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

Our February Monthly Meeting will be held at the LDS Church, Family History Center (FHC) at 1102 South Pearl Street Tacoma, WA. For more information see the Meetings page.

At the November meeting, elections were held for the following positions: Vice President – Programs; Vice President – Education; and Treasurer. Lorraine Graeber was re-elected as Treasurer, while Bob McDole and George Snyder join the Board; Bob as Vice President – Programs, and George as Vice President – Education.

Check out the Events Calendar to see what seminars and conferences are upcoming. In addition, it now includes a section for free webinars.

Planning is underway for this year's Spring Seminar. Connie Lenzen, from Portland, Oregon, will be our speaker. 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

The second season of Genealogy Roadshow recently began airing on PBS on Tuesday evenings. But if you've missed any episodes, you can view them on the website.

The following announcement was written by the Seattle Genealogical Society:

The Seattle Genealogical Society is proud to announce the availability of a huge database, the SGS King County Court Cases Index, 1881-1980, or KC3I for short. This index contains over 1.7 million records. Of these, divorces and other end-of marriage cases comprise over 700,000 of the entries, and probate and similar cases account for nearly 300,000 more.

The KC3I was created over a ten year period by a small but resolute group of SGS volunteers from over 100 boxes of index cards from the Chicago Title Company. It is an index of ALL King County court cases that could potentially affect property rights, and therefore the title to property from before 1881 through 1980. In addition to divorce and probate cases, the KC3I also includes all King County court cases involving name changes, community property agreements and guardianships, among others. Nearly 80,000 hours of volunteer time went into the creation of the KC3I.

As its name suggests, the KC3I is an index only. It does not contain abstracts or summaries of these cases. A search of this index:

  1. informs you if your ancestor was a party in one or more cases during this period;
  2. lists the date and a few other details about each case (such as date of marriage or death, wife’s maiden name, etc.); and
  3. provides you with the case number and date of each case.

Once you have the case numbers, you can then obtain the complete case records from the King County Court Clerk’s office.

Anyone with ancestors who lived in King County, Washington between 1850 and 1980 should be aware of this index, which is not available anywhere else, other than in the King County Superior Court Clerk’s office.

For more information, please visit http://www.seattlegenealogicalsociety.org/kc3i or email us at SGSkc3iLookups@gmail.com.


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

Fold 3 is offering free access to their Black History Collection throughout the month of February, in honor of Black History Month.


Research Aids

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

Ancestry.com is in the process of producing a series of Free State Research Guides. For more information, watch this video: State Research Guides and Place Pages.

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.

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

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 http://washgensoc.blogspot.com/

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.

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.

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.

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:


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 Monday, 02 February 2015, 05:29:40 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.