Meetings, Workshop Plans for October, November

A guest speaker for the October meeting and a workshop in November were announced at the September 17 business meeting and kick-off dinner for the Wood County (Texas) Genealogical Society.

Quitman Attorney James Wheeler will visit with members about history of families  and history of the Pine Mills community in eastern Wood County at the  October 15 meeting.

Plans were announced for a November evening workshop which will be held on a different night than the regular November meeting. Details will be shared here on the Bulletin when exact dates are determined. The emphasis will be on using local and online resources to help people with their family research.

Fourteen people attended the  covered-dish dinner including four guests who shared their research and family history with those present. Also, minutes for meetings in April, May, and June as well as an up-to-date financial report were presented by Secretary Shirley Patrick and Treasurer Wayne McCluney. The meeting was conducted by President Ronnie Vance. All of these documents are available for viewing on the member only page which one can access from the link at the top right of this page.

New books to the society’s research room at the Quitman Public Library featuring early Wood County Probate proceedings and survey notes were presented. Planning is also underway for training for using research room resources to help researchers and for a scanning workshop.



WCGSTX 2011 In Review

Growing in genealogy knowledge, social activities, and service to the community and others kept Wood County Texas Genealogical Society members busy in 2011.

Summer Morgan ‘How to’ Workshop Is Big Hit
Over 50 attendees were challenged, informed, and delighted at the genealogy workshop presented by George Morgan of Aha Seminars today at the Quitman, Texas Public Library. George presented basic research strategies for beginners and as a refresher for experienced researchers in such areas as evidence, documentation, use of maps in research, preparing research pictures of ancestors, the use of HeritageQuest, and innovations in genealogy research.
The day-long workshop was sponsored by the Northeast Texas Library

Gerorge Foreman lectures at WCGSTX Workshop

George Foreman Workshop

System (NETLS) and the Quitman Public Library and co-hosted by the Wood County Genealogical Society and the library. Comments from members and guest attendees have all been favorable and continue to come in months after the workshop.
George G. Morgan is an internationally recognized genealogy expert, author, and lecturer. The workshop, which began at 10:30 a.m. in the Shamburger Room at the library and concluded at 5:15 p.m. on the Friday of Old Settlers’ Reunion was for genealogists, those interested in getting started in genealogy, and the general public.
Attendance was from Wood County, other portions of East Texas and one member as far away as the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Planning, setup, staging was provided by WCGS society members ably assisted by the Quitman Public Library staff.

Constitution, Bylaws Revised
Members present and voting and constituting a quorum under the then existing Constitution approved changes to the Constitution and Bylaws of the Wood County, TX. Genealogical Society at the meeting on March 21, 2011 bringing them up to date to reflect practices of the society in 2011.

Publication of ‘Life in the Piney WoodS’ Continues
Wood County Feels The Tug of War
The chapter by chapter publication of Ona Wood’s story of the Gunstream and related families and life in early Wood County was continued in the quarterly newsletter. The following is from the Chapter 3 installment:

“The everyday affairs of life went on as usual in the deep eastern section of Wood County.
Mary and Peter Gunstream and their neighbors always arose long before the dawn and prepared breakfast. They ate by the light of candles which they had molded with their own hands from the tallow dried from the fat of the beeves that they had butchered on their own range.
Their breakfast was no meager affair; even if they did live in the woods of a sparsely settled country, food was in abundance: quail fried to a golden brown, ham from their smokehouse, sausage, red gravy and hominy, hot corn pone and butter….”

Sissy Spacek Visits WCGS Research Room
You just never know who will show up when you are in the Wood County (Tx) Genealogical Society genealogy research room at the Quitman public Library. Last Friday it was Quitman and Wood County native Sissy Spacek who was visiting in the area that day.

Delene Allen, Sissy Spacek, Maryanne Vollers

Sissy Spacek, Library Director Delene Allen (left), and author and journalist Maryanne Vollers

Hand Bell Group Rings In May Meeting Program
The Golden Bells, an ensemble of hand bell players at the First Methodist Church of Quitman entertained at the Wood County, Texas Genealogical Society regular May meeting.

New Microfilm, Reader Available
The donation of Helen Arnold of Yantis included multiple rolls of census microfilm of North Carolina, Mississippi, and Tennessee. The society also has received a donation of a microfiche/microfilm reader from Arnold. The reader is the advanced model of the 770A and has manual reels for reading regular 35mm microfilm as well as fiche.

WCGS Helps Other Group’s Organization
The society recently played host to a group organizing a local historical organization at the library. Wood County residents including Busker Fannin and Rosalind Russell and others met with Larry Wade of Tyler who is organizing a Quitman/Wood County chapter of the African-American Historical Society

Society Begins Research Help At Monthly Meeting
During the pre-meeting help time from 6 to 7 p.m. at the library and later during the workshop portion of the regular meeting we are available to help guests and members with their research and with getting some computer problems worked out.

New Sign at Streetside Advertises Meeting Times
The new society sign which hangs on the library sign pole at the edge of the street in front of the library is not displayed. Thanks to Vice-president Dorothy Harbin who came up with the idea and presented the design and secured someone to make the sign. Also Treasurer Wayne McCluney helped with the finalization of getting the sign. Librarian Delene Allen secured help from city workers to have the sign placed on the pole.

The new society street sign

Vice-president Dorothy Harbin with our new sign outside the library

Potter Dedication Oct. 22 at Shady Grove
Through the efforts of member Violet Shirey of Rockport, there was a commemoration of the Civil War service of veteran John T. Potter October 22 at the Shady Grove Cemetery at Winnsboro. This is also the 164th anniversary of the birthday of John T. Potter. The ceremony included Confederate flags, a gun salute, taps, and the reading of the names of other Civil War veterans buried at Shady Grove Cemetery.

Volunteers Continue Strong Support to WCGSTX
Thanks to all of you who volunteer time and money (memberships and donations and books, and supplies, etc.) to keep our society going. Right now we have officers and committees doing things we can’t see to help us accomplish our group goals. Every bit helps whether its a short-time or long-range thing that you do.
For instance just recently we had members answering queries, meeting with visitor researchers in the library and over the telephone, sending suggestions and ideas for our organization and for resources for our members. Mark Reid, Barbara Nichols, and Vice-president Dorothy Harbin have recently been helping with researchers. Dorothy, Mary Ann Niswanger, and Shirley Bates recently spent time working on organizing books and recording usage of books in our library. Shirley Bates is working on getting some publications out and ready for sale. The currently operating Nominations Committee (Barbara Coleman, Secretary Kathy Lutonsky, and Mary Ann Niswanger) and budget committees (Treasurer Wayne McCluney, Deason Hunt, and Ethel Kelley) are working behind the scenes to be ready for the May meeting. President Shirley Patrick looks for ideas for online resource links and examples of what other societies are doing and forwards them to the newsletter. And, recently webpage participants such as Bill Lukenbill, Doug McCreight, and Paula Randolph have joined in helping answer others’ queries. I know that I am leaving people out because we have just had a lot of work by groups like the Constitution Revision Committee (Ronnie Vance, Shirley Bates, and Wayne McCluney) and other service such as the help Sally Allcorn gave to Forever Young recently. We appreciate also people who move chairs and tables at meetings, who show up for our programs and business discussions and, not least, join us for eating at Peralta’s and helping other with research before regular meetings. Everybody who participates helps us be more successful.
We welcome suggestions, help, etc., and if you see something that needs doing, just jump in. We appreciate all your time and efforts. We’ll be suggesting things that people can do over the next few months to help out. If you see something you would like to do, let us know.

Work Begun on Bringing Obituary Books Up-to-date
The October 17 regular meeting of the society was an obituary workshop. Members took papers and clipped and annotated obituaries and began placing on pages and adding to obituary books. This continued during the hour before the program at another meeting, and some members began clipping obits at home and bringing to meeting to pasteup during visiting or free time.

Allen Brings “Old-Time” Song Memories To Meeting
Pat Allen of Mineola entertained and took members of the society and guests back many years in our memories with banjo and fiddle songs which would have been familiar to our parents and grandparents and other early settlers.

Allen Brings “Old-Time” Song Memories To Meeting
Pat Allen of Mineola entertained and took members of the society and guests back many years in our memories with banjo and fiddle songs which would have been familiar to our parents and grandparents and other early settlers.

Pat Allen fiddling tunes at the April meeting

Pat Allen shared "old timey" music

Members of the audience could be seen tapping their toes in rhythm to the old familiar tunes as Pat explained the role that “making their own” entertainment played in the lives of folks before we had all the electronic gadgets of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Luncheon Held To Thank Library,City Support
A luncheon honoring those on the library staff and others including City of Quitman helpers who volunteered time and effort in support of the society activities was held October 3 at noon at the Texas Tea Room. A good number of local members attended to show support for these folks. Special guests who were honored that day included Library Director Delene Allen and her family members who have helped us in so many ways.

Society, Uncle John’s Fund Library’s
Funding a Quitman Public Library subscription to for use of the general public and members will become a reality in early 2012. The funding comes from a $500 library donation of the Uncle John’s Coffee House of Quitman and a matching $500 donation from the WCGSTX. Members and the general public will be able to access information from pay service on library computers. Fundraising plans to continue the service beyond 2012 were discussed.

In Memory of LaHoma Clanton 1926-2011
With great regret, we note the passing of long-time WCGS members LaHoma Clanton in August. She was a member of the society since its formation year in 1983 and served faithfully in many jobs and as a participating member for the 28 years the society has existed. She was a friend whose companionship and service is missed by her family and her friends in her church, the community, and our society.

New Logo Is Adopted
The following society logo was created by Delene Allen, member and also director of the Quitman Public Library.
logo idea Shape of Wood County filled with part of Texas flag

New Seminar,Research Laptops for Meetings, Training
The new laptop computers we will have available for workshops, classes, seminars, and meetings are already proving to be a real asset. There are six Dell Latitude D820 models with big screens, a comfortable built-in keyboard, and lots of speed and memory capacity. They are equipped with Windows XP, DVD drives, and ample USB slots. Standard software available for us to use are Internet Explorer, Firefox, Roxio Creator, MS outlook Express, Window Media Player and Movie Maker, MS Office 2007 components such as word, Power Point, Excel, Publishing, Imaging, Scanning, and Picture Manager. These wifi enabled computers use Symantec Security software, Word Pad and Note Pad, Address Book, and Paint.
The computers have already been used for two summer computer-use trainings and will prove very useful in the coming months and years for society events.

Introduction of Officers at First Meeting of Year
Introductions of officers, program plans for Fall 2011, an change for Old Settler’s Reunion week, and a possible fundraiser project were among the activities discussed at the Pot Luck dinner kicking off the 2011-2012 Wood County, Texas Genealogical Society year September 19 at the Shamburger room at the Quitman Public Library. Officers and committee chairs were introduced. For 2011-12 they are President Ronnie Vance, Vice-President Deason Hunt, Secretary Shirley Patrick, Treasurer Wayne McCluney, and these chairpersons: Ways and Means, Vance; Editorial, Hunt; Membership, Patrick; Budget and Finance, McCluney; Requisition and Acquisition co-chairs, Shirley Bates and Dorothy Harbin; Publicity, Kathy Lutonsky; Obituary, Mary Ann Niswanger; and Hospitality and Gift, Sally Allcorn.

Family History Month Display by Harbin, Bates
The society is responsible for the display case in the library lobby during October in recognition of National Family History month Acquisitions Co-chairs Shirley Bates and Dorothy Harbin took responsibility for the display.
Plans were made to provide exhibits which will carry the theme of early families in Wood County at the library during Old Settlers’ Reunion week next year. Also, planned was for the society to participate in a fund raiser during the Annual Highway 37 Garage Sale.

Old Settler’s Reunion Plans Fall to Record Heat
The society’s other Old Setttlers’ Reunion Week activity was a display at the Hogg City Park, but we didn’t make the whole week due to the 100-plus degree heat. Some heat related problems with a few members and the distress felt by everyone led us to close the display after Wednesday and Thursday. Thanks to all who worked, helped set up and take down, and brought exhibit items. That includes members, their family members, and help from our loyal and helpful city workers.

New Wood County Research Resources
Three books of abstracts of Wood County records have been at to the society’s Genealogy Research Room at the Quitman Public Library.
Wood County Unclaimed Marriages 1890 to 1960s is a listing of marriage certificates at the Wood County Courthouse in Quitman which have never been picked up. The data of names and dates duplicates some in our bound books of county marriages also in the research room, but these are actual certificates housed at the courthouse in the basement (at the time of the research for the book published in 2008). The certificates are “gradually fading away due to age and climate conditions” according to Patsy Vinson, president of the Organization for the Preservation of Historical and Genealogical Records (OPHGR) which published all three of these new books. Proof of relationship to the persons on the certificate is required to pickup a copy at the courthouse.
Mechanic’s Liens of Wood County, Texas Volume A names individuals and businesses involved in buying and selling of items such as building materials for houses and equipment and the terms of loans to secure the transactions. The book is indexed. The information was compiled by Laverne Howard Wyatt and published in 2009.
Misdemeanor Guilty Pleas of Wood County, Texas -1892-1946 Volumes 1 to 4 lists names of those who so plead, fines, jail times, and the nature of the criminal offense. Jail times ranged from none to minutes to multiple days. Some of the crimes included assaults, gaming, abusive language, killing quail out of season, and killing fish. The book is also indexed.

Field Trip To Hopkins County Genealogical Society Library
A carload of members attended a meeting of the Hopkins County Genealogical Society and tour of their library at Sulphur Springs in place of the regular meeting in November. They learned some organization and resource ideas being used by this neighboring county and sat in for a presentation on the history of the area including parts of Wood County.

Membership Stays About the Same
Although there was no growth in membership in the 2010-11 society year, the membership numbers stayed at just below sixty with losses offset by a like number of new members.

Volunteers Continue Query Help
Again individual members of the society donated time and research efforts to help those querying by postal mail, library visits, and the Bulletin webpage. One of our strengths continues to be helping non-resident researchers with their family history quests.

2012 Meetings Conclude With Annual Christmas Party
About 15 members attended the annual society’s annual Christmas party and pot luck dinner in December. After a sumptuous feast, members visited and played a “white elephant” gift exchange and wished each and everyone a Merry Christmas and a happy 2012.

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 16,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Decade of Paid Memberships

The chart below replaces one briefly posted yesterday with more data found after the first chart was composed.
Chart showing memberships paid from 2002 to 2011

2002-03 — 101
2003-04 — 55
2004-05 — 42
2005-06 — 42
2006-07 — 53
2007-08 — 49
2008-09 — 58
2009-10 — 59
2010-11 — 57

Nominating, Budget Committees Appointed

The Nominating Committee to recommend officers for the 2011-2012 society year was appointed at the March regular meeting. The committee will present its report of recommendations at the May regular meeting at which time officers will be elected. Nominating Committee members are Barbara Coleman, Kathy Lutonsky, and Mary Ann Niswanger.

The four offices to be filled are president, vice-president, secretary, and treasurer. Because of constitutional limitation on the number of consecutive terms officers can serve, presently serving president, vice-president, and secretary must be replaced.

Anyone willing to be considered for serving in any of the officer positions or anyone wishing to suggest members for any of the positions can contact Kathy at

The Budget Committee will submit for approval a proposed budget for the 2011-2012 society year at the regular May meeting. Members of that committee are Treasurer Wayne McCluney, Deason Hunt, and Ethel Kelley. Anyone wishing to submit budget proposals to the committee may contact Wayne at

To contact Kathy or Wayne by postal mail, you may write them at Nominating Committee (or Budget Committee) P. O. Box 832, Quitman, TX 75783.

Constitution, Bylaws Revised

Members present and voting and constituting a quorum under the then existing Constitution approved changes to the Constitution and Bylaws of the Wood County, TX. Genealogical Society at the meeting on March 21, 2011. Notice had been posted and made available to members prior to the meeting in accordance with the then existing Constitution. These changes have been posted to the Member Only pages which members can access from the link at the top right of this page.

Notice of March Meeting Vote on Constitution Revisions

The committee appointed to study and prepare revisions to the Wood County Texas Genealogical Society Constitution and Bylaws reported proposed revisions at the regular February meeting of the society in a presentation given by committee member Ronnie Vance. Notice was given at that time by presiding officer, Vice-president Dorothy Harbin, of intention to vote on the revisions at the regular March 2011 meeting. That announcement and this publication is the official notice to members. A copy of the revisions was distributed at the meeting. A copy is also posted at the member-only page which can be accessed from the link at the upper right portion of this page.

71 Members as of July 20, 2010

Seven new members have joined the WCGS since July 2009 bringing the membership total to 71. There are 63 memberships paid, but eight of those are family memberships in the name of two people in each of those families.