A Message from the WSGS President

2018 is quickly drawing to a close.  Year’s end is always a good time for retrospection and planning for next year and years to come.  Each year I evaluate my genealogical successes, failures and unfulfilled plans. I use this information to prioritize my to-do lists and come up with a new research plan for the next year.  We are doing a similar process at WSGS.

WSGS President Ginny Majewski

As genealogists, you are aware of all the changes which have come about in our industry.  Some of those changes have drastically changed the way we do business, the way we work, the way we communicate, the way we educate and so much more.  What societies did for years, no longer works as well today.  This means WSGS must continue to change if we wish to remain alive and relevant. 

Several years ago, WSGS began an evaluation of itself by looking at what we were doing well and what we weren’t doing so well.  As a result, we began making changes in the Society. Our first changes were to improve the WSGS website and the Blog. Next, improvements were made to the Recognition and Awards program. We initiated the Innovative Grant program to help societies with special projects and educational events.  For the most part, these endeavors have been successful. 

This past year, we focused on making further improvements to the website.  Our goal was to provide better access to resources for genealogists and for genealogical societies. Information on each genealogical society in Washington was updated and expanded, including info on special collections held by societies. Information on museums in Washington was added to the website. We began revitalizing the Speakers’ Directory. In addition, for the second year in a row, WSGS provided Society Management classes at the Northwest Genealogy Conference in Arlington. We are working on a collaborative relationship with the owners of the Civil War Veterans Buried in Washington State website.

The WSGS Board will be holding a two-day retreat this spring to bring forth new ideas, evaluate, plan and move WSGS forward.  Board meetings are open to the membership.  I welcome any thoughts you have on WSGS.  Just drop me an email at geneahunter@gmail.com

Wishing you all peace, hope and joy in the New Year.

Ginny Majewski, President

Looking for a Last Minute Christmas Gift?

Looking for that last minute Christmas gift for someone — or yourself? How about a WSGS membership? It’s only $12/year whether an individual or couple — only $1 a month! We need your membership support so we can continue sponsoring this WSGS Blog; promote local genealogical meetings, workshops and conferences; and — it’s the right thing to do to support statewide organizations like the Washington State Genealogical Society.

It’s easy to join (or renew). Just click here to join (new members) or here to renew (current members must log in). 

Banner Photos Identified

Have you noticed the Blog banner changes every time you visit? The photos are submitted by readers like you — and Carol Ballard of Olympia. Carol recently sent us three beautiful scenic photos:

  • A wintery shot of Henderson Inlet near Olympia (pictured at right)
  • State ferry on its way to Bremerton
  • Millersylvania State Park near Olympia

We’re always looking for scenic photos of our beautiful state for the rotating photo gallery on the blog banner. It’s easy — just send a Washington State jpg image to wsgsblog@wasgs.org with a description of the photo. The blog masters will take care of the rest!

Gift Idea: Washington Pioneer Certificate

pioneerIf your ancestor was one of the 350,000 people who lived in the Washington Territory when it became the nation’s 42nd state on 11 Nov 1889, you may be eligible for a Washington Pioneer certificate. Or if your ancestors arrived a little later — before 31 Dec 1900 — you can get a First Citizen certificate. What a great gift for yourself and your family members!

We began the Washington State Centennial Pioneer Certificate Program in 1984 in anticipation of the state’s centennial admission to the union in 1889. The initial certificates were issued to applicants who could prove their ancestors were in Washington Territory prior to 11 Nov 1889. Those descendants’ names, almost 18,000, were printed in a two-volume set of firstcitizenbooks entitled “Washington Pioneers” in 1992. A third volume, published in 1993, included Pioneers and First Citizens (those in the state on or before 31 Dec 1900). The three original volumes are out of print, but an index is available here. WSGS members have access to family lineages in the Members’ Only section of the website.
Pioneer and First Citizen Certificates are still being issued, although they are published only on the WSGS website at this time. If you can prove your ancestor was in Washington prior to 11 Nov 1889, you may be eligible to purchase a Pioneer Certificate. If your ancestor was in Washington on or before 31 Dec 1900, you may be eligible for a First Citizen Certificate. More information, including resources to prove residency, is available in the Pioneer and First Citizen Program brochure. An application and instructions are available here.

Blog Banner Photos Wanted

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.

Mount St. Helens. Photo taken 10 Nov 2018 by Roxanne Lowe.

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. If in doubt, send it to us & we’ll figure it out.
•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 WSGSBlog@wasgs.org.

Got questions? Email the blog team at WSGSBlog@wasgs.org.

Eastside Gen Soc Uses Innovative Grant for Workshop

Maureen Taylor (left) and Celia McNay, Eastside Genealogical Society President

The Eastside Genealogical Society threw itself a 40th birthday party on Saturday, 15 Sep 2018. The society has been celebrating every month this year in a small way, but really hit the big time hosting Maureen Taylor, the Photo Detective, in an all-day workshop in Bellevue. The workshop was free to EGS members as a thank you for 40 years of support, while others paid a small fee. Ms. Taylor presented Photo Detecting 101, Google Images and Beyond and Discovering Genealogical Clues in Photographs. Well done, value-added presentations all around.

EGS used its 2018 WSGS Innovative Grant to help fund the workshop — an excellent use of the grant. Besides the Eastside Genealogical Society, the four other successful 2018 grant winners were:

  • Lower Columbia Genealogical Society to purchase genealogical books to donate to the Longview Public Library for public use. Lower Columbia has generously donated books for a number of years, using money from membership dues and their coffee stops.
  • Okanogan Genealogical Society to help purchase supplies to repair and preserve books holding the “Tonasket Times” newspaper from 1913 – 1952.
  • Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society to help publish a book on “Early Stillaguamish Valley Schools” in the Arlington Area.
  • Wenatchee Area Genealogical Society for digital preservation of family records, library holdings and archival documents.

More information about the deadlines for the 2019 Innovative Grants will be publicized in the coming months.

Blog Banner Photos Wanted

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.

Hay there! Photo taken along Highway 108 between Shelton and McCleary by Roxanne Lowe.

The current batch of pictures were taken by Donna Potter Phillips from Spokane and Roxanne Lowe from McCleary.

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. If in doubt, send it to us & we’ll figure it out.
•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 WSGSBlog@wasgs.org.

Got questions? Email the blog team at WSGSBlog@wasgs.org.

Five Societies Earn Innovative Grants

In an announcement made at the WSGS Annual Meeting on 26 May 2018 in Vancouver, five local societies were  awarded Innovative Grants for special projects and purchases. The grants, up to $100, are designed to support the inventive and creative efforts of WSGS-member societies and organizations. Each society’s proposal was scored and ranked by a review team.

2018 Innovative Grants were awarded to:

  1. Eastside Genealogical Society to help pay for “The Photo Detective” Maureen Taylor workshop to celebrate the society’s 40th birthday. Ms. Taylor will present “Finding Family History in Your Picture Mysteries” on September 15 in Bellevue. Society members will get to attend for free while the public will pay a small fee. For more information about this workshop, click here.
  2. Lower Columbia Genealogical Society to purchase genealogical books to donate to the Longview Public Library for public use. Lower Columbia has generously donated books for a number of years, using money from membership dues and their coffee stops.
  3. Okanogan Genealogical Society to help purchase supplies to repair and preserve books holding the “Tonasket Times” newspaper from 1913 – 1952. Each book uses an entire roll of special archival document repair tape. This grant will buy a few rolls of tape to stop the destruction of the collection.
  4. Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society to help publish a book on “Early Stillaguamish Valley Schools” in the Arlington Area. It’s taken years to gather historical documents and photographs for this project from the 1800s to the early 1940s and now they’re ready to publish.
  5. Wenatchee Area Genealogical Society For the 4th consecutive year, WAGS has applied for an Innovative Grant to promote genealogy in their area. This year, they’re focusing on the digital preservation of family records, library holdings and archival documents. They plan to preserve family histories and archival materials of their society, its members and the community.

The Innovative Grant program was started in 2015 to support the inventive and creative efforts of local societies and organizations. When created, Recognition Chair Roxanne Lowe explained, “We know that local societies can do a lot with very little, so we’re hoping the Innovative Grant Program will be what you need to jump-start a project that has been dreamed about for some time.”

Olympia and Clark County Earn Top Honors

The Olympia Genealogical Society and Clark County Genealogical Society earned outstanding society awards at the WSGS Annual Meeting and Awards Ceremony on May 26 in Vancouver.

WSGS President Virginia Majewski presented the Outstanding Project Award to CCGS President Brian Runyan and member Lois Bosland.

The Clark County Genealogical Society, in addition to being the excellent hosts of the Awards Ceremony, were the recipients of the Outstanding Project Award for their Tax Ledger Project which included digitizing, transcribing and indexing original 1886 and 1891 tax ledgers for the City of Vancouver. As we all know, those are critical years for any family history researcher in lieu of the 1890 census disaster. The tax records included who owned property in Vancouver and how much tax was owed and paid (or not). The Clark County Society consulted with the State Archives, Clark County Historical Museum, History Department at WSU Vancouver and the WSU Library – a true collaborative effort. This treasure trove of information is now available to the public and the original records are being turned over to the State Archives.

OGS members Dee Dee Simpson, Dick Moody, Nancy Cordell, seminar speaker David Allen Lambert, and Roger Newman celebrating their accomplishments

Olympia Gen Soc earned the Outstanding Communication Award for their new website. For 20 years, they used a popular web host that is currently unavailable. Understanding the importance and urgency of getting information out to their members and the public in this web-based world, they created a new website, using a web development company that specializes in genealogical societies (EasyNetSites — same as WSGS). Olympia’s site is attractive – and even better, it’s full of current information. Check out their website here. They also use their Facebook page to regularly post informational tidbits, newsy articles and promote their meetings and seminar.

Besides the Outstanding Communication Award, Olympia’s Ann Olsen was awarded the President’s Award for Outstanding Achievement while Rebel Romero received an Outstanding Volunteer award.

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Change Is In the Air at WSGS

Please join me in welcoming Heather Murphy as our new Web Manager. Heather is a WSGS member from the Tri-Cities area. She will be transitioning to the position in the next few weeks. Welcome, Heather!

A huge debt of gratitude goes to our outgoing Web Manager, Roxanne Lowe. She has made many improvements to the WSGS website over the past couple of years. We are sorry to see her go, but family obligations come first!

Please consider how you might contribute to our genealogical community. We are still looking for someone to take over the Recognition and Awards Program. If you are interested, please contact me.

Virginia Majewski, President

ginnym51@msn.com