Spotlight on Okanogan Genealogy Society

I met with the dedicated and eager bunch of the Okanogan Genealogy Society members in early September. President Noma Wyllson arranged a lasagna dinner for the board (and me) at her home.

The youngsters at either end, Camden and Shaelyn Irwin, are grandchildren of a missing Board member, Peggy Oliver.  Others are, L to R: Peggy Murray, Maggie Mitschelen, Phil Brown, Karyl Hubbard, and president Noma, seated. (Two young people! How lucky that society is!)

The ginormous project the group has embarked upon is to created an online database of all the Okanogan County cemeteries (and Okanogan County is the biggest county in Washington), with the names and GPS locations of the burials. They are gleaning this information from a dozen sources. Ultimately, they would like to include a complete biography on each person and an interactive map on their website where you can click on an arrow for that cemetery. Talk about ambition!

As we chatted (and as a representative of the Washington State Genealogical Society), I also asked about the problems the society was having. Noma quickly quipped: “We were adrift and going nowhere and so I became president and took charge!” We agreed that a big project, like their cemetery project, would do wonders for the morale and growth of the society. Other “problems” were the usual ones: what’s the best day/time for the meetings and how to attract and keep members.

Sharon Liebert, of Wenatchee, is the WSGS Rep for Region 8, which includes this society and will be working to help them in any way she can.