Meet the Board: Valorie Cowan Zimmerman

Do you know who’s running the show at the Washington State Genealogical Society? Did you know we have an Executive Committee and four standing committee chairs? Who are these people? In the coming months, we’ll introduce them to you.

In today’s “Meet the Board” series, we’re introducing you to Valorie Cowan Zimmerman, WSGS’s Vice President. Valorie lives in Kent with her husband Bob. Her family calls her Val, but as an adult, she uses Valorie. She is very active in the South King County Genealogical Society, serving as President.

Valorie was born in 1953 in the Renton Hospital, which is now McLendon’s Hardware, the daughter of Ted and Lola (McBee) Cowan. Valorie’s father was born and raised in Seattle, while Mom was born at home in Indianola, Iowa, but grew up in Alberta Canada until age 15. She then moved to Seattle to attend high school and work.

Valorie’s professional career was varied: house cleaner, mother and in the securities and insurance business. She is proud to be a lifelong learner and now is a full-time volunteer for her genealogical societies.

Valorie’s maternal grandparents Harvey McBee and Anna Baysinger on their wedding day in 1914.

Valorie’s interest in genealogy was sparked in her teen years by her curiosity about her grandparents’ lives. The world they were born into was so different than anything Valorie had experienced. She is particularly interested in her grandmother’s Swedish ancestry. While she hasn’t been to Sweden (yet!), she connected with Swedish researcher/cousins who have helped her get back to the 1600s on some of her ancestral lines. Valorie says “Finding living cousins is the best!” Lucky her!

On Valorie’s stateside bucket list to visit is a trip to Warren County, Iowa where her mother was born and generations of Baysingers and Disneys lived. She’d also like to visit Grainger County, Tennessee where her McBee’s lived before moving on to Illinois, Iowa and Missouri.

Valorie and Bob, 1972

Valorie and her husband Bob, a retired Boeing production engineer, have three children and a bonus: Thomas who now lives in Denver, Colorado at a computer company; Paul who lives in Seattle with his wife Tara and son Oscar; and Anne who also lives in Seattle with her husband Jason and their kitties. Valorie and Bob’s bonus child has been raised by them since their mother Carol, Valorie’s first cousin, died. They and husband Rory live for the time being in Seattle. 

A few more interesting tidbits about Valorie:
• Favorite genealogy websites: FamilySearchAncestry and WikiTree
• Favorite color: Flower colors
• Favorite dessert: Dark chocolate
• When she’s not doing genealogy, Valorie likes to enjoy art, read novels and history books and chat with people
• When asked to describe herself in one word, Valorie replied, “curious.” (Her husband, however, might say “stubborn”!) Aren’t both of those words perfect to describe a genealogist?

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

One comment on “Meet the Board: Valorie Cowan Zimmerman

  1. Cynthia L. Fuerst says:


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