Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Jefferson County Obituary Team Named Outstanding Volunteers

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 one of the local teams that was awarded an Outstanding Volunteer Award: the Jefferson County Obituary Team. The team, which included Lora Eccles and Barbara Larsen, was nominated by the Jefferson County Genealogical Society (JCGS).  They were recognized for spending hundreds of hours ensuring the accuracy of more than 23,000 obituaries in the JCGS obituary files.

The JCGS has long maintained an obituary file, from published obituaries in local newspapers from 1889 to present, with a few papers as far back as the 1870s and 1880s. Over the years, many of the entries had become duplicative, as well as some not on the page indicated in the index.

When Ms. Eccles and Ms. Larsen became the Obituaries’ Correction Team, they painstakingly matched each entry, page by page, to the index, as well as  removed the duplicate copies. There are 23,000 names in the files, so the project took much longer to complete than originally planned. The project will be competed by the end of the year.

Ms. Eccles’ and Ms. Larsen’s dedication to this project and attention to detail ensured a reliable, accurate source of obituaries. They richly deserved receiving 2014 Outstanding Volunteer Awards.

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


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