The Genealogical Society of South Whidbey Island recently won the 2012 Best in State award for its website.
Forty societies competed for the honor, which was presented at the Washington State Genealogical Society’s annual convention in Port Townsend.
Web designer Nancy Hepp of Clinton created the site’s design using sepia colored 19th and early 20th century photos, many from Genealogical Society members’ family collections.
Bob Richardson, president of the society, added much of the site’s functionality.
“I wanted the site to be easy to read and attractive, generating with people a curiosity and engagement with the past,” Hepp said. “Use of the photographs and related stories lends itself naturally to getting people to ask, ‘What about my family?’”
The group has collected and scanned virtually all obituaries of Island County residents from the 1890s through December 2010, at which time the local newspapers began publishing obituaries online.
Search access to the collection of 23,447 obituaries is available at gsswi.org. The website uses phonetic matching of names, which increases the user’s chance for a successful search.
The website offers information about genealogical activities and resources from the local to national level, tools for research and special aids for researching family tree members from Island County.
The group meets on the second Monday of each month from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Trinity Lutheran Church Chapel and Community Building, 18341 Highway 525, Freeland.
For information, call Candace Allen at 360-321-5150.