General Data Protection Regulation

You may have heard about the new General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”), that comes into effect May 25, 2018. To help comply with GDPR consent requirements, we need to confirm that you would like to receive content from us.

We hope that our content is useful to you. If you’d like to continue hearing from us, do nothing, if not either unsubscribe or leave a note in the comments and I will unsubscribe you.

Treasurers Alert Form 990 Due May 15

This is an alert for any calendar year non profit Genealogical Society, your for 990 is due May 15. I will guess most genealogical societies will use the form 990-N or 990 postcard form. The 990-N is for societies with less than $50,000 a year income.  Go to and search for the 990-N form. It must be filed online right there. Takes about 10 minutes to file and get the conformation that it was accepted. They ask 2 questions, did you take in less than $50,000 last year and are you still active. Then they want the name and address of an officer  and you are done.

Your WSGS Board at Work

February 10th the WSGS board met at the Yakima Valley Genealogical Society library in Union Gap, Washington.

The board meets four times a year to discuss genealogical matters important to everyone in the State of Washington. Besides the officers at the meeting, committee chairs are asked to attend. Any WSGS member can attend also. Usually the night before most of the attendees go to a no host dinner at the Sea Galley Restaurant to get to know each other. First order of business at the board meeting was to swear in the recently elected board members and regional reps. All the officers are listed here  WSGS President Ginny Majewsky was checking the wording of the oath.

Region 7 (Spokane, Stevens and Pend Oreille counties) is looking for a rep. We are also looking for a Historian and an Awards Chairman, so if you know someone that would be interested please contact Ginny Majewski.

Probably the biggest change to come from this board meeting is the change in the dues for 2019. The dues will be $12 for members, families, and societies. You can still pay with your local society so you only need to write one check, but no discount that way, still $12, and the society will not get any of the $12 for handling the paperwork.

What Your Treasurer Needs to Know

With the start of the new year, there are two legal requirements that may be required for your local society. Below is more information.

 By now your society should have received the Annual Report form from the Secretary of State to list your officers and registered agent and pay the state the $10.00 annual fee. This annual registration can be done online.


IRS Form 990 – Before May 15th, your Form 990 is due to be filed with the IRS if you are a Tax Exempt 501(C)(3) organization. (Note: if this has not been done in the last three years, your Tax Exempt status has expired.)  The IRS has three 990 forms: the regular 990 for organizations with over $200,000 annual income, the 990EZ for organizations with income between $50,000 and $200,000, and the 990-N (Postcard 990) if your income was less than $50,000, which I assume will cover nearly all the genealogy societies in the State of Washington. The form must be filed online at where you are asked two questions: (1) are you still active, and (2) did you take in less than $50,000 last year. If yes to both questions, just fill in your genealogical society’s name, address and federal ID number (should be on last year’s return ##.#######), print out the form and confirmation and you are done.

Resources – You might consider signing up for the free IRS Exempt Organizations E-Mail newsletter (

There is also an E-Mail Newsletter from Washington Non Profits ( Fair warning: a lot of what is in this newsletter is for large nonprofits, but they do have seminars all over Washington State that may relate to your government filing and best practices for non-profits.

I got this Legal-checklist-1 from their latest newsletter, some parts do not apply to our small genealogy societies, but many do.

Any Questions? Please comment below.



WSGS Blog Year in Review

I have been a blogger for years before the WSGS Blog started and have always been amazed that blogs are so interesting, yet so few people read many blogs. They do get read, and so here are some interesting items from the WSGS Blog.

While most of our readers are from the United States, we also have readers from several other countries.

We also have readers from many states, but this list is the top cities, thanks Seattle for always being number one. The last few weeks number two on the list has been Philadelphia? Anyone know why Philadelphia is interested in our Blog?

This is the top 15 hits this year. Most everyone gets the blog as a digest weekly, so that is why number one is on this list.  I see some people have found the categories and tags we attach to most every blog article. While the articles Donna Phillips does on trivia, serendipity and  mystery are popular, they did not start till later in the year so they do not show up on this annual list.

I know I welcome the few comments we get, would be nice to get more, but is there anything else you would like to see in the blog that we have not thought of?

In 2017 there were several major seminars held on the same days, and that it is hard to schedule speakers, but maybe a save the date post early in the year could alert everyone of upcoming seminars early enough to avoid conflicts in 2018 or 2019.

I want to thank all the people that send their information on upcoming meetings, seminars and items of interest, you make my job very easy to do. I also want to thank my fellow bloggers  Donna Potter-Phillips and Roxanne Lowe.

Non Profit Training for Genealogical Societies

Looks like the December 5 and December 7 webinars should be viewed by every genealogical society in Washington

Nonprofit Essentials Toolkits

You care about your mission and want to make sure your organization does what it needs to do to succeed. That is why we created DIY learning toolkits that include short videos, kit materials, key documents, and more. Click on the images below for more information!

Boards in Gear
Why, What, and How of Boards to Better Achieve Mission

Connection to cause
Roles & responsibilities
Board development
Board operations

Finance Unlocked for Nonprofits
What Every Board Member Needs to Know about Finance

Balance Sheets
Income Statements
IRS Form 990

Let’s Go Legal
The right road to compliance and protectionState law
Federal law
Employment law
Intellectual property
Strategic Planning in Nonprofits
Your Step-by-Step Guide to Achieve Your Mission


We know that you want to learn about other topics as well. Visit the Washington Nonprofit Institute website for archived webinars on many other topics, including fundraising, risk management, equity, and communications. If you can’t find what you are looking for, contact us!
Opportunities to learn

You also need opportunities to learn with others. That’s why we are offering a full schedule of workshops and webinars designed to give you what you need to strengthen your board. Upcoming board-related events include:

10/12 SEQUIMFinance Unlocked for Nonprofits
10/26 SPOKANEInland Northwest Conference for the Greater Good
11/1 ONLINEChanges to Washington Leave Laws
11/2 KENNEWICKBoards in Gear
11/2 MOUNT VERNONBoards in Gear
11/3 YAKIMABoards in Gear
11/9 CALL: What you need to know to serve on a nonprofit board
11/9 KENT: Understanding the 501(c)3 Application Process
11/15 SPOKANE: Boards in Gear
11/15 SHELTON: Boards in Gear
12/5 ONLINE: Finance Unlocked for Nonprofits webinar
12/7 ONLINE: Nonprofit Legal Checklist

There are many more nonprofit learning opportunities to join! Visit the Washington Nonprofits calendar (by clicking the icon below) and the 501 Commons featured training and networking events listing.

New Photos on Blog Banner

Spokane River. Photo by Donna Potter Phillips

Have you noticed the Blog banner changes every time you visit? The photos are submitted by readers like you. We’re always looking for scenic photos of our beautiful state for the rotating photo gallery on the blog banner.

The current batch of pictures were taken by Bettye Hull from Cheney and Donna Potter Phillips from Spokane.

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 prize if your photo is chosen – just the satisfaction that your photo is being showcased on a blog viewed by hundreds of enthusiastic genealogists.
•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

Got questions? Email the blog team at

Report on the WSGS Board meeting.

WSGS, the Washington State Genealogical Society, exists for one reason: To be of assistance to all the genealogical societies in the state. That mission statement was loud and clear at the recent Board meeting in Yakima.

The Board consists of 16 good folks and 13 were present; that’s dedication. They come from all four corners of the state; Ginny Majewski, the president, comes from Sequim…. that’s a 500 mile round trip!

The meetings are kept to agenda, business is accomplished, Parliamentary rules are followed, and everybody participates. It’s a good group!

All projects, plans and programs were discussed. Website problems and updates were discussed. The use of ZOOM for virtual meetings (not just for this Board but any society in the group) was discussed. Questionnaires were sent to all genealogical societies in the state and Ginny is coordinating the returned into; to wit, how can WSGS help YOU?

A new state-wide project was opened for business. WSGS wants to have a listing of all Civil War burials in Washington and will partner with

to create and maintain such a list.

I am proud to be associated with this great group of dedicated workers and  hope that if you are approached to help WSGS that you will not think twice but will answer “YOUBETCHYA!”



Reading the Blog Daily

Most everyone reading this blog reads the weekly digest, but there are other ways to read a blog, the simplest is to go to the URL for the blog and bookmark it, then you can go the blog whenever you are online. Our WSGS blog is located here    if you want to go bookmark it. Problem is there may not be any new posts since you were here before and so is there a better way to read a blog, a way that notifies you when a new post is online? Yes an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) reader is the way to do that. If you were around a few years ago most all genealogists used Google Reader, a really easy to use RSS reader. Google decided to discontinue Google Reader and so people were scrambling to switch to another RSS reader. Many switched to Feedly a good RSS reader that was free at the time, and still has a free version for the web, IOS and android. The pay version has many improvements and  they keep adding more and more improvements.

Here is a copy of my Feedly screen, I have folders for Gene Societies, Genealogy, Google, Home and Garden, Libraries, Neighborhoods, Newspapers, Pictures, Rootsweb, Transportation and Work. I have about 350 blogs in Feedly, most post weekly or even less except for the newspapers which post about 60 articles a day, so I get about 25 or 30 articles a day from all the rest of my Feedly feeds.

Using Feedly I can read the Monday Mystery and Tuesday Trivia the same day they are posted, and I am the only one using Feedly to read the WSGS blog as of today.

There are other RSS readers besides Feedly, just Google RSS Readers.

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