Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Outstanding Volunteers Moving to WSGS Blog

In the effort to concentrate the WSGS's visibility in one place, the weekly postings featuring a 2014 recipient of the Outstanding Volunteer Award are moving to the WSGS Blog. Head on over there to see who earned an award last year.

More and more content will migrate to the WSGS blog, so don't miss out! Subscribe to a blog reader today! 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Doreen Johnson Named Outstanding Volunteer

Since 2003, the Washington State Genealogical Society has recognized more than 400 outstanding volunteers, nominated by their local society or genealogical organization for their service and dedication. These volunteers are the backbone of their local society, giving their time and expertise, to the organization and the field of genealogy. In the coming months, you will be introduced to each of the 2014 award recipients and learn why they received the 2014 WSGS Outstanding Volunteer Award.
Today we're introducing Doreen Quayle Johnson of Greenbank, who was nominated by the Genealogical Society of South Whidbey Island (GSSWI).  She was recognized for her leader­ship, knowledge, and volunteer efforts toward the goals and operation of the GSSWI.

Ms. Johnson has been an indispensable member of the GSSWI for more than ten years. She used her extensive genealogical knowledge and skill for numerous presentations to the society, the community, and interest groups. She also was the society’s computing expert, leading basic computing classes and visiting members’ homes for hands-on help.

One of Ms. Johnson’s largest projects enabled more than 23,000 Island County obituaries to be available on the society’s website. Ms. Johnson was perhaps best known for the excellent GSSWI newsletter that she published for several years.
Ms. Johnson has now moved from the area for more travel and genealogical research. The GSSWI greatly miss her knowledge, willingness, and cheery disposition. All of her accomplishments and contributions proved that she deserved to be a recipient of a WSGS Outstanding Volunteer Award.

For more information on the WSGS Outstanding Volunteer Award program, visit the Recognition page of the WSGS website or contact Roxanne Lowe, Recognition Chair, at

Monday, February 2, 2015

Chicago Genealogical Society Seminar

March 7

Event with D. Joshua Taylor–

In conjunction with the Newberry Library, CGS members are invited to attend a seminar with D. Joshua Taylor as he shares his enthusiasm for genealogy and history. For more than 15 years, Joshua has been an active genealogist, tracing the histories of families across the globe. Joshua can be seen on Genealogy Roadshow (PBS) Season 2 which started January 13, 2015, Who Do You Think You Are? (NBC and TLC) and is the Lead Genealogist for, a worldwide leader in online family history. Check out his blog at:

This will be a FREE all day event and pre-registration will be required. Again, it is FREE but there are limited seats. Here is the link to register:

You HAVE to print the confirmation and bring it with you that day to get in to this event.

Hope you can attend!

The Chicago Genealogical Society

Seattle Genealogical Society Seminar Date Correction

All day Irish Genealogy Workshop 

This workshop, sponsored by the Irish Heritage Club and the Seattle Genealogical Society Irish Interest Group, is on MARCH 21, 2015 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Greenwood.
The previous eNewsletter listed the date incorrectly.

Contact Jean A. Roth for details:

Saturday, January 31, 2015

David Rencher is a 12!

David Rencher, chief genealogical officer at FamilySearch and our headliner at the WSGS Conference on June 27, 2015, is cheering for a Seahawks victory at Super Bowl XLIX on Sunday. Yes, David’s a Seahawks fan!

Look for more interesting tidbits about David in the coming weeks and months. Then come see him yourself at the WSGS Conference, June 27, in Ellensburg — mark your calendar now!

Seattle Genealogical Society Seminars

The HeritageQuest database, which is available remotely via The Seattle Public Library’s website, will see several upgrades in the first quarter 2015.
Following are a few important changes noted by ProQuest, the database vendor:

  • Complete 1790-1940 U.S. Federal Census with images and every-name indexes for all years
  • Additional census records such as Mortality and Non-Population Schedules, Indian Census Rolls, and more
  • Expanded collection of genealogy and local history books and city directories with an all-new user interface, thumbnail images and hit highlighting
  • Complete Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty Land record collection (NARA M804)
This database can be accessed by anyone with a Seattle Public Library card via the Internet, and does not require a trip to the library.

Current SGS needs and openings:

Are you Irish (or do you wish you were), and can you walk a mile? 
SGS’s official participation in Seattle’s Irish Week Festivities is one of our best community outreach activities and helps us obtain financial grants for our Society.  SGS is participating in the annual St. Patrick's Day parade on March 14, and we need a few people to march in the parade, carry the SGS banner alongside an antique car, and pass out membership brochures.  The parade begins at 12 noon and starts at 4th and Jefferson and travels north on 4th. After passing the reviewing stand at Westlake - walkers can board the monorail (for free) to the Seattle Center for closing ceremonies at 2:00 pm. 
SGS will also have a booth at the Seattle Center for the Irish Week festivities.  We need volunteers to man our SGS Information booth for two-hour shifts on Saturday March 14 from 12 Noon to 6 PM and Sunday March 15 10 AM – 6 PM.  This is a lot of fun.
If you can help – please contact Jean A. Roth at (206) 782-2629 or
Strong backs needed: Several times a year, we need help moving boxes of books or other similar items, and many of our members can no longer do this kind of physical work.  Commitment: 1-3 hours, two or three times a year.  Email Reiley Kidd,  
Seeking one or more leaders for Beginner's classes: Twice a year, SGS offers a series of classes for people new to genealogical research.  We need several people to share this responsibility.  The curriculum and lesson plans are available, and we can coach you to get you started.  Commitment: several 1-2 hour sessions (evenings or weekends), twice a year. Email Jean Roth,
WANTED: Volunteers willing to give SGS two hours to help with registration of attendees at 2015 spring seminar, Saturday, 9 May. Will check attendees' names against registration/paid list and hand out already-prepared information packets. Will register walk-up attendees and take and record their registration fees. Seminar at Greenwood Senior Center. Work begins at 8:30 a.m. on day of seminar.  Email Betty Ravenholt,

WANTED: Volunteers willing to give SGS two to three hours to help with preparing registration packets for spring seminar attendees. Work involves collating already printed pages and putting them into envelopes, preparing name labels, etc. Work to be done at SGS library at a date during week prior to May 9 seminar.  Email Betty Ravenholt,

WANTED: Volunteers willing to give SGS approximately two hours to put out snacks/water and hand out lunches at SGS spring seminar on 9 May. Preparatory work of organizing snacks and lunch boxes will take about one hour and begins at 8:30. Handing out lunches will take about one hour and begins about 12:00. Seminar at Greenwood Senior Center.  Email Betty Ravenholt,
WANTED: Volunteers willing to give SGS approximately one hour to help pack up, clean up, and straighten up at the end of the spring seminar event. Work begins about 4:30 p.m. on 9 May. Greenwood Senior Center.  Email Betty Ravenholt,


Saturday, January 31, 10:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., Wedgewood Presbyterian Church
DNA INTEREST GROUP, Cary Bright and Herb McDaniel, leaders.
Come learn about DNA testing and how you can tear down some of your brick walls with the right DNA test.  We will have a quick overview at 9:30 a.m. to review DNA for beginners.  Our usual meeting (10:00 a.m.) will review all new discoveries and include two presentations by group members about their own DNA testing results.

Saturday, January 31, 1:30 – 4:00 p.m., SGS Library
Program: Using Postcard Images: An Unusual Picture Source For Family Histories.
Old postcards are a valuable but often little-used resource for images to add to your genealogies.  They include early photographs and art work of places and people important to your narrative.
Leader: Jean A. Roth

Sunday, February 1 – SGS Library will be CLOSED today, because of the Super Bowl.
The program originally scheduled for this date has been moved to Feb. 8 – see below.

Saturday, February 7 10:15 a.m. -12:15 p.m., Canadian Interest Group; David Robert, leader.
Bring your Canadian brick walls for some expert help.

Sunday, February 8, 1:30 p.m.,
NEW DATE! "House Histories--Wherever You Live" will be presented on Sunday, 8 February at 1:30 pm at the SGS Library. Jill Morelli, licensed architect and genealogist will present an approach to doing your house history, wherever you live. While each county's land records are filed differently, Jill will outline a procedure which works in most urban jurisdictions. Document retrieval, online and on site, and the architecture and neighborhood assessment will be covered.

Tuesday, February 10, 10 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Program: Finding and Interpreting Family Bible Records, Ida Skarson McCormick, leader.
Is something puzzling you about the content of a family Bible record?  Please send image before class to

Saturday, February 14.
CANCELLATION NOTICE: Computer Interest Group, Ida Skarson McCormick, leader, originally scheduled for this day has been cancelled.

Saturday, February 14, 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.  SGS OPEN HOUSE
It's Valentine's Day!  We'd "love" to have you join us for sweet treats.  Researchers will be available to help you with your family history.

Tuesday, February 17, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m., Brick Wall Solving Session.
Join SGS members for a problem-solving session.  This is an open forum format.  Jean A. Roth, leader.

Saturday, February 21, All day Irish Genealogy Workshop 9 AM – 5 PM in Greenwood sponsored by the Irish Heritage Club and the SGS Irish Interest Group.
Contact Jean A. Roth for details:

Sunday, February 22, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., Irish Interest Group, Jean A. Roth, leader.
Open session on Irish research.  Come and share your successes and brick walls.

Sunday, February 22, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m., German Interest Group, Jean A. Roth, leader.
Open session on German research.  Come and share your successes and brick walls.

The next two programs begin our 2015 series of lectures on the Ethnic Heritage in the Northwest:

Saturday, February 28, 10:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.  Program: Embracing Your Ethnic Heritage, Jean A. Roth, leader.  Our ancestors had a rich ethnic heritage – a story that needs to be told.

Saturday, February 28, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.  Program: Coming to America – Castle Gardens and Ellis Island, Jean A. Roth, leader.
Many of our ancestors came through the Port of New York and entered through Castle Gardens or Ellis Island.  This program will describe entering the U.S. in the 19th and 20thcenturies.


Friday, January 30, 2015

WSGS Launches New Grant Program

Has your Society talked about doing a special project, but been stymied by lack of funds? Do you need a special piece of equipment like a projector or printer for your library? Well…….

The Washington State Genealogical Society is excited to announce the creation of the “WSGS Innovative Grant Program.”
The grants, up to $100, are designed to support the inventive and creative efforts of WSGS-member societies and organizations. We know that $100 doesn't seem like a lot of money, but we also know that local societies can do a lot with very little, so we’re hoping the Innovative Grant Program will be what you need to jump-start a project that has been dreamed about for some time. Up to five grants will be awarded in 2015.
While no means comprehensive, here are some examples of projects that might be considered:

·         Purchase of furniture, equipment, books, magazines or other publications/ subscriptions for an existing or new society library;

·         Locating, inventorying, restoring and/or preserving a local cemetery;

·         Hosting a special event, presentation, or workshop;

·         Purchasing genealogical-related software, scanner, projector, peripherals or other equipment or technology;

·         Developing a project serving special populations, e.g. senior citizens, children/teens, tribal members, ethnic organizations, etc.;

·         Restoring and/or preservation of photos or original documents;

·         Identifying and unifying old photos, Bibles, quilts, letters or other significant memorabilia with family members, museums, or other good homes;

·         Creation of a website, blog or other communication tool;

·         Publication of local history or narratives;

·         Other innovative projects that support and enhances your genealogical society.

The deadline for the Innovative Grant application is April 1, 2015. The simple application is only ONE page and available online here. Additional guidance on the program is here.

For more information, contact Roxanne Lowe, Recognition Chair, at