Reminder: Pioneer Pursuit Roundtable on Monday

Are you interested in learning more about the Pioneer Pursuit? Well, join us for a roundtable presentation on Monday, April 24, 2023 at 6:30 p.m. via Zoom.

We’ll show you what resources are available, how to complete the forms and how the review process works. PLUS, there’ll be plenty of time to get your questions answered. There is no pre-registration. Attendance is limited to 100 participants. The roundtable will be recorded and available on the WSGS website.

Monday, April 24, 2023, 6:30 p.m.

Zoom link:

Meeting ID: 821 5811 2359
Passcode: 840493

Phone: (253) 215-8782,,82158112359#,,,,*840493# 

For more information, visit the Pioneer Pursuit webpage or email

Expansive Borders in Washington Territory

If you’re thinking about researching a Washington Pioneer for the Pioneer Pursuit Contest, don’t forget that from 1860 – 1863 the borders of Washington Territory extended as far east as Missoula, Montana and as far south as the Idaho/Utah border. Anyone living in that territory during that time is considered eligible to be a Washington Pioneer.

If you need more information about the Pioneer Pursuit Contest, visit our web page. Or join us on Monday, April 24, 2023, at 6:30 p.m. for a Pioneer Pursuit Roundtable discussion. You’ll learn about the resources available, how to complete the forms and the review process. There’ll also be plenty of time to get your questions answered. For the Zoom link, click here.

Source: SC 1, Historic Maps Collection at Washington State University Libraries’ Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections (MASC)

Nominations for President’s Award for Outstanding Achievement Sought

The nomination period for the Washington State Genealogical Society President’s Award for Outstanding Achievement is open. Nominations are due by 01 Aug 2023. The announcement will be made 01 Sep 2023.

The 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 ideal recipient of the President’s Award for Outstanding Achievement has:

• Exhibited long-term, consistent service in the field of genealogy, family or local history, the genealogical community, records preservation or made an important single contribution in those areas that will endure into the future.
• Demonstrated a high degree of energy, commitment, flexibility, and professional conduct.
• Provided significant support and impact to the local genealogical community time and time again.
• Exhibited personal influence and example to society members and/or the general public with their unselfish service.
• Supported or advanced local or statewide genealogical research.

Nominations may be submitted by any individual, local society or organization, regardless of WSGS membership. Nominees do not have to have been officers in their local societies.

Previous recipients of this prestigious award include:

  • 2015 – Fred Pflugrath, Wenatchee Area Genealogical Society
  • 2016 – Margie Wilson, Skagit Valley Genealogical Society
  • 2017 – Joanne Egbert Calhoun, Wenatchee Area Genealogical Society
  • 2018 – Ann Olson, Olympia Genealogical Society
  • 2021 – Helen McGreer Lewis, South King County Genealogical Society (posthumous)
  • 2022 – Jill Morelli. Seattle Genealogical Society

Additional information, including the nomination form, is available here. Questions should be directed to Please type “President’s Award” in the Subject Line.

Outstanding Volunteer/Team Nominations Sought

It’s that time of year! Time for your society to honor your outstanding volunteers or teams with an Outstanding Volunteer or Team Award. 

  • No later than July 1, 2023: Submit the form and photograph of your honoree(s) to The narrative (approximately 150 words) should explain the accomplishments of your nominee/team and why you are honoring him/her/them. The photo should be a good quality digital photograph (at least 300 dpi).
  • September 1, 2023: Formal announcement of the recipients will be announced.

A few special notes:

  • Local societies can submit up to two individuals or one teams/projects for special recognition by WSGS.
  • The Outstanding Volunteer/Team Award program is not a competition – it is locally driven. All nominees from local societies will be honored with an Outstanding Volunteer/Team certificate, but we want these awards to be special, so please don’t nominate your whole society (even though they are outstanding!).
  • Posthumous awards may be considered.
  • If your nominee is camera shy & doesn’t want to have a picture submitted, that’s fine. Also, if you’re unable to snap a picture of your whole team, we’re okay with individual member photos.
  • Nominees may have received an Outstanding Volunteer award previously. Click here for a cumulative list of awardees (alpha by name and by society).
  • Please honor the July 1 timeline for nominations. There is a lot of behind-the-scenes work, including reviews, to be done before the announcement on September 1.
  • The nomination form is attached. Please complete one form per person or team.

Additional details and deadlines may be found at the WSGS website here.

Please contact Roxanne Lowe at if you have questions or suggestions.

Pioneer Pursuit Roundtable Scheduled for April 24, 2023

WSGS is sponsoring a roundtable presentation to inform genealogists and genealogical societies about the Washington Pioneer Pursuit Contest. The contest is designed to document family histories for every man, woman and child who lived in Washington Territory on or before Statehood was declared on November 11, 1889. 

If you’re interested in learning more about the contest, including what resources are available, how to complete the forms and the review process, join us. There’ll also be plenty of time to get your questions answered. There is no pre-registration. Attendance is limited to 100 participants. The roundtable will be recorded and available on the WSGS website.

Monday, April 24, 2023, 6:30 p.m.

Zoom link:

Meeting ID: 821 5811 2359
Passcode: 840493

Phone: (253) 215-8782,,82158112359#,,,,*840493# 

For more information, visit the Pioneer Pursuit webpage or email

Blog Rockets Past 1,000 Subscribers

Since our first post in January 2015, the Blog team has posted an amazing 3,569 genealogy-related articles, special features, event announcements and a plethora of other postings and musings. We are proud to shout that as of today (15 Mar 2023), we have 1,050 genealogy enthusiasts from around the country subscribing to the blog. Charles Hansen, our Chief Blog Master, has been in charge since the beginning and manages the postings and analytics. We also should give a shout-out to Donna Potter Phillips for her trivia and musings columns. She’s consistently near the top of most popular posts.

You can help us continue our success:

  • Send information about your local society, workshop, genealogical tip, or a research query to Charles will get it posted in a jiffy. We’re always looking to publicize local events and workshops, feature stories, updates from your society, and other genealogical information that might be of interest to our 1,050 subscribers!
  • We’d like to feature your local photos in the Blog banner. It’s easy to do. Just check out the simple guidelines here.
  • Encourage your friends and local society members to subscribe to the Blog for the most up-to-date information from around the state. It’s easy — just click here.

Thanks for making the Washington State Genealogical Society Blog a success!

WSGS Vice President and Treasurer Nominee Statements

Valorie Cowan Zimmerman of Kent has been nominated to serve a second term as WSGS Vice President. To learn more about Valorie, click here.

Additionally, Frank McLean of Yakima has been nominated for another term as Treasurer. To learn more about Frank, click here. The term of office is 01 Jan 2023 through 31 Dec 2024.

Online voting for the slate will begin 18 Dec 2022 and run through 24 Dec. All WSGS members will receive an email with a Google link to their anonymous ballot. Members are asked to vote for each position. Write-in nominations are allowed.

Valorie’s candidate statement:

I’m proud to have served as the Vice President of the WSGS for the past two years, which have seen enormous changes in the genealogy landscape of the state and country. WSGS has changed as well, now focusing solely to serve the genealogy societies and individual genealogists around the state. It has been exciting to see the enthusiasm and online participation grow around the state in many, if not all, societies, and more and more “lone” genealogists finding societies where they can both learn and contribute. Helping the Pioneer Pursuit roll out across the state has been inspiring. I see this program not only as a way to increase our knowledge of our Washington Territorial pioneers, but also to strengthen our partnership with other heritage and history groups around the state and beyond. Check out the Washington State Genealogy and Family History group at and see what researchers are working on. I’m happy to say that we have rekindled our membership in the National Genealogical Society as well, and see our role there growing over the coming years. I ask for your vote to continue this work.

Frank’s candidate statement:

I have been a member of WSGS since 1988 and have served in nearly every office, including President and Treasurer. I have a vested interest in seeing the society become a more useful organization to local societies and individual genealogists.

Over the years, I have seen a lot of changes in WSGS, but am hoping for more. I am particularly interested in making WSGS an organization that provides value to societies. WSGS is interested in what services and opportunities it can provide. I also hope we can generate interest in expanding individual participation, maybe serving on the board or helping some other way. I would appreciate your support in moving WSGS in a positive direction.

Nominations Sought for WSGS Vice President & Treasurer

The nomination period for the WSGS Vice President and Treasurer positions is open through December 5, 2022. Elections will be conducted online in mid-December. The successful candidates will serve from January 1, 2023 through December 31, 2024.

Both positions serve on the WSGS Board of Directors. The Vice President assists the President and steps in for the President in their absence. The Treasurer maintains and reports all financial dealings. More information is available in the WSGS Bylaws.

The successful candidates must be members of WSGS.

A strong organization is only as strong as its leaders. We encourage you to consider volunteering your time and talent to steer WSGS into a value-added organization. To nominate yourself or someone else or if you want more information, contact Please type “Nominations” in the subject line.

Washington, the Beautiful — Share Your Photos

We want to showcase your scenic photos on the Blog

Photo contributed by Donna Potter Phillips, Spokane, WA

Have you noticed the Blog banner changes every time you visit? The photos are submitted by readers like you — and Donna Potter Phillips of Spokane (& weekly contributor to the Blog). We’re always looking for scenic photos of our beautiful state for the rotating photo gallery on the blog banner.

Guidelines for the photos are few:
•Landscapes, landmarks, and scenery photos are preferred. If, however, you have a perfect photo that includes people, please obtain their permission to post the photo.
•Photo must have been taken in Washington State (this is the Washington State Genealogical Society blog, after all!).
•Photo will be cropped to 1100 x 250 pixels, so keep that in mind. If in doubt, send it to us & we’ll figure it out.
•You may submit as many photos as you want.
•Final decisions on suitable photos will be made by the awesome WSGS Blog Team.
•There’s no prize if your photo is chosen – just the satisfaction that your photo is being showcased on a blog viewed by hundreds of enthusiastic genealogists.
•There’s no firm deadline to submit photos, just keep ‘em coming. We want to rotate lots of photos to keep the blog fresh.

To submit your photo, please email the image (jpg only, please); what, where, when, and by whom the photo was taken to

Got questions? Email the blog team at in WSGS Programs

Gift Idea: Washington Pioneer Certificate


If your ancestor was one of the 350,000 people who lived in the Washington Territory when it became the nation’s 42nd state on November 11, 1889, you may be eligible for a Washington Pioneer certificate. Or if your ancestors arrived a little later — before December 31, 1900 — you can get a First Citizen certificate. What a great gift for yourself and your family members!


We began the Washington State Centennial Pioneer Certificate Program in 1984 in anticipation of the state’s centennial admission to the union in 1889. The initial certificates were issued to applicants who could prove their ancestors were in Washington Territory on or before November 11, 1889. Those descendants’ names, almost 18,000, were printed in a two-volume set of books entitled “Washington Pioneers” in 1992. A third volume, published in 1993, included Pioneers and First Citizens (those in the state on or before December 31, 1900). The three original volumes are out of print, but an index is available here. WSGS members have access to family lineages in the Members’ Only section of the website.

Pioneer and First Citizen Certificates are still being issued, although they are published only on the WSGS website at this time. If you can prove your ancestor was in Washington prior to November 11, 1889, you may be eligible to purchase a Pioneer Certificate. If your ancestor was in Washington on or before December 31, 1900, you may be eligible for a First Citizen Certificate. More information, including resources to prove residency, is available in the Pioneer and First Citizen Program brochure. An application and instructions are available here.