Category Archives: Genealogy

September Meeting

Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society  (SVGS) will meet Tuesday, September 12th at 1 pm.  Our guest speaker will be Rob Branigin, Sno-isle Librarian from the Stanwood Branch.  His topic is: Exploring Vital Records Online with Ancestry and Family Search. The meeting will be held at the SVGS library, 6111 – 188th PL. NE, Arlington WA, is free and open to members and the public. We hope to see you there!

Melungeon Meeting Follow Up

Interesting, informative and well attended is how I would describe last month’s meeting.  Jim Johnson from the Heritage Quest Research Library did a great job of teaching us about the unique Melungeon people.  If you were unable to attend, you missed out on a great resource.  As far as I know, I am not descended from these folks but I am still very glad I was able to attend and learn more about them.  Stay tuned for upcoming meeting notices and don’t miss out on future educational and informative topics that our society provides.

My Grandmother did What?

My Grandmother did what


From Lisa:  Grandfather, Herman Bolst, owned a Bakery in Longmont, CO that sponsored a Hockey team

From Phil: Grandfather, Ingolf Quam, left Norway as a 19 year old to travel to his uncles home in Idaho. The only English he knew was apple pie and coffee.

His Great-grandfather, Frank Bartlow worked for the Ringling Bros Circus. He was later killed by a circus elephant in Iowa.

From Bob: His mother Lil learned to be a trapeze artist with Ringling Bros Circus in Bloomington, IL., but was prevented by her mother when she wanted to travel with the circus.

Comment with your response or leave us a message on facebook.

Where does your story begin?

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for the Nw Genealogy Conference, August 16 – 19th

at Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society

March Meeting

In search of another free educational opportunity? We aim to please!  Plan to attend our March presentation and meeting.  The meeting will be Tuesday, March 14th at 1 pm and will be our first to be held in our newly enlarged conference room. Our presenter will be Professional Genealogist Karin Coppernoll of Brick by Brick Genealogy and she will be sharing how to search un-indexed databases in our family history research.  Don’t miss this unique educational opportunity! Our society meeting will follow the presentation, both are free and open to members and the public.  You can find us at the Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society and Library, 6111 188th Pl. NE, Arlington, WA.


Conference Dress Up Day: Dutch Farmer

Geertruida Sara Theresia de Zwaan was a city girl, born in The Hague in 1884. She married a farmer from Lisse, Johannes van Aalst. He from a long line of bulb growers in the Tulip Capital of Holland. Soon after marrying, they looked for new business opportunities, eventually settling in Kirkland Washington. Half-way around the world, they kept the family tradition of bulb farming, selling flowers to merchants and florists in downtown Seattle. … She was a sweet, quiet, kind woman, who made a wicked split pea soup. She’s in the picture, toward the right, with the two small boys. He’s next to her, with the handsome mustache. The baby on her lap is Rudolf, my father. The Dutch wooden shoes I’ll be wearing to “Dress Up Day” at the Conference won’t be the ones that belonged to Johannes, but they’ll be similar.

De Zwaan Family, The Hague, 1909

De Zwaan Family, The Hague, 1909

Northwest Genealogy Conference

The Road to a Genealogy Goldmine

Have you ever needed a break from vacation after a vacation? Two-time conference attendee and 2016 conference volunteer, Phil Bartlow was glad he seized the opportunity to go to the 2014 Northwest Genealogy Conference…

Returning home on Wednesday from a two week genealogy road-trip through Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, it felt good to be out of the car and off the airplane. The last thing I wanted to do was spend 3 days, sitting at a conference. But since my wife was going to a class reunion for the weekend, I got up Thursday morning and headed to Arlington for the 2014 Northwest Genealogy Conference, to see what I could learn. I’m really glad that I did.

The speakers were entertaining, knowledgeable, and very informative; the vendors had great tools and resources available; and the cost was a bargain. And it was all close to home.

I was also the lucky winner of one of the great door prizes that were given away. I received a free, year-long subscription to Researching their site lead to a goldmine of newspaper articles about my “missing” great-grandfather Frank and previously unknown family members. These articles helped corroborate the family story about Frank and now I know when, where and how he died. But that’s a whole other story.

The 2015 conference was just as good as 2014 and the 2016 conference looks to be as good or even better.

For the beginner genealogist to the expert, the place to be in August is the Northwest Genealogy Conference in Arlington, Washington.

Wedding Wednesday and the Importance of an Interview

I am fortunate enough to have copies of my husband’s parents and grandparents wedding photos.  You can learn much from wedding photos. You can learn both the dress of the time and some about the traditions. In my husband’s family, both sides were of the Lutheran religion and church weddings were the norm.  Both of his grandmothers had formal wedding gowns and were married in the 1920s. I once asked one of my husband’s grandmothers what happened to her wedding dress and she replied “I cut it up to make a christening gown for one of the children”.  His mother, on the other hand, was married in a lovely white suit in the 1950s.  All three of the couples were active members in their respective churches.

On my side of the family, there were no church weddings and no wedding gowns.  I do have a photo of my parents wedding, 1950s era and my mother is wearing a brown suit.  My parents were married in the preacher’s home.  My mother’s parents were married in one of the church elder’s homes and my father’s parents were married in my grandmother’s home.  In this case, my grandfather showed up with the marriage license and his friend went and got the preacher and they were married right then. As far as I know, none of the three couples were active members in church.

I am fortunate enough to have known my father’s parents very well and was able to ask many questions about their lives, thus I learned the story of how they met and the circumstances around their marriage. I also sat down with my grandmother and we labeled all of her photographs.  Unfortunately, my maternal grandmother died when I was 19 and did not like to answer questions about the past – especially if it involved unhappy memories.  I do know that she was married twice, her first husband died at a very young age.  She later married my grandfather and unfortunately they had an unhappy marriage that ended in divorce.  I do wish I had been more inquisitive, especially since I inherited her photos, most of which are not labeled.  I know that there are photos of her first husband among them, but which, I do not know.

Interviewing family members is truly important. Things I wish I had asked my grandmother and my husband’s grandmothers are: How did you meet your spouse? How long after did you marry? Did you have a honeymoon? Where did you live when you were first married? Now the grandparents are all gone and I will not be able to ask.   Do not put off interviewing your loved ones, you never know what you might learn.  If you are able, go through old photos with them and identify the people and places in them.  It is also a good idea to label your photos and write down a bit of your story for your descendants to have.