Meet the Board: Patricia Olsen

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.

Patty Olsen

In today’s “Meet the Board” series, we’re introducing you to Patricia Olsen, known to all of us as Patty. Patty is from Chehalis in Lewis County, a proud member of the Lewis County Genealogical Society where she has served as education chair for the last five years. She is WSGS’s Region 4 Representative for Clark, Cowlitz, Lewis, Pacific, Skamania and Wahkiakum Counties. She is also a member of the Cherokee Nation, Friends of the Vann House, Trail of Tears Association, and the Cherokee Historical Society.

Patty at her Aunt Marcy’s house near the Birdsview Fish Hatchery, Birdsview, WA (Skagit County). Circa 1952.

Patricia Rae Lund was born on February 9 in Bellingham, Washington to Eugene “Bill” Russell and Violet Elsie (Dickinson) Lund.  Although born in the local hospital, she initially slept in a wooden apple box as there weren’t enough baby beds at the time.

Patty is extremely proud of her rich ancestry, a true slice of American history and heritage. Her mother, Violet Dickinson, was born in Bonesteel, South Dakota in 1922, the second of four children to Clarence LeRoy and Elsie Belle (Chambers) Dickinson. Grandma Elsie died in 1927, leaving Patty’s grandfather with four children under the age of six. Grandpa soon remarried Ethel Marie Joy, a neighbor of his brother’s who had been hired to watch the children while Grandpa worked. She and Grandpa married in 1928 and had seven more children – making a houseful of 11 children! There was never a reference to “step children” – they were all just one (really big) family.

Patty’s father, Eugene Russell Lund, was born in Morris, Oklahoma to John Daniel and Martha Elizabeth (Vann) Lund. Grandma Martha died in June 1922 following the birth of her fourth child in December 1921, having never recovered after the birth. Martha’s grandmother (Patty’s 2x great grandmother) Caroline “Carrie” Elizabeth Sixkiller (1853 – 1906)  was the proud daughter of Redbird “Tah-chu-wha Su-da-la-dee-hee” Sixkiller (1807 – 1898), a member of the Cherokee Tribe as  recorded in the 1863 Dawes Rolls that recognized all Cherokees living on the reservation in Oklahoma.

Outstanding Young Women of America, 1979

Through her genealogical research, Patty knew she was related to President Abraham Lincoln and Will Rogers, but her tribal heritage was a surprise to her. As was common in bygone days, having tribal blood was not something to be touted or even disclosed. It wasn’t until 1962 that Patty’s father was encouraged by his aunt to join the Cherokee Nation. Patty is now a proud member of the Cherokee Nation and feels a special affinity to her heritage having traveled to Oklahoma and South Dakota where her ancestors lived.

As a teenager, Patty attended a small high school with under 300 students. While there, she played the flute (first chair!) in the Concert Band which held the distinguished honor of 25 years of A+ ratings at the annual Music Educators Band Contest in Bellingham, WA. Patty’s hard work, perseverance and talent were rewarded when she was chosen as First Chair of America as a flautist in 1962. She was also selected as one of the nation’s “Outstanding Young Women in America” in 1979.

Patty has two sons, seven grandchildren and even has a great-granddaughter. She is retired from the Napavine School District, where she developed the HOSTS (Helping One Student to Succeed) program, tutoring students to help them catch up and surpass their classmates in math, reading, writing or other skill sets where they needed an extra boost. She also chaired the popular RIF Program (Reading Is Fundamental), buying and distributing books to elementary school children.

When she’s not researching her family roots, Patty enjoys attending dirt track sprint car races, the sunshine and traveling.

A few more interesting tidbits about Patty:

  • She is a life member of Beta Sigma Phi social sorority, Daughters of Norway, Skagit County Genealogical Society, and Yakima Valley Genealogical Society.
  • She can be seen at numerous conferences and workshops around the state and elsewhere. She loves networking and learning about new resources, tips and discoveries – then passing them along to others.
  • She is a staunch supporter of our country’s veterans. She has purchased numerous commemorative tiles on display at the Veterans Memorial Museum in Chehalis. Veterans are “never forgotten” in her heart.
  • Her favorite genealogical website is “Find My Past.”
  • Her favorite “color” is anything with bling!
  • Her favorite dessert is lemon pie
  • When asked what one word describes her, Patty responded “OCD” (obsessive-compulsive disorder) – a very good trait for a genealogist!

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

 

We’ve Made It Easier to Renew or Join

Have you renewed your WSGS dues? If you have, thank you — we’re glad you’re part of us!

If you haven’t renewed, we’ve made it a whole lot easier! Now, you can do everything online by clicking on the Members Only tab on the left navigation bar on any page of the WSGS website, then going to “Profile.” From there, click on the green “Renew Membership” button and follow the prompts. Easy peasy!

If you aren’t a member of the WSGS yet, it’s just as easy: click on “Join/New Member” on the left navigation bar. It’s only $12 for an individual ($13/couple).

Of course, if you’d rather use snail mail, that’s okay, too — just mail your membership form to:

Washington State Genealogical Society
Membership Chair
1901 S. 12th Avenue
Union Gap, WA 98903

Lola Swearingen Weber Awarded 2016 Outstanding Volunteer Honor

Since 2003, the Washington State Genealogical Society has recognized almost 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 last of the 2016 series, you will be introduced to each of the award recipients and learn why they received the 2016 WSGS Outstanding Volunteer and Team Award.

Lola Swearingen Weber

Today we’re introducing Lola Swearingen Weber of Longview, Washington, who was nominated by the Lower Columbia Genealogical Society (LCGS). She was recognized for her unwavering dedication and enthusiasm to the LCGS.

As a long-time member of LCGS, Ms. Weber has served as president, vice-president, trustee and program chairman. She presently serves on the program committee.

Ms. Weber has fostered genealogical education by organizing research trips, presenting informative programs and visiting senior living facilities to encourage writing their life stories. She has submitted articles for the society’s newsletter, The Key, donated time in the genealogy section of the Longview Public Library and volunteered for the rest stop fundraiser.

Ms. Weber has been an asset, as well as an inspirational and motivating presence in the ranks of the society’s membership, and demonstrates that she richly deserved being a recipient of a 2016 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, Recognition Chair, at Roxanne@thekeeffes.com.

Sandra Wade Awarded 2016 Outstanding Volunteer Honor

Since 2003, the Washington State Genealogical Society has recognized almost 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 next few weeks, you will be introduced to each of the 2016 award recipients and learn why they received the 2016 WSGS Outstanding Volunteer and Team Award.

Sandra Wade

Today we’re introducing Sandra Wade of Graham, Washington, who was nominated by the Tacoma Pierce County Genealogical Society (TPCGS). She was recognized for her diligence and attention-to-detail in transcribing data from local records.

Upon her retirement as a school bus driver for 32 years, Ms. Wade joined TPCGS and began researching her family history in earnest.  In 2013, when TPCGS began a special project to transcribe records from the Tacoma City Light Register, Book 2 (1904 – 1940), society members, including Ms. Wade, volunteered. Ms. Wade tackled the task, completing the majority of the work. After the data entry, Ms. Wade undertook the majority of the proofreading work, then single-handedly made the corrections to all 282 pages.

All agree that this compilation of data will be invaluable to researchers as the time period 1904 to 1940 is sometimes difficult to locate records placing people in a certain area during a certain time. Ms. Wade’s dedication to the project illustrate proves she richly deserves being a recipient of a 2016 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, Recognition Chair, at Roxanne@thekeeffes.com.

Louellen Verellen Awarded 2016 Outstanding Volunteer Honor

Since 2003, the Washington State Genealogical Society has recognized almost 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 next few weeks, you will be introduced to each of last year’s award recipients and learn why they received the 2016 WSGS Outstanding Volunteer and Team Award.

Louellen Verellen

Today we’re introducing Louellen Verellen of Chelan, Washington, who was nominated by the Chelan Valley Genealogical Society (CVGS). She was recognized for her enthusiastic promotion of genealogy and the CVGS.

Lou, a descendant of an early Chelan family, has a passion for family history. Before the CVGS was formed, she was the librarian at the Chelan Community Library. She collected source books, instructed patrons how to order film from the American Genealogical Lending Library, and how to use the film readers. When a box of films arrived, Lou would call the person who placed the order, then present it like a precious gift.

When CVGS was formed in 1990, Lou became our stalwart advocate. Chelan City officials moved the library to a school district building where Lou designated a room for the newly formed group. When the move to the Bradley Street building was made, Lou insisted that CVGS books and materials be included, saving the society much effort, time and money.

Lou has been an inspiration, instructor and friend to the CVGS. Her dedication proves she richly deserves being a recipient of a 2016 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, Recognition Chair, at Roxanne@thekeeffes.com.

Innovative Grant Applications Due March 1

Local Societies:

WSGS wants to help your society! Get your Innovative Grant applications in by Wednesday, March 1, 2017!

The grants, up to $100, are designed to support the inventive and creative efforts of WSGS-member societies and organizations. Up to five grants will be awarded in 2017. These are grants — not loans!

The simple application is only ONE page and is available here. Additional guidance on the program is here.

Here are previously approved Innovative Grants, but look for more ideas in the Guidance Document:

2015

Chelan Valley Genealogical Society – purchase of new magazine containers/binders for the local library’s historical magazines
Northeast Washington Genealogical Society – tree removal in a pioneer cemetery
Skagit Valley Genealogical Society – assistance with computer purchase
Tri-City Genealogical Society – advertising & prizes for writing contest
Wenatchee Area Genealogical Society – specialized software to manage society’s extensive genealogical holdings

2016
Jefferson County Genealogical Society – software upgrade for society’s library and research database
Wenatchee Area Genealogical Society – publicity for dedication and adoption of society mascot Coyote
Whitman County Genealogical Society – assistance with purchase of computer, monitor & back-up software

For more information, contact Roxanne Lowe, WSGS Recognition Chair at roxanne@thekeeffes.com.

Marge Samuelson Awarded 2016 Outstanding Volunteer Honor

Since 2003, the Washington State Genealogical Society has recognized almost 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 next few weeks, you will be introduced to each of last year’s award recipients and learn why they received the 2016 WSGS Outstanding Volunteer and Team Award.

Marge Samuelson

Today we’re introducing Marge Samuelson of Port Townsend, Washington, who was nominated by the Jefferson County Genealogical Society (JCGS). She was recognized for her never-ending commitment to preserving the history of Jefferson County and the field of genealogy.

Ms. Samuelson has been an invaluable volunteer with the JCGS for many years. She has served as treasurer, membership chair, historian and vice president. She was also newsletter editor for more than four years, wrote many articles for the county history section of the newsletter and maintained a blog, researching and writing articles about local historical topics.

Ms. Samuelson has also worked tirelessly averaging over 75 hours a month transcribing records from the local newspaper. To date, she has extracted over 100,000 names.

Ms. Samuelson’s passion and commitment to researching and sharing the local history prove she richly deserves being a recipient of a 2016 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, Recognition Chair, at Roxanne@thekeeffes.com.

NW Genealogy Conference Registration Continues

“Where does your story begin? That’s the theme of the 2017 Northwest Genealogy Conference, featuring nationally acclaimed speakers Kenyatta Berry, Daniel Earl and Diahan Southard. August 16 – 19 in Arlington, Washington.

Don’t miss this top-notch conference, full of classes, vendors, networking and more! Register today: full three-day conference -$160, single day – $80. For more information and registration, visit the NWGC website.

George Ridgeway, Jr. Awarded 2016 Outstanding Volunteer Honor

Since 2003, the Washington State Genealogical Society has recognized almost 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 next few weeks, you will be introduced to each of last year’s award recipients and learn why they received the 2016 WSGS Outstanding Volunteer and Team Award.

George Ridgeway, Jr.

Today we’re introducing George Ridgeway, Jr. of Mount Vernon, Washington, who was nominated by the Skagit Valley Genealogical Society (SVGS). He was recognized for his generosity of time and energy dedicated to SVGS.

Mr. Ridgeway has served as the local society’s president, vice president and webmaster.  He has spent much of his time designing and maintaining the SVGS website. His most recent website additions include the addition of all newsletters since the organization of the society in 1987. He has added links for a blog, “Stories of our Ancestors” and a PayPal link allowing payment of membership dues and events. In addition, Mr. Ridgeway encouraged SVGS to hold an educational program series for beginners in Anacortes and Burlington, beginning in 2015 and still in operation.

Dedicated volunteers like Mr. Ridgeway are prized assets to any organization. That is why he richly deserved being a recipient of a 2016 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, Recognition Chair, at Roxanne@thekeeffes.com.

NW Genealogy Conference — Get Your Early Bird Discount NOW

The Early Bird Discount for the 2017 Northwest Genealogy Conference expires Wednesday, February 15th . With emphasis on “Where Does Your Story Begin?” the conference offers a variety of speakers, including four keynote speakers, and four days of classes and workshops. This fabulous event takes place in Arlington, Washington, August 16-19th. Mark your calendars and register at www.nwgc.org and follow the prompts.