Patricia Manning 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 months, you will be introduced to each of the 2017 award recipients and learn why they received the 2017 WSGS Outstanding Volunteer and Team Award.

Patricia McCann Manning

Today we’re introducing Patricia McCann Manning of Arlington, Washington, who was nominated by the Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society (SVGS). She was recognized for her many years of service and support to the society.

Ms. Manning has held positions as secretary and treasurer with the SVGS and could always be counted on when needed – the hallmark of a true volunteer.

Extremely proud of her Alaskan family ties, Ms. Manning has allowed a number of her personal mementos to be on permanent display at the society’s library.

The Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society greatly appreciates Ms. Manning’s contribution for all that she has done for the genealogical community of Snohomish County. She thereby richly deserves the recognition of 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

Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society January Meeting

This month’s presentation is entitled, “I’ve Had My DNA Tested, Now What?” and will be given by Mary Kathryn Kozy

 The lecture will briefly review what DNA testing is and what it can—and can’t—tell you. More specifically, we’ll be discussing autosomal DNA in this lecture and the tools available online from the testing companies, as well as third-party entities, to help you interpret your results. Mary has been researching her family history for over 35 years and in many localities. She has served in multiple positions in societies on the local & state level and currently serves on the board of the Jewish Genealogical Society of WA State & as an LDS Family History missionary. She holds bachelor’s degrees from UW in both Zoology and Information Technology & Systems and has completed three certificate programs with the National Institute for Genealogical Studies. She has also completed the ProGen program with an eye toward certification as a professional genealogist.
The meeting will take place at 1 pm on Tuesday, January 9th at the Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society Library, 6111 188th Pl. NE, Arlington, WA. The presentation is free and open to the public and our general meeting will follow. We hope you will join us.

Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society November Meeting


Jill Morelli, CG will be presenting part 2 of an Overview of Scandinavian Resources which will present an introduction to three major record sets of Sweden, Denmark and Norway in a two part series.  The presentation will be Tuesday, November 14th at 1pm.  The presentation will be held at the Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society Library, is free to the public and will be followed by the regular meeting of the SVGS.  Jill lectures and writes about her research and discoveries as a family historian.  She is a member of the Genealogical Speakers Guild, Association of Professional Genealogists and numerous societies and is coming to us from Seattle, WA.

Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society October Meeting

Overview of Scandinavian Resources, 2 part series

Jill Morelli, CG will be the guest speaker at the October and November Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society (SVGS) meetings.| She will be presenting an Overview of Scandinavian Resources which will give an introduction to three major record sets of Sweden, Denmark and Norway in a two part series.  Part one will be Tuesday, October 10th at 1 pm and Part 2 will be Tuesday, November 14th at 1 pm.   Both presentations are free to the public and will be followed by the regular meeting of the SVGS.  Jill lectures and writes about her research and discoveries as a family historian.  She is a member of the Genealogical Speakers Guild, Association of Professional Genealogists and numerous societies. Jill resides in Seattle, WA.

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.


Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society September Meeting


Please join the Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society  (SVGS)  for our regular meeting Tuesday, September 12th at 1 pm.  Our guest speaker will be Rob Branigin, Sno-isle Librarian from the Stanwood Branch.  His topic is: Exploring Vital Records Onlinewith Ancestry and Family Search.
The meeting will be held at the SVGS library, 6111– 188th PL. NE, Arlington WA, is free and open to members and the public. We hope to see you there!
Pam Liebelt
Publicity Chair
Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society

Day 3 at the Northwest Genealogy Conference

Leslie Vogel from Seattle, winner of the WSGS membership raffle with President Ginny Majewski and VP Donna Potter Phillips

Last day of the conference, but it was a great one! First thing this morning, WSGS President Ginny Majewski and Vice President Donna Potter Phillips drew Leslie Vogel’s name from the new (and renewed) membership raffle tickets for an Amazon Dot. Congratulations, Leslie. And welcome to you and all our new members!

Kenyatta Berry

Keynote speaker Kenyatta Berry provided a thought-provoking presentation, asking us “Where Does Your Story Begin?” She shared her personal history, as well as how to make our own stories compelling. Much to think about…

Wouldn’t you think I would have heard enough about DNA on this third day? Nope. Attended Mary Kathryn Kozy’s “Can You Help Me Find My Cousins? Using atDNA for Family History” lecture. She’s a great speaker and always “delivers the goods.”

I’m sorry to say I had to leave early, missing Kenyatta’s afternoon talk and the afternoon workshops, but I know everyone enjoyed them.

A big thank you to Phil and Lisa Bartlow and all the volunteers!

I want to give another shout-out to the amazing volunteers from the Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society. This conference is quickly becoming “the” event to go to. Speaking of that….mark your calendar for August 15 – 18, 2018! Don’t miss it!

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.

Pre-Conference Day at NWGC

Peggy Lauritzen entertaining and educating the crowd.

The attendees at today’s “Free Day Wednesday” at the Northwest Genealogy Conference got more than they anticipated. Billed as a beginning genealogy class with accredited genealogist Peggy Lauritzen, the 200-plus attendees were treated to an afternoon with Peggy, local society management classes, vendors and book sales. In addition, a lucky few attended a fascinating “Genetic Networks Workshop” with Diahan Southard.

Sponsored by the hard-working Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society (SVGS), this fourth-year conference is one of the best in the region. Organizers, including conference chairs Lisa and Phil Bartlow, have planned all year to appeal to newbies and veterans, young and young-at-heart. Peggy’s Genealogy 101 class today yielded more than a few ah-ha’s, scribbled notes and mumbled “I didn’t know that’s” from the crowd, even the seasoned veterans. There’s always something new to learn — or relearn!

Attendees give Diahan Southard’s DNA class a big thumbs up!

I was one of the lucky 25 to atend Diahan Southard’s DNA workshop. This is a new class offered by Diahan, but you wouldn’t have known it. Good handouts and exercises, understandable explanations, even a case study (with assignments for us to complete!). She’s a pro — can’t wait to hear her as our keynoter tomorrow.

I visited a few vendors, including the WSGS Membership table, but will do more of that in the next two days. Stopped by the Heritage Quest Research Library to check out the book sales. They brought in 36 boxes of books, pamphlets and resources, covering every country. And don’t forget to check out the Flip Pal — an invaluable aid in scanning old photos. I love mine; I actually use it MORE than I thought I would!

Councilman Nehring presenting Ruth Caesar with a check for the Pioneer Cemetery kiosk.

We closed the day with a Meet-and-Mingle at the Gleneagle Country Club. Lots of networking, getting acquainted (and reacquainted) and enjoying a great taco bar. One of the highlights of the evening was Snohomish County Councilman Nate Nehring presenting SVGS President Ruth Caesar with an oversized check for a memorial kiosk at the Pioneer Cemetery, Arlington’s first official cemetery. The identification of those interred has long been an important project for SVGS.

Tomorrow is the official start of the NWGC. Fourteen speakers, including keynoter Diahan Southard, will provide lectures and workshops on a wide variety of subjects — something for everyone. I’m still trying to decide on what classes I’m going to attend after looking through the 180-page syllabus!

Registrations are accepted at the door (Byrnes Performing Arts Center, 18821 Crown Ridge Blvd., Arlington). Arrive early and stay all day!