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Tacoma-Pierce County
Genealogical Society

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.

Monthly Meetings:
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

Society News

Members should have recently received the latest issue of the Newsletter via e-mail. It has also been posted on the website at November 2015 issue

In addition, the long-awaited 2015 Researcher is out! Members should have received it by snail mail. Full of interesting articles, sure to provide us all with new research ideas. And don't forget, start writing your articles for next year's issue now!

TPCGS now has a blog! Visit it at and tell us what you think. Click on follow (in the lower right-hand corner) to receive updates by e-mail.

Planning is underway for 2016, when TPCGS will host the Washington State Genealogical Society Conference. Our speaker will be Paula Stuart-Warren.

The Events Calendar has just been updated. Lots of interesting sounding seminars coming up in the near future, so check it out. It now includes a section for free webinars.

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

Check out today’s post from The Ancestry Insider — as he says:

RootsTech 2016 has posted the Syllabi for streaming schedule for access by the public. To access the most up to date streaming schedule, go to

All times are Mountain Standard Time. Add two hours for EST and subtract one for PST.

All the syllabi are available at

So even if we can’t actually attend RootsTech, we can enjoy it virtually.

War of 1812 Contributor

As you may know, TPCGS has been collecting donations for Preserve the Pensions, the effor spearheaded by the Federation of Genealogical Societies. Here is a portion of their 2015 Year End Donor Report:

On behalf of the Board of the Federation of Genealogical Societies, thank you for your donations to the Preserve the Pensions project in 2015! With your help this year, we reached a significant milestone in the fundraising effort—we surpassed the $2 million dollar mark in our efforts to digitize the 7.2 million pension images for the 180,000 pensioners of the War of 1812.

This is a landmark project. It marks the first time in our history the genealogical community has come together to raise such a significant amount of money to preserve priceless documents. When completed, this project will save tax payers $3.45 million dollars. The Federation of Genealogical Societies’ previous successful efforts to index the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System produced a $6.3 million dollar tax savings. Hence, these two projects will result in nearly a $10 million dollar savings to tax payers.

The Federation of Genealogical Societies is proud to report that .98 cents of every dollar raised goes directly to digitizing the documents. There are no salaries paid for this project—the project costs are primarily to print materials to publicize the project.

In 2015, the project raised $208,401 in total cash donations. This amount coupled with the generous match from doubled the funds raised to $416,802! That brings the total amount raised for the project thus far to $2,032,198!


Subscription genealogy websites occasionally offer free access to specific databases in their collections. Such offers will be listed here.

Excerpted from The Weekly Genealogist, the New England Historic Genealogical Society's newsletter:

Just getting started in genealogy? Or are you ready to take your research to the next level? Whatever your background, the experts at NEHGS are committed to helping you achieve your genealogical goals in 2016! This month we are providing free Guest User access to some of our most popular databases. A free Guest User account is a great way to sample what NEHGS has to offer, including informational subject guides on a variety of research topics, engaging webinars, and the latest research news and tips from our experts. NEHGS has the resources, experts, and services you need to make this your most successful year of family history ever. Here’s to continued new beginnings in 2016!


Research Aids

An interesting article on Eastman's Online Genealogy Blog concerns English Surnames and their French Equivalents. If your ancestors came down from Canada, this may explain a name change.

And if you have Polish Ancestors, the Polish American Marriage Database may be very helpful.

If you have ancestors from New Hampshire, check out these Maps & Atlases from the University of New Hampshire Library website.

Do you have Rhode Island roots? If so, you may be interested in checking out the Rhode Island Digital Archives.

Or are your ancestors from Chicago? Then check out this Research Guide from The Newberry Library.

141 county plat books from Missouri have been scanned and can be viewed for free on this section of the Missouri Digital Heritage website.

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.


Books & Blogs

From Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter comes this announcement: The Indiana Genealogical Society has added a free database about Indiana Civil War veterans: Grand Army of the Republic Members Appointed in Indiana (1885). If your ancestors lived in Indiana, and participated in the Civil War, you will want to check this out. More information is available at Indiana Genealogical Society Adds a Free Database of Indiana Civil War Veterans.

The Washington State Genealogical Society now has a blog! Check it out at

Caveat Emptor! Or, in this case, user beware ~ In a recent post on The Legal Genealogist, Judy Russell cautions users to thoroughly read the Terms of Usage for any website they might consider using. In particular she focusses on Who Do You Think You Are? Story service. Read more at WDYTYA Story: Terms of Use.

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.

The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) has launched a blog called Vita Brevis ("life is short") that will share genealogy expertise and news from NEHGS.


Local Resources

Older News

As news items on the Home Page are replaced by newer ones, those of lasting interest will be placed here.


Tacoma-Pierce County Genealogical Society
PO Box 1952, Tacoma, Washington 98401, USA
Updated Friday, 29 January 2016, 05:38:56 PM MST
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Contact TPCGS

The Tacoma Pierce County Genealogical Society (TPCGS) is a registered nonprofit corporation recognized by the IRS under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code using EIN 91-1180097. In addition, the TPCGS is a registered nonprofit corporation in the state of Washington under WAC 458-20-169 using UBI 600444975. As such, your donations and contributions may be tax deductible and are greatly appreciated. Fundraising activities are occasionally held for the benefit of the TPCGS.

The purpose of the TPCGS is to stimulate popular interest in family history, to seek genealogical and historical knowledge, to preserve and perpetuate the records of our ancestors, to aid individual members in compiling their family histories, and to collect and publish genealogical source material.