Report on the WSGS Board meeting.

WSGS, the Washington State Genealogical Society, exists for one reason: To be of assistance to all the genealogical societies in the state. That mission statement was loud and clear at the recent Board meeting in Yakima.

The Board consists of 16 good folks and 13 were present; that’s dedication. They come from all four corners of the state; Ginny Majewski, the president, comes from Sequim…. that’s a 500 mile round trip!

The meetings are kept to agenda, business is accomplished, Parliamentary rules are followed, and everybody participates. It’s a good group!

All projects, plans and programs were discussed. Website problems and updates were discussed. The use of ZOOM for virtual meetings (not just for this Board but any society in the group) was discussed. Questionnaires were sent to all genealogical societies in the state and Ginny is coordinating the returned into; to wit, how can WSGS help YOU?

A new state-wide project was opened for business. WSGS wants to have a listing of all Civil War burials in Washington and will partner with

to create and maintain such a list.

I am proud to be associated with this great group of dedicated workers and  hope that if you are approached to help WSGS that you will not think twice but will answer “YOUBETCHYA!”



FGS September Webinar

The September 2017 FGS webinar will feature Laurie Hermance-Moore, who will present “Borrowing Corporate Strategy Techniques for Your Society.
The webinar will address a variety of paths for a society to utilize the techniques of the corporate world.

Many societies are at a crossroads: new competition from online genealogy sites and webinars, dwindling membership, and challenges in figuring out how to evolve activities. It’s time to stop and make a plan!

So why not borrow from the business world?

Marketing strategist and genealogist Laurie Hermance-Moore will show you techniques that are used by large companies to refine how they “go to market.” Learn how to align your society leadership to your vision for the future, your current mission, how you are positioning yourself against the competition, and identifying and prioritizing your target audiences.

Laurie has more than 15 years of experience in marketing, marketing research, strategic planning, and brand development. She provides coaching to professional genealogists and genealogy societies in marketing strategy, so they can craft their unique story, target their offerings to the right clients, and build their confidence in marketing.
The webinar will be held on September 21, 2017, at 7:00 p.m. Central Time, and will be recorded for viewing on the FGS website shortly after its conclusion. Please register in advance.
NEXT TIME: The topic for the October webinar will be “The Social Media Manager Role in Today’s Society” presented by FGS Education Chair Jen Baldwin.
About the Webinar Series
Each month, the FGS Webinar Series will feature a new and interesting topic, ranging from recruitment and volunteer management to technology, publications, and working with your local tourism board.
Webinars are held on the 3rd Thursday of the month at 7:00 p.m. Central Time. Advance registration is required. Regular updates will be shared via the FGS Voice blog, FGS Voice Newsletter, and social media.
Speakers interested in presenting topics should contact Jen Baldwin, Education Chair, at
Are you looking for a rewarding and beneficial way to volunteer? The Education Committee at FGS could use your expertise. Please contact Jen Baldwin at

Idea for YOUR society? EWGS Annual Retreat Report

On Sunday afternoon, August 27th, we all gathered at the lovely home of Patricia Bayonne-Johnson, president of the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society. “We” were the EWGS Board and all the committee chair persons. (EWGS made the leap a year or so ago to include the committee chairs at all our Board functions; make them know they’re needed and appreciating their input).   President Pat had an agenda which she emailed ahead of time (and before that, asked for agenda items to be included). This meeting, this retreat, is the most important meeting of the EWGS  Board and Committee Chairs all year. 

All the jobs and projects were discussed; every Board member and Chair person gave an update and report on their position, problems and projects. The biggest thing we accomplish at this meeting is to thrash out a roster of programs for the coming year. We feel it’s patently unfair to dump such a huge job on one person so everybody attending is expected to bring ideas. Once roughed out, the list is turned over to the program chair for implementation. This works wonderfully well for us.

About mid-way through the afternoon, we paused for snacks, brought by everybody to share. Pat provided coffee and bottled water.

We would 100% recommend this idea to you for your society management. If you do try this idea, I’d enjoy hearing from you as to how it helped.

Local Society Management Classes Offered – Free!

WSGS President Ginny Majewski (center) with Board Members Nancy Cordell and Patty Olsen at “Nuts and Bolts of Society Management” class

Ginny Majewski, WSGS President, recently presented her “Nuts and Bolts of Society Management” class to a group of local genealogists hosted by the Lewis County Genealogical Society. By all accounts, the class was well-received and packed with valuable information, as well providing answers to a lot of society management questions — and some questions that attendees didn’t even know to ask.

Ginny’s “Nuts and Bolts” class is one of two society management classes being offered by WSGS on Wednesday, August 16, 2017, at the Northwest Genealogy Conference in Arlington, WA. The other class, taught by WSGS VP Donna Potter Phillips, is “How to Attract and Keep Members…Awake.” More information about the FREE society management classes is available in this Blog post.

For those local societies not able to take advantage of the management classes at the Northwest Genealogy Conference, arrangements are possible to present the classes at a more convenient time and location. Contact Ginny for more information.

Society Award Deadlines Soon

The Washington State Genealogical Society wants to recognize your good work! We know your society has great members doing great work — and we’d like to celebrate that. Below are the deadlines (and website links) for our recognition awards and special programs.

For more information about the WSGS recognition awards, contact Roxanne Lowe at

Now’s the Time to Apply for Innovative Grant

The Washington State Genealogical Society’s “Innovative Grant Program” is accepting applications. The deadline is March 1, 2017.

The grants, up to $100, are designed to support the inventive and creative efforts of WSGS-member societies and organizations. Up to five grants will be awarded in 2017.

Last year’s grant awards were made to:

Jefferson County Genealogical Society – upgrade software designed to index and preserve more than 400,000 local records.
Wenatchee Area Genealogical Society – promotion of adoption of “Coyote Reading a Candy Wrapper” sculpture. This project will be featured in an upcoming Blog post.
Whitman County Genealogical Society – assist purchase of new society computer, 22” monitor and portable hard drive to ensure back-up of files.

The deadline for the Innovative Grant application is March 1, 2017. The simple application is only ONE page and is available here. Additional guidance on the program is here.

For more information, contact Roxanne Lowe, WSGS Recognition Chair, at

Society Award Deadlines Set

Local genealogical societies:

The deadlines for WSGS awards to local societies have been set. We are encouraging you to promote your society’s activities and accomplishments by submitting a nomination.

Outstanding Communication – The WSGS Outstanding Communication Award is awarded to a local society that promotes its society and/or genealogy and family history to its members and/or the public. The award includes all forms of communication, including websites, social media, newsletters, lectures, videos, podcasts, etc. The nomination deadline is 01 Feb 2017. The application is available here.

Outstanding Project – The WSGS Outstanding Project Award is awarded to a local genealogical society or organization in recognition of exceptional genealogical or historical projects implemented during the past year. The nomination deadline is 01 Feb 2017. The application is available here.

President’s Award: The WSGS President’s Award for Outstanding Achievement is designed to single out that rare individual, society or organization who has demonstrated exemplary service above and beyond expectations. The nomination deadline is 15 Feb 2017. The nomination form and additional details are available here.

For more information, contact Roxanne Lowe, Chair, Recognition Committee at

Share Your Passwords

Pam Hagedorn with her First Citizen certificate, 2008

Pam Hagedorn with her First Citizen certificate, 2008

In this crazy time of electronic computer hacking, it’s exceedingly unusual to be told to share your computer passwords, but that’s what I’m encouraging you to do — for a very good reason.

One year ago, Pam Hagedorn, one of the most treasured members of the Grays Harbor Genealogical Society (GHGS), passed away suddenly. She had been the society’s long-time Treasurer (and WSGS Outstanding Volunteer in 2005), managing their monies and membership with the utmost organization and efficiency. After the initial shock of her passing, members knew they needed to update financial accounts so the society’s bills could be paid, dues and donations collected and other financial activities conducted. They soon realized that Pam was the only keeper of all the financial and business records, including passwords to online banking, PayPal and other financial institutions. It was difficult to approach Pam’s grieving husband for access to the records and passwords, but he knew Pam kept meticulous records that the society needed. After some initial confusion, including not realizing all that Pam “just handled,” the society’s financial course got back on track.

The lesson GHGS learned was that no single member of a society (or any organization) should be the sole keeper of passwords, URLs, account numbers, etc. Please share that information with another member or two of your society or purchase password management software. One more suggestion is to have each of your society officers write a step-by-step procedural guide — a lesson for a future “Society Support” blog post.

Publicize (and Find) Upcoming Events

Want to spread the word about your society’s program, workshop, seminar or training class? Or are you looking for a training opportunity? The WSGS website and blog are great ways to publicize and find local (including nearby states and British Columbia) events.

It’s easy to have events posted on the WSGS Events Page and Blog. Just send an email to (website) and (blog) with the details (who, what, where & when) and/or a flyer. As if by magic, information about the event will be posted in both places for all to see.

Publicize Your Society’s Upcoming Events

Want to spread the word about your society’s program, workshop, seminar or training class?

It’s easy to have your event posted on the WSGS Events Page and Blog. Just send an email to (website) and (blog) with the details (who, what, where & when) and/or flyer. As if by magic, information about your event will be posted for all to see. The website and blog are great ways to maximize exposure to your target audience.