Adventures in Genealogy: Genealogical Societies
Rednecks, Little Old Ladies and A Parking Lot Full Of Pickups
Some of yall may have guessed by now I am from East Texas and we do Things a little different out here. I would like to be able to tell yall that everything I've learned in the last three years has been a result of the Chat Rooms. I wish I could tell you that you can do all your research without ever leaving your computer chair, but my Momma told me lying was like working. Once you start you can’t ever stop.
The fact is that sometimes you just gotta go out into the field for a little hands on research. Don't Panic, You don't need to go out and buy a pick up truck, hunting rifles or shovels. If you will let me, I wanna tell you about one of the places you can go for help, suggestions, research materials and a cold beer. Ok, you cant get a cold one but you can meet a lot of good folks. Now I am a member of four genealogy societies myself.
The Dallas Gen Society because of the lectures and conferences was a natural for me. (I need lots of help.) The 2nd one I joined was the Tyler County Texas Gen Society. I learned a valuable lesson from the Tyler County Gen Society that has influenced my decisions on whether or not to join every other society I have dealt with. Don't ever assume that the city of Tyler is in Tyler County. I joined the Greenville Society because they are the closest one to me and I use their facilities a lot. The fourth society I joined and the one that constantly reminds me that I live in Texas is the Van Zandt County Gen Society. The First meeting I managed to attend (I live 70 miles away) the first thing that I noticed pulling into the parking lot was all the Pick Up Trucks. I will be honest with ya I was expecting a bunch of blue-haired little old ladies with country club credentials and little or no patience for dealing with a dumb redneck from the sticks.
I started to relax when I saw hot peanuts and tortilla chips on the snack table. In case yall aint aware of it these are two of the major food groups for rednecks. The folks in the meeting made a point of shaking my hand and trying to make me feel welcome. They were even friendly and helpful after they got my membership fee. The folks in the group were a real cross section of the county, some young enough to be my kids and a couple of people who voted for Calvin Coolidge.
The Van Zandt Gen Society has published quiet a few books to help East Texas researchers. Two of the books they published I feel deserve a special mention. The first was a compilation of school records, tax records and various other legal documents from 1890. Although its not as good as actually having the 1890 census (I hope that guy that burned them is still freezing) it did help me to locate a few of my long lost ancestors. The second was a comprehensive listing of local cemeteries with maps and an index of who was in the book. This wonderful book helped my find my blonde's Gr. Gr. Grandfather's final resting place and finally nail down some facts on the man.
Once again we come to the end of another Adventure in Genealogy and without meaning to we have learned a couple of things. 1) Almost all Gen Societies produce excellent books, that can help your research. 2) Almost all of them are filled with really good people who have the same passion for finding dead cousins that we have. 3) and of course you gotta have hot peanuts on your snack table. Adios and Keep Smiling