Northwest Genealogy Conference Testimonials

You’ve heard from me each day of the Northwest Genealogy Conference in Arlington, but what about comments from some of the nearly 400 other attendees? Here are a few:

My favorite class was the Facebook class (Solving Genealogical Mysteries with Facebook’s 10,000+ Links by Katherine Willson). It really opened the world to me — and all the free stuff out there.

Everyone is so friendly and this conference is so well organized.

During the Facebook class, I got on my computer and found my Dad’s stepsister — right during class! She’s part of a family group page, so I’m reaching out to her. What a great class!

Diahan’s presentation on her mother’s adoption story nearly brought me to tears.

Best thing about this conference? Meeting up with my high school friend after 52 years!!!

Daniel Earl’s humor was the best! Laughing while learning!

This conference is so well-run. So many topics and speakers!

I like meeting all the people and talking about our mutual interests.

My favorite classes were the DNA ones.

My favorite class was “Apprentices, Indentured Servants and Redemptioners: White Slavery” with Peggy Lauritzen (personal note: just about every class was someone’s favorite)


Day 2 at the Northwest Genealogy Conference

Dressing up like your ancestor was pretty fun!

Day 2 of the conference was “Dress as Your Ancestor Day” and, oh, what fun! Such imagination everywhere we turned! I saw a Swiss Miss, Southern Belle, Scandinavian gal, Scottish couple — even an Egyptian queen with a camel teeth necklace! Next year, I’m going to join the fun!

Yes, that’s Daniel Earl dressed as his Viking ancestor.

Our keynote speaker was the very funny Daniel Earl from Michigan. He kept things entertaining with his lively delivery and humorous quips. I didn’t think his first lecture, “A Place for Caroline: a Case Study on Eastern European Immigrants” would interest me as I don’t have ancestors from that region. But, no……he kept my attention the whole hour and I learned a few things along the journey. What a great presenter!

Our honored guest Kenyatta Berry

I again was in a quandary which two workshops (out of the 13 offered) to choose. Such a wonderful dilemma! Finally decided on “Too Many Marys: Solving Identity and Same Name Conundrum” with Jill Morelli and Michael Strauss’s “Descendency Research: Another Pathway to Genealogy.” Both great classes. Picked up some great hints and approaches to bust down my brick walls with Daniel Murphy and Patrick Ryan (and their sons and grandsons with the same name).

One of the highlights of the conference was the evening banquet. We got our first experience with Kenyatta Berry, tomorrow’s keynote speaker. A TV star to us genealogists, she took us “Behind the Scenes at the Genealogy Roadshow.” She was so engaging — we all had lots of questions for her. Looking forward to her presentations tomorrow!

THE GENEALOGICAL FORUM’s Wednesday Evening E-News


Wednesday Evening
16 August 2017

For more information visit, contact us at, or call our library at 503-963-1932. We love hearing from you!

For a complete GFO CALENDAR click here.

Also, if you missed your free copy of our monthly Insider for August 2017, you’re in luck because we saved you a copy HERE. NOTE: The Insider issues are now located under the “Learn” > “Our Publications” menu at our new website (still
Curious about the status of your GFO Membership?? We’d love to have you as a GFO Member!

Eclipse Library Closure

Due to anticipated traffic and nearby events, the GFO Library will be closed from 9:30am until 1pm on Monday, August 21st.
See you on the other side of the sun!
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Friday Serendity

Since it’s been a priority this hot summer to work on my genealogy (and our air quality in Spokane….and all across the Pacific Northwest has been awful due to the many forest fires so it’s been advised to stay indoors.) I’ve several bins of “Phillips Research Notes” on my office floor which I’ve been slowly working my way through. In the doing, I’ve discovered some gems……. gems of things I planned to check out but never did. Like this:
The State Library of North Carolina offers a fabulous long list of digital resources. What I first wanted to look for was a Phillips family Bible since the website says they have 1500 Bible records from North Carolina families. My search yielded 151 Bibles…..and the very first one was for a William Phillips, the name I was looking for. Alas, not the right one for me, but what a resource! 
The bottom of their website is a map of North/South Carolina and upper Georgia that is peppered with red dots. Each dot is a LINK…. click on that dot to see records from that place in their holdings. Never seen a website like that, have you? 
This website includes birth and death indexes (1800-2000), marriage bonds (1741-1868), NC county marriages ( 1762-1979) and biographies and Bible records, and cemetery records and more and more!  Oh, and they have the NCpedia “an online encyclopedia about North Carolina” which as of 1 Aug 2017 included 7151 entries and 7539 images. Wowsers. If you’ve research needs in North/South Carolina, better check this out, eh? 

Puget Sound Genealogical Society Ask the Experts

Puget Sound Genealogical Society
Saturday Aug 26 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
at Kitsap Regional Library 1301 Sylvan Way, Bremerton
Ask the Experts with members of the Association of
Professional Genealogists.  Get free one-on-one assistance with
your family history research from members of the Association
of Professional Genealogy
Registration required; call (360) 475-9172
No walk ins.
Thanks Jackie Horton, Publicity Chairperson

Day 1 at the Northwest Genealogy Conference

Diahan, her mother and sister

Diahan Southard making science fun!

Close to 400 enthusiastic genealogists from all over the state and beyond gathered in the Byrnes Performing Arts Center in Arlington today for a full day of learning, sharing and networking. Our keynote speaker was Diahan Southard, a native Washingtonian transplanted to Florida. Her three keynote lectures were full of understandable information and inspirational stories about DNA. Repeatedly, she told us, “there is no one else on the earth exactly like you.” Her professional manner (and athleticism!) were admired by all.

In addition to Diahan’s keynotes, conference attendees had the opportunity to attend two additional lectures from the dozen offered. It wasn’t easy to choose, but I finally settled on “Ticked Off! Those Pesky Pre-1850 Census Tic Marks” with Peggy Lauritzen and “Land Records: Using Indexes and Deeds to Move Your Research Forward” with Michele Goodrum. It was a hard choice to make. Who would want to turn down an opportunity to learn about “angst-free” citations (really!) or how to find ancestors who owned slaves? Or what about “Criminals, Paupers and Lunatics”?

Larry Taylor and Michele Cozad, two of the conference’s hardworking volunteers

Dinner with Daniel Earl

Can I say a little about the volunteers? From the moment I drove into the parking lot (thanks to the parking crew), I felt well cared for. A volunteer greeted me with a warm welcome as he swung open the door. There were volunteers at the registration table, packet pick-up, book sales, direction givers, food organizers, and more. And think about how much behind-the-scenes work was done before today! So, if you see a Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society volunteer (and, of course, you will!), thank them for their dedication and making this conference such a success.

A small group of us ended our day with a great dinner at the Moose Creek BBQ in Arlington. Our token male was Daniel Earl, tomorrow’s keynote speaker. What an engaging, funny young man, but don’t take my word for it – show up tomorrow! On-site registrations are still being taken. More information about the conference is available here.

Next Generation Genealogist Attends NWGS

How many times have you heard, “How can we involve the younger generation in our passion for genealogy?” Well, let me introduce you to Kellen Shoe.

Kellen and his grandmother Michele Heiderer.

I met Kellen at Wednesday’s Meet-and-Mingle at the Northwest Genealogy Conference. He’s just turned 17 years old and is going to be a junior at Arlington High School. And he’s passionate about genealogy!

Kellen’s interest in genealogy began about four years ago. When asked why he became interested in a field not usually associated with youth, he responded that he wanted to know who he was. His mother had never talked too much about her family history, but did write down what she knew. With that information, along with DNA results, Kellen started searching and researching. He can now trace his roots back to Colonial America, coming from England to Virginia and Missouri as early as 1607. He’s full of facts, dates, relationships, some of it a tangled web of children born out of wedlock, half siblings and other delicate family matters.

Kellen is the proud owner of original family letters, some describing the complex relationship of his 2x great grandmother and 2x great grandfather who never married. He’s also got old photos including daguerreotypes. His next big research hunt is to find the half siblings of his 2x great grandmother. With the help of DNA testing, he’s optimistic he’ll find some answers.

While Kellen’s interested in becoming a mechanical engineer, it’s pretty safe to say, he’ll stay interested in genealogy. A future genealogist in the making.

Pre-Conference Day at NWGC

Peggy Lauritzen entertaining and educating the crowd.

The attendees at today’s “Free Day Wednesday” at the Northwest Genealogy Conference got more than they anticipated. Billed as a beginning genealogy class with accredited genealogist Peggy Lauritzen, the 200-plus attendees were treated to an afternoon with Peggy, local society management classes, vendors and book sales. In addition, a lucky few attended a fascinating “Genetic Networks Workshop” with Diahan Southard.

Sponsored by the hard-working Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society (SVGS), this fourth-year conference is one of the best in the region. Organizers, including conference chairs Lisa and Phil Bartlow, have planned all year to appeal to newbies and veterans, young and young-at-heart. Peggy’s Genealogy 101 class today yielded more than a few ah-ha’s, scribbled notes and mumbled “I didn’t know that’s” from the crowd, even the seasoned veterans. There’s always something new to learn — or relearn!

Attendees give Diahan Southard’s DNA class a big thumbs up!

I was one of the lucky 25 to atend Diahan Southard’s DNA workshop. This is a new class offered by Diahan, but you wouldn’t have known it. Good handouts and exercises, understandable explanations, even a case study (with assignments for us to complete!). She’s a pro — can’t wait to hear her as our keynoter tomorrow.

I visited a few vendors, including the WSGS Membership table, but will do more of that in the next two days. Stopped by the Heritage Quest Research Library to check out the book sales. They brought in 36 boxes of books, pamphlets and resources, covering every country. And don’t forget to check out the Flip Pal — an invaluable aid in scanning old photos. I love mine; I actually use it MORE than I thought I would!

Councilman Nehring presenting Ruth Caesar with a check for the Pioneer Cemetery kiosk.

We closed the day with a Meet-and-Mingle at the Gleneagle Country Club. Lots of networking, getting acquainted (and reacquainted) and enjoying a great taco bar. One of the highlights of the evening was Snohomish County Councilman Nate Nehring presenting SVGS President Ruth Caesar with an oversized check for a memorial kiosk at the Pioneer Cemetery, Arlington’s first official cemetery. The identification of those interred has long been an important project for SVGS.

Tomorrow is the official start of the NWGC. Fourteen speakers, including keynoter Diahan Southard, will provide lectures and workshops on a wide variety of subjects — something for everyone. I’m still trying to decide on what classes I’m going to attend after looking through the 180-page syllabus!

Registrations are accepted at the door (Byrnes Performing Arts Center, 18821 Crown Ridge Blvd., Arlington). Arrive early and stay all day!

Seattle Genealogical Society Tip of the Week


The Family History Library is a genealogical research facility in downtown Salt Lake City. It is open to the public, free of charge, and is operated by, associated with the LDS.

Each month they present a couple dozen classes/webinars. You can attend online or in person, and as always it’s free of charge. All you need to do is check the schedule, and then register for the class or classes that interest you. Some of the classes/webinars are available in Spanish or Chinese.

If you would like to start receiving the monthly class/webinar schedule via email, sent a email message to FHLClasses at

The webinars use AdobeConnect which can be accessed from your computer, tablet, or mobile device. The links in the monthly schedule are active and you can connect simply by clicking on the blue webinar link. If you are going to attend one of their webinars, they recommend that you connect about 30 minutes before the class starts to check your audio and visual. A further tip, connect your audio and test with YouTube before connecting to AdobeConnect. This will ensure that your sound is working before you join the webinar. The audio device you wish to use must be on before you enter AdobeConnect.

Here’s a sample of the classes/webinars that will be presented next week. The link at the very end of this article will take you to the online site where you can view the full schedules for August and September.
• Using the FamilySearch Catalog Effectively
• Researching in Prussian Poland
• FamilySearch Wiki
• Kissing Cousins or Not?
• Finding Records of Chinese Americans
• Using Metasuche or Metasearch

Click Here

Seattle Genealogical Society News



Kenyatta D Berry, genealogist, lawyer, writer and host of the PBS Genealogy Roadshow, will be at the Northwest African American Museum for a brief talk and reception, Sunday, August 20, 3:00pm-6:00 pm. Admission is free. You’re invited to come hear her speak, as well as meet and mingle with other fans of the show.

Kenyatta will also be a featured keynote speaker at the upcoming Northwest Genealogy Conference, August 16-19, 2017 in Arlington. See our Save the Dates section for more info on this popular conference.

The Northwest African American Museum is at 2300 S Massachusetts St, Seattle, WA 98144 – phone 206 518-6000.

For more information on this event or the museum, visit the website :



After last issue’s Tip of the Week about Oklahoma’s online vital records index called OK2Explore, we received a message from a subscriber that this tip helped her break through one of her brick walls. It’s always nice to hear we have helped a fellow genealogist since that is our mission.


A few years ago, she had requested a death certificate from the state of Oklahoma. She had a full name and date of death from an obituary. The state couldn’t locate a record from the information she provided.

When she read our tip in the last issue, she immediately went to try to locate this record for herself.

She first tried entering the full name; that returned no record. Next she tried surname plus death year; that also returned no record. Next she tried surname plus a 5 year range; that returned too many records.

In a last ditch effort, she tried leaving surname blank, but entering a first name, middle initial, and death year; bingo! That returned an entry showing the surname had been grossly misspelled and the death date was one day different from what was reported in the obituary.

Needless to say she’s happy, and it’s satisfying to know we’ve been of help.



NW Genealogy Conference 2017,
Arlington, WA
August 16 – 19

The Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society is putting on their annual four day conference. Remember the first day is geared toward beginners and is free. Among those presenting is current SGS president, Jill Morelli, past SGS vice president, Janice Lovelace, active SGS member, Mary Kircher Roddy, and don’t miss PBS Genealogy Roadshow host, Kenyatta Berry. Visit their website for more information, to register for the conference, or to register for the free day:

Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS),
2017 Conference – “Building Bridges to the Past”,
Pittsburgh, PA
August 30 – September 2, 2017

Ready for a road trip? This conference is open to anyone with an interest in family history. FGS is teaming up with the Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society to put on this four day events. There will be various tracks to suit the individual researcher; beginner to experienced.

For more info visit :

SGS 2017 Fall Seminar
Speaker: Dick Eastman
Fairview Christian School,
Seattle, WA
October 21, 2017

SGS is excited to have Dick Eastman for the Fall Seminar. Registration will open in early September. Mark your calendar.



Unless otherwise indicated all programs will be at the SGS Library, 6200 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle. Check the SGS Web Site for additions, changes, and corrections. Programs may be canceled or postponed because of inclement weather. The Family Tree Interest Group with Lou Daly will not meet in August or September. The Irish, German, and Canadian Interest Groups are not meeting in August; they will return to their regular schedule in the fall. The Scandinavian Interest Group will not meet in September. The SGS Library will closed September 2 – 4 for Labor Day weekend.



Wednesday, August 16, 11:00 am – 3:00 pm, Beginning Genealogy Class with SGS past president, Linda Fitzgerald. Feel free to bring your brown bag lunch.



Saturday, September 9, 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm, new “Second Saturday Speaker Series”, with guest, Cyndi Ingle

Sunday, September 10, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm, DNA Workshop, Led by Cary Bright with first hour on a specific topic, and the second hour open for sharing DNA issues with focus on GenomeMate Pro.

Saturday, September 23, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm, SGS Fall Membership Meeting