Speaker about Capt. McDonald in Canton This Week

Lou MALLORY, a WCGS member and Chairperson of The Wood County Historical Commission, passed along information about a the author of the book on the life of Captain Bill MCDONALD of Mineola, a deputy sheriff in Wood County and later a captain of the Frontier Battalion of the Texas Rangers who will speak to the Van Zandt County Genealogical Society at 2 p.m. Saturday, October 23.

The speaker and author is Harold J. WEISS, JR. whose book on McDonald has recently been published. Lou added that there is a historical plaque for McDonald in Mineola and a street named for him.

She added that the meeting is at the Van Zandt County Library’s Buchanan Room at 317 FM 859 in Canton.

October’s Family History Month Activities

October has become the recognized “Family History Month” in the U. S., and the Wood County Genealogical Society has several events planned for this month.

October 11 (also Columbus Day) is our remodel, rearrangement, and freshen up event for the genealogy research center at the Quitman Public Library. This kicks off at 8 a.m. when we begin to moved books and other parts of our collections so that we can get our shelving, work tables, and equipment relocated in the center. While some members will be around much of the time, others are going to come when they can. We hope to finish by that afternoon so that the center can be used when the library opens the next day.

October 16 is our garage sale fundraiser in front of the Mineola Community Bank during the Highway 80 Garage Sale fall weekend. We are looking forward to a large number of our local members to show up with their garage sale items (already priced and marked) to start selling about 8 a.m. We will start the setup about 7 a.m., and the sooner the better on getting items out and ready for sale.

October 18 is our regular monthly meeting at 7 p.m. at the Shamburger Room of the Quitman Public Library.

At 6 p.m. we are starting a “Getting Started” or “Help with Research Brickwalls” individual sessions for the general public or members at the library preceding to our meeting time. We need any members willing to come offer consultation or suggestions to come help out. This is a new idea, and we p-lan to alter it as necessary as we go. Also, this is an excellent opportunity to discuss your research/families with another member for ideas on how to get to the next level of research. Because of this we are moving the unofficial “eating meeting” at Peralta’s up to 5 p.m. from last year’s time.

Our Fun Fall Fundraiser Tables at the Hwy. 80 Garage Sale

We have the location set for our tables for our Fun Fall fundraising event at the Highway 80 Garage Sale Saturday, October 16.

We will set up on the sidewalk in front of the Community Bank across the street from the Dairy Queen on Highway 80 in downtown Mineola.

For this to be a success, we need members to clean out closets, storage rooms, under beds, trunks of cars and every place else you are keeping goods you want to get rid of or will eventually want to get rid of.

We also need workers who want to come share in the fun to show up in the 7-7:30 a.m. time frame Saturday, Oct. 16 to help set up tables and put out items for sale. Then we need folks to stay around and help us with the sale and have fun all day.

We will probably finish about 4 p.m. Saturday, so if you can’t come and stay all day, come when you can.

If you are bringing items to sell that day, try to have them there no later than 7:30 p.m. If you have items but can’t get over there with them, call Deason Hunt at 903-769-0792 or send me an email at netexas@gmail.com, and I’ll arrange someone to pick them up.

Please put a price sticker or tape with price on your items. Remember that people are looking for bargains.

Also, be aware that we are planning to donate unsold items to a charitable group.

If you are planning to donate items for sale or will be available to work at the sale, let me know at netexas@gmail.com or 903-769-0792.

We are gonna have fun, fun, fun ’til daddy takes the T-bird away!

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.

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