Day 3 at the Northwest Genealogy Conference

Leslie Vogel from Seattle, winner of the WSGS membership raffle with President Ginny Majewski and VP Donna Potter Phillips

Last day of the conference, but it was a great one! First thing this morning, WSGS President Ginny Majewski and Vice President Donna Potter Phillips drew Leslie Vogel’s name from the new (and renewed) membership raffle tickets for an Amazon Dot. Congratulations, Leslie. And welcome to you and all our new members!

Kenyatta Berry

Keynote speaker Kenyatta Berry provided a thought-provoking presentation, asking us “Where Does Your Story Begin?” She shared her personal history, as well as how to make our own stories compelling. Much to think about…

Wouldn’t you think I would have heard enough about DNA on this third day? Nope. Attended Mary Kathryn Kozy’s “Can You Help Me Find My Cousins? Using atDNA for Family History” lecture. She’s a great speaker and always “delivers the goods.”

I’m sorry to say I had to leave early, missing Kenyatta’s afternoon talk and the afternoon workshops, but I know everyone enjoyed them.

A big thank you to Phil and Lisa Bartlow and all the volunteers!

I want to give another shout-out to the amazing volunteers from the Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society. This conference is quickly becoming “the” event to go to. Speaking of that….mark your calendar for August 15 – 18, 2018! Don’t miss it!

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!

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!

Honoring our Past Presidents

Serving as President of this organization is an honor and a privilege. As such, we want to honor those who provided leadership to our Society and to the genealogical community.

To recognize and honor the service of our Past Presidents, we have created the WSGS “Presidents’ Circle,” an exclusive group composed of men and women who served as president of our state society. They have helped shape WSGS into what it is today: an active and ever-changing organization dedicated to educating its members about genealogy and to cultivating public awareness of the educational, historical and personal value of genealogical research. Our past presidents include:

1984 – Alma Greenwood, Olympia Genealogical Society

1985 – Elsie Trautloff (deceased), South King County Genealogical Society

1987 – Maxine Bissell, Yakima Valley Genealogical Society

1989 – Kathleen Johnson, Long Beach

1992 – Pam Chilton, Lower Columbia Genealogical Society

1994 – Frank McLean, Yakima Valley Genealogical Society

1996 – Laura Pemberton Sparr, Skagit Valley Genealogical Society

2000 – Robert Witherspoon (deceased), Whatcom Genealogical Society

2004 – Stephen Baylor, Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society

2008 – Sue Ericksen, Yakima Valley Genealogical Society

2013 – Mikal McKinnon, Tri-City Genealogical Society

As a member of the “Presidents’ Circle,” each honoree received a lifetime membership to WSGS – a small thank you for their years of service, dedication and support. For more information, including photographs, visit the Presidents’ Circle page on the WSGS website.

 

Get More Than You Pay For at the Northwest Genealogy Conference

The Northwest Genealogy Conference begins in less than a week — but there’s still time to jump on board! The conference is a bargain at any price, but Wednesday, August 16 is beyond a bargain! In a prelude to the jam-packed three-day conference, join hundreds of genealogists for “Free Day Wednesday.” Did I say “free”? Yes, I did! FREE.

Professional genealogist Peggy Lauritzen will be conducting a “beginning” class on Wednesday, where she’ll guide attendees on their adventure researching their family’s history. While the session will aid the beginner, I can guarantee even those more experienced genealogists will learn (or relearn) tips, tricks and other valuable information.

In addition to the beginning genealogy class, the Washington State Genealogical Society will be conducting two local society management classes.

Donna Potter Phillips

How to Attract & Keep Members…Awake
Presenter: Donna Potter Phillips, WSGS Vice President

Donna will share some new, some old and some WOW ideas for your society to use to increase and retain your membership. She will also present some program-giving tips for keeping members “awake” and eager to attend your society’s programs. You’ll leave this class with ideas and energy galore!

 

Virginia Forney Majewski

The Nuts and Bolts of Society Management
Presenter: Virginia Forney Majewski, WSGS President

This presentation is geared toward officers, board members or those considering running for office. Attendees will learn about different types of societies and the legal requirements of maintaining each, insurance needs and about developing policies or rules to protect the society when problems or problem makers arise. You’ll leave this class knowing how to help your Board be functional, responsible and active.

Looking for more? Check out all the vendors! Start networking — you might find a long-lost cousin in the crowd! Get ready for the “main event” starting Thursday, August 17. Dozens and dozens of classes; professional genealogists galore; photo opportunities; more…more…more.

You can register online through Tuesday, August 15 by clicking here. After that, you’ll have to stand in line at the door.

Don’t miss this premier regional event.

BOTO to NW Genealogy Conference

Buy one (registration) and take one (youth) free!

If you know a teenager who might be interested in a great start to genealogy and you’re registered for the Northwest Genealogy Conference, the organizers of the conference want to help you develop that interest! New to the many benefits of the NWGC is a complimentary youth registration (ages 13-17) with one full paid registration. (Does not include extra syllabus or meals.)

Email nwgc@stillygen.org for further information. Let’s get that younger generation interested!

Kenyatta Berry Ready to Come to Arlington

Photograph by Roberto Valladares

Noted genealogist and TV personality Kenyatta Berry will be a featured keynote speaker at the upcoming Northwest Genealogy Conference. Ms. Berry was recently interviewed by the Arlington Times about her love of genealogy and a sneak peek at what she’s got planned for the Arlington conference. An online and audio version of the interview is available here.

Professional genealogists Daniel Earl and Diahan Southard will also be keynote speakers during the August 16 through August 19 event.  Click here for more information and registration.