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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

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 or email us at


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

The following announcement from Fold3 should be very exciting to anyone with Native American ancestors:

Free Access to the Native American Collection

Do you have Native American ancestry? Or are you interested in Native American history? Then explore Fold3’s Native American Collection for free November 1-15.

To read more, check out this post on the TPCGS Blog.

The following announcement was written by the New England Historic Genealogical Society:

Your ancestors have been dying for you to uncover them—and NEHGS has opened the cemetery gates so you can start digging! During Halloween, NEHGS offers family historians a FREE opportunity to uncover their ancestors. NEHGS’s Cemetery Collection on is FREE to search from October 30 through November 7.

October 30, 2015—Boston, Massachusetts—“Your ancestors have been dying for you to uncover them. NEHGS has opened the cemetery gates so you can start digging!”

To read more, check out this article on the TPCGS Blog.


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 Saturday, 28 November 2015, 10:30:26 AM 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.