Seattle Genealogical Society Tip of the Week

  This edition’s tip comes from Sue Jensen, Library Director at SGS, in the form of a Q&A session. 

Question: “My great-grandparents lived in Orange County, New York. How do I find information on Orange County, New York in Seattle Genealogical Society’s Library?”

Answer: “First, go to the New York section of our bookshelves and look for this manila colored “county card” shown in the left photo below. Look down the list for Orange County and see that it has the #36. All our books are numbered with the state first, then the county # and finally the sequence # of the book in that County’s collection. So, NY 36-1 would be the first book cataloged in Orange County in our collection in New York.  NY 36-1 is the “call number” for that book. The “county card” (left)  and book “call number”(right) are shown in these photos: 


You may also find a book and its call number in our library by using the Library Catalog you can find on our website:  

Seattle Genealogical Society Tip of the Week

  It’s finally here, and Family Search members are excited for the newest enhancement that allows for correction to names in the indexes on Family Search. If and when you find it necessary to correct an index record, you will be asked to provide an explanation for the correction and given a choice of two reasons :   

  • Indexed incorrectly  (such as misread of the original document) 


  • Wrong in the original document (such as nickname used)

Keep in mind that your correction does not override the information already on FamilySearch. Instead, you are providing additional information. The old index information remains intact. Your change, as well as the original information, are both searchable; therefore, allowing other members to more readily locate these persons. There could end up being several changes for the same record, so please edit carefully since multiple changes will muddy the waters. 

Seattle Genealogical Society Tip of the Week

Labor Day Weekend special! Ancestry has an indexed collection of middle school, junior high, high school, and college yearbooks from across the United States; yearbooks dated from 1900-1999. They are offering free access to this collection until Monday, September 2, 2019, 11:59 pm ET. With over 450,000 yearbooks and 62 million pages, see what you can find here.
  Speaking of yearbooks, do you know SGS has an extensive collection of Seattle area yearbooks? We have Roosevelt High School from 1923-1988.  We also have Franklin, Garfield, Queen Anne, and West Seattle High Schools, as well as University of Washington “Tyee” and Eckstein Jr High. Come browse through them. Our library is closed over Labor Day Weekend, but will reopen on Tuesday, September 3, 2019.   

Seattle Genealogical Society Tip of the Week

FREE MILITARY GENEALOGY WORKSHOP    On Sunday, September 15, 2019, at 1:00 PM, the Puget Sound Navy Museum in Bremerton, WA is offering this free workshop that is open to the public.  

“Uncover your Sailor’s story through military records! Join our curator to learn about researching military service records, with a focus on records available from the National Archives” is how the workshop is described on their Facebook Page.  

While the workshop is free, an RSVP is requested. Please RSVP on Facebook, or to or (360) 627-2452 by Friday, September 13, 2019. 
  The Puget Sound Navy Museum is dedicated to collecting, preserving, and interpreting the naval heritage of the Pacific Northwest for the benefit of the U.S. Navy and general public. 

Currently it is open daily from 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM. There are programs for children as well as adults.  Search for Puget Sound Navy Museum on Facebook, or visit their website, 

Seattle Genealogical Society Tip of the Week


On our Seattle Genealogical Society Networking Group Facebook page, a member posted this question, “I’m wondering if there’s a safe process for bringing out what’s written on the back of old photograph cardboard stock that the photo was mounted on. Looks like maybe pencil”.  

Several members replied they have had luck scanning the back of the photograph at the highest resolution possible and then using a photo editing application to adjust the contrast and brightness, etc. Possibly with this technique, you will be able to make out what was written on the back of that precious old photograph. 

Seattle Genealogical Society Tip of the Week

Established in 1845, the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) is America’s founding genealogical organization, one of the most respected names in family history, and the largest society of its kind in the world. by the New England Historic Genealogical Society is one of the most widely used online genealogical resources in the world, providing access to over 1.4 billion searchable records. Records that reach beyond New England; they cover the entire United States, the British Isles, continental Europe, and more. also provides many educational resources.    

A perk of visiting the SGS Library, you can access absolutely free of charge to you from one of our patron computers. Come see what you can discover about your ancestors in this top-notch database.  

Seattle Genealogical Society Tip of the Week

Randy Majors, creator of the much loved “Historical U.S. County Boundaries Map”, as well as the tools “County Lines on Google Maps” and “City Limits on Google Maps”, has done it again. He just released a new tool, “Township Range on Google Maps”. 

If you need to map Township/Range/Section, you can map them all the way down to the quarter quarter section. These townships are part of the Public Land Survey System (PLSS) found in roughly 30 states in the USA. Search by address, place, GPS coordinates, or do a reverse find by Section, Township, Range. 

His website is a good place to read about and sample all his tools, as well as the place to stay abreast of what he plans to develop and release next.

DNA Painter – A Cool New Tool

Have you found a DNA match but you can’t figure out how you are related? Who is your Most Recent Common Ancestor (MRCA)? DNA Painter is a fairly new tool that just might solve the puzzle. is a free on-line program that “paints” (pastes, really) your DNA comparison with a match. It uses a chromosome browser from 23andme, MyHeritage or FamilyTreeDNA. It will not work with DNA as that site does not have a chromosome browser. And you will need permission from your match to share chromosome information.

First of all, read the tutorial which will walk you through the step-by-step process. It takes about an hour to do the tutorial. You don’t need to completely understand the science of what all those numbers mean. Just remember: the greater the number of centiMorgns (cMs) you share with a match, the more closely you are related.

You then begin painting matches into Painter. I recommend starting with a known cousin to use as a control. I chose a known maternal cousin and a known paternal cousin.

When you paste a match into DNA Painter, the shared segments show up as a colored line on various chromosomes. As you paint more and more matches you will see where the segments overlap. It is a very graphic visual that shows those overlapping segments in a very visual pattern.

Using known cousins gives you clues as to which side the unknown matches are on. Once you know which side of the family your match is on, you can then start searching for documentation. Of course, you will be emailing back and forth with your match to exchange more information.

If you don’t have any known cousins, don’t worry, Painter still can help you. Once you have painted several matches you will begin to see patterns. Since several of the DNA testing sites also ask you for your ancestors’ birth places, you can compare that information with your matches. Also, your ethnicity and your matches ethnicity estimates provide clues.

DNA Painter is not the be all and end all of genealogical research. It is a very helpful tool. Give it a try. You just may get hooked!

This is from Barbara Gorham Johnson the WSGS Region 1S representative. Thanks Barbara. You too can have your blog post published here, just contact me

GU272 Memory Project

American Ancestors has started the GU272 Memory project which is a project that several EWGS Members form Spokane have worked on. Patricia Bayonne-Johnson a former EWGS president had found out with the help of a paid genealogist that her Butler family had been born in Maryland, were Catholic and ended up in Louisana. She formed the Butler group in Spokane and wrote a blog post on the information they had found.

This is 7 of the 8 members of the Butler Group Pat formed at the Spokane Public Library. Georgetown was pretty sure none of the 272 slaves they had sold had lived until they found the blog post Pat had done on finding her family from Maryland.

Today the GU272 Georgetown project has found more than 8000 descendants of the original slaves sold to start Georgetown University and they are still searching for more. Check here to see how to search to see if you have an ancestor connected with the GU272 Memory Project or to help with the project.