Joyce Frey, of the Heritage Quest Research Library, left, talks about one of the new tools available to researchers and genealogists with Horace Foxall Jr. at the Northwest Genealogy Conference in Arlington on Aug. 16.


Hundreds of genealogy enthusiasts gathered as part of the Northwest Genealogy Conference held in Arlington Aug. 14 to 17.

For people in the Puget Sound region it is the biggest conference for genealogical information that is easily accessible.

“We love this conference because it is one of the ones that is the best of its type north of Sacramento and west of the Mississippi River,” said Gordon Chisholm, who is with the Heritage Quest Research Library.

“It has some of the best speakers in this area,” he said.

This is the sixth year that the Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society has put on the event.

“We have close to 400 people coming through our doors, between registrants, vendors, volunteers and speakers,” said Lisa Bartlow, co-chair of this year’s event and a member of the local society.

People come from all over the U.S., said Bartlow.

“It’s wonderful. There’s the usual excitement and we have a lot of people coming back. Also, there are a lot of people coming for the first time and they’re amazed at how much we do,” she said.

The conference is good for bringing people together, said Bartlow, as genealogy can often be an isolating pass time.

“Genealogy tends to be a solitary hobby and it’s wonderful to meet and network with people who have similar interests,” said Bartlow.

Many of the attendees have been practicing genealogy for a long time, such as Joyce Frey with the Heritage Quest Research Library, who has been researching her family for 60 years.

“I started very young. My grandfather was a great storyteller,” she said.

She enjoys the hunt for more clues which help her find out more about her family, she said.

“When I figured out what to do with the information, I wanted that detective work to find out where they came from, what they did, why they chose this city to move to. The family stories are the most exciting part to me,” she said.

Frey has also learned more about how her own family intersects with history.

“I didn’t like history when I was a kid, but I can’t get enough of it now as it pertains to family,” she said.

She has learned things such as how her grandfather quit the railroad company after the Jonestown flood.

Chisholm also said finding out how our families traveled through history is one of the best parts about genealogy.

“We want to know who our ancestors were. We want to know what they did and who they were,” he said.

Bartlow has also learned a lot of information to help her with her search from the conference itself.

“You pick up hints and clues and different ways to research, so it’s very valuable,” she said.

More information about the Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society is available at

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