A Brief History of the Clark County Genealogical Society

old journal on desk

It all started in 1972 and the rest is history!

A Chronicle of Our History

  • 1972 — On November 3 Margaretta Zimmerman and 14 ladies invited by her met and formed a genealogical society. Dues were set at $.25 per meeting or $3.00 per year. When the group met again in November nine others joined them.
  • 1973 — In September the group adopted the name “Clark County Genealogical Society.”
  • 1974 — The first issue of the newsletter was published in September. The Society began compiling information from local cemeteries.
  • 1975 — In January Volume I, No. 2 of the periodical Trail Breakers was published. In April a small, temporary library was set up in the home of one of the members. Members telephoned a day in advance to use the library. Later that year the library was moved to a trailer located in Hazel Dell. The Society had grown to 52 members.
  • 1976 — Monthly general meetings were held at the historic Grant House. Beginning in January the Society conducted a 10-week course in genealogy at Jason Lee Junior High School. The acquisition of a good used duplicating machine marked the beginning of the Society’s print shop.
  • 1977 — In January the Clark County Historical Society approved the use of a room in the basement of their building at 1511 Main Street for the Society’s library. In early 1977 the Society hosted its first Saturday workshop. The first fall workshop was held in November. A Society member taught a six-week genealogy class at the Grant House. By March the membership had risen to 97. Larger meeting facilities had to be found for the general meetings.
  • 1978 — On March 4 the Society hosted its first all-day seminar. In April, after several unsuccessful attempts, the Society received non-profit tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service.
  • 1979 — Interest groups began: first Missouri, Scandinavian, Scottish to be followed later by Computer Interest.
  • 1980 — In March the fourth annual research trip to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City took place. In April the Clark County Genealogical Society was officially incorporated.
  • 1981 — In November the Society received a grant of $1,745 which was used to purchase print shop equipment. The Society also purchased an off-set printing press. Printing the Society’s and members’ publications was an important function of the Society. Membership had grown to 214.
  • 1982 — A nine-week genealogical course was offered at Clark College. German, Canadian and Irish interest groups were formed.
  • 1983 — Membership had risen to 281 members.
  • 1984 — In addition to the organized trips to Salt Lake City, the Society organized trips to Seattle where members could research in the Seattle Public Library, the Seattle Branch of the National Archives or the Suzello Library on the University of Washington campus.
  • 1988 — In January the Society received a grant of $1195 which it used to purchase a binding machine.
  • 1992 — The Society rented space to house the print shop. It had been in the basement of various members homes until that time.
  • 1996 — The Society’s library obtained its first computer.
  • 1997 — The Clark County Genealogical Society celebrated its 25th anniversary. The Society posted its own web page on the internet for the first time. The Society’s library moved from the main floor of the Historical Society’s museum where it had been for several years back to the basement. Membership had grown to 543 members from all over the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Dues were $17.00 per year.
  • 2000 — The Society leased commercial space for the library. In June 2000 the library was moved from 400+ sq. ft. in the basement of the museum to a 1500 sq. ft. facility at 717 Grand Blvd. Society membership had grown to more than 650 members.
  • 2002 — Membership reached a peak of 677 members.
  • 2005 — In March the Society began leasing the space next to its library. The Society furnished this space as a meeting room capable of accommodating up to 100 people. The Society began using it for their meetings, classes, seminars and other purposes. When not used by the Society, the Society rented it to other groups. In October the Society made its first organized trip to the Allen County Indiana Library.
  • 2014 — Membership stands at 325 members. The Society library is staffed four days per week and one Saturday per month. Four on-line computers are available to members at the library. The society has subscriptions to American Ancestor and Ancestry.com which are accessible from computers in the library. General membership meetings are held the fourth Tuesday of most months. The Society’s periodical, Trail Breakers, is published once per year. The newsletter is published monthly except January, July and August. Society members teach a series of genealogy classes each fall and spring and present several free “getting started” classes each year. The Society produces a seminar each fall and spring. Legacy’s webinars are presented live several times per week. Several interest groups meet monthly. A group of users of the Legacy genealogy database program meet monthly. The leased meeting space next to the library is used for most of these meetings and classes. The Society maintains a web page at http://www.ccgs-wa.org/ .
  • 2019 – We have moved! We have remodeled the old Chase bank building located on 52nd Street across the street from Hi-School Pharmacy. We had a grand opening celebration December 7th and reopened the library to the public December 10th. Our new location is 3205 NE 52nd Street, Vancouver, WA 98663. We have all of the features we offered before and we are continuously adding to our resources.