John Jay Winsor Awarded 2017 Outstanding Volunteer Honor

Since 2003, the Washington State Genealogical Society has recognized over 500 outstanding volunteers and teams, nominated by their local society or genealogical organization for their service and dedication. These volunteers are the backbone of their local society, giving their time and expertise, to the organization and the field of genealogy. In the coming weeks, you will be introduced to each of the 2017 award recipients and learn why they received the 2017 WSGS Outstanding Volunteer and Team Award.

John Jay Winsor

Today we’re introducing John Jay Winsor of Marysville, Washington, who was nominated by the Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society (SVGS). He was recognized for his dedicated volunteerism at SVGS for the many years he was a member of the society.

Always greeting everyone with a pleasant smile and good cheer, Mr. Winsor’s willingness to pitch in with any manual labor that the society was in need of will never be surpassed. The society’s only regret is that this award must be given posthumously, due to his sudden passing January 28, 2017.

Mr. Winsor was truly a humble and wise man who quietly donated to the Northwest Genealogy Conference scholarship program. Members of the SVGS are grateful for the time they had with him.

His dedication and willingness to help where needed illustrate why he richly deserved being a recipient of a 2017 WSGS Outstanding Volunteer Award.

For more information on the WSGS Outstanding Volunteer Award program, visit the Recognition page of the WSGS website or contact Roxanne Lowe, Interim Recognition Chair, at

NWGC Early Bird Discount Ends March 15

Have you registered yet for the 2018 Northwest Genealogy Conference? Better get on it — the Early Bird Registration special ends March 15, 2018.

The conference, one of the premier conferences in the region, is from August 15 – 18, 2018 in Arlington, WA.

Don’t miss the chance to hear keynoter speakers CeCe Moore, Beth Foulk and Peggy Lauritzen.  There will also be 12 other speakers to round out the conference sessions.

Go to to see the full schedule of classes. Be sure to register while you are there and take advantage of the reduced rate through March 15.  Also be sure to get your hotel reservations as the conference room blocks are filling up fast.

Northwest Genealogy Conference Registration Open

The Northwest Genealogy Conference 2018 registration is now OPEN! The classes and schedule are posted and you can register online. Early bird discount registration is good through March 15th.

This event is one of the premier conferences in the region. August 15 – 18 in Arlington, WA. Sponsored by the Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society.

Don’t miss this opportunity!

Northwest Genealogy Conference Call for Presentations

The Call for Presentations for Northwest Genealogy Conference is open now through November 30th.  Following is an announcement that I sent to a couple of other organizations to send to their members, would you be able to post it?


Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society in Arlington, WA hosts the Northwest Genealogy Conference in August each year.  This year our theme is “Beyond Your Family Tree”, in which we are taking a look at the events that shaped our family tree.  The conference is August 15-18 and our keynote speakers are CeCe Moore, Beth Foulk and Peggy Lauritzen. The call for for presentations can be found here and is open until November 30th.  Please share with all folks that give genealogy presentations.


Pam Liebelt

Publicity Chair

Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society

Northwest Genealogy Conference Testimonials

You’ve heard from me each day of the Northwest Genealogy Conference in Arlington, but what about comments from some of the nearly 400 other attendees? Here are a few:

My favorite class was the Facebook class (Solving Genealogical Mysteries with Facebook’s 10,000+ Links by Katherine Willson). It really opened the world to me — and all the free stuff out there.

Everyone is so friendly and this conference is so well organized.

During the Facebook class, I got on my computer and found my Dad’s stepsister — right during class! She’s part of a family group page, so I’m reaching out to her. What a great class!

Diahan’s presentation on her mother’s adoption story nearly brought me to tears.

Best thing about this conference? Meeting up with my high school friend after 52 years!!!

Daniel Earl’s humor was the best! Laughing while learning!

This conference is so well-run. So many topics and speakers!

I like meeting all the people and talking about our mutual interests.

My favorite classes were the DNA ones.

My favorite class was “Apprentices, Indentured Servants and Redemptioners: White Slavery” with Peggy Lauritzen (personal note: just about every class was someone’s favorite)


Day 2 at the Northwest Genealogy Conference

Dressing up like your ancestor was pretty fun!

Day 2 of the conference was “Dress as Your Ancestor Day” and, oh, what fun! Such imagination everywhere we turned! I saw a Swiss Miss, Southern Belle, Scandinavian gal, Scottish couple — even an Egyptian queen with a camel teeth necklace! Next year, I’m going to join the fun!

Yes, that’s Daniel Earl dressed as his Viking ancestor.

Our keynote speaker was the very funny Daniel Earl from Michigan. He kept things entertaining with his lively delivery and humorous quips. I didn’t think his first lecture, “A Place for Caroline: a Case Study on Eastern European Immigrants” would interest me as I don’t have ancestors from that region. But, no……he kept my attention the whole hour and I learned a few things along the journey. What a great presenter!

Our honored guest Kenyatta Berry

I again was in a quandary which two workshops (out of the 13 offered) to choose. Such a wonderful dilemma! Finally decided on “Too Many Marys: Solving Identity and Same Name Conundrum” with Jill Morelli and Michael Strauss’s “Descendency Research: Another Pathway to Genealogy.” Both great classes. Picked up some great hints and approaches to bust down my brick walls with Daniel Murphy and Patrick Ryan (and their sons and grandsons with the same name).

One of the highlights of the conference was the evening banquet. We got our first experience with Kenyatta Berry, tomorrow’s keynote speaker. A TV star to us genealogists, she took us “Behind the Scenes at the Genealogy Roadshow.” She was so engaging — we all had lots of questions for her. Looking forward to her presentations tomorrow!

Day 1 at the Northwest Genealogy Conference

Diahan, her mother and sister

Diahan Southard making science fun!

Close to 400 enthusiastic genealogists from all over the state and beyond gathered in the Byrnes Performing Arts Center in Arlington today for a full day of learning, sharing and networking. Our keynote speaker was Diahan Southard, a native Washingtonian transplanted to Florida. Her three keynote lectures were full of understandable information and inspirational stories about DNA. Repeatedly, she told us, “there is no one else on the earth exactly like you.” Her professional manner (and athleticism!) were admired by all.

In addition to Diahan’s keynotes, conference attendees had the opportunity to attend two additional lectures from the dozen offered. It wasn’t easy to choose, but I finally settled on “Ticked Off! Those Pesky Pre-1850 Census Tic Marks” with Peggy Lauritzen and “Land Records: Using Indexes and Deeds to Move Your Research Forward” with Michele Goodrum. It was a hard choice to make. Who would want to turn down an opportunity to learn about “angst-free” citations (really!) or how to find ancestors who owned slaves? Or what about “Criminals, Paupers and Lunatics”?

Larry Taylor and Michele Cozad, two of the conference’s hardworking volunteers

Dinner with Daniel Earl

Can I say a little about the volunteers? From the moment I drove into the parking lot (thanks to the parking crew), I felt well cared for. A volunteer greeted me with a warm welcome as he swung open the door. There were volunteers at the registration table, packet pick-up, book sales, direction givers, food organizers, and more. And think about how much behind-the-scenes work was done before today! So, if you see a Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society volunteer (and, of course, you will!), thank them for their dedication and making this conference such a success.

A small group of us ended our day with a great dinner at the Moose Creek BBQ in Arlington. Our token male was Daniel Earl, tomorrow’s keynote speaker. What an engaging, funny young man, but don’t take my word for it – show up tomorrow! On-site registrations are still being taken. More information about the conference is available here.

Next Generation Genealogist Attends NWGS

How many times have you heard, “How can we involve the younger generation in our passion for genealogy?” Well, let me introduce you to Kellen Shoe.

Kellen and his grandmother Michele Heiderer.

I met Kellen at Wednesday’s Meet-and-Mingle at the Northwest Genealogy Conference. He’s just turned 17 years old and is going to be a junior at Arlington High School. And he’s passionate about genealogy!

Kellen’s interest in genealogy began about four years ago. When asked why he became interested in a field not usually associated with youth, he responded that he wanted to know who he was. His mother had never talked too much about her family history, but did write down what she knew. With that information, along with DNA results, Kellen started searching and researching. He can now trace his roots back to Colonial America, coming from England to Virginia and Missouri as early as 1607. He’s full of facts, dates, relationships, some of it a tangled web of children born out of wedlock, half siblings and other delicate family matters.

Kellen is the proud owner of original family letters, some describing the complex relationship of his 2x great grandmother and 2x great grandfather who never married. He’s also got old photos including daguerreotypes. His next big research hunt is to find the half siblings of his 2x great grandmother. With the help of DNA testing, he’s optimistic he’ll find some answers.

While Kellen’s interested in becoming a mechanical engineer, it’s pretty safe to say, he’ll stay interested in genealogy. A future genealogist in the making.