Meet the Board: Barbara Johnson

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.

Barbara Gorham Johnson

In today’s “Meet the Board” series, we’re introducing you to Barbara Jeanne Gorham Johnson. Barb lives in Mount Vernon (Skagit County) and is in her first term as WSGS’s Region 1 South Representative. Besides being a member of WSGS, she is a long-time member of the Skagit Valley Genealogical Society where she has served on the Board as secretary, vice president, and currently as education chair and communications chair. She also belongs to Clan Johnstone in America and Saddleworth (Yorkshire) Historical Society.

Barbara Jean was born in Seattle in 1943, the daughter of Arthur and Emily (Kochis) Gorham. Her mother, the good Catholic that she was, named her daughter after St. Barbara and St. John. Her names mean “stranger” and “God/like/ly.” With a twinkle in her eye, Barb’s mother told her daughter that she was a “strange gift from God.” What a sense of humor!

Barbara in kindergarten

While born in Seattle, Barb grew up on the idyllic Vashon Island. After high school, she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Microbiology at the University of Washington and did virus research for several years. After marrying Roger Johnson, she became a full-time mom. After that, she became a King County police officer, then did security duty at Bellevue Square. After that, she became the first park ranger for the City of Bellevue. She has also been a science teacher with Pacific Science Center’s “Science On Wheels” program. When she and Roger “retired” to Skagit County, she worked part-time as a park ranger for North Cascades National Park. This girl loves the great out of doors!

Barbara and Roger

Barb has been interested in family history for years. She used to listen to her parents talk about their childhood years in New York City and (at that time) Czechoslovakia. Barb would often ask her  maternal grandmother to tell her about the old country, curious about her native homeland. About 25 years, ago, Barb got serious about researching her roots. She has traveled to ancestral lands in Massachusetts, Ireland, Scotland and Yorkshire, England.

Barbara and her family

Speaking of Yorkshire, one of her most fascinating genealogical discoveries was finding her Yorkshire cousin who helped her with her research back to the 1500’s. Barb and Roger visited him in the Parish of Saddleworth in West Riding of Yorkshire last year. He was kind enough to escort them all over the parish, regaling them with stories of ancient and family history and architectural history.

Barb and Roger, a retired banker who is a model railroader, are the proud parents of Steven and Michelle. Steven is a Navy veteran now working for a defense contractor in Washington, D.C. Steven and his wife Jen, a school teacher who is also a Navy veteran, have two children: Jeffrey (age 12) and Lexie (age 9).  Daughter Michelle and her husband Bob live in Edmonds. She is an early education teacher at Edmonds Community College, while Bob is a home inspector.

A few more interesting tidbits about Barb:

  • Barb does DNA and genealogy presentations in Washington and British Columbia. She also participates in a living history program as Abigail Adams.
  • Favorite genealogy websites: Ancestry.com as they have wonderful Yorkshire records that have been digitized
  • Favorite color: Blue
  • Favorite dessert: Dark chocolate – Death by Chocolate, in particular!
  • When she’s not doing genealogy, Barb likes to hike, quilt, scrapbook and do needlework.
  • It’s easy to describe Barb in one word: enthusiastic!

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

Meet the Board: Diane Huckabay

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.

Diane Huckabay

In today’s “Meet the Board” series, we’re introducing you to Diane Huckabay. Diane lives in Ellensburg and is WSGS’s Education and Outreach Chair. She is very active in the Kittitas County Genealogical Society, serving as President, Past President and Member-at-Large. She is also president of the Cascade Association of Museums and History (CAMAH), an organization that brings together and promotes all the museums and historical sites in Kittitas County.

Diane, her sister and brother, ca. 1966

Diane, one of three children, was born in Missouri in the 1950s, the daughter of Tom and Nannette. They gave their little daughter Nannette’s middle name, Diane. Tom and Nannette’s roots started in Oklahoma and Virginia. Diane’s other ancestral lines are in Texas, Kansas and Scotland. While she’s visited the states, Scotland is still on her Bucket List.

Diane’s interest in genealogy was sparked after she took a class so she could help patrons at the local public library. One of her most exciting discoveries was finding her grandfather’s siblings. One of her brick walls is finding more information about her great uncle Cecil Britton (1911 – 1959) who lived in Texas, Colorado and Oklahoma. If you know anything about Cecil, Diane’s looking to talk to you.

Diane’s great aunt Sisso, her grandmother and their little brother Cecil

Diane and her husband have a blended family of three sons and six daughters.

A few more interesting tidbits about Diane:
• Favorite genealogy websites: FamilySearch, Ancestry and the Digital Archives in Washington and Missouri
• Favorite color: Green
• Favorite dessert: Raspberry Lush and anything chocolate
• When she’s not doing genealogy, Diane likes to read, do art projects and dabble on the Internet.
• When asked to describe herself in one word, Diane replied, “curious.” Isn’t that a perfect word to describe a genealogist?

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

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.

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.

Meet the Board: Kathy Sizer

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.

Kathy and her 2nd cousins, once removed in England.

In today’s “Meet the Board” series, we’re introducing you to Kathy Sizer. Kathy lives in Granger (Yakima County) and is WSGS’s Membership Chair. She has been a member of the WSGS since 2011. She is also a member of the Yakima Valley Genealogical Society where she has been president, vice president and hospitality chair.

Kathleen Louise was born in Oakland, California in 1951 to August Edward and Vivian Jane (Washburn) Weedle. Her mother liked the name Kathleen (as did approximately one million other mothers at the time), but when she told her husband, he said he did too as his former fiance’s name was Kathleen. Horrified, Kathy’s mother said they needed to pick another name, to which her husband replied, “I didn’t marry her. I married YOU, didn’t I?” Years later, Kathy’s mother met Kathleen and they became good friends until Kathleen died of cancer.

Kathy’s interest in genealogy began when her grandmother Edith Clarke Washburn and her sister Alice Ramos Clarke were discussing family history when Kathy was in the 4th grade. That discussion sparked Kathy’s interest. Later, after college, Kathy found a handwritten family history her grandmother had done and that really secured her lifelong passion.

Kathy with her cousin Diana Walcom at their great grandfather John Clarkes’ home in Gargrave England.

Kathy and cousin Diana Walcom in England during Diana’s first trip to see the family home.

Even though her DNA ancestry says she’s only 36 percent English, Kathy’s ancestors come from England, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Scotland, and Ireland. She has been lucky enough to travel to England and Scotland to see where her grandmother’s family was from. She’s also got Polynesian ancestry on her mother’s side, but is still searching for that ancestor. A genealogist’s work is never done!

Kathy has quite a few interesting characters in her ancestry. She had a distant grandmother in Salem who was imprisoned for witchcraft, but released when the community began to realize the awful practice of imprisoning (or worse) was wrong. Kathy also has a great grandmother who was governess to Louis Comfort Tiffany, the famous glass maker. And what about John Billington, her distant grandfather, who came over on the Mayflower and was the first man in the Plymouth Colony to hang for killing a man? True story.

When not searching for her ancestors, Kathy enjoys gardening, travel and reading. She and her husband, who sometimes calls her “Louie,” have four grown children and seven grandchildren. Two of their sons are adopted from India.

A few more interesting tidbits about Kathy:

  • Favorite genealogy websites: Ancestry, Family Search, Nantucket Historical Association and Chronicling America
  • Favorite color: Green, of course, as Kathy’s ancestry takes her to England and her DNA shows she’s 17 percent Irish
  • Favorite dessert: Eclairs, pumpkin pie and homemade oatmeal raisin cookies
  • When asked for one word that described her, she replied, “bookish.”

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

Meet the Board: Roxanne Lowe

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.

Roxanne in Havana, Cuba, April 2017

In today’s “Meet the Board” series, we’re introducing you to Roxanne Lowe. Roxanne lives in McCleary (Grays Harbor County) and is WSGS’s web manager, on the blog team. She recently stepped away from being the Recognition Chair due to time constraints (the lack of time!). She has been a member of the WSGS since 2008. She was named as a WSGS Outstanding Volunteer in 2010. She’s a proud, long-time member of the Grays Harbor Genealogical Society, serving as newsletter editor of the GHGS Family Tree Searcher newsletter.

Roxanne in 1958

Roxanne was born in Aberdeen, Washington in January 1955, the first child of George and Patricia (Murphy) Ferbrache. She is the great-granddaughter of Patrick Murphy and Mary Donovan who moved to the Chehalis River Valley in the spring of 1888 from New Brunswick, Canada. Roxanne’s mother Patricia is proud to be the last Murphy descendant still living on the original homestead at the fiesty old age of 91. Look for an upcoming blog post about Roxanne’s success in getting a WSGS Pioneer Certificate as a descendant of Patrick Murphy.

Roxanne’s interest in genealogy began as a child. Her paternal grandmother gave her a written family history, loaded with names, dates and locations. It was many years, however, before Roxanne learned enough about genealogy to realize that:

• Ferbrache may be spelled a multitude of ways.
• There may be more than one (or two or 10) Daniel Murphy’s, Lawrence Ryan’s – and even Thomas Ferbrache’s.
• Middle names are not a big deal in her family (Roxanne doesn’t even have one).
• Her descendants moved around – a lot – with little or no regard to leaving a paper trail.
• Whoever wrote that family history was a creative writer.

Patrick Murphy, Roxanne’s great grandfather

Fortunately for Roxanne, she joined the Grays Harbor Genealogical Society who taught her a thing or two about genealogy research. She’s attended many conferences, workshops and seminars – learning something new at each. She’s even traveled to Ireland and New Brunswick, Canada looking for Murphy’s and Ryan’s. Next on her travel wish list is to go to Guernsey in the Channel Islands (with side stops in London and Normandy) to visit her Ferbrache ancestral land.

Roxanne retired a few years ago from the Washington State Auditor’s Office in Olympia. She had previously worked for Governors Gregoire and Locke as a project manager on the welfare program (TANF) and performance measure program (GMAP) . When not searching for her family history, she enjoys scrapbooking, quilting, sewing, machine embroidery and just about every other paper and fabric art. She and her husband Gary have five children and nine adored grandchildren. You can often read about Roxanne’s fun-filled adventures with her grandchildren on her Facebook page.

A few more interesting tidbits about Roxanne:
• Favorite genealogy websites: Ancestry and Google
• Favorite color: Red
• Favorite dessert: Apple pie
• When asked for one word that described her, she replied, “Busy!”

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

Meet the Board: Frank McLean

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.

Frank McLean

In today’s “Meet the Board” series, we’re introducing you to Frank McLean. Frank lives in Yakima and is WSGS’s chair of the Pioneer and First Citizen Program and the Conference Liaison. He has been a member of the WSGS since 1986, previously serving as President and Vice President. He was named as a WSGS Outstanding Volunteer in 2003, 2005 and 2006. He’s been a proud member (and past President) of the Yakima Valley Genealogical Society since 1986.

Frank’s high school picture

Frank Leroy McLean was born in Chewelah (Stevens County), Washington in 1937 to Jonathan Cornelius and Margaret Ella (Starz) McLean, the third of six children. After high school, Frank served proudly in the Army for 20-plus years, then worked for 19 years at the U.S. Department of Defense, with a short break in between working in Spokane. In 1958, Frank married Delma Dee Roloff. They have three surviving children and seven grandchildren.

Frank has a special interest and knack in technology and computers. In fact, he maintains a database for the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia Society that holds about 560,000 names. He also manages the WSGS Pioneer and First Citizen certificate database — almost 30,000 strong. For an index of the names, click here.

Frank, Delma and their children

John Robertson McLean (1847 – 1919)

Speaking of Germans from Russia…that’s how Frank got his interest in genealogy. No, he doesn’t have German ancestors from Russia, but Delma does. She joined the Central Washington chapter of the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia Society in 1985 and Frank tagged along as “driver, cemetery walker and microfilm cranker.” From there, his interest grew. His ancestors hail from Germany, Nova Scotia,  Maine and Minnesota. Frank’s grandfather, John Robertson McLean (pictured at left) was born in Nova Scotia, but moved to St. James, Minnesota in 1870. While there, he started a church in a boxcar on a siding. Frank and his family attended the 125th anniversary of the church, where they were given a copy of the picture that hangs in the church. There is also a miniature replica of the boxcar on the lawn in front of the church.

Frank likes the research part of the genealogical search, but he’s not as thrilled with the documentation part. He also prefers his hard-copy paper charts and lists over paperless research.

A few more interesting tidbits about Frank:
• Favorite genealogy website: Family Search
• Favorite color: Blue
• Favorite dessert: Lemon Cream Pie

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

Meet the Board: Donna Potter Phillips

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.

Donna Potter Phillips

In today’s “Meet the Board” series, we’re introducing you to Donna Potter Phillips. Donna lives in Spokane and is WSGS’s Vice President, Communication Chair, on the Blog Team, and Region 7 Representative for Ferry, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Spokane, and Stevens Counties. She also served as WSGS Vice President a number of years ago. She is a proud member of the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society where she has been president (twice!), program chair, newsletter editor and held “jack of all” jobs. She is currently EWGS’s Federation of Genealogical Societies’ representative and Education chair.

Besides being a member of WSGS (since 1984) and EWGS, Donna is a member of the Mayflower Society, DAR, St. Clair County (Illinois) Genealogical Society, National Genealogical Society, Whitman County Genealogical Society and the Northeast Washington Genealogical Society. In addition, Donna was named a WSGS Outstanding Volunteer in 2008 and 2014. That’s a lot of genealogy, but that’s what Donna does!

Donna, age 5

Donna Ruth Potter was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan to Francis Harold and June Magdalen (Gurney) Potter. She was named for the heroine Lady Dona in Daphne Du Maurier’s 1941 novel “Frenchman’s Creek.”

Donna and her husband John are the proud parents of three, grandparents of eight and great-grandparents of 2-3/4 great-granddaughters.

Donna’s been interested in genealogy for more than 40 years – since she first learned she was a direct descendant of Englishman William Bradford of the Mayflower. She got “hooked” in 1971, joined EWGS in 1976 and has been researching, sharing, educating and promoting genealogy ever since. One of her favorite experiences was going with her son Benjamin and his son Austin to Fairchild Air Force Base near Spokane to see a B-52 bomber jet on display. According to the serial number on the plane, it was one Donna’s father flew as an Aircraft Commander in the U.S. Air Force. Such serendipity! And speaking of “serendipity,” Donna publishes a weekly feature on the WSGS Blog called “Friday Serendipity” – assorted musings to entertain one and all. She also publishes “Monday Mystery,” “Tuesday Trivia,” and “Wednesday Nostalgia.”

On Donna’s ever-growing genealogy To Do List:
• Get all her genealogy research and information in order in case…well, you know.
• Upload her photos to www.Forever.com.
• Put her family tree on Ancestry, FamilySearch and MyHeritage.
• Make sure her list of contacts and passwords are updated.

When Donna’s not doing genealogy, she enjoys gardening (both inside and out), reading, rock collecting, taking educational classes and travel, including her ancestral homelands: Germany, England and Wales. She’s also a devoted dachshund lover!

A few more interesting tidbits about Donna:
• Favorite genealogy sites: Ancestry, FamilySearch and the Washington Digital Archives
• Favorite color: red
• Favorite dessert: Anything chocolate
• Word or phrase that describes her: Outspokenly energetic!

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

Meet the Board: Opal Myhres

Opal Myhres

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 today’s “Meet the Board” series, we’re introducing you to Opal Myhres. Opal lives in Yakima and is WSGS’s Region 5 Representative for Kittitas, Klickitat and Yakima Counties. She is a proud member of the Yakima Valley Genealogical Society where she has been president, secretary and treasurer. She is currently the head librarian of YVGS’s amazing research library located at 1901 S. 12th Street in Union Gap. Between the 18,000+ bound volumes on the shelves and the massive microfilm/microfiche collection, the library hosts an equivalent collection of 35,000 volumes of genealogical research material covering all 50 states and a large number of foreign countries. Quite a job to be the head librarian!

Mr. and Mrs. Louis Myhres

Opal Irene Walsh was born in October 8, 1927 in northern Minnesota. Her parents Charles and Ethel (Olson) Walsh named their first daughter after October’s birthstone – the opal. She was the oldest girl in a family of five boys and three girls. After graduating high school in 1945, Opal married her sweetheart Louis Myhres in 1946 as soon as he got home from the Navy after the war. Not long after, the couple moved to Washington where Louis’s family lived. Opal was a stay-at-home Mom to their two children until Louis was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. When Louis went back to school, Opal went to work for Sears until 1974 when he had to retire. But they soon bought a motorhome, and with Opal as the driver, they hit the road. Louis passed away in 1984 while they were snow-birding in Arizona.

In addition to her two children, Opal is the proud grandmother of three granddaughters – and 12 great-grandchildren, ages 23 to 3.

Opal’s interest in genealogy started early. Her father had always told the family that there was a family Bible that traced his mother’s family back to early England. It was passed down from the youngest son to the youngest son. When Opal and Louis lived in Olympia, she located the son who should have had the Bible who was living in the Seattle area. He told Opal the book was too fragile to send, but there was a book with the same info in the Seattle Library. What an amazing find! Opal copied it, and later found one to purchase. The book outlined the family lineage from England to Massachusetts from 1635, through the generations of Opal’s paternal line — the George Weekes family. Opal’s father also knew that his family came from Washington County, NY and his father was the youngest of 14, born in 1848. Opal went to the Olympia library and met Alma Greenwood, former WSGS president, who showed her how to order a census and how to find him. From those two experiences, Opal was able to fill in details about many members of her family – and become “hooked” on genealogy.

Besides being a member of the Washington State Genealogical Society since 2002 (and a WSGS Outstanding Volunteer in 2005), Opal belongs to the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) where she is the state Archivist; the Daughters of the American Colonists, Descendants of Washington’s Army at Valley Forge, and Sons of Norway. She is also a former member of the Colonial Dames.

When she’s not researching her family roots, Opal enjoys quilting, embroidery and reading.

A few more interesting tidbits about Opal:

Favorite color – blue
Favorite dessert – anything chocolate
Favorite genealogy websites – Ancestry and Fold3

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

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.