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Rio Grande Researcher

Volume XXXV | Number 1 | March 2006

Meetings - 2nd Thursday - 7:00 PM - All Saints Episcopal Church - 3500 McRae El Paso - All are welcome

Betty Owen Assumes EPGS Presidency

Dear Society Members,
It is great to back in El Paso. My biggest concern when I first returned was finding people who would be interested in sharing my pursuits of genealogy. Thankfully, I found El Paso Genealogical Society, which is all of you. I cannot thank Doris Harrison enough for the help she gave me in introducing me to the society. Hers are very big shoes to fill. She is going to be a hard act to follow.

We are beginning a New Year and I hope this is a year of growth for us as a society. I am looking forward to the library opening again and I am sure you all are as well. Genealogy is a path of uncovering and detective work. Together I feel like we will find many of our ancestors. It will take all of us to make our group a success. I am looking forward to working with everyone and to a year of progress and discovery.

Betty Owen

The RGR Newsletter, Your Decision: Snail Mail or Web-mail

The Board, after presenting the subject at a general meeting, has decided to offer members the choice of receiving the RGR Newsletter by way of U.S. Postal mail (snail mail) or via the Internet through our website. Clearly the electronic version is cheaper for the society because it does not require postage and printing expenses. Presumably delivery will be two or three days faster, but that really depends upon how efficient the editor is in doing the job. There is little EPGS news that is "three days" urgent. Potentially it also means the newsletter can be longer when necessary without incurring additional printing and postage expenses. Photo and graphic materials can be published better via the Internet (by someone more computer smart than this editor.) The website manager may have more work to do, but there may be more valuable content to members. Electronic communications seems the wave of the future and this means EPGS is up to date, "with it" and "cool."

The other side of this argument is that not all members have computers and the Internet. A certain amount of copies will be printed and mailed to them anyway. Some members with Internet access just like to get the RGR newsletter by snail mail. They want to read it in bed as a sleep aid and where desktops don't fit well. Besides they just hate computers and electronic mail always seems to get messed up with gremlins of all sorts. They want a real human fingerprint on their mail. They want to save their copies in file drawers and don't want to pick up the costs or trouble of printing hard copies after paying dues. Postage has only gone up two cents a copy (eights cents annually per person) plus a little more in printing costs. Since some members want the web version, there will still be a savings for those who want snail mail. That's fine too.

Whatever your choice, please inform Sandy Lewis, EPGS Treasurer, of your individual decision and we will honor it. She may be contacted at 10616 Lakewood Dr. El Paso, TX 79935-4109, (snail mailers);, E-mailers; and 915-599-1167, telephone. For those who don't declare, the default will be snail mail.


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
Chairpersons		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

News and Notes of Importance to EPGS Members

April General Meeting Date Change

The regular EPGS April meeting will be held on the third Thursday, April 20, 2006. This is because All Saints Church needs the room for Easter related purposes on the regular meeting date, April 13. Unless otherwise notified, the April meeting will be the usual potluck dinner starting AT 6:30 PM (not 7:00 PM) with "show and tell." Let's see some brave new faces. Betty Owen

The May Meeting Program

Exchanging stories of success and failure can be beneficial and interesting when they lead to helping others with common experiences in genealogical research. The tentative program for the May meeting will be a discussion by some members on their genealogical beginnings and what they have learned that may be helpful to others. Something along the line of, "My genealogical success story and how it applies to you," "What I learned since starting this thing that may help you the most," "My biggest errors and how you can avoid them," or "A funny thing happened while I was researching my ancestors." JKM

Dues, Dues, Dues

Last Call! Dues reminder. If you have not already submitted your dues for the year 2006, please do so ASAP, promptly, mostest fastest, and without delay. This is your last notice and you will not receive this newsletter or any other goodies from EPGS until your dues are paid up. JKM

Downtown El Paso Public Library Update

As of February 14, 2006, this is the status of the main library renovation and expansion. Source, Carol Brey-Casiano , Director of El Paso Public Libraries. The actual opening of the main library will not be until May or June, 2006. This is due to construction problems related to working in the old library which is an old building presenting its own problems. The Downtown Library Director, Mr. Jim Przepasnik, is not sure when shelving and stacking the Southwest Collection and Genealogy Section will begin at this time. The present plans are for it to be named the same as in the past and for the stacks to be set up as they were prior to closing. If anyone objects he will be glad to hear their views and rationale for changes, but he thinks the way it was last set up seems to be the way most libraries are going these days. He expects staffing to be the same. No new slots were allocated for this section. He is not sure what help they will need in preparation for opening. He would appreciate EPGS member help, especially in the summer, when the library receives more out of town visitors to the genealogy section researching their family history. JKM

Charles Gagnon Services

Long time EPGS members will remember Charles Gagnon, who died December 29, 2005 in El Paso. Charles was the husband of Peggy Gagnon, who was an EPGS member and Society Treasurer prior to her death only a few years ago. Services for Charles were held January 5, 2006 at The Fort Bliss National Cemetery. We send our condolences to the family of Charles and Peggy. Obituary: El Paso Times. (from Jeanne Thompson, EPGS)

Genealogy, Computers, and The Internet

Editor's note:
A friend recently asked me where he might find free genealogy Internet sites that could help him research his family. I explained all he had to do was type "Genealogy" into the Google search engine and then sort through nearly 15 million "hits" for the ones that were free. Since he was a friend I narrowed it to a few sites and suggested the obvious benefits of belonging to EPGS where fellow members were ready to help newcomers navigate those treacherous waters. That led to a short discussion on the perks and pitfalls of genealogical Internet researching. Whether my friend picks up on my EPGS recruiting speech depends on whether stubborn horses drink from troughs to which they are led. One site I offered him was the USGenWeb. I have always thought it a high-tech/high-touch miracle and a great example of genealogy as a unique effort in national volunteerism. Where else can you find every county in the United States cooperating, in its own unique style, with every other county, in a common effort and without government control or funding? That's why I asked Dorris Harrison, EPGS member and El Paso County GenWebsite manager, to write a few words about it. Sometimes we need to be reminded of what we take for granted. Wander around, visit these many sites; stop by your local site on the way. My research says there are 3143 counties in the U.S. Lots of people, lots of work in your behalf, all for free. JKM


By Dorris Harrison
In the 1990's several genealogists in Kentucky were giving help to researchers about the county in which they lived. The Internet was becoming popular so they decided to each get a website for their county and put all their information there. Others thought that was a good idea and followed suit. The trend grew rapidly until all the states and counties are now represented. The idea is to preserve all records of the past for future researchers and to do this without charge.

The El Paso County page went up in 1994 by the vice president of our society. A year later, I took it over and have worked to add as much information as I could. I have primarily worked to record all the cemeteries in El Paso County. If anyone has information they want to donate to our website please send it to me.

Here are some of the projects being worked on by the USGenWeb. Go to the state and county of your ancestor and see what they have. Each county should also have a lookup page. Then check out the Texas page and the El Paso County page

USGenWeb is organized by county and state -
USGenWeb Archives -
Maps - State and County, U.S/.,& Indian Lands -
Pension applications -
Census -
Census -
Church Records-
Special Collection -This special collection includes Family Publications, history Publications, Journals & Letters, Military, and photo collections-
Group sheets -
Get your kids interested in
Lineage-where researchers can contact other researchers of the same
Cemeteries -

EPGS Program Reviews

January 2006: Document Preservation, Another View

Usually we are only able to keep photocopies, rather than originals, in genealogical research, but copy conservation is just as important as that of originals. Inevitably all documents will be gone; the goal is to preserve them as long as possible. To preserve documents, remove all staples and paper clips. If necessary, replace them with acid free plastic clips; flatten all documents, including unfolding and unrolling those found that way. All documents should be photocopied and the original (or first copy acquired) should be stored in a safe deposit box or in a secure area of the home (i.e. fireproof safe) using acid free folders and acid free boxes. Humidity, light, and heat contribute to deterioration; keep them in a cool, dry and dark environment. Use working copies of these "original" documents for the actual research. Protect them as much as possible, considering they are working copies.

Regarding digital preservation, GIF images are lossless, they can be viewed an infinite amount of times without losing any pixels. Every time a JPEG file is opened, it loses pixels and quality deteriorates. Although TIFF images are larger than GIF and JPEG, experts strongly recommend a master copy be saved as a TIFF file due to its universal nature and lossless compression. CD-R, DVD-R, and DVD+R are by far the most stable and best media format to store digital images.

Paper enclosures are opaque, they help to block out harmful light. Paper is also porous, which helps protect the photograph from the accumulation of moisture in the atmosphere. Original photos can be stored in the combination of paper and plastic enclosures. For example storing a photograph in poor condition in an area with low humidity, but a lot of light might best be stored in a plastic enclosure which is further stored in paper. In a situation such as this, the plastic would make it easier to view the photograph without further damage while the paper's opaqueness helps protect the photograph from ultraviolet rays. Do not keep old photographs in frames where the photo touches the glass. There should be an air gap between the photo and the glass and the mat should be acid free. Keep the photo out of bright light. Dorris Harrison.

February 2006: Genealogy, Really Old and Really New

Sam Weldon discussed the "really new" and talked of his experience in using DNA matching as a tool in genealogy research. He has submitted his DNA through genealogy DNA resources and received back information on possible matches in his family line. He and another relative had been in contact with each other recognizing they shared a common ancestor, but had not yet discovered who that was. He discussed which markers were passed and traceable through maternal and paternal lines. A complicated subject, but one which can prove beneficial in genealogical research when it gets down to even more certain proof in establishing family linage. If it is good enough for Thomas Jefferson's ancestors it's good enough for us. Contact Sam for resources and more information.

"Really old" was presented by Betty Owen who gave a great presentation on genealogical research regarding Medieval England. She even gave those in attendance a ninety page spiral bound guide which she has compiled covering early English history, significant dates, perspectives and text of the Magna Carta, The Doomsday Book(s), facts about Oliver Cromwell, English Kings, a glossary of Roman, Celtic, Saxon and Viking terms, lists of sources where further information can be obtained and threaded her own family history through the pages. Nearly all of this was collected from the Internet; it is public information. What she did was provide a "genealogical interstate road map" for those who are researching early English genealogy and have no idea where they might be going. There were enough references and discussions about wars, castles, historic sites and royal intrigues to tease Anglo buffs into digging into all that history even if they never find an ancestor back there. Betty's booklet and gift was worth more than a full year's dues and sets the tone for an exciting year of EPGS membership. This is her property, put together at no small expense on her part. If there are interested members who are not able to attend meetings and want a copy, please let us know and we will see if there is a way in which one might be made available. JKM


The Will-Clayton Genealogical Library

This picture is the main Clayton Library building in Houston, Texas. I wanted to share some information about this library, as it has been my genealogical sanctuary for many years. Since we live in El Paso, this is not a location that we can reach in a short ride. However, it may be a location that may offer us some alternate opportunities when necessary.

The library is located at the corner of Caroline Street and Calumet in the Houston Museum District. It is close to the medical district and across from the Holocaust Museum. Although we are not sure we think it is now ranked as the 3rd largest genealogical library in the United States.

The building in the picture [right] is a two-story building. It contains all the US, states, and foreign collections (the foreign collections are pretty extensive), ready reference material, finding aids, map collection, CD-ROM collection and electronic catalog terminals. The library's microprint collection is located on the second floor. There are films of all soundex and all of the US Census's. Also there are microfilm copies of on old records of many county records by state.

Copies may be made downstairs at 15 cents per copy for books etc. Upstairs in the micro area the price is 25 cents per copy for the records. I believe they are coin operated only. Clayton sells debit cards for one dollar plus the debit card amount. As I recall I went with rolls of quarters, lots of money for my debit card and my lunch.

To the left of the main Clayton Library is a small parking lot and the Clayton Home and Library which houses the family history collection, the family history vertical file, and a collection of family charts. The Clayton home is a three story brick Georgian style house built in 1917 and designed by Birdsall P. Briscoe (I think this name means something if you are a Houstonian Architect). The house was the home of businessman and statesman William Lockhart Clayton and his wife Susan until 1958, when it was deeded to Houston for library use.

Houston Library System does offer some online services with the use of their Houston Public Library Power Card . We understand Texas residents can obtain a power card without a fee.

Here is a list of some of those services:

Directory of manuscript and primary source material across the United States. It contains the National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections (NUCMC) from 1959 to the present.

Biography and Genealogy Master Index
Index to millions of biographical sketches in thousands of reference books.

HeritageQuest Online (Provided by the Texas State Library's TEXSHARE program.)
U. S. Federal census records and other research materials for tracing family lineages.

Texas Digital Sanborn Maps (Provided by the Texas State Library's TEXSHARE program.)
Sanborn maps are large-scale plans of a city drawn at a scale of 50 feet to an inch. They were created to assist fire insurance companies as they assessed the risk associated with insuring a particular property.
Cont. page 7
Cont. from Page 6

WorldCat (Provided by the Texas State Library's TEXSHARE program.) Catalog of library materials owned by libraries around the world.

I think some of our web searchers may have just as good resources. I know that is probably better than HeritageQuest for census. Since Clayton is a reference library none of their books may be loaned through the inter-library system. More about the Houston Power Card: The online form must be filled out, printed and sent, along with a copy of your driver's license (or perhaps a utility bill) to prove Texas residency. A fee does apply of out-of-state residents. The website for this library is Their phone number is 832-393-2600. I hope you enjoy at least touring Will-Clayton's website and what they have to offer. Betty Owen
"Our ancestors are very good kind of folks, but they are the last people I should choose to have a visiting acquaintance with." Richard Brinsley Sheridan 1751-1816

El Paso Genealogical Society
Statement of Receipts and Disbursements
For the year ended December 31, 2005

Interest Income--------15.70
Cemetery Lists----------4.00
Other Receipts--------145.00
Total Receipts------$1288.70

Total Disbursements------------$ 851.21
Receipts over Disbursements----$ 439.49

Total Cash at 12-31-05-------$4,450.39

Early El Paso Marriages, 1880-1883

Dorris Harrison, EPGS member, provided the following list. It contains the first two pages of the first marriage
records kept in The El Paso County Court House and covers the period 1880-1883. According to Dorris, Jan
Armstrong made this list in 1965 from records found in a room in the courthouse where many record books were just
kept in stacks. Most of these books and records are now probably lost. Ms. Armstrong gave the list to Dorris "to
use as needed" and the RGR newsletter seems an appropriate place. JKM


John Adler to Teresa Chavez El Paso, Tx 25 Sep 1882
Henry B. Amity to Tomasa Ronquillo El Paso, Tx 18 Oct 1870 Rites, 25 Oct 1870
Roland Anderson to Lila Farland Hopkins El Paso, Tx 12 Aug 1884
Ezekiel Arkusch to Eda Meyer El Paso, Tx 15 Aug 1883
Benjamin Arms to Lizzie Giles El Paso, Tx 15 Jan 1871
Bentura Arro to Publa Valle El Paso, Tx 17 Aug 1872
John G. Atkinson to Juana Campbell El Paso, Tx 19 Nov 1875
P. C. Babb to Lena Rivers El Paso, Tx 17 Jul 1884
Samuel Balck to Sebera Segovia El Paso, Tx 4 Sep 1864
Francisco Barron to Josefa Valdez El Paso, Tx 2 Mar 1872
J. N. Barton to Mary. E. Powderly El Paso, Tx 1 Apr 1884
G. W. Bates to Martha Taggart El Paso, Tx 31 Jan 1882
Frank Baxter to Nestora Hernandez El Paso, Tx 7 Oct 1883
Albert M. Beebe to Nannie E. Miller El Paso, Tx 25 Mar 1883
I. B. Bennett to Grace E. Dunlap El Paso, Tx 8 Oct 1884
Juan Jose Beria to Librada Perez El Paso, Tx 8 Jul 1873
George Berlinger to Maria Ida Nunn El Paso, Tx 3 May 1882
Francisco Bernal to Bafufia Carina El Paso, Tx 18 May 1874
Robert B. Bias to Belinda Stevens El Paso, Tx 1 Aug 1882 (affadavit attached: Bias 21 yrs, Stevens 18 yrs)
Delores Bitts to Severano Hernandez El Paso, Tx 30 Aug 1871
Benjamin H. Blanchard to Mary F. Bryant El Paso, Tx 1 Feb 1882
M. E Bolding to Ella Gray, Ella El Paso, Tx 20 Jun 1884
A. A. Bonvier to Lulu Borcherding El Paso, Tx 19 Jun 1884
Crispin Borago to Delfina Loya El Paso, Tx 7 Nov 1874
A. E Boulet to Josefa Corlew El Paso, Tx 21 Jan 1872
M. A. Boyd to Clara N Stevens El Paso, Tx 13 Sep 1881
Benjamin Breham to Willie E. Rector El Paso, Tx 23 Dec 1880
Edward Brookrun to Sabina Carsus El Paso, Tx 29 Jan 1876 no return
Charles Henry Brooks to Amanda Washington El Paso, Tx 26 Jun 1871
Bartlet Brown to Teophilo Molina El Paso, Tx 13 Oct 1874
Thomas Brown to Lucie Parsons El Paso, Tx 28 Oct 1870
Harry Percy Brune to Minnie Piermont El Paso, Tx 2 Oct 1882
W. F. Bunts to Anna Devs El Paso, Tx 14 Oct 1882 Dens?
James P. Campbell to Lizzie Pike El Paso, Tx 10 Jun 1884
L. B. Caruthers to Hawthorn Hawthorn El Paso, Tx 11 Sep 1883
 To be continued