Message from Drawing Winner

Joe Wayne REYNOLDS who won the Martin VARNER book in the drawing at The Old Settler’s Reunion 2010, sent the following comment. I decided to move it here for those who don’t follow comments to postings.

2010/09/15 at 9:24 pm
Just wanted to say I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the Martin Varner biography that I received from the drawings held at the Old Settler’s Reunion in August. Thank you and I hope to someday become more informed of my own family’s heritage in the East TX area, through the resources provided by the Wood Co Geneaological Society.

Planning for Family History Month (October)

(Reprinted with permission from Ancestry Daily News Archive. Originally posted 6/18/2001 © 1997-2010 Ancestry.com)

Since the weather here in the Midwest is just now starting to feel like summer, it is strange to be writing about Family History Month in October, but now is the time to begin planning.

Last year, the Ancestry.com editorial staff did a little digging to learn about the origins of Family History Month. From Curt Witcher, manager of the Historical Genealogy Department of the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana and president of the National Genealogical Society (NGS), we learned:
“The concept of designating October as ‘Family History Month’ began several years ago. It originated with the Monmouth County Genealogical Society, whose aspiration was that during this month, societies would do something special to draw attention to and promote family history. Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Virginia all passed ‘proclamations’ in the last few years declaring October as Family History Month. At the last NGS board meeting, the NGS board officially endorsed the concept and will use the NGS Newsmagazine to promote the idea.”

This year, as Dick Eastman mentioned in his newsletter last week (www.ancestry.com/library/view/columns/eastman/3999.asp), more societies are joining in and are helping to make Family History Month an official nationwide event.

Why?
With official recognition of Family History Month, we can get a media spotlight shining on genealogy. This extra attention brings in more researchers using the libraries, archives, and courthouses seeking the records of their ancestors. This added use helps these facilities justify increased budgets to add to existing collections, aid in records retention, expansion of facilities, extended hours, digitization of records, new projects, etc. As Dr. John Daly, Director of the Illinois State Archives says in his article, “Genealogy Power,”
“Family historians and genealogists have replaced academic researchers as the principal users of public archives in the United States. The combined memberships of the American Historical Association and the Organization of American Historians today are twenty-eight thousand. A study published in American Demographics in December 1995 cited that 113 million Americans have some interest in genealogy, and that 19 million have a strong working interest in the field . . . If the administrators of public archives in the United States had to rely upon the use of archives by academic researchers alone to justify the existence of archives, they would find it extremely difficult to do so.”

More researchers also means more members for the genealogical societies that help us to preserve the records we rely on, and help keep us informed in regards to issues and resources that affect the genealogical community. More members mean more funding and more volunteers for the important projects they are currently working on, or dream of starting.

In addition, as mentioned before, it can bring more researchers into the game, and more researchers means more potential cousins to exchange information with. Who knows what this new wave of genealogists will bring to the table? The key to your brick wall? A family bible passed down through another line? A fresh look at attacking a shared research problem?

Making It Happen
So how do we make it happen? A great place to start is with your local society. Attend the next meeting and ask what they have planned for this auspicious occasion. The “FGS Delegate Digest,” Summer 2000 (Vol. 7, No. 2) offered the following suggestions to its member societies:
• Conduct a one-day “Introduction to Genealogy” workshop in your area.

• Contact editors of area publications (community and genealogical) to request a feature article on family history.

• Request that local libraries display family history material during October.

• Sponsor a writing contest for children, “Family History Begins with Me: Writing My Own Life Story.”

• Ask our museums, historical, ethnic, business, and religious organizations to highlight the role families have held in their respective history.

• Provide volunteer speakers to local service clubs and organizations for October meetings about family history.

• Convince local and state officials to deem October as Family History Month.

As anyone who tried to access the Ellis Island database in its early days can attest, there are a whole lot of us out here. The trick is for us to be noticed by the rest of the world. As Dr. Daly says in his article, we need to “Point out that persons with family history interest represent 113 million American citizens, 113 million consumers, 113 million letter writers, and 113 million votes.”

Another thing to remember is that when you are a member of a society, you are counted as a family historian. As our collective voice is heard, we in essence become masters of our own destiny.

NOTE: Feel free to pass this article around on your favorite lists. The more people we get involved, the better our chances for success. Look for more updates and announcements on the project in future issues of the Ancestry Daily News.

Drawing Winners from Old Settlers Named

Congratulations to the winners of our free drawing at the Old Settlers’s Reunion at Quitman last week.

The winner of the free copy of Don RANEY‘s biography and family history of Wood County’s first Anglo-American settler, “Martin VARNER: Texas Pioneer, His Life Story and His Descendants,” is Joe Wayne REYNOLDS of Quitman.

Sherma LARGENT of Quitman won the free year Wood County Genealogical Society membership for 2010-2011 and is, thus, the newest member of our society.

Old Settlers Reunion Begins This Week

We set up for Old Settlers Reunion starting at 5 p.m. Wednesday, August 4 at the Hogg City Park in Quitman. Officially things kick off at 6 p.m. that day.

If you have volunteered to be in the booth, to help setup, etc,. or bring items please bring them in the 5-6 p.m. hour on Wednesday — and the earlier the better.

Also remember to dress for heat and start getting ready by taking in some extra water prior to Wednesday or the days you will be out there. It could still be near 100 degrees at 6 p.m. most days of the reunion.

Dorothy Harbin told me she has the shirts if you ordered one. If she hasn’t gotten with you before the Old Settlers, she’ll probably do so there. She also says the banner will be ready.

If anyone has had to change plans or can’t do something they volunteered for, please contact Deason Hunt (netexas@gmail.com or 903-769-0792) as soon a possible.

Again, we want to invite all members and friends to come out to the booth whenever you can either just to visit or to help in any way you can while there. I think it’s important for us to be visible and let people how happy were are to (1) be doing genealogy and (2) how we enjoy each other’s company.

If you can stay a while, consider bringing a lawn chair. We will have a limited number of chairs for workers in the booth.

Members Tour Wood County Historical Museum

A group of members who gathered for the July “eating meeting” followed up fellowship, fun, and planning for the WCGS booth at the Old Settlers Reunion August 4-7 in Quitman and finished the evening touring the Wood County Historical Museum in Quitman. Hosts were members Lou Mallory and Barbara Coleman, members of the Wood County Historical Commission. Lou is president of the historical commission.

WCGS members tour historical museum

From left, front row, Patsy McCall, Barbara Coleman, Dorothy Harbin, Nita Munoz, Lou Mallory, Lakoma Clanton, back row, John McCall, Ronnie Vance, Jean Davis, Gene Pilgrim, Karen Pilgrim, Sally Allcorn, Mary Beth Ramage. Inset, photographer Shirley Bates.

Booth Volunteers for Old Settlers Reunion

The following people have volunteered to man the Wood County Genealogical Society booth at the Old Settlers Reunion August 4-7.
Any and all other members and friends are invited to stop by and help or just visit. (It would be nice to demonstrate to the public what a good time we all have together.) Since we are supplying only four chairs for the booth, if you plan to stay a while, you might want to bring your own lawn chair.

Wed. 6-8 pm
Ronnie Vance
John McCall

Wed. 8-10 pm
Dorothy Harbin
Shirley Bates

Thur. 6-8 pm
Ronnie Vance
Gene & Karen Pilgrim

Thur. 8-10 pm
Dorothy Harbin
Shirley Bates

Fri. 6-8 pm
Ronnie Vance
Barbara Coleman

Fri. 8-10 pm
Dorothy Harbin
M. Ramage

Sat. 6-8 pm
Ronnie Vance
Gene & Karen Pilgrim

Sat. 8-10 pm
Barbara Coleman
S. Allcorn

Note: We might need some tearing down and carting off help at the end Saturday night.

Plans for Old Settlers Reunion

Plans for the Wood County Genealogical Society participation in the Old Settlers Reunion August 4-7 in Quitman were finalized over dinner July 19.

Members are invited to drop by and look at our exhibits and visit from 6-10 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday of that week.

Here’s a summary of some of our volunteer helpers/items for the reunion exhibits:
Shirley Patrick
• 10×10 Canopy
• Personal Family Books
• Marriage Books
• Alba Books
Nita Munoz
• Her Display Books
Ronnie Vance
• Tables & Chairs
• His Cemetery & family books
Dorothy Harbin
• Banner
• T-shirts
• Help with First Day setup
Shirley Bates
• Exhibit Poster
• Table Covers
• Library Family History Scrapbooks
• Beginning Research Paper
• Help with first day setup
Deason Hunt
• 2 library easels
• library wire rack
• Big Maps from Library
• Sign with hours for Hist. Museum
• Pictures for Digital picture Frame
• Papers for Please take 1 rack
• Membership Applications
• Water
• Pens-Pencils
Sally Allcorn
• Digital Picture Frame
• Index to Pictorial History
John McCall
• Help with First Day setup
• Period dress
Who? I forgot
• Big Fan
Need a Volunteer
• Extension Cords
• Tarp in case of big blowing rain
If I forgot you or something
• Email me, bring it, or do it!

Free Workshop Opportunity in August

Our friends and fellow genealogists at the East Texas Genealogical Society in Tyler are having a series of free genealogy classes on Saturdays in August. These are open to the public and ETGS’s June Everhart who sent the first email added in a followup answering a question that “We would certainly welcome Wood County genealogists.” While these are “beginner sessions” a look at the course projections make me think these would be a good review and refresher course. Here’s the email from ETGS:

The East Texas Genealogical Society and the Tyler Library will sponsor a four week series of classes for beginner genealogist during the month of August. The classes will meet four consecutive Saturday afternoons from 1:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. in the Taylor Auditorium at the Tyler Public Library, 201 S. College St., Tyler, TX. Classes will be free and open to the public. Preregistration is required. Contact Janet Cottle at janet883@aol.com or 903-849-5779. to register.

Larry Oliver of theETGS also emailed with this link for more information: http://www.etgs.org/meetings/classes/roots-101/roots-101.html.

Eating Meeting and Museum July 19

Our unofficial “eating meeting” where we visit and talk about what we want to (including but not restricted to genealogy) is going to happen at 6:00 p.m. at Peralta’s Restaurant in Quitman across from the Governor Hogg Park on Highway 37.

This is the last meeting to discuss what we’re doing at the Old Settlers’ Reunion celebration the first week of August. If you have forgotten what you volunteered to do, show up and we’ll get out the list. If you would still like to help, show up (or contact Deason Hunt) and we’ll put you on the list. We are still looking for ideas.

Also, as a special treat, after we finish visiting and eating, member Barbara Coleman has arranged for those who are interested to tour the Wood County Historical Commission Museum on the courthouse square in Quitman. Pretty good for an unofficial meeting, huh?

All members, guests, and visitors are welcome to come to either or both. There’s no charge unless you eat or drink something. We have arranged to use a room near the back of the dining areas so we won’t disturb others at the restaurant — too much. Some people there might not like hearing laughing and fun. You never know.

Quitman Library Asks Budget Increase

Quitman Public Librarian Delene DELAROSA recently presented the Wood County Commissioners Court a request to in crease the county’s support of the Quitman library from $7,000 yearly to $25,00. The request was from Quitman Mayor Jerry EDWARDS, and he and DelaRosa appeared before the court.

She pointed out that 70 percent of those patrons using the library live in the county outside of Quitman. County residents showing proof of residence and a photo ID can receive a library card at the library at no charge.

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