Seattle Genealogical Society

Women's Suffrage in Your Family History

The 19th Amendment was certified on August 26th, 1920. The Seattle Genealogical Society has commemorated this momentous event in American history with educational programs, genealogical research and stories of our female ancestors. Thanks to all who have participated, volunteered and shared their stories. 
Educational Programs
See all of our upcoming events on the SGS Calendar of Events.

Resouces and Tools
Check out our Women's Suffrage in Your Family History Resource Guide  with a list of resources to help you conduct your genealogical research.
Votes for Washington Centennial created a virtual cemetery on Find A Grave to honor Washington State suffragists. 46 famous suffragists from across the nation can also be found also be found on Find A Grave. 
The women's suffrage story is long, complex and unique to each state. For example, did you know that the women of Washington Territory could vote for several years before becoming a state? Later, Washington state played a pivotal role in suffrage at the national level. A great starting place to gain an understanding of suffrage in Washington state is by viewing the timeline produced by Washington State Historical Society

Congratulations to the winners of the
Women’s Suffrage Centennial Family History Writing Contest!
  • First prize was awarded to Lisa Oberg.
  • Second prize was awarded to Chery Kinnick.
  • Third prize was awarded to Mary Ellen Maxell.
It is here! The Journal of the Seattle Genealogical Society with the articles written by our writing contest winners. Thank you to all who submitted articles and to our board of reviewers.

Welcome to Our Writer’s Corner!
Each month we are sharing women’s stories of 100 and more years ago, including brick walls that elude even the most diligent genealogist. Stories might be brief – one or two paragraphs or longer and will appear here on our web site, in our eNews! and the Seattle Genealogical Society Facebook page.
January 2020     Read Heidi Mair's story of searching for her great-grandmother for more than 30 years in Discovering Amelia.
February 2020    Our February contributor, Mary S. shares the story of her grandmother in rural Minnesota and how the Expatriation Act of 1907 affected her citizenship and right to vote. Read Mary's story here.
March 2020     Read Mary Watkinson McRae's diary of her week-long journey aboard the newly constructed Northern Railroad from Portland, Oregon to Ontario in 1884. Mary's mother Jane had traveled with her family to Oregon from Missouri along the Oregon Trail in 1852. That trip took most families four to six months to complete. In just 30 years the continental train system transformed not only travel, but the lives or our ancestors. Thanks to this month's contributor, Mary Ellen McRae for sharing her grandmother's diary with us.
April 2020    What was life like in Seattle in the 1870's and 1880's? Our April contributor, Valarie writes a local history blog, Wedwood in Seattle History. She shared the story of Viola Kenyon, an early Seattle homesteader and teacher. Read about Viola here and on Valarie's blog.
May 2020 Women's Voting Stories - this month's contribution includes a summary of the Women's Suffrage movement followed by a series of vignettes, including life on a Kansas farm. Submitted anonymously by a member of the Seattle Genealogical Society.
June 2020 Singer began mass-producing domestic electric sewing machines in 1910 and transformed many women’s lives. Imagine hand-sewing clothing for 12 children!  The Boughten Dress, written by Jan Johnson illustrates the significance of the sewing machine in her grandmother’s and mother’s lives. They lived in desperate poverty during the Great Depression in northern Minnesota, close to the Canadian border. Jan inherited her grandmother’s machine and her love of sewing. She cherishes her memories and has carried on the tradition of sewing for her family.
July 2020 Lori Lee Sauber shares the story of her search for her Mayflower ancestors, utilizing the SGS library. Lori Lee will give us more details at her Second Saturday presentation on October 10, 2020. 
August 2020  Washingtonians answered the call and have completed 57 biographical sketches of Washington women suffragists for the Online Biographical Dictionary of the Woman Suffrage Movement, a crowd sourced biographical database of over 3,500 suffragists nationwide. You can read their fascinating stories here.
We are still accepting stories. Send a story of your female ancestor to

Women's Suffrage in your Family History
We want to thank the Washington State Historical Society for their grant in support of our project.  For more information, see