Seattle Municipal Archives Adds New Resource

The Seattle Municipal Archives recently added a guide to SMA’s genealogical resources and how to find your ancestors in city records. The guide is available on their website.

The Seattle Municipal Archives is located on the third floor of Seattle’s City Hall at 600 Fourth Avenue in downtown Seattle. The building is between Fourth and Fifth Avenues and James and Cherry Streets. The Archives is co-located with the Office of the City Clerk.

For more information about the SMA, contact Jeanie Fisher, Reference Archivist, Seattle Municipal Archives at

Innovative Grant Applications Due March 1

Is your local genealogy society interested in some FREE CASH for a special project? Applications for the WSGS Innovative Grants are being accepted through March 1, 2018.

The grants, up to $100, are designed to support the inventive and creative efforts of WSGS-member societies and organizations. The awards do not have to be repaid — they’re FREE MONEY to support worthy projects. Up to five grants will be awarded in 2018.

Last year’s grant awards were made to:

The simple application is only ONE page and is available here, as well as additional guidance on the program. For more information, visit the Innovative Grant page on our website

For more information, contact Roxanne Lowe, Interim Chair, WSGS Recognition Committee, at

Jody Alfiere Awarded 2017 Outstanding Volunteer Honor

Since 2003, the Washington State Genealogical Society has recognized over 500 outstanding volunteers and teams, 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 2017 award recipients and learn why they received the 2017 WSGS Outstanding Volunteer and Team Award.

Jody Alfiere

Today we’re introducing Jody Alfiere of Olympia, Washington, who was nominated by the Mason County Genealogical Society (MCGS). She was recognized for her exceptional efforts to preserve and document the headstones in a local cemetery in the Mason County area.

Single-handedly, Ms. Alfiere took on the task of documenting more than 11,000 headstones in Shelton Memorial Park. Some years ago, MCGS took on the task of correcting the errors and omissions of their cemetery’s records and to photograph the headstones. The project floundered for some time, however, until Ms. Alfiere took it upon herself to get the job done. She mapped out the project, section by section, and recruited volunteers to help. On many mornings for the past three years, Ms. Alfiere was seen documenting and photographing headstones, and even identifying unearthed sunken grave markers by herself.  On other mornings, she enlisted some helpers, but her commitment to documenting and photographing the headstones never wavered.

Now, thanks to Ms. Alfiere’s untiring work, the MCGS is closer to completing this project.  Her dedication to this task, and to the MCGS, is remarkable. It is for these reasons, Ms. Alfiere richly deserved being a recipient of a 2017 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, Interim Recognition Chair, at

Meet the Board: Karin Coppernoll

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.

Karin Coppernoll

In today’s “Meet the Board” series, we’re introducing you to Karin Coppernoll. Karin lives in Monroe (Snohomish County) and is in her first term as WSGS’s Secretary. She is a professional genealogist, managing her own genealogical research firm “Brick By Brick Genealogy.” She has a certificate in Genealogical Research from Boston University and has attended the Salt Lake City Institute of Genealogy and completed a course in Advanced Research Tools: Land Records by Richard G. Sayre and Pamela Boyer Sayre. She is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, the National Genealogical Society, and the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society.

Karin was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, the daughter of John Louis and Cynthia Eugenia (Chrzanowski) Pasteur. Think she’s related to Louis Pasteur? Nope — they’re not related. Karin’s Pasteur ancestors originally spelled their surname “Passtoor.”

Karin and her husband James “Jim” Coppernoll have been married 31 years. They have two children: son Clint (age 25) and daughter Camille (age 17). In addition to working as a professional genealogist, Karin is the bookkeeper for her husband’s environmental geology corporation. In her “former life,” Karin was a “jill-of-all-trades,” working for Jackson County (Oregon) Environmental Health Department, a water testing lab, a temporary job agency and an accounting firm. She’s also worked as a veterinary technician, children’s pastor and taught Latin at an alternative high school.

While having quite a varied work history over the years, one constant has been genealogy which she started at age 12 when she took a genealogy and heraldry class in middle school. After that, she was hooked! She is particularly proud of the deep New England ties of her four grandparents.

  • One has roots deep into Colonial America, settling in Westchester County, New York, for generations. Karin’s planning to visit Westchester County this year when she attends the New York State Family History Conference.
  • Two of them immigrated from Poland and settled in Connecticut before moving to New Jersey.
  • Karin’s remaining grandparent was the son of German immigrants who settled in Brooklyn. For many years, Karin’s father believed his father was an orphan. In actuality, he was born in Ostfriesland, Germany and was a crew member of a German ship. He deserted his ship in New York Harbor and become a U.S. citizen.

A few more interesting tidbits about Karin:

  • Favorite genealogy websites: Ancestry most often, with FamilySearch a close second
  • Favorite color: Royal purple
  • Favorite dessert: Cherry cheesecake
  • When she’s not doing genealogy, Karin loves to knit.
  • It’s easy to describe Karin in one word: organized. The ideal description of a genealogist!

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

How to Post on the Blog

WSGS Blog Team: Roxanne Lowe, Charles Hansen (Blog Master) and Donna Potter Phillips

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 and the blog team 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.

Society Award Deadlines Set

The deadlines for WSGS awards to local societies have been set. We are encouraging you to promote your society’s activities and accomplishments by submitting a nomination.

WSGS President Ginny Majewski presenting the Outstanding Communication Award to Mary Simonsen with the Whitman County Gen Soc, 2017

Outstanding Communication – The WSGS Outstanding Communication Award is awarded to a local society that promotes its society and/or genealogy and family history to its members and/or the public. The award includes all forms of communication, including websites, social media, newsletters, lectures, videos, podcasts, etc. The nomination deadline is 01 April 2018. The application is available here.

Outstanding Project – The WSGS Outstanding Project Award is awarded to a local genealogical society or organization in recognition of exceptional genealogical or historical projects implemented during the past year. The nomination deadline is 01 April 2018. The application is available here.

President’s Award: The WSGS President’s Award for Outstanding Achievement is designed to single out that rare individual, society or organization who has demonstrated exemplary service above and beyond expectations. The nomination deadline is 15 April 2018. The nomination form and additional details are available here.

Outstanding Volunteers and Team: The Outstanding Volunteer and Team Awards Program provides recognition to those individuals
and teams who have been identified by their local genealogical organization to be honored for exceptional efforts. The deadline to submit the name of a society’s individual or team is 15 Feb 2018. More information about the Outstanding Volunteer and Team Awards is available here.

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

Time to Renew Your WSGS Membership

It’s time to renew your Washington State Genealogical Society membership and we’ve made it pretty easy!

Kathy Sizer, Membership Chair

Washington State Genealogical Society

1901 S. 12th Avenue

Union Gap, WA 98903-1256

  • Pay online using PayPal by clicking on the Members Only button on the WSGS website and going to your “Profile.”

If you’ve already renewed, THANK YOU for your continued support!

Please help us continue to support the genealogical community in Washington State. For more information, contact Kathy Sizer at

It’s Time to Recognize Your Outstanding Volunteers and Teams

Now is the time for genealogical societies and organizations to select their local outstanding volunteers and teams so they can be honored at the WSGS Annual Meeting and Awards Ceremony on May 26, 2018 in Vancouver. The annual meeting will be held in conjunction with the Clark County Genealogical Society’s Spring Seminar.

Each year, the State Society recognizes local volunteers and teams nominated by their society or organization at the annual conference. In 2016, more than 20 local volunteers and four teams from 20 organizations were recognized for their support and dedication to their society and the researching public.

The process for this year’s Outstanding Volunteer Award program is much like last year’s – no significant changes. In addition to the traditional Outstanding Volunteer Award program, there are three other recognition awards: Outstanding Project, Outstanding Communication, and the President’s Award for Outstanding Achievement. Information about those awards will be forthcoming, but should not impact organizations’ Outstanding Volunteer Award nominations.

Letters to local societies and organizations, with additional details, have been emailed to society contacts. If you have not received that information, please contact Roxanne Lowe, WSGS Recognition Chair. The milestones for this year’s nomination process are:

  • No later than February 15, 2018: Submit the name(s) of your honorees to the Recognition Committee.
  • By March 15, 2018: Submit a narrative (approximately 150 words) explaining the accomplishments of your nominee and why you are honoring him/her. Include a good quality digital photograph (at least 300 dpi).
  • May 26, 2018: Formal announcement and presentation of certificates at the Annual Meeting and Recognition Ceremony in Vancouver.

Additional details and deadlines, plus indexes and narratives of accomplishments of past honorees, since 2003, may be found at the WSGS website here.

Please contact Roxanne Lowe at if you have questions or suggestions.

Meet the Board: Patrick Bundy

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.

Patrick Bundy

In today’s “Meet the Board” series, we’re introducing you to Patrick Bundy. Pat lives in Yakima and is WSGS’s Historian, a position he’s held for more than a few years. He is also a 30-plus-year member of the Yakima Valley Genealogical Society where he has been president for the last two years. Over the years, he’s also been YVGS’s vice president, program chair, publicity chair, recording secretary and on the library board. He has been a member of the WSGS since 1988 and was named a WSGS Outstanding Volunteer in 2014 for his leadership, knowledge, and volunteer efforts at YVGS.

In the beginning…Earl and Elsie (Deans) Bundy’s firstborn son, Patrick James, made his appearance in 1944 in Minnesota. His next big accomplishment was marrying his sweetheart Lynn Helmick in 1973 in Yakima. Sadly, Lynn passed away in 2014, leaving Pat, five children and many cherished grandchildren that Pat continues to dote on.

After getting his education at Yakima Valley Community College, Pat was employed in the TV and radio biz in Yakima. Although he’s always been interested in genealogy, after his retirement, Pat really ramped it up, searching for his Mid-West and New York ancestors. One of his most interesting finds: his 3x great-grandfather, a Lutheran minister, built the first Lutheran Church in Ontario, Canada.

Pat knows his way around the kitchen and enjoys cooking when he’s not searching for his ancestors – or engaging in social media. It’s not uncommon to wake up to his cheery Facebook message:

Good morning, friends! Hoping your day is fabulous!

A few more interesting tidbits about Pat:
• Favorite genealogy websites: Ancestry
• Favorite dessert: Pie
• When asked one word that described him, Pat replied, “Easy-going, even though that’s two words!”

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

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!