Day 2 at the Northwest Genealogy Conference

Dressing up like your ancestor was pretty fun!

Day 2 of the conference was “Dress as Your Ancestor Day” and, oh, what fun! Such imagination everywhere we turned! I saw a Swiss Miss, Southern Belle, Scandinavian gal, Scottish couple — even an Egyptian queen with a camel teeth necklace! Next year, I’m going to join the fun!

Yes, that’s Daniel Earl dressed as his Viking ancestor.

Our keynote speaker was the very funny Daniel Earl from Michigan. He kept things entertaining with his lively delivery and humorous quips. I didn’t think his first lecture, “A Place for Caroline: a Case Study on Eastern European Immigrants” would interest me as I don’t have ancestors from that region. But, no……he kept my attention the whole hour and I learned a few things along the journey. What a great presenter!

Our honored guest Kenyatta Berry

I again was in a quandary which two workshops (out of the 13 offered) to choose. Such a wonderful dilemma! Finally decided on “Too Many Marys: Solving Identity and Same Name Conundrum” with Jill Morelli and Michael Strauss’s “Descendency Research: Another Pathway to Genealogy.” Both great classes. Picked up some great hints and approaches to bust down my brick walls with Daniel Murphy and Patrick Ryan (and their sons and grandsons with the same name).

One of the highlights of the conference was the evening banquet. We got our first experience with Kenyatta Berry, tomorrow’s keynote speaker. A TV star to us genealogists, she took us “Behind the Scenes at the Genealogy Roadshow.” She was so engaging — we all had lots of questions for her. Looking forward to her presentations tomorrow!

Day 1 at the Northwest Genealogy Conference

Diahan, her mother and sister

Diahan Southard making science fun!

Close to 400 enthusiastic genealogists from all over the state and beyond gathered in the Byrnes Performing Arts Center in Arlington today for a full day of learning, sharing and networking. Our keynote speaker was Diahan Southard, a native Washingtonian transplanted to Florida. Her three keynote lectures were full of understandable information and inspirational stories about DNA. Repeatedly, she told us, “there is no one else on the earth exactly like you.” Her professional manner (and athleticism!) were admired by all.

In addition to Diahan’s keynotes, conference attendees had the opportunity to attend two additional lectures from the dozen offered. It wasn’t easy to choose, but I finally settled on “Ticked Off! Those Pesky Pre-1850 Census Tic Marks” with Peggy Lauritzen and “Land Records: Using Indexes and Deeds to Move Your Research Forward” with Michele Goodrum. It was a hard choice to make. Who would want to turn down an opportunity to learn about “angst-free” citations (really!) or how to find ancestors who owned slaves? Or what about “Criminals, Paupers and Lunatics”?

Larry Taylor and Michele Cozad, two of the conference’s hardworking volunteers

Dinner with Daniel Earl

Can I say a little about the volunteers? From the moment I drove into the parking lot (thanks to the parking crew), I felt well cared for. A volunteer greeted me with a warm welcome as he swung open the door. There were volunteers at the registration table, packet pick-up, book sales, direction givers, food organizers, and more. And think about how much behind-the-scenes work was done before today! So, if you see a Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society volunteer (and, of course, you will!), thank them for their dedication and making this conference such a success.

A small group of us ended our day with a great dinner at the Moose Creek BBQ in Arlington. Our token male was Daniel Earl, tomorrow’s keynote speaker. What an engaging, funny young man, but don’t take my word for it – show up tomorrow! On-site registrations are still being taken. More information about the conference is available here.

Next Generation Genealogist Attends NWGS

How many times have you heard, “How can we involve the younger generation in our passion for genealogy?” Well, let me introduce you to Kellen Shoe.

Kellen and his grandmother Michele Heiderer.

I met Kellen at Wednesday’s Meet-and-Mingle at the Northwest Genealogy Conference. He’s just turned 17 years old and is going to be a junior at Arlington High School. And he’s passionate about genealogy!

Kellen’s interest in genealogy began about four years ago. When asked why he became interested in a field not usually associated with youth, he responded that he wanted to know who he was. His mother had never talked too much about her family history, but did write down what she knew. With that information, along with DNA results, Kellen started searching and researching. He can now trace his roots back to Colonial America, coming from England to Virginia and Missouri as early as 1607. He’s full of facts, dates, relationships, some of it a tangled web of children born out of wedlock, half siblings and other delicate family matters.

Kellen is the proud owner of original family letters, some describing the complex relationship of his 2x great grandmother and 2x great grandfather who never married. He’s also got old photos including daguerreotypes. His next big research hunt is to find the half siblings of his 2x great grandmother. With the help of DNA testing, he’s optimistic he’ll find some answers.

While Kellen’s interested in becoming a mechanical engineer, it’s pretty safe to say, he’ll stay interested in genealogy. A future genealogist in the making.

Pre-Conference Day at NWGC

Peggy Lauritzen entertaining and educating the crowd.

The attendees at today’s “Free Day Wednesday” at the Northwest Genealogy Conference got more than they anticipated. Billed as a beginning genealogy class with accredited genealogist Peggy Lauritzen, the 200-plus attendees were treated to an afternoon with Peggy, local society management classes, vendors and book sales. In addition, a lucky few attended a fascinating “Genetic Networks Workshop” with Diahan Southard.

Sponsored by the hard-working Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society (SVGS), this fourth-year conference is one of the best in the region. Organizers, including conference chairs Lisa and Phil Bartlow, have planned all year to appeal to newbies and veterans, young and young-at-heart. Peggy’s Genealogy 101 class today yielded more than a few ah-ha’s, scribbled notes and mumbled “I didn’t know that’s” from the crowd, even the seasoned veterans. There’s always something new to learn — or relearn!

Attendees give Diahan Southard’s DNA class a big thumbs up!

I was one of the lucky 25 to atend Diahan Southard’s DNA workshop. This is a new class offered by Diahan, but you wouldn’t have known it. Good handouts and exercises, understandable explanations, even a case study (with assignments for us to complete!). She’s a pro — can’t wait to hear her as our keynoter tomorrow.

I visited a few vendors, including the WSGS Membership table, but will do more of that in the next two days. Stopped by the Heritage Quest Research Library to check out the book sales. They brought in 36 boxes of books, pamphlets and resources, covering every country. And don’t forget to check out the Flip Pal — an invaluable aid in scanning old photos. I love mine; I actually use it MORE than I thought I would!

Councilman Nehring presenting Ruth Caesar with a check for the Pioneer Cemetery kiosk.

We closed the day with a Meet-and-Mingle at the Gleneagle Country Club. Lots of networking, getting acquainted (and reacquainted) and enjoying a great taco bar. One of the highlights of the evening was Snohomish County Councilman Nate Nehring presenting SVGS President Ruth Caesar with an oversized check for a memorial kiosk at the Pioneer Cemetery, Arlington’s first official cemetery. The identification of those interred has long been an important project for SVGS.

Tomorrow is the official start of the NWGC. Fourteen speakers, including keynoter Diahan Southard, will provide lectures and workshops on a wide variety of subjects — something for everyone. I’m still trying to decide on what classes I’m going to attend after looking through the 180-page syllabus!

Registrations are accepted at the door (Byrnes Performing Arts Center, 18821 Crown Ridge Blvd., Arlington). Arrive early and stay all day!

Jewish Genealogical Society September Event

You are invited to attend our upcoming free genealogy event, on
Monday evening, September 11, 2017.


We would also appreciate it if you could help us publicize these event using this email or our flyer, attached above, by emailing out, posting at your location or on your website, or handing out flyers to or sharing this email with those you think might be interested.


The Jewish Genealogical Society of Washington State is pleased to present our September meeting program


“The Hidden Ones: A Veil of Memories”
presented by Marcia Fine, Author and Researcher


DATE:  Monday, September 11 2017

LDS Factoria Building
4200 124th Ave SE
Bellevue, WA  98006

·         Doors open at 6:30 p.m., for all to enjoy the extensive JGSWS Library’s genealogical resources!

·         Free Wi-Fi available. Come early to network with other attendees!

  • Presentation starts promptly at 7:15 p.m.
  • Free Admission and refreshments




The Jewish Book Council describes Marcia Fine’s latest book, Hidden Ones: A Veil of Memories, as: A grandmother in an Inquisition prison. Officials who search and burn every soul not devoted to the Church. Celendaria, a young girl in 1650, is on the verge of becoming a woman in a place that has turned hostile to those who follow their one true faith. She witnesses her grandmother being arrested by Inquisition officers for Judaizing. As conversos, the family experiences dread as they keep rituals and traditions alive. This tale shines a bright light on the hidden Crespin family in their attempt to survive in 17th century Mexico when most of the Americas are ruled by Spain. Sephardim were cast out of many places since 1492.  Celendaria and her grandmother, Clara, carry the story. It concludes in the 1800s when the Palace of the Inquisition opens its doors to set people free. The persecution and fear creates a veil of memories that promises to affect the perception of future generations. This perilous adventure story from another era is a story of strength, bravery and survival.


Marcia Fine will speak to us about the history of conversos and Sephardim, how trauma is passed down to descendants, and the research that has gone into her books. If you’d like to bring any of her books with you, Ms. Fine will be pleased to autograph your book!


Award-winning author and speaker, Marcia Fine, began to pursue her dream of writing in 2000. Since then, she has written seven novels, including The Blind Eye-A Sephardic Journey and Paper Children-An Immigrant’s Legacy. Her most recent novel, Hidden Ones: A Veil of Memories, published in 2017, examines Sephardic Jews in Mexico during the Inquisition. With an interest in epigenetics, she examines how trauma is passed on in families. Marcia has a BA from Florida State University and a Masters from Arizona State University.



Please visit our website at to join or to donate to JGSWS to help support the incredible speakers and workshops we bring to you, to view library listings, download handouts, or for more information.  JGSWS is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit organization. Membership dues and donations are tax deductible.


Thank you very much and we look forward to seeing you, your friends and family!

Karen vanHaagen Campbell
1st VP & Publicity, Jewish Genealogical Society of Washington State

Get More Than You Pay For at the Northwest Genealogy Conference

The Northwest Genealogy Conference begins in less than a week — but there’s still time to jump on board! The conference is a bargain at any price, but Wednesday, August 16 is beyond a bargain! In a prelude to the jam-packed three-day conference, join hundreds of genealogists for “Free Day Wednesday.” Did I say “free”? Yes, I did! FREE.

Professional genealogist Peggy Lauritzen will be conducting a “beginning” class on Wednesday, where she’ll guide attendees on their adventure researching their family’s history. While the session will aid the beginner, I can guarantee even those more experienced genealogists will learn (or relearn) tips, tricks and other valuable information.

In addition to the beginning genealogy class, the Washington State Genealogical Society will be conducting two local society management classes.

Donna Potter Phillips

How to Attract & Keep Members…Awake
Presenter: Donna Potter Phillips, WSGS Vice President

Donna will share some new, some old and some WOW ideas for your society to use to increase and retain your membership. She will also present some program-giving tips for keeping members “awake” and eager to attend your society’s programs. You’ll leave this class with ideas and energy galore!


Virginia Forney Majewski

The Nuts and Bolts of Society Management
Presenter: Virginia Forney Majewski, WSGS President

This presentation is geared toward officers, board members or those considering running for office. Attendees will learn about different types of societies and the legal requirements of maintaining each, insurance needs and about developing policies or rules to protect the society when problems or problem makers arise. You’ll leave this class knowing how to help your Board be functional, responsible and active.

Looking for more? Check out all the vendors! Start networking — you might find a long-lost cousin in the crowd! Get ready for the “main event” starting Thursday, August 17. Dozens and dozens of classes; professional genealogists galore; photo opportunities; more…more…more.

You can register online through Tuesday, August 15 by clicking here. After that, you’ll have to stand in line at the door.

Don’t miss this premier regional event.

TriCity Genealogical Society October Seminar

The 2017 TCGS Seminar on October 14 is only about 2 months away, have you registered for the seminar yet?


Maybe this will help, there are over 20 silent auction items for the seminar with more to come.  Below is a list of some of the items.



  1. New York Genealogical & Biographical Society – 2018 membership
  2. National Society of the Sons of Utah Pioneers – 2 year subscription
  3. Sons of the Spanish American Veterans – 2018 membership
  4. Mid-Columbia Symphony – two tickets
  5. Columbia Point Golf Certificate – 2 (18 holes green fees & one cart)
  6. Ten Piece Candle Set
  7. 3 Quilts and 1 wall hanging quilt
  8. Glazed Pottery Terrine
  9. Set of 6 Travel Plates

FREE Nordic Family History Conference

Registration is open for the upcoming week long Nordic Family History Conference hosted by the Family History Library in Salt Lake City on September 11-15, 2017. The conference will be streamed online for free for those who cannot attend in person. The conference will cover a range of topics from Arkiv Digital to Danish tax records. The classes are for beginning and intermediate genealogists interested in learning about records of Nordic localities and the Family History Library collections.

For information on the classes and times click here.

BOTO to NW Genealogy Conference

Buy one (registration) and take one (youth) free!

If you know a teenager who might be interested in a great start to genealogy and you’re registered for the Northwest Genealogy Conference, the organizers of the conference want to help you develop that interest! New to the many benefits of the NWGC is a complimentary youth registration (ages 13-17) with one full paid registration. (Does not include extra syllabus or meals.)

Email for further information. Let’s get that younger generation interested!

Kenyatta Berry Ready to Come to Arlington

Photograph by Roberto Valladares

Noted genealogist and TV personality Kenyatta Berry will be a featured keynote speaker at the upcoming Northwest Genealogy Conference. Ms. Berry was recently interviewed by the Arlington Times about her love of genealogy and a sneak peek at what she’s got planned for the Arlington conference. An online and audio version of the interview is available here.

Professional genealogists Daniel Earl and Diahan Southard will also be keynote speakers during the August 16 through August 19 event.  Click here for more information and registration.