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Rio Grande Researcher

Volume XXXV | Number 4 | December 2006

Meetings - 2nd Thursday - 7:00 PM - All Saints Episcopal Church - 3500 McRae El Paso - All are welcome
[Click here to print]


EPGS Website
RGR Archives

Betty Owen
Sam Weldon - 592-6935
Norma Frye - 633-6877
Sandra Lewis - 599-1167

Jack Austin - 598-1422 Education
John Miller - 565-4416
RGR Editor
John Miller - 565-4416
Yolanda Perez -

Yolanda Perez -

CD Librarian
Bill Hilbert -

Barbara McCarthy -

BOOKS for sale

Births, Deaths & Marriages
from El Paso Newspapers

Vol 1 --- -$ 35.00 each
Vol II ----$ 30.50 each
Vol III ---$ 39.00 each
Vol IV ----$ 50.00 each
Set -------$140.00
including shipping

Sandra Lewis
11100 Leo Collins
El Paso, TX 79936-0307
Tel: (915) 599-1168


$15.00 single, $23.00 family

Send to: Sandra Lewis Treasurer, EPGS 11100 Leo Collins El Paso, TX 79936-0307


Memorial Park
3200 Copper Ave.

Cielo Vista
8929 Viscount Blvd

Clardy Fox
5515 Robert Alva Ave

Doris Van Doren
591 Red Road

Lower Valley
7915 San Jose

West Side
125 Belvidere

9321 Alameda

Literacy Center
5515 Robert Alva Ave

EPCC Northwest Campus
Community Library
6701 S. Desert Blvd.

Downtown El Paso Public Library Now Open; Genealogy Section Welcomes EPGS Members; Volunteers Needed!

Early November 2006 saw the grand opening of the expanded and remodeled El Paso Downtown Public Library, a beautiful new facility for library patrons and the El Paso community. Old time genealogists will find the Genealogy Section still on the north side of the building, but getting there will be a new adventure. The main entrance is now on Cleveland Square Mall on Santa Fe Street, not Oregon. Construction is still going on around Oregon and Franklin, but a short trip around the area will help visitors find the best parking for the new library entrance. The new entrance is a great improvement over the old one. Take a few steps (or the ramp) down into the main door and enter a spacious modern lobby with a circulation desk on the left. One is tempted to request a hotel room for the night instead of directions to the genealogy area. The Southwest Collection is straight ahead with the genealogy materials on the far left side. Marta Estrada and Terry are there to show new arrivals how the collection is organized. Much of the original material is organized by regional areas as previously. They are in the process of re-labeling some materials which are still organized as in the past. There is room in the stacks for expansion. The staff would welcome EPGS volunteers to help visitors, especially during weekend hours. Staff will also provide EPGS a box in the office at the back to receive snail mail, queries and other correspondence. Jack Austin has already appeared on the scene and hopefully more will be coming to help advance EPGS and the genealogy cause in El Paso.

Getting EPGS reestablished at the library will take some effort and understanding as the library staff gets settled in their new facility. EPGS needs to have its own program at the library organized so commitments we make can be honored.

The Board’s willingness to stay on communicated that its members get along, have a sense of working together and want to help EPGS. That also solves the problem of officers and board members for the coming year, but it presents another problem to the membership. Forewarned is forearmed. Health issues not even considered, no member of the board has agreed to stay on after December 2007. Now is the time for others to step forward, show interest in EPGS operations and offer to assist with making things work. The Society has ten months to find new prospective officers and help them make the transition easier for the good of the Society. JKM

The El Paso Genealogical Society Officers, Board of Directors and Committee Chairpersons for 2006

Elected Officers

President Betty Owen 857-1325
Vice-president Sam Weldon 592-6935 Secretary Norma Frye 633-6877 Treasurer Sandra Lewis 599-1167 Committee Education John Miller 565-4416


Hospitality Yolanda Perez 594-2948
EPGS Webmaster Barbara McCarthy 584-2339 CD Librarian Bill Hilbert 772-6139 Newsletter Editor John Miller 565-4416

The El Paso Genealogical Society Newsletter

This newsletter is published quarterly by the El Paso Genealogical Society in the interests of its members and in contributing to the advancement of genealogical knowledge and education in the El Paso area. The EPGS Newsletter encourages submission of articles for publication with the understanding that articles may be edited for brevity, clarity and typographical or grammatical error. Neither the publisher nor editor assumes responsibility for content, opinions, statements or implications by individuals in this newsletter. The EPGS is a non-profit, non-political, non–sectarian organization dedicated to genealogical collection, preservation, documentation, research and education in the El Paso Borderland area. Editor may be reached at or John K. Miller, 2916 Federal Ave, El Paso, TX79930
Membership in the El Paso Genealogical Society

Membership is open to any person upon payment of annual dues of fifteen dollars ($15) for single membership and twenty-three dollars ($23.00) for family membership and cover the period from January 1 to December 31 of each year. Dues are not prorated regardless of when members join. New members receive a copy of all newsletters for the year, any no fee publications printed by the society during the year, a copy of the society's Genealogy for Beginners and access to our collection of materials in the Baldwin CD library. "Members helping members, the basis of a great society" is one of the goals of EPGS. Guests and new members are always welcome.

General Meetings Regular Monthly meetings are held on the second Thursday of each month at 7:00 PM in the Parrish Hall at All Saints Episcopal Church, 3500 McRae, El Paso, TX. They normally consist of a brief business meeting followed by a program led by members or invited guest speakers. In April and September potluck dinners are held beginning at 6:30 PM in the Parrish Hall. The December meeting is an end of year social and induction of new officers. The Board of Directors normally meets on the First Monday of each month with the time and place being determined by the President. Any member is welcome to attend our board meetings.

Formal Mailing Address:
El Paso Genealogical Society
Genealogy Department
El Paso Public Library
501 N. Oregon
El Paso, TX 79901

Births, Deaths and Marriages in Early El Paso Newspapers, Vol. I-IV by Jane Beard, Contact Sandy Lewis to purchase this collection.

Dues Due; Do Dues December; That’s All The Doo Doo About Dues Due

Just a reminder that your 2007 $15.00 single ($23.00 Family) dues can be mailed or given to Sandra Lewis, EPGS Treasurer, 10768Janway Drive, El Paso, TX 79935-2906, and you will have that little task out of the way for another year. We have had some excellent programs this past year and want to encourage membership and attendance. Even if you cannot attend our general meetings because you live too far away (as in California, Maryland, Dallas on just down the street), your dues go to a worthy cause and there are plans afoot to expand our efforts in education, special projects, and other activities. El Paso needs a good strong genealogy society. JKM

Texas State Genealogical Society (TSGS) News

Those with TSGS Membership who have not already received renewal notices should note that new annual dues for 2007 will be $25.00 after December 31, 2006 and $20.00 if paid prior to that date. Anyone interested in membership should apply prior to that date to receive the lower rate. TSGS can be reached at

The 2007 47th Annual TSGS Conference will be held in Tyler, November 9-10, 2007. Featured speakers will be George C. Morgan and Drew Smith, AKA “The Genealogy Guys. TSGS will increase their awards for winners of submitted articles. TSGS is also looking for material for publication for its Quarterly publication Stirpes. Information from Jeanne Thompson

Summary of Secretary and Treasurer Reports for October and November 2006

The Board meets at 5:30 PM on the first Monday of every month at the Basset Center Food Court. Members are welcome to attend board meetings. Formal minutes of Board, General Meetings, and Treasurer’s Report are available and normally distributed at General Meetings. This is only a brief summary.

In September the Board asked for volunteers for a nominating committee. There being no volunteers for either the nominating committee or for candidates for office, the Board, in October, acting as the Nominating Committee, agreed to present the existing board members to the general membership for re-election for the year 2007. In November at the General Meeting the membership voted unanimously to elect each individual presently serving on the present Board to serve for the year 2007.

The Board tried to connect with the public library as it planned its opening and we attempted to get a library speaker for a program. Plans were made for the December general meeting. In November at the general meeting, Barbra McCarthy gave an outstanding presentation on her Irish research and travels. We will try to get some of these presentations summarized and documented in hard copy for members.

Other major action taken was the purchase of a DLP projector that can be used with a computer for public and member program presentations. This decision was made by the Board after the subject was discussed at the November general meeting where no decision was made either way and because an opportunity came up to get a projector at a sizeable discount.

Treasurers Report for the 11 months January- November 30, 2006
Receipts................................... $1078.56
Disbursements.......................... 1003.74
Receipts over Disbursements....... 74.82
Total Cash (Nov 30. 2006)... $4525.21

New EPGS Board is the Old EPGS Board

While November 2006 saw local, state and national elections which often indicated change in their future and a “throw the bums out” attitude among the electorate, EPGS apparently decided to “Stay the Course” for the year 2007. The election of 2006 Board of Directors to carry on in 2007 was without the fierce debates and controversies upon which professional politicians seem to thrive. Suffice to say any board member would have welcomed the opportunity to be challenged for office and might have looked forward to losing. At least one member would plead guilty to any accusation of failure to perform so long as it did not imply fraud, money laundering and malfeasance or jail time. A little “risqué” gossip would have at least added some excitement to the EPGS elections so long as it didn’t affect domestic relations. Beyond EPGS business at board meetings the main subject seems to be who is taking which medicines and what side effects they are experiencing from them. Apparently the most risqué gossip about the EPGS Board is that during 5:00 PM meetings at the Bassett Center restaurant mall, Norma and Betty have been seen to eat ice cream cones, thus “spoiling (or in place of) their dinner.” Since they didn’t use EPGS funds for their risqué behavior they are still qualified to remain in office. Besides it’s only gossip. JKM

An End of the Year Letter from Our EPGS President

Dear EPGS Colleagues,

It is that time of year when we reflect on the past and plan what we want to do for the future. It is no different for us in genealogy. Looking back for me personally it was a hard year as my health was not what I wanted to it to be and I am not a patient person when it comes to illness. Others also had health problems and family losses, but thanks to its loyal and understanding members, EPGS, as an organization, continued on, held its own and even made progress.

I think we had a well-rounded year. Jack Austin shared with us the history of who and what we are and how the El Paso Genealogical Society was created. Barbara McCarthy ended up the year with her adventures in Ireland and Scotland. Our year was a good one but I want to plan for a more active year in 2007 and I think we now have some of the tools to do so.

Our downtown public library is now open. We are going to need volunteers to help there and this is a very important source for our growth. Also, I am hoping our people will share with us the work they have been doing about the cemeteries. I want to be sure that Patricia and the Concordia people are receiving anything they might need from us.

Also, I want to thank our past board (which is our new board). Thank you for hanging in there and being flexible with your time. I want to give special thanks to Yolanda Perez and Margaret Saavedra for their time and contributions in helping our organization with meals, refreshments and reception.

So are we ready now to meet the New Year 2007? You bet we are! Our library is open. Sandy has a new toy for us to help with our lectures. I hope also to plan some sort of a trip to an archive or library or perhaps even Salt Lake.

So let 2007 roll in…let’s embrace the New Year! And a final note. Let us know what talk you want to give this year about your experiences in the world of genealogy. EPGS is not just a collection of individual genealogists; we are a knowledgeable society of family historical detectives. So share your work, your adventures and genealogical sleuthing into family mysteries so that we may also learn from them.

Welcome 2007!

Betty Owen President

December 14, 2006, 6:30 PM
All Saints Episcopal Parish Hall

Our annual potluck supper will include a brief Show & Tell, a summary of the 2006 Year in EPGS and thoughts on the coming year. In the interests of guests and those who have overindulged during the dinner hour, business will be limited while everyone is awake. Guests and old timers are welcome. Questions: Contact Yolanda Perez

Who brings what:
A-F, Desserts;
G-L, Salads;
M-Z Veggies.

The Original EPGS Library Idea What Goes Around, Comes Around

By John K. Miller
Some time in the latter part of the previous century, one EPGS member had an idea. We have been told that it originated with Dorris Harrison, but if it was Jack Austin, one of Beards, Nancy Owens, Pat Baldwin or anyone else we will correct that next time. Anyway, beyond giving credit where credit is due, the idea seems to have merit and members might want to consider it again.

The concept is that EPGS create/recreate what today we might call a virtual library from its member resources. The original idea was that many members had genealogy books, disks and resources in their homes which they might be willing to let other members have access to the knowledge in them. The only requirement was that each member submit a list of such materials in his/her possession that might be made available to other members. Please note that each member reserved the right to include or exclude any of their resources. They did not necessarily agree to lend out materials to others. They were only saying such information was in their collection and they reserved the control about how it might be made accessible to other members. That included lending the material to the requestor, doing a look up for the requestor or allowing it to be used on site. Putting all member contributions together in one list would create an interesting “library” with a unique flavor of member interests.

In its simplicity, informality and totally voluntary concept the idea was good and started out well. There seems to be a universal cultural taboo against throwing out any book on any subject. The solution is therefore to donate it to a worthy cause and let someone else throw it away. Over a period of time people instead began to literally donate their materials to EPGS. Nancy Owens eventually accepted these donations for EPGS, evaluated and catalogued them, and soon the society had a physical library which took up half her garage. The membership was provided an updated list of all material in the library. Unfortunately it was not used as much as all the effort Nancy put into it and when she moved to California, no one volunteering half their garage, EPGS donated the collection to the Mormon Eastside Family Life Center where it was merged with their other reading materials, probably used much more and lost its identity.

If anyone thinks a membership virtual library is a good idea, please bring it up at a meeting and see how it flies. The effort involved would seem to be setting up some sort of rough format, having members submit their contributions, putting them together and printing them out for other members. That list might even accompany the CD list EPGS provides via Bill Hilbert.

New Hours of Operation, Border Heritage Center and Genealogy Section, Downtown El Paso Public Library Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday...
...9:00 AM-7:45 PM
Thursday... 9:00 AM-5:45 PM:
Friday...... 11:00AM-5:45 PM
Saturday... 9:00 AM-5:45 PM
Sunday .... 1:00 PM-4:45 PM

A Hundred Years Ago; In the summer of 1900 when your grandmother was a child…

Excerpts from the Prairie Pioneer, Vol. 26, No. 2, 2006

The average life expectancy in the United States was forty seven years.

There were only 8000 automobiles and 144 miles of paved roads in the United States. The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.

The population of Las Vegas, Nevada was thirty.

Most women washed their hair once a month and used Borax and egg yolks for shampoo.

Coca-Cola contained cocaine instead of caffeine.

Some medical authorities warned that professional seamstresses were apt to become sexually aroused by the steady rhythm, hour after hour, of the sewing machine’s foot pedals. They recommended slipping bromide…which was thought to diminish sexual desire, into the women’s drinking water.

(More of these later, thanks to Jack Austin)

The Smeltertown Cemetery List

For those with internet access the Smeltertown Cemetery List is continued and may be accessed on the EPGS Webpage.