2015 marks the 30th anniversary of the forming of the Louisville Genealogical Society. Following are articles from the 5th and the 25th anniversaries of the organization.
July 1990 marked the fifth anniversary of the Louisville Genealogical Society. We had passed the "toddler" stage and continued to be an active, vibrant group. We hope that each of you will enjoy a trip down memory lane as you read the following historic article by our first president, Shirley Green Dillon.
Shirley Green Dillon
The sixteen members attending the very first meeting 2 July 1985 were, in addition to Mrs. Hamm, Pearl Logsdon Blackwell, Clarence Smith Cambron, Ann Cowan, Catherine Weeter Crispy, Ruth Buchanan Dail, Hattie Draper Duling, Kathryn Dawson Eddy, Ruth French, Louise Reynolds Harrison, John F. Langley, Audra Sprigg Martin, Katherine Deeb Morgan, Inga Rhea Schuway, William F. Sheehan and Rowdy Whittaker.
This list differs considerably from that of the roll of the Genealogy III class, actually the basis for the club. Those on that list, who did not attend the first meeting 2 July, are: Arnold Raymond Blair, Doris Settle Bush, Carl Cassidy, Shirley Green Dillon, Ann York Franklin, Emily Robertson Graves, Lynn Hullette Harding, Marshall Edwin Swan, Philip Albert Wagner, Jr. and Nancy White Walters.
After two weeks, membership had grown to fifty-eight. We tried at first to meet every week, continuing the habit of weekly classes. Even such eager beavers as we were realized that was too much of a good thing, and after a few weeks decided to meet twice a month, as we still do. We had speakers at every meeting, but by early 1986 changed that so that we have a speaker every second Tuesday, and a workshop session the fourth Tuesday. That format has worked out well.
We were able to get together a set of officers to see us through 1985. They were president, Shirley Dillon; first vice-president, Doris Bush; second vice-president and program chairman, Rosemary Woodson; recording secretary, Dorothy Stone Reeves; and treasurer, Pearl Blackwell. The chairmen were membership, Catherine Crispy; librarian, editor, and genealogical records, Ann Franklin; publicity, Clarence Cambron and Inga Schway; parliamentarian, William J. Linton; telephone, Charlene McDevitt; and Board of Directors, Jane Hamm, Katherine Eddy, Carl Cassidy, Lynn Harding, and John Langley.
We spent a lot of time the first few months deciding on the name, Louisville Genealogical Society; and selecting a logo. The one chosen was designed by the daughter of Lynn Harding. We talked about a quarterly publication and about field trips of which we made a lot. We got along with a contribution of $1.00 per member, but settled on $10.00 per year regular dues beginning in 1986. It was also decided that we would have only one meeting in November and one in December because of the holidays.
Speakers for these meetings included Alberta Brock Baker, Kevin Carman, Nettie Watson (now Oliver), Col. Robert Jobson of the SAR, and David Horvoth of U. of L. Photographic Archives. Nettie Oliver has come back repeatedly to keep us posted on new materials at the Filson Club.
Our December meeting that year (1985) featured exhibits of projects of various members, and refreshments. In October a group attended the annual meeting of the Kentucky Historical Convention in Danville. Already there was a discussion about putting the 1850 census of Louisville and Jefferson County into book form. We also spent a lot of effort trying to interest the Courier-Journal in publishing a genealogical column. We still have hopes for some kind of publicity.
In November we elected a full set of officers for the coming year. That list, plus those of the officers for all other years, are listed at the end of this article. Committee chairmen were elected until 1990, when they were appointed by the president with suggestions from the board.
1986 was a year of great progress. We went to several out-of-town meetings, including one in April to Bardstown featuring Dr. George Schweitzer as speaker; adopted a constitution and by-laws; saw the publication of the first issue of our quarterly, LINES-AND-BY-LINES; went on the first of our annual week-long genealogical research trips, this one to Salt Lake City; and purchased tote bags displaying our logo. The work of putting the 1850 census was begun; little did we think that after five years, it still isn't finished! At first we used the 1850 census microfilm at the library of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on Hurstbourne Lane.
Speakers for that year included Kevin Carman, Ann Franklin, Lawrence Shepart of the British Virgin Islands, James Bentley of the Filson Club, Mary Ann Gentry of Carroll County, Sam McDowell of McDowell Publishing Co., and Linda Anderson from the Kentucky Historical Society.
At the end of 1986 we had 83 members and $105. in the bank.
By 1987, a pattern had been established for meetings, workshops, field trips, and other activities. One of those is an annual research trip. The second one, in the Spring of 1987, was to Washington, D.C. We worked at the DAR Library, the Library of Congress, the National Archives, and the Library of the National Genealogical Society. In June we had the first of what would become annual seminars; this was at Big Springs Country Club, and featured Mr. and Mrs. George Everton, publishers of THE GENEALOGICAL HELPER. This was the only spring seminar; the latter part of September has become the established time.
A luncheon was held in March to honor our founder and advisor Jane Turner Hamm. The ongoing work of reading the census was changed to the Filson Club. A group of us went again to Salt Lake City. Speakers that year included J. William Klapper, Alberta Baker, Dr. Frank Levstick of the Kentucky Archives, Nettie Oliver, Mrs. Betty Gist, resident of the Zachary Taylor home, Shirley Wolfe, Bill Rodgers, photographer from Frankfort, David Morgan from the Jefferson County Office on Historical Preservation and Archives, and James Bentley, who attended the Christmas luncheon (another tradition being established) and installed the next year's officers.
Some of us went in the fall to Salt Lake City. That too is becoming an annual event.
1988 was another year of significant advances. In June we moved to St. Andrews United Church of Christ, giving us more room for our meetings, and for our library. The first quarterly night meetings were held on the second Thursday of June, September, December and March. These meetings followed a question, answer, workshop format.
Our annual spring research trip was to Richmond, Virginia. Some of us went back to Salt Lake City in October. There were also field trips to the Cincinnati Library, to the Kentucky Genealogical Society's seminar at which John Frederick Dorman spoke, and to the Fort Wayne, Indiana Library.
Our fall seminar was in September at Big Springs country Club; the speaker was Dr. George Schweitzer. His three talks were on "Tracing Your Ancestors Back Across the Ocean", "Obscure Genealogical Sources", and "Kentucky Genealogical Research".
Speakers for the year included Sherrill Redman, archivist at U. of L. School of Medicine; Richard Crossett, graphic and heraldic artist; James Harrison on Confederate records; Nettie Oliver; Anita Solodkin of Metro Parks; Richard Abell of the Cincinnati Library; Patricia Lister on Quaker records; Jack Custer on researching the river and its people; Charles Castner about railroads; Doris Yeiser on Baptist Church records; Dr. Robert Diggy of the Merton Center, Bellarmine College.
By the end of 1988 we had 161 members and were financially solvent.
Beginning in 1989, we found we had transcribed the census records of Louisville and Jefferson County, not only for 1850, but for 1840, 1830, 1820 and 1810. We are now proofreading them.
Speakers for 1989 included Dr. H.E. Everman of Eastern KY University on using local records; Gina Kinchlow of the Urban Studies Center at U. of L.; Dr. Eugene Miller of Speed School on Turners in the Civil War; Mary Samples on preservation of documents; Jerry Rice of the Louisville Historical League with a slide presentation of Fontaine Ferry Park; Nettie Oliver on new materials at the Filson Club; Kandi Anderson from the State Land Office in Frankfort; Doris Leistner on Southern Indiana records; Michael Palmer on tips for research in Germany; Tom Owen, archivist at U. of L.; and Fletcher Elmore on George Rogers Clark.
The annual research trip was to Raleigh, North Carolina, in May. A group also went again to Salt Lake City. Ruth Dail presented the club a beautiful wall hanging. The speaker at the September seminar was Jo White Linn, on "The Great Wagon Road". This is the path followed by immigrants who arrived in Pennsylvania and went south to Virginia and North Carolina; it is about where Interstate 81 is today. A group went to Cincinnati for a meeting of the Hamilton County Genealogical Society, on research in Virginia. Members went to Bardstown to the Nelson County Round-table seminar.
Our constitution and by-laws were revised in September, 1989. Our library continues to grow with the addition of more exchange quarterlies and books donated by members. Our fourth Tuesday meetings are featuring three workshops. A german study group and a British Isles study group meet on alternate fourth Tuesdays. Topics for the other workshops are supplied as the need arises. Frequently they offer help for beginners. All of us are still learning. We hope that all of those who have joined us in the years between 1985 and 1990 will be encouraged by and helped by all the Society has to offer.
We ended 1989 with our annual winter luncheon and installation of new officers. We had 184 members.
The spring of 1990 saw two milestones. In April the first issue of our monthly newsletter was mailed. This will be issued for those months that our quarterly, LINES-AND-BY-LINES, is not published.
The Society was thrilled to learn of the award of a $29,500 grant from the Barry and Mary Bingham Foundation to microfilm the Louisville Anzeiger. The Anzeiger is a German newspaper that was published for ninety years beginning in the 1840's. A committee started work on this project.
As we approach our fifth birthday, we still are progressing. Our fifth annual spring research trip was to Harrisburg, PA. Our speakers for 1990 have included Col. Robert Jobson, Nettie Oliver, David Morgan of the Jefferson County Archives, Martin L. Schmidt, and Dr. James Klotter of the Kentucky Historical Society.
Plans were also underway for our annual fall seminar to be held at Big Springs Country Club on September 22nd. The featured speaker was Edward J. O'Day, professor of history at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale and president of the Illinois State Genealogical Society.
Our first five years were filled with new experiences as we worked, learned, and grew stronger in our knowledge of genealogical research. We also had fun in the sharing of joy at finding that elusive ancestor and the sharing of frustrations caused by not finding great-grandma's maiden name. May our next five years be as productive as our first five.
Happy Birthday to the Louisville Genealogical Society!
The Quarter Century Mark - Louisville Genealogical Society's 25th Anniversary 2010
25 YEARS DOWN MEMORY LANE WITH LGS - from the Winter 2010 Issue of Lines & By-Lines
By Jane Turner Hamm, LGS Founder
It has been an honor for me to have served as the Founder and Genealogical Advisor for 25 years to the Louisville Genealogical Society. When I started the Genealogy Club on 02 July 1985 with only 15 enthusiastic students from my Genealogy 111 classes and myself present, I never dreamed we would grow to over 340 by 2010. I taught the Genealogy Classes for 19 years at Senior Citizens East and we met at Harvey Browne Presbyterian Church. Prior to that I taught at the University of Louisville for 2 years in a program they called the Free University. I later taught many classes at The Church of the Latter Day Saints. I was shocked on a Derby Saturday to find I had 186 students present that day for my Genealogy Class. I taught genealogy classes for two summers to the librarians of the Church of The Latter Day Saints and the last three Directors of the local Library have been my students .Before my teaching genealogy classes, I worked for twenty years as a Professional Genealogist and I'm a Life Member of the Filson Club. My teaching Genealogy Classes has always been a labor of love for me .I wanted to share my knowledge of genealogy, and to inspire each to leave better family records.
I hope I helped many to find a new hobby to pursue forever. I am really just a graduate Social Worker who loves to help others along the way. When I was a child, my dear Grandmother, Dora Ellen Ross Turner, told me many stories of her father being in Andersonville Prison during the Civil War, and I fell in love with the history of my ancestors and was hooked for life. After 60 years of personal family research, I have filled fourteen file drawers with information. I still have only the basic information on our ancestors in my computer.
What a trip this has been for this 85 year old lover of family history. It is my pleasure to take you down memory Lane for the 25 year history of the Louisville Genealogical Society that I was asked to organize. Over these 25 years, I have met so many wonderful and dear friends who loved history, and just wanted to find more information on their ancestors. Each year we have added new members, and through the years, death has taken away many great friends and devoted workers for LGS that I miss. Many of my former students have been officers in the DAR and SAR and other organizations and I am so proud to have been their teacher.
We have had wonderful workshops on many subjects to help educate each other. We had our first Seminar in 1986 and have continued each year with nationally known speakers. We work all year to plan a Seminar as an educational event, but have been lucky when we make a profit which we give to local libraries. We have taken many field trips to nearby places to learn their history and discover our roots.
Our members spent 10 years reading old microfilm of the census records from 1810 through 1850 of Jefferson Co KY and City of Louisville. After a lot of proof reading, we published the books for sale. We published our first quarterly" Lines and By Lines" in the Spring of 1986 and Ann York Franklin was our Editor. We started our monthly newsletter in 1990 to keep our members posted on all events of LGS and Phillip Albert (Al) Wagner did this job. Our first President of LGS was Shirley Green Dillon.
We took our first research trip out of town in May 1986 to Salt Lake City, Utah and over 20 members thought they were in "hog heaven" at that Family History Library for a week. Our air fare and Temple Square Hotel for a week with free breakfast was a total price of $399.00. We soon discovered the old Carlton Hotel and have stayed there since their small staff takes good care of all of our needs. We were all new to big libraries, and helped each other with our great finds. Since that date, we have taken two enjoyable research trips each Spring and Fall to a large Library or Archives . It is a great feeling to find new information on each trip to add to our family files.
If you have never taken a genealogical research trip with the Louisville Genealogical Society, you have missed a barrel of fun. I should know since I have spent my 23rd year in Salt Lake City, Utah where they add new material weekly from everywhere. Our group is the happiest crowd you will find in any library, and we research hard all day. Our meals together are joyful and happy occasions so plan to join us next year. As we dig deeper into records of the place our ancestors lived and in the correct time frame, we usually have success in finding our lost ancestors. I challenge each of you to talk to that older relative, find the Family Bibles, and visit their cemetery and record all you find there.
Happy hunting to all of my friends in LGS for the coming year.
Thank you, Jane, for all you have given to the society over the past 25 years.
At the 2010 25th Anniversary Luncheon, the LGS library was re-named and dedicated as "The Jane Turner Hamm LGS Library" in her honor.