Sarah Frances Wilcox Mozingo
October 16, 1932 - June 21, 2003
The Choctaw County Genealogical Society would probably not exist if not for the tireless efforts of Sarah Mozingo. She was a co-founder and Director of the organization, and spent many, many hours working to increase the quantity and quality of information available to researchers interested in the history and families of Choctaw County, Alabama. She corresponded daily with people from all over the country and the world in an effort to help them find lost scraps of knowledge and information that could eventually lead to what some of us call "The Eureka Moment", that moment in genealogical research when the pieces of the puzzle finally fall into place. Sarah knew the joy of that moment, and was unselfish enough with her research to share all she knew and could find with anyone else who wished to know.
When I, your humble webmaster, began researching my family history some few years ago, computers and the internet were an exciting new frontier. I hardly knew how to attach a photo to an e-mail, but I was hopeful for the possibilities the internet held for researchers. Early on, during a search, I stumbled across a web site called "Choctaw County Genealogy at ALGenWeb". I had no idea our humble community was so connected! And there, on that site, was a section called "Cemeteries by Sarah Mozingo". When I viewed the pages, I was absolutely astounded at the massive amount of time and work that must have been put into that compilation.
I grew up in Choctaw County, Alabama, but was not familiar with Sarah's name. I plunged the depths of my memory for an image of the young lady, for I MUST have known her from my teenage years. Alas, I drew a blank, but I continued using her transcriptions to find dates and burial places of my ancestors as I found them, always envisioning this energetic young lady who must have toiled for many months to copy down the names and dates from the cemeteries throughout the county.
One day I was approached by a long time friend. He told me a genealogical society was being formed in the county and asked if I would be interested in serving as their first vice-president. I was honored and promised to try the best I could to serve.
At the first meeting I attended, I was finally able to meet the object of my long time, but silent admiration; for I had never spoken or corresponded with Sarah before. Honestly, I was surprised at her age. You see, the energy she obvioulsly put into her work belied her years, but I was already in love with her devotion and passion to her hobby.
In fact, if Sarah Mozingo's personality could be summed up into one word, I submit it would be PASSIONATE. I never knew her to enter into any project half-cocked and she was undisputably commited once her mind was made up as to the intended results. She in turn demanded the same devotion and accountability from those who were lucky enough to work with her.
I remember helping her over barbed-wire fences and through thickets to explore old cemeteries long overgrown, this before I even knew she was in cancer remission. She didn't bring it up, for it wasn't important to the task at hand; there was work to do. Only later did I find out from a mutual acquaintance that she was fighting such a battle.
I will miss her, as I know many others will. My experience with her was only a fraction of the totality of her influential life. She made deep impressions on all of us. I invite you to share your memories of Ms. Sarah to be posted here on our site as a memorial to a lady who's presence will continue to be felt as long as we search for the answer to the question, "Who am I, and where did I come from?"
Send your e-mails to Randall Mason
Picture courtesy of Neil Mozingo