Seattle Genealogical Society News


Each quarter, the Seattle Genealogical Society recognizes one member as our volunteer of the quarter. Our Volunteer for Summer 2020 Quarter is Herb McDaniel. 

Herb recently stepped down from co-chairing the DNA SIG. He is an alum of the University of Washington. As a space program systems engineering manager at Boeing, his career highlight was serving as the test conductor of the first Lunar Roving Vehicle, which went to the moon on Apollo 15. Prior to retirement in 1995, he became interested in genealogy and joined SGS.

Herb learned to do his genealogical research at the NARA Facilities on Sandpoint Way, searching through microfiche files of census data, and using the Soundex system to find similar sounding surnames. As more data was digitized, he bought a desktop application to build his family tree, and joined the SGS Computer SIG. Herb put together an extensive family tree for both his paternal, McDaniel, and maternal, Ryan, ancestral lines.

In 2005, DNA testing was beginning to be used to validate family lines. Herb and his wife, Darlene, tested with National Geographic, and later tested at Family Tree DNA, 23andMe, Ancestry DNA and My Heritage. By 2010, the SGS DNA SIG was forming so Herb joined it to learn more about using the various DNA tests. Following the untimely death of one of the DNA SIG founders, Herb volunteered to help Cary Bright as her co-chair.

For the past 9 years, Herb has been successful in using DNA testing to find biological parents of adoptees, as well as half siblings, and other relationships. He has been able to help both SGS members and DNA matches to himself and Darlene in their pursuits. But his biggest surprise was in 2017 as he assigned his DNA matches to his 4 grandparent lines. With over 50 close DNA matches at 3 companies, there were no matches in his maternal grandfather’s line. So he asked a known cousin in the line of his grandfather’s sister to test. The test showed that there were no shared DNA segments, indicating that Herb’s grandfather who raised him was not his biological grandfather. Herb contacted close DNA matches whom he had not been able to assign to one of his grandparents. One of these matches came from a family that had migrated to Saskatchewan to homestead at the same time his grandparents lived there. Canadian census data showed a member of this family lived in the same little town of about 100 people as his grandparents. Now armed with the name of a potential biological grandfather, Herb contacted 2 of the living sons. They agreed to test. The results showed that these 2 matches are younger half-brothers to Herb’s mother. Herb has subsequently been able to meet with his new half-uncles, and they have welcomed him into their family.

Thank you, Herb, for your years of service to the DNA SIG.   

The Seattle Genealogical Society is adhering to the Covid-19 safety precautions, so this Fall we will not be holding any in-person meetings at the SGS Library. Since last spring, we have been successful holding online events via Zoom and we will continue to offer you these quality programs – right in the comfort of your home.

We’ve been busy planning these upcoming educational events:

  • Second Saturday Presentations resume Sept 12
  • A Virtual Cemetery Tour in late Sept
  • Fall Seminar with Blaine Bettinger – Oct 17 (details being finalized)
  • Digging Deeper Workshop: “Finding Your Female Ancestors” on Nov 7
  • Special Interest Groups
  • Online classes
  • How to Use Zoom
  • And more!

To coordinate our upcoming Fall and Spring Seminars, we welcome Elizabeth Miller, our new Seminar Chair. Elizabeth has an extensive background in event planning and a lifelong passion for genealogy. While we say hello to Elizabeth, we say farewell for Lori Lee Sauber. Lori Lee did a stellar job as our Seminar Chair, including our last Spring Seminar with Dr. Fritz Juengling. Lori Lee is not entirely leaving us; she will be our Second Saturday presenter in October. 

SGS is not the only genealogical society going virtual. The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) 2020 Conference will be live, online on September 2nd. Speakers will include CeCe Moore, Thomas W. Jones, Ari Wilkins, Judy G. Russell, and Lisa Louise Cooke. All the details can be found here:

Check the SGS Calendar of Events on our website for details on all of our upcoming events. And stay connected on Facebook and by reading our eNews!

If you have a program you’d like SGS to offer, please contact Heidi Mair, Director of Education,      

  As part of our commemoration of Women’s Suffrage, we are sharing women’s stories of 100 and more years ago. You may read all of the women’s stories on the SGS website:

This month, Lori Lee Sauber shares the story of her search for her Mayflower ancestors, utilizing the SGS Library collections. Lori Lee will reveal more details at her Second Saturday presentation on October 10, 2020.

SGS CALENDAR OF EVENTS*** In consideration of COVID-19 social distancing recommendations, the SGS Library is closed until further notice and all SGS in-person events have been canceled, postponed, or replaced with an online event.

Saturday, August 1, 2020, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm,  

SGS Centennial Planning Meeting (Virtual), Join in – help us brainstorm ideas on how to commemorate our centennial. As always, you will find the Zoom meeting id link on the Calendar of Events section of the SGS Website. 

MyHeritage Knowledge Base

MyHeritage Education

This month I’m delighted to share some exciting new content we’ve added to the MyHeritage Knowledge Base. We understand that current times are challenging and are working hard to bring you posts, webinars, videos, and resources that can help you move forward in your research from home.Preserve your family history_no text no logo

Below are 3 pieces of content from among those we published this month that we think you’ll enjoy. Feel free to share it with your society and other people that may be interested in genealogy:

How to Take a Heritage Tour Without Leaving Your House: It’s true that there’s nothing like the experience of standing on the same ground where your ancestors once stood. But this article will show you how modern technology can still help you explore and learn a great deal about the places your ancestors once lived from the comfort of your home.

Using City Directories on MyHeritage: This Facebook Live session with Thomas MacEntee will guide you through the 545 million aggregated records consolidated from 1.3 billion records in the huge collection of historical U.S. city directories published between 1860 and 1960.

How to Add Photos and Media on MyHeritage Family Tree Builder: In this brief how-to video, you’ll learn how you can add photos, documents, and other media to your family tree using the free software MyHeritage offers you for Mac or Windows.

Do you have something to contribute? We’d love to host a guest post from you about your discoveries and success stories with MyHeritage. If you’d like to pitch a guest post, hit “reply” to this email and let us know what you have in mind. We look forward to collaborating with you!

Thanks and stay safe,

Daniel Horowitz
Genealogy Expert

FGS Member Society Offer

The FGS 2020 Family History Conference Blazing Trails in the Heart of America is quickly approaching! Yes, we are disappointed that we won’t be gathering together in Kansas City in a little over a month, but there’s always a silver lining where there’s disappointment. In this case, the exciting genealogy event we had planned can now come to you in your own home! Many more participants can join us virtually than could have made the trek to KC.

But the world has become a challenging place for us all. We have not been able to gather together in the spirit of genealogy and friendship to network and learn from each other. Seminars, workshops, and conferences have been cancelled or postponed. The lack of in person events also presents the challenge of how to create awareness and promote our 2020 Virtual Conference.

Please help us spread the word and use this links in communications with your membership. They provide additional information on our website that you may want to refer to:

Conference Registration

FGS Live! Program

Bonus Sponsored and Society Leadership Sessions

Conference Program

To further help, we have a special offer for our member societies and your members in return for your help in getting the word out about the conference. For each member that registers for the conference at the Regular or Supersized level, the member will receive a $2 discount and we will donate $10 back to your society. A minimum of 10 participating members is required to activate this benefit for your society. If you have 10 members that participate, your society will receive a $100 donation from FGS! All of your society members must register before the close of registration on August 27th.

If your society is interested in participating, please contact for a special coupon code.

Thank you for helping to get the word out!


THE GENEALOGICAL FORUM’s Thursday Evening E-News Edition July 30, 2020
Thank you to all who have renewed their membership, especially those who included a donation with your renewal.
We are so grateful for your loyalty and support.
Renew Now
Curious about the status of your GFO Membership? We’d love to have you as a GFO Member! | 503-963-1932 | Be sure to check the complete GFO CALENDAR.
Also, don’t miss the current issue of The Forum Insider Want to share an easy-to-read version of this E-News? Click here.

FGS Virtual Conference

There may be no such thing as a free lunch, but the 2020 FGS Virtual Conference offers exclusive FREE genealogy education!   FGS is offering three sizes of registration packages to meet your specific needs. BONUS content is included for FREE with all packages! For more information on registration packages, see

In addition to your on-demand sessions AND the FGS Live! event, registration gives you FREE access to: 30+ BONUS sessions from our conference sponsors including Ancestry, FamilySearch, American Ancestors, MyHeritage, Missouri State Archives, and many more 16 BONUS society leadership sessions designed to provide helpful tools and techniques to benefit genealogy societies Our Virtual Exhibit Hall FREE Digital syllabus containing material for ALL sessions For more information on all of the FREE bonus sessions, see

Hurry! Register Now! Early bird registration ends August 15. Register Now

A Summer of DNA Virtual Conference

2020 A Summer of DNA Virtual Conference on Saturday, August 15th

We wanted to let your group know about the 3nd annual A Summer of DNA virtual conference coming up on Saturday, 15 August 2020. The past Summer and Winter virtual conferences were very successful and had great attendance. 
Speakers will be talking about the following:

Kevin Borland – Mathematically Reconstruct DNA kits for Your Ancestors
Debra Renard – DNA Methodology for Unknown Parentage Research
Andrew Lee – An Introduction to GEDmatch Tier 1 Tools

Evert-Jan Blom – Clustering your DNA matches using Genetic Affair

The online sessions will begin at 9am Central Time on Saturday, 15 August 2020. Some answers to common questions that people have asked us:

1. Yes, the sessions are live. These are not pre-recorded, so if you have questions, then please ask them in the chat during any of the sessions and we’ll get them answered.

2. Yes there are door prizes. We have DNA kits donated from several companies as well as other prizes.  

3. No, you don’t have to be watching the live presentations to win (although we hope you do), everyone who is registered will be eligible to win the DNA kits.

4. Yes, recordings of the sessions will be available for 30 days after the eConference so even if you can’t make the live session, register so that you can watch the recordings.

5. Yes we use our webcams. You don’t have to watch slides all the time. You also get to see people. 

6. Yes, this event is open to anyone who wants to register.  No need to travel or even change out of your pajamas if you don’t want to.

As with past events there will be a 5th hour panel discussion where you can ask questions about any of the topics or even anything else related to DNA and genetic genealogy. Early bird registration is only $19.99 until August 4th. The regular registration price is $24.99. Learn more at the website ( and register today.
Feel free to post this information on your website or Facebook page and let your members know. If you would like graphics to post, let us know and we can send them to you.
Thanks,Andrew & Devon Noel Lee
Family History Fanatics

Humble, TX |


YouTube: Family History Fanatics   | Twitter: @FHFanatics 

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FGS Live

A More Exciting 8 Hours of Genealogy Learning
Can’t Be Found!
The 2020 FGS Virtual Family History Conference will kick off on September 2, 2020, at 11:00 a.m. EDT, with an exciting line-up of leading genealogy speakers. This is eight hours of genealogy learning you will not want to miss. Join us to see: David E. Rencher, “FGS: Celebrating the Past and Future” Judy G. Russell, “Quarantined! Genealogy, the Law and Public Health” Ari Wilkins, “Scaling the 1870 Brick Wall in African American Research” Thomas W. Jones, “Building a Respectable Genealogy, One Documented Biography at a Time” CeCe Moore, “Strategies of The Genetic Detective” Lisa Louise Cooke, “The 2020 Genealogist’s Google Search Methodology” For more information on this and other conference registration details, see FGS 2020 Conference.
  Register Today
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