Seattle Genealogical Society News


  While the SGS Library may be closed for the month of April, the dedicated volunteers at Seattle Genealogical Society have put together an array of online programs to help keep you engaged. Why not join Heidi Mair, Jill Morelli, and Lisa Oberg for their online presentations – each presentation will be followed by a discussion period.  And don’t forget the online Coffee Klatch and SGS Membership Meeting on April 11, 2020. Hope to “see” you all there. Just Zoom in. Here are the details for each of April’s online events. 

Discovering Amelia: 
The Story of a Pennsylvania Dutch Woman, 1854-1931  
(Online Class and Discussion)
Thursday, April 2, 2020 
6:00 pm to 7:30 pm

Follow this link to join:

Join Heidi Mair for an online presentation summarizing the search for her maternal great-grandmother. 

Topics include:
Major events and changes during Amelia’s lifetime  included the Civil War, technological advances from the telephone to the sewing machine, World War I, labor unions, prohibition and more. How did these changes affect life in small town America?

Who are the Pennsylvania Dutch and what are some of the challenges researching their records?
Genealogical research spanning more than 30 years – what worked and what didn’t? 
Read the story of Heidi’s search in  Discovering Amelia.

This 50-minute presentation will be followed with a discussion period. 

Coffee Klatch and Membership Meeting  
(Online Special Event)
Saturday, April 11, 2020
12:30 pm to 1:30 pm

Follow this link to join:
  This is an informal and “virtual” meet up. We will review the past year as well as look at upcoming events. The conversation starter is “What online resource have you found particularly helpful?” It does not have to be about genealogy, but you get a gold star if it is!  

Using the Parish and Census Records of Scandinavia  
(Online Class and Discussion)
Tuesday, April 14, 2020 
7:00 pm PDT
  SGS is helping the Tacoma-Pierce County Genealogical Society put on their first Zoom,  webinar style online event in April and to reciprocate TPCGS is inviting SGS members and friends to attend. While the event is free, registration is required. If you plan to attend, please register by sending an email to Let them know you are an SGS member. A link will be sent to those who register.  

Jill Morelli, SGS president and CG, will speak on Scandinavian records. Don’t know the language? No problem! She will review the parish records and census records for the three Scandinavian countries and explain how they work together to give you an amazing amount of information.  

Dancing with the Spanish Lady: 
The Influenza Pandemic of 1918  
(Online Class and Discussion)
Thursday, April 23
6:00 pm to 7:30 pm

Follow this link to join:

Here’s a timely topic to be presented by Lisa Oberg. 

Schools canceled, closed theaters and churches, social distancing… all of these public health measures in effect today were used to help combat the influenza pandemic of 1918. Lisa will share how influenza affected Seattle and the country in 1918. Just as today’s pandemic is impacting all of our lives, 1918’s influenza affected the lives of our ancestors. After the presentation, we will share stories of the impact of the flu on our ancestors and how we’re getting along, too!

I, for one,  know my own 29 year old, great grandfather was among the more than 200,000 US citizens that died from this influenza in October of 1918.  
Read Mary Watkinson McRae’s diary of her week-long journey aboard the newly constructed Northern Railroad from Portland, Oregon to Ontario in 1884. Mary’s mother Jane had traveled with her family to Oregon from Missouri along the Oregon Trail in 1852. That trip took most families four to six months to complete. In just 30 years the continental train system transformed not only travel, but the lives or our ancestors. Thanks to this month’s contributor, Mary Ellen McRae for sharing her grandmother’s diary with us.     


Jeanie Fisher, reference archivist at Seattle Municipal Archives, would like everyone to know about their online crowdsourcing project to transcribe early handwritten City of Seattle Records.

Anyone who can read handwriting is welcome to join in! The project encourages participants to discover and index names and other information in the documents, making them more easily accessible to everyone. Early petitions, letters, claims, and reports – these documents contain nuggets of gold for genealogists researching Seattle-area ancestors. 

If you have some free time and are interested in helping out, the project is available here:

Create a free account, pick a document, start reading, and transcribe what you see. It’s that simple.       SGS NEW ACQUISITIONS for MARCH 2020
Nebraska:  Illustrated History of Nebraska: A History of Nebraska from the Earliest Explorations of the Trans-Mississippi Region with Steel Engravings, Photogravures, Copper Plates, Maps and Tables. Volume 1 and Volume 2  (in the Rare Books Section)

Family Collection:  Morris Collection — William A Morris and Andrew J Morris  

West Seattle High School:  West Seattle Chinook Newspaper Volume XXIX Number 27 –  May 3, 1945   


Spring 2020 SGS Seminar
with Fritz Juengling,
Fairview Christian School,
844 NE 78th St,
Seattle, WA

Saturday, May 16, 2020 *** Canceled ***   Mr Juengling is the German, Dutch and Scandinavian Research Specialist at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.    SGS CALENDAR OF EVENTS   Unless otherwise indicated all programs will be at the SGS Library, 6200 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle. Check the SGS Web Site for additions, changes,  and corrections. Programs may be canceled or postponed because of inclement weather.  APRIL
*** In consideration of COVID-19 social distancing recommendations, the SGS Library is closed for the month of April and all SGS in-person events for April have been canceled or postponed. Stay tuned or check the SGS Website for library status updates. 
Stay home – stay healthy – but stay engaged by attending the online events highlighted in this issue of the eNews!