Cemetery & Obituary Project Named One of 2022’s Outstanding Teams

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 months, 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 the Cemetery and Obituary Project that was nominated by the Mason County Genealogical Society (MCGS).  The team was comprised of Susie Graham, Elizebeth Lawson, Albert Conklin, Roger Newman, Barbara Moore (posthumous), Stan Graham and Sue Sheldon.

During 2017-18, Susie Graham led the Cemetery and Obituary project team that researched over 7,000 obituaries published in the Mason County Journal from 1915 on and identified where these people were buried. She organized the project and recruited volunteers who read each obituary and sorted them by according to the more than 360 cemeteries they were buried in; or if a cemetery wasn’t mentioned, they looked for which of over 150 funeral homes was used. If neither cemetery nor funeral home was mentioned, the researchers went online, looking for relevant information. One team member, Elizebeth Lawson, deserves special mention for creating an invaluable spreadsheet used to track the data. Currently, the 7,000+ obituaries and 11,000+ headstone photos resulting from this work are published online in Archive-in-a-Box, free to the public.

For more information on the WSGS Outstanding Volunteer Award program, visit the Recognition page of the WSGS website or contact Info@wasgs.org. Please type “Volunteer Award”

Elizabeth Dalton Named One of 2022’s 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 months, 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 Elizabeth Dalton of Camano Island, Washington, who was nominated by the Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society (SVGS).

Elizabeth Dalton

Elizabeth began as a volunteer with SVGS in its early days, as a member of the Publications Committee, by serving as an indexer for some of the society’s earliest published books. In between indexing projects, she wrote articles and fillers for the newsletter “The Stillaguamish Star,” as well as performing editor-in-chief duties. More recently, she functioned as vice president of the library for a time during the pandemic.  Currently, she is working on organizing a large collection of donated materials from the Camwood Genealogy Workshop.

In Elizabeth’s opinion, the three most important things to remember when doing genealogy research are “… accuracy, accuracy, and accuracy.” She adds, “We need to prove the accuracy of every record used in our research to the best of our ability.”

Elizabeth was born in Seattle and currently lives on Camano Island in Island County. She has been an SVGS lifetime member since 2015.

For more information on the WSGS Outstanding Volunteer Award program, visit the Recognition page of the WSGS website or contact Info@wasgs.org. Please type “Volunteer Award” in the subject

PS-APG Bylaws Revision Team Named One of 2022’s Outstanding Teams

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 months, 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 the Bylaws Revision Team who was nominated by the Puget Sound Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists (PS-APG).  The team was comprised of Nancy Cordell and Karin Coppernoll.

Karin Coppernoll
Nancy Cordell

Nancy is a family historian specializing in DNA analysis and African American research. In 1991 she attained a Ph.D. in anthropology. She received a certificate in Genealogical Research from Boston University and attended the Advanced Genealogy Course at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. She is a past President of the Olympia Genealogical Society. Ms. Cordell serves the needs of her clients with her firm “Diggin’ Our Past.”

Karin has over 30 years of experience researching family history. She attained a certificate in Genealogical Research from Boston University and a Professional Learning Certificate in Genealogical Studies in American Records from the National Institute for Genealogical Studies. Karin takes on the genealogical brick walls and dead ends for her clients as “Brick by Brick Genealogy.”

Nancy and Karin both joined Puget Sound Chapter of the PS-APG in 2015. Nancy became an active member and volunteered as an expert in three “Ask the Expert” events. She currently serves as the PS-APG Chapter president. Karin has served as the chapter treasurer since 2017. She was the chapter coordinator for an “Ask the Expert” event and volunteered in several others as an expert. She became a National APG Director in 2022.

Nancy and Karin greatly aided the PS-APG chapter by updating its bylaws. These revisions were important and timely since they allowed members to attend meetings online.

For more information on the WSGS Outstanding Volunteer Award program, visit the Recognition page of the WSGS website or contact Info@wasgs.org. Please type “Volunteer Award” in the subject line.

Ruth Caesar Named One of 2022’s 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 months, you will be introduced to each of the 2022 award recipients and learn why they received the 2022 WSGS Outstanding Volunteer and Team Award.

Ruth Caesar

Today we’re introducing Ruth Caesar of Arlington, Washington, who was nominated by the Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society (SVGS).

During the last two years of pandemic lockdowns, mandates and uncertainty, Ruth has been the “glue” that has held the Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society and Library together. Along with fulfilling her own duties as society president, she has taken on many tasks that others have been unable to perform. During discussions considering “boxing up the books and shutting down the library,” Ruth continued to advocate for maintaining our community presence, which has been successfully accomplished. She was also able to work with the City of Arlington to secure rent relief during the lockdown as well as continuing to lead fundraising efforts which have been instrumental in paying for necessary services.

The SVGS library is now back open, welcoming staff and visitors and the business of the society is being conducted as before, thanks to Ruth’s leadership and commitment.

For more information on the WSGS Outstanding Volunteer Award program, visit the Recognition page of the WSGS website or contact Info@wasgs.org. Please type “Volunteer Award” in the subject line.

Cary Lynn Bright Named One of 2022’s 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 months, 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 Cary Lynn Bright of Snohomish, Washington, who was nominated by the Seattle Genealogical Society (SGS).  

The biggest change in genealogy in the past decade has been the low-cost availability of DNA testing and the development of tools for using DNA information for genealogical research This technology has exploded, and its rapid expansion makes it difficult to keep current with the latest and greatest ways to use these data for digging into your family roots. Cary Bright has kept the Seattle Genealogical Society and its members current in this invaluable methodology as leader or co-leader of SGS’s DNA Special Interest Group (SIG) since 2009. During the COVID-19 shutdown, this SIG continued to be SGS’s strongest performer, making the transition from in-person meetings and workshops to an all online operation where it is drawing in people from far outside the Seattle area. DNA-based research and online programs and research are the future of genealogy, and Cary has helped SGS stay on the forefront of both.

Congratulations, Cary, on a job well done!

For more information on the WSGS Outstanding Volunteer Award program, visit the Recognition page of the WSGS website or contact Info@wasgs.org. Please type “Volunteer Award” in the subject line.

EWGS’s Audio/Visual Team Named One of 2022’s Outstanding Teams

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 months, 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 the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society’s Audio/Visual Team. Members of the team included Julie Rosenoff, David Luders, Harold Young, John Wilson and Duane Beck.

On March 7, 2020, the Eastern Washington Genealogy Society had its final in-person meeting. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a world-wide pandemic, and by March 17th all schools in Washington State were closed. All social gatherings were forbidden. EWGS was stunned by the isolation.

The EWGS Audio/Visual team jumped at this challenge. They learned how to “Zoom” and by June 2020, the society was having Zoom business meetings.  In September 2020, EWGS was able to conduct a full Zoom program celebrating their Mayflower ancestors.

When COVID restrictions began to ease, the Audio/Visual Team researched hybrid meetings. They practiced and prepared…a lot. In April 2022, EWGS went “hybrid” offering its first all-day seminar to both in-person and Zoom attendees. It was a huge success!

EWGS continues to thrive and bring in new genealogy enthusiasts in large part due to this team of intrepid volunteers.

Congratulations, EWGS Audio/Visual Team. Job well done!

For more information on the WSGS Outstanding Volunteer Award program, visit the Recognition page of the WSGS website or contact Info@wasgs.org. Please type “Volunteer Award” in the subject line.

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 Info@wasgs.org 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 Info@wasgs.org.

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 Info@wasgs.org if you’ve got question we haven’t covered.

Remember: the deadline is May 1, 2022!