Was Your Ancestor an Early Washingtonian?

Do you have an ancestor who lived in Washington when it became a state on 11 Nov 1889? Did he/she come a little later, say before 31 Dec 1900?

Patrick Murphy arrived in Washington Territory in the spring of 1888.

If the answer to either question is “yes,” then you may be eligible to purchase a Pioneer Certificate or First Citizens Certificate honoring your early Washington citizen.

The process is pretty simple. Read the instructions and complete the application, starting with basic information about yourself, then your parent(s) and so on until you get to your first Washingtonian. Then list the evidences of proof linking each generation to the next. For example, I was born in Aberdeen (used my birth certificate). I am the daughter of Patricia Murphy Ferbrache (used her birth certificate) who was the daughter of Daniel Murphy (census record) who was the son of Patrick Murphy who arrived in the Satsop River Valley (Chehalis County, now Grays Harbor County) from New Brunswick, Canada in the spring of 1888. I used a land record (below) showing Patrick purchased land on the Chehalis River on July 10, 1888 — where my 91-year-old mother still lives today.

Land record, Chehalis County

After completing the Pioneer form (same procedure for the First Citizens Certificate), I sent it and my $10 fee to Pioneer Chair Frank McLean. Pretty soon my certificate arrived in the mail. I purchased another certificate later as an auction item at the annual Murphy Picnic — a much sought-after item!

The WSGS started the Pioneer and First Citizen Program in 1984 in anticipation of the state’s centennial admission to the union in 1889. While the three printed volumes of names are no longer in print, many libraries (including the Yakima Valley Genealogical Society’s library) have copies. An all-name index is available here. Hint: If you’ve got a Pioneer (here before 11 Nov 1889) or First Citizen (here before 31 Dec 1900), you might check the index to see if a cousin has already done the research! Detailed lineages are available to WSGS members through the Members Only link. A Pioneer and First Citizen brochure is available here.

There are a number of resources and aids, including Frank, to help you with your documentation. I’m proud to be the great granddaughter of a Washington Pioneer. Join me!


Fall and Winter Photos Wanted

Washington is beautiful any time of the year, don’t you agree? Winter seems to have arrived a little early this year, so let’s celebrate that beauty. We’re looking for scenic photos of our fall and winter Washington wonderland for the rotating photo gallery on the blog banner.

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.
•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 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.

Mark Your Calendar: 2018 WSGS Annual Meeting & Awards Ceremony

This just in: The Clark County Genealogical Society will host the WSGS Annual Meeting and Awards Ceremony at their 2018 genealogy conference on Saturday, May 26, 2018. The featured speaker will be David Allen Lambert from the New England Historical Genealogical Society (NeHGS).

Save the date and spread the word! More info coming soon.

Meet the Board: Nancy Cordell

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.

Nancy Cordell, Region 3 Representative

In today’s “Meet the Board” series, we’re introducing you to Nancy Cordell. Nancy lives in Tumwater and is WSGS’s Region 3 Representative (Clallam, Jefferson, Kitsap, Mason, and Thurston Counties). She is also a member of the Olympia Genealogical Society where she has been president since July 2016.

Nancy, 1961 in Madrid, Spain

Nancy was born in southern California to Harry and Bertie (Grange) Neville. She earned a Ph.D. in Anthropology, specializing in biological anthropology, in 1991 at the University of Washington in Seattle. “Dr. Nancy” then taught biological anthropology to undergraduates for 30 years. What is biological anthropology, you ask? It’s a branch of anthropology that explores the biology of humans in the present and in the past, with a strong emphasis on understanding and exploring human diversity. Sounds like a perfect segue to her becoming a professional genealogist, earning a Certificate in Genealogical Research from Boston University. Now retired from her educational career, Nancy owns her own genealogical business, “Diggin’ Our Past.”

Nancy’s interest in genealogy came early. Her mother’s family migrated to Utah in the mid-1800s from England and Denmark as converts to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS). Nancy is proud of her early Utah pioneer roots.

Nancy’s great grandparents Annie and Walter Boyed, 1914

Featured in the photo on the right are Nancy’s great grandparents, Annie Louisa Mullens and Walter Eugene Boyed. The photo was taken in 1914 in Las Vegas, Nevada, just after they had moved from the mining town of Rhyolite, Nevada where they’d lived for nearly 10 years. Walter, born in 1861 in Texas, was a prospector and miner. He married Annie in 1899 in Tooele, Utah at the age of 38. Nancy’s still “diggin’ her past” to find out more about Walter before his marriage to Annie.

Nancy and her husband have two grown daughters. Besides being a proud member of WSGS and OGS, Nancy is a member of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, Association of Professional Genealogists, International Society of Genetic Genealogy, and the National Genealogical Society.

A few more interesting tidbits about Nancy:
• Favorite genealogy websites: Ancestry
• When asked one word that describes her, Nancy replied, “Curious.” A very good characteristic for a biological anthropologist – and a genealogist!

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

How to Post on the Blog

Do you want to broadcast information about your local society, workshop, genealogical tip, or a research query? Just post to the WSGS Blog! You can reach hundreds of genealogists from around the state. Just email a Word document, text file, PDF or graphic to WSGSBlog@wasgs.org and the blog masters will do the rest.

We’re always looking to publicize local events and workshops, feature stories, updates from your society, and other genealogical information that might be of interest to our many subscribers.

We hope to hear from you soon! And don’t forget to encourage your Society members to subscribe to the Blog for the most up-to-date information from around the state.

You may manage your subscription options from your profile.

Indexing Continues

Have you joined other WSGS members and blog readers indexing records for the Washington State Digital Archives? I hope so. Today, I only had time to index two records. But that’s two records that a genealogist may be looking for. Every indexed record helps!

The list of collections being indexed changes all the time. Currently, the list includes:

  • 1878 King County Census,
  • Marriage records in Benton, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Wakiakum and Walla Walla counties
  • Automobile licensee fee books from 1909 – 1913
  • Polk Directory for Seattle from 1891 – 1893

By signing up for Scribe (the very cool indexing tool), you can choose what collection you’d like to index — it’s up to you! Remember: every record indexed is a win/win for free public access to these invaluable records.

Help Make More Records Available — From Home!

October is Family History Month! Did you know that October is also American Archives Month?

Celebrate with the Washington State Genealogical Society by joining us as we index Washington State records so that genealogists everywhere can search the Digital Archives online.

The Washington State Archives has many records that are relevant to genealogists and other researchers. Their indexing tool, Scribe, allows you to become an honorary archivist by transcribing and indexing records. You choose what you want to index and Scribe keeps track of how many records you complete.

To make the celebration more fun, The Board of the Washington State Genealogical Society would like to challenge you to join us in making more records available. The “Scriber” with the most records completed in October will be featured on our blog.

Sharon Liebert Named Region 8 Representative

Sharon Liebert

Sharon Liebert of East Wenatchee has been appointed the WSGS Representative for Region 8 by President Virginia Majewski. Besides being a member of WSGS, Sharon is a member of the Wenatchee Area Genealogical Society.

Region 8 includes Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan Counties. There is still a vacancy for Region 1 South which includes parts of Island and Snohomish Counties. For more information about the responsibilities of the Regional Representative, click here.

Sharon will be featured in a future “Meet the Board” story. Welcome to the Board, Sharon!

Join These Super Star Scribers

The Washington State Genealogical Society is asking its members and blog readers to support the state’s Digital Archives in October. We are unbelievably lucky in this state to have a resource like the Digital Archives. What a wealth of information, including historic photographs, BDM records, cemetery directories, maps and land records — many from pre-statehood. All access, all free. Transcribed and indexed by volunteers like you! Click here to join the army of volunteers.

Today, we’re highlighting two Digital Archive transcriber super stars:

Steven Baylor started indexing before there was a Scribe (the super easy online transcription application used to transcribe records).  Since official counting began, he has transcribed almost 150,000 records — and growing every day as it’s something he works into his daily schedule. Whenever he has a half hour here or a couple hours there, he sits down and indexes a dozen or so documents.  According to Steve who is a former President of WSGS and member of the Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society:

“It’s all part of paying it forward.  My research has been made easier by others who have spent hours indexing and I’m pleased I can do my part to increase accessibility of public records. Now that my wife has Alzheimer’s, I need to be at home most every day.  Indexing is something I can do and still feel like I am contributing to the genealogical community without having to travel anywhere.

Steve started indexing many years ago when he and other WSGS members worked with the Secretary of State’s office to index the 1910 Federal Census of Washington. After that labor-intensive undertaking, the Archives Office began using a “hybrid” system where they would mail paper copies of documents to transcribers who would index them online or on a disk and mail the paper copies back to Olympia.  Steve’s wife assisted him by reading names to him while he typed, then she would double-check the finished product before they clicked the send button. Great teamwork!

Charles being recognized for his accomplishments by former Secretary of State Sam Reed.

Charles Hansen started in 2003 when the Digital Archives was being built near the Eastern Washington University campus in Cheney (Charles lives in Spokane).  State officials began asking local genealogical societies to donate records to put in the infant digital archives. Charles had some DOS databases (remember DOS????) for early Spokane County births, deaths and marriages. He also had indexed the 1887 Spokane County Census. He generously gave those electronic records to start the digital archives. Shortly thereafter, Archives officials asked for volunteers to help index and volunteer at the archives, so he started indexing — being sent paper copies of the records and a floppy disk with the format to index.

The next transcription and index improvement was Scribe — the online digital application that allows users to become “honorary archivists” of the state’s historically important records. By using Scribe, volunteers are able to add information to the images, making them searchable online. It’s easy to use — just fill in the blanks and save the data. Each record can be viewed by many transcribers, but two transcriptions must match exactly before the record can become searchable.

Charles, a member of the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society and WSGS’s Blog Master, has indexed 151,240 records since record counts have begun.

But you don’t have to be a super star like Steve or Charles to make a difference! Any record transcribed or indexed is a record available to the public. To date, I’ve transcribed nine records (yes, 9!), but I’m committed to making these records available for public access. Help me!

To sign up for Scribe, click here.


Support the Digital Archives

Have you ever noticed that the historic photo on the WSGS website home page is from the Digital Archives? We are so lucky in Washington State to have free, unfettered public access to the award-winning Digital Archives. Photographs are available for your society’s newsletter — always free access to use (with proper credit, of course). Or if you’re looking for genealogical records of your Washington State ancestors — they’re a Search Box away.

Regularly named one of the best websites for genealogy, the Washington State Archives’ Digital Archives was the nation’s first archive dedicated specifically to the “preservation of electronic records from both state and local agencies that have permanent legal, fiscal or historical value.”

The Washington State Genealogical Society and its members would like to show our appreciation for this invaluable resource by increasing the transcribed records to be made available online. Beginning October 1, we are encouraging all WSGS members and Blog readers to use the Archives’ online transcription application “Scribe” to transcribe as many records as possible. Use this link to create an account.

Sign up today. Practice transcribing a few records (there’s a very good user’s guide to help you get started). Let’s show our appreciation to the Digital Archives for their commitment to making historical records available to all of us.