Ancestors and Halloween

On my soap box: I was kind of put off today by a story in the Dallas Morning News that they are preparing for the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy. Somehow commemorating his assassination is unseemly to me. His birth, okay. His WWII exploit, okay. His election, okay. His role in civil rights, okay. His murder, nope.
That coincides with my idea that we need to stop commemorating the death of people we love, honor, or miss and commemorate something else in their lives: birth, some achievement, some remarkable good life event.
The link is Halloween. I have gone from seeing Halloween as a child as a dress-up, make believe, candy getting time to a time to remember those ancestors and friends who past on before that particular Halloween date.
I remember in my family my sister, LaNell, my Dad, Deason Sr., and my mother, Ozie Mae or Koko to her grandkids, who lived until age 96 and died last November. And, should I add the two grandparents I knew, the two who died before I was born, and generations of their ancestors known to me by names, places, and a few life events.
It seems that we in genealogy are missing something on this the scariest night of the year which I think we could make into one of the most poignant nights of the year.

32 Memberships Renewed So Far

Thirty-two of 60 members have renewed their membership dues for the 2011-2012 Wood County, Texas Genealogical Society year so far. Seven have included extra donations for the operating fund with their renewal ranging from $5.00 to $35.00. It’s not too late to send in your renewal now to Treasurer, Wood County Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 832, Quitman, Texas 75783.

The society treasurer’s report covering the period July to October 17, 2011 is posted at the member only site which you canbreach at the link at the top right of the page at

Query: Spears Obits

The following was posted on the Wood County Genealogy Research page at Facebook by member and Quitman Public Library Director Delene Allen. If you can help with a look up on the microfilm at the library, please do so as soon as possible. Let us know if you decide to try to help the people making this query.

From: Delene H Allen
I received this query and am forwarding it to the society since you are scheduled to update obits at your Monday meeting:

Our patron is looking for obituaries of three individuals who died in your area. They were all interned at Mt Pisgah. We hope that you have your local newspaper on microfilm and maybe you could send us those obituaries. Please let us know if it is possible or, if not, please advise, who will be the right person/agency to ask fro your local history research.

Ada Florence Shields (Spears)
Born 10/20/1871
Death 6/14/1955
Death Certificate States Lived at Pine Mills Rd, Hawkins, TX. 10 minutes from County Seat (Quitman, Wood Co. Tx)
Martha J Spears (Doss)
Born 4/13/1840
Death 4/19/1919
Death Certificate States Lived at Pine Mills, TX. 10 minutes from County Seat (Quitman, Wood Co. Tx)
John I Spears
Born 1841
Death 6/26/1920
No death certificate

Thank you in advance
Beata Obydzinski
System Reference Supervising Librarian
Monterey County Free Libraries
Seaside Branch Library
550 Harcourt Ave.
Seaside, CA 93955
T. 831-899-2055
F. 831-899-2735

Confederate Veterans Buried at Shady Grove Cemetery

Pvt. Thomas Browning
Company E, 22nd Texas Infantry (Hubbard’s Regiment)
Pvt. F. M. Crone
Company E, 22nd Texas Infantry (Hubbard’s Regiment)
Cpl. James Jarred
Company E, 22nd Texas Infantry (Hubbard’s Regiment)
Pvt. D. A. Crumpler
Company B, 10th Texas Cavalry (Locke’s Regiment)
Pvt. John Jared
Company K, 10th Texas Cavalry (Locke’s Regiment)
Pvt. (?) D.C. Elledge
Company E, Wells’ Regiment, Texas Cavalry
Pvt. Joseph A. Coston
Company K, 29th Regiment, Alabama Infantry
Pvt. James H. Harrell
Company B, 50th Virginia Infantry
Pvt. William J. Highnote
Company E, 29th Battalion, Georgia Cavalry
Pvt. John T. Potter
Hurt’s Battery, Alabama Light Artillery
Pvt. 0. F. Swinney
Company K, 41st Regiment, Georgia Infantry
Cpl. Theodore F. Teddlie
Company C, 12th Louisiana Infantry
Thanks to Vi Shirey for providing this list.
Note: Don’t forget the dedication for John T. Potter’s grave marker, Oct. 22 at 10 a.m.

Obituary Documentation

When citing an obituary for your research or when fulfilling a research request from another person, the source and date lends credibility to the obituary or information from it which you present. It is particularly important to note the name of the publication and the date of publication. When preparing obituaries to go into a collection such as the one in the Wood County Texas Genealogical Society research room, it is important to add the publication name and date to the clipping.

Query: McNulty

A Minnesota researcher is trying to locate a printed obituary of a family member who died in 2004 in Wood County, Texas. The deceased is Ila Ann Bair McNulty, born 1938/09/27 and died 2004/03/24. If you can help her by providing a copy of the obituary you can contact her at Lisa Croner, 170 N. Ruth St. Apt. 106, Saint Paul, MN 55119. Please let us know if you are able to help this researcher.

Why Genealogy Has Changed

For now and the future, this video shows why genealogy has changed and why methods must change to bring younger generations into the fold. Deason Hunt

National Family History Month Ideas, Resources

From the newsletter of the National Genealogical Society comes these tips and ideas. You can subscribe to this newsletter at this link: When you arrive at the linked page, scroll down near the bottom of the page to the narrow left hand column for chances to subscribe by email or by RSS reader.

The Blog of the National Genealogical Society
10 OCTOBER 2011
October is Family History Month! Let’s Celebrate …
Special events and activities abound. Do check out if your local society, library, archive, etc have any special events planned!

Some of what has crossed our desk includes:
o Kimberly Powell, talks about how you might celebrate Family History Month
o Family Tree Magazine is offering some Free Webinars:
o Start Writing Your Life Stories with Sunny Jane Morton, author of the book My Life & Times: A Guided Journal For Collecting Your Stories, takes place Thursday, Oct. 13 at 1 pm Eastern Time (noon CT, 11 am MT, 10 am PT). Click here to sign up for this webinar.
o Be a Family History Detective: Secrets to Starting Your Genealogy, with Desmond Walls Allen, author of the book Family History Detective, is scheduled for Oct. 26 at1 pm Eastern Time (noon CT, 11 am MT, 10 am PT). Click here to sign up.
o The State Library of North Carolina has created a page with many tips and great resources for either starting or pursuing your Family History

What is happening in your community or state? Please let us know!
copyright © National Genealogical Society, 3108 Columbia Pike, Suite 300, Arlington, Virginia 22204-4370.
Republication of UpFront articles is permitted and encouraged for non-commercial purposes without express permission from NGS.

Why Should A Genealogy Society Give Records Away?

By Jeffrey A. Bockman, Naperville, IL
Originally published in the FGS FORUM, Winter 1997, page 25
Now available for viewing at Genealogy According to Jeff at .
Reprinted here with permission.

There is a vast amount of family history currently available on the Internet and on CDROM that is incorrect, undocumented, or fictitious. Yet, with the growing interest in family history many searchers will stop with these easy-to-find “instant families.” David E. Rencher stated in “Where In Cyberspace Are We?” (FORUM 9:2 (Summer 1997) page 3), that presently the Internet offers a search environment but “the field of electronic genealogy… has yet to create a research environment.” Genealogy societies should be leading the way in creating a research environment by providing information so that verifying an “instant family” is as convenient as finding the family in the first place. But how?

One way in which societies can help to create a research environment is to rethink traditional ways of distributing and sharing the information that they compile. The traditional method of sharing is to publish and the process is:

1. Compile information from vital records, cemeteries, ledger books and other sources and enter into a word or data processing program; then format and proofread.

2. Take the manuscript to a printer and have it published.

3. Store, advertise, and hopefully sell the resulting publication.

A closer look at this process shows while step 1 is critical in getting the information in a form that can be shared with others, the dissemination, steps 2 and 3, is open to question. Step 2 benefits a printer/publisher while step 3 benefits a society-but only if sales are good and income exceeds expenses.

This traditional procedure has other flaws. First, distribution potential is limited. A user benefits if he or she can find the publication, but it may only be available from the society by mail or at local workshops. If it is advertised in national genealogical publications, it competes with hundreds, perhaps thousands of similar titles. Even library use is limited: users may find the book only in a local, regional or national library which specializes in genealogy. Thus, a researcher could spend more time and money trying to locate the information than in actually using the information.

The market is limited, too. Few people want to purchase a publication to look up only one or two events. They have other options. They can ask the county clerk or the cemetery office to find one or two entries. Or, they may write to the genealogical society who offers searches as a courtesy or for a slight fee.

A third drawback is the risk involved. The society takes all of the risk. It has to determine print quantity based upon printer volume costs, anticipated demand, and storage facilities. The society must advertise and give free copies to some libraries or for book reviews. Society volunteers must retrieve books from storage, haul, unpack, and display them at conferences, then box and return unsold books to storage. If publishing, storage and advertising costs, and the wear and tear on volunteers exceed profits, the risk has been too great.

This traditional distribution channel, with its flaws, should cause societies to reexamine their ultimate goal in compiling and distributing information. If society goals are to a) preserve and make available genealogical information; b) promote an interest in genealogy; and c) encourage proper research techniques; there may be a better way to achieve them.

Why Not Share With Everybody?

The target audience for the dissemination of information in published form are the society members, people doing research in the jurisdiction, and patrons of selected libraries. This is really a very small audience. If a society seeks to share information with the widest possible audience, why not share with everybody?

The Internet is the new communications frontier. Anyplace in the world is only nano-seconds away. If every society and county government put their records on-line a researcher who only needs information about a single event would be able look it up from home or the local library with internet access or at an “Internet coffee shop.”

Ideally, if the person found the desired event from a detailed on-line index, they could order a copy of the certified record by entering credit card information or obtaining an invoice number. Further down the Internet road, the actual certificate could be scanned and stored on-line and viewed or transmitted automatically. Authenticity or a means of preventing manipulation of the image would need to be established.


While many societies are beginning to discuss this issue they look at it from a personal or society viewpoint rather than from a global viewpoint. Instead, consider a wider range of benefits:


None – loss of income
Government Agencies:
Time savings from not having to look in book indexes
Faster access by using the electronic index
Only activity would be with paid certificate requests
Possibly less floor space needed for index storage and access
Genealogical Society
No financial risk from over-printing
No handling and storage, save time and costs
Less Income but less need to purchase other indexes
Improved recognition and wider audience with home page link
Requests for hard copy can be automated and printed on demand
Global Audience
Faster, easier access to useful research data from across the country without leaving home
Eliminates need to review on-line library catalogs trying to find the closest copy of a printed index
Information could be annotated to show corrections and the source
Attend sessions and socialize rather than sitting in a hallway selling books
Do not have to wait for replies to letters and the cost of SASEs
Achieve immediate action and results on new clues or ideas
Could actually spend time doing research on their own family
There is already competition to some of the traditional functions done by a society. GenWeb is providing information on area resources and posting queries. Volunteers on the Internet are providing free research. Libraries and counties are putting records on-line to preserve them, and to save storage, viewing, and parking space.

If one of the purposes of a genealogical society is to help make information readily available then what better method is there? Societies are non-profit organizations. What money they do realize from publication sales often goes to purchase other publications for the use of members. But there are other options. Money can be earned through workshop, class, or lecture fees. Profits can be used to disseminate information more widely: by providing additional Internet resources, Internet access at the local library or society library or office, or supporting the storage and access cost of the county GenWeb site, a society home page or on-line vital record storage.

Once a society is convinced of the benefits of this new and more effective way of disseminating information, they can start small and work up to more ambitious projects:

1. Provide the following information on-line:

Places to do research, hours and holdings
Handy guide to the type of historical information that is available
Access instructions to vital records or the indexes
2. Compile indexes and make them easily available.
3. Assist counties and repositories in getting images of the actual records on-line with easy search and retrieval systems.

If everyone would “Do for others as you would like them to do for you,” we could all make electronic genealogy work for us. We could be making verification of information now available in Internet’s search environment quick and easy. We could be establishing research environments to complement and enhance the existing search environment, and we could be turning searchers into researchers.

Yet Another Thing To Think About

The post that follows this one is by Jeffrey A. “Jeff” Bockman. I ran across it over on Google+. It is one of those mindset changing things. I hope you will read it, and we can engage in a discussion in person or online or both. I think it has merit.

While going to Jeff’s site, I ran across a book of his which I think might just make a good Christmas present for someone you are trying to get interested in genealogy or your family’s specific history. You can take a look at it at this link: When you get there, click on the picture of the book, “Give Your Family a Gift Money Can’t buy.”



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