Seattle Genealogical Society News

by Sue Jensen, Director of the SGS Library

A Library is filled with books. A Genealogical Library is filled with books about genealogy. Seattle Genealogical Society Library is filled with books and many other pieces of information about families and their ancestors and descendants.

Families are the reason we “do genealogy” to find out more about the ones that came before us. Seattle Genealogical Society has received some exciting and important collections of family research over the Ninety-Six years it has been in existence. We have also received public records of Seattle and Washington based organizations and we have been actively preserving this information for our patrons. At first there were handwritten copies, then typewritten, then typed and saved on a computer disk, and now, DIGITIZATION! defines Digitization: To convert data into an electronic form that is readable and can be manipulated by a computer. This is what our very capable volunteers are doing with the family research, public records and other data that is donated to our Society. We have a great team of volunteers that go through every piece of paper, pedigree chart, letter and note from a family collection. They, the Archive Committee, then turn their work over to The Digital Power Team consisting primarily of Ann Wright and Jess Ramey. These two volunteers then turn the family collection and other data in the form of paper into digital data by scanning, indexing, and organizing it so that it will be available to be used on the computers in our Library.

Currently we have approximately 138,000 pieces of paper (including cards, lists, letters, documents, inventories, family collections) scanned, indexed and either available, or soon to be available, in the Library. There are countless volunteer hours put into the scanning and indexing. Not including the hours spent preparing for and getting them indexed; uploading the data to the computers and cataloging them into the Library’s catalog.

Here is a list of the items that have been done so far:

45,000 George Kent cards
20,000 VFW cards (indexed)
120 Wright’s Crematorium pages (indexed)
200 Seattle School District pages(indexed)
250 Washington Territory Land Records pages (in work)
countless cemetery pages (indexed)
2,000 family collection pages (in work or on shelf)
The Seattle Genealogical Society and Library has been able to do all of this digitization thanks to the Ron Cross Estate for funding the equipment for the Ron Cross Memorial Scanning Lab.
Come visit us and see what you can find about your family in our digital collection.


April’s Second Saturday Speaker Series presenter will be Trish Hackett Nicola. She’ll discuss the collections at NARA, housed directly across the street from the SGS Library. 

The National Archives at Seattle holds original records specific to Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington State. Its collections include maps and drawings, historical documents, agency files and photographs from every era.

See samples of U.S. District Court records for criminal, civil and admiralty case files; Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Prisons, Bureau of Land Management and the Chinese Exclusion Act files. Get an update on the Alaska Records Digitization Project. Learn how to access the finding aids to help you get the most out of your research at National Archives at Seattle.



Mark your calendar for the SGS Spring Seminar, “Next Steps for Your DNA Test Results”, featuring Diahan Southard. Saturday, May 18th, 9am-4pm.  Registration begins April 1st (no fooling  )  
Senate Bill 5332 – 2019 -20, proposing changes to Vital Records access in Washington, has passed the Senate and moved to the House. It is scheduled for public hearing in the House Committee on Health Care & Wellness at 9:00 AM on March 22 (subject to change). Contact your legislator with comments or concerns. Bill information can be found at this url:

SAVE THE DATEUlster Historical Foundation, USA Lecture Tour 2019
Lake City Center, 1916 N Lakewood Dr,
Coeur d’Alene, ID 83814

Wednesday, March 20, 2019, 1:00pm-8:30pm
  Enjoy this all day Irish & Scots-Irish Research Seminar with presenters Finton Mullan and Gillian Hunt from the Ulster Historical Foundation, Belfast.  Register by February 20th for the early bird price of $35. It will be $50 after that.

For more information on the USA lecture tour, or the Spokane area Coeur d’Alene, ID stop in particular, visit their website: WEEK! 
MARCH 9 – 23, 2019

You don’t need to be Irish to join in the fun. The main events will be the weekend of March 16-17 at Seattle Center. For a full list of activities and venues, see the brochure link below.  Don’t forget the seminar on Irish genealogy, “Beyond the Basics in Irish Genealogy”, on March 23.

Beyond the Basics in Irish Genealogy,
Fairview Christian School,
844 NE 78th St,  
Seattle, WA 98115
Saturday, March 23, 9:00 am – 5:00pm

Finishing Irish Week, don’t miss this Irish genealogy workshop with regional specialists Steven W Morrison and Jean A Roth. Organized by the Irish Heritage Club of Seattle. Click forMore information and registration

The ABCs of DNA Genealogy,
With Janet O’Conor Camarata,  
Mercer Island Library,
4400 88th Ave SE,
Mercer Island, WA
Thursday, March 28, 7-8 pm   

Genealogist Janet O’Conor Camarata provides tips and tools for selecting and interpreting DNA results from a variety of health and ancestry DNA providers, like Ancestry, FamilyTreeDNA, 23andMe and more. Designed for the non-technical, genealogy oriented audience. Please register. Sponsored by the Friends of the Mercer Island Library, in partnership with Mercer Island Historical Society.

Registration link:

Olympia Genealogical Society,
Beyond the Basics: Genetic Genealogy In Practice
Olympia, WA
Saturday, March 30, 8:30am-3:30pm   

Seminar presented by Blaine Bettinger, the Genetic Genealogist. Additional information and registration at :

Jewish Genealogical Society of Washington State, 
“Breaking Down Brick Walls” with Mary Kathryn Kozy,
LDS Factoria Church Building,
4200 124th Ave SE
Bellevue, WA 98006
Monday, April 8, 2019  

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Come early to network with other attendees.
Presentation starts promptly at 7:15 p.m. Free WIFI, admission, and

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. 

MARCHSaturday, March 30, 10:00 am – 12:30 pm, DNA SIG , this group meets quarterly at Wedgwood Presbyterian Church, 8008 35th Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98115, co-chaired by Cary Bright & Herb McDaniel. For more info contact


Saturday, April 6, 10:15 am – 12:15 pm, Family Tree Interest Group,
Lou Daly is leader of this special interest group exploring all the features of the tool Family Tree on  Come learn about the proposed changes coming to Family Search and Family Tree.   

Sunday, April 7, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm, DNA Workshop, with Cary Bright. Q&A first hour, while focus second hour in on Genome Mate Pro.

Saturday, April 13, 1:00 pm-3:00 pm, Second Saturday Speakers Series – “Using the Collections of NARA Seattle” with Trish Hackett Nicola

Sunday, April 14, 1:00 pm-3:00 pm, Scandinavian Special Interest Group,  with Karen Knudson