Meet the Board: Mikal McKinnon

Do you know who’s running the show at the Washington State Genealogical Society? Did you know we have an Executive Committee, six standing committee chairs and three appointed non-elected officers? Who are all these people? In the coming months, we’ll introduce them to you, so you can say “hi” the next time you see them.

In the first of our new “Meet the Board” series, we’re fittingly introducing you to President Mikal A. McKinnon from Richland, Washington. Mike, as we all know him, has been the WSGS President since 01 Jan 2013. His second term ends 31 Dec 2016.

Mikal, age 3 in 1944


WSGS President Mikal McKinnon

Mike and his wife Janet (who you’ll meet later in the Meet the Board series) are the parents of five children: four sons and a daughter. They’re also the loving grandparents of 13. Mike and Janet met at Utah State University and have been married more than 50 years.

Mikal was born in Salt Lake City to Archivald Graham McKinnon and wife Julia Wahlstrom, both natives of the Beehive State. Mikal was named after his mother’s supervisor in nurses training Mrs. Mikals.

Mikal’s interest in genealogy began as a teenager when his father had him type family stories while learning to touch type on a typewriter. Today, Mikal has searched family lines from Pennsylvania and New Jersey to across the pond in Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales and Sweden. Most often using, Mikal once found land records containing a reference to a will that pushed the end of one family line back three generations — an exciting find!


December 1964

December 1964

1986G 5 4 Janet scouts Mike 4 boysPrior to becoming WSGS President, Mikal served as the Region 5 Representative for two terms. He has been the Tri- City Genealogical Society‘s president, as well as the Richland Family History Center‘s Assistant Director and librarian. Mikal has served in many Latter Day Saints (LDS) Church leadership positions over the years, in addition to 50+ years in Boy Scouting. Currently he and Janet are serving in a volunteer position with Family Search supporting LDS Church leaders in western Washington State.

What does Mikal do when he’s not doing genealogy? He’s interested in lapidary, cutting and polishing rocks to make decorative items.

More trivia about Mikal:

  • His favorite color is blue.
  • His favorite dessert is apple pie.
  • He said the single word that describes best is “quiet.”

Now you know a little more about one of the WSGS Board members. The next time you see Mikal, say hello and thank him for his service to the WSGS.

Meet Your Blog Team

Have you ever wondered who’s behind the scenes of the WSGS Blog? The terrific trio of Charles Hansen, Roxanne Lowe and Donna Potter Phillips work together to bring you interesting articles, news and tidbits about genealogy and family history in Washington State and the Pacific Northwest. All three of them are at the WSGS Conference in Tacoma tomorrow (18 Jun 2016), so look for news and photos about what’s happening there.

Roxanne Lowe, Charles Hansen & Donna Potter Phillips

WSGS Blog Team: Roxanne Lowe, Charles Hansen & Donna Potter Phillips

In the coming months, you’ll learn more about Charles, Roxanne and Donna, as well as the rest of the WSGS Board in a bi-weekly feature called “Meet the Board.”

In the meantime, if you’re looking to publicize your local event or workshop, have a feature story or update about your society, or other genealogical information that might be of interest to our many subscribers, just email a Word document, text file, PDF or graphic to and Charles, Roxanne and/or Donna will do the rest. The blog is a great way to reach hundreds of genealogists from around the state and beyond.

WSGS President (& First Lady) Mikal & Janet McKinnon







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When we meet together for WSGS functions, we see one side of our president, Mikal McKinnon.

I recently was in Richland and made a surprise visit to a site of his more natural habitat, the Family History Center, where he is assistant director.  And of course he could not do it without the help of his Janet!

Thought you all would enjoy seeing a different aspect of their life.