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Madison County Genealogical Society

Minutes of the Meeting - August 11, 2011

The August 2011 meeting of the Madison County Genealogical Society was held at the Madison County Historical Society Archival Library on Thursday, August 11, at 7:00 pm.

President, Robert Ridenour, called the meeting to order.

The following reports were presented.

Financial report for the month of June 2011, as follows:

Financial report for the month of July 2011, as follows:



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.

August Meeting

On August 11, 2011, the Madison County Genealogical Society met at the Madison County Historical Society Archival Library to hear Mary Westerhold and Gary Forshaw give a presentation titled Researching Railroads in Madison County.

The first part of the presentation was about how to begin looking for information and the types of information that the library holds.

When you go to the Madison County Archival Library to research railroads, you should have a specific subject in mind. That way, you (or one of the library assistants) can check the card file for that subject. The index card will direct you to the documents pertaining to your subject.

The library holdings pertaining to railroads (and many other subjects) include newspaper clipping, photographs, maps, books, scrapbooks, microfilm, atlases, etc. Some of the maps and atlases show the rail lines and give the railroad name at the time of the map printing.

Many books have been written about railroads. Because of the importance of the railroads to Madison County, the Archival Library tries to keep up with all the publications concerning railroads. If you are aware of a publication that the Archival Library does not have, let them know and they will try to obtain it for their collection.

Railroads were connected with coal mines, grain elevators, brick yards, recreation, passenger transportation, and transportation of goods. If the information you wish to find cannot be found directly, perhaps a round-about way will lead you to it. Even floods and natural disaster are connected to the railroads. Almost all the former locations of the railroads are now bike trails. So they are still important as transportation and recreation.

Part of the presentation was the showing of old photos of railroads and connected industries. This created much discussion and many comments of the "Oh, I remember that." or "Where was that located?" type from the audience. And other members of the audience usually had an answer or response.

Mary asked the audience to consider sharing any information (books, photo, memorabilia, etc.) that they might have with the Madison County Historical Society Museum and Archival Library. Even though many do not think so, everyone's life is part of history. Just think of all the different things that have happened during your lifetime that have changed the world around you. You are part of that history.

This interesting program attracted several individuals who had worked for the railroad at one time, resulting in a larger than normal audience. This program was well received and generated much discussion and a lengthy question and answer session.

Our thanks to the Madison County Historical Society and Archival Library.