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Showing posts from October, 2018

The Arthur Fiske Genealogical Library aka “The Fiske”

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By Linda Blais
I first learned about the Fiske Genealogical Library in June of 2017 when doing research for a biography that I writing about the founder of the first Sunday school west of the Mississippi. WorldCat has been one of my favorite places to go to find books that cover my research topic and to see if they are in a local library. While searching for books dealing with Missouri, I discovered that the only library locally that had the book I needed was the "Arthur Fiske Genealogical Library" in Seattle.

Since this was a new library to me, checking out this repository became a fun task. Of course, I needed to know where it was. Two immediate places to find more information came to mind: Google Maps and the Internet. Yeah! Fiske had a website: https://fiskelibrary.org. Their "Library Information" page gave me the address and information that the Library was housed in Washington Pioneer Hall. Google Maps showed me that the building was right on Lake Washington.…

Italian Migration Story 1903-1915

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By Janet O'Conor Camarata
   Between 1900 and 1915, 3 million Italians immigrated to America becoming the largest nationality of “new immigrants” during the late 19th and early 20th century. They were mostly artisans and peasants. Many were unable to read, write or speak English and were listed as “laborers” on passenger lists. The migration included representatives of all the regions of Italy, primarily from the Mezzogiorno region of Italy-- southern Italy including the “boot” of Italy and the Islands of Sicily and Sardinia. Alfonso and Antonina (Pastorello) Aronica with their children and grandchild are one such family.

       The Aronicas are an example of “chain migration,” a simple concept where early immigrants are known to be more likely to move to a new country or community if people they know already live there. And in turn with each new immigrant, they also are more likely to move where people they now live.  Over a span of many years, the Aronica family pulled three gen…

Franklin—Growth and Struggles of Company Coal Town

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Part II—Fire Spreads Death in Franklin Mine By MaryLynn Strickland By 1894 the miners of Franklin were working side by side—people who had migrated from Pennsylvania and Ohio, immigrants from Wales and England, single young Italian men hoping to earn enough money to bring their families to the US and black miners who had been “imported” from the mid-West in 1891.  
Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper articles in 1894 related stories of miners striking throughout the United States.  Miners in Roslyn, Washington, had become divided over a wage reduction.  The August 18 paper reported that black miners had accepted the reduction; white miners were holding out and there was talk of moving black miners from Franklin to Roslyn.  Other news of the world dominated the front page of each issue.


But “Stifled by Smoke” was the headline on the front page of the August 25, 1894, issue.  A full two columns on the front page, complete with a list of 37 victims of the fire and a layout of the mine, …

GRANDMA WORKED ON THE RAILROAD

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By Michele Norton Mattoon
Grandma worked on the railroad. No, that’s not a typo. Grandma worked on the railroad. No, not a cushy desk job! My grandmother, Mary Grady, of Ravensdale, Washington, at age 40, went to work on an all-woman railroad section gang and worked eight hours a day doing back-breaking manual labor. Women do all the jobs men do now, but that wasn’t the case in 1942. In fact, it was such a big deal that The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Pathé and Time Magazine all came to town to report on it. 
First, let me tell you a little about Grandma. Born Marija Bele in Slovenia in 1902, Grandma lived on and worked the fields (haying) at the family farm in her small community. Our family has always said we were from “good peasant stock” and I think Grandma’s beginnings prove that.

After marrying and immigrating to America in September 1922 at age 20, Grandma arrived in Hobart, Washington. Her husband had settled there the year before. Alone, and not knowing a word of English, Gr…