Seattle Genealogical Society News


  While the SGS Library may be closed for the month of April, the dedicated volunteers at Seattle Genealogical Society have put together an array of online programs to help keep you engaged. Why not join Heidi Mair, Jill Morelli, and Lisa Oberg for their online presentations – each presentation will be followed by a discussion period.  And don’t forget the online Coffee Klatch and SGS Membership Meeting on April 11, 2020. Hope to “see” you all there. Just Zoom in. Here are the details for each of April’s online events. 

Discovering Amelia: 
The Story of a Pennsylvania Dutch Woman, 1854-1931  
(Online Class and Discussion)
Thursday, April 2, 2020 
6:00 pm to 7:30 pm

Follow this link to join:

Join Heidi Mair for an online presentation summarizing the search for her maternal great-grandmother. 

Topics include:
Major events and changes during Amelia’s lifetime  included the Civil War, technological advances from the telephone to the sewing machine, World War I, labor unions, prohibition and more. How did these changes affect life in small town America?

Who are the Pennsylvania Dutch and what are some of the challenges researching their records?
Genealogical research spanning more than 30 years – what worked and what didn’t? 
Read the story of Heidi’s search in  Discovering Amelia.

This 50-minute presentation will be followed with a discussion period. 

Coffee Klatch and Membership Meeting  
(Online Special Event)
Saturday, April 11, 2020
12:30 pm to 1:30 pm

Follow this link to join:
  This is an informal and “virtual” meet up. We will review the past year as well as look at upcoming events. The conversation starter is “What online resource have you found particularly helpful?” It does not have to be about genealogy, but you get a gold star if it is!  

Using the Parish and Census Records of Scandinavia  
(Online Class and Discussion)
Tuesday, April 14, 2020 
7:00 pm PDT
  SGS is helping the Tacoma-Pierce County Genealogical Society put on their first Zoom,  webinar style online event in April and to reciprocate TPCGS is inviting SGS members and friends to attend. While the event is free, registration is required. If you plan to attend, please register by sending an email to Let them know you are an SGS member. A link will be sent to those who register.  

Jill Morelli, SGS president and CG, will speak on Scandinavian records. Don’t know the language? No problem! She will review the parish records and census records for the three Scandinavian countries and explain how they work together to give you an amazing amount of information.  

Dancing with the Spanish Lady: 
The Influenza Pandemic of 1918  
(Online Class and Discussion)
Thursday, April 23
6:00 pm to 7:30 pm

Follow this link to join:

Here’s a timely topic to be presented by Lisa Oberg. 

Schools canceled, closed theaters and churches, social distancing… all of these public health measures in effect today were used to help combat the influenza pandemic of 1918. Lisa will share how influenza affected Seattle and the country in 1918. Just as today’s pandemic is impacting all of our lives, 1918’s influenza affected the lives of our ancestors. After the presentation, we will share stories of the impact of the flu on our ancestors and how we’re getting along, too!

I, for one,  know my own 29 year old, great grandfather was among the more than 200,000 US citizens that died from this influenza in October of 1918.  
Read Mary Watkinson McRae’s diary of her week-long journey aboard the newly constructed Northern Railroad from Portland, Oregon to Ontario in 1884. Mary’s mother Jane had traveled with her family to Oregon from Missouri along the Oregon Trail in 1852. That trip took most families four to six months to complete. In just 30 years the continental train system transformed not only travel, but the lives or our ancestors. Thanks to this month’s contributor, Mary Ellen McRae for sharing her grandmother’s diary with us.     


Jeanie Fisher, reference archivist at Seattle Municipal Archives, would like everyone to know about their online crowdsourcing project to transcribe early handwritten City of Seattle Records.

Anyone who can read handwriting is welcome to join in! The project encourages participants to discover and index names and other information in the documents, making them more easily accessible to everyone. Early petitions, letters, claims, and reports – these documents contain nuggets of gold for genealogists researching Seattle-area ancestors. 

If you have some free time and are interested in helping out, the project is available here:

Create a free account, pick a document, start reading, and transcribe what you see. It’s that simple.       SGS NEW ACQUISITIONS for MARCH 2020
Nebraska:  Illustrated History of Nebraska: A History of Nebraska from the Earliest Explorations of the Trans-Mississippi Region with Steel Engravings, Photogravures, Copper Plates, Maps and Tables. Volume 1 and Volume 2  (in the Rare Books Section)

Family Collection:  Morris Collection — William A Morris and Andrew J Morris  

West Seattle High School:  West Seattle Chinook Newspaper Volume XXIX Number 27 –  May 3, 1945   


Spring 2020 SGS Seminar
with Fritz Juengling,
Fairview Christian School,
844 NE 78th St,
Seattle, WA

Saturday, May 16, 2020 *** Canceled ***   Mr Juengling is the German, Dutch and Scandinavian Research Specialist at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.    SGS CALENDAR OF EVENTS   Unless otherwise indicated all programs will be at the SGS Library, 6200 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle. Check the SGS Web Site for additions, changes,  and corrections. Programs may be canceled or postponed because of inclement weather.  APRIL
*** In consideration of COVID-19 social distancing recommendations, the SGS Library is closed for the month of April and all SGS in-person events for April have been canceled or postponed. Stay tuned or check the SGS Website for library status updates. 
Stay home – stay healthy – but stay engaged by attending the online events highlighted in this issue of the eNews!  

Seattle Genealogical Society News

24 March 2020
Dear Seattle Genealogical Society (SGS) members and friends,
The SGS Board met in special session on Monday to discuss the Covid-19 recommendations of our health professionals and our responsibilities to our members and friends.
Your safety is our primary concern. We are making it as easy as possible for you to remain safe and still participate in the activities of SGS. Here are some of the actions taken by the Board on Monday:
The SGS Library at 6200 Sand Point Way will extend its closure date through May 4. This action will be reassessed at our next regular Board meeting on April 13.
All in person meetings of Special Interest Groups (SIG) are cancelled. Please check with the group leader or the eNews! to determine if the meeting will be held virtually.
All members, friends, and volunteers should shelter in place and not enter the facility at 6200 Sand Point.
We discussed many options and made the difficult decision to cancel the May Seminar with Fritz Juengling. We are working with Fritz to discuss alternatives and will let you know as soon as possible.  
While our physical facility is closed to all volunteers and patrons, we are committed to bring you online educational opportunities and to nurture a close community of genealogists, wherever you live. In an effort to fulfill this promise, SGS is moving more program content online. Watch the eNews! for the online links.
On 19 March, we held a very successful Pop-Up Presentation on line using our Zoom host, attended by 20+ people from Seattle, Washington, and other states!  Based on that success, we are scheduling additional online events.  All links will be published in the eNews!
The next Pop-Up Presentation will be 2 April,   “Discovering Amelia; The Story of a Pennsylvania Dutch Woman, 1854-1931” given by Heidi.
The 11 April “Second Saturday” session has been moved to 9 May, Heidi Mair will present “1890-1920: The Progressive Era & Women’s Rights.” Watch the eNews! to determine if this will be held at the Library or virtually.
On 11 April, we will hold an online “Coffee Klatch and Membership Meeting” at 12:30 pm.  This is an informal meet up but will review the year in the past and upcoming events. The conversation starter is “What online resource have your found particularly helpful?” It does not have to be about genealogy, but you get a gold star if it is!
We have a number of online classes starting up. Sign up through our website (
“Level 1: Genealogy Basics and Beyond” will start the first part of May. This is a highly interactive class for five students. Our guarantee? Your genealogy research will be improved after the course. The first class is already full, but Valerie Lair, the instructor, is willing to run the course again if five of you sign up on the wait list which is now open. “Certification Discussion Group”: If you are interested in becoming a Certified Genealogist or just want to know more, we are taking names of those interested for the fall session, dates to be announced.
“WAYtoGo: A Methodology for Writing Efficient Research Reports” will be taught twice this spring/summer. This online workshop will start you on solving that brick wall problem by systematically recording your findings. We will use the wait list to identify the next group of attendees, but you can’t be notified of the program, if you aren’t on the wait list. If you want to write better reports, sign up now. Dates and times to be determined.  
Attending an SGS online event is as easy as  – 

1) Log onto your internet and click on the link for the meeting you wish to join that was supplied to you in the eNews! No pre-registration is necessary;

2) You may have to accept Zoom’s invitation to download the application (app) which takes 2-3 minutes, but after you do,

3) You’re in the meeting!! You do not have to have an “account” with Zoom, but you do need to download the app.

SGS is focused on our mission—to deliver the best genealogy education and provide for the preservation of genealogical resources for our members and friends.
Flatten the curve!

Jill Morelli, CG
President, Seattle Genealogical Society

Heritage Quest Research Library News

Stay at Home!
On Monday, March 23, 2020, Washington’s Governor, Jay Inslee issued a new temporary “stay at home” order to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.  The new order went into effect last night and will last until April 6, 2020. 
We are taking the direction of our Governor and the medical community seriously and encourage our members and patrons to stay home until we can all return to our normal daily lives.  
Meanwhile, take an online class, learn a new language, sort through your collection of family photos, read a genealogy book or develop a class to share when we return to the Library!

Seattle Genealogical Society Good News

John LaMont and Mahina Oshie, our friends and favorite genealogy librarians at Seattle Public Library (SPL), have some great news for Seattle Public Library patrons. Ancestry announced they are allowing patrons of Seattle Public Library access to “Ancestry Library Edition” from the comfort of their home via the SPL website. So get out your Seattle Public Library card and navigate to your “My Account” area of the SPL website. From there you will find  “Ancestry Library Edition” by first clicking on “Research” and then clicking “Online Resources A to Z”.  We were also told that access to those restricted records at FamilySearch (the records with the little key icon next to them) has been relaxed, although we have not tried this out.     Our thanks to John and Mahina for the information and thanks to Ancestry for their kindness.  REGISTRATION IS OPEN FOR

Level I – “Genealogy Basics and Beyond” Course Sponsored by Seattle Genealogical Society  May 5, 2020  – June 16th, 2020  Tuesday evenings  @ 6:00–8:00 p.m. PDT  via Zoom online Platform 
Class 1 – Getting Started – May 5 
Class 2 – Organization and Record Keeping System – May 12 
Class 3 – Genealogy Computer Software Programs – May 19 
Class 4 – Census Records – May 26 
Class 5 – Newspapers and City Directories – June 2 
Class 6 – Library Resources – June 9 
Class 7 – Citing Sources Properly – June 16 
The Level I-Genealogy Basics and Beyond Course is suitable for everyone and covers how to successfully conduct research in census records, vital records, newspapers, city directories, churches, cemeteries, military records; using major online resources along with libraries and archives; and so much more. The course will challenge you in perfecting your genealogy skills.  Register for Genealogy Basics & Beyond
TONIGHT! Soldiers, Spies and Farm Wives: The Changing Roles for Women in the Civil War   Thursday, March 19, 2020 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm Don’t forget to join Jill Morelli tonight for this online presentation and discussion. Learn about some brave women you might not have heard of, yet they played an active role in the Civil War.   Follow this link to join: SCHEDULE CHANGE The Second Saturday presentation  “1890-1920 – The Progressive Era and Women’s Rights” with Heidi Mair has been moved from April 11, 2020, to May 9, 2020. There will be no presentation on April 11. The presentation by Nancy Cordell, PhD, originally scheduled for May 9 has been canceled.   

Twin Rivers Genealogical Society Cancelled March Seminar

Good evening, I just wanted to let you know that the “Preserve the
Past and Present Photos for the Future” has been cancelled until October
2020, due to coronavirus. We will be letting you know when it is
rescheduled as soon as we have a date. Please keep “Walking with
Ancestors” July 4 and we will be sending out information the closer we
get to that date! Thank you for your help in getting the word out. We
will see you in July! WE HOPE!!!!

Seattle Genealogical Society News

  Join Jill Morelli, SGS president and CG®, for this online presentation and discussion of the changing roles of women during the Civil War. Here are a few of the brave women Jill will introduce you to. You probably never heard of them, yet they all played an active role in our Civil War, the bloodiest war in American history.    Susie King Taylor, free black; Led a regiment on raids into South Carolina, her home state. Frances Clayton under the alias Jack Williams: housewife & mother of three children enlisted, along with her husband, in a Missouri artillery unit of the Union army. She was wounded 3 times and continued to fight even after her husband died in battle. Rose O’Neil Greenbow: Washington DC socialite and Confederate spy. Battle losses by the Union army at Manassas and Bull Run are attributed to her information gathering in the DC area.  Learn more about these women, and others, as we examine the changing roles of women during the Civil War. This will be a 50-minute online presentation followed by Q & A.  **Zoom in and join us: 
Thursday, March 19, 2020
6:00 pm – 7:30 pm 

Follow this link to join in:     ** Zoom is a leader in video communications, conferencing, and webinars apps that work easily and seamlessly across all operating systems  – PC, Mac, iOS, Android, and Linux – and devices    
  SGS recently received a plea from Virginia Majewski, President of the Washington State Genealogy Society. They are in desperate need of people to fill a couple of important volunteer positions. They need someone to manage the Awards Program and they also need a web manager. For the web manager position, they would love to find someone already versed in the use of the Easy Net Sites platform, but if need be, training is available.

If you are interested in volunteering, contact information is available at the Washington State Genealogy Society website;    
We received the notice below from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, UT. It serves as a reminder that this virus is touching all of our lives. Be prudent and check on the status of any place or any event you plan to visit before you set out.   “Out of concern for the health and safety of our guests, volunteers, and staff, the Family History Library in Salt Lake City will temporarily close starting at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 13, 2020 until further notice. This closure is to support preventive efforts to control the spread of COVID-19. Regional FamilySearch centers and libraries have been asked to consider the direction of their local and government leaders, and then make informed decisions about temporary closures. If you plan to visit a FamilySearch center soon, please call ahead to ensure it is open at the regular times.”  Read their full message here:

Irish Festival of Seattle,
Seattle Center Armory
Seattle, WA 98109 
March 14 – 15, 2020 *** Canceled ***

Family Fun – Irish music, singing & Irish step dancers from the Pacific NW & Ireland. As well as genealogy, lectures, cultural displays, food & fun.  Spring 2020 SGS Seminar
with Fritz Juengling,
Fairview Christian School,
844 NE 78th St,
Seattle, WA

Saturday, May 16, 2020   Mr Juengling is the German, Dutch and Scandinavian Research Specialist at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. SGS is happy to have Fritz as the presenter for our spring seminar.   SGS CALENDAR OF EVENTS   Unless otherwise indicated all programs will be at the SGS Library, 6200 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle. Check the SGS Web Site for additions, changes,  and corrections. Programs may be canceled or postponed because of inclement weather. 
MARCH   *** All of our in person events for March have been canceled or postponed *** Stay tuned, or check the SGS Website, for status updates ***   *** Canceled *** Saturday, March 14, 10:15 am-12:15 pm, Family Tree Maker Users Group, with leaders Reiley Kidd and Jess Ramey, Learn and share tips and tricks for using Family Tree Maker 2017
*** Canceled  *** Saturday, March 14, 12:30 pm -1:00pm, SGS Spring Membership Meeting, business meeting, meet the Board and Officer nominees. 

*** Postponed *** Saturday, March 14,  1:00 pm-3:00 pm, Second Saturday Series: “Do You Trello and Kanban?”, presenter will be Lori Lee Staub. learn how these can aid you in your genealogy research. 

*** Postponed *** Saturday, March 21,  1:00 pm-3:00 pm, Digging Deeper: Researching Women’s History, this presentation is at the University of Washington, Allen Library. Join in for a hands-on workshop to learn how archives are arranged and locate information which might be of interest to you when researching women’s history.    
  *** The April events have not been canceled, but they may be.  Check back for updates. 

Saturday, April 4, 10:15 am-12:15 pm, FamilySearch  SIG, with leader Lou Daly, discover the many ways to use Family Tree & Each meeting will feature an aspect of the FamilySearch website.  There will be time for Q&A.  

Sunday, April 5, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm, Scandinavian SIG, Share information and discuss your Scandinavian ancestral research. Chaired by Karen Knudson. 
  Saturday, April 11,  1:00 pm-3:00 pm, Second Saturday Series: “1890-1920 – the Progressive Era & Women’s Rights”, presenter will be Heidi Mair. Prominent suffragettes led progressive-era causes that impacted women. Discover the fascinating lives and accomplishments of Jane Addams, Nellie Bly and Ida B. Wells-Barnett as well as local leaders Emma Smith DeVoe, Abigail Scott Duniway, Alice Lord and others.    This lecture is part of the Seattle Genealogical Society’s lecture and workshop series: Women’s Suffrage in your Family History. We thank the Washington State Historical Society for their grant in support of our project. For more information, see    Saturday, April 18, 10:15 am-12:15 pm, Irish SIG, with Jean Roth Saturday, April 18 , 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm, German SIG , with Jean Roth  

Seattle Genealogical Society Cancellations

March 13, 2020  Notice – Seattle’s 2020 Irish Festival has been CANCELED. That includes all festival activities at Seattle Center Armory on Saturday,
March 14, and Sunday, March 15, as well as the Saturday, March 21 Irish Genealogy Workshop “Putting the Gene in Genealogy” that was to take place at Fairview Christian School in Seattle. Reminder – the SGS board decided to close the SGS Library physical facility at 6200 Sand Point and to cancel all meetings and gatherings of our membership held there until 30 March 2020. The facility is not being closed due to any known contamination, but rather as a pro-active move to avoid possible person-to-person transmission of the virus. Many organizations may be canceling their activities. It would be prudent to check with organizers on the status of an event before heading out. The Seattle Genealogical Society recommends you check our website or watch your email in-box for the eNews! for status updates on our events.

Seattle Genealogical Society Closure News

March 10, 2020 

Dear SGS members, friends and sponsors,

As you know Seattle is the country’s epicenter of the Covid-19 virus outbreak. All experts urge those who are vulnerable due to older age or with compromised immune systems to stay at home.  While not all of our SGS friends fall into these categories, many do.

Yesterday, at our monthly Board meeting, which was held virtually, we decided to close the physical facility at 6200 Sand Point and to cancel all meetings and gatherings of our members held there until 30 March 2020. The facility is not being closed due to any known contamination, but rather as a pro-active move to avoid possible person-to-person transmission of the virus. The Board will meet on 23 March to reassess the situation and we will let you know when this policy changes.

Our ability to help with your family history has not stopped, however!  Here are a few things we will be doing in the next few weeks of this shutdown to reach out to you and help with your genealogy:
  The eNews! will be issued more frequently in order to keep you apprised of the situation; inform you of new online resources; and outline upcoming online opportunities. Thanks to Deb Klein, our editor! We are postponing all meetings and volunteer events held at the Society at least until 30 March.This includes all Special Interest Groups (SIGS), SGS Writer’s Group, our Second Saturday (and quarterly meeting) session, the Centennial Planning Kick-off meeting and any volunteer work at the desk or for the Library. The events will be rescheduled. We are NOT cancelling SGS sponsored events which are held at off site locations, e.g. “Digging Deeper: Researching Women’s History” (UW) by LIsa Oberg.  This event and its potential closure will be decided by the institutions or individuals who run them. If it is held, it is your decision whether you attend or not. At the Board meeting today, the Board approved the slate of officers and authorized SGS to inform the members of the slate via eNews! on 15 March. We have several openings still unfilled; if you know of someone who might be good to fill the position, please let us know.  We will contact that person and see if they are willing to serve before placing them on the ballot. The ballot will go to the members electronically on 31 March. Note: There will also be a couple of by-law issues that we ask for your consideration. These were missed last year. Don’t forget that we have two Facebook pages “Seattle Genealogical Society and Library” and “Seattle Genealogical Society Networking.” The former is generally for announcements and the latter is for asking your research questions. If you get stuck with your research you can also always request help through the FB page or by submitting a research request through the website. SGS will ramp up its online offerings during this period that our physical facility is closed.  Watch your eNews! for the link to join the presentations by Heidi Mair and me.  We will soon be announcing 2 new online courses–“Genealogy Basics & Beyond,” and “DNA by the Numbers.”. Stay tuned for registration information. The online offerings will use Zoom as the meeting platform, the same as we use for our Board meetings. Zoom is very easy to use…click on the link provided for the class or the meeting, click positively through the question and you’re in! 
We certainly hope that you are safe and well. Our thanks go out to the scientists at the UW, Fred Hutch, the CDC and other institutions who are working overtime to tame this beast.  In the meantime—have you washed your hands recently?

Thanks so much for your support of SGS.

Jill Morelli, CG
Seattle Genealogical Society, President      

Seattle Genealogical Society Cancelled Events

SGS Members and Friends of SGS;
  This is to inform you that some genealogy events scheduled for March are being canceled due to health concerns raised by the presence of the Corona virus locally. 

Here is a list of cancellations reported to SGS as of today:

  • JGSWS has canceled their event originally scheduled for Monday, March 9, at the LDS Stake Center in Bellevue. It was  Ron Arons, and his topic, “Sex, Lies, and Genealogical Tape” and it will be rescheduled for another time. 
  • SGS event Using KC3I with Reiley Kidd and Jess Ramey, originally scheduled for Wednesday, March 11 at 10:15 am at the SGS Library is canceled.  It will be rescheduled for another time. 
  • MAC Computer Users Group Meeting originally scheduled for Wednesday evening, March 11, at the Fiske Library has been canceled. 

Watch our Facebook page for any further updates or cancellations