Spotlight on the Northeast Washington Gen Society

I had a delightful, catch-up lunch a few days ago with Karen Struve and Susan Dechant of the NeWGS. Karen is the current president and Susan is immediate past president. We talked about NeWGS, their plans, progress and problems. (Karen on left below.)

NeWGS was founded in 1981 with the goal of preserving the histories of Stevens, Ferry and Pend Oreille counties (the far northeast corner of Washington). Their membership averages about 60, with 25-30 coming to meetings, and their genealogical collection is housed in the Colville Public Library.

Their biggest problem is the same as so many societies face: lack of participation of members and a core group doing all the work. Susan and Karen have bounced the presidency back and forth several times. Their long-standing publication, Pioneer Branches, has been discontinued because nobody would step up to be editor/coordinator. Their day-of-meeting computer classes have also been cancelled, again due to lack of folks stepping up to help.

No bearers of gloom and doom, Karen and Susan were upbeat and enthusiastic. “We just got three new members!” Karen told me. Their biggest project is to maintain the Evergreen Cemetery (which they own). Member Lora Rose has crafted several tombstones for known burials that had no marker. Member Sue Richart regularly drives the 160 miles to Pullman to digitize papers from the WSU special collections that pertain to their area. And they will again this year have a promo booth at the Colville Fair in August.

They do work with the Stevens County Historical Society and will do research by mail. Check out their website,

I’m proud to do a spotlight on the Northeast Washington Genealogical Society today!