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.


OLYMPIA GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY October meeting will feature Erin Whitesel-Jones from the Olympia/Tumwater Foundation talking about “Schmidt House Archives”.  October 12 at 7 pm, Thurston County Courthouse, Building 1, Room 152.  Info 360-451-1059


Joyce T. Ogden

Olympia Genealogical Society Genealogy Cafe

GENEALOGY CAFE  Meet with Olympia Genealogical Society experts for free personal help with your family history research. Thursday August 17 and Saturday August 19 at Olympia Timberland Library, 313 8th Avenue Southeast, from 1-3 pm

Thank-you,  JOYCE OGDEN, PUblicity

Joyce T. Ogden

Olympia Genealogy Society Genealogy Cafe

GENEALOGY CAFE  Meet with Olympia Genealogy Society experts for personal help with your family history research. Olympia Timberland Library, 313 8th AV SE, on both Thursday June 15 and Saturday June 17 from 1-3 pm. 360-529-9813

Thank-you  JOYCE OGDEN, Publicity

=======================================================================                                                                  Joyce T. Ogden   

Olympia Genealogical Society June meeting

Jerri McCoy will discuss “Reviewing Your Genealogical Research for Missed Clues” at the Olympia Genealogical Society June meeting. Join us on Thursday, June 8 at 7 pm at Thurston County Courthouse, Building 1, Room 152. 360-451-1059

Thank-you,  JOYCE OGDEN, publicity

=======================================================================                                                                  Joyce T. Ogden   

Olympia Genealogical Society’s May meeting

WRITING YOUR MEMOIRS by Dolores Nelson will be presented at Olympia Genealogical Society’s May meeting.  Join us on Thursday, May 11 at 7 pm at the Thurston County Courthouse, Building 1, Room 152.

Thank-you   Joyce Ogden, publicity

=======================================================================                                                                  Joyce T. Ogden   

Nancy Cordell Named Region 3 Representative

Dr. Nancy Neville Cordell

Nancy Cordell of Tumwater has been appointed the Regional Representative for Region 3 by WSGS President Virginia Majewski. Region 3 includes Clallam, Jefferson, Kitsap, Mason and Thurston counties.

Nancy is an active member of the Olympia Genealogical Society where she currently serves as president.  A professional genealogist, as well as having a Ph.D. in biological anthropology, she helps researchers through her website, Diggin’ Our Past. You’ll learn more about Dr. Nancy in an upcoming “Meet the Board” blog feature.

The Board is still in search of Regional Representative volunteers in a number of areas around the state:

  • Region 1 North – Island (part), San Juan, Snohomish (part)
  •  Region 1 South – Island (part), Skagit, Snohomish (part), Whatcom
  • Region 7 – Ferry, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Stevens
  • Region 8 – Chelan, Douglas, Grant, Okanogan

For more information on the responsibilities of a Regional Representative, click here or email WSGS Vice President Donna Potter Phillips at