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Van Zandt County Genealogical Society


March Program

Wilhelm Waerenskjold, an early pioneer of Van Zandt County, will be the subject of the program during the Van Zandt County Genealogical Society meeting scheduled for Saturday, March 28, 2 p.m. at the main county library's Buchannan Room.
The guest speaker will be Charles H. Russell who will share some details about the life of Wilhelm Waerenskjold, the illegitimate son of a Norwegian military officer. As a young man Wilhelm fell into a life of crime, and Elise, his future wife, found him in the workhouse penitentiary in Oslo and brought him with her to Texas. They settled in Four Mile Priarie in the 1840's where they ran a successful livestock ranch together.
Charles Russell was born in Paris, France, and educated through high school in Europe as well as America.. He is a combat veteran of World War II, having flown thirty-three heavy bomber missions over Germany.
A resident of the northeast until he came to Texas in 1992, Russell earned his BA at Dartmouth College and MA and PhD degrees at Columbia University in New York City. He taught at Boston University and Columbia University, served as Dean of Mattaluck Community College in Connecticut, and taught in Houston colleges and universities.
"Russell published four books during his academic career, and three in recent years. In 2005 his "Undaunted: A Norwegian Woman in Frontier Texas," the first full biography of Elise Waerenskjold during her Texas years, was published. "Light on the Prairie," a collection of Elise Waerenskjold's unpublished writings, was published in 2010. His current book, "Wilhelm," has just been released.
The genealogical society meets the fourth Saturday of every month except December at the main county library. Visitors are warmly welcomed.



For further information on society membership, activities or the annual seminar, contact the Library of Genealogy and Local History at (903) 567-5012, or visit the library located in the courthouse annex in Canton.
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.

Library of Genealogy and Local History

Society members man and support the Library of Genealogy and Local History, an off-site department of the main county library, where members of the public can use to do genealogical and local history research at no charge. Volunteer librarians are always on duty to provide expert assistance.


Society meetings are held the fourth Saturday of each month at the main county library, 2 p.m., with a variety of speakers presenting educational programs throughout the year. Visitors are always welcomed, and refreshments are served.


Jan Crow is the society's President and Laurie McDonald is the Program Chairman. If anyone has an idea for a program, please let us know. Suggestions may be mailed to the Van Zandt County Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 1388, Canton, TX 75103, or by emailing the Society.


Van Zandt County Genealogical Society Officers and Board Members for 2015

President: Jan Crow

1st Vice President and Program Chairman: Laurie McDonald

2nd Vice President and Membership Chairman: Nancy Robertson

Recording Secretary: Sandra Jones

Corresponding Secretary: Shirley Fuller

Treasurer: Scott Fitzgerald

Public Relations: Sibyl Creasey

Parliamentarian: Beth Gordon

Quarterly Editor: Laurie McDonald

Members at large: Donna Carter and Sherrie Archer


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This page last updated 24 March 2015

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