Meet the Board: Janet McKinnon

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.

Janet McKinnon

In today’s “Meet the Board” series, we’re introducing you to Janet McKinnon from Richland (Benton County). You might recognize the McKinnon name — she and her husband Mikal (Immediate Past President of WSGS) have been active in WSGS business for many years. Currently, Janet is WSGS’s Region 6 Representative for Adams, Asotin, Benton, Columbia, Franklin, Garfield, Walla Walla and Whitman Counties. Janet’s also a proud member of the Tri-City Genealogical Society where she has served as vice president and program chair. And if that’s not enough, she’s been the Librarian at the Richland Family History Center since 2000, helping patrons with their genealogy research. No wonder she was named a Washington State Genealogical Society Outstanding Volunteer in 2012!

Janet’s Grandmother Kate (on the right) watching her mother Emma get a picture taken next to a new car. Emma walked across the Mormon / Oregon Trail as a 13-year-old girl.

Janet’s 2x great grandmother (mother of Emma). This is the earliest female ancestor that Janet has a picture of.

It all began when little Janet Lemon was born in Coleville, Utah, the first of four children (and only daughter) of Karl and Bessie (Kirkham) Lemon. She was named after her mother’s middle name. Janet graduated from North Cache High School (Utah) in 1961 and entered the Utah State University that fall. On December 18, 1964, Janet married her partner for eternity Mikal A. McKinnon in the Logan temple. After their graduation from USU, the couple moved to California, then to Washington in 1975.

December 1964

Janet and Mikal are the parents of five children: four sons and a daughter. Their Down Syndrome son lives with them. They’re also the loving grandparents of 13 from a 10-year-old Boy Scout to a college graduate granddaughter.

Janet’s interest in genealogy started with her mother and her family. While Janet’s mother didn’t do formal research, she loved and valued her ancestors. Her father (Janet’s grandfather) pioneered areas of genealogy for the Genealogical Society of Utah. He and other family members did the research and shared it. Janet’s mother shared the stories that she heard first hand from the pioneer generation, and passed those stories on to Janet. Even today, Janet’s greatest interest is in family stories, photos, memories and sharing them.

Janet uses FamilySearch.org for much of her research, especially for her early American and English ancestors. One of her most interesting genealogical finds was a Civil War record for the son of a “Dependent Mother” listed in the pension books.

A few more interesting tidbits about Janet:

  • Favorite color: red
  • Favorite dessert: ice cream
  • When asked the word that best describes her, she replied, “friendly.”

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

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.

 

Meet the Board: Virginia Majewski

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.

Virginia Forney Majewski

In today’s “Meet the Board” series, we’re introducing you to Virginia Majewski from Sequim. Virginia, more familiarly known to us as Ginny, is WSGS’s new President, having been elected last month. Her dedication to WSGS is longstanding as she has previously served as WSGS’s Secretary, Region 3 Representative and Vice President.

Virginia Ann was born in Yakima to Wesley Roy and Nancy Jane (Grabill) Forney. She is a proud 4th generation Washingtonian and descendant of a Washington State Pioneer family. Ginny’s name was handed down through her mother’s family – great grandmother, great aunts and aunts – even though Ginny’s dad maintains he picked out her name.

Ginny is a graduate of Quincy High School in Quincy, Washington (Grant County) and Sacred Heart School of Nursing in Spokane. She is married to her husband of 30 years, Moe. She is the mother of four grown children and, most importantly, grandmother of eight, ages 17-1. She retired from her career of 42 years as an Obstetrical Nurse in 2013.

Ginny has been involved in genealogy for more than 20 years. It all started with a couple of boxes of “junk” from her grandparent’s estate. She was bitten by the genealogy bug and it became one of her life’s passions. Her maternal and paternal lines go back to exiled Mennonites in Switzerland. In 2000, she took a three-week genealogical tour of Switzerland, Germany, France, Belgium and the Netherlands – following the path of her exiled ancestors.

Proud 4th generation Washingtonian

Virginia holds a Certification in Advanced Genealogical Studies in both American Records and Methodology from the National Institute of Genealogical Studies in Toronto, Canada. Currently, she is the President of Clallam County Genealogical Society. She is also a member of the Yakima Valley Genealogical Society, Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society, Ohio Genealogical Society, New York Genealogical Society and Polish Genealogical Society.

When asked what she finds most interesting about genealogy, Ginny muses about a bigamist, unknown illegitimate cousins, a civil war hero and many more interesting characters!

A few more interesting tidbits about Ginny:

  • Her favorite color is turquoise.
  • Her favorite dessert is a Cream Puff Cake.
  • She urges anyone searching for their ancestors to use FamilySearch.org – an amazing resource available to everyone.
  • Besides genealogy, Ginny’s other life passions are quilting, reading, gardening and travel – oh, and don’t forget those grandchildren!
  • When asked what word describes her, Ginny laughs and asks if “genie-nut” is a word. We think it is when it pertains to Ginny!

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

Meet the Board: Melonie Liening

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.

Melonie Liening

In today’s “Meet the Board” series, we’re introducing you to Melonie Liening from Tacoma. Melonie is the Regional Representative for Region 2 which includes King and Pierce Counties. She has been a member of WSGS since 2014.

Melonie Ann Sackman was born in Sedro Woolley, Washington to Leroy and Mollie Sackman. Her roots run deep in Skagit County as both of her parents were from Sedro Woolley, too.

Melonie and her husband Ralph celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary in June and have four grown children: three sons and a daughter. While they don’t have any grandchildren yet, they do have a “granddog” and “grandcat.”

Melonie’s grandparents Gottlieb Sackman and Katherine Kreis

Melonie has been doing genealogical research for 35 years, mostly Germans from Russia which includes her Dad‘s and husband’s sides of the family. She became interested in her German family around age 12 when her uncle gave her a very rough sketch of their Sackman family on a scrap of paper — just names, no places or dates, but mentioned the family was from Russia. Her love of genealogy began to grow in her 20’s as a night out for herself when her children were young.  She would go to the local Family History Center about once a week to do a bit of research after her husband got home from work.  Since those early years, her passion has evolved far more than she ever could have imagined with several filing cabinets, many books, etc. as well as trips to Europe to visit homeland villages, relatives she initially met via the mail or email and appreciation of the life and struggles of her ancestors as well as a greater understanding of history.  Melonie taught herself to read the German and Polish records — but draws the line at learning Russian!  Most recently, Melonie has been working with the American lines on her mother’s side which include seven patriot ancestors!

Melonie in her DAR dress

Melonie has traveled to Poland, Ukraine, Germany and New England in search of ancestral records. One of her most exciting finds was seeing an original 1726 tax book with her Georg Dammel ancestor listed and the amount of money paid. The tax book was in the private home of a woman living in the village of Grötzingen, Germany. The woman’s father was a former mayor of the village and had kept the tax books all these years in his home.

Besides being a proud member of WSGS, Melonie is a member of the Mary Ball Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) in Tacoma, Tacoma-Pierce County Genealogical Society, The Society of German Genealogy in Eastern Europe where she has been a board member for 2-1/2 years, currently serving as secretary as well as a member of the International German Genealogical Partnership, a new group that is planning an outstanding conference for all things German this summer in Minneapolis. (For more information on the International Germanic Genealogy Conference, click here.)

A few other interesting tidbits about Melonie:

  • Her favorite color is pink.
  • Her favorite dessert is Angel Food Cake.
  • Besides genealogy, her favorite hobbies are related to history and children.
  • She particularly recommends the Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe (SGGEE) website for those interested in genealogy of Germans from Russian Poland and Volhynia.

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

Meet the Board: Sue Ericksen

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.

Sue Ericksen

Sue Ericksen

In today’s “Meet the Board” series, we’re introducing you to Sue Ericksen from Zillah in Yakima County. Sue is WSGS’s Treasurer, but her involvement has been longstanding: WSGS’s President from 2009 – 2012, membership chair, web manager and Region 5 representative.

In addition to her WSGS dedication, Sue is an active member of the Yakima Valley Genealogical Society, currently serving as its vice president and web manager. She was also a major player in YVGS’s recent acquisition of the massive Yakima Family History library collection that used to be housed in the LDS Yakima Family History library (approximately 6,000 microfilm and 6,000 microfiche). You can also add presenter to Sue’s long list of credentials. She will be presenting a talk on “Copyright vs. Plagiarism” at the February 4, 2017 YVGS meeting.

Susan Bernice Semenza was born to Norman and Sallie (Gallupe) Semenza in National City, California, not far from San Diego. Sue has researched her family lines for many, many years, following their migrations and journeys through Germany, Italy, England and Canada. When she does find time to do her research, she often uses Ancestry.com.

Sue married William Leroy Ericksen on 18 Sept 1965 in Wapato (Yakima County). They celebrated 50 years of marriage before his passing earlier this year. Together, they were successful orchardists in the fertile Zillah area, growing apples, peaches and pears. They are the parents of three children and grandparents of five.

A few other tidbits about Sue:
• Hobbies besides genealogy – reading, bird watching
• Favorite color – yellow
• Favorite dessert – cherry pie
• Word that best describes her – busy!

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

Meet the Board: Charles Hansen

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.

WSGS Web Blog Manager Charles Hansen

Web Blog Manager Charles Hansen

In our new “Meet the Board” series, we’re introducing you to Charles Hansen from Spokane. Charles is WSGS’s Blog Master, as well as chair of the Resource Guide Project. He is a longtime member of the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society where he serves as their Registered Agent, email chair, chief researcher (since 1998) and one of their bloggers.

We know him as Charles, but he was born Charles Michael Hansen and called “Mike” by his family for as long as he can remember – probably to avoid confusion with his maternal grandfather Charles Rupert Kelly after whom he was named. His middle name honored his paternal grandfather Anton Mikkel Hansen.

Born in Spokane, Charles graduated from Washington State University in Pullman in 1971. For many years, he’s been an “Enrolled Agent,” someone considered by the IRS to be the equivalent of a CPA – able to do examinations, collections and appeals. In case you were wondering, the name Enrolled Agent came about soon after the Civil War when Enrolled Agents were authorized by the government to fill out paperwork for the veterans and families of the veterans for benefits provided by the government.

Charles and his grandfather Charles Kelly, Aunt Mayme McMichael and his grandmother Cleo Kelly

Charles and his grandfather Charles Kelly, Aunt Mayme McMichael and his grandmother Cleo Kelly

Charles became interested in genealogy back in 1990 after he and his sister Jacque decided to hold a family reunion. They started looking for their Hansen relatives – not an easy task considering that Charles and Jacque have more than 100 second cousins! After corresponding with their Dad’s first cousin Lorraine Erickson, a Family History Center volunteer in Arizona, Lorraine sent them a group sheet — something Charles and Jacque had never seen before! Lorraine suggested they send blank group sheets with the reunion packets.  Imagine their surprise when they got 350 family group sheets back! They dutifully typed the information into a program called the “Enhanced Family Tree” and printed a book for everyone that came to the reunion.

That started the ball rolling. Wanting to find out more about their family, they took a beginning genealogical course through the local community college taught by Donna Potter-Phillips, past president of the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society — and WSGS Vice President. She encouraged Charles and Jacque to join EWGS and the rest is, well…history.

A tip from Charles: I didn’t record who sent me each group sheet, so for the first 500 names in my genealogical file today most have no sources, but I do have the hard copy group sheets. Also the Enhanced Family Tree program did not have the ability to save data as a GEDCOM so when I switched to a better program, I had to retype all the data I had.

Charles and Jacque recently returned from a road trip to visit family and the Montana State Genealogical Society conference in Missoula to hear Judy Russell and Amy Crow. Charles has also visited Minnesota where the five original Hansen brothers settled. He’s also got ancestors from Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky, New England, Denmark, England, Scotland and Germany.

When Charles isn’t blogging on the WSGS Blog (or his own blog http://charles-mikkelshus.blogspot.com/), researching at the county courthouse, volunteering at EWGS or doing his own genealogy, he’s out in his garden puttering here and there.

More trivia about Charles:

  • His favorite color is blue.
  • His favorite dessert is ice cream.
  • His most used genealogy website is the Washington State Digital Archives – where he’s transcribed over 76,000 records!
  • He says the single word that best describes him is “introvert.”

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

 

Meet the Board: Mikal McKinnon

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.

In the first of our new “Meet the Board” series, we’re fittingly introducing you to President Mikal A. McKinnon from Richland, Washington. Mike, as we all know him, has been the WSGS President since 01 Jan 2013. His second term ends 31 Dec 2016.

Mikal, age 3 in 1944

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WSGS President Mikal McKinnon

Mike and his wife Janet (who you’ll meet later in the Meet the Board series) are the parents of five children: four sons and a daughter. They’re also the loving grandparents of 13. Mike and Janet met at Utah State University and have been married more than 50 years.

Mikal was born in Salt Lake City to Archivald Graham McKinnon and wife Julia Wahlstrom, both natives of the Beehive State. Mikal was named after his mother’s supervisor in nurses training Mrs. Mikals.

Mikal’s interest in genealogy began as a teenager when his father had him type family stories while learning to touch type on a typewriter. Today, Mikal has searched family lines from Pennsylvania and New Jersey to across the pond in Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales and Sweden. Most often using FamilySearch.org, Mikal once found land records containing a reference to a will that pushed the end of one family line back three generations — an exciting find!

 

December 1964

December 1964

1986G 5 4 Janet scouts Mike 4 boysPrior to becoming WSGS President, Mikal served as the Region 5 Representative for two terms. He has been the Tri- City Genealogical Society‘s president, as well as the Richland Family History Center‘s Assistant Director and librarian. Mikal has served in many Latter Day Saints (LDS) Church leadership positions over the years, in addition to 50+ years in Boy Scouting. Currently he and Janet are serving in a volunteer position with Family Search supporting LDS Church leaders in western Washington State.

What does Mikal do when he’s not doing genealogy? He’s interested in lapidary, cutting and polishing rocks to make decorative items.

More trivia about Mikal:

  • His favorite color is blue.
  • His favorite dessert is apple pie.
  • He said the single word that describes best is “quiet.”

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

Meet Your Blog Team

Have you ever wondered who’s behind the scenes of the WSGS Blog? The terrific trio of Charles Hansen, Roxanne Lowe and Donna Potter Phillips work together to bring you interesting articles, news and tidbits about genealogy and family history in Washington State and the Pacific Northwest. All three of them are at the WSGS Conference in Tacoma tomorrow (18 Jun 2016), so look for news and photos about what’s happening there.

Roxanne Lowe, Charles Hansen & Donna Potter Phillips

WSGS Blog Team: Roxanne Lowe, Charles Hansen & Donna Potter Phillips

In the coming months, you’ll learn more about Charles, Roxanne and Donna, as well as the rest of the WSGS Board in a bi-weekly feature called “Meet the Board.”

In the meantime, if you’re looking to publicize your local event or workshop, have a feature story or update about your society, or other genealogical information that might be of interest to our many subscribers, just email a Word document, text file, PDF or graphic to WSGSBlog@wasgs.org and Charles, Roxanne and/or Donna will do the rest. The blog is a great way to reach hundreds of genealogists from around the state and beyond.

WSGS President (& First Lady) Mikal & Janet McKinnon

 

 

 

 

 

 

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When we meet together for WSGS functions, we see one side of our president, Mikal McKinnon.

I recently was in Richland and made a surprise visit to a site of his more natural habitat, the Family History Center, where he is assistant director.  And of course he could not do it without the help of his Janet!

Thought you all would enjoy seeing a different aspect of their life.