Tacoma-Pierce County Genealogical Society

Tacoma-Pierce County
Genealogical Society

Older News

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

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.

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.

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.

At the 2014 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.

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:

Bad news from the Washington State Library:

Due to budget and staff reductions, the Washington State Library will discontinue its obituary lookup service effective June 16. We will also be reducing our building and phone hours from 8-5, Monday – Friday, to 12-5, Monday – Friday. If you wish to research at the library in person, we strongly recommend that you call ahead before your visit.

Details about our budget situation and reduced service hours can be found in the blog post here: http://blogs.sos.wa.gov/library/index.php/2014/06/washington-state-library-reduces-service-hours/

Suggestions for how to get a copy of obituary are listed on our website: http://www.sos.wa.gov/library/Out-of-State.aspx Customers are also welcome to visit us and search for obituaries themselves.

If you have any questions about these changes, please feel free to contact us. Comments and concerns should be directed to Rand Simmons, Washington State Librarian, at rand.simmons@sos.wa.gov or 360-570-5585.

If you have Quakers in your family, you will be interested in a recent announcement from Ancestry.com: "We just released 11.5 million new records documenting one of the most prominent groups in American history, the 'Religious Society of Friends,' more commonly known as Quakers. Spanning over 300 years (late 1600s – late 1900s), the collection includes birth, marriage, death, disownment, and memorial records, sourced from the Quaker’s monthly meeting minutes. - See more at: New Quaker Records Tell the Stories of Our Nation’s “Friends”.

Check out this map showing European borders over 1000 years at http://loiter.co/v/watch-as-1000years-of-european-boarders-change/.

Genealogy educator and author Thomas MacEntee recently announced the debut of Hack Genealogy, a new resource for the genealogy industry and the growing community of genealogy and family history enthusiasts.

Hack Genealogy is about “repurposing today's technology for tomorrow's genealogy” and a little bit more. Hack Genealogy is more than just a list of resources: It provides information on emerging technology inside and outside the genealogy industry.Hack Genealogy is not merely about surviving the overwhelming presence of new and emerging technologies . . . Hack Genealogy is about genealogy and technology success in its many facets.


Several of the Board Members met with reporter Jessica Peyton Roberts recently, and Jessica has written a wonderful article about the society in the online South Sound Talk.

Two national genealogy events are joining forces in 2015. February 12-14, 2015, the Federation of Genealogical Societies’ annual conference will take place in conjunction with FamilySearch’s RootsTech conference in Salt Lake City. Attendees of one event will be able to participate in the other for an additional fee. From the announcement: "Conducting both conferences at the same time in the same facility will give interested attendees the option to benefit from both conference programs for a nominal additional cost." This is definitely something to look forward to!

My Heritage.com has partnered with Maureen Taylor, the photo detective, to provide a website where you can preserve and share your old family photos, and maybe even uncover previously unnoticed clues. Check it out at Treasure Family Photos.

For UK researchers, there is a really neat resource called Archives hub, which enables you to search across descriptions of archives held at over 220 institutions across the UK.

Genealogy website Mocavo is reviving the spirit of the Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness (RAOGK) volunteer record lookup website in its Genealogy Karma website. Check it out — maybe you can find someone to help you with a brickwall, or volunteer to help others yourself. I've tried it and it works!

The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) has released a new genealogy resource for Northern Ireland. , along with FamilySearch, has digitized the Valuation Revision Books, 1864-1933. These books contain a list of landholders and their property valuations in counties Antrim, Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, Londonderry and Tyrone. The records are handy for filling in gaps between Griffiths Valuation (which ends in 1864) and the 1901 census (the earliest surviving Irish census).

FamilySearch's long-awaited Family Tree is now available for everyone to use. According to their website "Family Tree is an updated approach to organizing and recording your genealogy online. It is free, available to everyone, and provides an easy way to share information, compare research, and go further faster by working together. Family Tree development is ongoing and aggressive, so you can expect frequent updates, including additional training materials."

If you have Vermont ancestors during the Civil War period, check out Vermont Civil War Sesquicentennial.

From The Weekly Genealogist, the e-newsletter sent out by the New England Historic Genealogical Society: Researchers with New Hampshire ancestors can look forward to the launch of a major initiative by the New Hampshire Historical Society. The Society is working to create a new comprehensive online resource, NH History Online, which will include digital images of its collections, as well as transcriptions and interpretive information. The material to be digitized includes 31,000 objects, 200,000 photographs, and over two million manuscript pages.

NH History Online is modeled upon the nationally acclaimed Maine Memory Network, a project of the Maine Historical Society. The timeline calls for the creation of the final blueprint for the project over the next six months, with a fall implementation and a projected launch of NH History Online in late 2013/early 2014.

Arlington National Cemetery has unveiled a public database of the 400,000 burials there. Called ANC Explorer, the database is available online and as a Mobile app. You can search it to locate gravesites on a map; get details including birth, death and interment dates, and branch of service; generate front and back photos of a headstone or monument (where available); and get directions to those gravesites.

The National Archives has launched new online videos of its most popular genealogy “how to” workshops. These videos cover “hot topics” in genealogical research such as Civil War records, online resources and databases, and more. These workshops led by National Archives experts are available on the National Archives YouTube channel. The National Archives produced Know Your Records video shorts cover the creation, scope, content, and use of National Archives records for genealogical research.

Have you ever wondered how long it took your ancestors to travel across the United States in the 1800s? Author Michael Graham Richard addresses that question in his article How fast could you travel across the U.S. in the 1800s? on Mother Nature Network.

Elizabeth Shown Mills, the universally-acknowledged expert in genealogy documention, has published a companion website to her book Evidence Explained. Explore this website and sheck out the Quick Lessons posted there.

Do you ever wonder what an immigrant's name may have been in their country of origin? Or what your name might be if you still lived in that country? Check out English Equivalents of Foreign Given Names to find out.

We often come across old medical terms while doing genealogical research. To determine just what they meant, check out Rudy's List of Archaic Medical Terms.

FamilySearch recently issued this announcement:

North American Indexing Volunteers Invited to Join New US Immigration & Naturalization Community Project

More than 160,000 volunteer indexers made the 1940 U.S. Census available for searching in just five months. The project was an unprecedented success that dramatically illustrated what the genealogical community can accomplish when united in a common cause.

Now many volunteers are turning their attention to the U.S. Immigration & Naturalization Community Project, an indexing effort to make passenger lists, naturalization records, and other immigration related records freely searchable online. Hundreds of thousands of North American volunteers are expected to contribute over the next 18-24 months, focusing initially on passenger lists from the major US ports.

Individuals, societies and other groups that want to participate should visit familysearch.org/immigration to learn more.

Have you watched a Webinar lately? One of the newest tools for genealogy, many webinars are available free. You can "attend" in real time, or watch later. While some do cost, many are available for free. Find out more at http://blog.geneawebinars.com/.

Online microfilm ordering from the Family History Library is now available in the Pacific Northwest. Visit Online Film Ordering for more information. Now you can order films from the comfort of your own home, and receive e-mail notification when the films arrive at your local Family History Center.

Were any of your ancestors Quakers? If so, you may be interested in the Dictionary of Quaker Terms and Phrases, available in three parts on Dwight Radford's The Journey Home Genealogy Blog.

Another resource, Genealogy Book Links attempts to simplify searching for our ancestors by identifying and linking to the freely available digitized American biographies, genealogies, and history books. Check it out!

Genealogists love maps! They are such helpful tools for our research and sometimes just fun to look at! The OldMapsOnline Portal is an easy-to-use gateway to historical maps in libraries around the world. It allows the user to search for online digital historical maps across numerous different collections via a geographical search. Search by typing a place-name or by clicking in the map window, and narrow by date. The search results provide a direct link to the map image on the website of the host institution. About.com has a nice article about this site.

The 1940 United States Census is here! Available for free at Archives.gov, Ancestry.com, My Heritage.com, and FamilySearch.org.

Indexing is complete. Ancestry.com has completed their index — and remember, you can always add corrections for any errors you find. The index at FamilySearch.org is also complete.

But for those hard-to-find folks, Steve Morse's One-Step Website can still be very helpful.

Ancestry.com has a new agreement in place with New York. Free access to New York Records. An agreement between Ancestry.com and several state and local genealogical resources, as well as State Archives and the State Library, have helped to create a searchable database of New York records on the site for free. Read the entire article here.

For those of you with Irish ancestry, Clare County Library has launched a superb new online maps viewer called GMaps. The county's GMaps are based on the Google Map system, allowing Google Maps to be overlaid with historical maps dating from 1842.

For the first time, the National Archives has launched online videos of its most popular genealogy “how to” workshops. These videos cover “hot topics” in genealogical research such as census, immigration and military records. Now, these popular workshops led by National Archives experts are available on the National Archives YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/usnationalarchives.

Also from the National Archives is the Citizen Activist Dashboard, where you can tag images and records, transcribe a historical document at You Can Transcribe It!, contribute to articles, upload your photos, enter competitions and much more! Check it out at http://www.archives.gov/citizen-archivist/.

Do you have ancestors from Colonial Virgina? If so, you will want to check out the Colonial Williamsburg website at http://research.history.org/DigitalLibrary.cfm.

In honor of the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War, the The Virginia Civil War Commission has created the following: Civil War in Virginia: Walk in their Footsteps

FamilySearch has gathered its Civil War-related records into a collection you can access free at FamilySearch.org/civil-war. Databases include: United States, Civil War Soldiers Index; Confederate pensions for those living Arkansas (1901-1929), Louisiana (1898-1950) and Missouri (1911-1938); Civil War Pension Index Cards; 1890 Census of Union veterans and widows of the Civil War; United States, Registers of Enlistments in the U.S. Army, 1798-1914; index to Arizona Service Records of Confederate Soldiers of the Civil War, 1861-1863

FIND offers totally free access to a range of constantly updated maps from reputable sources such as the Ordnance Survey and Google. The site offers a free toolkit which allows users to draw on the maps and to insert text and graphics. It also allows you to instantly measure, style, color and print finished maps or save them as PDFs.

Another map site, HistoryGeo.com features a mixture of free and subscription-access maps, many of them based on original land-ownership maps.

IRISH HERITAGE - The Irish Government's Certificate of Irish Heritage has gone live giving millions of people with Irish roots the chance to be officially recognized by the Irish State. Although the Certificate will be issued by the Irish Government, it is not a certificate of citizenship nor does it give the holder rights or entitlements of a citizen of Ireland. But it does recognize those of Irish heritage in an official way and gives a practical expression to the sense of Irish identity felt by millions. For details, visit www.heritagecertificate.ie.

The Swedish American Genealogist is among the various digital collections available in the CARLI Digital Collections, created by member libraries of the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois.

At our recent seminar, Cyndi Howells provided a sneak-peek at the upgrade that the 15-year-old Cyndi's List has been undergoing. It is now live, so take a look! Don't forget, Cyndi's List was born at the Tacoma-Pierce County Genealogical Society!

Footnote.com recently announced the publication of the first digital versions of War of 1812 Pension Application Files. This collaboration with Federation of Genealogical Societies and the National Archives offers free online access to these records. Read the full story.

And don't forget there are other databases on Footnote.com that are always free! One of these is the entire series of the Pennsylvania Archives. If you have Pennsylvania ancestors, you will want to check this out.

Others include: Papers of the Continental Congress; South Carolina Estate Inventories, 1732-1872; Social Security Death Index (SSDI); WWII Army Enlistment Records; Civil War Widows Pensions; Select Photo Collections; and Select Town Records.

Michael John Neill, author of Casefile Clues, a weekly subscription newsletter, as well as several informative blogs, has just announced the new Casefile Clues for Beginners, which would make a great gift for those "baby" genealogists out there.

Need to learn more about a new area of research? FamilySearch now offers 140 free Online Courses — everything from Basic Italian Research to Courthourse Research and much more. Check it out!

The TPCGS Spring Seminar on May 7, 2011, with speaker Laura Prescott, was wonderful! I hope you were able to attend, and found her presentations interesting and informative.

If you attended the seminar, and still need a copy of the missing handout, please contact me at: jane_irish_nelson@yahoo.com

Have you ever wondered what the music Grandma and Grandpa listened to actually sounded like? Now you can actually experience it — The Library of Congress and Sony Music Entertainment created the National Jukebox website with 10,000-plus rare historic sound recordings produced in the United States from 1901 and 1925.

Tidbits of Trivia
During the Civil War, "Women who volunteered to serve often faced immediate rejection by governmental agencies. A group of more than twenty women in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia wrote to the Confederate Secretary of War stating that they had organized a volunteer regiment and wanted to play a part in the conflict. The Secretary of War politely declined their offer. All across the North, black women volunteered to serve 'as nurses, seamstresses, and warriors if need be.' Local officials refused their services, both because of their race and because of their sex."
~Anita Silvey, I'll Pass for Your Comrade: Women Soldiers in the Civil War

At the March 2011 meeting, Margaret Barton shared some wonderful Mayflower Stories. The pre-meeting dealt with German Research, and you can download Sue Foster's Handout and Jane Irish Nelson's Handout.

AUSTIN, Texas — The University of Texas Libraries have completed a three-and-one half-year scanning project to make the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps for Texas and Mexico (1877-1922) available online. See this article for more information: Libraries Complete Fire Maps Scanning Project.

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)—the agency that houses federal records including censuses, passenger lists, military service papers and more — launched its redesigned Archives.gov website on Monday, December 13th. Features include: A new home page, selected by public vote in July; A new interactive map of NARA’s facilities nationwide; Historical documents and streamlined access to military service records; Topically organized sections focused on the needs of both casual browsers and professional researchers; and easy links to NARA's social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube and blogs.

FamilySearch has announced several changes for its family history website, FamilySearch.org. Online patrons will find millions of new records and images, over 40,000 helpful articles, over 100 interactive courses of instruction, and a dynamic forum to ask personal genealogy questions. The changes have been in testing for some time. FamilySearch will continue to implement the new website in phases to ensure all critical elements are functioning as desired. Once complete, the website will be promoted more broadly.

In other words, what was the "Beta" site, has now replaced the site we were familiar with.

The 60,000 piece Kendrick Photograph collection has now been sorted and is finally on it’s way to the Washington State Archives in Cheney. The images depict early agricultural techniques in the Big Bend region, interiors and exteriors of retail and commercial businesses, towns, street scenes and Kendrick's early photographs of the Northern Idaho wilderness and a look at general day to day life on the farm.

In an effort to “build a better GEDCOM,” a group of genealogists and programmers have established a wiki workspace called BetterGEDCOM. GEDCOM (for GEnealogy Data COMmunication) is the language genealogy software programs use to communicate with each other—when you export family data from your genealogy software, you create either a file native to that program or a GEDCOM file that other genealogy programs and websites can read. But the GEDCOM file format has some shortcomings — one being that it hasn’t been updated in 14 years.

Do you have Revolutionary War ancestors? If so, check out this list of free online Sources of Revolutionary War Service.

You can research your ancestry anywhere in the United States with Family Tree Magazine's list of the 2010 Best State Websites for Genealogy. Who knows, maybe one of these sites contains just what you've been looking for!

The biggest genealogy news recently: Ancestry.com to acquire iArchives, which includes Footnote.com. Read the press release here. What will this mean for Ancestry and Footnote subscribers?

We all know how important it is to back up our computer files in case of disaster. A new service BackupMyTree recently went live, offering a free service to help genealogists back up their family tree files. Just for genealogists, the software automatically finds family tree files and creates a remote, off-site backup that the user can restore when disaster strikes. Read a blog review of this service by Randy Seaver here.

The Tennessee page on the FamilySearch Research Wiki has recently been updated and now includes a wealth of new information and resources to help people find their ancestors in the Volunteer State. The link for this revised page is: https://wiki.familysearch.org/en/Tennessee

The FamilySearch Research Wiki is a free resource created by the genealogy community. The core content for the Tennessee page was contributed by the expert researchers at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. The page also includes tips and research advice from local experts. The Wiki staff is currently working on updating all of the state pages. The Washington State page is here: https://wiki.familysearch.org/en/Washington. Check it out!

The FamilySearch Research Wiki has announced a new program for societies and organizations to "adopt" one or more state and/or county pages on the FamilySearch Research Wiki. This is a great idea! The Adopt-a-Page information is at https://wiki.familysearch.org/en/Adopt.

Have you just started researching in a new location? Then check out the Research Classes Online offered by FamilySearch. Offerings include England, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Poland, and a new class on U.S. Research.

Jump start your research by checking out one (or more) of these sites:

The Washington State Library is experiencing difficulties during the current budget crunch, and has sent out the following message. If you have not used the Obituary Request Service, I highly recommend it!

Tacoma-Pierce County Genealogical Society
PO Box 1952, Tacoma, Washington 98401, USA
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TPCGS Home Page
Copyright © 1996-2017 by TPCGS. All rights reserved.
This site may be freely linked to but not duplicated in any fashion without the consent of TPCGS.
All graphics property of TPCGS.
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.