Clallam County Genealogical Society German Immigration Patterns

Saturday, June 8th at 10:00am, the Clallam County Genealogical Society will welcome Claire Gebben, a noted genealogist.  She will appear in person at the KSQM-FM Community Room at 609 West Washington Street, in the Sequim Village Shopping Center, Sequim, WA.  Her topic will be German Immigration Patterns. 

Since the 19th Century millions of German-speaking emigrants were leaving Europe for places far and wide, especially North America.  Who were they and why did they leave?  The answer is complicated.  This talk explores waves of emigration in the historical context of wars, religious oppression, weather, economics, and other factors.  Presentation also includes a look at the patterns of settlement of German migrants on arrival in North America.

Clair Gebben is a public speaker, teacher, and writer.  She specializes in German genealogy, migration patterns and 19th century history. She has authored award winning novels and memoirs based upon the documented accounts of her ancestors.  Her articles have appeared in numerous periodicals.  Claire holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts.

Join us at our June 8th gathering, and meet Claire Gibben.  Her books will be available for purchase at that time. 

There is no cost to attending the meeting. 

The presentation will also be available on Zoom.  Call or e-mail the Society for the Zoom codes. (Please arrive or Zoom in at 9:45am.)

Phone:  360-417-5000       e-mail:          website:

Clallam County Genealogical Society The Musical Chicago and all that Genealogical Jazz

Saturday, May 11th at 9:30 am, the Clallam County Genealogical Society (CCGS) will host Mike Karsen and his presentation: The Musical Chicago, and all that Genealogical Jazz.

The Broadway musical and Hollywood movie CHICAGO was based on the stories of two real-life women by the name of Belva and Beulah. Just as in the show and movie, these women killed their lovers. By collecting standard genealogical documents Mike Karsen pieces together their lives, and puts their tales into context relating to Chicago history.

A professional speaker from Chicago, Mike Karsen has spoken on family legacy topics locally and nationally, has presented at conferences and authored genealogy articles.  He is back with us at Clallam County by popular demand. His approach to genealogy is unique and entertaining as well.

All are invited to hear his presentation via Zoom or by coming to the CCGS Research Center located at 403 E. 8th Street in Port Angeles, WA. To join us with Zoom, contact the Society to obtain the Zoom Meeting number and passcode. Our phone number is 360-417-5000. Our web address is The Research Center is open Tuesday – Friday 10am – 4pm and on Saturdays noon to 4pm.

There is no cost to attending his wonderful presentation.

Clallam County Genealogical Society February & March 2024 Meetings

Saturday, February 10th at 9:45, the Clallam County Genealogical Society will host a program presented by Mary Roddy.  The Hub of the Wheel: How Tracing a Brother with no Children connected Ten Siblings—

A family from Ireland emigrated in a chain migration Scheme to Western Pennsylvania between 1825 and 1845.  See how using the standards for researching connected siblings and their descendants and led to their origins in County Tyrone!

Mary Roddy is an author, coach, and lecturer.  She has published many articles in known Genealogical Magazines, and has provided lectures to Societies and National Conferences.

All are invited to watch the presentation via Zoom or by attending at the Clallam County Genealogical Society’s Research Center located at 403 E. 8th Street, Port Angeles, WA.  To obtain the Zoom meeting number and passcode, contact the Society:  360-417-5000 or

There is no charge to Claire Smith announcement

On Saturday, March 9th, the Clallam County Genealogical Society will present Claire Smith.  Her topic will be Shaking Loose the Clues: Using Timelines to Organize Your Research.

Claire Smith is a certified professional genealogist.  She always provides a very well organized, and interesting presentation that includes a gift of humor and supporting examples.

In Shaking Loose the Clues: Using Timelines to Organize Your Research, she will demonstrate how to organize the information you already have, Identify Gaps and determine what records you need to advance your research projects.  She will offer examples of adding historical context, parallel timelines, tracking FANS, tracking migration and resolving conflicting information.

The Program will be available to the public via Zoom or at the Clallam County Genealogical Society’s Research Center located at 403 E. 8th Street, Port Angeles.  One can obtain the Zoom meeting number and passcode by either calling the center at 360-417-5000 or by email request:

More information may be available at our website: www/

There is no charge to join us watching this outstanding presentation.

Let’s Talk About….. Clallam Co Gen Soc & Cattle Brands

The Clallam County (Washington) courthouse, built in 1914, in Port Angeles, is surely one of the most picturesque courthouses in America. I remember being in that building years ago and the women’s restroom stalls had pink marble walls!

The Clallam County Genealogical Society (CCGS) was founded in 1981. In 2020, the group purchased a newer and larger building ……… which they desperately needed to house their library of 3000 books, periodicals and microfilms. If you’re thinking of a trip to Port Angeles, and want to visit their library, know that their entire catalog is accessible online:  

CCGS also maintains  offers an index to the 500 Pioneer Family files…… pioneers who were in Clallam County prior to Washington statehood in 1889. 

The Fall 1988 issue of their society’s periodical (no longer published), there was a great article originally found in a 1945 issue of The Genealogy Magazine of New Jersey. The title was “The Use of Livestock Brands and Earmarks in Genealogy.”

The article states: “The system of marking the ears of cattle and hogs was used in the early days just as cattle brands are employed in the West today. In colonial times, livestock were often allowed to roam freely on the village green. When evening came, the marks were necessary to separate which animals belonged to which owner. The registration of marks was kept by the village clerk and later by the county auditor.

“Such registrations were continued well into the 20th century when vast herds of cattle and sheep roamed the vast acreage of public lands in the West.”

I know that the Eastern Washington Branch of our Washington State Archives has brand books for our state. I’ve looked up the registered brand for hubby’s uncle and VIOLA, there it was. If your Pacific Northwest ancestor had roaming livestock, it’s quite likely that he had a brand and that that brand (or ear mark) was legally registered.

Clallam County Genealogical Society DNA- Centi What; Morgan Who; Working with DNA Results

The Clallam County Genealogical Society is beginning it’s Speaker’ Series Saturday, January 13 beginning at 10:10. Beth Swarz will present a lecture on DNA – Centi What; Morgan Who…Working with DNA Results.

Beth has specialized in helping solve unknown parent/family connections through DNA and creating, building & researching family trees.

She presently is President of Moreno Valley Genealogical Society; a member of the International Society of Genetic Genealogy; National Genealogical Society; and Family Search Center Staff and is involved in several other Societies.

All are invited to watch this interesting presentation, by either by coming to the CCGS Research Center or via Zoom.  There is no cost to attend.

To obtain the Zoom meeting number and codes, email the Society at or phone us at 360-417-5000.  We are at the Research Center Tuesday-Friday, 10am to 4pm and on Saturdays noon to 4pm.  The research center is located at 403 8th Street in Port Angeles, on the corner of 8th Street and Peabody.  

Everyone is invited to visit and do research at our Research Center during open hours at no cost.  We share our data bases, computers, and library materials with the public.  If you visit Clallam County, do stop and see us.

Karen Mitchell Presented with President’s Award

Karen Mitchell, the 2023 recipient of the WSGS President’s Award for Outstanding Achievement, received her engraved pen/pencil set recently. Karen is a founding member of the Clallam County Genealogical Society and has never let up on her dedication to the society. CCGS will display the perpetual plaque for the next year.

For more about Karen, read this blog post. Congratulations, Karen and CCGS!

Meet the Board: Virginia Majewski

Do you know who’s running the show at the Washington State Genealogical Society? Who are these people? In the coming months, we’ll introduce them to you, so you can say “hi” the next time you hear from them. (Note: This is an updated version of Ginny’s story, first published in January 2017.)

In today’s “Meet the Board” series, we’re introducing you to Virginia Majewski from Sequim. Virginia, more familiarly known to us as Ginny, is WSGS’s past President. Her dedication to WSGS is longstanding and worked many years to make it more relevant and helpful to local societies. Besides being WSGS president from 2017 – 2021, she previously served as WSGS’s Secretary, Region 3 Representative and Vice President.

Undoubtedly, one of Ginny’s greatest WSGS legacies will be her brainchild — the Pioneer Pursuit program. The effort encourages genealogists and history enthusiasts to document every man, woman and child in Washington Territory on or before November 11, 1889.  To date, more than 3,500 individuals have been documented and verified as living in the territory before statehood. Ginny is very excited about the response the program has received. Although the contest element ended on October 31, 2023, Ginny encourages everyone to “keep sending in your families!”

Virginia Ann was born in Yakima to Wesley Roy and Nancy Jane (Grabill) Forney. She is a proud 4th generation Washingtonian and descendant of the Pioneer family of John C. Forney and his wife Kate H. Ebersold. Ginny’s name was handed down through her mother’s family – great grandmother, great aunts and aunts – even though Ginny’s dad maintains he picked out her name.

Ginny is a graduate of Quincy High School in Quincy, Washington (Grant County) and Sacred Heart School of Nursing in Spokane. She is married to Moe, her husband of 36 years. She is the mother of four grown children and, most importantly, grandmother of eight, ages 23 – 7. She retired from her career of 42 years as an Obstetrical Nurse in 2013. She is active in her church and manages its annual holiday bazaar, selling all hand crafted items.

Ginny has been involved in genealogy for more than 20 years. It all started with a couple of boxes of “junk” from her grandparent’s estate. She was bitten by the genealogy bug and it became one of her life’s passions. Her maternal and paternal lines go back to exiled Mennonites in Switzerland. In 2000, she took a three-week genealogical tour of Switzerland, Germany, France, Belgium and the Netherlands – following the path of her exiled ancestors.

Virginia holds a Certification in Advanced Genealogical Studies in both American Records and Methodology from the National Institute of Genealogical Studies in Toronto, Canada. Currently, she is the Treasurer of Clallam County Genealogical Society after having served as its president for a number of terms. She is also a member of a variety of genealogical and historical groups.  She loves to do genealogical traveling and giving educational presentations to genealogy groups..

When asked what she finds most interesting about genealogy, Ginny muses about a bigamist, unknown illegitimate cousins, a civil war hero and many more interesting characters!

A few more interesting tidbits about Ginny:

  • Her favorite color is turquoise.
  • Her favorite dessert is a Cream Puff Cake.
  • She urges anyone searching for their ancestors to use – an amazing resource available to everyone.
  • Besides genealogy, Ginny’s other life passions are quilting, reading, gardening and travel – oh, and don’t forget those grandchildren!
  • When asked what word describes her, Ginny laughs and asks if “genie-nut” is a word. We think it is when it pertains to Ginny!

Now you know a little more about one of the WSGS Board members. The next time you see Ginny, say hello and thank her for her service to the WSGS.

Clallam County Genealogical Society Shaky Leaf Syndrome

The Clallam County Speaker’s Series will host Sara Cochran, November 11th, starting at 10:00. There is no cost to watch the presentation.  .

Her topic will be Shaky Leaf Syndrome: Using Website Generated Hints More Effectively. Indexing, optical character recognition, and computer algorithms make finding obscure records about our families easier than ever! Unfortunately, computers can’t distinguish between people of the same name who lived in different places or at different times.  Using real examples, Sara will evaluate hints and attach the keepers to our trees.

Sara is a wonderful speaker, returning by request.  She has a certificate in Genealogical Research from Boston University and a degree in Library Science.  She writes a blog, The Skeleton Whisperer, and specializes in Irish research, methodology, completing applications for USDAR, USD1812, and DUVCW, et al.

The program will be via Zoom.  The meeting number and passcode will be available to all by email request: or by phoning the Society: 360-417-5000.

Folks are also invited to attend at the Clallam County Research Center at 403 E. 8th Street in Port Angeles, WA. All are requested to register at 9:45. And how can anyone resist a genealogist who refers to themself as “The Skeleton Whisperer!”

More information will be available at our website: and at the Research Center in Port Angeles.  The Center is open Tuesday through Friday from 10am-4pm, and Saturday noon -4.  There is no cost to use our library, computers, or data-bases.

Karen Mitchell Named President’s Award Recipient

WSGS President Kathleen Sizer is pleased to announce the recipient of the 2023 Outstanding Achievement Award: Karen Mitchell from the Clallam County Genealogical Society. The announcement was made at the WSGS Annual Meeting on 31 Aug 2023.

Created in 2015, 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 award is not given every year as it is based on merit and accomplishments. As you’ll see from reading about Karen’s dedication, she is worthy of this recognition.

Karen Mitchell

A founding member of the Clallam County Genealogical Society (CCGS), Karen has consistently displayed the values of the society through her commitment, determination and leadership.

During her 42-year history with the society, she has succeeded in developing the CCGS Research Center into one of the largest private genealogical libraries on the West Coast. The center is home to over 5,000 cataloged items which can be accessed using LibraryThing. The Research Center is a place to view maps, land plats, photographs, do research and check out materials. Visitors can also view vintage photographs and maps mounted on walls and atlases and periodicals.

Karen was instrumental is obtaining a rare bookcase that now houses books written before 1910 and have never been reprinted. She has created a lending room where members can check out items of interest.

As CCGS’s librarian, Karen was at the forefront of their successful move into a larger facility in 2020. She supervised the packing of over 3,000 items from the previous facility, removal of bookshelves, shipment to the new facility, reinstallation of shelving, books, maps, files, and all the material that make up the expanded library.

Karen has served as president twice and is currently seated on the board of directors as Past President. She obtained certification as a school librarian, worked as a librarian for 30 years, and brought her experience and commitment to record preservation and skill to CCGS.

Karen continues to volunteer at the Research Center along with her husband, Tom. She is often the go-to person on CCGS operating rules and bylaws regarding governance matters.

Because of her lifelong learning (she first worked in a library at age 14), her organizational talents, her patience and persistence have made CCGS’s facility a first-class resource center.

More about the award

If you want to know more about the qualities needed for this prestigious award, click here. Previous recipients are listed here.

Clallam County Genealogical Society Becoming a Genealogical “Super Sleuth”

Clallam County Genealogical Speakers’ Series — October 14th – 2023  

Jill Morelli

 Becoming a Genealogical “Super Sleuth!”

All-day Seminar

The Program:   Four One Hour Sessions

                 I  The Genealogical Proof Standard According to Shirlock Holms

                                Using Sherlock’s own words we will explore his take on the Genealogical Proof Standard – a fun way to                                                 look at the GPS!  Who knew that SH was just following the GPS?!

                II  Solving the Family Myth Using Principles of Logic.

Who doesn’t have a story told to them about their ancestors? These undocumented stories are “myths”                                                 and are prevalent in almost everyone’s family, but how does one prove their veracity? We will look at a                                               way to separate the wheat from the chaff.

III  Don’t Build your Own Brick Walls!

                Most brick walls are of our own making!  We need to address the reasons why they exist so we can                                                 resolve the problem.  We will review some of the reasons our brick walls get built and how to tear them                                            down.  Hard hat ready?  Let’s start smashing the wall!

                IV  Be a Super Sleuth!  Accessing and Using Images at family Search

Did you know that now over 95% of the online records of FamilySearch are not accessible by a surname                                                 search? Did you know that FamilySearch was now putting their newly digitized records in Images and                                         NOT in the Card Catalog? How do you find these records and access the   information you need? We will                                            explore the access options Images to you and how to “read” the record for maximum efficiency.


9:00 – 9:20                         Registration (and a bit of noshing)

9:20 – 930                           Opening Remarks by our President, Paul Wessel

9:30 – 10:30                       Session I – The Genealogical Proof Standard According to Sherlock Holmes

10:30-10:50                       Break

10:50-11:30                       Session II — Solving the Family Myth Using Principles of Logic

11:30 – 12:30                    Lunch

12:30 – 1:30                       Session III – Don’t Build Your Own Brick Walls!

1:30 – 1:50                         Break

1:50 – 2:50                         Session IV – Be a Super Sleuth!  Accessing and Using Images at Familysearch

2:50 – 3:00                         Drawing, final comments.

Registration: Begins on September 1st.

                Members OF CCGS:  $45                               Non-members:  $50

                Save $5 by registering early before September 20th.

Checks should be made out to CCGS

Credit cards can be used by going to the CCGS website to use the PayPal app.

Location:  Dungeness Valley Lutheran Church

                925 N. Sequim Avenue, Sequim, WA

This will be a hybrid Presentation.  Participants can either attend the presentation live or watch Jill on Zoom. Zoom meeting number and pass codes will be emailed to participants upon receipt of payment.

 For more information call the society at 360-417-5000 or visit the website:

Our Speaker:  About Jill Morelli

                Jill Morelli is a renown researcher, speaker and author.  She has appeared in Legacy Webinars, National conferences, and has won national awards for the many gifts she has brought to genealogy.  She is exceptional.