Kerry McHugh Upton Named One of WSGS’s Outstanding Volunteers in 2023

Since 2003, the Washington State Genealogical Society has recognized over 600 outstanding volunteers and teams, nominated by their local society or genealogical organization for their service and dedication. These volunteers are the backbone of their local society, giving their time and expertise, to the organization and the field of genealogy. In the coming months, you will be introduced to each of the 2023 award recipients and learn why they received the 2023 WSGS Outstanding Volunteer and Team Award.

Today we’re introducing Kerry McHugh Upton of Olympia, Washington, who were nominated by the Olympia Genealogical Society (OGS).

For 20 years, Kerry has been a strong leader and encouraging member of OGS. She has served as president and secretary, and assisted on committees and teams planning the annual seminars, retreats and other special events. In 2019, she organized a number of special interest groups, which are still going strong.

Kerry established OGS’s first Facebook page. She initiated recording of monthly programs, posting them for member viewing on the website. Then, in 2020, when OGS learned that their seminar had to be cancelled because of the pandemic and social isolation, Kerry worked tirelessly to choreograph their first virtual seminar, in just one month’s time, cementing her place as a member of the newly formed tech team. Today, she is helping plan how to hybridize future meetings to be both physical and virtual.

For more information on the WSGS Outstanding Volunteer Award program, visit the Recognition page of the WSGS website or contact Please type “Volunteer Award” in the subject line.

Let’s Talk About…Are You Your Own Brickwall?

In genealogy, the term “brick wall” is often used to refer to tough research problems, apparent dead-ends that after many hours of searching still yield no answers. 

We all think we know about brick walls because most of us have them….. or have had them in our family history research. Am I right? Ever considered that you might be your own brickwall??

A handout from FamilySearch identifies some common genealogical mistakes and offers strategies for overcoming them:

    • Talk to family!! Do not skip this step.
    • Realize that there is information beyond the Internet.
    • Realize that while online family trees are great CLUES, unless they are well documented, they are not to be taken as  gospel.
    • Get over the “if it’s not free, I don’t/can’t/want it.” (There is a cost associated with creating and maintaining websites, obtaining and organizing records, etc)
    • Plan your research; don’t succumb to SOS (Shiny Object Syndrome)
    • Don’t start at the wrong end…. meaning start with today, document your ancestry from today on back …. and you’ll likely find clues to that end-of-line ancestor.
    • Focus on one family at a time… NOT an individual. Not one man or woman was totally alone but was surrounded by family, friends and neighbors. (In those olden times of the 1800s, where did an ailing old widow go? To live with her children or grandchildren! There was no Social Security.)
    • Be aware of spelling variations: Phillips, Philips, Phillipss, Filips, Flips, etc. are all the same surname (most likely, spoken by one who could not spell). 
    • Aim to access the “real” or bottom-line source, not a derivative source. Ask: where did she get that information as shown on her online tree????? SHE is not a source for you! 
    • Do you collect names and bits and pieces of likely-looking information in hopes of fitting the puzzle pieces together? Doesn’t work well, does it, and soon you have desk overflowing with papers! Take the time….. make the time… to analyze your findings. Take time to spread it out on a table and think how it might or does fit. 
    • It is most worthwhile to write up your idea, your analyzing, your thoughts. Just because you’ve gathered a bunch of facts about an individual or a family, do you have the right family and/or all the information? A school notebook is great; you’re not writing a novel but just jotting ideas. 😐

There are dozens of websites offering “Overcoming Brickwalls” and many YouTube videos of the same. Instead of giving up, or quitting when all the low-hanging fruit is picked, or succumbing to SOS, give yourself a shake and learn how to NOT be your own brick wall!

Bainbridge Island Genealogical Society The Paper Trail to Naturalization Records

Friday, April 19 @ 10AM
At the Bainbridge Library
and on Zoom
Evelyn Roehl
will present
Pledging Allegiance – the Paper Trail to
Naturalization Records

Evelyn will first provide historical information on naturalization and citizenship including the many changes through the years. She’ll discuss the different court systems involved in the two steps of the naturalization process and give us research tips and techniques to get through the maze and find your ancestors’ information.

Evelyn Roehl was born in Minnesota and raised on a family farm, the youngest of ten children. She moved to Seattle in 1985 and in 1992 began digging into the roots of her family tree. Two years later she took a sabbatical to travel across the United States and then over to Germany and France to trace her ancestors and relatives.
In 1995, she started Kin Hunters to offer her genealogical research and publishing skills to others. She has made numerous research trips to the Family History Library (FamilySearch) in Salt Lake City, Utah, as well as to other research facilities around the United States and Canada

So, please join us on April 19 at 10AM

either at the Bainbridge Library or on Zoom

Everyone Welcome! No membership necessary but registration is required.

Register now on our website:

Yakima Valley Genealogical Society Spring Seminar

Yakima Valley Genealogical Society

1901 S. 12th Avenue

Union Gap, WA 98903

Phone: (509) 248-1328


Yakima Valley Genealogical Society

Spring Seminar

Saturday, April 13, 2024

9:00am – 4:00pm Lunch and snacks are included. 

Location: Y.V.G.S. Library with Registration at 8:30am

Speaker: Christine Cohen

Subject: A Full Day Dedicated to Finding Your Ancestors.

“Have You Signed Up Yet?” You won’t want to miss this Outstanding Nationally recognized speaker – Christine Cohen. She is most knowledgeable in a variety of genealogical topics. She will be speaking on the following topics that are most beneficial in finding your ancestors. (1) Immigration Ports of Entry. (2) Naturalization and Citizenship Records. (3) Grand Army of the Republic – Researching Union Civil War Veterans. (4) Cousin Baiting & Cousin Stalking.

The Registration form is online at  Click on Society News.  Spring Seminar. Advanced Registration before April 7th. $40.00. Onsite April 13th Registration 8:30am to 9:00am. $45.00. No Refunds of Registration fee after April 7th.

Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society Digging Deeper Into Part 2

Presentation – Diving Deeper Into Two  

(This presentation and meeting will not be available via Zoom)

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

1:00 pm

SVGS Library

6111 188 PL NE, Arlington, WA

You are invited to this free presentation at the SVGS library.

Everyone is welcome! 

Donna Snider will be back speaking in person at our April 9th meeting. Our business meeting will follow the presentation.

Donna’s topic: Diving Deeper Into – Part Two

This will be a continuation of the February presentation by Donna.

Time to expand your research in  You’ve processed all those handy Record Hints for your ancestor, so now what?  FamilySearch has a vast amount of records that are only available with a deeper dive.  Come learn some tips and tricks that will make your dive more effective and less frustrating.  

Bio: Donna Snider is Director of the Camano-Stanwood FamilySearch Center on nearby Camano Island. Her life-long love of family history propelled her through many hours of recording memories for the elderly, through several college genealogy classes, and through a B.A. in gerontology at Brigham Young University. She has taught a variety of genealogical classes over the last several decades, and her specialty is teaching others how to easily steer through the extensive program.

There will be a short break with refreshments. The monthly meeting will follow.

DIG – DNA Special Interest Group

Also join us at the SVGS library from 1-3pm on Thursday, April 18th for our DNA Special Interest Group (DIG). This group works together to develop a better understanding of DNA techniques and strategies for finding relatives, discuss and review new DNA developments and tools and help members with their research problems. This group meets at the same time on the 3rd Thursday of the month.

All DNA skill levels are welcome to attend.

If you have a specific DNA topic you would like to discuss or have any other suggestions for this group, please send an email

Also, if you have not joined us yet and would like to receive emails in the future for the DIG group, please send an email to and request to be added to the DIG email list.

For more information visit

Tacoma Pierce County genealogical Society Presents Nathan Dylan Goodwin

Tacoma-Pierce County Genealogical Society – Presents Nathan Dylan Goodwin
Tuesday, April 9, 2024 from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm Live via Zoom

Nathan Dylan Goodwin
For those of us hooked on Forensic Genealogist Morton Farrier’s
adventures, it’s a great day to be able to hear from his creator
in-person (albeit Zoom)! Of course, Nathan Dylan Goodwin has written
many stories that have intrigued us for years, and on Tuesday, April
9th, at 11am via Zoom all the way from Kent, England, he will be
online with us and present “Finding Henry”.  Goodwin has degree in
Radio, Film and Television studies, with a Masters in Creative Writing
and he is a favorite mystery crime writer of many of us. So please
plan to be there!

This is a special time (it will be recorded and available via zoom in
the evening at 6:15pm as well) but we want as many members to be there
as possible in the AM to show him that we are huge fans and make him
feel welcome!

Topic: TPCGS Membership Zoom Meeting
Time: Apr 9, 2024 11:00 AM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 867 1814 3644
Passcode: 630507

One tap mobile
+12532050468,,86718143644#,,,,*630507# US
+12532158782,,86718143644#,,,,*630507# US (Tacoma)

Dial by your location
• +1 253 205 0468 US
• +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)

Meeting ID: 867 1814 3644
Passcode: 630507

Find your local number:

Lower Columbia Genealogical Society The Way Females Confound our Genealogy Research

Janet O’Coner Camarata

Genealogist and lecturer

The Way Females Confound

Our Genealogy Research

Speaker at the Lower Columbia Genealogical Society’s

April 11th Zoom meeting.

Virtual meeting doors will open at 6:30 pm and speakers

program will begin at 7:00 pm. Public is invited to attend

For a link to join the meeting contact

Seattle Genealogical Society Tip of the Week New Content on

NEW CONTENT ON NEWSPAPERS.COM has added over 150 new papers from the US, Canada and Panama. Included are new US papers from Alabama, California, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. New papers have also been added for Ontario and Panama City.
April 1, 2024

SGS eNews! comes out the first of every month. contact eNews!

Seattle Genealogical Society April Happenings

Warren Umoh / Unsplash


Want to get into using DNA in your tree but don’t know where to start? SGS is offering a three-part class over three weeks to give you the knowledge you need to get going.

Week 1:
Why use DNA?
Types of DNA
Types of tests and what you can learn from each

Week 2:
Deeper dive into autosomal DNA
Introduction to third-party tools

Week 3:
Deeper dive on mitochondrial and Y-DNA
Resources for continuing your learning

Classes are April 3, 10, and 17. Each 90-minute sessions will be conducted via Zoom. The cost is $80 (SGS members $65). Max enrollment is set to 20, so sign up soon.

Register now

Get more information


Family Tree Maker is hitting the road as it prepares to launch its newest release. FTM Ambassador, Mark Olsen, will be stopping at the Good Shepherd Center in Seattle to demonstrate the new features of FTM 2024 as well as teach all things related to the software and its partner products. There will be two opportunities to attend the session: one during the day (11 a.m.-2 p.m.) and another in the evening (5:30-8:30 p.m.).

The event will be in Room 202, a larger meeting room at the Good Shepherd Center. Seating is limited to 50 people. Please arrive early. Registration link coming soon.


SGS has a long history of collaboration with the Seattle Public Library (SPL). Join us for a guided tour of SPL’s genealogical resources with SPL’s own genealogical librarian. This event is limited to 20 people, so sign up today!
The Seattle Room on the 10th floor of the Central Library is open to researchers by appointment only. It holds more than 50,000 items documenting and exploring the culture and history of Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. Get a glimpse behind the scenes and learn about resource that can aid your study of the Seattle area and its people.
The Genealogy Department on the 9th floor originally housed many books donated by SGS researchers of 100 years ago and now holds some SGS archival materials. Check the SGS catalog for resources that were transferred to SPL when SGS vacated the Sand Point facility.
Following the morning tour, consider breaking for lunch with others or conducting your personal research. The library is open until 6pm.


Seattle Genealogical Society is delighted to announce a new special interest group (SIG) focused on Pacific Northwest genealogical research. This SIG will meet via Zoom on the first Wednesday of each month at 6:30PM Pacific, 9:30PM Eastern. SGS membership is encouraged but not required. More information at the SGS website. Inaugural meeting May 1st.


Fold3 has added a new collection of records for Black and Indigenous Soldiers who served in the Revolutionary War. The records are primarily manuscripts dating from 1775-1783 and include muster rolls, pay vouchers and enlistment records. The records are varied, but may contain information such as: the name of the solider, the unit, regiment and rank. They can also include birthdate and place of birth, occupation, date and place of enlistment and further military history or history of enslavement.SGS SURVEY EXTENDED TO SUNDAY APRIL 7TH

If you have not yet submitted your SGS Survey for the future now is your chance. And now, no sign-in is required!

Take the Survey

SAVE THE DATESpring Virtual Classes
Fiske Genealogical Library
Wednesdays 10:00 am-noon

Join the Fiske’s free virtual classes.

  • April 3: “Piecing it Together, Discovering a Family Secret,” with Claire Smith 
  • April 17: “Which Hans Jensen is Mine? Navigating Scandinavian Patronymics,” with Jenny Hansen

For further information see the Fiske website.

“Discover the Power of Your DNA”
San Mateo County Genealogical Society
Saturday April 13, 2024, 9:00 am-2:00 pm

Learn the Fundamentals of DNA. Find more information and register.

“How to Write a Family Portrait”
Eastside Genealogical Society
April 18, 2023, 6:00 pm-7:00 pm

In this hour-long, free generative writing workshop, essayist Kristen Millares Young will use guided prompts and discussions to help you plan, write, and revise your family stories. For more information and to register.    
Tacoma-Pierce County Spring Seminar with Cyndi Ingle and Cari A. Taplin
Tacoma-Pierce County Genealogical Society
Saturday April 27, 2024, 8:45 am-3:15 pm

  • Smarter Searching: Refining Search Parameters for Genealogists
  • Off the Shelf: The Unexplored Potential for eBooks in Genealogy
  • Using Timelines to Analyze Your Research
  • The Heart of It All: A New Hampshire to Ohio Migration Case Study

for more information and to register, visit the Tacoma-Pierce County Genealogical Society website.

SGS CALENDAR OF EVENTSGood Shepherd Center, Suite 302
4649 Sunnyside Ave N
Seattle, WA 98103
206 522-8658
Hours :  Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday   
** 10:00 am – 3:00 pm **
 Always check the SGS Website Calendar of Events for the meeting links, registration, or for last minute updates or changes to the schedule. Be advised you may need to register in advance to join a meeting.   All times listed are Pacific Time unless otherwise notedMonday, April 1, 2024, 10:00 am-11:30 am,  Brags & Bricks Social Interest Group (Virtual), Join us for an informal social gathering. Share your recent genealogical successes and challenges, or just come to hang out with other genealogists.

Saturday, April 1, 2024, 10:15 am-12:15 pm, FamilySearch SIG (Virtual), with Lou Daly. Discover many ways to use the FamilySearch website in your research. Meeting includes instruction and time for Q&A. Email Lou to get on the email list: loudaly@nwlink.comSunday, April 7, 2024, 1:00 pm-3:00 pm, DNA Workshop, with Cary Bright and Craig Gowens. To participate you need to be on the SGS DNA Interest Group email list. Contact Cary Bright at to join.Monday, April 8, 2024, 10:00 am-11:30 am, Brags & Bricks Social Interest Group (Virtual), Join us for an informal social gathering. Share your recent genealogical successes and challenges, or just come to hang out with other genealogists.

Monday, April 8, 2024, 6:00 pm-7:30 pm, Write It Up! SIG (Virtual), Join this group  to share and discuss writing projects, resources, and ideas. To join or learn more, contact Alaine Keisling at

Tuesday, April 9, 2024, 10:00 am-11:00 am, Tech Tuesday (Virtual), informal consultation time on DNA, genealogy software, or genealogy-related technical issues. All are welcome. No appointment necessary. Bring us your problem; we’ll try to help.

Sunday, April 14 2024, 1:00 am-3:00 pm, Scandinavian Interest Group (Virtual), “Indexed vs Non-indexed searches for Norway and Sweden” hosts Karen Knudson and Kathi M. Share information and discuss Scandinavian ancestral research.

Monday, April 15, 2024, 10:00 am-11:30 am, Brags & Bricks Social Interest Group (Virtual), Join us for an informal social gathering. Share your recent genealogical successes and challenges, or just come to hang out with other genealogists.Tuesday, April 16, 2024, 1:00 pm-3:00 pm,  “Pass It On” Writers’ Group (Social Interest Group), Create your family history and share with others in an effort to improve your writing. Please note: The Writers’ Group is at the maximum number of participants and is not currently accepting any new members.Friday, April 19, 2024, 10:00 am-12:30 pm,  Seattle Public Library Tour (Special Events), at Seattle Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave., Seattle. SGS has a long history of collaboration with the Seattle Public Library (SPL). Join us for a guided tour of SPL’s genealogical resources. LIMITED TO 20 PEOPLE. Reserve your spot today.

Saturday, April 20, 2024, 10:00 am-noon, Irish SIG (Virtual), with Susan McKee. Share information and discuss Irish ancestral research. See the SGS website Calendar of Events for further information.

Saturday, April 20, 2024, 1:00 pm-3:00 pm, German SIG (Virtual), 
Our speaker for April, Merv Weiss, will be exploring the topic of learning about his German-ness with his talk, “Growing Up German Without Realizing It.” Register on the SGS website.

Monday, April 22, 2024, 10:00 am-11:30 am, Brags & Bricks Social Interest Group (Virtual), Join us for an informal social gathering. Share your recent genealogical successes and challenges, or just come to hang out with other genealogists.

Tuesday, April 23, 2024, 10:00 am-11:00 am, Tech Tuesday (Virtual), informal consultation time on DNA, genealogy software, or genealogy-related technical issues. All are welcome. No appointment necessary. Bring us your problem; we’ll try to help. Thursday, April 25, 2024, two times: 11:00 am-1:00 pm, AND 5:30 pm-8:30 pm, Family Tree Maker Tour (Special Events), Family Tree Maker Ambassador, Mark Olsen, will be hat the Good Shepherd Center in Seattle to demonstrate the new features of FTM 2024.Monday, April 29, 2024, 10:00 am-11:30 am,  Brags & Bricks Social Interest Group (Virtual), Join us for an informal social gathering. Share your recent genealogical successes and challenges, or just come to hang out with other genealogists.

Monday, May 1, 2024, 6:30 pm-7:30 pm,  Pacific Northwest Interest Group (Virtual)  (Special Interest Groups), Topics this month: 1. Short history of Oregon Territory, 2. Oregon and Washington State Archives, 3. Oregon and Washington State Libraries. 

Register on the SGS website.

Saturday, March 23, 2024, 1:00 pm-3:00 pm, DNA Workshop SIG, Message to join.Monday, May 6, 2024, 10:00 am-11:30 am, Brags & Bricks Social Interest Group (Virtual), Join us for an informal social gathering. Share your recent genealogical successes and challenges, or just come to hang out with other genealogists.