Van Zandt County Genealogical Society
P.O. Box 1388, Canton, TX 75103

Vol. VII, No. 7...... E Newsletter ............Editor: Sibyl Creasey

August 2014

August Program

Genealogical resources at the Texas General Land Office will be the program topic for the Van Zandt County Genealogical Society meeting on Saturday, 2 p.m., August 23 at the main county library located on First Monday Lane in Canton.
Laurel Neuman of the archives and records division in the land office in Austin will be the featured speaker. Although she grew up in Arlington, she has significant family ties to Van Zandt County. Her grandmother, Nannette Atkins, a long time resident of Van, was well known throughout the county, and her father graduated from Van High School.
Neuman graduated in 2008 from Texas State University San Marcos with a bachelor's degree in History and she is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Public History at Texas State University.
After graduating, she began working in the scanning department of the Archives and Records program area at the Texas General Land Office. Over the last 6 years she has studied many aspects of the collection and she now works in the research room where she assists customers with their research questions. She also gives in-house tours to groups and travels to speak about the records and resources available at the GLO.
The genealogical society meets the fourth Saturday in every month except December in the Buchanan Room of the main county library. Visitors are always warmly welcomed.
For further information on society membership or activities, contact the Library of Genealogy and Local History at (903) 567-5012. Library hours are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, with extended hours on Thursday until 6 p.m., and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays.

Annual Seminar!

The Van Zandt County Genealogical Society's program chairman, Ellen Wheeler of Canton, has announced that plans are being finalized for the group's annual all-day seminar scheduled for September 27 from 8:30 to 3:30 at St. Therese Catholic Church Fellowship Hall located at 14786 FM 859 S., Canton, TX.
John Seller of Hopkins County, a well-known genealogist and lecturer, will be the featured speaker. His topics will include "Researching Your Ancestor's Plot of Dirt, the Adventures of Courthouse Land Research" and "With or Without a Will, There is a way!" This lecture takes a hard look at probate research. Other topics will be "Researching Newspapers in Cyberspace and Beyond!" and "Learning Where Your Ancestors Played, Prayed, Lived and Died." This lecture shows how to go beyond dates to put ancestors in actual situations and places.
To register for the seminar, send a check or money order for $35 to the Van Zandt County Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 1388, Canton, TX 75103. The fee includes a continental breakfast and a catered luncheon by Annette Hicks. When registering by mail include up to six names being researched.
Registrations are also being taken at the Library of Genealogy and Local History, located at the courthouse annex in Canton. Library hours are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, with extended hours every Thursday until 6 p.m., and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays.
For further information on the seminar or other society activities, call the genealogy library at (903) 567-5012.


Sacred Harp Book Published!

"Sacred Harp: Minutes of the Central Texas Musical Conventions" has been completed and published. This volume includes names of singers from all parts of Texas. The conventions took place in Van Zandt and Henderson counties. The years covered by these minutes were from 1892-1930 but also includes two modern years of 1981-82.
Many obituaries, some never before published, news articles and additional information about singers are also included in this book which is available for purchase by sending a check or money order for $25 plus $4 for shipping and handling to the Van Zandt County Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 1388, Canton, TX 75103. It can also be purchased by visiting the Library of Genealogy and Local History. If purchased at the library the cost of mailing does not apply.
The value of this book can't be underestimated. It puts "flesh on the bones" of our ancestors. It provides a picture of how they spent their spare time and who their associates, friends and relatives were. Families and neighbors took part in monthly "singings" as well as in the annual singing conventions. Singers married singers and their children became singers.
Society member Benja Pittman Mize did a wonderful job of transcribing and typing these old faded and worn minutes. Some of the pages were literally falling apart. Many of her ancestors are included in the book. In fact, they were prominent leaders. And she keeps up the tradition of Sacred Harp by attending the annual conventions of today. Benja's skill as a typist is only surpassed by her skill as a singer!

"Our Heritage"

Quarterly Editor Laurie McDonald is currently working on the August issue of "Our Heritage." She is new to this position and doing such a great job! Submissions of family stories are really needed since the board voted to return to a 40-page quarterly. And we are now able to include family photos and/or county photos. So, if your would like to submit material, please email to Laurie at:

Remember, Dues Were Due in January!!


Also, don't forget the quarterly still runs queries. If you have one you would like to post, please email to:
Submit as many as you want, no limit to members and non-members alike. Include dates and names, and don't forget your own mailing address. A connection to this county is preferred but not mandatory.
When submitting queries, please remember to include names, places, dates and some known information about the family.
You can still join the society if you are not already a member. Only $10 per year for an individual or $12 for a family. Please add $5 for joining now because of the cost of mailing back quarterlies.
Holly Springs Cemetery Restoration Project
Society member Rhonda Daniel McClune is on the board of the Holly Springs Cemetery Association. She has announced that the board has launched a restoration campaign specifically targeted for the repair of old and broken tombstones. This cemetery is an historic one located in the Martin's Mill area of the county.
The board is seeking donations to fund part of the restoration effort. For further information and directions for donations, contact Rhonda at:


Please visit our websites when researching Van Zandt County. You might find a bit of information or a clue:

Attention Researchers!

We are repeating the "Do's and Don'ts" for researchers requesting information. We are still having a problem with researchers sending multiple emails to multiple people in Van Zandt County. This is a no-no, unless all the recipients are notified that the researcher is requesting information from several people.
DO: Be very brief and specific with what you need or what you are looking for. But give as much information as you know and tell us what you don't know. It is also a waste of our time to look for information that you already have!
DON'T send the same request for assistance to more than one person! This is a major waste of time.
DON'T send a request from one email address and expect a reply to another address. This is too cumbersome and the material becomes scattered.
DO send a mailing address with your request. We may decide that what you need is too general and a query in the quarterly might be more beneficial. On the other hand, we might find great information in abundance and it wastes time asking for your mailing address.
DON'T send a request from an email address that blocks replies! That is not very productive.
THANK YOU for your cooperation! We are always very happy to help with your research!

We really do enjoy helping researchers so if you need any assistance whatsoever, please contact us.

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