In April 1957, twenty-eight local genealogists met in the lecture hall
of the old Fort Worth Public Library and formed the Fort Worth Genealogical
Society. The first officers elected for a six months term were: Edna Perry
Deckler, President; E. Charles Hinckley, Vice President; Mrs. John M. Stiffler,
Secretary and John Gano, Treasurer. John Gano chaired a committee to begin
work on a charter and by-laws. The charter was approved in Austin as a non
profit organization in January 1959. There were over 100 charter members
and in the early years, membership came close to the 1,000 mark. Many of
these were out-of-state.
The guiding force behind the new society was Edna Perry Deckler, assisted
by Miss Frances Coldwell (the first librarian for the Genealogy Section of
the Fort Worth Public Library). Mrs. Deckler served as both President and
Editor of the Newsletter for five years until she resigned to lead another
new group - the Texas State Genealogical Society.
The Newsletter of the Society first consisted of one page, hand-addressed
by Mrs. Deckler. It grew over the years to some 15 pages and in 1967, went
to a periodical, issued five times annually, with the name Footprints. In
1968 the publication became a quarterly. Other editors have been Norma Rutledge
Grammer, Delores Miltenberger, Damon Veach, Betty Winchester and Mildred
Smith (co-editors); Lucille Miller, Barbara McLane, Catherine Gonzales, Barbara
Knox, Carol Drexel and currently, Rita Martin.
Over the years, the Society has donated thousands of books, manuscripts,
microfilms and other equipment to the Genealogy Department of the Fort Worth
Public Library. All books donated to the Society for review and/or advertising
in the quarterly, as well as all exchange publications are donated for use
by patrons of the Genealogy Department.
There have always been members who volunteer time and expertise in assisting
the staff at the Fort Worth Public Library. Classes for beginners have ranged
from help before regular meetings to an annual beginners' workshop to Saturday
In 1972, the Society had its first workshop. It featured a nationally
known speaker, Virginia Pope Livingston, who discussed research in Virginia.
Since that time, Spring Seminars have featured other well known genealogists
such as Brent Holcomb, Dr. George K. Sweitzer, Margaret Hoffman, Jo White
Lynn and Robert Scott Davis -- to name a few.
One of the Society's outstanding publications (no longer in print), is
"Old Northwest Texas - Historical - Statistical - Biographical, Navarro County,
1846-1860" compiled by Nancy Timmons Samuels and Barbara Roach Knox.