Bainbridge Island Genealogical Society Using Genetic Genealogy in Crime Fiction

This talk gives an overview of the investigative genetic genealogy process, IGG: what it is, where it is used and the basics of how it is undertaken.
Nathan will briefly discuss some real-life key cases that have used IGG and then move on to his own fictional writing, focusing on the Venator Cold Case series, which uses this methodology to catch serial killers. He will explain his meticulous research method, the experts that he consults and his writing process.
Friday, July 19 @ 10AM on Zoom only Nathan Dylan Goodwin will present The Science Behind the Stories: Using Genetic Genealogy in Crime Fiction

Nathan Dylan Goodwin is a British historical, genealogical mystery crime writer. A member of the Society of Authors, he has completed several local history books about his birthplace of Hastings, England, as well as several works of fiction, including the acclaimed Forensic Genealogist series, the Mrs. McDougall Investigates series and the Venator Cold Case series. He is a qualified teacher, member of the Guild of One Name Studies and the Society of Genealogists, as well as being a member of several history societies in Southeast England. Nathan is also the co-creator with Diahan Southard of the in-person and virtual masterclass in investigative genetics, Genealogy Solves It (GSI).

So, please join us on July 19 at 10AM on Zoom

No membership necessary but registration is required.

Register now on our website:

Let’s Talk About: AI to help save whales

Oceanus is the publication of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. I quite enjoy the issues of Oceanus and learn from the WHOI website and frequent free educational webinars. 

Living in Washington, with the whale-waters of Puget Sound, Straits of Juan de Fuca and the Pacific Ocean, we’re very aware of ferries and their potential negative impact on whales. (This article’s information applies to all ocean-going big vessels.)

“Artificial Intelligence, or AI, has come into worldwide use and in many ways we’d never have imagined.” The Spring 2021 issue of Oceanus explained……

“Vessel strikes are one of the biggest threats to the survival of the critically endangered North Atlantic Right Whale (and I would add, ALL whales). Restrictions on shipping speeds and routes have reduced the number of vessel strikes, but at least sixteen North Atlantic Right Whales were killed by ship strikes between 2003 and 2018. Only about 360 of these endangered animals remain.

“Various methods or remedial action have been utilized but up to now, nothing has really “done the trick.” A WHOI team is developing a new detection system, Thermal Imagine Scanners (cameras!) to be used to scan the water’s surface for whale blows. The cameras are linked to AI that the team has trained to ignore waves, birds and boats and to only sound alerts of a thermal signature…. ie, whale detection.

“Mounted on ships, the system can alert captains to the presence of a whale several kilometers away within seconds…..enough time for the vessel to slow down or change course.”

Don’t we all mourn when we read a news story of a dead whale on a beach with clear propeller slashes on its body?? Let’s hope our Washington ferries also get this technology to better protect our Orcas. I want my great-grandchildren to see leaping Orcas in our Washington waters!!

Tacoma Pierce County Genealogical Society Legacy Family Tree SIG

Tacoma-Pierce County Genealogical Society Legacy Family Tree SIG Meeting

Tuesday, July 2, 2024, from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm virtual via Zoom

Note due to technical problems we were unable to watch the video Legacy for Beginners last month, so we are going to try again this month.

This month we will be returning to reviewing the free Legacy Family Tree software videos hosted by Geoff Rasmussen. Our first video in this series will be “1 of 5 – Legacy for Beginners” . It is a short video so we should be able to watch the video and discuss it this month. If you are thinking about trying Legacy, or are currently using it, this video can teach or remind you how to properly use the software and be successful with your research. If you have any suggestions for future topics, please send them in.

This is our monthly meeting to share tips & tricks, problems & solutions. Sometimes we will watch videos or share our screens to aid in learning more about using Legacy Family Tree software.

Everyone is welcome to attend and participate in the learning. If you are just thinking about trying Legacy for the first time, you’ve been using it for a year or two or you are an old pro with many years of experience using Legacy this is the group for you.

We look forward to meeting with you, every month on the First Tuesday at 7:00 PM Pacific Time

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Let’s Talk About: Sam’s Hill

Way up on a Washington bluff overlooking the Columbia River, a huge stone castle pokes in and out of view as you zoom along I-82 in Oregon. “What the Sam Hill?” You’ve heard that expression, haven’t you? 

There is no population center for miles and yet here’s this castle, Sam Hill’s mansion. Hill was an “inspired lunatic”  and the son-in-law of railroad baron, James J. Hill. Sam bought 7000 acres of scrubland on a high bluff overlooking the mighty Columbia River in 1907. He intended to erect a glorious home for his wife, Mary. 

“No way!” she must have said when told about her proposed new home. She never left Europe to come see “her” castle home. 

After 20 years, the mansion/castle was till unfinished. Over the years, the place remained unoccupied and unfinished. People wandering through the deserts of Washington and Oregon would look up to see this enormous abandoned building and say “What the Sam Hill?” 

Or so the story is told. 

Today the mansion is part of Maryhill State Park and there is lots to see and do at the park. Do stop on your next trip to Portland. While you’re there, on the Washington side, take a snap of time to visit Stonehenge just three miles east of Maryhill….

Also built by Sam Hill, this replica of England’s famous Stonehenge was begun in 1918 to honor the heroism of Klickitat County’s soldiers in that Great War. Finished in 1929, it’s both a monument to heroic dead but a monument dedicated to peace. 

Let’s Talk About: Summer Genealogy To-Dos

There is no need to put your genealogy on hold during the summer months! Mixed in with outdoors and family fun, here are some suggestions for summertime genealogy things to do:

  • Start writing those stories…. yours or those of your ancestors.
  • Zero in on a dead-end line using all the new tips and tricks you’ve learned.
  • View How-To videos: Ancestry Academy, YouTube, plus dozens mor.
  • Catch up on your genealogy book/magazine reading (take down that stack!)
  • Identify the folks in the photos in that old box of musty photos.
  • Take a grandchild to a cemetery.
  • Take a grandchild to lunch to “celebrate” an ancestor’s birthday.
  • Use Google to find places important in your ancestors’ lives: homes, church, work.
  • Work a bit harder to understand your DNA matches (there are plenty of helps!).
  • Clean up your email back log and email address list. 
  • Read a good historical fiction novel or genealogy mystery (like the Deserter’s Tale).
  • Take a whole day and spend 30″ studying the advantages to your research of what’s available from the Big Four: FamilySearch, Ancestry, MyHeritage, FindMyPast.
  • Take a second day to explore Fold3 and Cyndi’sList and any other genealogy websites that you’ve been wanting to explore.

Summer sometimes means lazy, slow, down days. Great. When you’ve finished your drink and watched the sun come up, plan a genealogy to-do day!!

Tacoma Pierce County Genealogical Society DNA SIG Meeting

Tacoma-Pierce County Genealogical Society DNA Special Interest Group Meeting

Tuesday, June 25, Starting at 7:00 pm via Zoom

We will be reading Your DNA Guide by Diahan Southard.

This month we will discuss pages 62 to 83.

This book is available from the author, the publishers, Amazon, or perhaps through your local public library or via Inter-Library Loan.

Check WorldCat to see what libraries may have copies.

Calendar reminder: TPCGS DNA Special Interest Group Meeting

Every month on the Fourth Tuesday beginning at 7:00 PM Pacific Time

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Join Zoom Meeting:

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Meeting ID: 827 2531 6888

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Let’s Talk About: Summer Reading!

Fans of Morton Farrier, the English forensic genealogist created by author Nathan Dylan Goodwin, rejoice! Goodwin’s newest book is here!! This is the tenth in the Morton Farrier genealogical crime mystery series and they just keep getting better and better.  In this book, Morton journeys to Salt Lake City to give presentations at RootsTech and while he’s “in the neighborhood,” does some research in Las Vegas on his wife’s great-grandfather…….. who deserted his English family after WWI and ended up leading quite a colorful life in Las Vegas. And of course, Morton’s RootsTech presentations figure into the plot. 

This is The Perfect summer read; the book is available from Amazon. I do 1000% recommend it to you……….. I could not put it down and read it in two days!!

Now for a truly funny tombstone story:

“While writing the history o his village some years ago, the Vicar of the Parish of Eye in England decided to include thumbnail sketches on the “pillars of society” over the centuries…. parishioners who had been “famous” in either the church or community. 

The Rev. Philip Randall was particularly impressed by a tombstone just inside St. Matthew’s Church which bore the initials, “HWP.” Because of its prominent position, he concluded that this  must be the grave of some extremely important local dignitary. 

He poured over old, dusty parish records for nine long years in the hope of finding a Henry Wimbourne Potter, or a Herbert Wattle Pittstock, or even a Happy Washwater O’Pudding. Almost a decade of research yielded not one prominent person with those initials. He was about ready to give up but had the idea of one last try by placing a final appeal for information in the parish newsletter.

Two days later, a parishioner telephones to say that he remembered the story of how his father had helped to lay the the stone that marked the Hot Water Pipe.”

True story? I have no idea. Provenance? I cannot remember how long ago I came upon this bit nor where I found it. Just read it, enjoy and laugh. 

Important Deadlines for Society Awards

Local societies, don’t forget the following deadlines for Outstanding Volunteer/Team awards, Supportive Grants and the President’s Award for Outstanding Achievement.

  • Outstanding Volunteer/Team awards: Due July 1. Every year, WSGS supports the nominations of local society members and teams that make societies better.
  • Supportive Grants: Due July 31. Two grants for $250 each may be awarded to projects that support the work and mission of local societies.
  • President’s Award for Outstanding Achievement: Due August 1. This award is given to single out that rare individual, society or organization who has demonstrated exemplary service above and beyond expectations.

Questions? Email (Supportive Grants) or (Outstanding Volunteer/Teams and President’s Award for Outstanding Achievement).

Let’s Talk About: Fire Destroys Archives

An arson-set fire in the summer of 2023 at the Seattle Betsuin Buddhist Temple near the Chinatown International District in Seattle destroyed historical archives going back more than 120 years.

This is a disaster which should affect all genealogists  and not just Buddhists. 

The article in our Spokane paper was from Greg Kim of the Seattle Times. Kim wrote: “Just outside the room where the fire began were the temple’s physical archives dating back to 1901 when the temple was founded by first-generation Japanese Americans. The current location was built during World War II in 1943. The destroyed archives contained documents from when temple members were detained in incarceration camps.”

Alex Sakamoto, a temple board member, said “By losing this, we’re losing knowledge and history. Even if people in the community don’t belong to our church, or even if they’re not Buddhist, this has really been a gathering spot in the community…because it has stayed in the same place and remained unchanged for so long.” 

Could a similar disaster happen to “your” archives…… the place where historical records pertaining to your ancestors’ lives are housed? Yes, it surely could.