Richard Adams Named One of 2022 Outstanding Volunteers

Since 2003, the Washington State Genealogical Society has recognized over 600 outstanding volunteers and teams, nominated by their local society or genealogical organization for their service and dedication. These volunteers are the backbone of their local society, giving their time and expertise, to the organization and the field of genealogy. In the coming weeks, you will be introduced to each of the 2022 award recipients and learn why they received the 2022 WSGS Outstanding Volunteer and Team Award.

Today we’re introducing Richard Adams of Yakima, Washington, who was nominated by the Yakima Valley Genealogical Society (YVGS).

Richard joined YVGS in 1985. He is an invaluable member wearing many hats. He worked as part of the team serving coffee to travelers at Indian John Hill rest area on I-90 many years and for ten years he has set up and staffed the raffle table at YVGS’s general meetings and sets up their coffee bar. He helps with the transportation of goods from two local churches back to YVGS’s lot in preparation for two yard sales held each year, selling items and with cleanup after each sale. Richard researched and obtained quotes on prices and had a new sound system installed in the YVGS library. Since 2003, Richard has cleaned YVGS’s restrooms every week with his wife Carla. When the maintenance committee needs extra help, Richard is right there.

Richard is a highly valued member of YVGS, and richly deserves this recognition.

2022 Outstanding Volunteers and Team Announced

Congratulations to all the amazing individuals and team who contributed mightily to their local societies! After a three-year hiatus to WSGS’s Outstanding Volunteer Recognition Program and a global pandemic, it’s time to honor those who kept our local societies together and moving forward.

Bainbridge Island Genealogical Society

  • Andrea Hoskins
  • Larry Noedel

Clallam County Genealogical Society

  • Genealogy Center Art Committee (Carol Foss, Roberta Griset, Linda Hindes, Consuelo White)

Eastern Washington Genealogical Society

  • Audio/Visual Team (Julie Rosenoff, David Luders, Harold Young, John Wilson, Duane Beck)
  • EWGS Zoom Meetings Team (John Wilson, Carol Anderson)
  • Jennilyn Weight

Eastside Genealogical Society

  • Celia McNay
  • Dorothy Pretare
  • Janet Stroebel

Grays Harbor Genealogical Society

  • Lee Thomasson

Genealogical Society of South Whidbey Island

  • Stephanie Rodden

Jefferson County Genealogical Society

  • Ann McCreery

Lower Columbia Genealogical Society

  • Teresa “Terry” Mattison

Mason County Genealogical Society

  • Cemetery and Obituary Project (Susie Graham, Elizebeth Lawson, Albert Conklin, Roger Newman, Barbara Moore, Stan Graham, Sue Sheldon)
  • Carolyn Gibbons
  • Pat Tostevin (postumous)

Northeast Washington Genealogical Society

  • Evergreen Cemetery Team (Jayne Evans, Lora Rose, Jim Witham)
  • Barbara McGill
  • Jim Witham

Olympia Genealogical Society

  • Eileen Dodge
  • Norman Dodge
  • Kathy Erlandson

Puget Sound Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists

  • Bylaws Revision Committee (Nancy Neville Cordell, Karin Coppernoll)

Seattle Genealogical Society

  • Cary Lynn Bright
  • Library Relocation and Refocus (Kathi McGinnes, Rob Sexton)
  • Christine Schomaker

Skagit Valley Genealogical Society

  • Karen Strelow

South King County Genealogical Society

  • Going Virtual Team (MaryLynn Strickland, Valorie Zimmerman)
  • Tina Lawson

Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society

  • Ruth Caesar
  • Elizabeth Dalton
  • Historic Newspapers Digitization Team (Sue Walde, Michele Heiderer, Suzanne Brown, Karen Looney, Sue McNeill, Ruth Caesar)
  • Lynn Clarke Kennedy
  • LeeRoy Kind
  • SVGS Zoom Team (Karen Looney, Susanne Brown, Dana Carney, Flynn Kennedy, Pam Shoberg)

Wenatchee Area Genealogical Society

  • Diane Gundersen
  • Hank LuBean

Yakima Valley Genealogical Society

  • Richard Adams
  • Cynthia “Cindy” L. Fuerst
  • Florance Irene McDonald Nelson
  • YVGS Team Website (Judy Jones Schuster, Richard Kyle)

Congratulations to all!!

Imminent Deadlines for Special Recognition Awards

Just a little reminder to local societies: your nominations are almost due for the Outstanding Volunteer, Outstanding Team and President’s Award for Outstanding Achievement awards. The deadline to send your nominations to is Sunday, May 1, 2022. The forms are available here.

For more information about these awards, check out the Recognition page of the website or the Blog posts on March 29, 2022 (Outstanding Volunteer and Outstanding Team) and March 30, 2022 (President’s Award for Outstanding Achievement).

For more information, email

Outstanding Volunteer Nominations Due May 1, 2022

Do you have a few questions about the Outstanding Volunteer/Team Awards? We’ve put together a list of FAQs to help you.

  1. Who can nominate an Outstanding Volunteer or Team? Any local genealogical society or organization in Washington State can participate in the Outstanding Volunteer or Team program.
  2. Does my society have to be a member of WSGS to nominate someone? Actually, all local genealogical societies are complimentary members of WSGS. If, however, you’d like to become a paid member (only $12/year!), we’d love it. To become a paid organization, click here.
  3. Does our nominee have to be a member of WSGS? No, your nominee does not have to be a member of WSGS.
  4. Does WSGS choose the Outstanding Volunteer or Team from all the nominees? No. This program is not a competition among the nominees or societies.  WSGS honors every individual and team who is identified by their local genealogical organization for exceptional efforts. This is a means for local society and groups to give widespread recognition to their top volunteers.
  5. How many nominees can my society submit? We know there are a lot of your members who have worked hard since 2018 (the last year we made the awards), so in 2022 you can nominate up to four individuals or two teams.
  6. What does my nominee or team get for being an Outstanding Volunteer or Team? Each nominee will receive a personalized certificate outlining why they were nominated by their local society. He/she/they will also be featured on the WSGS Blog. It is also our hope that the nominating society will honor their volunteer at an upcoming meeting or event.
  7. Can we nominate someone who has been an Outstanding Volunteer before? Absolutely! More than 50 people have been honored more than once since the program’s inception in 2003.
  8. How can I see who my society has nominated in the past? Click here to see a cumulative index of all 1,400 names since 2003, listed by society and by individual name.
  9. Can we nominate someone posthumously? Yes. What a wonderful way show his/her family that you valued their late family member’s achievements.
  10. What if we want the nomination to be a surprise? We love surprises (and keeping secrets!) Just check the box on the nomination form to let us know you want to keep this under wraps until the “big announcement.”
  11. How do we nominate someone? We’ve made it pretty easy. The deadline is May 1 when we’ll need the easy-to-complete form and a photo. After that, you’ll get a chance to review and approve the certificate before it’s announced.
  12. When will the announcements be made? We’re still working out the details, but an announcement will be made on June 1, 2022.
  13. Where is the nomination form? Click here to download the form.
  14. Need more information? Email if you’ve got question we haven’t covered.

Remember: the deadline is May 1, 2022!

Jacqueline Eva Alexander Lawson

Jacqueline Eva Alexander Lawson April 4, 1928 – July 15, 2021  

  Jacqueline born in Seattle on April 4, 1928, to Irene Eva Harvey Alexander and Ernest Alexander, passed away at home on July 15, 2021. Jacqueline (Jackie) married Walter Vernon Lawson, and had 3 children, Gwendolyn Eva Lawson Townsend, Ronald Charles Lawson, and Michael David Lawson.   Jackie’s accomplishments included photography, being the first Black certified genealogist in the Pacific Northwest, a trained oral interviewer and transcriber, and specializing in genealogical research which led to 6 books, many articles, and a curriculum intitled “Genealogy 101.”   She was founder and Chair of the Collections Committee of the Black Heritage Society of Washington State, Inc., an aide at the Pacific-Alaska Region National Archives and at the Museum Of History And Industry, and co-founder of the Seattle Black Genealogy Research Group.   Her expertise was freely shared but her enthusiasm as the family griot was written and oral history of her family. Jacqueline’s memory and legacy is cherished by her 3 children, 14 grandchildren, 80 great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren, and a host of other relatives and friends. Services will be held on Wednesday, July 28, 2021, at the Greater Glory Ministries (6419 Martin Luther King Jr. Way South in Seattle) at 10:30am (viewing will only be done from 9:00-10:00am).     Seattle Times Published on July 27, 2021

Rest in peace, Fred Pflugrath

Rest in peace, Fred Pflugrath

The genealogy community throughout the state will be saddened to know that Fred Pflugrath passed away peacefully on the evening of Thursday, December 17.

Fred joined the Wenatchee Area Genealogical Society in 1995. He edited our Appleland Bulletin for many years, and was one of our senior researchers. In the spring, before the snakes came out, he could be found walking old cemeteries throughout North Central Washington, and WAGS members always looked forward to his cemetery tours. He was a human encyclopedia of local history (especially the Upper Wenatchee Valley), and fulfilled numerous speaking engagements at area museums and retirement homes.

Perhaps his best-remembered contribution will be his Civil War research. He single-handedly identified, researched, and documented information on almost 2,500 Civil War veterans from all over Eastern Washington. Much of this research is available in 35 binders in the WAGS Library with an index available online. Additionally, he took the extra step of submitting this information to the National Grave Registration Project (part of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War). Fred considered it part of his mission to connect families with their Civil War ancestors, arranging for headstones and markers, and orchestrating dedication and memorial ceremonies.

Some say his heart was even bigger than he was! He always willingly shared data, resources and expertise with anyone wanting information, whether inside or outside Chelan and Douglas counties.

In 2015, Fred was the first recipient of the Washington State Genealogical Society’s President’s Award for Outstanding Achievement, a recognition designed to single out that rare individual who has demonstrated exemplary service above and beyond expectations. Those who were blessed to have known Fred will agree that he good-naturedly and self-deprecatingly fit this description to a T, and we will miss seeing him hard at work at his computer over in the corner.

Susan Rumble

WAGS President

Annual Volunteer Awards Grants & Educational Assistance

It’s Time to Recognize our Wonderful Volunteers!

Nominations for the WSGS Awards program opened on Feb. 1, 2019.  Information on how to recommend a volunteer, team, communication or special genealogist are available on the WSGS website, .  Applications for awards are open until March 30th

Does Your Society need Financial Assistance? 

Applications for Grants and Educational Assistance are now open!  Details are available for both programs on the WSGS website, .  Applications are open until March 30th!

Celebrating Your Outstanding Volunteer

WSGS Regional Rep Janet McKinnon presented Lawrence Clay his Outstanding Volunteer certificate while Jim Macica, Tri City Genealogical Society President looked on

Thirty local genealogical society members were honored as Outstanding Volunteers at the WSGS Annual Meeting in Vancouver, Washington, on 26 May 2018. Each of these individuals and teams was nominated by their local society for the award, and many societies extend the honor with a special presentation and/or announcement. We encourage you to celebrate your nominee’s accomplishments and contributions through a press release, social media posting, newsletter article or presentation at a meeting. Celebrate their volunteerism!

A cumulative list of all the outstanding volunteers since 2003 is available here.

Outstanding Volunteers and Teams Honored

WSGS Vice President and Region 7 Representative Donna Potter Phillips presents Charles Hansen from the Eastern Washington Gen Soc (& WSGS Blog Master) with an Outstanding Volunteer Award.

Thirty local genealogical society members were honored for their outstanding volunteerism at the WSGS Annual Meeting in Vancouver, Washington, on 26 May 2018. Nominated by their local societies, these individuals and teams spent countless hours supporting their local organizations, researching, cataloging, inventorying, teaching, and inspiring others. We are proud to announce the 2018 Outstanding Volunteer Awards:

Jessica Moskowitz Anderson, Jewish Genealogical Society of Washington State
Robert Barnes, Eastside Genealogical Society
Lisa & Phil Bartlow, Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society
Joyce Boster, Whidbey Island Team Club Improvements, Whidbey Island Genealogical Searchers
Lawrence Clay, Tri-City Genealogical Society
Trudy Hayrynen Davis, Lower Columbia Genealogical Society
Max Graham, Kittitas County Genealogical Society
Stan Graham, Mason County Genealogical Society
Anne Grimm, Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society
Charles Hansen, Eastern Washington Genealogical Society
Cathi Hepworth, Bainbridge Island Genealogical Society
Thomas Hull, Kittitas County Genealogical Society
Janis Keough, Whidbey Island Team Club Improvements, Whidbey Island Genealogical Searchers
Reiley Kidd, Seattle Genealogical Society
Lake Chelan Museum, Chelan Valley Genealogical Society
Barbara Mattoon, South King County Genealogical Society
Karen Mitchell, Clallam County Genealogical Society
Elise Willens Morse, Jewish Genealogical Society of Washington State
Gary Parfitt, Grays Harbor Genealogical Society
Rebel Anne Romero, Olympia Genealogical Society
Sonji Ruttan, Eastern Washington Genealogical Society
Judy Simon, Genealogical Society of Whidbey Island
Candice Soine, Skagit Valley Genealogical Society
Stilly Library, Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society
Mary K. (Schonberg) Swartz, Wenatchee Area Genealogical Society
Richard Thayer, South King County Genealogical Society
Jackie Vannice, Whidbey Island Club Improvements, Whidbey Island Genealogical Searchers
Consuelo White, Clallam County Genealogical Society
Sharon Wilson, Northeast Washington Genealogical Society
Yard Sales Team, Yakima Valley Genealogical Society

To read each individual’s accomplishments and why they were nominated, visit the Outstanding Volunteer Awards Program page here.

For more information about the Outstanding Volunteer Awards Program, contact Virginia Majewski at

Norma Yost Awarded 2017 Outstanding Volunteer Honor

Since 2003, the Washington State Genealogical Society has recognized over 500 outstanding volunteers and teams, nominated by their local society or genealogical organization for their service and dedication. These volunteers are the backbone of their local society, giving their time and expertise, to the organization and the field of genealogy. In the coming weeks, you will be introduced to each of the 2017 award recipients and learn why they received the 2017 WSGS Outstanding Volunteer and Team Award.

Norma Yost

Today we’re introducing Norma Yost of Colville, Washington, who was nominated by the Northeast Washington Genealogical Society (NeWGS). She was recognized for her dedication to the preservation of a local pioneer cemetery.

Since joining in 2014, Ms. Yost has been involved in the clean-up and maintenance of Evergreen Cemetery in Colville, a local pioneer cemetery established in 1868. She is a favorite speaker at NeWGS meetings, and has been a member of the board of directors serving as member-at-large and currently as librarian. As librarian, Ms. Yost has used her talents to design outstanding displays for National Family History Month. She is also a gifted seamstress and has personalized NeWGS vests by embroidering their names on them.

Ms. Yost is a respected and diligent member of the NeWGS. Her accomplishments and dedication illustrate that she richly deserved being a recipient of a 2017 WSGS Outstanding Volunteer Award.

For more information on the WSGS Outstanding Volunteer Award program, visit the Recognition page of the WSGS website or contact Roxanne Lowe, Interim Recognition Chair, at