Spotlight on Clark County Gen Society Library

Vancouver, Washington, is a history “hot site” for Washington. With Fort Vancouver’s history going back 200 years and the First People’s history going back much further, Vancouver was an exciting place to visit. 

Past president and current librarian for CCGS is my long-time friend, Lethene Parks. In between sessions of a history conference that we both attended, she showed me around their society’s library. And she just as proudly showed off their Pioneer File.

 

 

Vancouver that weekend was in full bloom and I made a promise to myself to go back and tour and learn more of the rich history of that area. Here is my photo of Fort Vancouver:

Spotlight on the Twin Rivers Gen Society

The Twin Rivers Gen Society, located in Lewiston, Idaho, is just across the Snake and Clearwater Rivers conjunction from Clarkston, Washington. Guess who the towns were named for?

I was honored to be their program speaker back in March and found them to be an eager, active group…… and very proud of their area’s history and very engaged in preserving same. Patricia VanBuren arranged the day and at risk of saying a tired old cliche, a good time was had by all.  Especially me!   

The Lewiston Public Library is currently in an old hardware store, in the basement, where dirt sifted through the old wooden floors down onto the books. Members of the TRGS were (happily) given permission to remove the genealogy books and they are now (March 2017) stored in boxes in a member’s home. There is no levy support for a library so things for the Lewiston Public Library look bleak. Before the LPL, the TRGS collection was housed in the Heritage Room of the Nez Perce Historical Society temporarily (before being ousted from there too). Members of the TRGS are hopeful that their genealogy collection will be placed in the newly remodeled Family History Center in Lewiston.

The biggest annual event of the TRGS is their July 4th Walking with Ancestors which they have done for several years. The group picks stories from the biggest/oldest cemetery, Normal Hill, and in costume tell those stories. The event is free to the public and last year they had an attendance of about 75 folks (not bad for a society of about 25 folks).

Lewiston was incorporated as a town in 1861; that is the year the Civil War began! After much conflict with the Nez Perce tribe and boundary shifts, Lewiston, Idaho,  (along with partner across the river, Clarkston, Washington) are thriving places.

The WSGS mantra was again proven true: You will never know unless you go. While attending the March 25th seminar in Lewiston, Myrna came up to me asking a question. She lives in Grangeville, Idaho (some 40 miles away in Idaho County). Myrna explained that the small group of genealogists in that town had saved boxes of old county marriage records from being tossed from the courthouse. These records date from the 1930s to 1969. Myrna wanted to know what should be/could be done with these records? My answer was that FamilySearch would most likely jump at the chance to come digitize these records. We talked to Lee and RaeVon, the directors of the local Family History Center, and (wowsers!) they knew of an LDS person in the area who was already on a mission there to find and digitize just such records! Don’t we consistently find that miracles do happen in family history??

 

 

Spotlight on Skagit Valley Gen Society

On April 8, 2017, I had the honor of giving a “SKGS for 30 Years” talk to the Skagit Valley Gen Society group to mark their 30th anniversary. The board gathered in front of a lovely cake:  (L to R) Len Torset, Don Royal, Dottie Chandler, Carol Nersten, Diane Partington, Candace Stone, Hazel Rasar and John Hays (president). Marge Wilson was missing.  Several of the founding members from that day back in 1987 are still members!

The Society’s scrapbooks (kept by Don Royal) were out for viewing and a certificate of appreciation was given by President John Hayes to Diane Partington for all her service and help.

Barb Johnson proudly showed me around their genealogical collection, housed in the Burlington Public Library. (Note her “I Seek Dead People” t-shirt.)

Barb Johnson and Jin Justice pointed out to me their bulletin board display there in the Burlington Library:

Our new WSGS Regional Rep for the Region 1-North area is Nancy Bonafede, a member of SKGS. This is a great little group!

Puget Sound Genealogical Society May Meeting

Puget Sound Genealogical Society
Saturday, May 27, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
at Kitsap Regional Library 1301 Sylvan Way, Bremerton
GRANPA WORKED FOR THE RAILROAD
with Janice Lovelace. Discover the history of railroad
companies, the types of jobs available and how to access
railroad records, including pensions.
Registration required; call (360) 475-9172
Jackie Horton, Publicity Chairperson

Society Spotlight: Yakima Valley Genealogical Society

We’re always trying to “keep it fresh” here on the WSGS blog. “Keep it fresh, you ask? According to the Urban Dictionary, keeping it fresh is “the art of acting spontaneously resulting in your actions being original and generally awesome.” Okay, so we’re going to be generally awesome here introducing a new blog feature: Society Spotlight.

Local genealogical societies are the backbone of WSGS and we’re proud to introduce our readers to each of the 30+ societies around the state. In your upcoming travels, you might want to stop by their library, meeting, ask for local assistance or visit their website.

Our inaugural article features the Yakima Valley Genealogical Society.

The Yakima Valley Genealogical Society (VYGS) is one of the largest societies in the state with approximately 300 members. That’s a long way from their humble beginnings almost 50 years ago when they started with just 18 members. While most of their members live in the Yakima County area, they attract others from as far away as England.

Under the leadership of President Patrick Bundy and Vice President Sue Ericksen, YVGS is among the most active societies. Besides monthly meetings featuring interesting educational programs, the society sponsors two major seminars each year,  Spring and Fall. This year’s Spring Seminar will be Saturday, April 22 at the Mt. Olive Lutheran Church in Yakima. The featured speaker will be professional genealogist Jay Fonkert, a renowned authority on 19th Century Midwest research. His presentations will be:

  • Genealogy Detective Skills: Following Clues from the Census
  • Finding Your Pre-1850 American Ancestors
  • Why Were They There?
  • Who’s on First: Merging and Separating Identities in Family History Research

An added bonus to attending YVGS’s Spring Seminar is the WSGS Recognition Awards and Annual Meeting during the lunch hour. Registration is still open. More details, including a registration form, are available here.

Assistant librarian Sue Ericksen (left) explaining some of the YVGS’s vast library holdings to WSGS President Virginia Majewski.

One of the preeminent gems of the YVGS is their genealogical research library. The 7,200 square foot library, considered one of the top genealogical research facilities in the Pacific Northwest, is located at 1901 S 12th Ave in Union Gap. Besides the main floor of the library, there are three archive rooms, a media room for microfilm/fiche research, a work room and a kitchen. Between the bound volumes on the shelf and the massive microfilm/microfiche collection, the library hosts a collection of 35,000 volumes of genealogical research material covering every state and a large number of foreign countries. Holdings also include a large number of published family histories, as well as being the designated official library for the WSGS. Check out their online book catalog here.

The library is open to the public at no charge for genealogical research. It’s definitely worth a stop if you’re in the Yakima area.

And don’t forget to visit the YVGS website. While there, you’ll learn more about YVGS’s commitment to expanding and preserving genealogical and historical research, including their outstanding Cemetery Project and Early Death Notices Index databases.

We hope you’ll visit the Yakima Valley Genealogical Society online or at 1901 S 12th Ave in Union Gap. We’re proud to call them a member of the Washington State Genealogical Society.

(Note: If  you’d like your society to be featured in Society Spotlight, please contact Roxanne Lowe at info@wasgs.org.)

Spotlight on the Twin Rivers Gen Society

On Saturday, March 25th, I shared a great learning day with the eager members of the Twin Rivers Gen Society down in Lewiston, Idaho. (Yes, Idaho, but they identify with Washington especially as pertaining to things genealogy.) We met in a lovely church basement and the TRGS had enough food to feed 50 folks but only about half that number came (which equals their membership). We shared ideas on the Big 4 genealogy websites (Ancestry, FamilySearch, FindMyPast, MyHeritage) as well as dozens of useful research and resource websites. I stressed to them that thy major key to success in genealogical research these days is successfully using the Internet.  Here’s a shot of the group:

Please continue reading for some history of Lewiston, and the TRGS, and all about their annual July 4th Walking with Ancestors!

Continue reading

Genealogical Serendipity Across the Pond – and in Lewis County

You never know when genealogical serendipity will happen. For Judy Kalich, a member of the Lewis County Genealogical Society, it happened when a cousin connected her with a “new” third cousin, sometimes removed, Barbara Hargrave of San Francisco. Judy and Barbara discovered they shared their third great grandparents, Joseph and Mary Pettett, both born in Kent in the 1780’s.

Joseph and Mary Pettett

Joseph and Mary Pettett

Judy Kalich's photo of Amy Anne Honeysett who married Albert Pettett in 1853.

Judy Kalich’s photo of Amy Anne Honeysett who married Albert Pettett in 1853.

Last summer, Barbara went to Scotland, Ireland and England searching for her Pettett ancestors. In Kent, England, not only did she find the family home and family graves, she helped break through a brick wall for the current resident of Joseph and Mary’s home in Stilebridge who had been researching the history of the historic tenanted home with an oast house. The fascinating twists and turns of Joseph and Mary’s son Herbert (aka Albert) were featured in a BBC issue of Who Do You Think You Are? magazine (April 2016). Hint: Always leave open the possibility that the name you’re born with isn’t the one in archival records.

Back to our Lewis County connection: Through her careful research, Judy already had Joseph and Mary Pettett in her family tree, as well as a picture of the house in Stilebridge. What she also had, that Barbara didn’t have, was a priceless picture of Amy Anne Honeysett, who married Herbert (aka Albert) in 1853. The photo was featured in the BBC article, putting a face to the story of the cousins’ ancestors.