Seattle Genealogical Society Tip of the Week RootsTech

RootsTech CONNECT 2021, 

  Hosted by FamilySearch International, the largest genealogy organization in the world, RootsTech, the world’s largest family celebration event, will be entirely virtual and absolutely free. There will be something for everyone, no matter your age or experience:

  • Genealogy Classes
  • Food and Cultural Demonstrations
  • Mind-break Activities, Exercise and Relaxation
  • Travel and World Heritage 

This virtual conference is scheduled for February 25-27, 2021.
They do ask that you register. For additional info or registration, go to :

Seattle Genealogical Society Tip of the Week Ethnicity Estimate

Did you get the word DNA ethnicity estimates have been updated? Anyone who has taken an DNA test can login to their account and see their new ethnicity estimate results.

Here is Ancestry’s explanation for this update and the changes you might see. They say, “Don’t worry, your DNA doesn’t change. What changes is what we know about DNA, the amount of data we have, and the ways we can analyze it. When that leads to new discoveries, we update your results. To calculate your estimate, we compare your DNA to a reference panel of DNA samples from around the world. As we get more samples in our panel, we can identify more world populations for you.”. 

From “Discover Your DNA Story”, you can find “Learn More About This Update” for more details. And from there, for a limited time, you may view or print your previous ethnicity estimate using “View Previous Estimate”. 

If you are ready to learn more about DNA and genetic genealogy, check the SGS Calendar of Events for meeting times for the DNA interest groups, “DNA Workshop” and “DNA Interest Group”. And don’t forget about the SGS 2020 Fall Seminar with Dr Blaine Bettinger, author of “The Genetic Genealogist” blog. 

Seattle Genealogical Society Tip of the Week Court Records

  Thanks to Dick Eastman for another great tip. Since he reported this resource a short time ago, there have been millions of records added – up 28 million records in just the last 30 days! Marriage, divorce, estate, probate, name change,  and adoption court records. 

This site it is completely free, no credit card, no sign ups, no advertising. 
The url is:

Becoming a “Virtual” Genealogy Society

South King County Genealogical Society did it!. . .

. . . and your society can, too!

Like most of the rest of the world, genealogical societies were not prepared for the corona virus pandemic. Faced with cancelled meetings and seminars, society function and governance as well as communication, education and service to our general membership were in jeopardy. In the first month of lock down we had to scramble to get online quickly or we would disappear. How can our societies fulfill their educational mission if we’re not providing education?

Online Groups

Fortunately, the South King County Genealogical Society was more prepared than we had thought. When the Rootsweb lists died in 2019, it seemed like a disaster. We decided to use, a move that provided so much value to us, yet was free! Because we signed up early, we could create subgroups, had a built-in calendar, photo storage, file space and more. Some of these features are no longer available free but if funds are available and you need the features, is still an excellent choice for getting your society online and educating. SKCGS special interest groups are thriving because we can share images via email or login directly to the group on the web, use the shared calendar to keep track of events, and discuss issues and deal with questions before, after and between meetings. Search and find over 2000 groups so far. Find us at

When SKCGS had to move to online meetings because of the lock down, we were already accustomed to the new online group.. Adding links to join a Google Meet session was just as easy as pasting in the street address for invitations and reminders for our previous physical meetings.

Virtual Spaces

Many years ago, a tech savvy person in our Society decided that the Google Suite for Non Profits would meet some of our needs for online file backup, now more commonly called “the cloud.” GSuite was then and still is free for nonprofits. It took us a while to begin using many of its features; but now its use is routine.

We place meeting minutes, committee and budget reports in a shared file folder rather than sending endless emails. We upload flyers in various formats for posting to Facebook, Twitter, newspapers and group emails. We use Google Docs and Sheets to collaboratively edit documents and spreadsheets. We even have photo storage.

Virtual Meetings — Free

In these pandemic times, the most important feature of our GSuite is Google Meet. Meet is free, more secure than most of the competitors, easy for the users and presenters both, and very flexible. If a recording is wanted, there is one button to push to start and stop. People can successfully connect by telephone if their internet connectivity is temporarily bad. Did we mention, it is free and will continue to be free?

Our special interest groups have continued meeting once a month throughout the summer and our attendance is actually going up during the lock down, which is amazing. Due to special requests we have added a Genealogy Chat session; now we use G Meets at least once a week for online meetings. We have gained new members because of the friendly, informative interaction at these get-togethers.


It is not uncommon to have visitors from other parts of the country. The wonderful site has been a life-saver for our society. In publicizing SKCGS meetings, we’ve announced them here in the blog, on the Washington State events page and in the local newspapers. But most of our visitors report that they find our meetings at ConferenceKeeper, and they tend to come back!

Virtual Genealogical Society Advantages

The Benefits of a Virtual Genealogical Society by Katherine Willson ($1.99 for 30 days rental) discusses some of the reasons societies go virtual, the benefits and some drawbacks. We are experiencing few of the drawbacks because of our use of and Google Suite.

“The elephant is not in the room because there isn’t a room for an elephant”

Not yet mentioned is social distancing. Most of our population does not want to risk exposure. In our case, the facilities we were using no longer allow groups.

Increasingly we’re finding that people like access to meetings without having to leave home. Webinars and other video lectures and podcasts are booming. We want to be part of that! One advantage we didn’t anticipate is that nationally known speakers are still available for presentations. This opportunity is less expensive for our general membership, and has many advantages for the speakers as well. Virtual session contracts include no travel or hotel expenses and the speakers experience no travel fatigue, which is also true for our attendees.

There are now new ways to cooperate with neighboring organizations–societies, museums, libraries. We can advertise on each others’ platforms, do joint sponsorship of more expensive sessions, and give all of our members and patrons more ease of access.

We don’t know what the new “normal” will be or when it will settle in. The group that doesn’t act now will not be around to participate then.

Please thank the South King County Genealogical Society for letting me post this SKCGS blog. They have a very good blog and it is well worth your time reading it.

Seattle Genealogical Society Tip of the Week Genealogy Help


  For the next four Wednesday afternoons, folks needing assistance with their genealogical research have the opportunity to get some online help from volunteers from the Eastside Genealogical Society. This program is sponsored by Library Connection of Crossroads, Lake Hills Library, and Bellevue Library.

Want help? You need to register and set up an appointment at least 24 hours in advance. Seats are limited and filling up, so hurry.

Wednesdays:  Aug 19, 2020  or   Aug 26, 2020
                     Sept 2, 2020   or   Sept 9, 2020

Go to the King County Library System website and Search the Events for Genealogy. Start here:

Seattle Genealogical Society Tip of the Week Trello


  An unanticipated advantage to virtual meetings is it affords more people the opportunity to attend. On June 13, 2020, after the virtual SGS Membership Meeting, Lori Lee Sauber gave a well attended and well received presentation on how to use Trello to organize genealogical research. There were participants from as far away as Poulsbo, New Zealand, and England. 

By now, over a month later, if you haven’t yet dipped your toe into Trello, you may need help getting up to speed. Where do you turn?

There is a Facebook private group called Trello Users. To find them, use the search box within Facebook. Ask to join. Here is how they describe their group … a support group for existing users or personnel that wish to try Trello, but don’t know where to start. A group that you can ask any questions, share tips and anything related to Trello – free or paid.    

Seattle Genealogical Society Tip of the Week -Irish Roots


Have you heard of “Ireland Reaching Out”? Their mission statement says “Of the estimated 70 million people of Irish descent living outside of Ireland today, many are unsure of where in Ireland they originate from, or if there are any living relatives still there. We aim to help these people discover the story of their family history and reconnect them with the Ireland of today.”

And their approach is a bit unique, “It is based on a simple idea; instead of waiting for people of Irish descent to come home to Ireland to trace their roots, local Irish parish communities go the other way. At a town land, village and parish level, local Irish communities identify who left their neighborhoods, and trace them and their descendants worldwide, proactively engaging with them and inviting them to become part of an extended “virtual” community with their place of origin.” 

“Ireland Reaching Out” has a Facebook Page in addition to their website: 
Join, post your family’s emigration story or browse the messages boards, communicate with a volunteer, learn about Irish history.   

Seattle Genealogical Society Tip of the Week


Would you like one place to stay informed of  family history conferences, seminars, workshops, and other genealogy events? Then might be your place. Their goal is to increase the availability of information about opportunities for genealogists and family historians by providing details on Genealogy Conferences & Events, to genealogists’ knowledge, skills and enjoyment of genealogical research.

Seattle Genealogical Society Tip of the Week Family Search Communities


SGS had a full house for the Spring Virtual Seminar with guest speaker Dr Fritz Juengling. One tip offered at this seminar was about a resource at  you may not be aware of – online FamilySearch Community Research Groups – where like minded people can ask or answer research questions and share resources. You can join any of dozens of different research groups. Join a group to get help yourself, or to share your expertise with others. Groups cover geographical areas, as well as areas of interest. Example group include the likes of Georgia, Germany, Greece, Genetic Genealogy, Adoption, African American Genealogy Research, First Nations of North America, Family Bibles, just to name a few. 

Need help with your research? Once you join a group you can: 

  • ask questions
  • upload documents and get help with translation
  • participate in discussions
  • learn about upcoming webinars
  • discover new resources

Or join a group to offer your help to others by: 

  • answering questions
  • translating documents
  • sharing new resources

Get involved and make these groups more valuable for everyone! Like FamilySearch itself, these community research groups are available to you absolutely free of charge. Start here to find a group that interests you: