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This is part three of a multi-part series on researching past residents of your Portland-area house:


In the other two installments of this series, I talked about how to use old Portland city directories to find names of people who lived in your house in the past, and about how to find the address your house had before Portland's city-wide address system revision in the early 1930s.

Now we're going to talk about finding past residents of houses that are not in Portland, or that did not used to be in Portland

Map of historical annexations to the City of Portland (pdf, from Portland Bureau of Planning & Sustainability)As I have pointed out, Portland has grown a lot over the last hundred or so years!  Many neighborhoods that now seem like they've been in the city forever were actually annexed fairly recently, for example:

  • If you live in Montavilla, or Richmond, or Foster-Powell or any of the other close-in east-side neighborhoods between 42nd and 92nd, your house wasn't in Portland until sometime between 1900 and 1910.
  • If you live in St. Johns, your neighborhood was its own incorporated city before it joined Portland in 1915.
  • If you live in Multnomah or the neighborhoods to its south and west, your house wasn't inside Portland city limits until the 1940s at the earliest.
  • If you live east of 92nd Ave., or in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood in SE, or the Cully neighborhood in NE, your neighborhood was annexed in the 1980s.

The Portland Bureau of Planning & Sustainability has a really helpful map of historical annexations to the City of Portland (pdf) which you can consult for more detail.

The historical Portland city directories mostly contain listings only for people and businesses that were, at the time the directory was published, within Portland city limits.  This presents a problem if your house is in Parkrose or Collins View or one of the other neighborhoods that joined Portland after a lot of houses were already built.  So, is it possible to find out who lived in your house in those early, pre-annexation years?

And what if your house is in Maywood Park or Gresham or Fairview or somewhere else near to but outside of Portland?  Is there any way to find out past residents of houses outside of Portland?

Title page of Polk's Gresham city directory, 1962The answer to both questions is a qualified "yes."  Yes, it's possible, but, it can be kind of a challenge!  Because each neighborhood or city is different, I can't provide comprehensive instructions for each and every situation, but here are some general tricks you can try:

Other city directories.  The library has many, many city directories for towns and cities around Oregon.  They are often useful, but not always: some smaller-town directories were only published in scattered years, and some have listings by name only, with no by-address section in the back.  R.L. Polk & Co.'s Gresham directories (they began publication with the 1962 edition, pictured at right) are a good example of a smaller-city directory that does include a cross-reference-by-address section in the back.  To consult the Oregon city directory collection, visit the Literature and History room on the third floor at Central Library in downtown Portland.  The librarian on duty can get you started.

Cover of Tscheu Publishing Co.'s Rural Directory of Yamhill County, 1967Rural directories.  A company called Tscheu Publishing produced a wide variety of rural directories for Oregon localities, which might be useful if your house was in a rural or suburban unincorporated area when it was new.  Most of Tscheu's rural directories contain maps of "rural routes" that were used in lieu of addresses for rural mail delivery, and you may be able to use these maps as a way to look for residents based on the location of rural route boxes.   Tscheu published this series from the late 1950s to the late 1970s, and as with the other non-Portland directories coverage (both for date and for location) is a little spotty.  The Tscheu directories are also located in the Literature and History room at Central Library – ask the librarian on duty there to help you find one for your area.

Search the library's Historical Oregonian (1861-1987) database for your house's address to see if you can find news articles, rental or real estate advertisements, or funeral notices from early issues of the Oregonian daily newspaper that reference your house.  Please note: this can be a tricky database to search!  A comprehensive search for your house's address may require several steps (general tips on searching the Historical Oregonian for mentions of your address are in part two of this series - scroll down to the bottom of the page), and it might help to add the name of your town or neighborhood as well.  Remember, you are searching the words that appeared in the newspaper, so think about what words a homeowner might have included in a classified ad, or about what words a journalist might have used in a local news story.  If you have an questions about using Historical Oregonian (1861-1987) or if you'd like a librarian's help getting started, don't hesitate to contact us.

Contact your local library.  If you live in Clackamas or Washington county, your local library may have more resources to help!  They are the experts about their cities and neighborhoods. Get in touch with your librarians through Washington County Cooperative Library Services or Libraries In Clackamas County.

Search for early owners.  If you can't find a list of residents, you might be willing to settle for a list of owners - who, let's face it, do often live in the houses they own!  You should be able to find a list of everyone who has ever owned your house (including people who owned the land before your house was built), by combing through the property records at your county assessor or recorder's office.  This research can be quite a bit of work – and you'll need to visit the assessor or recorder's office in person – but if you're diligent you should be able to find property records all the way back to the 1850s or 1860s.  If your house is in Multnomah County, you can find records at the Public Records Access room at the Multnomah County Division of Assessment, Recording & Taxation. To research previous owners of property in Clackamas County, visit the Recording Division of the Clackamas County Clerk's office; for Washington County records, go to the Recording Division of the Washington County Assessment & Taxation Division.

And, one wrinkle to consider: old addresses! If your house was in an unincorporated area when it was built, but is in a city now, it is quite possible that it has had a couple of different addresses over time.  If you'd like help gumshoeing that mystery, definitely get in touch with a librarian and we'll get you started.


There you have it, all the basics for finding out who lived in your house in years past!  To get a refresher on using city directories to find out who lived in your Portland house from 1934 to the present, take a look at part one of this series.  Or, re-read part two, in which I discuss basic tools for finding your Portland house's pre-1930s address, and for tracking down pre-1930s residents.

Have fun researching the history of your house; and as always, be sure to ask your friendly librarian any time you have questions, or whenever you'd like help with a research project!


 

 

Micrograph of flu virusOne type of microorganism, the virus, has a huge impact on our everyday lives, causing colds, flus, stomach aches. What is a virus, and how is it different, for example, from bacteria? Roll on over to Manchester Children’s University site to play around with beginning facts about viruses and bacteria. (You can also become an expert on mushrooms and other fungi.) And how do these tiny threats get in our body and get us sick? Watch the adventures of the inept "Staph Sargent" and his trusty sidekick as they try to infect the world with germs. And while the Staph Sargent can be defeated by hand-washing, purses are carrying even more bacteria and viruses, as seen in this newscast.

To get up close and personal with these mischief-making microorganisms, you can browse the fascinating and legally downloadable images at the World of Viruses. To see a picture of a specific microorganism, you can also investigate at, Microbe World Beta. For more light-hearted death and destruction, you can read a Virus Comic Book such as the Frozen Horror or infect the world at the almost too realistic Plague Inc game.

If you want to know more, librarians can help you find more resources.

 

If you think cells are simple boring organisms, well think again, cells are in fact fascinating basic structural, functional living organisms that also refered to as "Building Blocks of Life". Even though cells come in all shapes and sizes, they seem invisible to our eyes. We need the aid of microscopes to explore the world of cells. You can visit “A Tour of the Cell” by clicking on the video below provided by Bozeman Science. Further, you can find out more about cell division through this link “Scientists Solve a Mystery of Cell Division” provided by Today’s Science.

Chromosomes, DNA and Genes

The command center of a cell is it's nucleus. Within the nucleus is the genetic material or the blue print of each cell also known as DNA. The DNA molecules form into a structure that shapes like a letter X. For more information about chromosomes and DNA check out the videos below. 

 

We celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the third Monday in January. This year marks 45 years since his death; had he lived January 15th would be his 85th birthday. If you are looking for more information about Dr. King and his work, look no farther.

First,  check out these research tools from the library. Biography Reference Center and Biography in Context are resources that provide both full length and short biographies. In Biography in Context you can even find articles from daily newspapers and wire services, plus magazine articles. If you need even more print materials, check out the Biography and Genealogy Master Index. This resource contains citations only, so it is helpful for locating biographies in other reference books and journals. If you aren’t at a Multnomah County Library location, you’ll need to log in with your library card and PIN to access these biography resources. 

For primary sources, both The King Center and The King Research and Education Institute are good sites to visit. The King Center was created by the late Coretta Scott King in 1968 and is dedicated to “educating the world on the life, legacy and teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” His papers are archived here, and you can search the digital archives from the website. The King Research and Education Institute located on the  Stanford University campus also has a great website that provides a timeline, biography, and writings by an about Martin Luther King, Jr. Audio from Dr. King’s speeches as well as videos about his work during the Civil Rights movement and other movements he inspired are available online as well.

One of the most famous speeches Dr. King is remembered for was the one he gave during The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The March took place in Washington, D.C., on August 28, 1963. Attended by around 250,000 people, it was the largest demonstration ever seen in the nation's capital. Visit InfoPlease for more information on the march. March on Washington crowd photo

For more amazing images, to enhance a project, or to get a better sense of the work of Dr. King visit The Seattle Times Special Report.The photo  below is from one of the galleries featured

Dr. King and Coretta Scott King

There are a number of great films and video clips about Dr. King. PBS featured a public television program called Citzen King.  This resource also includes primary resources including letters and speeches, a map of the Civil Rights hot spots, and a list of books, articles, and websites to find more information about Dr. King. Biography channel also has a short bio

Be sure to check The Oregonian for events around Portland in celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and also The United Way to participate in the Martin Luther King weekend of service. 

If you want to explore this topic more, or if you have questions about any of this, you know what to do: Ask a Librarian! We’re happy to help. 

THOMAS JEFFERSON

The Lewis and Clark "Corps of Discovery", as it eventually came to be called, was conceived by Thomas Jefferson. He was dedicated to exploration of the vast territory west of the Mississippi River and learning about the Native Americans who resided there. He wanted to find a water route to the Pacific Ocean and map the topography. Also, he expected the Corps to catalog the flora and fauna they encountered. On the Monticello web site read about Thomas Jefferson's part in funding and planning the Corp's work.

MERIWETHER LEWIS AND WILLIAM CLARK

President Jefferson chose his secretary Meriwether Lewis as the ideal candidate to captain the Corps. Lewis then chose his Co-Captain, William Clark. They had served in the military together and were an ideal team.  Between them, they possessed the skills needed to face the challenges of their incredible journey.

TOUSSAINT CHARBONNEAU

Monsieur Charbonneau is not noted for his popularity with the rest of the Corps or his abilities as a member of the team...it appears that the only contribution of real value he provided was the interpreting services of his wife, Sacajawea. This description of Charbonneau makes it clear he was considered a sort of "necessary evil".

SACAJAWEA

There are many questions surrounding Sacajawea's story that have been controversial. One is the correct spelling/pronunciation of her name and another question is at what age and where did she die? My search for accurate information about these questions and others about Sacajawea led me to the descendants of her tribe of origin, the Lemhi Shoshoni. I found an article researched and published by the Idaho Statesman during the year of the Lewis and Clark Centennial. Tim Woodward interviewed members of Sacajawea's birth tribe. The story of the kidnapping and slavery of Sacajawea and her marriage to Charbonneau make difficult reading. Her life as a member of the Corps of Discovery is but a small piece of her complex history. From the time she was kidnapped, Sacajawea's life was determined by people who were not interested in her happiness but in taking advantage of her talents. Sacajawea probably died due to an illness that may have resulted from the birth of her second child, a daughter named Lissette.

JEAN-BAPTISTE CHARBONNEAU (POMPEY) 

Sacajawea gave birth to Jean-Baptiste during the first winter of the expedition when they were camped at Fort Mandan in North Dakota. William Clark was very fond of the toddler nicknamed "Pomp" or "Pompey". National Geographic Magazine describes the landmarks the Corps mapped and named after Pompey. After the expedition he was provided for by Clark, but never adopted by him. Jean-Baptiste spent time as an adult in Europe but eventually returned to the United States to take up a mountain man lifestyle similar to his father's. The man, who had traveled as a child on one of the greatest explorations of all time, died and is buried in Oregon.

Jean Baptiste-Charbonneau grave site in Oregon.

YORK

York was William Clark's slave and belonged to him from the time both were children. His contributions to the success of the Corps were as valuable as any of the other members. In recent years, letters William Clark wrote to his brother reveal that he did not feel York's "services" with the Corps had any value. He didn't care that York wished to live close to his wife and refused to grant him his freedom. Clark told his brother that if York didn't improve his attitude he was going to loan him to a harsh master. The final years of York's life are detailed by the National Park Service. You can learn how York's position in the 1800's is typical of the complexities of the slave/owner relationship.

SERGEANT CHARLES FLOYD

Sgt. Floyd holds the dubious honor of being the only member of the Corps of Discovery to perish on the journey. This unhappy event took place soon after the Corps embarked on their Missouri River voyage. Flying at Sgt. Floyd's monument is a replica of the 15 star and 15 stripe flag he would have defended for the military. Visit his Sioux City memorial to learn what ended Sgt. Floyd's trek.

SEAMAN

Seaman was a Newfoundland dog and a valued member of the Corps of Discovery. He was purchased by Meriwether Lewis for $20 (about $400 in 1806), perhaps because he had webbed feet and much of the trip was intended to take place by pirogue. Seaman caught small game, entertained the expedition members and provided excellent service at guard duty. There are many theories about what became of Seaman. This version of Seaman's fate is my favorite...and it appears to be based on some historical evidence.  Here is a great photo of a sculpture including Seaman which is located in Fort Clatsop National Park--he is paying very close attention to the flounder rather than his guard duty.

Stanley Wanlass Sculpture with Seaman

WHO WERE THE OTHER GUYS

The rest of the Corps included volunteer members of the U.S. Army and a handful of civilians. They were chosen for the skills they could contribute in carrying out the goals of the expedition and for keeping all members alive and safe. The U.S. Army created a terrific summary of the privates, the civilians, and the boatmen.

 

All of these online resources will help you understand how the human body works, and they also provide great images, diagrams, videos, and explanations.

Images of human bodies depicting the major body systems like: respiratory, skeletal,musculatory, digestive, and sensory systems

 

If you are in 1st-4th grade and want to know and see how the body works, click on How the Body Works on the Kids Health website to find out about the nervous system, muscles, organs, and the five senses. You can even play games to see how much you know!

You can also use factmonster to find our more information by clicking on Your Body's Systems. (hint: you might have to type it also in the search box next to the fact monster!)

5th-12th grade and beyond! Trying using innerbody for detailed and interactive diagrams and explanations about all the major body systems. Don't forget to scroll down on the web page to see all of the information!

 Try our Teen and Health and Wellness Database and click on the Body Basic page. Just scroll down and click on the topic that you need. (hint: you will need to sign in using  your library card and pin number)

If you need more information beyond what the major body systems do and how they work try the howstuffworks. You will need to type in your specific topic in the search box or you can try this Discovery Fit and Health page which features the major body systems. (hint: don't forget to scroll down on each webpage to view your information. It may look confusing, but just scroll down!) 

Need more information and/or guidance? Contact a Librarian!

You may already be a fan of Sara Zarr's smart, realistic and heartfelt books, like Story of A Girl, Sweethearts, and The Lucy Variations.

You may not know that she also hosts a great podcast called This Creative Life where she interviews authors, musicians, illustrators & filmmakers & other folks about their process and challenges. It's an intimate look into the realities of writing and publishing, and what it's really like to be someone who's -- well -- living a creative life.

Here are six This Creative Life episodes where Sara interviews other well-respected authors:

 

 

Wild Beauty Photographs of the Columbia River Gorge 1867-1957 bookcover imageCompiled and written by Terry Toedtemeier and John Laursen, Wild Beauty is a collection of historic and contemporary photographs of the Columbia Gorge, the first publication of the Northwest Photography Archive, that Toedtemeier and Laursen founded to publish books of Pacific Northwest photography. The authors selected images from the Oregon Historical Society and private collections, many previously unpublished, that were skillfully reproduced in digital formats to match the originals. "Working with Oregon State University Press, they chose to make the Columbia River Gorge the focus of their inaugural volume, in support of which they received the state's first award under the American Masterpieces Initiative from the National Endowment of the Arts and the Oregon Arts Commission." A copy of this book was given to each public library in Oregon and Washington, through support by Jim Scheppke, of the Oregon State Library, and corporate funding.

"In Wild Beauty Terry Toedtemeier and John Laursen provide an affectionate and enlightening study of photography in earlier times in the Columbia River Gorge. This book is a first-class pleasure, both for its wonderful pictures and for the authors’ clear and compelling writing about the photographs’ geographical and historical context. It is an achievement that gives hope to all who want art to engage the world." - Robert Adams, photographer. Review source: Northwest Photography Archive.

Link: Northwest Photography Archive

Can you imagine saying goodbye to almost everyone you know, leaving behind most of your possessions, and traveling 2,000 miles across the country to live in a place you'd never seen? Almost 500,000 people did just this, packing mostly supplies they would need for the journey into covered wagons, and traveling along the Oregon Trail.

The trail started in Missouri, and then went through what is now Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho and Oregon. History Globe shows an 1843 map of the trail, featuring "Unorganized Territory" (land with no government) and "Oregon Country" (what is now Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and part of Montana and Wyoming). The map will make more sense when you click on the  "modern map" link! The Trail Tour section of the website provides information and images about various stopping points along the trail.

History comes alive when we learn about events through people and their stories. The OrgeonTerritory and its Pioneers is a gold mine for learning about these stories and what life was like on the trail. The website itself is a pioneer on the Internet, started in 1989. It looks much different than websites that you are used to browsing, but don't let that that keep you from exploring. It is packed with great information. Take a look at the section called "The Journey'" to learn about daily life along the trail. Oregon Trail 101 features some amazing pictures of wagon trains and emigrants. Check out Emigrant Diaries and Journals to learn what people who traveled the trail thought about their experience.

The Oregon and California Trails Association is another great resource for learning about the people who crossed the Oregon Trail. The Peoples and Places section of the website shares emigrant profiles and trail stories.

Want to take a break from your research and play a game? Actually, you don't have to! The Oregon Trail lets you research while you are playing a game. See how you would have fared on the trail and learn about some of the hardships that those who crossed it faced. This game has been around since the 1980's, so check in with your teacher and family to see if they played the game when they were your age. You can either play the early version of the game online, or download an app. Besides the game, the website shares information about daily life along the trail.

Want to learn more about the Oregon Trail? Just ask a librarian !

Discover some of the ancestors of peoples now living in modern day Mexico to Peru from these websites and books about the Aztecs, Incas and Mayans.  Map of Mesoamerica, Aztecs, 14th-15th centuriesMap of Mesoamerica, Maya

 

The British Museum in London has artifacts from around the world, representing people, places and cultures from the past two million years. The museum has short introductions to Aztecs, Incas and Mayans. Click on photos to find out more about that object and its importance.

 

Scroll down the page of The Civilizations of Ancient Mesoamerica to read about the history and culture of ancient Mexicans. Visit The World of the Ancient Mayans for more information.

Map of Latin America, Inca Empire, 15th century

 

Have fun exploring The Sport of Life and Death: the Mesoamerican Ballgame. Not only can you learn about the world's first team sport, you can get quick info about each culture and the time periods. Test your knowledge as you play a game (no sacrifices involved). Check out the video below about the rubber balls used for the game and see an example of how a version of the game was played.

If you want or need more help, contact a librarian. We're just a click away!

Sir George Grove, editor of Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians circa 1890A Brief History

Generations of musicians and librarians have relied upon the various editions of George Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians for answering music questions. At Central Library, the earliest edition is the 4-volume edition published by Macmillan in 1890. When the last print edition was published in 2001, the representatives from Oxford University Press told us at a conference that this would be the very last print edition.

Reading the preface to a book is often a good way to get a sense of the author's ideas.  A comparison of the preface in the 1st edition of 1890 to the 2001 print edition reveals the passage of time toward our global society. Not surprisingly, the first edition is intentionally eurocentric: "All investigations into the music of barbarous nations have been have been avoided, unless they have some direct bearing on European music." as Sir George wrote in the preface.

For the most recent print edition in 2001, editor Stanley Sadie wrote: "Our express intention is to spread the net more widely and to trawl more deeply. Thus more composers globally are entered, more countries are represented, and countries whose representation was in 1980 hampered by political factors are now considered on the same basis (at least as far as communications permit) as the main Western democracies."

The most recent edition of Grove's is not in print but online, available to you through the Multnomah County Library website with your MCL library card. Though based on the last print edition of 2001, the online version is different from the print, with new and revised articles, and features that have been added in the past 12 years. The current editor, Deane L. Root, describes the Grove as continually evolving, and more responsive to input from readers/researchers:

In online writing and publication, prior versions of articles are often not retained when an article is updated with new content.

However, "In 2008, the editiors of Oxford Music Online began retaining selections of previous versions of articles in Grove Music Online that have been significantly revised. When a previous version of an article is available, a link (dated according to when the version was created) appears in the left-hand panel of the page. The decision to create a previous version is based on the nature of the revision. As a general rule, if the editors believe that making a previous version available on the site will provide added value to the reader, the version is created. The most common cases involve articles with extensive changes, with content both added and removed, but sometimes the revision could affect as little as one sentence."

How to search by name, occupation, or nationality in Oxford Music Online:

  1. Link to Oxford Music Online with your library card from Multnomah County: Oxford Music Online
  2. Link to Advanced Search for the best results.
  3. Select 'Biography Search.'
  4. In the 'Search for' fields, type name, occupation, nationality, or place of birth.
  5. Check Grove Music Online for full entries.
  6. Press SEARCH

A few selections of features of Oxford Music Online:

Not finding what you are looking for?

Link to the search guide or Contact the Reference Staff of Multnomah County Library for assistance.

 


This is part two of a multi-part series on researching past residents of your Portland-area house:


House history researchers are often interested in learning who lived in their houses in the past.  In the first post in this series, we explored using city directories to find past residents of Portland houses.  But that only works reliably for 1934-present, because nearly every building in the whole city got a completely new address (and sometimes a new street name) in the early 1930s.  So, what if you want to go back further and find out who lived in your house in 1933, or earlier?  You have come to the right place!  To get started, here's a little background on old and new addresses in Portland:

Portland's 1930s address system revision

House numbering crews at work (photo from the Oregonian 16 July 1933)The city grew enormously around the turn of the century and each newly-added bit of land had its own street naming conventions and address numbering system.  It was rather chaotic!  In the spring of 1931, the city finally decided to act.  That summer, five-man crews began walking the entire city and assigning new addresses to every building.  Many street names were changed too.  The crews finished their work in July 1933. 

This is how we got the familiar "five quadrants" that we use today: NW, N, NE, SW, and SE.  If your house was built before 1933 and you want to find its early residents, you will need to know the original address.

Finding your house's pre-1933 address

Old and new addresses on 24th St./Ave. in NE Portland (from the Crane Directory of Street and Name Changes)There are several different ways to track down a pre-1933 address, but the simplest is to look in the Directory of Street and Name Changes published by the Crane Direct Mail Service.  The library has two copies, both at Central Library. Ask at the reference desk in the Literature & History room on the third floor, and the librarian on duty can show you how to use it.

Here's the information the Directory of Street and Name Changes shows for the Magadanz and Schuman family houses that we looked at in the 1934 city directory, in our last blog post:

The Magedanz family house's pre-1930s address was 1075 E 24th St. N (in pink, on the left). The renumbering crews gave it the new address 5115 NE 24th Ave.

Old and new addresses on Market St. in SW Portland (from the Crane Directory of Street and Name Changes)The Schumans' house was 555 Market St (in white, below and to the left).  After it was changed sometime in 1931 or 1932, it became 1737 SW Market St.

The Directory of Street and Name Changes was published in the 1930s, and meant as a tool for people who had to live through this rather disruptive change.  It shows address changes for buildings that were within the city limits at the time (remember, Portland was much smaller in the 30s than it is now -- check the Portland Bureau of Planning & Sustainability’s map of historical annexations to the City of Portland (pdf) to see when your neighborhood joined the city).  But, if your house was built before 1933, and it was within the city limits in the early 1930s, it should be included in this cross-reference directory.

Using pre-1930s addresses

Okay, what if you know your Portland house's pre-1930s address, and you'd like to find out who lived there in those early years?  If you want to know who lived in your house in 1930, 1931, 1932, or 1933, you can use the Polk's Portland (Oregon) City Directory – it has a pink section in the back which lists residents by address.  General tips on using city directories are in part one of the Who lived in my house? series.  If you're looking in 1930 or 1931, use the house's older address; if you're looking in 1932 or 1933, you might have to check both the old and the new address, because some neighborhoods had their addresses changed earlier than others.

Finding out who lived in your house in 1929 and earlier

What if you want to find out who lived in your house before 1930?  That can be a challenge, because city directories for 1864-1929 don't have a section in the back with listings by address!

Here are some things to try:

Look for the names of your house's 1930 residents in directories from earlier years.  Maybe they lived there the whole time!

Check to see if the city issued plumbing or sewer permits when your house was built or modified – these sometimes list the owner's name. You can see some early permits by looking for your house in the city's property information database PortlandMaps – type in your address, then click on the "Property" tab, then on the "Historic permits" tab.  (Portland's Development Service Center has more complete historical permit records, so visit their office in downtown Portland if you'd like to dig deeper.)

Search the library's Historical Oregonian (1861-1987) database for your house's pre-1930s address to see if you can find news articles, rental or real estate advertisements, or funeral notices from early issues of the Oregonian daily newspaper that reference your house.  The Historical Oregonian can be a tricky database to search, so here are some tips:

If you are only interested in a limited range of dates, set your search to those dates by clicking on the "Dates and Eras" tab and typing in the years you need.  For example, if your house was built in 1913, you might limit your search to 1913-1932, the approximate date the new Portland address system was finalized.

Type your house's pre-1930s address in with quotation marks around it, like this:

"example street"

If your street had a directional before the 1930s (e.g. "East Pine St.," "E. 9th St. N," or "52nd Ave. SE"), be sure to include it in your search.  Try different variations:

"925 E Pine"
"925 East Pine"

"126 19th St. North"
"126 19 N"
"126 19th N"
"126 19th Street N"
"126 19th Street North"

"52 Ave. SE"
"52nd Avenue SE"
"Fifty Second Avenue South East"


Now you have some basic tools for finding your house's pre-1930s address, and for tracking down residents from the early 30s and before!  To get a refresher on using city directories to find out who lived in your house from 1934 to the present, take a look at part one of this series, and stay tuned for the next installment: Who lived in my house? Houses that are (or were) outside Portland.

Have fun researching the history of your house; and as always, be sure to ask your friendly librarian any time you have questions, or whenever you'd like help with a research project!


 

In the United States, our democracy relies on three branches of government. These branches -- executive, legislative and judicial help to ensure that laws are fair and balanced. The system created by these three branches is called checks and balances. Here's a video that explains the idea of how the three branches balance one another. 

 

 

Follow these links to find out more about the  President (executive), Congress (legislative), and the U.S. Supreme Court (judicial.) Or learn more by playing a game on iCivics.org. Games like Branches of Power and Supreme Decision give you a look at some of the real-life issues faced by Congress, the President and the Supreme Court. (You can register for a free account or play as a guest.)

Here are some more places to explore for more information about the Federal government:

Ben's Guide to US Government for Kids has information for grades K-2, 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12.

Kids in the House is published by the Clerk's office of the US House of Representatives. This site has sections for Young Learners, Grade School, Middle School and High School.

For detailed information about state government in Oregon, the Oregon Blue Book is the go-to guide!

Do you need to know the national holidays of Sri Lanka? Find the agricultural products of Ecuador? Or maybe print an image of the Nigerian flag? You’ve come to the right place!

Culturegrams and Lands and Peoples are encyclopedias in which you can find out about the history and geography of a country, as well the daily lives of its citizens. There are great printable maps and images of the country’s flag and lots of photos. In Culturegrams, you can even listen to the country’s national anthem or sample recipes! If you aren’t at the Multnomah County Library, you’ll need to log in to the encyclopedias with your library card and PIN. 

Image of world mapThe CIA World Factbook has a wealth of information about the geography, people government and economy of countries, most of it in a table format. You can also visit their Flags of the World section to get a printable version of a country’s flag and information about what all its symbols mean.

At Background Notes from the U.S. State Department, you’ll find maps and flags for each country, as well as a history of its relations with the U.S. and links to in-depth country studies from Library of Congress.

The BBC has a page of Country Profiles, which are a good source for current events, as well as fast facts and timelines. And don’t miss National Geographic’s Destinations A-Z, a great source for travel articles, maps and colorful photos.

Not finding what you need here? Contact a librarian for more help.

Have you ever heard someone say they're "so OCD" when they're talking about how they organize things, or how they only like one color of Skittles? 

People who have OCD -- obsessive-compulsive disorder -- certainly can and do use humor to talk about how the disorder affects them. Performance poet Neil Hilborn has a poem called "OCD," and while overall the poem is a poignant reflection on a relationship, there are some funny moments where the humor comes from Hilborn's depiction of his compulsions.

But as Mara Wilson writes in "4 Things No One Tells You About Having OCD,"  "it's an incapacitating, isolating disease that makes you afraid of your own mind." 

You can learn more about OCD and other mental illnesses and find out about support and resources available in Multnomah County from the National Alliance on Mental Illness's Multnomah chapter

 

“A poem begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness.”
--Robert Frost

You could say that there are two types of people in this world. There are those who:

  • abhor poetry because they see it as boring
  • love poetry because they see it as an outlet

One way to keep the tradition of poetry truly vibrant is through poetry slams. These are live, often electrifying performances of one's own poetry. In poetry slams, the poem is the rough draft and the performance is the final version. 

Watch this 5-minute video on Global Writes, the nonprofit in The Bronx that pairs up poets with students. You will see here that the performances come not just from the heart but from the entire body.

 
So, how can you get involved?
 
If you are a high school student at Portland Public Schools, your best bet for making your mark is by taking part in Verselandia, the much-hyped poetry slam series which will be held on Tuesday, April 29th, 2014. If you are an educator working with teens who would like to stage these performances, PBS's News Hour has a slam lesson plan that you could find useful. Want to host a slam just because? Read this slam prep guide from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill complete with a rubric and score sheet.
 
And there is no shame in just observing. If you want to see what's out there, see the slam reading list below or take advantage of our Ask a Librarian service!

Who is this Molly everyone’s talking about?  Why are those girls giggling so much about bath salts?  Cruise over to the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s site for teens for information on many kinds of drugs, including street names, addictiveness, effects on the brain, and symptoms of abuse.  Then swing by the University of Utah’s Mouse Party for informative animations of the ways drugs interact with neurons to produce those euphoric effects. 

Perhaps you need to write a research paper on a drug or addiction and you’re casting about for a suitable topic.  Sara Bellum’s blog, produced by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, as jumping off points for more research on many angles of drug abuse.  You may be inspired by a blog on e-cigarettes or the prevalence of performance enhancing drugs in sports or how new brain science is influencing addiction treatment.  Learn how addiction works from How Stuff Works and click on links to more articles on specific drugs.  Once you’ve chosen your topic, use the Teen Health and Wellness database with your library card and PIN to find further information and articles.

If you’re debating the pros and cons of drug legalization, take a look at the Drug Policy Alliance website.  They present political arguments and opinions in favor of legalizing marijuana in the United States.  Weigh those against the opinions of CALM (Citizens Against Marijuana Legalization) for your compare and contrast paper.  Librarian Cathy C. gathered lots of recent information on the efforts in Colorado and Washington to legalize marijuana in her blog postOpposing Viewpoints Resource Center in Context is available anywhere with your library card and PIN.   Search “drug legalization,” “drug abuse” or “drugs and athletes” for balanced, factual pro/con articles.

 

For more help, contact a librarian.

In June 2013, the Supreme Court issued two rulings that quite possibly permanently changed the face of marriage in the United States: In one, the Justices struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), making same-sex spouses eligible for the same federal benefits as heterosexual couples, such as social security and – in the case of the plaintiff in this case – exemption from estate taxes. In the second ruling, the Court elected not to hear an appeal of a California lower-court decision striking down Proposition 8 – which prevented same-sex couples from marrying – as unconstitutional.

Because the Court struck down DOMA, plaintiffs in states where same-sex marriage is illegal can now argue that since the federal government must recognize same-sex marriages, so must the state.  Same-sex marriage advocates in many states – including Oregon – are moving forward with legal challenges.

More than one third of the states have already legalized gay marriage. In Oregon, gay marriage licenses were both approved and retracted in 2004. A 2013 poll shows 49% of Oregonians in favor of changing the constitution in support of same-sex marriage, and organizations are mobilizing to put a measure on the 2014 ballot.

Plaintiffs in Geiger v Kitzhaber (Wikimedia Commons)Edited to add [5/20/14].  Yesterday, Federal Judge Michael J. McShane struck down Oregon's ban on same-sex marriage that resulted from the successful 2004 ballot measure (Measure 36) amending the state constitution to define marriage as a union of "one man and one woman." "Because Oregon's marriage laws discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation without a rational relationship to any legitimate government interest," McShane wrote in his decision, "the laws violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution."

The plaintiffs in the case, Deanna Geiger and Janine Nelson Geiger, (pictured above) were the first couple to marry in Multnomah County following the decision. Nearly 100 other same-sex couples also obtained licenses from Multnomah County on May 19.

There are many issues, both pro and con, on both sides of the same-sex marriage debate. Major religious groups have also taken a stand on both sides of the issue.  

No matter what, if legalization of same-sex marriage passes, the one thing it guarantees is to bring more money to the wedding industry, as evidenced in states where it already exists, like New York and Massachusetts.

We love readers, and we love sharing the gems we find in the library, in the book drop and from speaking with you, our patrons. Here are the best of the best of 2013.

The Oregon Department of Transportation has some great pictures of each of our Willamette River Bridges, can you figure out what order they are in?

Last summer I got to take a boat ride and took some pictures from the river of some of the bridges.

 

 

 

 

Can you guess which bridge this one is?Underside of the grates in the Hawthrone Bridge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In January of 2013 the Sellwood bridge got moved. They moved it because they are building a new one and wanted people to still be able to cross the river there.

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