Genealogical Society of South Whidbey Island
old sepia photos

GSSWI Programs for 2016 - 2017

Click HERE to display programs presented during the

previous society year.

Monday September 12th: Monthly Program, 12:45 p.m.

Speaker:  Society Members
Program:  Introduction to the coming GSSWI Year

The Genealogical Society of South Whidbey Island welcomes back old friends and looks forward to new ones as we anticipate the start of a new year. As you may remember, September has always been a month of sharing successes, mourning failures and looking for new ways to advance our ancestral research. To that end, we ask our society members to arrive with a research milestone to share. It can be a long sought after break through, a successful research trip, freshly discovered photographs, books or diaries, or a website to share.

Throughout the year, we will learn about school records, railroad history and its research, naturalization, New York research, and more. Our continuing beginning genealogy class will start on October 10th, at 11:45 a.m., prior to the speaker at 1 p.m. See you on September 12th, at 1 p.m. The society meets at Trinity Lutheran Church in Freeland.

Monday October 10th: Monthly Program, 12:45 p.m.

Speaker:  Maureen MacDonald
Program:  Via Canada!Maureen MacDonald

Maureen MacDonald is one of our most active members and a graduate of Sarah Thorson-Little's highly recommended University of Washington Genealogy class.

Some of our ancestors arrived in the United States via Canada.  They came for various reasons and some stayed in Canada for extended time periods before entering the United  States.  This presentation will deal with those arriving from the British Isles.

Monday November 14th: Monthly Program, 12:45 p.m.

Speaker:  Eric Stroschein
Program:  Naturalization. 

Eric StrohscheinEric Stroschein owns, with his wife Karen, Generations Detective, a genealogical research firm. When not researching, he can be found driving a fire engine for the Seattle Fire Department where he is a 26 year veteran.  

Most genealogists do not realize that, for our ancestors, citizenship was paramount to many other rights . Transferring land and wealth to your heirs as well as voting, were privileges requiring naturalization or citizenship. Naturalization records can be divided into three basic era; Colonial times; 1790-1906; and 1906 to present. We will examine each of era having its own distinct methodology for discovering the records.

Eric's previous programs for GSSWI have been among the most popular and informative of our presentations.

Monday December 12th, Holiday Program, 12:45 p.m.

Program:  Annual Holiday Potluck and Personal Research Review

Holiday Wreath Come prepared to present a few words on an interesting aspect of your current research, an interesting book you've found or anything else notable you've discovered.  Family artifacts are also appropriate.

This will be our annual Holiday potluck luncheon.  Please bring a salad, entree or dessert sufficient to serve eight people.

Monday January 9th: Monthly Program, 12:45 p.m.

Speaker: Mary Kay Roddy
Program:  Family Search Usage - A New Presentation!

Mary Roddy Mary Roddy has been a genealogist since 2000.  She earned a certificate from the Genealogy and Family History program at the University of Washington in 2005.  She has served the Seattle Genealogical Society in multiple board positions and on the seminar and education committees. Mary Kay lectures frequently on various genealogical topics at various locations in the Seattle area. has millions of images on its website, many of which are unindexed and not searchable. But if you know how to get into the catalog and browse around, you can find images of birth and death certificates, naturalization papers, deeds, wills, estate inventories and more. Plus, FamilySearch is adding more and more such images every month.  To take advantage of the ever-increasing bounty, it's important to know where to find these types of records.

Monday February 13th: Monthly Program, 12:45 p.m. 

Speaker:  Janet Camarata
Program:  Mapping an Ancestor

Janet CamarataGeography is a discipline closely related to genealogy and an untapped resource for learning more about our ancestors. Using geography and maps in research provides visual clues to help answer questions about where, how far, and what is nearby.

Learn about the George E. Curry family of Ohio and Kansas and how maps focused the research, located property, identified lost place names, solved a family mystery and identified jurisdictions to write for records.

Monday March 13th: Monthly Program, 12:45 p.m.

Speakers:  Jill Morelli
Program:   Too Many  Marys: Finding Your Irish Ancestors

Jill Morelli

To find your Irish ancestor you must know the County and Townland of the ancestor's birth.  A common problem is the existence of too many individuals in a geographic area with the same or similar names.  How does one identify the correct ancestral individual? 
Jill will give us the information necessary to properly identify our Irish ancestors.

We will use the FAN Club approache to finding Mary Coyne who married Daniel H. Doherty in Montana.

Monday April 10th: Monthly Program, 12:45 p.m

Speaker:  Janice Lovelace
Program:  Grandpa Worked for the Railroad

Janice LovelaceJanice Lovelace, Ph.D., has 20 years of experience in family history research as well as academic work in genealogy.  A member of the Seattle Genealogical Society for a number of years, she joined the SGS Board as Vice-President in June 2014. She is also a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists.

Janice's Grandfather worked for the railroad as did many men in the 19th and 20th centuries. Learn how to discover their  companies, their job types and where they worked. 

This presentation will focus on railroad companies and how to access their records including pension information.

Monday May 8th: Monthly Program, 12:45 p.m.

Speaker:  Gary Zimmerman
Program:  Researching Colonial New York

Gary Zimmerman

Gary Zimmerman, President of the Fiske Genealogy Library, will present a program on New York colonial research, a subject he has not previously addressed at GSSWI.

Gary's programs are always useful, entertaining and educational. Attend and learn from him.  Gary's program replaces the previously scheduled Karen Sipe program which will be presented at the June meeting.

Monday June 12th: Monthly Program, 12:45 p.m.

Speaker:  Karen Sipe
Program:  School Records

Karen SipeKaren is one of our regular speakers.  In the past, she has enlightened us on the subject of DNA in which she is highly qualified. Karen's program this month, however, deals with the histories of schools plus their formation and types.
Karen will focus on the varieties of school records and sources that are available. She will explain where to find school records and how they can be applied to genealogical research.

Examples from Berks County, PA, Washington State, Nova Scotia and Texas should be applicable to most states and locations.