You’re Invited to WSGS’s Annual Meeting

You’re invited to the WSGS’s annual meeting! Thursday, August 31, 2023, 6:30 p.m. via Zoom.

In compliance with Washington’s Nonprofit Corporation Act (24.03A), we’re holding our annual meeting. Here’s the Zoom link:

Meeting ID: 851 6404 0192
Passcode: 816294

Via phone: (253)205-0468,,85164040192#,,,,*816294# US

One of our most exciting agenda items will be the announcement of the 2023 Outstanding Volunteer and Team recipients! We’ll also talk a little about the WSGS, our programs and services and how to get involved.

We hope you join us! If you want more information, email

Sustaining Societies

Sustaining Societies

For years there has been periodic emphasis on “growth of our genealogical societies.” While we always welcome new members, we must not overlook another important task–sustaining the function of our existing societies.

Successful societies have established a mission such as that of SKCGS:

  • Stimulate interest in genealogy and aid individual members in compiling their family records
  • Seek genealogical and historical knowledge
  • Preserve and perpetuate the records of our ancestors
  • Promote the preservation of public and private genealogical materials

While the mission may be tailored to fit the needs of its members by time and location, one thing remains constant–who is sustaining the operation of the society?  Does the society meet the needs of its members?  Who is working behind the scenes to to accomplish that goal?  How do leaders, members and newcomers contribute?

SKCGS works toward our purpose through monthly meetings featuring knowledgeable speakers on a range of topics in the field of family history and genealogical research.  We have an Education Committee who plan an annual program, seek speakers and negotiate contractual details.

Who is on the Education Committee?

We have user groups and special interest groups for assistance with genealogical software, technology and DNA/genetic genealogy. We have this weekly blog with timely articles of interest.

Who is responsible for producing these outlets of information?

 During the Covid pandemic we developed a very successful virtual program and have gained wonderful friends and members throughout the world. The Membership Committee maintains the current database, welcoming new members and sending gentle reminders for renewals.

Who is serving on the Membership Committee?

I can go on by listing the other committees and individuals who operate SKCGS–Publicity, Outreach, Resources, Librarian, Webmaster, etc.  The point is, it takes many individuals to bring you a sustaining and healthy society.

And that is a crucial point, that the society must be able to sustain itself. It is a fact that our membership are an aging population. While our interests may not wane, our physical abilities do become diminished.  We need capable helpers to start filling in.

It is the responsibility of a leader to recruit and train their replacement.  But, in a virtual world such as we have now, how do we find willing volunteers?  How do we get to know people? We still have telephone service. Leaders–look at the membership database and call people. Find someone you haven’t “seen” recently and renew an acquaintance. Or contact a new person to find out if they have a special need–or a special skill.

Your new contact may not be ready to take on a major volunteer role but perhaps would be willing to do a one time job or a small recurring job. Many people are just waiting to be asked to help. They may already be thinking about some way to help the society; they just need a suggestion.

And, new person, please don’t be shy.  If you see a way to help the society please speak up to any of the group leaders with a question or suggestion.  You will not be stepping on any toes by offering to help.

* images courtesy of Pixabay

MaryLynn Strickland

Published with permission from South King County Genealogical Society

How to Post Your Meetings & Events on the WSGS Blog & Website

Do you want to broadcast information about your local society, workshop, genealogical tip, or a research query? Just send it to the WSGS Blog and WSGS Meetings and Events! You can reach hundreds of genealogists from around the state. Just email a Word document, text file, PDF or graphic to and and we’ll do the rest!

We’re always looking to publicize local events and workshops, feature stories, updates from your society, and other genealogical information that might be of interest to our many subscribers and viewers.

We hope to hear from you soon! And don’t forget to encourage your Society members to subscribe to the Blog for the most up-to-date information from around the state.

You may manage your subscription options from your profile.

Non Profit Annual Report is Back Online

Jan. 10, 2023: All Nonprofit Annual Report, Formation and Reinstatement filings are back online. We are continuing to process documents in the order they were received, and there will be delays. If your documents were recently submitted, please disregard any automated late notices while we update all records on the website. Please do not resubmit. On Dec. 19, 2022, all Annual Report forms were replaced with instruction sheets, and Annual Reports should be filed online via the Corporations and Charities Filings System. If you have any questions concerning this matter or need to request a form, please let us know by using one of the methods available on the Contact Us pageTo log into CCFS, please be sure to refresh and/or remove browser cache before you log in. System requires you to reset your password every 120 days, please follow the prompted steps to reset your password.  

Top 25 WSGS Blog Posts for 2022

1. /blog/
2. /blog/2022/07/19/washington-state-non-profit-handbook/
Glad to see this is one of the top posts of 2022, so every non profit can have their own handbook.
3. /blog/2022/10/31/wsgs-announces-pioneer-pursuit-contest/
Lets hope this generates a huge database that can help future genealogists.
4. /blog/2021/11/24/2022-clallam-county-genealogical-society-events/
5. /blog/2015/06/04/university-of-washington-genealogy-class/
This post from 2015 is always near the top even though it was posted 7 years ago.
6. /blog/2022/07/26/lets-talk-about-words/
7. /blog/2022/06/22/heritage-quest-research-library-getting-started/
Guess there are a lot of beginners out there yet.
8. /blog/2022/11/01/gift-idea-washington-pioneer-certificate-3/
Great birthday gift.
9. /blog/2022/08/03/seattle-genealogical-society-tip-of-the-week-finding-your-family-in-newspapers/
Tips of the Week are always popular.
10. /blog/2022/06/29/myheritage-theory-of-family-relativity-2/
11. /blog/2022/06/28/lets-talk-about-railroads-part-1/
12. /blog/2022/08/09/lets-talk-about-websites-for-social-history/
I guess people like to socialize as well as research
13. /blog/2022/06/01/2022-outstanding-volunteers-and-team-announced/
Wonderful group of volunteers announced
14. /blog/category/2022-seminars-conferences/
Not really a blog post , but the category of 2022 Seminars & Conferences
15. /blog/subscription-form-2/
16. /blog/2022/09/20/lets-talk-about-funnies/
17. /blog/2022/10/26/somethings-coming/
See #3 above
18. /blog/2022/10/21/clallam-county-genealogical-society-finding-descendants-in-your-family-tree/
19. /blog/2022/08/20/lets-talk-about-heritage-from-the-heartland/
This is a blog post talking about a series of short seminars on research in the Mid West for EWGS
20. /blog/2022/07/25/heritage-quest-research-library-autumn-quest-9/
21. /blog/2022/09/24/heritage-quest-research-library-open-house-party/
22. /blog/2022/10/21/lets-talk-about-ancestor-arrivals-in-the-colonies/
This was actually on New England Colonies
23. /blog/2022/11/08/ngs-2023-conference-richmond-virginia/
NGS 2023 Conference
24. /blog/2022/09/19/seattle-genealogy-society-tip-of-the-week-resources-for-help/
Tips of the Week are always popular.
Nice background on Ancestry

Zimmerman and McLean Re-elected

Frank McLean
Valorie Cowan Zimmerman

Congratulations are extended to Valorie Cowan Zimmerman and Frank McLean who were re-elected to WSGS Vice President and Treasurer, respectively. Their terms run through Dec. 31, 2024.

Valorie and Frank, and the rest of the WSGS Board, are anticipating a year filled with growth and service to its members. They are particularly excited about the Pioneer Pursuit Contest which is running now through 31 Oct. 2023. For more about the Pioneer Pursuit Contest, click here.

Merry Christmas from WSGS

This penny postcard was from Allie Hansen (Alice Hansen, wife of Peter Hansen) to Anna Hansen, wife of Anton Hansen, brother of Peter Hansen. It was postmarked in 1918 and required a 2-cent stamp to help pay for WWI. I guess that is a gold poinsettia stuck on the back.

Merry Christmas from Kathy, Valorie, Roxanne, Frank, Charles, Virginia and Diane

WSGS Election Closes on Dec. 24, 2022

WSGS members received a link via email with their election ballot on Dec. 17. Your vote is important to us, so if you did not receive the link, please check your alternate email or Spam folder. If you still can’t find it, please email

Offices on the ballot include Vice President and Treasurer. Polls close at 11:59 p.m. 24 Dec 2022. Your vote shows support to WSGS. There is also an opportunity to share ideas or suggestions to improve our organization. We appreciate you taking the time to vote.

Happy Thanksgiving From WSGS Board

Valorie, Diane, Ginny, Kathy, Roxanne, Charles. Missing – Frank

We give thanks each and every day for our families, past and present. This is a special time to spend time with our families, whether in person or in our hearts, whether connected through DNA or friendship. As you’re gathered together during this holiday season, make time to take a few photos. Listen and share familial stories of days gone by. Preserve those photos and write down those stories. As genealogists, we know our ancestral searches are more than births, marriages and deaths. Preserve today’s memories for the future.

The WSGS Board wishes you a special Thanksgiving.

Kathy, Valorie, Roxanne, Frank, Ginny, Charles & Diane

Can your library become a Family Search Affiliate Library?

OK so what is a Family Search Affiliate library? Probably all of you have went to a Family Search Center and ordered microfilm to be sent to the Family Search Center, then went back a while later and view the microfilm. Today Family Search has digitized all that microfilm and stopped sending microfilm to the Family Search Centers. Some of those digitized microfilms are restricted to being viewed at only at Salt Lake City, A Family Search Center or an Affiliate Library. Spokane has four Family Search Centers close by, but staffed by volunteers and varying hours, so having the public library with regular hours is better.

In 2018 Spokane passed a bond issue to remodel several libraries and build three new branch libraries. The Special Collections (genealogy is one of them) were put into storage till the remodeling at the Downtown Branch was completed, estimated at 2 years. We closed out our meetings and cut down our collection to only have local reference materials go to storage, a few books went to other libraries, but the biggest amount went to Salt Lake City for digitization. We contacted the head of the Spokane Public Library Special Collections about becoming a Family Search Affiliate library while they were remodeling hoping to have it all in place when the library remodeling was finished (actually they are still working on some of the finishing touches). He was able to get permission from the library to become an Affiliate library, but he knows nothing about genealogy, so he kept wandering around Family Search looking for how to become an Affiliate Library. Central Library opened July 11th with a ribbon cutting, and still not an Affiliate Library. The new historian in the Inland Northwest Special Collections room was now tasked with contacting Salt Lake City to check out what was needed to become an Affiliate Library, she filled out the application waited a few days and was accepted. Next question? Only have the Central Library be an Affiliate Library, or should all the branches also be an Affiliate Library? The Genealogy collection along with a lot of other inland northwest books are at the Central Library, but we are meeting at the Shadle Branch Library for our monthly meetings and the free parking. So I said at least Central and Shadle. The IT department came back saying it was easier to include ALL the branches as Affiliates, so all the open branches now have Family Search, Two branches are still being remodeled and are expected to be done by the New Year. It took the IT department longer to do the connection to Family Search than to do the paperwork and get permission to be a Family Search Affiliate.

Click here to learn how to be a Family Search Affiliate Library.

Note after volunteering at the Downtown library for more than 25 years, I still have trouble calling it the Central Library, but the remodeling was amazing, and the Inland Northwest Special Collections room is wonderful.