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Genealogical Society of
Okaloosa County (GSOC)

P.O. Box 1175
Fort Walton Beach, Florida 32549-1175

The Genealogical Society of Okaloosa County, Florida, Inc.
was incorporated as a Florida non-profit, tax-exempt organization in 1976
to bring together persons interested in genealogy and family history.

[FWB Library]

Fort Walton Beach Library

[FWB Lib Map]

Location of the FWB Library

Regular GSOC meetings are held at the Fort Walton Beach Library at 10:30 AM on the fourth Saturday of each month.

The library is located at 185 Miracle Strip Parkway SE, Fort Walton Beach, FL. There is no admission charge for the GSOC meetings and all are welcome.

The meetings are usually followed by an optional Dutch treat lunch at a nearby restaurant.

Some meetings may be held at an alternate location, please see the information below concerning future meetings and the notices in the local newspapers for the location of specific meetings.

Click here to see the map showing the location of the Fort Walton Beach Library in a slightly larger scale. (Click the "Back" button on that page to get back to here.)

The main parking lot and the library entrance are entered from First Street SE.


Annual membership dues are $24 for an individual and $35 for an individual and spouse at the same address.

If you would like to become a member, want to renew your membership, or want to update your membership record, please click on: Membership Form. When the form is displayed on your screen, you can print it or save it to your computer.

Checks should be made out to GSOC and mailed along with the form to the GSOC post office address shown above or brought to a meeting.

The success of our Society depends on the support of our members, and there are many opportunities to help, some of which are as simple as writing an article for the GSOC Newsletter or for the annual Journal. There are a number of volunteer opportunities on the membership form mentioned above and on the separate volunteer form which can be obtained by clicking on Volunteer Form. You can print the form or save it to your computer. Please volunteer for something and either bring the form to the next meeting or send it to the email address shown on the form.

Friday, July 7, 10:30 AM

University of West Florida, Pace Library
11000 University Parkway, Pensacola, FL

The West Florida History Center and Archives, at the invitation of Mr. Dean DeBolt, UWF University Librarian (Professor) and University Archivist, hosted a visit by members of the GSOC on Friday, July 7th. The West Florida History Center and University Archives is the largest and most comprehensive information collection about Pensacola and the West Florida region. Note the word "information". The collection includes information in just about every imaginable format and from a multitude of sources. History and Genealogy are inseparable.

Mr. DeBolt provided a comprehensive tour of the West Florida History Center and Archives and discussed how researchers in history and genealogy can uses these outstanding free facilities. For more information and on-line links to the Center and Archives, click on this link:

Guide to the West Florida History Center and Archives

Future GSOC Meetings

Regular GSOC Meetings are held at the Fort Walton Beach Library on the 4th Saturday of each month.

July 22, 10:30 AM
Fort Walton Beach Library
185 Miracle Strip Parkway SE, Fort Walton Beach, FL.
The Creation of Okaloosa County
Presenter: Hon. James E. Moore, Jr.

Our July program will be presented by attorney, author, and narrator James Moore. For over twenty years, Jim Moore has been volunteering to perform historical presentations for schools, civic clubs, church groups, and fraternal associations. He has been a regular presenter for the Florida Chautauqua Assembly, DeFuniak Springs, The Florida League of Arts, and other associations, representing various historical personalities.

Moore has done a study into the lives of each personality he portrays and appears in the dress appropriate for the occasion. Among his "personalities" are Gen. Andrew Jackson; Gov. Sidney J. Catts, a Baptist preacher from DeFuniak Springs who made an aggressive run in 1916 to be Governor of Florida with a campaign method that forever altered political races in the state; and Lord Baden-Powell, the founder of the Boy Scout movement.

[James Moore]

Jim Moore
as Governor Sidney J. Catts

Books written by Moore include researched and humorous stories in "Walton Wanderings", true cases and legal histories in "Walton Wickedness", and a novel "Hotel DeFuniak". In addition, he is co-author of "Up, Down, In & Around Boggy Bayou", tales of around the present Niceville.

For our July program, Mr. Moore will assume the character of William "Bill" Mapoles, the "father" of Okaloosa County. Mr. Maypoles was one of the representatives to the state legislature from Walton County. He lived in Laurel Hill and he recognized the problems that people living in eastern Santa Rosa County and western Walton County had getting to their respective county seats to conduct essential business. The roads were few, unpaved, and usually bad, and there were many creeks and rivers with no bridges. Mr. Mapoles sponsored legislation which eventually resulted in the creation of Okaloosa County from the eastern part of Santa Rosa County and the Western part of Walton County.

Mr. Moore graduated from Florida State University in the Class of 1957, with a B.S. degree and from the University of Florida in the Class of 1959 with a J.D. He was admitted to the Florida bar in 1959; to the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida in 1960; and to the U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit, in 1968. He lives in Crestview.

August 26, 10:30 AM
Fort Walton Beach Library
185 Miracle Strip Parkway SE, Fort Walton Beach, FL.
Family Stories, Mysteries and Brickwalls
Presenter: Mr. Jerry Rush

Mr. Rush has always been intrigued by the stories that families pass from generation to generation. Those stories make family history much more than just names and dates. They are also highly perishable.

As his own Rush history had already been well documented, he concentrated on other families and has worked on some 45 to date. Along the way he has also uncovered some mysteries and new solutions to conquering "brickwalls".

[Jerry Rush]

Mr. Jerry Rush

GSOC member Jerry Rush was born in northwest New Jersey in 1941 and served in the US Air Force from 1959 until 1979. He retired from the USAF in 1979, while living in Hawaii, and went back to school to finish his BA degree and to earn an MA in Counseling Psychology. He then joined the federal civil service and continued his career in military intelligence. In 1993 he accepted an assignment to Hurlburt Field, FL and worked there until his retirement in 2005.

Mr. Rush, now a widower, has three sons and four grandchildren, and lives in the Poquito Bayou subdivision of Shalimar. He says that he loves to do genealogical research and has worked on over 40 families thus far. He likes to get people interested in genealogy and get them started in discovering their family story.

Meeting Minutes
Newsletters (since 2009)
GSOC Books (read on line and/or download)
Surnames Being Researched by GSOC Members as of July 2016
Current GSOC Bylaws (Revised 10 Sept 2016)

Okaloosa County Information,
Libraries, Museums,
and Local Histories

Okaloosa County Photos From the Past
[FL Map]


The Genealogical Society of Okaloosa County publishes our Journal once yearly. Volunteers conduct research in Northwest Florida for information to be published in the Journal with emphasis on material of limited availability. Members provide articles and other material from sources in areas in which they are searching.

The 2016 Journal was published and distributed in October 2016. The theme of the 2016 issue is the Vietnam War. The 2015 issue was dedicated to the centennial of Okaloosa County. Previous recent Journals have had articles dealing with World War I through the Great Depression, through World War II, into the Korean Conflict and the beginning of the Cold War.

Six previous Journals are available in the members-only section of this website, however, the Table of Contents for those issues can be viewed from the links below.

Table of Contents of the 2016 Journal
Table of Contents of the 2015 Journal
Table of Contents of the 2014 Journal
Table of Contents of the 2013 Journal
Table of Contents of the 2012 Journal
Table of Contents of the 2011 Journal

GSOC Officers for 2017

President, Jon Sheperd
1st Vice President (Programs), Margaret Harris
2nd Vice President (Membership), Jerry Rush
Treasurer, Phil Hoge
Immediate Past President, Sue Basch
Recording Secretary, Kathie Sheperd
Corresponding Secretary, Val Moreland
Historian, TBD
Publicity, Val Moreland
Genealogist, Margaret Harris
Webmaster, Jim Young
Newsletter Editor, Edward Crosby
Journal Coordinator & Editor, Cindy Barber

Click on the "Members" button below to access the members-only section of this web site. You will be asked for a password which is available to GSOC members and can be obtained by contacting the GSOC webmaster, Jim Young, at 850-862-8642, or by using the e-mail link button below.

This section currently contains Nicole Grinnan's presentation entitled Tombstone Tales, Guide to Funerary Art, and Basic Guidelines for Cleaning Historic Stone; Amy Raley's presentation entitled Federal Road Migration; Sarah Roach's handout that accompanied her presentation Walking Back Into Colonial America; and the GSOC Journals for 2010 through 2016.

GSOC E-mail address:
    Page design, layout, and HTML code by Jim Young.  This Website Was Last Updated on 7 July 2017.