Meet the Board: Kathy Sizer

Do you know who’s running the show at the Washington State Genealogical Society? Who are these people? In the coming months, we’ll introduce them to you, so you can say “hi” the next time you see them. (Note: a variation of Kathy’s story was published in October 2017.)

Kathy and her 2nd cousins, once removed in England.

In today’s “Meet the Board” series, we’re introducing you to Kathy Sizer. Kathy lives in Granger (Yakima County) and is WSGS’s President. She has been a member of the WSGS since 2011. She is also a member of the Yakima Valley Genealogical Society where she has been president, vice president, recording secretary, hospitality chair and current treasurer.

Kathleen Louise was born in Oakland, California in 1951 to August Edward and Vivian Jane (Washburn) Weddle. Her mother liked the name Kathleen (as did approximately one million other mothers at the time), but when she told her husband, he said he did too as his former fiance’s name was Kathleen. Horrified, Kathy’s mother said they needed to pick another name, to which her husband replied, “I didn’t marry her. I married YOU, didn’t I?” 

Kathy’s interest in genealogy began when her grandmother Edith Clarke Washburn and her sister Avice Ramos Clarke were discussing family history when Kathy was in the 4th grade. That discussion sparked Kathy’s interest. Later, after college, Kathy found a handwritten family history her grandmother had done and that really secured her lifelong passion.

Kathy with her cousin Diana Walcom at their great grandfather John Clarkes’ home in Gargrave England.
Kathy and cousin Diana Walcom in England during Diana’s first trip to see the family home.

Even though her DNA ancestry says she’s only 36 percent English, Kathy’s ancestors come from England, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Scotland, Arabic and Ireland. She has been lucky enough to travel to England and Scotland to see where her grandmother’s family was from.  A genealogist’s work is never done!

Kathy has quite a few interesting characters in her ancestry. Her distant grandmother, Sarah Lord Wilson of Andover, Massachusetts, and daughter Sarah Wilson Preston (also Kathy’s grandmother) were imprisoned for witchcraft, but released when the community began to realize the awful practice of imprisoning (or worse) was wrong. Kathy also has a great grandmother, Marie R. Cornioley, who was governess to Louis Comfort Tiffany, the famous glass maker. And what about John Billington, her distant grandfather, who came over on the Mayflower and was the first man in the Plymouth Colony to hang for killing a man? True story.

When not searching for her ancestors, Kathy enjoys gardening, travel and reading. She  has four grown children and seven grandchildren. “Her two sons are adopted from India and have done their DNA and have English and Irish blood (Queen Victoria and her British Empire most likely came into play).”

A few more interesting tidbits about Kathy:

  • Favorite genealogy websites: Ancestry, Family Search, Nantucket Historical Association and
  • Favorite color: Green, of course, as Kathy’s ancestry takes her to England and her DNA shows she’s 17 percent Irish
  • Favorite dessert: Eclairs, pumpkin pie and homemade oatmeal raisin cookies
  • When asked for one word that described her, she replied, “bookish.”

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