Summer of 1966

The history of St. Louis Genealogical Society started with Dorothy Amburgey Griffith who wanted to do some work on her family history. She looked for a genealogical group in St. Louis to help her learn how to do genealogical research and found none. So she contacted the National Genealogical Society in Washington, D. C., and was told by them that they were interested in establishing local chapters of NGS around the country. They also provided her with the names of NGS members in St. Louis.

By the fall of that year, Dorothy had contacted twelve St. Louisans, held a few organizational meetings, and gained agreement to become the St. Louis chapter of NGS, beginning on 1 January 1967.

First Officers

President Craig Washabaugh
Vice President Robert E. Parkin
Secretary Dorothy A. Griffith
Treasurer Judith A. Toler

Late in 1967

Becoming alarmed over lack of response from NGS, President Washabaugh rallied a meeting of all members and appointed a steering committee to study new bylaws and the feasibility of our continuing with NGS.

October 1967

The group signed a resolution to drop our membership as a chapter of NGS and to reorganize as the St. Louis Genealogical Society. New and simple bylaws were approved.

Dues were set at $4.00 with an additional $1.00 for a family member and an initial registration fee of $2.00. It was decided that all who had joined in 1966 and 1967 were to be considered charter members. There were ninety in all.

The Library

Sherman Dozier was our first librarian; for quite a while he was able to carry the entire library under his arm in a brown shoe box. The first committees were Preservation of Records, later called Old Records; Membership; Cemetery; Publications; and 1850 St. Louis Census Index. The first project was to do something about the condition of early records in the St. Louis City Hall. The society was successful in persuading the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to contact city officials for permission to microfilm records and indexes of births, deaths, and marriages.

From these beginnings, the St. Louis Genealogical Society has grown into the largest local society in the country, with members from virtually every state in the nation and several foreign countries.


Because St. Louis Genealogical Society is an all-volunteer organization, one of our most important obligations is to acknowledge the significant contributions made to the society by our volunteers. Our awards program is one way of doing that.

The society began to say thank you to our most dedicated volunteers by awarding life memberships in 1970. Next came Certificates of Achievement, starting in 1976, followed by Achievement and Special Recognition Awards and President’s Citations. To see the StLGS awards recipients, click on the following links:

Appreciation Award Recipients

Achievement Awards

Special Recognition Awards

Honorary Life Member Awards

President’s Citation Recipients


Significant Events in the St. Louis Genealogical Society


6 Oct 1966 Organizational Meeting, twelve people present
Dec 1966 St. Louis Chapter of NGS
1967 First Project—Arrange for LDS to film St. Louis vital records
Dec 1967 Society Formed as StLGS—90 charter members
Jan 1968 First Surname Index—13 pages
Mar 1968 First Quarterly—Bob Parkin, editor
Oct 1968 First News ‘n Notes—(previous newsletters had no title)
7 Jan 1969 First Council Meeting
Oct 1969–Sep 1996 Library located at University City Public Library
Feb 1970 First Office, in Brentwood Square
Mar 1970 First Printer, a “1275 Multilith” machine
18 Apr 1970 First Family History Conference, at the Ethical Society of St. Louis. Click here for a history of these events.
Apr 1970 First Publication, Tracing Family Trees in Eleven States
10-17 Jul 1977 First Salt Lake City Trip
Mar 1983 Project to index the 1860 St. Louis census initiated
Jun 1984 First society computer club formed
Mar 1987 StLGS acquires its first computer
Aug 1993 Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) national conference held in St. Louis
Oct 1996 Research collection moved to St. Louis County Library
Sep 1997 First Speaker Series event. Click here for a history of these events.
Jul 1999 Irish Special Interest Group (SIG) formed
Aug 1999 StLGS was host society for the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) annual conference in St. Louis
Jan 2004 StLGS was host society for the National Genealogical Society (NGS) GenTech conference in St. Louis
2005 African-American, French, German, Jewish, and Scandinavian SIGs formed
Jul 2005 First week-long institute: St. Louis Research
Jan 2006 StLGS redesigned website released
Mar 2010 First annual Trivia Night
Aug 2010 New and improved website released
Sep 2010 St. Louis Research Institute
Jun 2012 StLGS News Flash blog debuts
Jul 2013 German Research Institute
Jul 2014 Writing Institute
Dec 2014 Improved website and store released
May 2015 StLGS was host society for the National Genealogical Society Conference in St. Charles, Mo.
Jul 2015 Ask Louie consulting service began
Mar 2016 45th annual Family History Conference, Maryland Heights Community Centre
Mar 2017 St. Louis City/County Biographies website project began
Jul 2017 Missouri Research Institute
Dec 2017 News ‘n Notes, the StLGS monthly newsletter, was discontinued
Apr 2018 Researching Orphans and Orphanage Care in St. Louis book was published
Nov 2018 St. Louis City/County Biographies project was endorsed by Missouri 2021 from the State Historical Society to commemorate the state’s 200th anniversary
Mar 2019 10th annual Trivia Night
May 2019 Missouri in the War of 1812, volumes 1 and 2, books published
May 2019 StLGS again was local host for the NGS annual conference in St. Charles, Mo.
Jul 2019 Second Writing Institute
2020 The COVID-19 pandemic shut down most activities after a successful Trivia Night in early March. Rapidly learning to use the online platform, Zoom, volunteers were able to conduct monthly meetings, hold classes and SIG meetings, and organize the annual Family History Conference and two Speaker Series online, much to the delight of our many out-of-town members. Digital recordings of most meetings were posted online, some permanently, for researchers to continue to enjoy.

Office Locations

1695 S. Brentwood Blvd. 1 Feb 1970–30 Nov 1988
9011 Manchester Road, Suite 3 1 Dec 1988–14 Dec 1997
No. 4 Sunnen Drive, Suite 140 6 Jan 1998–Present

Presidents of St. Louis Genealogical Society

1967 Craig Washabaugh
1967–1973 Robert Parkin
1974–1975 Merrill D. Berkeley
1976–1977 Mabel K. Faatz
1978–1981 Kevin Kelly
1982–1985 Carolyn Jolly Pratt
1986–1989 David Meyer
1990–1991 Joseph Preston
1992–1995 Robert Smith
1996–1999 Ann Carter Fleming
2000–2001 Neil Fiala
2001–2005 Barbara Savalick
2005–2008 Ted Steele
2009–2012 Ed Dolata
2013–2016 Fran Behrman
2017–2020 Kay Weber
2021– Karen Goode

Last modified: 04-Feb-2021 20:55