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Madison County Genealogical Society

Minutes of the Meeting - April 8, 2010


The April 8, 2010, meeting of the Madison County Genealogical Society was held at the Edwardsville Public Library in Edwardsville, Illinois.

President, Robert Ridenour, called the meeting to order.


Treasurer, LaVerne Bloemker, presented the financial report for the month of March 2010.

New in the Library:

Our Librarian, Elsie Wasser, reported several new publications in the library.

Two cemetery inventories, Liberty Prairie Cemetery and Zimmerman Cemetery, have been redone by Barbara Hitch and are now on the shelf in the Genealogy Room.

Thirteen names have been added to the family vertical files in the past month.

Three books for Phelps County, Missouri, were donated by Elsie Wasser: Cemeteries of Phelps County - 1996, 1920 Census of Phelps County, and 1930 Census of Phelps County.

Elsie also donated the Guide to St. Louis Catholic Archdiocesan Parish Records (2001) which covers the following Missouri counties: Franklin, Jefferson, Lincoln, St. Charles, St. Francis, Ste. Genevieve, St. Louis, Warren, and Washington.

We also acquired the DeCamp, Olive Township, Illinois, Zion Immanuel Evangelical Church and Cemetery records. This was donated by A. Ahrens to both the MCGS and the Madison County Historical Society.

A new book by Tom Pearson, The Missouri State Guard: a Selected, Annotated Unit Bibliography, was also added to the Genealogy Room.

Secretary's Report

Barbara Hitch reported that we currently had 39 life members and 141 new and renewed members. There are still 22 that have not renewed from last year.

There were some mailing problems with the Stalker mailed around the first of March. We have had reports of seven (7) instances where the addressee received only the back cover. That is the portion with the address label.

*** NOTICE ***

Dues for 2010 are now being accepted. We would very much appreciate receiving your renewal checks ASAP. Delinquent members will receive no more Society publications until their dues are paid.


Do you have a family member that is interested in (or even obsessed with) genealogy? A membership in the Madison County Genealogical Society would be a very thoughtful gift. A gift card will be sent to the recipient of any gift membership.

The following memberships are available:
Individual/Family Annual Membership $20.00
Patron Annual Membership $30.00
Life Membership $250.00

Contact our Secretary, Barbara Hitch, at, about a gift membership.

April Meeting

On April 8, 2010, LaVerne Bloemker and Ken Gehrig presented a program titled 150th Anniversary of the Salem United Church of Christ, Alhambra, Illinois.

Ken Gehrig talked about the history of Alhambra, starting with the construction of the National Road from Cumberland, Maryland, west to the Mississippi River. The construction started about 1806 and was completed about 1820. Most of the people that settled in the area of Alhambra were of German descent. There were also those of Swiss and French backgrounds. Alhambra was incorporated in 1849. The name Alhambra was chosen because the early settlers thought the area resembled that area in Spain where the Moorish Alhambra Castle is located.

The German immigrants built the first church in Alhambra, Salem Evangelical Church, in 1860. A new church building was built in 1878 and the original church building was used as a parochial school - taught in German - until the early part of the 20th century. The church has undergone several building and renovation projects to become what it is today. Many of the old church records are still intact and held at the church. Many people have come to the church to consult the records for genealogical information.

The church has been having special celebratory service Sundays since September 2009. The Sesquicentennial Celebration will be July 30, 31, and August 1, 2010. All are welcome. For more information go to:

LaVerne Bloemker talked about the trials and challenges of producing the book about Salem's 150 years of worship. In May 2007, Salem UCC was having a pictorial directory of members made. At that time, meetings were held with a representative from the directory company about producing a history book for their upcoming 150th anniversary and the contract was signed to lock in the 2007 price for production of the book.

The assignment of writing the history book was given to the Historical committee, of which LaVerne and Ken are members. Everyone on the committee was willing to help, but LaVerne was the only one that used a computer. Every organization in the church was asked to go through their records and write articles for the book. Even if the articles were typed using a typewriter, LaVerne had to retype them into electronic format. Old pictures were requested from the members and the response was really fantastic. A lot of really good pictures were loaned to the committee.

The goal was to have the book published by Christmas 2009. Everyone thought they had plenty of time and would have it finished ahead of time. Its turns out that many people do not know the meaning of the word "deadline." People were told their articles were needed by December 1 and articles were still coming in during June and July.

LaVerne's son, Larry, a writer, offered to edit the book. However, one of his writing jobs begins on May 1 and he wanted to have the church anniversary book finished before then - that did not happen. The book kept growing and Larry suggested they needed a graphic designer. One was contacted who, by chance, had family ties to Salem UCC and, thus, a personal interest in the production of the book. The graphic designer was responsible for the final arrangement and layout of the book.

The book is put together in several sections. The first part is a chronology of 79 different years that something special happened in the congregation. The longest article is on the history of Salem UCC. That is followed by article about the pastors (16 full time and 3 interim) including photos of all of them and some genealogy of their families. Articles in the book describe all the buildings of the church; the stained glass; a special statue; all the church organizations; music and choirs, including the Wicke's Organ. There are also articles on the ministries and missions that Salem has had through the years.

There is an article that lists every confirmation class by from 1860 to the present, with the exception of the period from 1865-1870 for which the church records are missing. Records for all baptisms, confirmations, marriages, and burials from Salem UCC exist for all but those few years following the Civil War.

The book contains over 350 images. The final hard cover book ended up with 124 pages. 500 copies were ordered. The book was sent, electronically, to the printer about September 4, 2009, in order to get it back by Christmas. A proof was to be sent back to the Historical Committee within 15 working days. On September 10, the graphic designer called the printer to make sure the file was okay and things were proceeding. The printer said they had not seen it! The printer finally found it, but nothing had been done on it; and they did not know whether they would be able to meet the December deadline. A call from LaVerne on September 17 got a response of "We don't have any record of receiving a book from you." Again the printer found the book.

The printer said they would send the proof overnight to save time, but they sent it by regular FedEx. The proof was picked up at the FedEx office rather than wait for final delivery. The proof was examined, approved, and returned to the printer. When the printed books were delivered, there were 150 things that were not printed! The printer was unable to explain what happened because the proof was perfect!

The church committee did not think that anything could be done because the printer had been paid in advance. When the graphic designer saw the book, she said it was unacceptable. She called the printer and within 24 hours had an agreement with the printer that they would reprint the entire run of 500 copies at no cost to the church! The final version was delivered by Thanksgiving so that the people were able to get their copies by Christmas. Even with all the challenges and problems, LaVerne says it was a fun project but a lot of work. However, she's not ready to do another one.

This interesting and entertaining presentation was very well received by the audience.