Update on the Grays Harbor Gene Society Situation

Big thank you to the Fiske Genealogical Foundation (aka Fiske Library) in Seattle and to Dave Brazier their newsletter compiler and editor. This blurb just came today, from the Fall 2018 issue:

On Saturday morning, June 9, 2018, a fire destroyed the Aberdeen Armory which housed the Aberdeen Museum of History, the Grays Harbor Genealogical Society Research Library and a social services
organization. While some artifacts from the Museum were saved, the GHGS Research Library was a total loss.

Assistance in providing funds, supplies and research materials have been generously offered by many organizations and supporters. The Society is currently being hosted by the library in Hoquiam  while they work to find a permanent home.

The Fiske Genealogical Foundation Board agreed to offer GHGS whatever they wanted from our surplus book list. As it turned out, we did not have much of what they needed. Before the fire GHGS had culled their library
of all but those books dealing with the local area–indeed, the Fiske library benefitted from that redistribution. But we were able to send them a mint condition copy of the 2-volume Lewis County Centennial History and a book on early schools in Washington State.

Beyond books, the most serious losses were approximately 22,000 copies of area obituaries, 200 binders ofvfuneral home records dating from 1907 to 2015, unpublished local history and responses to queries.

Research volunteer Bonnie Johannes reports: Since 2011 I have done most of the researches for GHGS. Fortunately, I’ve kept a log (short notes of
each request along with post or e-mail addresses). It will not surprise me that I’ve done 350-400 from likely every state in the union and several from Europe. We did lose all the copies of those researches in the fire along with all others that were done previously. It was a packed 4-drawer steel
cabinet. I am in the process of contacting as many of these past clients as possible to have them copy the documents that were sent them and return to us. We will be digitizing all from now forward.

If you have research, obituaries or family histories from the Grays Harbor area, please contact Bonnie via info@graysharborgenealogy.com . Grays Harbor Genealogical Society meetings are currently held at the
Hoquiam Timberland Regional Library meeting room at 420 7th Street, Hoquiam, Washington. Visitors are always welcome. The GHGS website is at http://www.graysharborgenealogy.com/index.php

What can all genealogical societies in Washington learn from this disaster? Think seriously about this………….

Grays Harbor Fire Update

The Grays Harbor Genealogical Society is rising from the ashes after the total loss of their research library in a raging fire on June 9, 2018. The 3-alarm fire at the Aberdeen Armory also destroyed most of the Aberdeen Museum of History, Coastal Community Action and Aberdeen Senior Center. Occupants are still unable to get inside the building according to the Daily World newspaper update on July 27, 2018.

In the meantime, GHGS is moving ahead, thanks in large part to the generosity of many individuals, organizations and genealogical societies. The Hoquiam Library has offered a temporary space to set up shop. With funds collected from the Go Fund Me campaign and donations directly to GHGS, a copy machine and computer have been purchased and installed. Members are hoping to purchase a second computer, printer, office furniture and office supplies soon.

Two fundraising events benefiting the society have been organized. The American Legion Post 5 (Aberdeen) is sponsoring two bingo sessions and a raffle on Saturday, August 11. All proceeds from the bingo sessions, food and raffle will go directly to GHGS. A second fundraiser will be a workshop with Portland-area genealogist Pam Vestal on Saturday, October 13. Ms. Vestal reached out and generously offered to donate her time and talent at a three-session workshop. More information will be forthcoming.

For more information about the Grays Harbor Genealogical Society, the fire or the research library, contact GHGS President Gary Parfitt.

Grays Harbor Fire Update

Members of the Grays Harbor Genealogical Society, a hearty bunch for sure, are picking themselves up by their boot straps and putting together a plan to restore their Research Library. The library was destroyed in a 3-alarm fire on Saturday, June 9, 2018. Besides the research library, the fire at the Aberdeen Amory also devastated the Aberdeen Museum of History, Coastal Community Action and the Aberdeen Senior Center. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Click here for next day news coverage by the Aberdeen Daily World.

A temporary location at the Hoquiam Regional Library has been secured. Under the leadership of GHGS President Gary Parfitt and a small committee (of a small society), plans are being made to purchase everything from computers and a copier to pencils and paper clips. Generous financial donations from local genealogical societies and individuals from around the state have been humbly accepted. In addition, many societies have offered donations of Grays Harbor-related books and family researches. GHGS is particularly interested in early Polk Directories, telephone books, obituaries, funeral records, identified photographs or family histories (with ties to Grays Harbor or Chehalis Counties). Anyone with materials to donate or reproduce can contact Gary Parfitt at gjparfitt@msn.com. Financial donations can be sent to the society’s Research Library Go Fund Me page or directly to the Grays Harbor Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 916, Aberdeen, WA 98520.

A personal message to all: We are so thankful for the generosity of so many — some known to us, others strangers. We would never want this catastrophe to happen to any individual or society, but if it did, we hope you would experience the kindnesses we have. Sincerely, Roxanne Lowe, Proud member of the Grays Harbor Genealogical Society

Update on Grays Harbor Gen Soc Research Library

The GHGS Research Library was housed in the Aberdeen Armory Building, built in 1922. Photo by Bonnie Johannes.

Members of the Grays Harbor Genealogical Society are slowly coming to grips with the fiery loss of their research library. The library was housed in the Aberdeen Armory which also included the Aberdeen Museum of History, Coastal Community Action Program and the Aberdeen Senior Center. The June 9 fire gutted the first and second floors of the building. Amazingly (and thankfully) some of the Aberdeen Museum’s photographs, documents and artifacts were rescued from the basement which was filled with four feet of water. The fire is still under investigation and may be for at least a couple more weeks.

While there is nothing left of the research library, short-term storage has been secured as the society begins to rebuild its holdings and collections. A plea for financial help and Grays Harbor County (and its predecessor Chehalis County) research materials has been sent from GHGS President Gary Parfitt. Financial donations or gift cards (Staples, Amazon, Costco, etc.) are most easily used to avoid duplication, over-supply and will be used when society members can begin researching again.

In addition to financial help, the society is asking for Grays Harbor-related research materials to restore their collections. Suggestions include Polk Directories, telephone books, obituaries, funeral records, identified photographs or family histories (with ties to Grays Harbor or Chehalis Counties). Anyone with materials to donate or reproduce can contact Gary Parfitt at gjparfitt@msn.com.

Financial donations can be sent to the society’s Research Library Go Fund Me page or directly to the Grays Harbor Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 916, Aberdeen, WA 98520.

Grays Harbor Genealogical Society Fire Help

Dear Local Society,

 

As you may have already heard, the Grays Harbor Genealogical Society’s Research Library, housed in the Aberdeen Museum of History, was one of the victims of a devastating fire on Saturday, June 9, 2018. The 3-alarm fire destroyed most of the first and second floors of the historic Armory Building, which was built in 1922.

The Grays Harbor Genealogical Society’s Research Library was housed on the 1st floor of the Amory Building.

Investigators are still determining the cause of the fire so we are unable to get inside the building, but are preparing for the worst: the loss of our entire library holdings.  We had recently completed a conversion of the library to emphasize Grays Harbor County (and its predecessor Chehalis County), and were enormously proud of our extensive collection of now-defunct Whiteside and Elerding funeral records and obituary records, dating back as far as the late 1800s.

 

I am asking for your help.  We are scrambling to find another location and have begun the task of re-gathering our collections. While many of our holdings were digitized or are available in other locations, we are still looking to gather Grays Harbor-related records, photographs, documents, maps, and books. If you or your society have any Grays Harbor-related materials, we would love to have copies or donation. We are hoping to rebuild our holdings to be the “go-to shop” for family researchers in Grays Harbor.

 

Alternatively, anyone wishing to make financial donation is encouraged to use our Go Fund Me campaign or direct to the Grays Harbor Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 916, Aberdeen, WA 98520.

Bonnie Johannes added: I have done researches for people from other WA State societies who had family members/ancestors here at some period of time. We would like copy of what was sent to them, if possible. Thank you.

 

If you would like more information or have questions, please contact me at gjparfitt@msn.com.

 

Gary Parfitt, President

Grays Harbor Genealogical Society

Grays Harbor Research Library Destroyed by Fire

Full disclaimer: The author of this post is a long-time member of the Grays Harbor Genealogical Society and totally devastated by this loss.

The Grays Harbor Genealogical Society’s Research Library was housed on the 1st floor of the Amory Building.

The Grays Harbor Genealogical Society’s Research Library, housed in the Aberdeen Museum of History, was one of the victims of a devastating fire on Saturday, June 9, 2018. The massive fire destroyed most of the first and second floors of the historic Armory Building, which was built in 1922. The building was home to the priceless Museum of History, Coastal Community Action Program, the Aberdeen Senior Center, and the Grays Harbor Genealogical Society research library. Investigators are still determining the cause of the fire that raged out of control for hours, drawing fire departments from the whole county and parts of Thurston County.

Representatives from the State Archives were on the scene to offer assistance with recovery and restoration of any surviving historic photos, documents, artifacts — some of which were in the basement of the concrete building. Ironically, Tracy Rebstock, Southwest Regional Archivist with the State Archives was the featured speaker at the GHGS meeting that day, speaking on disaster preparedness and preserving historic documents and heirlooms. Her assurances to shocked GHGS members was much appreciated as she talked about how to recover from this disaster. Servpro of Grays Harbor and Pacific Counties, a fire disaster recovery company, is also helping with recovery efforts.

The GHGS Research Library was housed on the first floor of the building which was destroyed with temperatures reported to exceed 2,000 degrees. All is a loss. Members of the small society are meeting to find another location and begin re-gathering local records, documents and books. The society had recently completed a conversion of the library to emphasize Grays Harbor County (and its predecessor Chehalis County). The research library was known for its extensive collection of now-defunct Whiteside and Elerding funeral records and obituary records, dating back as far as the late 1800s. While some of the records were digitized, others were in hard copy only. The society’s research chairman Bonnie Johannes said much of what they had was permanently lost. “We must’ve had at least 25,000 hard copies (of obituaries), so it’s a tremendous loss.”

Anyone wishing to make financial or resource donations is encouraged to use their Go Fund Me campaign or direct to the Grays Harbor Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 916, Aberdeen, WA 98520.

Cathy Cook Awarded 2017 Outstanding Volunteer Honor

Since 2003, the Washington State Genealogical Society has recognized over 500 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 2017 award recipients and learn why they received the 2017 WSGS Outstanding Volunteer and Team Award.

Catherine “Cathy” Cook

Today we’re introducing Catherine Crabtree Cook of Hoquiam, Washington, who was nominated by the Grays Harbor Genealogical Society (GHGS). She was recognized for her dedication and commitment to preserving records related to Grays Harbor County.

Cathy has worked diligently for many years to preserve obituaries and death notices for individuals with Grays Harbor County ties. When she began this project, she organized small work parties at her home to tape obituaries to index cards that she had carefully trimmed and dated from the local newspaper. Today, Cathy oversees an obituary collection that is scanned, indexed, archived and available on the Grays Harbor Genealogical Society’s website. To date, the index includes more than 80,000 individuals.

Cathy’s efforts to make the collection as complete and accurate as possible have allowed researchers from all over the world the ability to request a copy of their ancestor’s obituary. For her commitment and dedication to this project and the Grays Harbor Genealogical Society, she richly deserved being a recipient of a 2017 WSGS Outstanding Volunteer Award.

For more information on the WSGS Outstanding Volunteer Award program, visit the Recognition page of the WSGS website or contact Roxanne Lowe, Interim Recognition Chair, at Roxanne@thekeeffes.com.

Meet the Board: Roxanne Lowe

Do you know who’s running the show at the Washington State Genealogical Society? Did you know we have an Executive Committee, six standing committee chairs and three appointed non-elected officers? Who are all these people? In the coming months, we’ll introduce them to you, so you can say “hi” the next time you see them.

Roxanne in Havana, Cuba, April 2017

In today’s “Meet the Board” series, we’re introducing you to Roxanne Lowe. Roxanne lives in McCleary (Grays Harbor County) and is WSGS’s web manager, on the blog team. Previously, she served as the Recognition Chair. She has been a member of the WSGS since 2008. She was named as a WSGS Outstanding Volunteer in 2010. She’s a proud, long-time member of the Grays Harbor Genealogical Society, serving as president and newsletter editor of the GHGS Family Tree Searcher newsletter.

Roxanne in 1958

Roxanne was born in Aberdeen, Washington in January 1955, the first child of George and Patricia (Murphy) Ferbrache. She is the great-granddaughter of Patrick Murphy and Mary Donovan who moved to the Chehalis River Valley in the spring of 1888 from New Brunswick, Canada.

Roxanne’s interest in genealogy began as a child. Her paternal grandmother gave her a written family history, loaded with names, dates and locations. It was many years, however, before Roxanne learned enough about genealogy to realize that:

• Ferbrache may be spelled a multitude of ways.
• There may be more than one (or two or 10) Daniel Murphy’s, Lawrence Ryan’s – and even Thomas Ferbrache’s.
• Middle names are not a big deal in her family (Roxanne doesn’t even have one).
• Her descendants moved around – a lot – with little or no regard to leaving a paper trail.
• Whoever wrote that family history was a creative writer.

Patrick Murphy, Roxanne’s great grandfather

Fortunately for Roxanne, she joined the Grays Harbor Genealogical Society who taught her a thing or two about genealogy research. She’s attended many conferences, workshops and seminars – learning something new at each. She’s even traveled to Ireland and New Brunswick, Canada looking for Murphy’s and Ryan’s. Next on her travel wish list is to go to Guernsey in the Channel Islands (with side stops in London and Normandy) to visit her Ferbrache ancestral land.

Roxanne retired a few years ago from the Washington State Auditor’s Office in Olympia. She had previously worked for Governors Gregoire and Locke as a project manager on the welfare program (TANF) and performance measure program (GMAP) . When not searching for her family history, she enjoys scrapbooking, quilting, sewing, machine embroidery and just about every other paper and fabric art. She and her husband Gary have five children and nine adored grandchildren. You can often read about Roxanne’s fun-filled adventures with her grandchildren on her Facebook page.

A few more interesting tidbits about Roxanne:
• Favorite genealogy websites: Ancestry, MyHeritage and Google
• Favorite color: Red
• Favorite dessert: Apple pie
• When asked for one word that described her, she replied, “Busy!”

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

Kids and Genealogy Event in Hoquiam

The Grays Harbor Genealogical Society and Hoquiam Library are co-sponsoring a “Kids and Family Genealogy” event on 08 July, 10:30 – noon at the library, 420 7th Street in Hoquiam. Library staff and GHGS members will help kids learn about searching for their ancestors. For more information, visit the library website or contact Info@GraysHarborGenealogy.com.

Grays Harbor Genealogical Society May Meeting

The next meeting of the Grays Harbor Genealogical Society will feature Jerry Schaefer, a local character known as gunslinger “Doc Shores” in Western reenactment events. Jerry will be changing hats, however, to talk about the Spruce Production Division, a unit of the U.S. Army established in 1917 to produce high-quality Sitka Spruce timber and other products needed to make aircraft for the U.S.’s efforts in World War I. The division had a large impact on logging in the Pacific Northwest. Logging companies adopted working conditions similar to those the division had.

The meeting is Saturday, May 13, 10:00 a.m. at the Hoquiam Library, 420 7th Street, Hoquiam. Visitors are welcome. For more information, email GHGS.