The Yakima Valley Genealogical Society operates a library open to the public at no charge for genealogical research. The 7,200 sq ft library, considered one of the top genealogical research facilities in the Pacific Northwest, is located at 1901 S 12th Ave, Union Gap, Washington. Besides the main floor of the library there are three archive rooms, a media room for microfilm/fiche research, a work room and a kitchen. Between the bound volumes on the shelf and the massive microfilm/microfiche collection, the library hosts an equivalent collection of 35,000 volumes of genealogical research material covering the all of the states in the United States and a large number of foreign countries. This collection also covers a large amount of published family histories. Some of the highlights of this collection and facility are:
Books: There are approximately 18,000 bound volumes of genealogical research material on the shelves. Besides a large amount of family histories, these volumes also contain records and resource material for all of the states in this country and many foreign countries.
Microfilm / microfiche: The library is the new repository for the massive Yakima Family History library collection that used to be housed in the LDS Yakima Family History library. This collection of genealogical material is made up of approximately 6,000 microfilm and 6,000 microfiche. This collection covers genealogical research material from all over the United States and a huge amount of family histories. In addition to this collection, the library has achieved an affiliate status with the main Family History Library in Salt Lake which means that patrons can order microfilm and microfiche directly into the YVGS library to use.
The Wilbur Helm Collection: The library was fortunate to have the Wilbur Helm collection of research material donated to the library. Wilbur, one of the most proficient genealogists in the Northwest, maintained a private library of over 600 volumes of research material covering the entire United States with an emphasis on Civil War soldiers, sailors and histories.
The Vernie Smith Bennett Collection: The family of Vernie Smith Bennett in Texas has donated her private research library to the Society. Vernie, one of the most well known researchers in the south, maintained a private collection of over 700 volumes of genealogical research material, mainly covering the southern United States.
The Obituary Collection: The library maintains an extensive card and computor file of obituaries for the Yakima area. These are partial prior to 1968 and complete since then. These number over 150,000 obituaries copied primarily from the Yakima Herald-Republic.
The Shaw & Son Funeral Home Collection: Shaw & Sons, one of Yakima's largest and oldest funeral homes, donated their funeral records to the Society library. The collection covers over 33,000 individuals and spans from 1900 to1983.
The Ball Funeral Home Collection: These records from the Ball Funeral Home in Sunnyside, Washington were graciously made available to YVGS in 1991 by the present custodian, Mr Bob McIntosh, of the McIntosh-Benton Memorial Chapel in Prosser, Washington. The records start in 1893 and end in 1973 and fill 16 2”binders, arraigned alphabetically. Some pages were photocopied and some were transcribed by hand.
The Calvary Cemetery Collection: The Society has the card file to the Calvary (Catholic) Cemetery digitized and online at the library. This card file covers over 11,000 people from 1903-2012. The index to the cards is on our website.
The WSGS and the DAR: The society library is the designated official state library for the Washington State Genealogical Society. It is also the designated library and repository for the records of the Washington State Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Computor Resources: The library has eight computers for patrons to use to do genealogical research. The library also has wifi so patrons can use their laptops. The library subscribes to the full international version of Ancestry and to the New England Genealogical and Historical Society. These subscriptions are available for patrons to use at the library. The library also has 150 years worth of the NEGHS magazines on CD for use of the patrons along with numerous genealogical instructional CD's.
LIBRARY HOURS: The library is open from 10:00am to 4:00pm Monday-Saturday; also Wednesday evenings 7:00pm - 9:00pm. The library is closed on January 1st, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and December 24-25. The library can be opened during closed hours by appointment. Please call several days ahead to make arrangements: 509-248-1328.
DRIVING DIRECTIONS: 1901 S 12th Ave, Union Gap. For those coming from out of town, take I-82 to Valley Mall Blvd (Exit 36). Proceed west to Washington Ave, turn right and go four blocks, turn right on S 12th Ave, turn left in first driveway. For those coming in on Hwy 12, take the 40th Ave exit south to Washington Ave, left turn and proceed to 12th Ave, turn right and then left into the first driveway.