From the WCGS Newsletter Archives

Regarding the Wood County Courthouse Fire December 11, 1878:

From Volume 1, Page 1, of the Civil Minutes of the District Court of Wood County, Texas:
January 27, 1879
“This is the first Minute Books used after the fire which occurred in the morning of the 11th of December, A. D. 1878, at about 2 o’clock in the night, and which resulted in Destruction of the Courthouse and all the papers and records contained therein, said house is supposed to have been set on fire by some incendiary, but no one has been able to trace it to the purpertrator (sic) up to this date. Great was the loss in said fire to both private individuals and the officers of this county. District Court was in session at the time.” (This was from a newsletter entry labeled “Miscellaneous Tidbits from the Late Ona Wood’s Notes”, 1994 Volume, July Issue, Newsletter No. 35, page 50.)

Good Turnout For Expo

A big turnout at the Winnsboro Business Expo on the first weekend of Autumn Trails Days resulted in lots of visitors to the Wood County Genealogical Society booth/table. Fifty-one people signed the booth register and many more stopped to inquire about our genealogy and to visit. Surname some of the visitors are researching include Wilcox, Davis, Newsome, Johnson, Dodgen, Porter, Lindsey, Bearden, Cox, Sutton, Michael, Ray, Mills, Robison, Sansom, Jones, McElyea, Coe, Gaines, Kennedy, Bumgardner, and Williams.
WCGS members meet guests at Expo
Working at the booth were (above) members Vice-president Dorothy Harbin (who set up the display on Friday and was there from start to finish on Saturday) and Deason Hunt, and (below) Mary Beth Ramage, Martha Hunt, and Harbin.

WCGS members work at booth at Winnsboro expo

The society received lots of publicity, and a number of booth visitors expressed an interest in getting started on their own family lines and some an interest in coming to our regular monthly meetings. Followups to try to take advantage of the interest were discussed during the day.

How Many Ancestors Do You Have?

Do you know how many ancestors you have? Of course not. Let’s simplify the question: How many ancestors do you have in the past four hundred years? Many people do not know the answer to that question. Care to guess? (The answer is given below but please don’t peek just yet.)

The number of ancestors is simple to calculate as it is a simple mathematical progression: every person has two parents, four grandparents, eight great-grandparents, sixteen great-great-grandparents and so on. The number doubles with each generation. As you go back in years, the numbers soon become very large.

Family Forest, the producers of a CD-ROM lineage-linked database that digitally connects people with each other, can be considered experts in this topic. They have an excellent chart that illustrates the numbers quite well. Take a look at:

Answer to the earlier question: If we assume that there is a new generation every twenty-five years, someone born 400 years before you would be 16 generations removed from you. According to the Family Forest chart, you would have 65,535 unique ancestors born in the previous 16 generations, assuming no overlap (that is, none of your ancestors were cousins to other ancestors).

However, all families can find a few cousins somewhere in the limbs of the family tree, resulting in the same ancestor(s) showing up in multiple places in the pedigree charts. Ask anyone who has done French-Canadian genealogy or has researched any families that lived for generations in one small village almost anyplace on earth.

If you go back to the time of Charlemagne, roughly 40 to 50 generations ago, you discover that you theoretically have more than one trillion ancestors! Of course, that’s far more than the total number of people who ever lived on the face of the earth. Obviously, you and everyone else have cousin marriages in your ancestry, resulting in ancestors showing up in multiple places in your family tree.

This article is from Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter and is copyright 2002 by Richard W. Eastman. It is re-published here with the permission of the author.

Membership Fees Now Due

Membership fees for the 2009-2010 society year are now due. If you have not yet done so, you can mail them to Wood County Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 832, Quitman, Texas 75783. Make checks to the society. Current membership dues are $15 per individual or $20 per family. Dues may also may be paid at the October meeting Oct. 19 at the Quitman Public Library.

Rock Hill and Holly Tree Cemeteries

The Rock Hill (Quitman) and Holly Tree (Holly Lake Ranch) cemeteries have been recently surveyed and booklets placed on the shelf in the cemetery area of the Wood County research resources in the genealogy library. Member Ronnie Vance performed the surveys and prepared the booklets and gave them to the library.

Rock Hill Cemetery is in Central Wood County near Quitman and on County Road 1477 about 6/10ths of a mile east of the intersection of FM 515 and FM 2966. Death dates on tombstones indicated by the survey range from 1867 to 2009.

Holly Tree Cemetery is next to Holly Tree Chapel in the Holly Lake community in eastern Wood County on FM 2869 about 1/2 mile south of FM 14. Death dates on tembstones in the survey range from 1979 to 2009.


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