About the Society:
Located in Washington state, the Tacoma-Pierce County Genealogical Society consists of a diverse group of members — those whose families were early settlers in the area and still live here; those who live in the area now, but have few if any familial connections here; and those who no longer live here, but whose ancestors did at one time.
The purposes of TPCGS are to stimulate a popular interest in family history, to seek genealogical and historical knowledge, to preserve and perpetuate the records of our ancestors, and to collect and publish genealogical source material of Pierce County and the Puget Sound Region.
Guests are always welcome at our meetings. Come meet other Pierce-County genealogists and listen to great speakers.
History of the Tacoma-Pierce County Genealogical Society:
The society was organized in the spring of 1961 and began with 6 members, ending its first full year with 54 members. There are currently around 150 members in the society, many of whom live in the Tacoma-Pierce County area of Washington state, as well as many other areas of the United States.
News & Notes:
Society News || New & Noteworthy || Freebies || Research Aids || Books & Blogs || Local Resources
Members should have recently received the latest issue of the Newsletter. Newsletters are now sent out by e-mail, and also posted on the website. Therefore the August issue is now available. And don't forget to submit your Queries for the Newsletter — they will also be posted on the website.
Members should have received this year's Researcher recently. It is chockful of interesting articles, which may provide ideas for solving one of your genealogical problems. And it's not too early to start thinking about writing an article for next year's issue! Are you taking a research trip this summer? Going to a family reunion? Have you made a big (or even small) breakthrough? Or come across an interesting new source? All of these could be interesting subjects for articles.
Our Vice President of Programs, Helen Stender, has had to resign. However, Ellen McKanna has volunteered to fill the position until the term ends at the end of the year. In addition, Dave Olsen, Vice President of Education, has decided not to run for re-election. We are also looking for a new Editor-in-Chief for the Researcher. If you think you might be interested in any of these positions, please contact the Board.
This year's Spring Seminar took place on Saturday, April 19th, and even though it was the day before Easter, it was still very well attended. For that we credit the excellent speaker, Dick Eastman, and an interesting selection of topics.
Next year's speaker has already been chosen: Connie Lenzen, from Portland, Oregon. For more details, check out the Spring Seminar page. Start planning now to attend!
Veterans Graves in Pierce County, WA — Extracted from a 1939 WPA project, this database consists of a name Index plus a further eight items extracted from the cards by society volunteers. These cards are in the holdings of the Northwest Room of the Tacoma Public Library. Contact the Library for additional information.
The Tacoma-Pierce County Genealogical Society is now offering a Tacoma Area Obituary Look Up Service. Due to cutbacks at the Tacoma Public Library they are no longer able to offer this service, so have asked the society if we would take it on.
New & Noteworthy
Bad news from the Washington State Library:
Due to budget and staff reductions, the Washington State Library will discontinue its obituary lookup service effective June 16. We will also be reducing our building and phone hours from 8-5, Monday – Friday, to 12-5, Monday – Friday. If you wish to research at the library in person, we strongly recommend that you call ahead before your visit.
Details about our budget situation and reduced service hours can be found in the blog post here: http://blogs.sos.wa.gov/library/index.php/2014/06/washington-state-library-reduces-service-hours/
Suggestions for how to get a copy of obituary are listed on our website: http://www.sos.wa.gov/library/Out-of-State.aspx Customers are also welcome to visit us and search for obituaries themselves.
If you have any questions about these changes, please feel free to contact us. Comments and concerns should be directed to Rand Simmons, Washington State Librarian, at email@example.com or 360-570-5585.
If you have Quakers in your family, you will be interested in a recent announcement from Ancestry.com: "We just released 11.5 million new records documenting one of the most prominent groups in American history, the 'Religious Society of Friends,' more commonly known as Quakers. Spanning over 300 years (late 1600s – late 1900s), the collection includes birth, marriage, death, disownment, and memorial records, sourced from the Quaker’s monthly meeting minutes. - See more at: New Quaker Records Tell the Stories of Our Nation’s “Friends”.
Check out this map showing European borders over 1000 years at http://loiter.co/v/watch-as-1000years-of-european-boarders-change/.
Genealogy educator and author Thomas MacEntee recently announced the debut of Hack Genealogy, a new resource for the genealogy industry and the growing community of genealogy and family history enthusiasts.
Hack Genealogy is about “repurposing today's technology for tomorrow's genealogy” and a little bit more. Hack Genealogy is more than just a list of resources: It provides information on emerging technology inside and outside the genealogy industry.Hack Genealogy is not merely about surviving the overwhelming presence of new and emerging technologies . . . Hack Genealogy is about genealogy and technology success in its many facets.
Subscription genealogy websites occasionally offer free access to specific databases in their collections. Such offers will be listed here.
Apropos our recent meeting topic on Norwegian ancestry, The National Archives of Norway has digitized parish registers, probate records, court records, and much more available online.
Do you have Rhode Island roots? If so, you may be interested in checking out the Rhode Island Digital Archives.
141 county plat books from Missouri have been scanned and can be viewed for free on this section of the Missouri Digital Heritage website.
Ancestry.ca's free 1921 Canadian census collection is now indexed. That means you can search the records by name and other criteria instead of having to know exactly where your ancestor lived, and then browsing by location. The census will be accessible free on Ancestry.ca for at least three years, says spokesperson Matthew Deighton.
Approximately 6,000 Civil War Veterans are buried in Washington State. Information about them can be found at Civil War Veterans Buried in Washington State. If you know of a veteran not listed, submissions are welcome.
Founders Online is a new website created by the National Archives featuring correspondence and other writings of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams (and family), Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison. Together these present a fascinating view into a pivotal period of American history.
We often find ourselves too engrossed in the hunt to take time to carefully record our sources and citations, then going back overwhelms us. The Armchair Genealogist addresses this common situation, and proposes a solution in A 10 Step Plan: Getting Sources & Citations Under Control.
Books & Blogs
What I'm reading:
- I recently finished reading In the Blood by Steve Robinson, a mystery in which American genealogist Jefferson Tayte travels to England to try to find out what happened to a family that returned to England after the American Revolution. But someone is willing to kill to keep the secrets of the past hidden.
- In the second in this series, To the Grave, a secret from the Second World War threatens a contemporary family, and once more places Jefferson Tayte in danger.
- The Last of the Blacksmiths by Claire Gebbin, was recommended by Cyndi Ingle who met the author at the recent Washington State Genealogical Society Conference. The author based this novel on the life of an ancestor who was born in Germany, but immigrated to the United States to become a blacksmith's apprentice. Based in part on family letters, but as the author stresses, it is a work of fiction, in which she provides motivation for the characters. I found it fascinating, especially since one of my great-grandfathers was a blacksmith in the same time period.
Also, as Dick Eastman writes in Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter "DNA testing can be a wonderful thing. It solves family mysteries, brings families closer together, and more. Sometimes . . ." But on the other hand, it can lead to surprising discoveries: With Genetic Testing, I Gave My Parents the Gift of Divorce, so carefully think through your plans for autosomal testing.
From UpFront with NGS: Though many families remain in the same area for decades, if not centuries, there are other families that we know or research who are more mobile and whom we are constantly chasing from place to place.
The Upshot (New York Times) recently did a feature called Where We Came From, State by State. This looks at each state, since 1900, every decade, and maps out where the people who lived in the state were born.
Good news from the GenealogyInsider Blog: "The genealogy series "Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr.," which traced the ancestry of well-known Americans using DNA combined with traditional research, will return to PBS on Tuesday, Sept. 23, according to PBS' recently released fall lineup."
At the recent National Genealogical Society Conference in Richmond, Virginia, Jordan Jones, President of the National Genealogical Society (NGS), a sponsoring member of the Records Preservation and Access Committee (RPAC), announced the Genealogists’ Declaration of Rights. Read more about it on the NGS Blog and in this post by The Legal Genealogist.
How often have you run across some arcane legal term in your research? Help is at hand — you can now access Black’s Law Dictionary (1st & 2nd Editions), as well as Bouvier’s 1856 Law Dictionary FREE Online.
Excerpted from Leland Meitzler's Genealogy Blog:
According to a must-read blog at The Legal Genealogist website, the much-heralded budget bill that was signed into law on December 26th included the partial-closure of the Social Security Death Index along with the exemption of SSDI information from the Freedom of Information Act. This was included in the budget bill as “a purported revenue-enhancing measure.”
The long and the short of it is that deaths cannot be reported on the publicly-accessable SSDI until 3 years after they have taken place. It doesn’t look like the currently acccessible SSDI info at FamilySearch, Ancestry, etc. will be taken from us (although I see no reason why the government couldn’t force closure until data from the last 3 years is removed, the Feds having pretty-well proven that they are a law-unto-themselves the last year). However, do not expect another SSDI update for three years. Also, don’t expect to get SS-5s of anyone who died in the last three years.
In the latest update on the Social Security Death Index, Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings keeps us informed as Dee Dee King Reports on SSDI/Death Master File Restrictions.
Maps are wonderful! And the Genealogy Insider blog suggests the following four sites to find free historical maps to help with your genealogical research:
- David Rumsey Historical Map Collection: The maps and other cartographic images here focus on rare 18th- and 19th-century North American and South American materials. You can view maps, compare them side-by-side and download hi-resolution files.
- Hargrett Library Rare Map Collection: This University of Georgia site features maps depicting the New World, Colonial and Revolutionary America, Revolutionary Georgia, Union & Expansion, the American Civil War, Frontier to New South, Savannah and the Coast and Transportation.
- Library of Congress Map Collection: You'll find historical maps galore, and almost all can be downloaded.
- Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection: The collection includes both historical and present-day maps of the Americas and the world. Click on US to go to a page of links for each state.
- Tacoma Public Library
- Pierce County Library System
- Tacoma Historical Society
- The Seattle Public Library Special Collections
- The National Archives at Seattle
- National Archives Microfilm Collection in Seattle
A list of 549 microfilm publications available at the regional branch of the National Archives in Seattle, Washington. Take a look to see what else they have to offer on microfilm besides copies of the U.S. Federal Census!
- Genealogy and Histocal at The National Archives at Seattle
- Special Events and Workshops at The National Archives at Seattle
- National Archives Microfilm Collection in Seattle
- Puget Sound Genealogy Resources
A list of research libraries and institutions in the greater Puget Sound area.
- Washington Digital Archives
- Washington State Genealogical Society
- Washington State Historical Society
- The Washington USGenWeb Page
- Cyndi's List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet
- TAPCUG - Tacoma Area PC Users Group
As news items on the Home Page are replaced by newer ones, those of lasting interest will be placed here.