Seattle Genealogical Society

Women's Suffrage in Your Family History

The Seattle Genealogical Society continues our commemoration of the 100th anniversary of Women's Suffrage with educational opportunities including:
Join us on a path of exploration. Learn to access and use genealogical tools and techniques to successfully discover your female ancestors and share their stories. Check out our Women's Suffrage in Your Family History Resource Guide  with a list of resources to help you conduct your genealogical research.
Learn about the expanding civic role of women, explore the changes in their lives and that of their families and communities, culminating in the passage of the 19th Amendment.
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
See all of our upcoming events on the SGS Calendar of Events.

Women’s Suffrage Centennial Family History Writing Contest
The May 30th deadline has passed and submissions are under review by our publications review panel. Our top three submissions will be notified and their articles published in the Fall 2020 edition of our Journal of the Seattle Genealogical Society.  
  • First prize will be awarded $100
  • Second prize will be awarded $75
  • Third prize will be awarded $50

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.

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