BIGS Business / BIGS Business / BIGS Business

MEET YOUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Andy

Andrea Hoskins

Vice President

Where did you grow up, what led you to this area, and when did you arrive?

I was born in San Francisco and grew up in the Bay Area. I met my husband, Bill, when we were both students at San Jose State. When our kids were young, we were living in Sacramento. Once my husband was well established in his work as an Art Management Consultant, we realized we could live anywhere he had access to a good airport. We started our hunt for a new place to live, and after checking out Napa and Sonoma, we continued up the coast to Portland, and after multiple recommendations from friends, we “landed” on Bainbridge Island. We made the move in 1995, and have been here since.

In your working life, what kind of things did you do?

I have worked as a pediatric occupational therapist for more than 40 years. Over the years, I have worked in both hospitals and private clinics, served as a consultant to school districts, been a department head, and supervised student therapists.  My last two decades were with the Central Kitsap School District, where I worked in Special Education, serving children with sensory processing disorders, developmental delays, and learning disabilities.

Describe your current living situation and free time interests other than genealogy.

Bill and I have a home on two acres on the north part of Bainbridge. We have fruit trees and blueberries, along with more than our share of deer. I spend a substantial part of my free time reading, sewing, and spending time with grandchildren. I enjoy making quilts, and clothes for my granddaughters. For the past six years I have been a captain of our neighborhood’s disaster preparedness team.

When and how did you get involved with genealogy and what has been most important to you?

I started working on Ancestry.com about ten years ago. I had some notes from my dad about my family tree, and a whole lot of questions he was no longer here to answer. Probably the most important thing for me has been building a sense of my connection to the history of our country – all of my grandparents have family lines going back to the colonies. I have been able to thoroughly research my family. Now, the important thing is to figure out how to make this information available to my descendants.

Tell us when and why you got involved with BIGS and a little about your history with the organization.

I joined BIGS about a year after I retired as a therapist. I had been working on Ancestry.com and realized there was much more for me to learn. Soon, I took on the job of newsletter editor, and then somehow, just as Covid locked us down, I was elected President. This is my fourth year in that role.

What has been satisfying about being a board member?

Being on the Board has given me the chance to interact with others with a strong interest in genealogy. I feel that BIGS has had a lot to offer me, and I like that I can offer my help to keep BIGS going. I have made good friends through my work on the Board.

What have you learned from being on the board?

I have learned that everyone has something they can offer as a board member. It really does take a variety of different skills to make things run well. I also learned that a board doesn’t have to be formal and slow-moving. The BIGS board is made of committed folks that are willing to respond to and act on the changes that are needed to keep BIGS healthy and relevant.

Tell us something about yourself that others might find surprising.

For about four years I played with a ukulele group on Bainbridge, until Covid closed us down. Now, I play to entertain myself and my grandchildren, and maintain my callouses!

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MEET YOUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Sue Two

Sue Hassenmiller

Co-Director Membership

Where did you grow up, what led you to this area, and when did you arrive?

The windy city is my home town along with summers on my grandmother’s farm in Northern Wisconsin. In 1966, I moved to Seattle with my former husband who worked for the National Labor Relations Board. Later we moved to Bainbridge Island.

In your working life, what kind of things did you do?

After finishing my accounting degree, I worked either as an accountant or auditor for the Navy or various companies.

Describe your current living situation and free time interests other than genealogy.

I live with my husband, Ken and cat, Sophie in the central part of the island. When I am not hunting for ancestors, I enjoy gardening, cooking and reading. I also love to research and plan trips to interesting places; especially to places where my ancestors lived.

When and how did you get involved with genealogy and what has been most important to you?

I was always interested in family stories but really started doing genealogy research when I met my current husband and moved into his house in Hawthorne Hills, Seattle, which overlooked the National Archives. I joined the Seattle Genealogical Society and learned how to locate and research records in the days before computers. I continued researching and learning the new techniques of online research and DNA testing. Combining my love of travel and the desire to locate and visit all the places my ancestors lived, has been an interesting journey.

Tell us when and why you got involved with BIGS and a little about your history with the organization.

I worked with the group that formed and started the Bainbridge Genealogical Society. Whenever my work life has permitted it, I have held a Board position, mostly as the Treasurer and now as co-chair of the membership committee.

What has been satisfying about being a board member?

As a founding member of BIGS, I wanted to see the organization continue to grow and be a source of knowledge and support for all who are researching their families. Being on the Board, and working with the other members of the Broad, both past and present, plus other members, has given me the opportunity to help keep BIGS going, especially during the pandemic. Forming long-term friendships with the members assures me to always have someone to discuss genealogy.

What have you learned from being on the board?

It takes a lot of work to keep the organization viable, not only arranging for speakers, meetings, etc. but finding out what our members want or need to know, even without getting as much feedback as the Board needs.

Tell us something about yourself that others might find surprising.

Science Fiction has been my favorite reading material since the day I got my first library card. So naturally, I fell in love with Star Trek. With my friend, Joanne Reese, we attended a number of Star Trek conventions on the West Coast, which gave us a chance to meet the stars several times

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MEET YOUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Betty Wiese

Director Education

Where did you grow up, what led you to this area, and when did you arrive?

I was born and grew up in Polson, Montana which is located within the Flathead Indian Reservation, at the foot of Flathead Lake. I came to Seattle in 1965 to attend Seattle University. I moved with my then husband and young son from Normandy Park (which is near Des Moines, south of Seattle) to Bainbridge Island in the summer of 1986.

In your working life, what kind of things did you do?

I joined the newly created Environmental Protection Agency in December 1970 as clerk typist. Over my 37-year career I participated in or led various projects and programs, mostly in air quality and hazardous waste management programs.  For many years, I supervised teams of engineers and attorneys to enforce various EPA laws and regulations. I was fortunate to be included in varied leadership development and training programs, including one that stressed the importance of “being clear about the purpose of any meeting”.  I was honored to receive a national EPA award for Excellence in Management.

Describe your current living situation and free time interests other than genealogy.

I have been single since my divorce in 1989. My ex-husband and I co-parented our son Damian, who as a fabulous man of 40, died in February 2021. In addition to learning to live with the loss of my son, I continue various volunteer and social activities (IVC, Zumba, book groups), travel (Thanksgiving in the Ozarks), and classical music or plays in Seattle and elsewhere. 

When and how did you get involved with genealogy and what has been most important to you?

My older sister did some family history research. I was interested in the stories but not the research. In 1975 she and I interviewed our Dutch grandmother, which we recorded and then transcribed. One year, as a gift to my mother, I had a 1945 letter about her father, which was handwritten in Dutch, translated and transcribed. I became actively involved when I joined BIGS; I am now the family genealogist (and memorabilia keeper). I am most satisfied with how much I have learned about my Welsh roots with a lot of work plus some luck. Knowing more about the Pugh family in Wales and here helps me better understand my dad. 

Tell us when and why you got involved with BIGS and a little about your history with the organization.

After I retired in 2007, I joined BIGS.  As a new member I was asked about my interest in serving on the board of directors and I said yes, serving as Director of Ways and Means. I have since served on the board in many roles, including treasurer, vice president and president. I currently serve as Director for Education. I’m also a member of the Outreach Committee. BIGS is my biggest “volunteer gig.”

What has been satisfying about being a board member?

I enjoy working collaboratively to “make things happen” or “make things better.” Being in service to others is a big part of how I get my satisfaction in life. While I never used my Education Degree to teach in a classroom, I love the opportunity to help others learn about “doing genealogy.” It has been very satisfying to be able to use some of the leadership techniques I learned in my working career. 

What have you learned from being on the board?

I am reminded of the value of having people with different interests, different skills, and different learning and problem-solving styles. That kind of diversity makes us and the organization stronger. To serve as a volunteer on the board to help keep BIGS going does not require any specialized knowledge or experience with genealogy, since we don’t “do genealogy” in that setting.

Tell us something about yourself that others might find surprising.

At age 5 or so I learned that I was to have my tonsils removed. I “made a deal” that I would agree to that surgery if I could keep the tonsils! They came home with me in a small green jar which eventually ended up on the shelves at the back door entry to our family home. Don’t worry, I no longer have them, so I won’t bring them to show and tell.

BIGS Business / BIGS Business / BIGS Business

MEET YOUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Joyce Oswald

Treasurer

Where did you grow up, what led you to this area, and when did you arrive?

A teaching position led me to Kitsap County about 10 years ago. My family has a long history in this area with family settling in Pierce County in the 1920’s and Kitsap County in the 1950’s. One of my grandmothers was a Washington pioneer, born before statehood.

In your working life, what kind of things did you do?

Teaching at the college level, primarily incarcerated women. I teach accounting, computer and business courses.

Describe your free time interests other than genealogy.

I love the great outdoors in our county. Wonderful parks, hiking trails and birding opportunities.

When and how did you get involved with genealogy and what has been most important to you?

My mom had been collecting notes for many decades that were almost impossible to decipher. In the early 1990’s I started to digitize all of her data and found a terrific shareware program, Brother’s Keeper (I still use it today) to input all of the data. I started my research with microfilm and paper records and add to it every year. I regularly provide ancestry reports to family and continue to update my records as more resources come online every year. My new hobby is to do genealogy for friends and create ancestry reports for their birthdays.

Tell us when and why you got involved with BIGS and a little about your history with the organization.

I really enjoy all of the educational opportunities that BIGS has offered. The pandemic was a great opportunity to attend more events via zoom both with BIGS and with other organizations. I joined right before the pandemic and was so glad I had events to attend during those crazy months of isolation.

What has been satisfying about being a board member?

Getting to know other BIGS members better and seeing the amazing work that our board does to provide relevant programming and keep the organization functioning.

What have you learned from being on the board?

It takes a village to keep BIGS running and I’m really impressed with our wonderful board members.

Tell us something about yourself that others might find surprising.

I have 39 first cousins and many of us have been able to attain Luxembourg citizenship through our genealogy research!

BIGS Business / BIGS Business / BIGS Business

MEET YOUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS

IMG_1445 (002)

Holly Ardinger

Secretary/Outreach

Where did you grow up, what led you to this area, and when did you arrive?

I was born in Iowa City and my family settled in Des Moines, IA when I was in 3rd grade. I moved back and forth between California and Iowa for college, medical school, internship, and residency training and along the way met my husband (a native Californian), had two sons (born in Iowa City, an apparent family nesting place) and a career in the Kansas City area before moving to Bainbridge Island in the fall of 2016 to be close to our two grandchildren who live in Seattle.

In your working life, what kind of things did you do?

I had an interesting and challenging career as a pediatric geneticist at a large children’s hospital. I evaluated infants and children for the purpose of diagnosing a genetic disorder. Working closely with genetic counselors and other specialists, we had to choose the correct genetic testing, review the results, and provide genetic counseling to families. Early on, there was very little genetic testing available so that diagnosis depended on recognizing patterns of differences in an individual that defined a particular disorder. Throughout my work life, I taught medical students, residents, and other physicians about genetics in medicine and towards the end of my career I worked as an editor for an online clinical genetics resource for health care professionals through the University of Washington (GeneReviews).

Describe your current living situation and free time interests other than genealogy.

I live on Bainbridge Island with my husband of 41 years, Robert (a retired pediatric cardiologist), and our eight-month-old Bernedoodle puppy, Abby, who is the littermate of our grandchildren’s dog. I like to do lots of walking, coffee drinking, reading (especially mystery novels) and hanging out with our grandchildren. My husband took up the banjo in retirement, so I listen to a lot of banjo music these days when he practices. As we are new to this region, I am trying to learn to identify the local birds, trees, and flowers. 

When and how did you get involved with genealogy and what has been most important to you?

As part of my work as a pediatric geneticist, I collected family history information and drew pedigrees for each patient. It dawned on me that I should do the same for my own family and in the early 1990s I began researching. I was lucky to be in Kansas City where there was a branch of the National Archives as well as three local genealogy libraries in which to search (this was before there were online records of any kind).  My husband and I were fortunate to have paternal grandmothers who were alive and willing to share lots of family information and photos to give me a good start. I love the thrill of the hunt for information and also trying to understand how the family structure or location may have influenced the decisions or pathways taken by individual members.

Tell us when and why you got involved with BIGS and a little about your history with the organization.

When we lived in the Kansas City area, I had tried a couple of times to get involved with the local genealogy group, but work hours and our sons’ school activities made that difficult to do with any regularity. Before we moved to BI, I had found BIGS online and once we were settled in, I joined right away.  I found that I was learning something from every speaker and especially enjoyed the Evening Discussion Group that met once a month to help solve each other’s mysteries or celebrate new findings. I liked the people I met and felt like I had found my “tribe”. I wanted to provide behind-the-scenes support as a way of giving back so volunteered to run for secretary.

What has been satisfying about being a board member?

I’ve enjoyed getting to know other board members and also being able to help BIGS stay as a useful and functional organization.  As a board member, I feel more connected to BIGS than I felt before being on the board.

What have you learned from being on the board?

I have learned that there are many ways to approach a challenge and that individuals bring all sorts of experience to the table which may be different than my own. Advanced knowledge of genealogy is definitely not a prerequisite to being on the board, but good humor and attention to detail are valuable attributes!

Tell us something about yourself that others might find surprising.

I am just finishing my second year of Italian language classes. Although I have no Italian heritage, I love the language (it sounds so musical to me) and hope to use it when we travel to Italy again (where I love the art, the food, and the people!)

BIGS Business / BIGS Business / BIGS Business

MEET YOUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Susan Palmer(002)

Susan Palmer

Director Programming

Where did you grow up, what led you to this area, and when did you arrive?

I grew up in the NYC suburbs, as did my husband. We decided to leave in 1980 when New York wasn’t dong so well and came straight to Bainbridge Island, looking for a suburb of a large city with Major League Baseball.

In your working life, what kind of things did you do?

I taught in elementary school briefly, worked in bank marketing a little longer, but preferred the role of full-time mom.

Describe your free time interests other than genealogy.

Too many hobbies – photography, quilting and knitting chief among them – and I love to travel too. I’m happy to let others do most of the gardening now but I love tending my roses.

When and how did you get involved with genealogy and what has been most important to you?

I read about BIGS on-line, attended one Christmas party and got hooked. I enjoy learning about ancestors and wondering what their lives were like. 

Tell us when and why you got involved with BIGS and a little about your history with the organization.

I edited the newsletter for two years and am now serving as Program Chair for two years.

What has been satisfying about being a board member?

I really like BIGS and the people I’ve met and feel like I should do my part too.

What have you learned from being on the board?

I learned how to really use word processing software which I no longer find intimidating. The jobs I have done didn’t require me to know much about genealogy or even be on Bainbridge Island, just to be organized and do a little work or research. 

Tell us something about yourself that others might find surprising.

I was a private pilot and my husband and I flew twice from the East coast to Wyoming. Once I landed at Otis Air Force Base on Cape Cod by myself – definitely in the old days.

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MEET YOUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Larry Noedel

President

Where did you grow up, what led you to this area, and when did you arrive?

I was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, where I lived until 1989 when I came to Bainbridge Island to start a new business with a former business associate who lived on the island.

In your working life, what kind of things did you do?

My career was split between advertising agencies and a marketing and consumer research firm. I had many different roles over the years, including departmental and organizational management, strategic planning, and consumer research planning and implementation.

Describe your current living situation and free time interests other than genealogy.

My wife of 62 years died in 2020 and since then I’ve been involved with learning to live on my own. I’m happily independent, doing my own cooking, housekeeping, and yard maintenance. My free time interests are local hiking, reading, and music (I learned to play the accordion at an early age and have taken it up again for my own amusement).

When and how did you get involved with genealogy and what has been most important to you?

My interest in family history began in 2017 when I discovered my original birth certificate. It led me, as an adoptee, to discover my birth parents and to identify and form ever deepening relationships with their descendants, most importantly my recently found sister. Learning my biological roots has made a deep impact on my life.

Tell us when and why you got involved with BIGS and a little about your history with the organization.

In 2018, I joined BIGS to learn how to do genealogy properly. I was asked to join the outreach committee in 2019 and eventually became committee chair. When one of the board members had to resign in 2020, I took over the unexpired term and became responsible for publicity. Since then, I have moved to the communications chair.

What has been satisfying about being a board member?

My continuing satisfaction from being on the board has been to work together with an excellent team of individuals, (who I now think of as friends), in an informal atmosphere, toward the clear goal of moving the organization into the future. I feel that my contributions have been a kind of an extension of my working experiences, particularly in planning, promotion, and research activities.

What have you learned from being on the board?

What have I learned? That being on the board is personally rewarding work. That the most important prerequisites have nothing to do with genealogy. That anyone, from nearly any background, who wants to help make BIGS relevant in members’ lives today and tomorrow can help by volunteering for a limited job, or by serving on the board.

Tell us something about yourself that others might find surprising.

After graduating from high school, I spent half the summer playing in a hotel lounge in Charlevoix, Michigan. I and a couple of friends had formed a band when we were juniors in high school. Through my first years of college, we played dances, parties, weddings, and a few night clubs with 1940’s-50’s jazz, blues, and standards. I played keyboard.