Awards and Recognition
Each year the Washington State Genealogical Society
(WSGS) recognizes significant contributions of individual members or
projects of WSGS member societies.
The following recognitions have been awarded to GSSWI members or to
GSSWI Web Site Design Award
During its July 2012 meeting, the Washington State Genealogy Society recognized GSSWI as having the best genealogical web site in the State of Washington.
Recognition of GSSWI Volunteer Participation
Nancy Hepp for Creative Design and Technical Skill
Nancy Hepp is recognized for her exceptional design and technical skill as the web manager for the Genealogical Society of South Whidbey Island. She assumed responsibility for the Society's web site in 2008 at which time she designed and implemented a totally different concept for the website. Her creative use of both photo editing techniques and an innovative user interface has rendered the web site both much easier to use and better at presenting GSSWI's data to society members and the general public.
Laura Roetcisoender for Exceptional Leadership and Consistent Support
Laura Roetcisoender is a multi-talented, enthusiastic leader of the Genealogical Society of South Whidbey Island. She has served terms as the Society’s President and Vice President, as well as serving on several Society standing committees. Her popular introductory genealogy classes have helped many members start their own research. In addition, she chairs the Seminar Committee which has drawn nationally known speakers to well-attended events. Laura has also been responsible for outreach – speaking to many groups about the Society’s activities. The Genealogical Society of South Whidbey Island is extremely fortunate to have such an able and dedicated member.
Bob Richardson for exceptional leadership and consistent support of the goals and operation of the Genealogical Society of South Whidbey Island.
We recognize Bob Richardson for his outstanding support, management and leadership of the Genealogical Society of South Whidbey Island. This year, as the Society progressed with completing the digitization of 55 binders of Island County obituaries, he demonstrated his amazing programming ability by creating several programs that streamlined the process. His first program converted a variety of digital picture formats into standard .jpg format. Ne next created a program which dynamically created an index of the digitized obits and allows the user to print or email the obit as needed. As the sheer volume of obits began to bog down progress, he wrote a program which automatically cropped the scanned obits saving volunteers untold hours of manual labor. Next he updated the Society's website, adding a searchable obit index which includes a Beider-Morse Phonetic search. He also created a searchable index of the Society's cemetery files and provided an innovative method to search any section of a cemetery to see who is buried nearby. Bob is a tireless, enthusiastic, creative and highly respected member of the Genealogical Society of South Whidbey Island, and he is greatly appreciated.
GSSWI for Valuable Contribution to the Preservation and Access of Washington State History
"Enclosed is a certificate of appreciation for your society's participation in the Washington State Historical Records Project. Currently, there are over 28 million searchable records online at the Washington State Digital Archives and 100 million records preserved. Thank you for your outstanding efforts!"
Ralph Seefeld for Outstanding Support, Management and Leadership
Over the years Ralph has singlehandedly done more to preserve Island County records than any other person we know. He initiated a survey of all Island County cemeteries and practically completed the work on his own. He later compiled his findings into a book which he graciously allowed our society to sell as a fundraising project. He transcribed the Island County portion of several territorial and state censuses and arranged to place them on the Washington State Digital Archives so they would be available to researchers all over the world. One of Ralph's biggest projects is the collection of obituaries for past and present residents of Island County. Toward that end he scoured through old newspapers any place he could find them in order to obtain as many obituaries and death notices as possible. As in many places, newspapers on the island came and went through the years, making the task all the more difficult. Ralph stuck with it until he had gone through every available newspaper. In addition, he continued to add recent obituaries to his collection which now resides in 50 three-inch binders. Ralph didn't stop with obituaries and death notices. As he went through the old newspapers he also collected birth, marriage, divorce and naturalization announcements along the way. He then compiled them into files which he again submitted to the Washington State Digital Archives. This year Ralph has handed off his obituary and cemetery books to others and his shoes will be hard to fill. He is leaving an amazing legacy of information. We are all able to develop our own ancestral histories because of people like Ralph, who take it upon themselves to be guardians of historical records.
Maureen (Messinger) MacDonald for Outstanding Efforts in the Area of Preservation of Records of Genealogical Value
During our 2009-2010 year she voluntarily took on both the field trip and education director positions. As field trip director she actively encouraged and recruited members to join our field trips as well as assisted members with their research while at the location. As the director for education she taught our intermediate education class, researching, organizing and presenting information and handouts on specific topics, often ones suggested by attendees. As an outgrowth of this group Maureen took it upon herself to work one on one with anyone who requested assistance with their research, helping them set goals then assisting them to advance their research toward that goal. When our society started up groups focusing on research in specific geographic areas, Maureen immediately volunteered to lead the New England group which meets monthly and has a large following. She has also volunteered to chair groups for the Midwest and Pacific NW states. Maureen recently changed from a PC to a Macintosh computer consequently changing to new genealogy software as well. She immediately organized a Reunion software user group to help other members with their Reunion software questions/issues. Maureen has distinguished herself as one of our most knowledgeable, tireless and valuable members.
Mary Sue Kriefall for Outstanding Support, Management and Leadership
Shortly after Mary Sue joined our society, she took on the position of field trip director in mid year when the position suddenly became vacant. Her natural organizational talents were quickly apparent and since then she has served as our Vice President and President. In these two positions she has worked to streamline our board meetings; overseen the review, integration and eventual rewrite of our by-laws and standing rules; and completed the acquisition and publication of job guidelines for every board and committee position. Under her leadership she has shifted the focus of our advertising from that of a "monthly meeting" to one of a "speaker presentation" in order to attract more people. The results speak for themselves as we have increased our membership by 15 people just this year alone. She was also instrumental in updating our member survey, and as a result we now have a basic computer class, a Legacy user group, and about eight state or country focus groups. It's clear to all of us that she is a very talented leader and a great asset to our society.
Harriet DeWolfe for Exceptional and Consistent Support
Harriet DeWolfe is recognized for her outstanding support, management and leadership of the Genealogical Society of South Whidbey Island. She was the Society's second president and served before that as treasurer. She was program director four years, raising the level of the society's programs to an extraordinarily high level and improving the speaker communication process. As the seminar chairperson for three seminars she distinguished herself and her committee. Harriet researched nationally-known genealogical speakers and their potential topics. Because of her efforts the society has enjoyed inspiring seminars with superb speakers. Outstanding in her organizational capabilities, she followed the seminars to the end by creating and collecting feedback surveys for future seminars. Harriet can always be counted on as a voice of reason if a subject becomes contentious. She has a wonderful way of getting to the heart of matters and expressing a common sense approach for resolution. She is an exceptional asset for the Genealogical Society of South Whidbey Island and is greatly appreciated.
Ralph Seefeld for Records Preservation
About five years ago Washington's Secretary of State's office initiated a vital records website with information on births, deaths, census records, etc. Early on, Ralph furnished Island County census transcriptions for their site. Meanwhile, after years of collecting vital records from Island County newspapers for the Genealogical Society of South Whidbey Island, he had been contemplating how best to make that information available for genealogists. Recently Ralph contacted the Secretary of State's office offering these lists for their use. They accepted, and since then he has been reformatting and editing these large computer databases to make them suitable for their use. This project will be a great benefit to genealogists worldwide.
Doreen Johnson for Exceptional and Consistent Support
Doreen Johnson is a mainstay of the Genealogical Society of South Whidbey Island. Whenever and wherever a need arises, she is there, volunteering to help. She has taught the monthly education classes for the society and community education classes for both adults and children. She is editor, feature writer including a series on "treasured items" of members, photographer and printer of the society's monthly newsletter. She set up and "debugged" the online delivery system for the newsletter. She almost single-handedly managed the publicity for the 2004 and 2006 seminars and worked on other past seminar committees. When the society set up a "travel basket" of raffle items, she helped decide what to purchase, designed and printed up tickets, and organized members to sell the tickets. She also videotapes the monthly speakers for absent members and for use in the library, which she currently manages on a temporary basis. Doreen took on the surname card file from the society's archivist, converted the file into a database so it can be sorted and printed in any number of ways, and produced a report by state, showing which member was researching where. She constructed a chart to show all of that and a "thermometer" indicating who had turned in their ancestors. She also serves on the society's board as Director of Publications and Archivist. Whatever Doreen does, she does well. She truly exemplifies exceptional and consistent support."
Ralph Seefeld for Records Preservation
Ralph Seefeld distinguished himself in support of the Genealogical Society of South Whidbey Island and other research through his efforts to preserve important genealogical data. With the help of other society members, Ralph surveyed all of the cemeteries in Island County (both Whidbey Island and Camano Island). The resulte were then posted on the web and published in book form which is available to the public. Ralph also transcribed several territorial and state censuses of Island County from the 19th century. These were posted on the web and submitted to the Secretary of State's office for posting on their website. Ralph's ongoing project is the collection and printing of obituaries of Island County. To date there are 40 two-inch binders of obituaries. Copies have been shared with the Island County Historical Society. While going through newspapers, Ralph has also been collecting information on births, marriages, divorces and naturalizations.
Diana Wagner for Exceptional and Consistent Support
Diana received her award in the category of "exceptional and consistent support of the goals and operation of a Society" for her help with establishing a long-term loan arrangement to house our book collection with the LDS books. She, with Myrna Lidell from the LDS, cataloged and classified our collection according to author and title with all other library identification information included. They also used zip codes or the first three letters of a country's name on the spine. These books were moved in 2003 to the LDS Family History Center. Diana then made a list of all of our books, and in 2004 it was added to our website by Richard Guenther.
Ralph Seefeld for Records Preservation
With the help of other society members, Ralph surveyed all of the cemeteries in Island County which consists of both Whidbey Island and Camano Island in Puget Sound. This in itself was a monumental and time-consuming task. The results were then posted on the web and published in book form which is available to the public. Ralph also transcribed several territorial and state censuses of Island County from the 19th century. These results were posted on the web and submitted to the Secretary of State's office for posting on their website. An ongoing project is the collection and printing of obituaries of Island County. To date there are 32 two-inch binders of obituaries. These have been shared with the Island County Historical Society for copying. While going through newspapers, Ralph has also been collecting information on births, marriages, divorces and naturalizations.
Ann Wright for Exceptional and Consistent Support
From the very beginning of Ann joining our organization in 1997, she has chaired committees to help change our Genealogy Club status to the nonprofit Society status and to develop the Society Bylaws and Standing Rules. Over the years, she has served as president, vice president, field trip director, education director and is currently our treasurer. Ann has chaired and volunteered countless hours for numerous fundraising projects from rummage sales to a cookbook. She was instrumental in creating many ongoing fundraisers such as our door prize at our monthly meetings. She presented monthly beginning genealogy education programs to our society members and held an evening class for the public at a local school. Besides all this, she also found time to work on the Cemetery Book Committee with Ralph Seefeld and others.