Olympia Genealogical Society
  Donations & Memorials

Note to Dues-Paying OGS Members

Please see the note on the Membership page about 2023-24 membership renewal.

Washington State Archives Stacks Tour

A message from the Washington State Archives: "In celebration of Archives Month, we're opening the State Archives' stacks to the public! On Friday afternoons in October, we'll be guiding you through areas that are not normally accessible to the public and you'll have the opportunity to explore the historical records of Washington state government. Order your FREE tickets!"

Picking Cottens - Oct 12 Meeting

Nancy Cordell will present "Picking Cottens: Doing Research on the Enslaved and Enslaver in Mississippi". Family history research of enslaved andfree African Americans in 19th century Southern states requires patience, tenacity, and, sometimes, serendipity. The African American Cotten family of Port Gibson, Mississippi migrated to Wilberforce, Ohio in about 1859. James Cotten, a white enslaver, had arranged to move his African American partner and their eight (8) children to the North before the onset of the Civil War. Uncovering this story required research online and onsite. Learn how Nancy uncovered this fascinating tale.
Nancy has a PhD in Anthropology and is a professional genealogist with her own business, Diggin' Our Past.  She has held many positions at OGS, including president.  See her full bio on our Events page.

Welcome to Our Website!

The OGS website is designed to allow our members to engage with each other as they trace their ancestors and discover their family histories. We want to make this site a dynamic experience. Here are just a few ways to engage on this site today:
If you aren’t already an OGS member, please consider joining and engaging with our community. To do so, see Membership in the menu in the left column.

OGS Needs You!

Fellow OGS Members, as we begin our 50th year as a group with the special interest of family history, we are looking to reconnect with the community at large while serving our membership's continued interest in all things genealogy!  With this end goal in mind, we are in need of more members to become involved to helping out.  Listed below are various opportunities to help.  Take a look, see what you can contribute to help grow and keep OGS vital for the next 50 years!  
  • 50th Anniversary - This is a group to plan how we'll celebrate our 50th Anniversary this year.  This commitment would be for this year only.  Ideas for helping out could be planning one large event, helping with PR to news media, scanning photos for Facebook and Instagram posts, etc.  Please send an email to info@olygensoc.org if you are able to help this year!
  • DIG Virtually - There is interest in having a group to help out members in the community like we have done in the past at the Olympia Library, but to do this virtually.  Virtual meeting times may be a couple of times a month, perhaps a week day and a Saturday for a couple of hours.  If we were to have 6-10 members volunteer, there could be a rotating schedule.  Schedule would depend on how many members volunteer.  Training will be provided.  Send an email to Info@olygensoc.org if you have an interest in participating in this outreach opportunity.
  • Historian - Our society has kept a record of our events and members in the news for the past 50 years.  This is done through the board position of Historian.  Currently we are without a historian.  This is an individual position, so working on your own, posting our live history in our scrapbooks is the purpose of this position.  Since this is a board position, attending and voting at board meetings about the direction this organization is required.  Being on the board, you'll be in a front row seat as our history is happening.  Please contact Kathy Erlandson, pastpresident@olygensoc.org or Tom Miller, President  President@olygensoc.org  if you are interested.
  • Meeting Tech Team - We have a location secured with all of the needed equipment for hybrid general membership meetings, but we need 1 or preferably 2 people who can help with the tech setup at the in-person site for each meeting. Set up is pretty simple. You would be bringing the OGS laptop to each meeting and making the connections; much easier than when we met at the courthouse!! If you are interested, contact Joe Brookshier webmaster@olygensoc.org or Bob Monn membership@olygensoc.org.
  • Speakers Bureau team - From time to time we receive requests for a member from our organization to come and speak to a group about genealogy and OGS.  It would be great to have a few members who would like to speak for 30-45 minutes about genealogy to a neighborhood group, classroom full of kids, or service organization.  Opportunities for this maybe once or twice a year depending on how many setup to represent OGS.  Great outreach opportunities to grow our organization.  Send an email to Info@olygensoc.org if you have an interest!

Meet OGS - Sept. 14 Meeting

As we begin a new OGS year (Sept. - June), we're reminded of all the inner opportunities and benefits of belonging to our organization. Or could there be some we are not sure of or don't know entirely? Kathy Erlandson and Kerry McHugh Upton discussed our website, newsletter and more. Make the most of your OGS membership this year!
A recording of this meeting will be posted soon under Community Events / Recordings; OGS member logon required.
Kathy ErlandsonKerry McHugh Upton

2023-24 Special Interest Groups (SIGs)

It's a New Year and our 50th Anniversary!  As a "New Year's Resolution" consider joining a Special Interest Group if you haven't done so.  This is a great venue to learn more and get to know fellow members in a small group setting.  SIGs are a benefit of membership so make sure your membership status is updated to access this wonderful benefit.  SIG meetings will continue to be held virtually using Google Meet except for the FTM SIG which will use Zoom.  See the SIGs page for a list of our SIGs, coordinators, meeting times, etc.

WA State Library Resources - June 8 Meeting

Mary Paynton Schaff, Washington State Library
Mary Paynton Schaff is Northwest Librarian at the Washington State Library, where she has worked since 2005, assisting library users with research on Pacific Northwest history, government, and genealogy. She also serves on the Washington Committee for Geographic Names.
Mary provided an update about the resources, services, and expertise the Washington State Library provides to genealogists, and then asked us to help WSL plan for the future by providing valuable input for how they can best assist you. She also discussed the important work of geographic naming in our state, and how genealogists can lend a hand there as well.
A recording of this meeting is now available for OGS members. Click on Community Events / Recordings* and click on "Library" to view the recording.

OGS Surname Database

OGS provides a searchable public database to which an OGS member can add the surnames of their ancestors. At this writing, the database includes 348 entries. See OGS Surname Database for more information.

September 27
FamilySearch.org SIG
Log on to OGS website, click on SIGs in main nav menu, click on FamilySearch.org for Google Meet link. Can access 10 mins before start ...

October 2
Family History Writing SIG
Log on to OGS website, click on SIGs in main nav menu, click on Family History Writing SIG for Google Meet link. Can access 10 ...

October 10
Log on to OGS website, click on SIGs in main nav menu, click on DNA for Google Meet link. Can access 10 mins before start ...

October 12
Monthly General Membership Meeting
Program: Nancy Cordell will present "Picking Cottens: Doing Research on the Enslaved and Enslaver in Mississippi". Family history research of enslaved and free African Americans ...

October 17
Family Tree Maker SIG
Log on to OGS website, click on SIGs in main nav menu, click on Family Tree Maker for Zoom link. Can access 10 mins before ...
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