Update on Grays Harbor Gen Soc Research Library

The GHGS Research Library was housed in the Aberdeen Armory Building, built in 1922. Photo by Bonnie Johannes.

Members of the Grays Harbor Genealogical Society are slowly coming to grips with the fiery loss of their research library. The library was housed in the Aberdeen Armory which also included the Aberdeen Museum of History, Coastal Community Action Program and the Aberdeen Senior Center. The June 9 fire gutted the first and second floors of the building. Amazingly (and thankfully) some of the Aberdeen Museum’s photographs, documents and artifacts were rescued from the basement which was filled with four feet of water. The fire is still under investigation and may be for at least a couple more weeks.

While there is nothing left of the research library, short-term storage has been secured as the society begins to rebuild its holdings and collections. A plea for financial help and Grays Harbor County (and its predecessor Chehalis County) research materials has been sent from GHGS President Gary Parfitt. Financial donations or gift cards (Staples, Amazon, Costco, etc.) are most easily used to avoid duplication, over-supply and will be used when society members can begin researching again.

In addition to financial help, the society is asking for Grays Harbor-related research materials to restore their collections. Suggestions include Polk Directories, telephone books, obituaries, funeral records, identified photographs or family histories (with ties to Grays Harbor or Chehalis Counties). Anyone with materials to donate or reproduce can contact Gary Parfitt at gjparfitt@msn.com.

Financial donations can be sent to the society’s Research Library Go Fund Me page or directly to the Grays Harbor Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 916, Aberdeen, WA 98520.

Seattle Genealogical Society Programs


This coming Saturday, June 23, the SGS Membership Meeting will be held at the SGS library from 1:00 pm-2:30 pm. A short SGS business meeting will be followed with  a presentation by Claudia C Breland, professional genealogist and author.  Many individuals researching genealogy feel that everything is online now. That is far from the truth. Claudia found some amazing records that are not online, and may never be online. She wants to share her insight with you in this lecture,  “Beyond the Internet: Finding Family History Records That Are Not Online”.
Then on Sunday, June 24, from 1:00 pm-3:00 pm, SGS president, Jill Morelli will present “FamilySearch: The Other 70%”. Did you know that when you do a surname search in FamilySearch you are only accessing 30% of the digitized records? FamilySearch is putting records online faster than they are indexing. Learn how to find the other 70% of valuable online records. This skill has become even more important since FamilySearch discontinued their microfiche film loan program last year.
Hope to see you at the SGS library Saturday and Sunday!
You may have heard the Aberdeen Museum of History suffered a major disaster and they need help in their recovery efforts; lots and lots of help. We received the plea below by email. If you can lend assistance, contact Lupita Lopez of the Washington State Archives directly via the phone number or email she provided.

Subject: Emergency Salvage Effort

Please excuse the second e-mail from the Heritage League today, but as you may have heard the Aberdeen Museum of History suffered a major disaster and needs our help!

You might have heard about the fire on Saturday that destroyed the Aberdeen Armory, which housed the Aberdeen Museum of History.  Our Archives Division is working with the local historical society to assist in salvaging efforts.  Steve and his team brought back dozens of boxes today filled with waterlogged photos, documents and film.  They are in need of “volunteers” from across our office the next couple of days to help sort this material.

We are in the need of volunteers and putting the message out with the historical society will help.  The plan is to continue working on Saturday & Sunday, plus next week until all the boxes are done.  There may be possible traffic issues on the weekend due to Olympia Air Show.

Volunteers can contact me by email or phone and I provide more information.



Thank you for your help,

Lupita Lopez
Washington State Archives
Research Services
1129 Washington St. SE
PO Box 40238
Olympia, WA 98504

Business Hours: Monday to Friday 8:30AM to 4:30PM

Seattle Genealogical Society News


Welcome to all new and returning Seattle Genealogical Society Members!

SGS is a member-driven and volunteer-run organization. We could not succeed without the support of our members, and the talents and dedication of our volunteers. The benefits of volunteering include camaraderie with fellow genealogists, sharing genealogical tips, enhancing your current skills, or discovering skills you never knew you had!

The following are just some of the many tasks our dedicated volunteers do on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis:

  • Library Desk Volunteer –  desk volunteers keep our library open & running Tuesday – Sunday
  • Bulk mailings
  • Books sales
  • Community outreach
  • Plan and present educational programs
  • Event planning – including our twice-yearly seminars
  • Bookkeeping, auditing, grant-writing, fund-raising
  • Library work, including inventory, cataloging, indexing, archival work
  • Maintenance, facilities, technology
  • Write articles for the ENews! or Bulletin; keep our website & Facebook page current
  • Leadership – serve on a committee or as a board member
  • And much, much more!

If you would like to volunteer, please contact me, Heidi L Mair, Director of Volunteers, via email at volunteers@seattlegenealogicalsociety.org to set up a time to talk – in person or on the phone. I look forward to speaking with you. And be sure to mark your calendars now for the SGS Volunteer Appreciation Day on September 24th, 10 am – 7 pm at the SGS library. Watch for details!   


Many years ago, members of Seattle Genealogical Society transcribed, by hand, the records from Wright’s Crematorium in Seattle. These transcriptions are a list of remains cremated by Wright’s from September 1, 1905 thru December 31, 1915. In some cases these transcriptions have information not found elsewhere. For example, Henry Rea died in October of 1908 (as shown on his death certificate), but was not cremated until July 1910, and his ashes were sent to New York. Another example is that the remains of Tom Elgie, who died in March 1908, were scattered on a lawn.

SGS would like to make these handwritten transcriptions available to researchers. This requires indexing of names and death dates to establish a searchable database.
You all are invited to help us index this important project. It can be done from the comfort of your own home. Crowd Sourced Indexing (CSI) is an online indexing tool/application available to genealogical societies and other organizations for precisely this purpose.

Go to the Crowd Sourced Indexing website. If this is your first time, you will need to register and join the SGS Group. Then click on “View All Projects”, select Seattle in the drop down menu found under “Select a Geographical Location to Search”, and then below the title “Projects in Progress”, you’ll find Wrights Crematorium.
Please be sure to read the project instructions before starting on the project. This one is a little different than the Ballard VFW Project that was just completed.

Here’s the link to the Crowd Sourced Indexing website:








Come Hear the Bagpipes – Watch the Dancers – Visit a Clan Booth
Help SGS Promote Genealogy


We need volunteers to help at the SGS booth during the Pacific Northwest Scottish Highland Games. We have been at this event for over 30 years and it is a great way to let the public know about SGS and to promote membership, seminars, and our classes. Our participation also gives us valuable community outreach credit for our grant applications with 4culture, which has given us thousands of dollars for our equipment and projects.
Game attendance is at about 30,000 for the weekend. Many of the people who attend are newly interested in their Scottish and Irish heritage and have done only limited research. They are primarily interested in knowing two things:

  • What clan do I belong to?
  • What tartan can I use?

SGS will have reference books available at the booth to help you answer those questions for them. There will also be a handout promoting SGS.
Information will be mailed out to volunteers about a week before the games. This year our booth is being sponsored by the Irish Heritage Club. We need at least two volunteers for each 2 hour shift and three people during the busiest afternoon sessions. We will supply each volunteer with an admission ticket for the games – a full day at the games for your own enjoyment. Parking will be at your own expense at $7.00. We encourage carpooling.
Jean needs to order tickets for the volunteers before July 1st,  so please respond to her by June 29th if you intend to volunteer.  Also let her know if you are over 62, as senior tickets are discounted. Her contact info is : Jean A. Roth (206) 782-2629 or jeanaroth@juno.com


The Canadian SIG with David Robert  and the Family Tree Interest Group with Lou Daly will be taking a summer break. They will not meet in July, August, or September. They will resume meeting, same time, same place, in October.

The Family Tree Maker SIG with Reiley Kidd and Jess Ramey will not meet in July or August, nor will the Scandinavian SIG with Karin Knudson.



​​2018 Northwest Genealogy Conference,
Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society,
Byrnes Performing Arts Center,
18821 Crown Ridge Blvd,
Arlington, WA
August 15 – 18, 2018  

Keynote speakers will be Beth Foulk, CeCe Moore, Peggy Lauritzen, and Amie Bowser Tennant.

Days 2-4 will be packed full of lectures and activities, such as post a surname on the “Cousin Board”; have fun connecting with other attendees you may be related to. On Friday, participate in the optional  “Dress As Your Ancestor”  day to honor your heritage.

As usual, the first day of this four day conference is designed for beginners and is free (registration required).   .

For more details and to register, visit their website:
Unlock the Past in Seattle, the “land conference”
Seattle Public Library,
1000 4th Ave, Seattle, WA
Thursday, September 6, 2018

Have you heard of Unlock the Past Cruises, genealogy on the high seas? Their 14th conference cruise will be to Alaska, Sept 7-14, and sail out of Seattle. They have put together an all day, companion “land conference” for September 6. It will be held at the downtown Seattle Public Library and it is open to all  – whether on the cruise, or not. Blaine Bettinger, Maurice Gleeson, Cyndi Ingle, and Wayne Shepheard will be the presenters.

If you are interested, see their website :

“A Day of Discovery with Lisa Louise Cooke”,
Puget Sound Genealogical Society,
4131 Pine Rd NE (at the Bremerton Elks),
Bremerton, WA
Saturday, September 22, 2018
8:30am – 3:30pm

Cost is $50 for PSGS members / $55 for non-members. Lunch is included and will catered by the Bremerton Elks. For  more information and the registration form see www.pusogensoc.org/psgs/seminar2018

​”Harvest Your Family Tree”,
The Kelowna & District Genealogical Society Conference 2018,
Kelowna, BC

Friday, September 28 – Sunday, September 30


There will be plenty to see and learn at one of Western Canada’s largest genealogy conferences – eleven speakers on 31 topics. Featuring Louis Kessler, programmer,
genealogist, member of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) and Genealogical Speakers Guild (GSG) will be speaking about Double Match Triangulation, the program he developed for autosomal DNA analysis. His program won third place at the 2017 RootsTech Innovator Showdown.

For more on this conference, visit their website :





Unless otherwise indicated all programs will be at the SGS Library, 6200 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle. Check the SGS Web Site for additions, changes, and corrections. Programs may be canceled or postponed because of inclement weather.

The SGS Library will be closed June 17, July 3, and July 4


Saturday, June 16, 10:15am – 12:15pm, Irish SIG, with Jean A Roth
Saturday, June 16, 01:00pm – 3:00pm, German SIG, with Jean A Roth

Sunday, June 17, closed for Father’s Day

Saturday, June 23, 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm,  SGS General Membership Meeting, speaker TBD
Saturday, June 30, 10:00 am – 12:30 pm,  DNA SIG,  this group meets at the Wedgwood Presbyterian Church, 8008 35th Ave NE, Seattle. Co-chaired by Cary Bright and Herb McDaniel. For more information contact SGSDNASIG@gmail


Sunday, July 1, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm, DNA Workshop, Led by Cary Bright with first hour on a specific topic, and the second hour open for sharing DNA issues with focus on GenomeMate Pro.

Saturday, July 21, 10:15am – 12:15pm, Irish SIG, with Jean A Roth
Saturday, July 21, 1:00pm – 3:00pm, German SIG, with Jean A Roth



Clark County Genealogical Society June Meetings


Tue, Jun 26, 2018:  6-8:30 pm

CCGS Education Center  – Bring a Potluck dish!

Attend a fascinating presentation as family historian Jane McDowell shares memories and photographs of walking in her ancestor’s footsteps around the Shandong Province, China. For a 70-year span from 1864 to 1934, her great-grandparents and grandparents provided medical care and worked as evangelists and teachers to the Chinese. Jane relates what it was like to make an amazing 18-day adventure with three sisters and 15 first and second cousins. Bring a potluck item to share at this final spring meeting.


Wed, June 27: 11 AM – 12:30 pm

CCGS Education Center

Many people just don’t understand what tools are available when it comes to editing photos. Within Adobe’s Creative Suite, there are two programs designed specifically with photographers in mind: Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom. But the truth is, each program offers a distinct post-production photography workflow. In this Legacy Family Tree webinar, learn when you should choose one over the other and why both are important to know and use.



Grays Harbor Research Library Destroyed by Fire

Full disclaimer: The author of this post is a long-time member of the Grays Harbor Genealogical Society and totally devastated by this loss.

The Grays Harbor Genealogical Society’s Research Library was housed on the 1st floor of the Amory Building.

The Grays Harbor Genealogical Society’s Research Library, housed in the Aberdeen Museum of History, was one of the victims of a devastating fire on Saturday, June 9, 2018. The massive fire destroyed most of the first and second floors of the historic Armory Building, which was built in 1922. The building was home to the priceless Museum of History, Coastal Community Action Program, the Aberdeen Senior Center, and the Grays Harbor Genealogical Society research library. Investigators are still determining the cause of the fire that raged out of control for hours, drawing fire departments from the whole county and parts of Thurston County.

Representatives from the State Archives were on the scene to offer assistance with recovery and restoration of any surviving historic photos, documents, artifacts — some of which were in the basement of the concrete building. Ironically, Tracy Rebstock, Southwest Regional Archivist with the State Archives was the featured speaker at the GHGS meeting that day, speaking on disaster preparedness and preserving historic documents and heirlooms. Her assurances to shocked GHGS members was much appreciated as she talked about how to recover from this disaster. Servpro of Grays Harbor and Pacific Counties, a fire disaster recovery company, is also helping with recovery efforts.

The GHGS Research Library was housed on the first floor of the building which was destroyed with temperatures reported to exceed 2,000 degrees. All is a loss. Members of the small society are meeting to find another location and begin re-gathering local records, documents and books. The society had recently completed a conversion of the library to emphasize Grays Harbor County (and its predecessor Chehalis County). The research library was known for its extensive collection of now-defunct Whiteside and Elerding funeral records and obituary records, dating back as far as the late 1800s. While some of the records were digitized, others were in hard copy only. The society’s research chairman Bonnie Johannes said much of what they had was permanently lost. “We must’ve had at least 25,000 hard copies (of obituaries), so it’s a tremendous loss.”

Anyone wishing to make financial or resource donations is encouraged to use their Go Fund Me campaign or direct to the Grays Harbor Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 916, Aberdeen, WA 98520.

Tri-City Genealogical Society June Meeting

I hope you are planning on attending our June 13th meeting which is sponsored by Washington Humanities.  Our speaker will be John Jensen who will be giving a presentation on:
Hollywood and the Homefront:Tinsel Town’s Contribution to World War II 
Date: Wednesday, June 13th
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Place: Benton PUD Auditorium (Corner of Hwy 395 and 10th street in Kennewick)
Also, don’t forget to take advantage of our Beginning Genealogy Class on June 13th. The topic for this class will be:
Hidden Treasures of Ancestry.com
The Beginning Genealogy Class starts at 6:15 p.m. and ends at 6:45 p.m.
We will also have our monthly Genealogy Book Sale too. So, we are looking forward to seeing you this Wednesday. If you have any questions, please call 943-9322 and as always, please invite someone.  Thank you. (see enclosed attachment)

Tacoma Pierce County Genealogical Society June Meeting

TPCGS will hold our monthly meeting this Tuesday, June 12, at 6.30 pm, at Bates Community College.

Our Speaker will be Midori Okazaki  from the Washington State Archives.

From  6:30 to 7:00 she will explain how to become a Scribe for the Washington State Archives. Then after a short business meeting, she will also cover the Preservation of physical records.

Hope to see everyone there!

TPCGS monthly meetings are held September through May from 6 pm to 9 pm, usually at Bates Technical College, South Campus, Building E, 2201 South 78th St., Tacoma. Guests are always welcome, so bring a friend!  For more information check our website at www.tpcgs.org.

Bainbridge Island Genealogical Society (BIGS) June Meeting

For immediate release:
  The Bainbridge Island Genealogical Society (BIGS) will meet Friday, June 15, 2018, at the Bainbridge Island Public Library on Bainbridge Island, 1270 Madison Ave, from 10:00a.m. – 12 noon. The topic for the Monthly BIGS Meeting will be “Making Use Of Land Records” presented by Jerri Thorpe McCoy, a Washington genealogist and current historian for the Washington State Chapter of the Mayflower (Descendants) Society.  Free to members, a $5.00 donation is suggested for nonmembers. For more information go to http://www.bigenealogy.org or call 206-780-8009. BIGS is a 501c(3) non-profit organization.
Sue Elfving
Bainbridge Island Genealogical Society
Director of Publicity and Public Relations