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               PAGE A-6 - HOUSTON COUNTY COURIER-THURSDAY, JULY 20, 2006

Citizen makes history easily available

By Sharron Randall

Reporter

   Billie Nichols Bennett of Latexo has been the TXGenWeb - Texas Geneal- ogy coordinator for almost two months.  She has completely redesigned and rebuilt the website for Houston County, Texas. (www.rootsweb. com/~TxHousto/), complete with addresses, biographies, calendar, photographs of historical places and houses and information, stories, and articles about cemeteries, churches, census, marriages, military and reunions.

   Mrs. Bennett is also the web coordinator for Garza and Nolan counties, having "adopted" the two counties because her search for ancestors in the Nichols family led her there.

   Once the website is reached, one can't help but notice that The Mike Basham Memorial TXGenWeb Project County of the Month award for June 2006 recognizes the efforts of Mrs. Bennett for providing outstanding resources and assistance to county visitors.

 

Billie Nichols Bennett

  

Every month, a user or Surfer surfs his/her specified counties and nominates the county that best meet's the criteria set up by a committee.

   A finalization group looks over each nomination and gives the top three choices to the committee chairperson who tallies them for the county to receive The Mike Basham Memorial TXGenWeb County of the Month Award.  Houston County has never before received the County of the Month Award since it's inception in 1997. 

    Only   after      Mrs. Bennett

 

retired from her income tax preparation business in her home office, did she become totally focused on the Nichols' genealogy.  She moved her computer from her old office and began researching surnames,  births,  deaths   and old records for any mention of her family.  She said that she is self-taught on the computer and that building a webpage has been a "real learning experience."  When she makes a mistake, she corrects it and goes forward.  She said that it's taken  her  about 1 1/2 years  to become proficient and she's "still learning."

   Mrs. Bennett discovered that her great-great-grandfather came to Houston County via the King's Highway or El Camino Real in 1836.  He kept a journal, which she's posted on the website.  She has somehow become focused on old photographs and tries to identify   people  and    places

while   there  are   still  people

 around who can remember dates and events pertinent to her ancestry.

   On the TXGenWeb, Mrs. Bennett  asks   users  to  share

their stories, articles, photos and so forth of their ancestors.  She lists links on the website and all one has to do is click on a particular link.

   She said that she has always been very fortunate to "find helpers" in sharing information about their ancestors and that she "keeps in mind their privacy;" she always asks before putting anything on the webpage.

    Her  interest  in  genealogy "sparked her desire" to design a web page as she often used the Internet and the TXGenWeb as a resource.

   Users will recognize surnames and history details of Houston County from the many historians who have, along with Mrs. Bennett, made history so easily assessable for those looking into the rich history of the county.