Latest on Grays Harbor Research Library

Fire at Aberdeen Armory, home of the GHGS Research Library, 09 Jun 2018

The Grays Harbor Genealogical Society has had a few ups and downs recently as they begin to rebuild their research library. As you may remember, their library was destroyed by a three-alarm fire that destroyed the Aberdeen Armory on 09 Jun 2018. The fire also destroyed much of the Aberdeen Museum of History, Coastal Community Action Program and the Aberdeen Senior Center.

What GHGS lost

While it may take years to determine everything that was lost, the society is particularly saddened about the loss of:

  • More than 22,000 hard copy obituaries that were taped to index cards and stuffed tightly in metal file cabinets. Fortunately, a digital newspaper obit index was stored off-site. Efforts are being made to find area obituaries at other locations, such as local libraries.
  • Thousands of mortuary records from now closed Whiteside and Elerding Funeral Homes, for funerals from 1907 – 2015. The Washington State Library has graciously offered to scan their collection of over 200 four-inch binders.
  • Birth, marriage and death records from the 1970s to 1907.
  • Chehalis County Marriage Index from the 1850s to 1990s.
  • Unique compilations of cemetery inventories for outlying cemeteries.
  • Tables, chairs, pencils, pens, notepads, wastepaper baskets, bulletin boards, photographs, signage…you get the idea.

Current situation

The cause of the fire is still undetermined. In addition, we are still unable to get inside the building. At last report, the City of Aberdeen (owners of the building) need to hire a structural engineer to assess the building’s integrity. After that, a separate company will be hired to clean up the building, then a third company to carry out the recovery. The City has activated a Board of Museum and History to discuss the future of the Aberdeen Museum.

Thanks to the generous donations from fellow genealogical societies and individuals, we were able to purchase a photocopier and two computers. We were also able to find a temporary space, compliments of the Hoquiam Library. Due to a remodeling project at the library, however, we have had to move again — into members’ spare rooms and storage.

What we’re looking for

Donation from Clallam County Genealogical Society

We’ve been extraordinarily grateful to those local societies and individuals who have offered financial aid and resources. We have suspended our Go Fund Me page, but donations may still be made directly to GHGS, P.O. Box 916, Aberdeen, WA 98520.

We’re very much on the lookout for Grays Harbor-related materials like old city directories, telephone books, school yearbooks, family histories, obituaries, etc. No donation is too small. Many societies have scoured their holdings and sent us area-specific books. If you have materials related specifically to Grays Harbor or Chehalis Counties, we’d love to hear from you at

What’s next

We are sponsoring a workshop fundraiser on Saturday, October 13, from 1:00 – 3:15 at the American Legion Hall, 115 W. First Street, Aberdeen. Professional genealogist Pam Vestal from the Portland area has donated her time and talent for the two-session workshop fundraiser. The cost is $25 per person. Those that sign up early may attend a free class with Pam in the morning. For more information, contact

Final word

No update on our situation would be complete without thanking all those who have contacted us to express their sympathies and support. Every message, donation and kind word has been humbly appreciated.

Eastside Gen Soc Uses Innovative Grant for Workshop

Maureen Taylor (left) and Celia McNay, Eastside Genealogical Society President

The Eastside Genealogical Society threw itself a 40th birthday party on Saturday, 15 Sep 2018. The society has been celebrating every month this year in a small way, but really hit the big time hosting Maureen Taylor, the Photo Detective, in an all-day workshop in Bellevue. The workshop was free to EGS members as a thank you for 40 years of support, while others paid a small fee. Ms. Taylor presented Photo Detecting 101, Google Images and Beyond and Discovering Genealogical Clues in Photographs. Well done, value-added presentations all around.

EGS used its 2018 WSGS Innovative Grant to help fund the workshop — an excellent use of the grant. Besides the Eastside Genealogical Society, the four other successful 2018 grant winners were:

  • Lower Columbia Genealogical Society to purchase genealogical books to donate to the Longview Public Library for public use. Lower Columbia has generously donated books for a number of years, using money from membership dues and their coffee stops.
  • Okanogan Genealogical Society to help purchase supplies to repair and preserve books holding the “Tonasket Times” newspaper from 1913 – 1952.
  • Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society to help publish a book on “Early Stillaguamish Valley Schools” in the Arlington Area.
  • Wenatchee Area Genealogical Society for digital preservation of family records, library holdings and archival documents.

More information about the deadlines for the 2019 Innovative Grants will be publicized in the coming months.

Frenchtown Rendezvous

The upcoming Frenchtown Rendezvous, this October 6, 2018, in Walla Walla, WA. 
This is a great event for anyone who is interested in the history of Eastern Washington. Our program this year is of particular interest to archaeologists and geneaologists. It features a workshop on writing and publishing family history led by Christina Dubois, retired editor of Columbia Magazine of the Washington State Historical Society, and a presentation by historical archaeologist Maryanne Maddoux about the ongoing digitization of the Harriet D. Munnick Papers by the St. Paul Mission Historical Society, and her experiences as lab manager at the field school excavation of a French-Canadian homestead at Champoeg, OR. 
Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. We’d love to see you there!
Sarah Hurlburt
Secretary, Frenchtown Historical Foundation

Wednesday Nostalgia

Ever been to The Brick in Roslyn? I know the place from my favorite TV show, Northern Exposure. But The Brick has a cool history.

In 1889, John Buffo and Peter Giovanni opened a tavern in this location. The tavern was rebuilt in 1898 using 45,000 bricks and took the name “The Brick”.

Want to read more about this famous Washington saloon? Click to  Lots of good stuff there.

Today The Brick looks a bit sad and sorry………..  too bad.

Skagit Valley Genealogical Society Educational Program

I’d like to let you know about an upcoming educational program we are offering on October 13, 2018 from 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. in partnership with Skagit Valley Genealogical Society. The topic of the program is “Mapping Your Ancestors” and will be presented by Janet O’Connor – Camarata.


This event is free and open to the public. I’ve attached a flyer with more information. Please feel free to forward or post on any wall you wish! We appreciate your help in getting the word out, because we would like as many people as possible to benefit from our programs.

Please contact me with any questions or feedback. Thank you for helping us spread the word about these free and valuable community resources.
Hope to see you there!

SVGS 10.13.18 Meeting Flyer


Kathleen Headden, Reference Librarian

Burlington Public Library

820 E. Washington Ave.

Burlington, WA 98233

360-755-0760, ext. 7906


Whitman County Genealogical Society Mini Seminar

Whitman County Genealogical Society

is hosting a FREE Fall mini-seminar

Bishop Place Independent Living Social Room, 811 SE Klemgard, Pullman, WA

Saturday, October 13, 2018


All About Heraldry and Its Use in Genealogy

By Anthony (Tony) Durnford deGray Birch


“Digital Research – Tips, Tricks and Resources” By Lee Pierce

9:00 am: The doors open.

9:30 am-10:30 am: Anthony (Tony) Birch is a retired higher education administrator and long standing member of Eastern Washington Genealogical Society. He doesn’t claim to be a heraldry expert, but a family historian trying to make sense out of things he has inherited or found through research. His presentation will focus on heraldry, and how the genealogist/family historian can use heraldry to learn more about their ancestors. He will share examples of his ten-year search of his ancestors’ crests and coats of arms and what the many images, forms and colors mean.

10:30-10:45 Break and refreshments.

10:45 am-11:45 am: Lee Pierce is the archivist for the Eastern Region Branch of the Washington State Archives in Cheney, Washington. His mission is to collect, preserve and provide access to the records of local government agencies of the 11 furthest east counties of the state. He will be showing and telling about the digital archives and how best to use it, as well as other government resources that are available to researchers.

If you have any questions or need more information contact WCGS President, Sue Kreikemeier at: or 509-635-1303. Please RSVP to Sue or

by October 6 to accommodate handouts & refreshments.

While the seminar is free, donations are welcome at the door.

Directions: Turn off Bishop Boulevard onto Klemgard Ave., follow Klemgard Ave. up the hill and turn left at the top. Do not go into the front entrance, but turn right, continuing up the hill and turn left at the white car ports. Find an appropriate parking place, enter the building through the main doors and go straight ahead to the Social Room.


Anthony (Tony) Durnford deGray Birch’s biography includes the following:

  • BS and MS degrees from Oregon State University
  • MBA from University of Washington
  • 40 years working in higher education, including 16 years as administrative vice-president of Clark College in Vancouver, Washington
  • Selected by his community college peers as Outstanding Chief Business Officer for the four-state Northwest Region in 1996
  • Came with his wife, Janette, to the Inland Empire in 2006
  • Longtime member of Eastern Washington Genealogical Society where he and his wife are “greeters”
  • He and Janette were honored in 2015 as Washington State Outstanding Volunteers
  • He and Janette have done the following:

Compiled seven books about their ancestors

Volunteered with Find-A-Grave for many small cemeteries in the Palouse area

Enjoyed a number of weeklong trips to the Family History Center in Salt Lake City, Utah

Lee Pierce’s biography includes the following:


  • Been in the archival field broadly since 1997
  • BA in history from Eastern Washington University in 1998
  • MA in history from Eastern Washington University in 2000
  • Worked for the Arizona State Historical Society Museum’s archives at Papago Park in Tempe
  • Worked as a freelance researcher and a freelance processing archivist
  • Began working at Eastern Region Branch of the Washington State Archives in 2005
  • Currently the Archivist at Eastern Region Branch of the Washington State Archives
  • Enthusiastic historian of the American military experience, most especially the period of the American War of Independence and from WWII to present
  • Writes fiction in his “spare time”
  • Member of the City of Cheney’s Historic Preservation Commission

Preserve and Digitize Over-sized Items Workshop

Washington State  Archives

Preserve and Digitize Over-sized Items Workshop

October is Archives Month and that means we have something great in store for you! Preservation is our specialty and we want to show you how to do it at home with your over-sized items, such as posters, panoramic photos, maps, certificates, diplomas, and more. We’re going to get hands-on! This won’t just be Power Point slides. Digital Projects Archivists Mary Hammer and Maggie Cogswell will get out old, tightly rolled items, show you how to flatten and scan them, then store for archival preservation. Everything we are going to show you will be relevant and replicate at home.

Attendees will get a preservation starter kit! Bring your own over-sized item — there will be Q&A, and chances to share and show off.

Plus, we are going to have a guest speaker from the University of Washington Libraries Special Collections.

10:00 a.m. — 12:30 p.m.: Preserving and digitizing over-sized items with Digital Projects Archivists Mary Hammer and Maggie Cogswell. They are going to demonstrate how to preserve and digitize your private collections with the actual equipment we use.

12:30 — 1:00 p.m.: Lunch break (there are nearby eateries, or you may bring a lunch – we have a fridge)

1:00 — 2:00 p.m.: Guest speaker Conor Casey, the Labor Archivist from UW, will share about the collections at the university’s archives, and activism in Washington.

There will be light refreshments. Parking is free. An email with more info will be sent the day before the event. Please register each individual separately.
Date & Time Start:
10-06-2018 10:00 AM
Date & Time End:
10-06-2018 02:00 PM
1129 Washington St. SE
Olympia, WA 98501

Tuesday Trivia

When was the last time you munched an Aplet or Cotlet or any of the wonderful fruit-nutty products made only in Cashmere? I stopped there on my way across the state on Hwy 2 and took their free tour..what a treat! The company was founded by two brothers almost 100 years ago and is still family-owned and in the same town. This little facility turns out a million pounds of candy every year. That’s impressive.

The tour begins with seeing huge vats of boiling syrup:

The syrup is next poured onto cooling trays and becomes gummy-like:

Next its cut into squares and dusted with sugar:

Then workers sort and pack the yummy pieces into boxes:

After the tour, you can shop! And shop! And taste and shop!!