Let’s Talk About: Little, Local Societies

I think most every county in Washington has a genealogical society; some have more than one. Each one of these groups was established for two reasons: to help members with finding their family history, and to keep a library or collection of local resources with which to offer that help.  Do not overlook what can be found locally in a smaller, local society. 

Burlington, in Skagit County, Washington, began as a logging camp in 1882 and was officially incorporated in 1902. That’s a long-time history! The city sits near the Skagit River, which has a history of flooding, but the city bounced back after a terrible flood in 1909 and is a sweet little place to visit today. When I visited with this group, several members told me the stories of how their recent ancestors had moved there from the midwest, lured by lumbering jobs. 

The Skagit Valley Genealogical Society was established in 1987 “to promote and preserve family history,” especially in their area. SVGS maintains an extensive collection of genealogy reference books in the Burlington Public Library. Are you needing research help in Skagit County? Do contact the Skagit Valley Genealogical Society. As a bonus, Burlington is just a tad north of the Skagit Valley tulip explosion; time your trip to enjoy the blooms and visit Burlington and other nearby places in Skagit County. 

After my time with the SVGS group, I took the ferry to Port Angeles to visit family. Thinking of small places as I drove west,  I saw two place-name signs I’d never seen before. One directed folks to turn left for the town of Big….. could find nothing for that town but Big Lake is a designated place in Skagit County. Big, Washington; interesting designation.

Beaver is an unincorporated community in Clallam County on the Olympic Peninsula, settled in the early 1900s. Wikipedia designated it as “one of the wettest places in the contiguous U.S. with an annual rainfall of 121 inches.” Yikes.  Anybody’s ancestor from Beaver, Washington?? I wonder why they left? (smile)
I’ve been to Joyce, in Clallam County. This townlet was founded in 1913 by Joseph Joyce and is 16 miles west of Port Angeles. The historic general store there opened n 1911 and is still offering refreshments to travelers today. Interesting trivia: as there is only one road into town, residents are very aware of  the possibility of a catastrophic earthquake happening (the town sits on the Cascadia subducton zone) and have extensive emergency and survival planning in place. Good for them!