Village Genealogical Society
Hot Springs Village, Arkansas
The October Members Meeting of the Village Genealogical Society was held on Thursday the 3rd in Room 6 of the Coronado Center. Approximately 40 members were in attendance to watch a webinar by Megan Smolenyak titled Neglected History. The webinar showed research on several different people, including Michele Obama's ancestors, a search for the rightful place for a Jewish cemetery headstone found on the streets of New York, and an interesting study of who would be the current king of the United States if George Washington had been named King instead of President and his descendents had carried on the line of his monarchy.
Jane Hooker, Archival Manager for the Arkansas History Commission, talked to the membership about data available at the Commission. These include Manuscripts (diaries, letters, journals, etc.), Military Records (Confederate pension files, Mexican, and Spanish American Wars, etc.), photographs, newspapers (1819 to the present for over 250 different places in Arkansas), books, census records, county records, and much more. Some data is available online at www.ark-ives.com. Jane indicated the Commission is open weekdays and Saturdays, 8:30AM - 4:30 PM.
The annual VGS picnic was held on June 6, 2013 and is the last membership meeting until next September.
This is the first year we've had the picnic in June, as it is normally held in May, but seemed to work out
nicely for everyone.
Approximately 25 members attended and after a short meeting ate chicken strips supplied by the VGS and salads and desserts supplied by those attending. Gordon Bard was unable to attend the picnic but dropped by beforehand and brought cookies that Joanie Ibinger had prepared and frozen before she left for Minnesota in April. There was plenty of food and lots of leftovers to take home. After eating, there was a drawing for door prizes, mostly books but also one thumb drive.
It was a nice ending to our fiscal year, although the Breakfast meetings will continue through the summer.
At the May 2, 2013 VGS meeting, Dr. Bill Lindsey spoke to the approximately 50 attendees about the Puritan immigration into Southeastern Virginia in the early 17th Century. He pointed out that the earliest settlements were unsuccessful but were followed by others that were eventually successful. The Puritans were eventually persecuted for their religion by the Governor of Virginia who was a Church of England advocate. As a result many of the Puritans moved to Maryland and were assimilated into the Quaker religion which had similar beliefs as their. Thus, if you are looking for your Puritan ancestors, you need to look not only at Virginia records but also Maryland and possibly North Carolina records for that link you couldn't find before. Dr. Bill gave numerous resources to check to help in your search.
The Village Genealogical Society met on April 4, 2013 and heard a presentation by Nancy Holder, "Breath Life Into Your Ancestors". Nancy showed letters and pictures she had obtained from various sources detailing the lives of some of her direct ancestors. She talked about using these sources to write about the life and times of her ancestors, filling in what she read in the letters to write about their personalities and life experiencies.
Liz Robbins presented information on the History of Hot Springs during World War II at the March 7, 2013 VGS meeting.
Hot Springs was a center of activity for injured servicemen and women during the War. The Army and Navy Hospital which is very visible in the city from Central Avenue above Bath House Row, was used and expanded to treat the wounded from all theaters of the war. The veterans also were rehabilitated after being released from the hospital, using facilities located throughout the city. The major Hotels in the city were all taken over by the federal government in 1945 to house the thousands of soldiers either being treated or assigned to duty in the city.
There was a relocation center in Hot Springs (one of only six throughout the country) that processed thousands of soldiers that were being released from service or being relocated to other locations throughout the world.
Lastly there was a small POW camp located outside the city to house German soldiers captured during the war.
The talk was very interesting and there a couple of people in attendance that lived in Hot Springs during the war and added comments to Liz's presentation.
Elizabeth Robbins is a native of Hot Springs, Arkansas. She graduated from the University of Arkansas with a BSE in Education
and from New Mexico Highlands University with an MA in English and history. She taught English for thirty-seven years, the last
twenty-six at Lakeside High School in Hot Springs. Since 2007, she has been the executive director of the Garland County Historical
Society. She is the editor of its yearly journal, The Record, and writes monthly columns for the Sentinel-Record publications On
the Go and Senior Scene. She is on the Juvenile Diversion board of the Garland County Juvenile Court and on the board of the
Arkansas History Commission.
The Hot Springs Village Genealogical Society was the beneficiary of a talk by Sheila Beatty on the Orphan Trains. These orphans or deserted children, mainly from the crowded East Coast cities, were moved by train, primarily to the central plains states, but to almost every state in the union. The stories of these children are both heartbreaking and uplifting. There were 5 members of the VGS attending (including Sheila) who had orphan train relatives. Sheila's story of her own father and how she was able to trace him, was a case study of how to do genealogical research.
The Hot Springs Village Genealogical Society met on January 3, 2013 and listened to a talk by Nell White on the trades of
some of the Mayflower passengers. There were several merchants, tailors, a cooper (made barrels), a blacksmith, a couple of
printers, carpenters, a doctor (although he had other trades as well), a cordwainer or schumacker (shoemaker), a kempster
(wool comber) , a tanner and others that were mentioned in her talk. Nell is a national officer and probably the next
president of the Guild of Colonial Artisans and Tradesmen: 1607-1783. She is a member of over 20 different lineage societies
and feels it is important to join these societies to preserve the work you have done on your lineage and also to promote the
philanthropic work of these societies.
For further information you may wish to refer to The Plymouth Colony Archive Project, Passengers on the Mayflower: Ages & Occupations, Origins & Connections 2000,by Patricia Scott Deetz and James F. Deetz.
A website for information and links to historical and lineage societies may be found at List_of_hereditary_and_lineage_organizations or Societies and lineages or simply Google heritage and lineage societies.
The VGS Meeting on December 6, 2012 was attended by approximately 50 members and guests. There were several visitors drawn
to the meeting because of our speaker, Mary Reid Warner, and her topic "Methods For Organizing Genealogical Records". Mary Reid
pointed out there were two major working forms: Ancestor or Pedigree Charts, and Family Group Sheets. She covered a case history
of one of her ancestors. She also covered the various types of filing systems, both digital and paper, and cited the need to do a
thorough job of documenting your research.
After her talk and questions from the audience, a drawing was held for door prizes, which included Poinsettia Plants and a free membership for 2012 - 2013.
Joanie Ibinger supplied a roomful of cookies for the meeing and was presented with a gift card in appreciation of all the work she does in supplying these for our meetings.
The October meeting of the VGS was held on Thrusday the 4th and the program was a webinar produced Legacy Family Tree entitled "Building A Family Using Circumstantial Evidence". The speaker in the webinar was Judy G. Russell, an attorney and certified genealogist. Judy took us through a real family where there was no official birth record, marriage record, or death record and showed how using circumstantial evidence (bible records, land records, tax records, pre 1850 census records), that you can build a circumstatial case for these events.
Janet showing a video about Living Legacy
Janet answering questions
Janet Holt, a certified Legacy Advisor for the Living Legacy Project and a member of the Association of Personal Historians
and the International Association of Story Keepers (I-ASK), talked to the meeting attendees about the Living Legacy Project. The
mission of the Living Legacy Project is to capture the living history of our time. The project seeks to educate, motivate, and mentor
people in the process of implementing their individual legacy plans. The Living Legacy Project utilizes the website LegacyStories.org,
which securely archives legacy content on the Amazon cloud. LegacyStories.org is a state of the art archival website that utilizes
social networking technology. The site provides premium storage space for digital multimedia content focused on the things families
hold most dear - their legacies, represented by stories, photos, videos, audios, and genealogical data. The site enables members to
discriminately share this content and collaborate with anyone they chose.
Janet, as a certified Legacy Advisor, is available to help with your living legacy project. Call her at 501-538-4596.
Russell Baker, archivist, lecturer, historian, teacher, and author was our speaker at the June 7, 2012 VGS meeting. The title of his presentation was "Stump The Chump". A number of the VGS Members sent brick walls they've encountered in their genealogical research to Val Hartnett who forwarded them on to Russell to review and make suggestions at the June 7 meeting. Russell started out his presentation by outlining the 5 main sources he always utilizes in doing his research. They are: State & Local Vital Records, the U.S. Census Records of 1790-1940, County and Local Records, Military Records, and Newspaper Records. Russell admitted that he was unable to help with some of those brick walls presented to him by the VGS Members, but he went through several of the problems encountered by the members and gave them suggestions as to some avenues they should follow in their continuing research.
Twenty five members of the VGS met at noon on May 3, 2012 to enjoy a luncheon picnic of chicken strips supplied by the Society,
and salads and desserts supplied by those attending. As is always the case with pot luck style affairs, there was more than
enough food for everyone. After the luncheon there was a short meeting at which the officers for the 2012-13 were elected by
The Village Genealogical Society met on April 5, 2012 and after a short business meeting listened to a talk by Dr. Bill Lindsey
titled "Tracking Maryland & Virginia Roots Prior To 1790". Dr. Lindsey used a case study from some of his own research on his
ancestors in Virginia to illustrate the numerous possible resources available to search for ancestors during this time before
there were U.S. censuses. These resources include land, church, and tax records and their availability can vary greatly from state
to state and county to county.
The Village Genealogy Society met on Thursday, March 1, 2012. Phil Russell, Asst. VP, Programs for the VGS, introduced the speakers
for the day. Bill Russell gave a presentation entitled "Revolutionary War Veterans: Tracking Descendants, Filling In Family Lines".
Supporting him in his presentation was Dr. Bill Lindsey who talked about the Lyman Draper Manuscript Collection that contains
information not found in the normal sources such as census collections. This collection has information, sometimes from diaries
and the like, that contains information on people as they migrated west from the Eastern States after the Revolutionary War.
Dr. Stephen Schaefer also contributed to these presentation. Approximately 60 people were in attendance for the meeting.
The Hot Springs Village VGS met on Thursday, February 6, 2012 and after a short meeting
attended by approximately 60 members and guests, heard a talk by Marilyn Mertens titled
"Researching Quaker Records". Marilyn is pictured with Valerie Hartnett, Vice-President,
Programs for the VGS. Marilyn is a retired political professor and member of the
Hot Springs Village VGS, who has had a lifelong love for genealogy.