Was Your Ancestor an Early Washingtonian?

Do you have an ancestor who lived in Washington when it became a state on 11 Nov 1889? Did he/she come a little later, say before 31 Dec 1900?

Patrick Murphy arrived in Washington Territory in the spring of 1888.

If the answer to either question is “yes,” then you may be eligible to purchase a Pioneer Certificate or First Citizens Certificate honoring your early Washington citizen.

The process is pretty simple. Read the instructions and complete the application, starting with basic information about yourself, then your parent(s) and so on until you get to your first Washingtonian. Then list the evidences of proof linking each generation to the next. For example, I was born in Aberdeen (used my birth certificate). I am the daughter of Patricia Murphy Ferbrache (used her birth certificate) who was the daughter of Daniel Murphy (census record) who was the son of Patrick Murphy who arrived in the Satsop River Valley (Chehalis County, now Grays Harbor County) from New Brunswick, Canada in the spring of 1888. I used a land record (below) showing Patrick purchased land on the Chehalis River on July 10, 1888 — where my 91-year-old mother still lives today.

Land record, Chehalis County

After completing the Pioneer form (same procedure for the First Citizens Certificate), I sent it and my $10 fee to Pioneer Chair Frank McLean. Pretty soon my certificate arrived in the mail. I purchased another certificate later as an auction item at the annual Murphy Picnic — a much sought-after item!

The WSGS started the Pioneer and First Citizen Program in 1984 in anticipation of the state’s centennial admission to the union in 1889. While the three printed volumes of names are no longer in print, many libraries (including the Yakima Valley Genealogical Society’s library) have copies. An all-name index is available here. Hint: If you’ve got a Pioneer (here before 11 Nov 1889) or First Citizen (here before 31 Dec 1900), you might check the index to see if a cousin has already done the research! Detailed lineages are available to WSGS members through the Members Only link. A Pioneer and First Citizen brochure is available here.

There are a number of resources and aids, including Frank, to help you with your documentation. I’m proud to be the great granddaughter of a Washington Pioneer. Join me!


Fall and Winter Photos Wanted

Washington is beautiful any time of the year, don’t you agree? Winter seems to have arrived a little early this year, so let’s celebrate that beauty. We’re looking for scenic photos of our fall and winter Washington wonderland for the rotating photo gallery on the blog banner.

Guidelines for the photos are few:
•Landscapes, landmarks, and scenery photos are preferred. If, however, you have a perfect photo that includes people, please obtain their permission to post the photo.
•Photo must have been taken in Washington State (this is the Washington State Genealogical Society blog, after all!).
•Photo will be cropped to 1100 x 250 pixels, so keep that in mind.
•You may submit as many photos as you want.
•Final decisions on suitable photos will be made by the awesome WSGS Blog Team.
•There’s no firm deadline to submit photos, just keep ‘em coming. We want to rotate lots of photos to keep the blog fresh.

To submit your photo, please email the image (jpg only, please); what, where, when, and by whom the photo was taken to WSGSBlog@wasgs.org.

Got questions? Email the blog team at WSGSBlog@wasgs.org.

Mark Your Calendar: 2018 WSGS Annual Meeting & Awards Ceremony

This just in: The Clark County Genealogical Society will host the WSGS Annual Meeting and Awards Ceremony at their 2018 genealogy conference on Saturday, May 26, 2018. The featured speaker will be David Allen Lambert from the New England Historical Genealogical Society (NeHGS).

Save the date and spread the word! More info coming soon.

Meet the Board: Nancy Cordell

Do you know who’s running the show at the Washington State Genealogical Society? Did you know we have an Executive Committee, six standing committee chairs and three appointed non-elected officers? Who are all these people? In the coming months, we’ll introduce them to you, so you can say “hi” the next time you see them.

Nancy Cordell, Region 3 Representative

In today’s “Meet the Board” series, we’re introducing you to Nancy Cordell. Nancy lives in Tumwater and is WSGS’s Region 3 Representative (Clallam, Jefferson, Kitsap, Mason, and Thurston Counties). She is also a member of the Olympia Genealogical Society where she has been president since July 2016.

Nancy, 1961 in Madrid, Spain

Nancy was born in southern California to Harry and Bertie (Grange) Neville. She earned a Ph.D. in Anthropology, specializing in biological anthropology, in 1991 at the University of Washington in Seattle. “Dr. Nancy” then taught biological anthropology to undergraduates for 30 years. What is biological anthropology, you ask? It’s a branch of anthropology that explores the biology of humans in the present and in the past, with a strong emphasis on understanding and exploring human diversity. Sounds like a perfect segue to her becoming a professional genealogist, earning a Certificate in Genealogical Research from Boston University. Now retired from her educational career, Nancy owns her own genealogical business, “Diggin’ Our Past.”

Nancy’s interest in genealogy came early. Her mother’s family migrated to Utah in the mid-1800s from England and Denmark as converts to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS). Nancy is proud of her early Utah pioneer roots.

Nancy’s great grandparents Annie and Walter Boyed, 1914

Featured in the photo on the right are Nancy’s great grandparents, Annie Louisa Mullens and Walter Eugene Boyed. The photo was taken in 1914 in Las Vegas, Nevada, just after they had moved from the mining town of Rhyolite, Nevada where they’d lived for nearly 10 years. Walter, born in 1861 in Texas, was a prospector and miner. He married Annie in 1899 in Tooele, Utah at the age of 38. Nancy’s still “diggin’ her past” to find out more about Walter before his marriage to Annie.

Nancy and her husband have two grown daughters. Besides being a proud member of WSGS and OGS, Nancy is a member of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, Association of Professional Genealogists, International Society of Genetic Genealogy, and the National Genealogical Society.

A few more interesting tidbits about Nancy:
• Favorite genealogy websites: Ancestry
• When asked one word that describes her, Nancy replied, “Curious.” A very good characteristic for a biological anthropologist – and a genealogist!

Now you know a little more about another of the WSGS Board members. The next time you see Nancy say hello and thank her for her service to WSGS.

How to Post on the Blog

Do you want to broadcast information about your local society, workshop, genealogical tip, or a research query? Just post to the WSGS Blog! You can reach hundreds of genealogists from around the state. Just email a Word document, text file, PDF or graphic to WSGSBlog@wasgs.org and the blog masters will do the rest.

We’re always looking to publicize local events and workshops, feature stories, updates from your society, and other genealogical information that might be of interest to our many subscribers.

We hope to hear from you soon! And don’t forget to encourage your Society members to subscribe to the Blog for the most up-to-date information from around the state.

You may manage your subscription options from your profile.

Let’s Keep Indexing

The Washington State Genealogical Society thanks all who participated in our Digital Archives indexing effort throughout Family History Month (October). Whether you indexed one record or 1,000, each is appreciated and valued. So, let’s keep it up! There are still thousands of records to be indexed so a future researcher can benefit from your efforts.

We’d like to know if you indexed any Digital Archives records during the month of October. Just leave a comment on this posting to let us know. Thanks for your continued efforts!

Indexing Continues

Have you joined other WSGS members and blog readers indexing records for the Washington State Digital Archives? I hope so. Today, I only had time to index two records. But that’s two records that a genealogist may be looking for. Every indexed record helps!

The list of collections being indexed changes all the time. Currently, the list includes:

  • 1878 King County Census,
  • Marriage records in Benton, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Wakiakum and Walla Walla counties
  • Automobile licensee fee books from 1909 – 1913
  • Polk Directory for Seattle from 1891 – 1893

By signing up for Scribe (the very cool indexing tool), you can choose what collection you’d like to index — it’s up to you! Remember: every record indexed is a win/win for free public access to these invaluable records.

Meet the Board: Kathy Sizer

Do you know who’s running the show at the Washington State Genealogical Society? Did you know we have an Executive Committee, six standing committee chairs and three appointed non-elected officers? Who are all these people? In the coming months, we’ll introduce them to you, so you can say “hi” the next time you see them.

Kathy and her 2nd cousins, once removed in England.

In today’s “Meet the Board” series, we’re introducing you to Kathy Sizer. Kathy lives in Granger (Yakima County) and is WSGS’s Membership Chair. She has been a member of the WSGS since 2011. She is also a member of the Yakima Valley Genealogical Society where she has been president, vice president and hospitality chair.

Kathleen Louise was born in Oakland, California in 1951 to August Edward and Vivian Jane (Washburn) Weedle. Her mother liked the name Kathleen (as did approximately one million other mothers at the time), but when she told her husband, he said he did too as his former fiance’s name was Kathleen. Horrified, Kathy’s mother said they needed to pick another name, to which her husband replied, “I didn’t marry her. I married YOU, didn’t I?” Years later, Kathy’s mother met Kathleen and they became good friends until Kathleen died of cancer.

Kathy’s interest in genealogy began when her grandmother Edith Clarke Washburn and her sister Alice Ramos Clarke were discussing family history when Kathy was in the 4th grade. That discussion sparked Kathy’s interest. Later, after college, Kathy found a handwritten family history her grandmother had done and that really secured her lifelong passion.

Kathy with her cousin Diana Walcom at their great grandfather John Clarkes’ home in Gargrave England.

Kathy and cousin Diana Walcom in England during Diana’s first trip to see the family home.

Even though her DNA ancestry says she’s only 36 percent English, Kathy’s ancestors come from England, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Scotland, and Ireland. She has been lucky enough to travel to England and Scotland to see where her grandmother’s family was from. She’s also got Polynesian ancestry on her mother’s side, but is still searching for that ancestor. A genealogist’s work is never done!

Kathy has quite a few interesting characters in her ancestry. She had a distant grandmother in Salem who was imprisoned for witchcraft, but released when the community began to realize the awful practice of imprisoning (or worse) was wrong. Kathy also has a great grandmother who was governess to Louis Comfort Tiffany, the famous glass maker. And what about John Billington, her distant grandfather, who came over on the Mayflower and was the first man in the Plymouth Colony to hang for killing a man? True story.

When not searching for her ancestors, Kathy enjoys gardening, travel and reading. She and her husband, who sometimes calls her “Louie,” have four grown children and seven grandchildren. Two of their sons are adopted from India.

A few more interesting tidbits about Kathy:

  • Favorite genealogy websites: Ancestry, Family Search, Nantucket Historical Association and Chronicling America
  • Favorite color: Green, of course, as Kathy’s ancestry takes her to England and her DNA shows she’s 17 percent Irish
  • Favorite dessert: Eclairs, pumpkin pie and homemade oatmeal raisin cookies
  • When asked for one word that described her, she replied, “bookish.”

Now you know a little more about another of the WSGS Board members. The next time you see Kathy say hello and thank her for her service to WSGS.

Help Make More Records Available — From Home!

October is Family History Month! Did you know that October is also American Archives Month?

Celebrate with the Washington State Genealogical Society by joining us as we index Washington State records so that genealogists everywhere can search the Digital Archives online.

The Washington State Archives has many records that are relevant to genealogists and other researchers. Their indexing tool, Scribe, allows you to become an honorary archivist by transcribing and indexing records. You choose what you want to index and Scribe keeps track of how many records you complete.

To make the celebration more fun, The Board of the Washington State Genealogical Society would like to challenge you to join us in making more records available. The “Scriber” with the most records completed in October will be featured on our blog.

Sharon Liebert Named Region 8 Representative

Sharon Liebert

Sharon Liebert of East Wenatchee has been appointed the WSGS Representative for Region 8 by President Virginia Majewski. Besides being a member of WSGS, Sharon is a member of the Wenatchee Area Genealogical Society.

Region 8 includes Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan Counties. There is still a vacancy for Region 1 South which includes parts of Island and Snohomish Counties. For more information about the responsibilities of the Regional Representative, click here.

Sharon will be featured in a future “Meet the Board” story. Welcome to the Board, Sharon!