Monday, November 16, 2015

2015 Annual Meeting Highlights including New President and Vice President

The TriCity Genealogical Society had its Annual Meeting at the Isla Bonita Mexican Restaurant on November 11, 2015. A recap of the year was provided by reports of various Chairpersons. The 2016 approved budget was announced, and a change to the By-Laws was discussed and unanimously approved. The By-Law change changed our due structure to no longer have prorated dues. It was announced that starting in January 2016 TriCity Genealogical Society meetings will be held at Charbonneau Retirement Center.

The highlight of the meeting was the distribution of awards. President, John Covey, gave Certificates of Recognition to members who worked on the “Traveling Through Time” seminar that was held in September. Certificates were given to Walt Wood, Sandra Floberg, Bill Floberg, Janis Littlefield, Mary Kay Walker, Margaret Dunn, Art Kelly and Lawrence Clay. Jean Alexander, Gigi Bare, and Susan Davis Faulkner will also be receiving certificates for their work on the seminar but were not present at the Annual Meeting. Certificates of Appreciation for work on the library renumbering project were given to Dan Metzger and Linda Stephens. Mike McKinnon and Veronica Anguiano will also be receiving certificates for their work on the library renumbering project but were not present at the meeting. Special recognition was given to Margie Beldin and Veronica Anguiano for the Washington State Genealogical Society Outstanding Volunteer Awards that were presented to them at the Washington State Genealogical Society Conference in June.

As the business of 2015 was brought to an end new officers were elected by unanimous decision. The TriCity Genealogical Society President will be Walt Wood and the Vice President will be Bill Floberg. Walt Wood is bringing fresh ideas and energy to the Society and we are excited to catch his vision for the future. Bill Floberg has served the Society for many years as the Membership Chairperson, along with various as-needed jobs. We are honored to have him step up to this new position.

Walt Wood - TCGS President
Bill Floberg - TCGS Vice President

Other new Committee Chairpersons are Lawrence and Corliss Clay as Membership Chaircouple and Cody Allen as the Finance and Budget Chairperson. All other positions will continue with their previous leadership and are: Secretary, Mary Kay Walker; Treasurer, Margaret Dunn; Librarian, Sandra Floberg; Website and Publications, Janis Littlefield; Research, Veronica Anguiano; and Publicity, Susan Davis Faulkner.

We look forward to what this new blend of old and new Board Members will bring to the TriCity Genealogical Society. If you have ideas or questions, please don’t hesitate to let them be known.

~For pictures of the 2015 Annual Meeting go to the TriCity Genealogical Society Facebook page at ~

Saturday, November 14, 2015

We Are All Winners in the October Archived Document Contest

The Archived Document Contest is a monthly contest to showcase what can be found when we explore beyond what is available online. Those that enter the contest share what they have discovered, how they have discovered it, and how it relates to their family history research. In October we learned that there are methods to get information when the records are not available. We also got insight into fascinating aspects of some ancestor’s personalities that were revealed when researchers explored past indexes and transcriptions.

John Covey shared with us that his request for his aunt’s birth certificate was denied because he was not a direct descendant. What he received from the Tennessee Office of Vital Records instead of a birth certificate was an extraction of the information that the official document contained. This included the date, time, and location of his aunt’s birth along with detailed information about her parents and their background. We always want original records but when they are restricted there are often other ways to obtain juicy tidbits of information.

Linda Stephens provided a copy of her grandmother’s marriage certificate. The original document had holes in it caused by an eraser where the ages of the bride and groom were once recorded. By looking at the original document it was obvious that the 28-year age difference must have been a concern to someone.

Margie Stein Beldin entertained us with her story of her research trip to Scotland. After days of looking for information about her great-grandfather she hit a goldmine on the last day of her trip. She had poured through many collections at the UK National Archives before it was suggested that she visit the Scots Guard Barracks archivist. She was presented with a huge file folder of information pertaining to her great-grandfather. Included in the folder were his enlistment and discharge records which included his birth date and place, parents’ names, and religion. In addition to the information she expected to find she also was provided with his physical description, his health history, and reports of his drunken behavior.

Loren Schmid educated us with his research report disproving a family legend about his great-aunt’s father-in-law. This man was said to have been so tall that he hit his head on a barn while riding a horse and that he had sustained an injury that gave him a mental disorder. Searching through various Civil War military records, vital records, historical biographies, and even grave markers Loren ascertained that this man was actually 5 foot 2 inches and died of senility contributed to by arteriosclerosis.

We can all claim to be winners in this month’s contest. The examples and lessons learned provide us with an astounding amount of information to let us know that personalities of our ancestors are recorded and can be found when we leave the Informational Highway titled the Internet. The judges had plenty of material to consider before making the decision on which of the entries would win the TriCity Genealogical Society membership which was the prize for the October contest. They finally concurred that Loren Schmid and his discovery of his great-aunt’s height-challenged father-in-law was the winner. Loren was honored at the TriCity Genealogical Society Annual Meeting with a certificate stating that he had won an annual membership. Loren stated that since he had already paid his 2016 dues he would like for the money slated for the prize to be donated to the Wreaths Across America project. More information about this project can be found at

Loren Schmid accepting certificate for winning
October Archived Document Contest
 from John Covey, President
November’s contest is underway. Enter your story for an opportunity to win a free 2-hour consultation with Stories to Tell Books. Stories to Tell Books assist authors in any and all steps necessary to publish manuscripts.  Need some technical advice? Want an editor to look over your work? Check out Stories to Tell Books at  Better yet, submit your entry to the November Archived Document Contest. Upload a family history related document to the TriCity Genealogical Society Facebook page at Include how you obtained the document, which can be any method other than downloading from the Internet. Also explain how it pertains to your research. All monthly winners will be entered into a separate and special contest for the Annual Archived Document Contest with prizes to and

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Connecting in 2016

The definition of the word “join” is simply to bring together or to connect. When we join the TriCity Genealogical Society we have many opportunities to bring together our interests in genealogy with others that have the same interest. By connecting with others of this same interest we have an opportunity to learn which helps us manage and strengthen our own personal research and interest. Being a member of the TriCity Genealogical Society is a dance that allows us to swirl in movement as we interact, learn, and teach. Our membership helps provide opportunities for this dance to occur.

We could list all of the details of each aspect of membership. If we did this we could start with the TCGS Bulletin which is an online publication written by and for genealogists. Many of the articles published in the Bulletin share struggles and successes of TCGS members. Reading these articles allows us to not only learn from their experiences but also get to know these members in a more personal light. We can casually build a contact list of who to ask questions covering various topics.

If we built a list of benefits to being a member of TCGS we could discuss the educational opportunities that are available to us monthly. Adding this to the list would possibly be a distraction as we reflect over the various Regular Meeting speakers or Hands-On Classes that have been offered in just the past year.

If we decided to build a list of benefits to joining TCGS we could consider the projects that would allow each of us to contribute to the genealogical community as a whole. We could list projects dealing with our local family history centers or even specify the indexing project for the largest family history library in the world.

In building a list of benefits that being a member of the TriCity Genealogical Society gave us we could count the social media aspects of Facebook and the TriCity Genealogical Society Blog. We would once again need to guard against distraction however because the articles and pictures of membership activity could be an interruption.

Instead of building such a list we should consider the basic principle of economics that explains that we, as consumers, vote with our dollars. If we believe in the benefit of a product and we want to see that product grow and expand and flourish we vote by spending our money in its favor. If we believe that the TriCity Genealogical Society is a group of people that contribute to the world of genealogy and that we can learn by joining with that group then we should invest in its future by paying our annual dues. We should all join the future of TCGS and pay our 2016 dues and join together as we build a list of what we want 2016 to offer.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Don’t Pay Your 2016 Dues. Win Your Membership in the October Archived Document Contest.

Entries to the Archived Document Contest in September gave the Judges plenty to discuss. They enjoyed getting to know the individuals behind the documents that were offered.

Digital copies of a scrapbook were shared. These scrapbooks were created by a businessman in the early 20th century. He collected poems that he enjoyed written by Whittier, Longfellow and Wordsworth. He also kept copies of his own poetry that had been published in local newspapers. The poetry showed a very special and unknown part of this man who was known as a businessman and Seattle politician. Typical genealogical records would have never been able to share the spiritual and sensitive side of this person, yet the scrapbook collection made it possible to get to know this side of him.

Typical genealogical records can provide insight into ancestral mysteries though. The Judges also got to review a digitized copy of a marriage certificate found at the Ellensburg library. In finding this certificate descendants discovered that their ancestor had married again after his wife had died. Not only had he remarried but he had married a woman with the same first name as his deceased wife. Without finding this marriage certificate it would have been easy to assume that his first wife had lived many years longer than she did since both women died with the same name.

After much discussion, and a lot of fun with various scenarios, the Judges decided that Mina Jo Payson was the winner of the September contest. Her document taught a very important lesson in allowing the documents to support our research. This was a difficult decision for the Judges, however, as they would love to see everyone find a scrapbook filled with items of importance to our ancestors.

This is for the documents contest. My brother came home from the library in Ellensburg and asked me if our great grandfather had a second wife. When I went up to the library, we looked for a marriage certificate and guess what? He married his housekeeper six years after his first wife, Sarah, died. Conveniently her first name was Sarah, too! This led to some more interesting discoveries about our family.

What have you discovered about your ancestor? Share a digital copy of a document on the TriCity Genealogical Society Facebook page. The document could have been found anywhere except the Internet. Explain where you found the document and how it ties into your family history research. Don’t pay your dues. Win your dues. The prize for the October Archived Document Contest is a 2016 Membership to the TriCity Genealogical Society

Monday, September 14, 2015

"Traveling Through Time" Hard to Sit Through

About 65 individuals had a difficult time sitting through the Traveling Through Time seminar with speaker William Dollarhide. Within minutes of his opening remarks there was a desire to leave the room and research.

The first session of the all-day seminar was titled “Dollarhide’s Five Rules – Essentials for
Successful Genealogical Research.” Rule number 1 was “Treat the brothers and sisters of your ancestors as equals.” With this rule Dollarhide encouraged everyone to obtain those important census records, vital records, and various historical documents on all collateral lines. He provided a great case study of locating his own Dollarhide Family Bible by following this rule. Most genealogists, he explained, focus so closely on their ancestral line that they overlook the very important clues that are available by examining records left behind by aunts, uncles, and cousins of every generation. With this he also told everyone that they had an awful lot of work to do. It was a difficult way to begin the day as we knew that we were only beginning to understand how little we had done.

In his second session Dollarhide taught about the American Migration Routes from 1750 to 1800. With easy delivery, as if he was explaining something very simple to an attentive child, he took us on a tour of how one road was built to lead to the need for another, or to connect an already important route. He explained that many of those same routes are still being used today and encouraged us to acquire a 1941 Rand McNally Road Atlas. The Interstate System was not developed until 1956 so many of the most used roads were built on historically proven routes developed over several hundreds of years of travel.

The Civil War created a massive amount of records, many are still available today. Not all of these were federal records either. In Dollarhide’s session titled “Genealogical Resources of the Civil War Era” he gave us information on where to look, both online and on microfilm at the Family History Library, for records created during this time.

The day ended with tools to find living people by using online resources. Dollarhide shared the story of his own research in the 1970s. City directories and telephone books were extremely important and he lived mere blocks away from the Pacific Bell Telephone Company. He spent weeks pouring through various telephone books in order to locate other people with the surname of Dollarhide. The Internet has provided many websites that have taken away the need for telephone books, yet the information is still available if a researcher knows where to look. He endorsed as a free website that was worth a visit that would provide at least a 75% success rate. Pages of additional websites were also provided to help fill in the 25% gap of information.

The day was packed full with easy to understand methods and freely provided tools. Instead of rushing to research we stayed, partially because we were stunned with the amount of information that we were being given. The other reason we stayed is that the Reata Springs Baptist Church was a wonderful and comfortable venue. The salad and sandwich buffet, stocked by the church’s teens, made a perfect lunch which was enjoyed at round banquet tables decorated with interesting and beautiful historical artifacts. There were Door Prizes, a Silent Auction, and Show and Tell items that also kept our interest.

When we left we hit the digital highway to look for a variety of documents and information that we may have never really examined before listening to William Dollarhide. We may have even done a few queries to find our long lost friends and tell them about our wonderful day at the Traveling Through Time seminar.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

A List of Don'ts Revealed from August Archived Document Contest

For the August Archived Document Contest, John Covey shared much more than an amazing document that he acquired off-line. He showed that it is possible to find clues that may take his research back to the 1500s. By reviewing his entry we can determine some “Don’ts” regarding family history research.

John Covey has arranged the annual fieldtrip for members of the TriCity Genealogical Society to research in Salt Lake’s Family History Library for many years. He knows that the vast amount of holdings have information important to his research. Even though John has made this trip several times, he continues to take the trip each year.

In June 2015 John discovered the baptismal record of his 8th great grandfather which was created in 1664. John did not arrive at the Family History Library expecting to locate this record, but rather found information leading to this record when he visited the basement of the library and researched German records. In this section of records he found a book that not only listed his 8th great grandfather’s information, but information continuing back for about another hundred years. Being a seasoned genealogist, John admits that the clues were a great find but that they were not documented. This gave him ideas, but in and of itself it was not a solid record.

John shared the 1664 baptismal record and his explanation in this entry to the Archived Document Contest. 

“For my Archived Document Contest entry this week I have posted a copy of my 8th Great Grandfather Johann Martin Hartlieb's baptismal record from 1664 that I got at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City last June. His is the third from the bottom of the page. Until that trip I had not even heard of him until I found a book in the German section of the library which lists the Hartlieb's in that part of Germany from the early 1600's up to the late 1800's. Through this book I have traced some other parts of the maternal line back to the late 1500s but with the book not having sources more work needs to be done on my part. While looking at the document I noticed some symbols in the first column that I did not understand, after some research I found out they were astrological symbols used for the seven planets (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn). I found that astrology was being practiced in churches up until the late 1600's in some areas of Europe.”

Through John’s entry to the August Archived Document Contest we can all learn what not to do.

1.            Don’t be afraid of the basement. Many repositories store important records in basements. This keeps them out of the hustle and bustle of day-to-day activity. Basements can be easily overlooked yet may contain records or clues to additional information that is extremely important to our research advancement.

2.            Don’t disregard any set of records, but be cautious if the information is not sourced. John found a great deal of family history information in a book yet the information was not documented. John treated this unsourced book differently than he did the baptismal record that he found. He knew that the unsourced book provided clues which could be used to continue his research but he didn’t automatically adopt the information as fact. He used it as a launching pad to find the documented information that would make his research more accurate.

3.            Don’t overlook anything that you find in a record. Once John found the 1664 baptismal record of his 8th great grandfather, he allowed his curiosity freedom. The baptismal record contained symbols that John did not understand. He discovered that astrology was practiced in churches up until the late 1600’s in some areas of Europe.

4.            Don’t assume that you need a detailed list of records created by hours of examining online catalogs in order to have a successful research trip. It is important to be prepared for research trips to any repository, but don’t let your list give you tunnel vision. New discoveries may very well lead to record sets that you had not previously considered.

5.            Don’t confine yourself to online research. The story that John shared gives us great examples of the type of records that are available beyond what the Internet has to offer.

John’s entry to the August Archived Document Contest won him an annual subscription to “Internet Genealogy.” “Internet Genealogy” is a genealogical magazine for people researching family trees, family history, their heritage and genealogy roots using the resources of the Internet. John is no foreigner to brick and mortar repositories but only because he knows how well these repositories fill out the research he is able to do online.

The winner of the September Archived Document Contest will win an annual subscription to Mocavo, which is a FindMyPast company. Mocavo has a highly sophisticated search engine bringing together vast amounts of indexes into one location. To enter the September contest simply share a digitized image of a record that you acquired in any method other than downloading from the Internet on the TriCity Genealogical Society Facebook page at Explain how you acquired the record and how it ties into your family history research.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

What is Your Most Prized Possession?

My husband works in Aiken, South Carolina and has maintained a temporary office and apartment there for three years. Recently the apartment building he was staying in was completely destroyed by fire. He had no idea that when he crossed the threshold at midnight he would be the last person to ever pass through that door. Since he was sleeping at the time the fire broke out he was very lucky to escape with the shirt on his back, his smartphone, and his laptop.

As a Nuclear Safety Engineer he has accumulated a wonderful reference library. Much of his collection is in digital format which makes it easier for him access digitally. It also makes the collection easy to move when he changes working locations. The most precious part of his library has been digitized and contains unpublished and published material, much that is no longer available to the public. Even though his collection was in digital format, he stored them on CDs. They were not copied on to his laptop or backed up to an off-site storage facility. He had intentions of doing that… someday. When asked he will tell you that this collection is the most valuable item he lost in that devastating fire.

I sing the old song of “Backup Backup Backup” in telling this story. One of the sponsors for the TriCity Genealogical Society Archived Document Contest is provides online backup effortlessly. Over the years I have used a variety of this type of software and I have struggled with the amount of resources that are demanded from my computer while the backup occurs. I have been using Backblaze for over a year and I personally endorse how easy it is to use. It is invisible yet effective. Jan Norman won the June 2015 Archived Document Contest which was a one year subscription to I encourage anyone who uses a computer to check out what Backblaze has to offer. Go to to learn more about their services.

The August 2015 prize to the contest is a one year subscription to “Internet Genealogy”. “Internet Genealogy” beautifully combines the Internet and genealogy by providing articles that focus on genealogy-related resources, software, tools, products, technologies and more. You can find out more about what this magazine has to offer by checking out their website at Data backup is an issue that is often discussed.

The Archived Document Contest was created to stir an interest in off-line repositories and non-digitized records while simultaneously celebrating computerized genealogy. There are some wonderful monthly prizes lined up. To enter merely submit a digital image of a document that was obtained in some method other than downloading from the Internet. Include a brief description of how you obtained the document and how it relates to your family history research. These submissions can be done on the TriCity Genealogical Society Facebook page at or by emailing them to Susan Davis Faulkner at You do not need to be a member of the TriCity Genealogical Society to submit an entry or to win.

Winning may be easier than you think and the long term benefits of winning may be more rewarding than you can contemplate. Jan Norman has the opportunity to have a complete backup of her digital collection just because she entered the contest. The August contest is now underway and the winner will have rich resources at their fingertips as well. 

Sub-Agent of Indian Affairs Descendant Wins Archived Document Contest for July 2015

Each month the Archived Document Contest provides us new information and the July 2015 contest had its own set of curiosities and twists. Genealogists everywhere seemed busy with road trips, conferences, and family reunions. They loaded their Facebook pages and updated their blogs with information about their summer activities.

Summer officially ends on September 22 and the TriCity Genealogical Society has their Traveling Through Time conference scheduled for September 12. This provides traveling genealogists an opportunity to add one last conference to their summer itinerary. It also provides local genealogists an opportunity to attend a conference without traveling.

The speaker for this upcoming conference will be William Dollarhide. Mr. Dollarhide is a very well-known author and speaker. The TriCities should feel honored to have a genealogist of his caliber come to the community.

Another individual that you will probably see at the conference is Larry Bafus. Larry won the July 2015 contest. He submitted a copy of his 3rd great grandfather’s acceptance as a Sub-Agent of Indian Affairs of Washington Territory which was written in 1854. Larry’s 3rd great grandfather was Andrew J. Bolon. Bolon’s district covered “between the Bitterroot and Cascade Mountains.” Sadly, Bolon died a year and a half later at the hands of the Yakamas near present day Goldendale. An interesting point to Bolon’s acceptance letter is that it was written to Isaac Stevens who at the time the letter was written was Governor of Washington Territory and Superintendent of Indian Affairs.

Larry Bafus

Acceptance Letter of AJ Bolon

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Traveling Through Time

William Dollarhide
Saturday, September 12, William Dollarhide will be the speaker for the TriCity Genealogical Society seminar titled “Traveling Through Time.” The seminar will be held at the Reata Springs Baptist Church located at 2881 Leslie Road in Richland, Washington.

Many genealogists are familiar with the name Dollarhide, and there are obvious reasons. He has authored over 120 magazine articles and over 30 books. His book Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790-1920 is one of the top-5 best-selling genealogy books in America. He is also well known as a national speaker, speaking to genealogy audiences in more than 45 states. In addition to speaking at local and state level seminars and conferences he has instructed several classes at the national level in conferences sponsored by the National Genealogical Society and the Federation of Genealogical Societies. His credentials include honors of “Award of Merit” from the American Society of Genealogists and an “Award of Appreciation” from the National Genealogical Society along with many “Awards of Appreciation” from state level societies.

The TriCity Genealogical Society is honored to sponsor this seminar, in which William Dollarhide will focus on four lectures. The titles of these lectures are “Dollarhide’s Five Rules,” “American Migration Routes 1750-1800,” “Civil War Genealogy,” and “Finding Living Relatives Online.” A traveling bookstore containing many Dollarhide books will be available at the seminar.

Registration to the “Traveling Through Time” seminar is open to the public. The costs is $35.00 and includes lunch if submitted before August 15th. To register, download a registration form from and send it to TriCity Genealogical Society, PO Box 1410, Richland WA 99352. For more information contact Susan Davis Faulkner at or 509-554-1050.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

June's Archived Document Contest Unanimous Winner

The month of June 2015 provided the Archived Document Contest with a wealth of information. We discovered more locations for important documents. We also enjoyed the stories that encouraged us to go beyond the Internet to find gems of our own family’s history.

In June we learned that Civil Servants, even when burdened with their own workload, can be a valuable connection. Margie Stein Beldin received information about her great grandparents’ marriage registration which also included her great great grandfathers’ name. This opened up a new generation of family information for her. We also got to mentally visit cemeteries and research libraries with Jan Norman as she told her story of finding letters between her third great grand uncle and his Civil War active military nephews. Marian Beecher Halverson and Susan Davis Faulkner shared additional stories of photographs and documents provided by family members. This reminded us of the vast amount of information contained in family collections.

Jan Norman and her cousin, Jim Cunningham
The Judging Panel voted unanimously that Jan Norman’s trip to the Working Man’s Institute and Library in New Harmony, Indiana walked away with the June prize for the Archived Document Contest. Jan Norman’s “feet on the ground” research provided incredible and personal information about her family in 1863. The letter that Jan submitted was full of details of what her ancestors experienced while fighting in the war.
Go to the TCGS Facebook page to read the entire letter.

Page Two of the Schnee Civil War Letter

Jan wins a one year subscription to Backblaze. Backblaze provides continual online backup service so Jan won’t have to stop her important work to save those valuable files.

July’s Archived Document Contest is currently underway. Upload a digital copy of a document you acquired in any method, other than downloading, to the TriCity Genealogical Society Facebook page to enter. July’s prize is a free registration to the Traveling Through Time Seminar scheduled for September 12, 2015 in Richland. William Dollarhide is the speaker. For more information on the seminar go to To check out the current Facebook entries, or to enter, go to

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Photo by Roxanne Lowe

Here are some of the people from TCGS that attended the Washington State Genealogical Society conference in Ellensberg with speaker David Rencher.   L to R – a friend, Renee Petersen, Veronica Anguiano, Hank Jackel (standing), Margie Belden and Mary Ann Orton.
At this conference Veronica Anguiano and Margie Belden were awarded WSGS Recognition awards for which TCGS had nominated them.

Veronica Anguiano 

Veronica was recognized for her outstanding efforts in the cataloging of historical documents of importance and value to researchers interested in Benton and Franklin Counties.

Veronica Anguaimo has been selected by the Tri-City Genealogical Society (TCGS) as their recipient of the WSGS Outstanding Volunteer Award. She was selected for her commitment to researching and sharing information, even outside her local Society.

Ms. Anguiano has distinguished herself in untiring support of the TCGS as its Research Chair and helping research Benton and Franklin county histories. Ms. Anguiano has responded willingly and efficiently to numerous requests for information from outside her local society.

Ms. Anguiano has become heavily involved in re-cataloging the TCGS library holdings so the holdings can be searched from the FamilySearch Library Catalog. As the holdings are re-cataloged, the new numbers are uploaded to the FamilySearch system, making them searchable from FamilySearch’s online site.

Ms. Anguaimo is a respected and diligent member of the TCGS, and richly deserves this recognition.

Margie Belden

 Margie was recognized for exceptional and consistent support of the goals and operation of the Tri-City Genealogical Society.

Margie Beldin has been selected by the Tri-City Genealogical Society (TCGS) as their recipient of the WSGS Outstanding Volunteer Award. She was selected for her dedicated, enthusiastic efforts to educate members of her local Society.

Ms. Beldin has distinguished herself in untiring support of the TCGS as its Education Chair for many years.  In that position, Ms. Beldin has made many classes on a wide variety of subjects available to the membership. Ms. Beldin has not only coordinated setting up classes and programs, she has taught numerous classes herself, as she actively increases her knowledge and capability through attendance at genealogical conferences and classes outside the TCGS. She is always willing to share the knowledge that she gets from these events.

Ms. Beldin is a valued and hard-working member of the TCGS, and richly deserves this recognition.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Benefits of Membership Explained by Kathy Weddle Sizer

Kathy Weddle Sizer, President of the Yakima Valley Genealogical Society, has been a member for
over 40 years. On June 10, 2015 she explained the benefits of society membership and active participation to those attending the TriCity Genealogical Society meeting. As with any other organization, club, or society, membership in a genealogical society can provide companionship which without effort leads to mentorship. Hiking can be done alone. It is not wise but it is possible. Someone that is interested in hiking would benefit by joining an organization where they can learn more about terrains, gear, and methods. The same is true for genealogy. It too can be done in solitude but the void created by solitary research can lead to innocent mistakes.

Kathy provided an example that was close to home. Her niece found Kathy’s grandmother’s name listed on the Social Security Death Index. Using the location of Kathy’s grandmother’s last benefit location as her place of death, she made a grave error. Kathy’s grandmother died in Union Gap but her last Social Security benefit was received in Cle Elum. Kathy’s niece innocently used the Cle Elum location as her place of death. This error is now available for others to copy from Members Public Trees. Had Kathy’s niece attended meetings and interacted with other researchers she would have known that there can easily be a difference between the last benefit location and the death location. Kathy also pointed out that many errors like this are available to copy from various sites online and warned researchers about the fallacies available in online family trees.

Interacting with other researchers can help someone tear down brick walls. Many a seasoned genealogist is happy to share the methods that lead to their own personal victories that can also be repeated by researchers struggling to understand the best way to prove historical facts. There are also seasoned genealogists who focus on particular studies like medical information or military involvement. Kathy shared stores about adoption cases that were solved by following leads made available from other members or presentations at meetings.

There is strength in numbers. A society represents a group of people and through their efforts great repositories can be created. Kathy gave many examples of what can be found at the Yakima Valley Genealogical Society library but also provided personal stories of great discoveries she had experienced by researching at genealogical societies close to her ancestral homes.

Kathy summarized her presentation by saying, “My membership in my local society is the best gift I can give myself.” Kathy’s devotion to local societies was not only enthusiastically testified verbally but also visually. Even an arm in a sling didn’t hold her back from enjoying the TriCity Genealogical Society meeting.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Winner of May's Archived Document Contest Announced

There were only a few submissions in May 2015 for the Archived Document Contest but these few entries provided wonderful lessons. Documents from the 1700s and the 1900s were located on microfilms available through the Family History Library. The documents on these microfilms containing important genealogical information were viewed in Salt Lake City and also at the Richland Family History Center. This proved to us that travel is not necessary when looking for un-digitized documents. Microfilms from the Family History Library can be brought to our neighborhood Family History Centers.

Ray Baalman is this month’s winner of the Archived Document Contest. He submitted two documents from 1700s France. More importantly he shared with us a very valuable lesson. “The important principle illustrated here is NEVER overlook the importance of witnesses at baptisms and marriages. They are often relatives and can give important clues about where to look next.” Ray illustrated this lesson by explaining that he found his seventh great grandmother recorded as the godmother of his fifth great grandmother on that grandmother’s marriage record.

Ray wins an annual subscription to With this subscription he will have access to over 3600 newspapers from the 1700s to the 2000s. There are currently 103,266,276 pages available for viewing through the every-word searchable databases. For more information about go to or read their very entertaining blog titled Fishwrap at

Below is Ray Baalman's submission including copies of the documents and a translation from French to English. 

Here is an entry for May's Archived Record Contest from Ray Baalman.
I am submitting two eighteenth-century documents I discovered on microfilms from the Family History Library and read at the Richland Family History Center. I am submitting both because they are related, and they point out an important principle of genealogical research. I am also appending a transcription and translation of the records since they are in French and a bit hard to read.
For many centuries, most of my French ancestors lived in or very nearby the town of Saint Avold in the east of France, not far from the German border. One of the more prominent members of the family, Christophe Margot, was a successful tanner, who lived and practiced his trade in the town of Saint Avold. I found his baptismal record in the parish register and nothing more until his first child was baptized when Christophe was 29 years old. I could not find Christophe’s marriage record.
After locating the baptismal records of all three of his children and studying them closely, I discovered that his second child (my fifth great-grandmother), who was baptized in 1721, had godparents who came from a different town (sarlouys on the record, now spelled Saarlouis) some 20 miles north of Saint Avold. I ordered the film for marriage records in Saarlouis (which was in France then, but is now in Germany) and found that the marriage had taken place there in 1717. The marriage record also proved that the godmother of my fifth great-grandmother was her grandmother, my seventh great.
The important principle illustrated here is NEVER overlook the importance of witnesses at baptisms and marriages. They are often relatives and can give important clues about where to look next.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

May 2015 "Show and Tell" A Huge Success

In May 2015 those attending the TriCity Genealogical Society Meeting enjoyed a Show and Tell. Interaction provided a social aspect to exchanging research success stories and encouraging fresh ideas.

Tables were made available along the windowed wall and in the back of the Captain’s Table restaurant at the Clover Island Inn. These tables were soon filled with poster board displays, books, artifacts, photographs, and much more. After dinner and a quick Business Meeting the Program Chairperson, Barbara Christensen, explained that the only rule for the evening was that everyone had to get up from their chair and look at what had been put on display. Within minutes the room was full of enthusiastic conversation.

One of the most challenging aspects of a Show and Tell is how to focus research to emphasize one topic to share with a group. It was fascinating to see the variety of this focus from various members. One member built a family tree of the earliest known photograph of each of their ancestors. Another member focused on their lineage of military history. Yet another member proved an interesting point in history showing that their ancestor was an esteemed religious leader yet treated his slaves as property. Cherished artifacts, interesting reference material, and published works were also on display.
Comments from those that attended the meeting tell the story from their personal perspective. Dorothy Stamper McGhan shared, “This was a good meeting last night and I enjoyed it very much.  I feel I have met new friends.” Sandra Meacham Floberg won the big prize of the raffle and posted this on Facebook, “I want to thank the generous donor of the WSGS Conference Package which consisted of the conference registration fee and a credit card toward expenses. I won all of that for just $1! You could have been the winner if you had attended the TCGS meeting last night. It was an enjoyable evening of sharing some of our family histories and learning about current social media. If you didn't attend you missed a great time!”

The evening finally came to an end with several requests to make the Show and Tell an annual event. Barbara Christensen smiled, realizing that the evening had been a huge success and acknowledged that this would not be the last Show and Tell for the TriCity Genealogical Society.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Archived Document Contest April Winner Announced

The TriCity Genealogical Society’s Archived Document Contest began April 1. There were a total of six entries during the month. Facebook readers stood by with anticipation as entries were made from individuals who had found wonderful family gems off line. Four of the entries posted during the month were received from family members, one from a microfilm at the Family History Library, and another one by making a telephone call to the National Archives Branch in Boston.

Flavor of life unfolded before our eyes as we learned that succulent details of ancestors’ lives were available, but not in huge databases. We got to enjoy pages from a personal journal, a holiday card with an important announcement, and an article written by an 11 year old boy that was published in a national magazine. The information shared in these artifacts helped the researchers enjoy a more personal understanding of their ancestor.

We also got to enjoy the more standardized genealogical finds like naturalization declarations, citizenship applications, and newspaper clippings. The ones shared during the contest though were not digitized. Many times the researcher had to work a little harder to obtain the information they were seeking, but the rewards were well worth the exploration.

If the results from this month’s contest were going to recommend the repository with the best results, family members would win. This should encourage all of us to seek information from our own family member repositories. This contest however is for the best submitted document that was obtained in any fashion other than the Internet.

Our winner for the month of April is Margie Stein Beldin. The final step in Margie’s long adventure in obtaining the Naturalization Declaration of her 2nd Great Grandfather was a phone call to the National Archives Branch in Boston. Margie wins a one year Premium Membership to Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems. You can get more information about this prize by going to

Below is what Margie submitted about her amazing search for information and how she was able to obtain results.

More than 15 years ago, I found the naturalization papers for my Irish gr gr grandfather, Frances McCue. However, it was impossible to decipher the name of the county he came from. I knew little about Irish research except that you had to know at least the county to begin researching in Ireland.
In 2001, I attended my first national conference, NGS-Portland. Wanting to know more about Irish research, I attended several presentations by Irish genealogists. Kyle Betit was one of them. I explained to him my dilemma and he offered to look at the naturalization document to see if he could decipher the place.
Before I turned to Kyle, however, I decided to try again on my own. The naturalization papers did show that Francis had filed his Declaration of Intent 24 June 1851. In 2002, I went to Boston for the first time and met a cousin, Patricia McHugh, who wanted to help me search for our Irish ancestor. She and I drove to Waltham to NARA-Boston to look through the books ourselves. However, we met with disappointment when we found a gap in the documents surrounding the time Francis would have filed his declaration. We left frustrated.
I then turned to Kyle who tried to read the county but could not decipher it. Pat even took a copy of the naturalization paper to Ireland on vacation. People there said the place had to be Lahinch. The problem was, Lahinch is not a county but a town. I didn’t buy that explanation at all.
In 2012, I was reading the Berkshire Genealogist, a publication of the Berkshire Family History Association. Their local librarian wrote about locating naturalization records. This led me to try once again to find the declaration of intent. I sent an email to NARA-Boston with a copy of what I did have and an explanation about not finding the declaration back in 2002.
Within days of my email I received the following email: “The declaration of intent for Francis McHugh has been located. We can provide a copy of the record for a fee of $7.50 per record...” Needless to say, I was on the phone in minutes reading them my credit card number. Within a few days, I received the declaration in the mail and there, in bold, legible handwriting, it said “County Leitrim, Ireland”. It was time to do the genealogy Happy Dance!

It only took 12 years+ and I still do not know the exact birth place of Francis McCue or if any of his family survived the famine besides him, but I’m one step closer. And, lucky for me, County Leitrim is one of the smaller counties.”

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Trailhead Now Open at Richland Family History Center

In Richard Allen’s presentation that he gave April 8 and titled “A Treasure Trove of Family History Information” he provided a wonderful analogy. He explained that genealogists’ Treasure Troves are articles and documents that provide them with information about their ancestors. In true pirate fashion Richard explained that in order to locate a treasure a treasure-map is necessary. Genealogists can use the Family History Library Catalog at as their treasure map. This treasure map will actually guide researchers to treasures located at the Richland Family History Center. There are over 10,000 treasures located at the Richland Family History Center and they will soon all be listed in the catalog.

Richard also explained that changes would be coming soon to the Richland Family History Center. One of the changes that he announced is that a Conversation Area would be made available to help facilitate conversations between researchers and library assistants. Within a week of Richard’s announcement the Conversation Area was completed.

Sandra Meacham Floberg shared, “Although I knew about the passports required for traveling through ‘Indian Territory’ in the South and Southeast in the early 1800s, I had no idea RFHC had a book documenting those passports!” Now these Indian Territory passports and many more treasures can be located at the Richland Family History Center. If you need assistance, start at the trailhead which is also known as the Conversation Area.

Other changes coming to the Richland Family History Center include a computer lab, complete with a teaching station and twelve hands-on computers for classroom attendees. Watch for announcements about this computer lab activity and additional upgrades coming to your local Family History Center. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

April 8, 2015 TCGS Meeting with Richard Allen

Last Wednesday evening Richard Allen, Director of the Richland Family History Center (FHC) and TriCity Genealogical Society (TCGS) member gave an excellent presentation to the membership at the monthly meeting at the Clover Island Inn, Kennewick.  Richard’s presentation was called “New items at the Richland FHC and how to use some of the older sources”.  Richard started his talk by giving some of the history of the FHC and its association with TCGS.  Richard then went on to describe some upcoming changes to the infrastructure of the FHC to make it more appealing to patrons. 

Richard described the holdings at the FHC and that a project is ongoing to re-catalog the books and get the catalog on line.  Richard showed the members present that you could go to FamilySearch and using their catalog search engine locate the holdings for the Richland FHC.

Richard then gave a presentation showing that not all information is online by walking through some research that he had done where much of the information came from the FHC holdings.  Some this information has never been digitized and put on the internet.

This section fitted in nicely with the Archived Document Contest that TCGS is running through the beginning of next year.   (Go to the TCGS website for more information on this contest)

One other item that came up during Richard’s presentation was that the Richland FHC has some books that even the Family History Library in Salt Lake City does not have in their collections. 

So just don’t do your research online check out the Family History Centers, Family History Library, local libraries, etc as you look for the dead.
John F Covey
TCGS President

Thursday, March 12, 2015

In March 2015 We Met The Archivist

Brigid Clift, Central Region Archivist for the Washington State Archives, provided a transparent view of her activities and responsibilities as the Archivist of government records last night to the TriCity Genealogical Society.

There are various reasons why government agency records need to be retained. Some retention schedules require that the records be held for 99 years or permanently! As the Archivist, Brigid answers many questions on how long records need to be kept. She also collects records from various agencies and takes them to the Central Region Branch of the Washington State Archives for storage. The Central Region Archives provides archival and records management services for Benton, Chelan, Douglas, Franklin, Grant, Kittitas, Klickitat, Okanogan, and Yakima county government agencies. The facility is state-of-the-art and Brigid encouraged those planning on attending the 2015 Washington State Genealogical Society conference to tour the Archives while in Ellensburg.

Brigid shared copies of various types of records to provide an idea of what is available at the Archives. She encouraged genealogists to interact with her. A major function of her job is obtaining material. She does this with the desire to share what she has collected. She explained three ways that she shares information from the Archives; requests, visits, and volunteer interaction.

Look-ups and research requests can be sent to Brigid explained that she enjoys providing this type of service but encouraged some work on the part of the researcher before sending a request. Record groups descriptions, including date range and volume size, is available at The most productive requests fit within the description of the record group. If a date in not known, a date range should be provided in the request.

Due to budget cuts the Central Region Archives has limited hours for visits. It is important to call or email before visiting to ensure that the archives are open and that someone is available to pull requested records. Brigid encouraged a review of the holdings before a visit. A review of the volume size gives the researcher information to plan how long their research efforts may take. Some record groups are indexed and some are not. This information is also available in the holdings list.

The Genealogical Society of Utah has recently scanned a large amount of images for the Central Region Archives. Volunteers can help with indexing these scanned images which is necessary before they become searchable online through the Digital Archives. To set up an account to help with this project go to or contact the Historical Records Project at for more information.

It was a treat to have Brigid speak at the TriCity Genealogical Society March meeting. We got to learn that Archivists are real people who love the records that they take care of and that they want to share these records. She represented the role of Archivist, of which there are many. Brigid reminded us that each state government and archive has its own way of conducting business.