Kathy Weddle Sizer, President of the Yakima Valley Genealogical Society, has been a member for
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 Ancestry.com 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.