Seattle Genealogical Society News


Join us Saturday, December 8, from 1:30 – 3:00 PM at the SGS Library for our Winter Holiday Celebration Potluck. Bring a dish to share – maybe something that reflects your cultural heritage. Share stories, recipes, and holiday memories. See you there!


with Linda Harms Okazaki

February 2-3, 2019 

Seattle Public Library, 1000 4th Ave, Seattle, WA


Join the Seattle Genealogical Society and our partners for a weekend of learning how to research Japanese American ancestry.

Saturday’s all-day program “Exploring Our Nikkei Genealogy” is geared toward entry level family historians who have friends or family with Japanese ancestry. A box lunch ($15.00) may be ordered in advance. Those who attend this session are invited to return Sunday afternoon, 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm, for “Ask a Genealogist”.

Sunday morning’s program “Japanese American Research for Genealogists”, is designed for intermediate and advanced researchers. Those who attend this session will volunteer their research skills on Sunday afternoon, helping Saturday’s registrants to get started on their family history journey by talking to an experienced researcher.

Registration is free, but limited to 40 for each day’s program. Seats will be filled in the order registrations are submitted. Registration begins December 1st. Click this link to register online:

Register for SGS Japanese Genealogy Seminar

The brochure is here:  Seminar Brochure

This seminar is funded through the generosity of the Heritage Grant program by 4Culture, the cultural services agency of King County.




We regret to inform you that the program, “Digging Deeper: Civil War Widow’s Pension”. originally scheduled for Sunday, December 9, has been postponed until further notice. We will post a new date when it is confirmed, probably in the spring of 2019. We hope you will join us then for an opportunity to explore this topic in greater depth.
*** NOTICE ***


Beginning in 2019,  the Scandinavian SIG will meet quarterly instead of monthly. The first meeting of the year will be Sunday,  January 13 from 1:00-3:00 pm and the meeting following that will be Sunday, April 14. Researching Scandinavian ancestors? This is the group for you. Led by Karen Knudson.



Unless otherwise indicated all programs will be at the SGS Library, 6200 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle. Check the SGS Web Site for additions, changes, and corrections. Programs may be canceled or postponed because of inclement weather. The holiday closure in December will be from December 21, 2018 through January 1, 2019.


Saturday, December 1, 10:15 am – 12:15 pm, Canadian SIG, come join David Robert, group leader, for help researching your Canadian ancestors.

Saturday, December 1, 10:15 am – 12:15 pm, Family Tree Interest Group, Lou Daly is leader of this special interest group exploring all the features of the tool Family Tree on
Saturday, December 1, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm, Puget Sound – Association of Professional Genealogists, meeting and Holiday Party. Everyone welcome. Bring a treat to share with the group.

Saturday, December 8, 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm, SGS Winter Holiday Social Gathering, potluck

Friday Serendipity

What day is tomorrow???  A most auspicious day!

December 1st is day number 335 of the year (336 in leap year) leaving only 30 days until the end of the current year. And only 24 days until Christmas.

“According to the Zodiac, the astrological sign for December is Sagittarius and such people are said to be brave and full of confidence. They can take on the most difficult challenges in life, much more efficiently than most other signs. And one important reason for their positivity lies in their open-mindedness. They are the ones who believe in moving on and exploring. Indeed, they are great admirers of freedom. However, this want for freedom can sometimes make them impatient and tactless.”

So what, you are saying? You’d rather know that on this day in 1982 Michael Jackson released his Thriller album?

Just sayin…………………….

(Thank you, Wikipedia, for the quote.)

GENEALOGICAL FORUM’s Thursday Evening E-News


Thursday Evening

E-News Edition

November 29, 2018

Curious about the status of your GFO Membership?

We’d love to have you as a GFO Member!

For more information visit, contact us at, or call our library at 503-963-1932.

Be sure to check the complete GFO CALENDAR.
Also, don’t miss the current issue of The Forum Insider

Giving Tuesday Volunteer Blitz = THANK YOU!

Thank you to 34 marvelous volunteers who donated their time on Giving Tuesday!

They helped to inventory and label thousands of books.

We are thrilled with the number of red “DONE” labels sticking out from so many of our shelves.

No one can remember the last time we methodically took stock of what’s in our collection. Volunteers were able to restore books to the proper order and document a number of them that are missing. It’s not exciting work but its important for a successful library.

We didn’t get through all the inventory that needs to be done. Please come join us for one of our Sunday morning Work Parties so we can finish the job.

As always, thank you for all you do for GFO!

Annual Appeal: Please Give Now to the GFO

What do you call a group with no paid staff, the largest genealogy collection in the Pacific Northwest and a library that’s open daily?

You know the answer: the Genealogical Forum of Oregon.

But did you know that member dues cover only 24% of our budget?

Our rent is going up $1200 every year.
Our database subscriptions now cost almost $5,000 each year.

Once each year we ask for your support.

Now is that time.

We are already 1/4 of the way to our goal!
During this Annual Appeal we need to raise $25,000.

That’s a big goal. We’re confident you can help us make that happen.

Please make your tax deductible donation to the GFO today.

Give Today
The GFO belongs to the Oregon Cultural Trust. We have a Silver Star rating on GuideStar. Please check with your employer on possible matching donations, especially through Benevity.

Join GFO’s German Special Interest Group! Saturday, December 1st

December’s meeting agenda: Duane Funk and Bonnie Randolph will share the highlights of their recent trips to ancestral towns in Germany.

The German Special Interest Group (SIG) was formed in the spring of 2011. It is intended to be a source of information and inspiration for anyone with German speaking ancestors. One goal is to provide information on a variety of topics related to Germanic history and migration. We also will provide time for members to share their research journeys and connect with others who may be researching the same region or time period.

The group meets at the GFO Library on the 1st Saturday of every month. Meetings start at 1:00 p.m. and end at 3:00 p.m.

All GFO’s Special Interest Groups are completely free and open to the public!

GFO’s French Canada Special Interest Group – Holiday Break

Reminder: The French Canada Special Interest Group (SIG) will not meet in December this year.

The group’s leader, Bob LaMarche, invites everyone to join at the SIG’s next meeting in the new year!

The group is hoping to see you again on Sunday, January 20th, from 3:30 to 5 p.m.

Don’t Miss Portland’s 34th Annual ScanFair!

If you have Scandinavian roots and you’ve never been to this event, well, this weekend is a great time to discover the magic!

This annual event is a two-day Nordic craft fair extravaganza, complete with foods and drinks of the region.

WHEN? Saturday, December 1st, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., and Sunday, December 2nd, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

The fair is always held on the first full weekend in December each year and is located at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland’s Rose Quarter area.

See their website for a full list of vendors and other details!

This week at GFO …

SATURDAY, December 1st

Virginia Group 10 a.m. – noon

Land Records, Part One – Virginia, West Virginia, & Kentucky

Land records are some of the most rewarding records for genealogical research. They generally represent the longest time span for records, and are rich in genealogical information. We’ll discuss the laws that were passed to manage land claims as new areas opened for settlement. We will explore the various original land records in Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky, where the land is located, and where to find the records. The discussion will include headrights, bounty land, preemption certificates and other methods of claiming land. Part Two of this series will be discussed at the group’s January 2019 meeting.

For more information see our blog: “Virginia Roots and Vines”!

Questions? Email Judi Scott and Carol Surrency at

German Group 1 – 3 p.m.

Duane Funk and Bonnie Randolph will share the highlights of their trips to ancestral towns in Germany. Come join the fun!

SUNDAY, December 2nd

Manuscripts Work Party 9:00 a.m. – Noon

Explore our manuscript, personal papers, and family Bibles collection while we organize, scan, and create finding aids. Drop by at the time that works for you. Questions? Send a note to Nanci Remington and LauraDenise White at

MONDAY, December 3rd

Free First Monday! 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Come visit our research library each first Monday of every month and splurge on all GFO’s wonderful resources for FREE. Explore our online databases like Fold3, Ancestry World Library Edition,, and many more. Our analog and microfilm collections total some 49,000 items. Don’t miss out!

WEDNESDAY, December 5th

Learn & Chat 10 a.m. – noon

Topic: Walking the Shelves: all that GFO has to offer.

At Learn & Chat some of the learning comes from speakers with particular expertise but most of it comes from the sharing of experiences and knowledge of attendees who have developed methods that work for them. And if you have been doing genealogy for any length time you have likely experienced the wonderful moments of exhilaration, the successes that you then share with others and that drive you to continue researching. Unfortunately those times can be few and far between. Join us to talk about your genealogy questions and help provide support to others. Facilitated by Jeanne Quan.

DNA Q&A 1 – 3 p.m.

Lisa McCullough will be available to help answer your DNA questions, whether you are new and just getting started or have more involved questions. Curious? Send Lisa a message at, or feel free to just drop by!

MyHeritage LIVE Free Webinars



We’re delighted to announce that all the videos of the MyHeritage LIVE conference are now online for free!

Weren’t able to attend? Now you can view every lecture, with video of the presenter and a close up of their slides.

For a full list of all the sessions, lectures and panels, please see this blog post.

We’d be grateful if you could share these with your friends and networks.


Many thanks


Daniel Horowitz

Genealogy Expert.

Wednesday Nostalgia

Do you YouTube? If you don’t, and you consider yourself a genealogist, you should. It’s a free resource, so why not?

Yes, there are plenty of funny cat or dog videos, “Wal-Martians,” how-to-cook-anything videos, travel logs, beginning crochet, wood carving and darling baby videos.

Of course there are “black” things to view; just do not go there. They won’t pop up unless you ask for them.

Did you know there are channels on YouTube? You can click to view a list of whatever topic you want………. and that includes genealogy! Ancestry! How tos! History of any topic you can think of!! FamilySearch!

You’ve heard the phrase, Try it you’ll like it! This applies to YouTube too. Do give it a try.

Tuesday Trivia

Perhaps this should have been posted under Mystery…….but I ask for your help to identify this darling little flowering plant:

It is growing happily in my daughter-in-law’s garden in Port Angeles. The thin woody stems are about a foot long. The red-and-white flowers are tiny and about the size of your thumbnail.  She says it’s a perennial.


Monday Mystery

To me, and perhaps to you, this is a real mystery………. but a non-genealogical mystery.

We’ve been watching a good many TV shows about space and the mysteries thereof. There have been several shows exploring the dynamics of each of our planets in turn. All have been fascinating.

The mystery here to me is this: If we were to think of them as siblings, all created to be part of THIS solar system, then why are they so very different??

A mystery for you to ponder upon as you pause before sliding into the holiday frenzy, eh?

SCRIBE-ing it and lovin’ it!

WOWSERS. I’ve gone from being number 169 on the list to being number 114. That means with my relatively puny accomplishment number of 955, I’m still ahead of lots of folks and climbing up the Getting It Done Ladder. And it feels good. I shall likely never catch up to Rose or Stephen or Charles but it surely is a warm-fuzzy feeling to be paying it forward with SCRIBE.

Are you SCRIBE-ing it yet???

Puget Sound Civil War Roundtable December Meeting

Upcoming PSCWRT Meeting

December 13, 2018
Stuart Streichler will discuss the Impeachment of Andrew Johnson. He is the author of Justice Curtis in the Civil War Era: At the Crossroads of American Constitutionalism (Curtis was defense counsel for Johnson at the impeachment trial). Professor Streichler’s articles have appeared in many law reviews, newspapers, and other periodicals, and he has been interviewed by the BBC, CBC The National, Fox News, NHK, and local television news programs. He teaches at the University of Washington, Bothell, School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences.

Social hour begins at 6:00 pm, Dinner at 6:45 pm, and program at 8:00 pm.  Click the button below to make a reservation. Students may attend free with no dinner.  Make a reservation and choose a dinner if you wish.
See website for more information and to make a reservation


GENEALOGICAL FORUM’s Thursday Evening E-News


Thursday Evening

E-News Edition

November 23, 2018

Curious about the status of your GFO Membership?

We’d love to have you as a GFO Member!

For more information visit, contact us at, or call our library at 503-963-1932.

Be sure to check the complete GFO CALENDAR.
Also, don’t miss the current issue of The Forum Insider

Hallman-Widerburg 2

For 14 straight summers, someone has run the same obituary in The Oregonian for three triplets who died the day they were born. Reporter Tom Hallman tracked down the woman responsible.

It was GFO member Bonnie Widerburg, memorializing her grandchildren.
Bonnie didn’t think it was a story, but Tom knew it would strike a chord.

His article “While They Lived All of One Day, They are Not Forgotten” was published on August 11th of this year. Bonnie was grateful and moved by Tom’s writing, but she had only talked to him by phone, never in person.

Last Saturday, Bonnie finally got to meet the reporter who told her family’s story. The Pulitzer winner presented GFO’s latest GenTalk about “Writing Your Own Story” to a crowd of 34 people at GFO’s library. Widerburg called the session “a real highlight for me. We were fortunate to hear from this talented man.”

All of us who were in attendance echoed Widerburg’s comments, as the talk ran 15 minutes long and no one wanted it to end.


Did you know you can shop for the holidays and help the GFO at the same time?

The best part? Giving won’t cost you anything!

Cyber Monday is around the corner with some super big sales. If you buy on Amazon, please start your online shopping trips here:

Be sure to register with Amazon Smile and choose the Genealogical Forum of Oregon to benefit from your purchases. We get a small donation with every purchase you make.

It’s a great way to preserve and share heritage. Member dues cover less than half of our annual library rent. Donations pay the bulk of GFO’s all-volunteer operation, and this is one more way you can help.

As always, thank you for all you do for GFO!

GivingTueday 2018 v2

On #GivingTuesday, most non-profits are asking for monetary donations — and GFO would never turn those down — but this is our annual appeal for your TIME.

This year we’ll be attempting a partial inventory of our books. We want to discover what’s missing AND get the books in the correct order on the shelves. People will work in teams, and there will be some book labeling for those who can’t stand to do shelf reading.

Food, free passes to the library, and a general good time to be had by all! We hope to see you there.

Virginia SIG Logo

“Land Records: Part 1” – Virginia, West Virginia, & Kentucky

Saturday, December 1st at 10 a.m. in GFO’s Multipurpose Room (at the back of the library)

Land records are some of the most rewarding records for genealogical research. They generally represent the longest time span for records and are rich in genealogical information. We’ll discuss the laws that were passed to manage land claims as new areas opened for settlement. We will explore the various original land records in Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky, where the land is located … and where to find the records. The discussion will include headrights, bounty land, preemption certificates, and other methods of claiming land.

Questions? Send them please to the group’s leaders, Judi Scott and Carol Surrency, at


As genealogists, we do a lot of photo handling. Apple’s free Photos App is a great tool to edit and organize your photos to make them look their best for all archiving purposes. Don’t struggle with tasks like fixing/cropping images when you can get a solid grasp of the basics in this free class.

The Portland Mac Users Group offers this PMUG College class on Wednesday, December 12 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the GFO library. FREE for GFO and PMUG members. $10 for non-members.

More information is available on the PMUG website.


At this time of year, we are so thankful for all of you who help keep the GFO library open.

Every single person here is a volunteer. We have no paid staff.

But we need two (or three) more people to step up to help us keep the GFO library open.

We have lost our Research Assistant/Receptionists on two vital shifts:

Wednesday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. – each week.
Wednesday 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. – 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of each month.

Can you spare some hours? We must have two people on duty on each shift. For the safety of our volunteers we must close the library if only one person is here.

Please contact Cathy, our volunteer coordinator, at


Visit the Oregon Historical Society On Us

Oregon Historical Society Logo

We’re pleased to offer a new benefit to GFO Members.

You can now check out Cultural Passes from the GFO to visit the Oregon Historical Society.

As an affiliate of OHS, the GFO receives two annual membership cards. We’d like to share this benefit with you.

We’ve turned the cards into Cultural Passes, which you can check out one day and return the next.

HOW?? Just ask at our reception desk if you’d like to visit the Oregon Historical Society. You might like it so much that you choose to become a member there too!


SATURDAY, November 24th

DNA Beginners 9 a.m. – noon

This session will be a discussion of your questions. It would be easier if you submit your questions to Emily Aulicino at least a few days before the class. This way, they will not be overlooked or lack time. We’ll address those first. Even if you are not planning to come, send in your questions.

This is the chance to cover your particular issues which could include what tests work for what problems, exploring how to use spreadsheets to help you organize your data, viewing the company websites, and more. Anyone interested in using DNA for genealogy is welcomed.

Time will be provided for additional questions. You are welcome to send me your questions before the meeting. Feel free to email us at

African American Ancestry Group 12:30 – 2:30 p.m.

We realize that for November’s meeting will be on Thanksgiving weekend. Because many people will be spending time with family instead of other family historians, rather than have a speaker and program, we will be holding an open-ended help session for the meeting. If you’re stuck in your research, want some advice, or just want to brainstorm, come on by. SIG coordinator Janice Sellers will be there for the entire time and will be happy to talk with you.

If you know of any other people interested in African American genealogy, tell them about the group. You do not have to be a GFO member to participate! For more information, contact us at

SUNDAY, November 25th

Library Work 9:00 a.m. – Noon

There’s another work party at the GFO library today for those of you who can come. There’s lots to do and we’d love to have your help. Doors open at 9 and work usually wraps up around noon. Some people come for just an hour or so; others work the full time. You are welcome to do either. Any time you can share is valuable. Hope to see you there.

MONDAY, November 26th

Library Closed to prep for #GivingTuesday.

TUESDAY, November 27th

#GivingTuesday!! 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Come join the fun and give of your time at GFO’s library this Giving Tuesday! We need able-minds and able-bodies.

Don’t forget! Non-members who come to volunteer can earn a free pass to the library so they can research on another day.

We will bring in food to fortify us, so please give a few hours or make a day of it!