Meet the Board: Melonie Liening

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.

Melonie Liening

In today’s “Meet the Board” series, we’re introducing you to Melonie Liening from Tacoma. Melonie is the Regional Representative for Region 2 which includes King and Pierce Counties. She has been a member of WSGS since 2014.

Melonie Ann Sackman was born in Sedro Woolley, Washington to Leroy and Mollie Sackman. Her roots run deep in Skagit County as both of her parents were from Sedro Woolley, too.

Melonie and her husband Ralph celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary in June and have four grown children: three sons and a daughter. While they don’t have any grandchildren yet, they do have a “granddog” and “grandcat.”

Melonie’s grandparents Gottlieb Sackman and Katherine Kreis

Melonie has been doing genealogical research for 35 years, mostly Germans from Russia which includes her Dad‘s and husband’s sides of the family. She became interested in her German family around age 12 when her uncle gave her a very rough sketch of their Sackman family on a scrap of paper — just names, no places or dates, but mentioned the family was from Russia. Her love of genealogy began to grow in her 20’s as a night out for herself when her children were young.  She would go to the local Family History Center about once a week to do a bit of research after her husband got home from work.  Since those early years, her passion has evolved far more than she ever could have imagined with several filing cabinets, many books, etc. as well as trips to Europe to visit homeland villages, relatives she initially met via the mail or email and appreciation of the life and struggles of her ancestors as well as a greater understanding of history.  Melonie taught herself to read the German and Polish records — but draws the line at learning Russian!  Most recently, Melonie has been working with the American lines on her mother’s side which include seven patriot ancestors!

Melonie in her DAR dress

Melonie has traveled to Poland, Ukraine, Germany and New England in search of ancestral records. One of her most exciting finds was seeing an original 1726 tax book with her Georg Dammel ancestor listed and the amount of money paid. The tax book was in the private home of a woman living in the village of Grötzingen, Germany. The woman’s father was a former mayor of the village and had kept the tax books all these years in his home.

Besides being a proud member of WSGS, Melonie is a member of the Mary Ball Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) in Tacoma, Tacoma-Pierce County Genealogical Society, The Society of German Genealogy in Eastern Europe where she has been a board member for 2-1/2 years, currently serving as secretary as well as a member of the International German Genealogical Partnership, a new group that is planning an outstanding conference for all things German this summer in Minneapolis. (For more information on the International Germanic Genealogy Conference, click here.)

A few other interesting tidbits about Melonie:

  • Her favorite color is pink.
  • Her favorite dessert is Angel Food Cake.
  • Besides genealogy, her favorite hobbies are related to history and children.
  • She particularly recommends the Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe (SGGEE) website for those interested in genealogy of Germans from Russian Poland and Volhynia.

Now you know a little more about one of the WSGS Board members. The next time you see Melonie, say hello and thank her for her service to the WSGS.