About Us--Who We Are
Polk County Genealogical Society, Inc. promotes genealogical research by providing educational
and research opportunities, offering community services in related fields, and collecting, preserving,
and publishing genealogical and historical records.
The purposes of this Society shall be:
1) To encourage the interest in and study of genealogy and the practice of genealogical research,
particularly, but not limited to, the ancestry of its members and individuals who now live in, or
formerly lived in Polk County, Missouri.
2) To encourage and educate members in the art and practice of genealogical research, compilation
and careful documentation and otherwise promote scholarly writing; to maintain and elevate
3) To encourage the interest in and the expansion of the resources, equipment, and physical facilities
which will be the private property of the Society. The gifts and bequests of books, materials,
manuscripts, photographs, and financial contributions to the Society, would thereby enable the
Society to remain in a constant state of growth and progress.
The Polk County Genealogical
Society Research Facility is open four days a week
and staffed entirely by volunteers from the Polk County Genealogical Society,
a non-profit corporation. The society and its facility is supported entirely
by membership fees, research fees, book sales and donations. Over 60 percent
of our membership is from areas other than Polk County, Missouri.
2011 Group Picture (not all members were
1st row: Ezell Goodwin, Sue and Ray Brown
2nd row: Susan and Mark Sparks, Jane and Mary Fullerton, Deva and Roy Kirchner
3rd row: Lula Kent, Leta Gass, Sharon Schreiner, Julie Trout
4th row: Jean Raney, Nancy Hutcheson, Ramona Jones, Larry Schreiner, Mariam Copeland
5th row: Roseann Boyce, Ron Hutcheson, Neva Charlene Gardner, Mary Thiessen, Jack Glendenning
6th row: Herb Boyce, Joyce Burkhart, Rena Smith, Mike Jones, Reva Altic
Back row: Carl Locke, Harlie Kay Gallatin, Ben Gravely, James Whitman, Charles Gass
Susan Sparks, President
Susan DeNolf Sparks is a first-generation Polk
Countian who settled in Polk County over 20 years
ago. She was born and raised in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. She married Mark Sparks from Springfield,
Missouri in 1987 and they have one son, Zaq. She has been a member of PCGS for 17 years, serving as President
for 13 of those years. Susan has overseen many of our society's improvements over the years. She has a
"real job" selling and producing entertainment for a variety of venues, which allows her to travel to many different
locations to conduct research. Susan has been doing genealogical research for over 20 years. Her main
emphasis in Polk County has been historical research on events, buildings and the "often-overlooked history"
like the poor farm, murders and divorces. Susan enjoys a great mystery, so never hesitate to present one to her!
Bob Phillips, Vice President
Leta Gass, Secretary
Leta Matthews Gass is a fifth-generation Polk
Countian and has documented her family back to the
beginning of the county, receiving the very first certificate in the First Families of Polk County, Missouri
program for her descendancy from Matthew Glaves Campbell. Leta is married to Charles, who also volunteers
at the PCGS facility, and they have one daughter, Valary. Leta began volunteering at the library in July 2003, after
retiring from 30 years of teaching. She now serves the facility as the archivist, creating finding aids for the
collections and preserving/repairing documents, photos, etc. that have been given to the library. She has served
the group as president, treasurer, and is currently the secretary. She has been a member of PCGS for 9 years.
Julie Trout, Treasurer
Julie Wollard Trout is a sixth-generation Polk
Countian. Julie is a charter member of the Polk County
Genealogical Society, which was formed in 1994. She has been interested in genealogy her entire life
with the start after a visit to a family cemetery at age 13. She graduated from Bolivar High School and
then Southwest Baptist University with a degree in History and Sociology. She graduated from the
National Genealogical Society Home Study Course in 1995. She is married to Brian and has
two sons, Christian and Jonathan and a baby girl on the way in 2012. Since both boys are still attending school,
Julie tries hard to balance her time between being a mom and genealogy. She spends lots of time on her
computer late at night researching!
Ben Gravely, Director at Large
Ben Gravely is a sixth-generation Polk
Countian. He is a former truck driver and has traveled
to practically every state in the continental USA. He is married to Marquita Payne and they have
two sons. He is the head of the First Families of Polk County project. He is a descendant of the Gravely family
who owned the Bolivar Free Press newspaper. Ben's grandfather, dad and uncle who published, managed and
edited the paper, respectively, welcomed Ben's help in the press room when he was younger. Ben is
another of Polk County's resident historians, knowing lots of the history since he paid attention to his mother's
stories when he was young. Ben has been a member of PCGS for over 10 years.
The Polk County
Genealogical Society is a non-profit organization
Go to PCGS Home Page
Copyright 2003-2015, Polk County Genealogical Society, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Last revised: January 29, 2013
Located on the southeast corner of the courthouse square in Bolivar, MO
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