.  On-line database searches have mostly replaced scrolling through page after page of microfilm, but nothing can replace the spark of interest I got from my mother for finding and recording the history of our family.  Although my mother is no longer with us, I think she would be amazed and pleased at what she helped start.




Welcome to my blog and Discover With Dan!

This is my first attempt at creating a blog. Please be patient as I learn and show that you can teach old dogs new tricks.

This blog was inspired by an Amy Johnson Crow blog in which she challenged people to write about the genealogy discoveries they have made. Check out her blog at https://www.amyjohnsoncrow.com/52-ancestors-in-52-weeks/.

In addition to genealogy, I will occasionally post about my other major interest, travel.




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