WSGS Membership Opportunity at the NWGC

Have YOU been meaning to become a member of the Washington State Genealogical Society? Maybe for a long time? You’ve enjoyed our blog, perhaps your society has benefited from our awards program or maybe you’ve enjoyed presentations from our speakers? Well, dear folks, the time to join is upon you!

Next week WSGS will have a membership table at the Northwest Genealogical Conference in Arlington. Perhaps you’ve read on our blog where WSGS President Ginny Majewski, and WSGS Vice-president Donna Potter Phillips are both slated for presentations (read about their classes here). It’s a really big deal conference. And I hope to see you there………. but this is a post about joining WSGS.

This is an amazing Amazon DOT…….. Google it to learn for yourself how marvelous a gadget it is. WSGS is giving one away at the conference! And we’ve got a great deal for everyone:

  • If you’re already a WSGS member, stop by our membership table and renew your membership for 2018 (only $12!), you’ll get a raffle ticket!
  • If you join WSGS (new memberships only) at the NWGC, take advantage of our amazing conference special: only $5.00 for the rest of 2017 and you’ll get a raffle ticket. If you extend your membership until the end of 2018 (only another $12), you’ll get a second ticket!

Come see us at the WSGS table and claim your ticket(s)! We’ll be waiting!!

Honoring our Past Presidents

Serving as President of this organization is an honor and a privilege. As such, we want to honor those who provided leadership to our Society and to the genealogical community.

To recognize and honor the service of our Past Presidents, we have created the WSGS “Presidents’ Circle,” an exclusive group composed of men and women who served as president of our state society. They have helped shape WSGS into what it is today: an active and ever-changing organization dedicated to educating its members about genealogy and to cultivating public awareness of the educational, historical and personal value of genealogical research. Our past presidents include:

1984 – Alma Greenwood, Olympia Genealogical Society

1985 – Elsie Trautloff (deceased), South King County Genealogical Society

1987 – Maxine Bissell, Yakima Valley Genealogical Society

1989 – Kathleen Johnson, Long Beach

1992 – Pam Chilton, Lower Columbia Genealogical Society

1994 – Frank McLean, Yakima Valley Genealogical Society

1996 – Laura Pemberton Sparr, Skagit Valley Genealogical Society

2000 – Robert Witherspoon (deceased), Whatcom Genealogical Society

2004 – Stephen Baylor, Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society

2008 – Sue Ericksen, Yakima Valley Genealogical Society

2013 – Mikal McKinnon, Tri-City Genealogical Society

As a member of the “Presidents’ Circle,” each honoree received a lifetime membership to WSGS – a small thank you for their years of service, dedication and support. For more information, including photographs, visit the Presidents’ Circle page on the WSGS website.


Local Society Management Classes Offered – Free!

WSGS President Ginny Majewski (center) with Board Members Nancy Cordell and Patty Olsen at “Nuts and Bolts of Society Management” class

Ginny Majewski, WSGS President, recently presented her “Nuts and Bolts of Society Management” class to a group of local genealogists hosted by the Lewis County Genealogical Society. By all accounts, the class was well-received and packed with valuable information, as well providing answers to a lot of society management questions — and some questions that attendees didn’t even know to ask.

Ginny’s “Nuts and Bolts” class is one of two society management classes being offered by WSGS on Wednesday, August 16, 2017, at the Northwest Genealogy Conference in Arlington, WA. The other class, taught by WSGS VP Donna Potter Phillips, is “How to Attract and Keep Members…Awake.” More information about the FREE society management classes is available in this Blog post.

For those local societies not able to take advantage of the management classes at the Northwest Genealogy Conference, arrangements are possible to present the classes at a more convenient time and location. Contact Ginny for more information.

Blog is Success, Thanks to You!

WSGS Blog Team: Roxanne Lowe, Charles Hansen & Donna Potter Phillips

Since our first post in January 2015, the Blog Masters have posted 1,o90 genealogy-related articles, special features, events announcements and a plethora of other postings and musings. To date, almost 600 genealogy enthusiasts from around the region subscribe to the blog.

You can help us continue our success:

  • Send information about your local society, workshop, genealogical tip, or a research query to Charles, our Head Blog Master, will get it posted in a jiffy. 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 subscribers.
  • Encourage your friends and local society members to subscribe to the Blog for the most up-to-date information from around the state. It’s easy — just click here.

Thanks for making the Washington State Genealogical Society Blog a success!

Bettye Hull Shares Photos for Blog Banner Challenge

Many thanks are extended to Bettye Hull of Cheney, Washington, for sharing some of her picturesque photos of Washington for our Blog Banner Challenge. Bettye sent us a collection of photos from:

  • Hoh Rain Forest
  • Near Third Beach on the Washington Peninsula
  • Snohomish Falls
  • Spokane Falls
  • Skagit Valley

The blog masters are always looking for scenic photos of our beautiful state for the rotating photos on the blog banner. For more details about the challenges, click here.

Northwest Genealogy Conference Next Month

Registration is still open for one of the region’s premier genealogical events: the Northwest Genealogy Conference.

Sponsored by the hard-working Stillaquamish Valley Genealogical Society, the four-day conference will be in Arlington, WA from Wednesday, August 16 through Saturday, August 19th.

The first day, Wednesday, is a free day geared toward beginning genealogists (although we all have so much we can learn or relearn!). Wednesday will also feature two management classes specifically for local societies:

How to Attract & Keep Members…Awake with Donna Potter Phillips, WSGS Vice President

The Nuts and Bolts of Society Management with Virginia Forney Majewski, WSGS President

Wednesday’s classes are all free, but registration is required.

The remainder of the conference (Thursday through Saturday), will feature over a dozen speakers, including keynoters Diahan Southard (Thursday), Daniel Earl (Friday) and Kenyatta Berry (Saturday). There’ll also be vendors and lots of opportunities to network with fellow genealogists.

Don’t miss this conference! Visit the website for more information or to register.

Nancy Bonafede Named Region 1 North Representative

Nancy Bonafede

Nancy Bonafede of Sedro Woolley has been appointed the WSGS Representative for Region 1 North by President Virginia Majewski. Nancy has been a member of Skagit Valley Genealogical Society for more than 10 years. She has also been the volunteer coordinator for the library collection at the Burlington library.

Region 1 North includes Skagit, Whatcom, San Juan Counties and parts of Island and Snohomish 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.

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

WSGS Awards Announced at Annual Meeting in Yakima

Many thanks are extended to the Yakima Valley Genealogical Society for hosting the WSGS Annual Meeting and Awards Event on Saturday, 22 April 2017. The annual meeting was held in conjunction with YVGS’s Spring Seminar featuring Jay Fonkert, a Minnesota-based genealogy researcher, educator, and writer who focuses on nineteenth-century Midwest research. Nearly 90 people attended the seminar and annual meeting.

WSGS Vice President Donna Phillips presenting Outstanding Volunteer Award to Patricia McCann Manning from the Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society.

Region 6 Representative Janet McKinnon presenting an Outstanding Team member award to husband Mikal McKinnon for his work on the Tri-City Genealogical Society’s Library Recataloging and Renumbering Team.

During the annual meeting and awards lunch, nearly 40 local society members were recognized with Outstanding Volunteer and Team awards. These volunteers were praised for their commitment and energies to promote genealogy and family history in their local communities.

Some of the 2017 local society award winners

Other awards presented included:

  • Outstanding CommunicationWhitman County Genealogical Society for its newsletter filled with personal stories, photos and “snippets from the olden days.” Their newsletter started on in 1984 with just a few pages focusing on Whitman County. Today the newsletter is 10 pages with a continued focus on the county, but has expanded to include a wide variety of genealogy-related articles, designed to educate and entertain the society’s members and other readers. Special acknowledgement was extended to newsletter editor Judy Standar McMurray, with assistance from Monica Bartlett Peters.
  • Outstanding ProjectGrays Harbor Genealogical Society for the preservation of thousands of records from a 100-year-old funeral home that closed suddenly. The records were in danger of being lost or discarded until the society stepped in. Twelve boxes of paper were organized, scanned, cataloged and indexed into 19 binders. While this was an effort tackled by almost half of this small society, special recognition was extended to Cathy Cook, Gary Parfitt, Marlene Payne and Bonnie Johannes.

Five local societies were awarded Innovative Grant Awards. See separate blog feature.

The President’s Award for Outstanding Achievement was presented to Joanne Egbert Calhoun of the Wenatchee Area Genealogical Society. See separate blog feature.

For more photos of the seminar and annual meeting, visit our Facebook page.

Local Societies Awarded Innovative Grants

In an announcement made at the WSGS Annual Meeting on 22 Apr 2017 in Yakima, five local societies were  awarded Innovative Grants.

  1. WSGS President Virginia Majewski (middle) presenting an Innovative Grant to Eastern Washington Genealogical Society members Pat Ayers and Mary Holcomb

    Eastside Genealogical Society – to support the scanning and preservation of the society’s historical records for posting on their website.

  2. Eastern Washington Genealogical Society– the purchase of gravestones for nearly forgotten Civil War veterans in the local historic Evergreen Cemetery.
  3. Tri-City Genealogical Society– labeling equipment to provide labels for more than 3,000 books in their research library.
  4. Wenatchee Area Genealogical Society– support of promotional events with genealogy-related themes in WAGS’ “Community Connections” program.
  5. Whitman County Genealogical Society– upgrade office equipment in their research library for safety and efficiency reasons.

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.”

More information about the Innovative Grant program, including a Guidance Document, is available here. A blog article with a list of the 2015 and 2016 recipients and their projects is available here.

For more information, contact Roxanne Lowe, WSGS Recognition Chair at