Olympia Genealogical Society


The Washington State Genealogical Society (WSGS) annually recognizes outstanding achievements of individuals and genealogical societies in the state. OGS and various members have been the recipient of a number of these awards. On May 26, 2018, at the WSGS annual meeting and awards ceremony, the following awards were received:
  • President's Award for Outstanding Achievement -- Ann Olson. WSGS President Virginia Majewski from Sequim praised Ann, "Dedicated volunteers like Ann are rare. She exemplifies what the President’s Award stands for: long-term, consistent service in genealogy and in the community." See the WSGS press release. This is only the fourth such award by WSGS since the inception of the award in 2015.
  • Outstanding Communication -- OGS. OGS received this competitive award in recognition of its communication efforts including its website and Facebook page and the work of the OGS web team: Jerri McCoy, Kerry McHugh, and Bob Monn. See the WSGS press release. This is the sixth time this award has been presented since its inception in 2011.
  • Outstanding Volunteer/Team -- Rebel Romero. Rebel was recognized for her exceptional and consistent support of the goals and operation of the Olympia Genealogical Society. She was selected for her exceptional efforts to safeguard and catalog genealogical books for future researchers, as well as her encouragement to other genealogists. Last summer she launched the OGS Book Project, collecting more than 1,450 genealogical books being removed from the Olympia Timberland Library’s collection. She carefully cataloged them in LibraryThing, a web application for cataloging books and other media. In addition, she has served with distinction on the OGS board of directors since 2015 as secretary and as multi-media chair. She has also participated as a member of the OGS spring seminar planning committee and has assisted at the society’s twice monthly “Drop-In Genealogy Help” events. Rebel is a respected and hardworking member of the OGS, and richly deserved this recognition.
Also see the related photos in the Gallery.

WSGS Outstanding Volunteer/Team Awards

The following OGS members have been recognized by WSGS in prior years:
Steven W. Morrison, of Olympia, WA, is recognized for his dedication to furthering the quality of genealogical education in Washington State and furthering the goals and operation of the Puget Sound Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists (PS-APG). Mr. Morrison is the current chapter representative of the PS-APG. He is a valued participant in the speakers forum which is an interest group of the PS-APG. He is also a member of the National Genealogical Society. He regularly attends local and national advanced genealogical training courses such as the Institute of Genealogical and Historical Research and the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. Mr. Morrison was President of the Olympia Genealogical Society from 2003 to 2005 where he was the chair of their spring seminar for three years. He will be presenting two workshops at the Washington State Genealogy Conference in Arlington in August 2014. Mr. Morrison’s contributions to the PS-APG and the field of genealogy illustrate that he richly deserves this recognition.
Mary M. “Peggy” Cooley of Olympia, WA, is recognized for exceptional and consistent support of the training goals and operation of Olympia Genealogical Society. Mary “Peggy” Cooley joined the Olympia Genealogical Society as a way to be around people who had the same interests and to soak up the accumulated know-how of dedicated genealogists. She always sat in the back of the room, because she didn’t know anyone, but she volunteered to help out at one of the seminars. She worked with Kerry McHugh Upton to put together folders and volunteered a little more each year after that. One day Kerry asked if she was interested in being the Vice President/Program Coordinator. Peggy accepted the challenge, was elected, and now, years later, maintains the same high level of interest. She loves hearing about people’s research, methods of detection, and the history surrounding people’s lives. To her it’s important to give members and friends a chance to reach out and tell a story or impart knowledge. With the help of fellow Society members, she has been able to put together programs that both inform and entertain. Peggy has lots of ideas and plans ahead. Even when she had health issues, they didn’t slow down her enthusiasm; she was always one step ahead. She has been the key person for keeping the members “schooled up” with the programs she is able to bring to Olympia Genealogical Society meetings. Thank you, Peggy.
James E. Haran of Olympia, WA, is recognized for exceptional and consistent support of the goals and operation of Olympia Genealogical Society. Jim Haran’s active research into his Irish heritage began in 2007 after a trip to Ireland for the Junior International Rugby World Cup Championships. He has been a member of the Olympia Genealogical Society since 2008 and is deeply appreciative of the Society and its members for their invaluable assistance in his family research. As a business partner at Olympia Copy and Printing, Jim was aware of the Society well before he joined it. He has been very helpful in keeping costs down for the Society’s general and seminar printing needs. He also has volunteered to help with planning for the annual seminars, which he does by wearing a funny hat at the seminar and asking the attendees for ideas on topics for the next seminar. With his good humor and openness, he has earned his nickname, “The Idea Man.” Jim was also the speaker at the most recent Olympia Genealogical Society Annual Dinner, telling tales of his discoveries on his research trip to Ireland. Thank you for all your help, Jim.
Patricia C. (Bacon) Harper, of Olympia, WA, is recognized for exceptional and consistent support of the goals and operation of Olympia Genealogical Society. Patricia “Pat” Harper is a long-time actively involved member of the Olympia Genealogical Society. She serves as Editor of the Society’s journal, OGS Quarterly, as well as the Society’s library liaison, being a librarian at the Olympia Timberland Library. A couple of years ago she received over 1800 books from the personal library of Caroline Wright, a deceased member. Caroline Wright's husband contacted Pat, stated that they would like to donate her library to the Genealogy section of the Olympia Timberland Library. Pat took this project on with a few other society members. She has spent numerous hours sorting the books, deciding where they should go, and cataloging those selected to go into the Timberland Library system. She still has many more boxes to distribute! This has been an awesome project, overtaking her personal time and every spare inch of her house! This has been an exceptional gift to both the Society and the community. The Society is very proud of Pat for taking this project on and for the consistently professional and informative journal she provides each quarter!
OGS Book Team, which includes Diana Bargmann, Alma Greenwood, William Greenwood, Christopher J. Harper, Robert B. Harper, Jean Law, Kathleen Newcomer and Lhisa Reish, is recognized for exceptional efforts in support of the Carolyn Wright Book Project to enhance the capabilities and goals of the Olympia Genealogical Society. Former OGS member Caroline Hartsuck Wright compiled a genealogical research library of more than 1800 titles. After her death in February 2009, the entire library was donated to the Society. So far, more than 800 volumes have been added to the Society’s collection which is housed at the Olympia Timberland Library. Alma and Jean retrieved the books, sorted them, checking each one against the Timberland Catalog. Alma created a complete listing of every title with bibliographic information. Kathleen Newcomer and Diana Bargmann spent many hours photocopying the title page and verso of each book so they could be cataloged. In addition, Diana has processed the books, adding the many labels that make finding the books possible once they are shelved. Meriting mention are Lhisa Reish, Timberland Regional Library cataloger, who has entered every one of these titles into the online catalog, along with William Greenwood, Robert B. Harper and Christopher J. Harper who assisted in the retrieval of the books. We thank them all.
David M. Purtee, of Olympia, WA, is recognized for exceptional and consistent support of the goals and operation of Olympia Genealogical Society. David Purtee is a long-time, innovative member of the Olympia Genealogical Society. He has served on the Society’s Board of Directors as the Seminar Chair for the last several years, providing interesting, enjoyable and well-run seminars. As David entered retirement he decided to add one more thing to his list of credits. He decided that we needed a "Genealogy Cafe". This was an idea of his that has taken off! He organizes volunteers to meet at the Olympia Timberland Library for at least two hours two times a month; a Thursday afternoon and a Saturday morning. These volunteer “Baristas” help others in the community who need advice on how to break through or get around “brickwalls” encountered in researching their family trees. This single idea for community outreach has grown the Society’s membership in a time when many other organizations are decreasing in size. The Society greatly appreciates David Purtee’s efforts in supporting the genealogical community in the Olympia area.
Roger H. Newman, of Shelton, WA is recognized for exceptional and consistent support of the goals and operation of Washington State Genealogical Society. Roger Newman worked quietly behind the scenes for many years as the Society’s Corresponding Secretary, ensuring the mail received at the Society’s Olympia post office box was efficiently and accurately distributed to the various officers and Board members in other parts of the state. The State Society has no library or office of its own, so when research queries were received, Roger took it upon himself to use the State Library, Archives and other resources to provide an answer or suggest a solution. Roger also voiced the Society’s interest and concerns to State Legislators and the Secretary of State’s office when continued open access the State Library collections was threatened. To support distribution of the Society’s Newsletter, journal and membership directory, he learned the ins and outs of the bulk mail system, and when the committees shipped boxes of these documents to his home, he drove them to the bulk mail facility for processing. Roger fulfilled a critical role in the operation of the State Society with exceptional care, patience and humor. Well done, Roger.
Alma Greenwood, of Tumwater, WA, is recognized for exceptional and consistent support of the goals and operation of Washington State Genealogical Society. Alma Greenwood is recognized for her outstanding contribution to the operation and well-being of the Washington State Genealogical Society. In 1982 Alma served as chairperson of the society formation committee. She worked to establish the original bylaws and was instrumental in creation of the basic operational structure of the society. She was elected as the first President of the Washington State Genealogical Society in 1983 and served the society in many capacities for more than a decade afterwards. The Washington State Genealogical Society is grateful for her leadership role in our society’s infancy and we honor the legacy she has left us.
Roger H. Newman, of Shelton, WA, is recognized for outstanding efforts in the preservation of important records of genealogical value to researchers interested in the families of Washington State. Roger Newman is recognized for his tireless effort on behalf of the Washington State Genealogical Society in preserving public access to the Washington State Library. Through his advocacy, state legislators and the Secretary of State’s office were made fully aware of the society’s interest in keeping the many valuable research documents and books of historical significance open to the public. In his capacity as Corresponding Secretary, Roger has utilized this valuable research facility to answer the numerous queries the society receives. Because of the active interest of people like Roger the new library facility in Tumwater is open to the public today.