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Her Friends on the Internet

These are the responses from persons on the Augusta County mailing list when the announcement of Katherine Bushman's death was received. Anyone who would like to add other comments, please send a message to Carmen Finley.

Date: Wed, 21 Jan 1998 21:07:16 -0500
From: Vera Hailey <>
Subject: Re: Katherine Bushman....

Lisa E. Gregory wrote:


> Does anyone know if Katherine Bushman is still working as a researcher in Staunton, >Augusta County?

To Lisa and the rest of the list:

Unfortunately Mrs. Bushman passed away last month. I thought about posting to the list, but since it did not deal directly with genealogy, I decided not to. I guess it is hard to separate Katherine Bushman from genealogy, especially in Augusta Co.

She died Dec. 9, 1997 at Augusta Medical Center in Fishersville. She was 78. She spent much of life researching and cataloging local history. She was a certified genealogist and the authority on Augusta County families. She was a charter member and past president of the Augusta County Historical Society and past regent of the Thomas Hughart Chapter of the DAR.

For those who wish to express their sympathy to the family, cards of condolence may be sent to her husband: William Bushman, 12 Taylor Street, Staunton, VA 24401.


Date: Wed, 21 Jan 1998 19:15:54 -0800
From: Norma Lewis <>
Subject: Katherine Bushman

Thank you, Vera, That was a nice on-line epithet for Katherine Bushman. Many people who have researched in Augusta County over the years should remember her. She copied my photostat copy of the Koiner History for me in 1975 from a copy borrowed from a Casper Coiner descendant in Staunton. When I visited Waynesboro in 1980 I was able to say hello to her in the courthouse in Staunton but she was so busy showing people where specific records could be found she didn't have time to stop and talk. I always thought she should have been called Ms. Augusta County, she knew the history of that county intimately. In the brief conversation I had with Katherine I learned quickly the basic truths of genealogy research which it seems to take newbies so long to learn. Your research family is important only to you and any question can be answered eventually in bits and pieces. Katherine's words to me were, "you have to be determined and just keep at it". Sounds like a general bit of fluff talk but a serious genealogist knows just what she meant. Sometimes it seems years go by and you don't learn anything new, then suddenly all the bits and pieces begin to fall into place. Patience is what Katherine was preaching to me and what I continue to pass on to others. She has certainly earned her peace but I will miss her.

Norma Lewis

Date: Wed, 21 Jan 1998 2:36
From: Poopsie214 <>
Subject: Katherine Bushman

Dear Group,

I never had the pleasure of meeting Katherine Bushman, but she certainly played a very large part in my research of my families in Augusta Co. On the info I received about my researching her name always appeared. Wouldn't it be fitting if Augusta Co saw fit to name a Library after her.

Shirley Harvey Michael

Date: Wed, 21 Jan 1998 23:53:33 -0600
From: Larry Hoefling <>
Subject: Katherine Bushman

Like so many others, I was most appreciative of the efforts extended on my behalf by Mrs. Bushman -- on more than one occasion. When I first spoke with her on the phone some years ago, and mentioned I was researching Hustons in Augusta County, she immediately reeled off a list of names and places.

I was just beginning then, and grasping at straws. Katherine immediately gave me handfuls. The research she had completed years before became the starting point for my searching in Augusta County. People were amazed at the speed with which I found my ancestors -- it was simple when someone had supplied the road map.

Augusta County researchers have indeed lost a treasure. I hope there is a place among the books and archives of Augusta County where her name might be recorded for posterity, in a manner that will indicate the many names she researched, and the many lives she touched.

Larry Hoefling




Date: Thu, 22 Jan 1998 12:04:15 -0800 (PST)
"Norma F. Jennings" <>
Subject: Katharine Bushman

It is with great sadness that I receive the news that Katharine Bushman has passed on. She was indeed a walking encyclopedia on Augusta County genealogy. Whenever any one questioned me about Augusta County information, I invariably said, "I received this from Katharine Bushman, and I am sure it is right." I even sent her a copy of my Fulton Manuscripts when I put them together and she went through them for me and made notes as to additional information or more accurate interpretation so any of you who are using the Fulton Manuscripts are indebted to Katharine.

Norma F. Jennings

Date: Thu, 22 Jan 1998 10:41:07 -0800
From: Diana Powell <>
Subject: Katherine Bushman

I would like to add my thoughts to those already expressed in memory of Mrs. Bushman. Several years ago I wrote the Augusta County Courthouse, requesting copies of some old records. I received a polite reply that they were not available for copying. Imagine my surprise a week later when the copies appeared in an envelope in my mail box - Katherine had taken it upon herself to locate, copy and mail them to me!

I will be forever grateful as the records provided many insights into my family history. Her thoughtfulness was appreciated, not only by myself, but also by the other researchers I have been able to share them with.

I, too, hope something is done to acknowledge her dedication, and the encouragement she sent to so many of us fledgling researchers. Should there be something appropriate designated in her memory I will be very pleased to support it.

Diana Powell

Date: Thu, 22 Jan 1998 13:29:33 -0600
From: Larry Hoefling <>
Subject: K .Bushman Memorial Fund

Hello all:

FYI...there is already a memorial fund organized by the Staunton friends of the library group, intended to honor the late Katherine Bushman. You may contribute to this cause by making your check to:

Staunton Library Foundation

Katherine Bushman Memorial

1 Churchville Avenue

Staunton, VA 24401

Larry Hoefling

BA Oklahoma

Date: Thu, 22 Jan 1998 15:24:14 -0500 (EST)
From: O KASEY <>
Subject: Re: K. Bushman Memorial Fund

I'm happy to hear about the memorial fund. Mrs. Bushman had sent me some information recently on my Graham line------I'd sent a check for time and copies, she sent it back and requested stamps, which I'd not gotten around to sending----- I'll send something to the memorial fund instead......

Thanks for the information.


Date: Thu, 22 Jan 1998 19:20:16 -0500 (EST)
From: Joemac1938 <>
Subject: Re; Katherine Bushman

Greetings all.

It's a shame my first post to this group has to be in regards to the passing of Ms. Bushman. I met her 2 years ago when researching my ancestor (Robert McClenachan). I not only received a great deal of assistance from her regarding the records at the Courthouse, but she allowed me to "Borrow" a large folder of information on my ancestors and wander off to copy it for only a very minimal fee. Her first remark to me when we met was "Well, I see you've changed the spelling of the name." I have suggested her name to several people over the last 2 years for assistance in the Augusta County area and a couple of them wrote back explaining how helpful; she had been. There is no doubt in my mind she will be sorely missed, not only from the genealogical aspect, but by her many friends and relatives as well.

Joe McClenahan

Date: Thu, 22 Jan 1998 18:04:49 -0700
From: "Robert E. Gibson" <>
Subject: A dear freind of the people

I am saddened to hear of the passing of Mrs. Bushman. She help me greatly in sorting out my Young family. God bless her and we will sorely miss her.

Bob Gibson

Date: Thu, 22 Jan 1998 20:51:12 -0500 (EST)
From: Joanna6 <>
Subject: Katharine Bushman

I too feel compelled to post to this list for the first time in order to add to the accolades of a woman who so freely and expertly helped we floundering genealogists.

She went out of her way to provide me with a copy of a marriage bond that those working in the Augusta Co. Courthouse were unable to locate. Her explanation: they were "new" on the job. I will ever be indebted to her for the information that she gave to me from her personal file on my Moneymaker family. Augusta Co. has lost a wonderful asset in Mrs. Bushman's good will services.

Debbie Turner

Date: Thu, 22 Jan 1998 23:11:56 -0500
From: Vera Hailey <>
Subject: Re: Katharine Bushman

Carmen et al,

I think a commemorative page is a great idea. Many local people had the good fortune of being able to take her 4-session genealogy class that was offered yearly here in Staunton. It was free - offered as a community service by the library. I reported on one of the classes for the newspaper that I write for - Augusta Country - and it was well-received.

She showed us the resources in the library genealogy room, gave us pointers and took us to the courthouse.

In an area where one is still considered an "outsider" after living in the area for a whole generation, Mrs. Bushman really made a mark. Some people assumed that she was a native of Augusta Co., but she was born in Missouri.


Date: Fri, 23 Jan 1998 00:24:45 -0700
From: Dixie Hansen <>
Subject: Katharine Bushman

I'm another one who Katharine Bushman "saved." I've never ever hired researchdone (before or since)... mostly because I enjoy struggling through it myself...but, about 10 years ago I couldn't get anywhere with my Henderson family in Augusta County from a chair in Minnesota... and I was getting frustrated. I knew it required research in the original records and I couldn't make the trip.

Somebody gave me Katharine's name and she came through with the goods big time - professionally compiled and well documented. I couldn't have done what she did in a month of Sundays! (Of course, it wouldn't help that the courthouse would be closed on Sundays). Her expertise and careful attention to details were stamped on every piece of paper she sent me.

She was a treasure and, it's clear, she'll be missed.

Dixie Hansen

Date: Fri, 23 Jan 1998 07:31:19 -0500 (EST)
From: LWilson181 <>
Subject: Katherine Bushman

I am sorry that I never learned of this valuable resource that many of you knew and/or used as a resource.

Perhaps a fitting tribute would be a "living" memorial of sorts. It would take a lot of time and effort, but perhaps some people that she helped could get together and commission the programming of a web site which contains all of her documented information. Then, her data would still be available in a form that many of us could "tap."

Larry W.

Date: Fri, 23 Jan 1998 11:00:11 -0800
From: "Jean T. Gillett" <>
Subject: Re: Katherine Bushman

Larry -- A big concern on my mind since hearing of her death has been what's going to happen to her files now that she's gone. I have copies of a number of lines, but I think she had research folders on nearly every early family in "original" Augusta Co.

The LDS church will send in a team to microfilm such collections for permanent preservation in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City if the family or repository is willing for this to be done. Does anyone know if she made provision for disposition of her genealogical material? I am not LDS, but do have contacts and know the procedures.

The web page would be a terrific idea, again if the family is agreeable. I already have several of the files transcribed which could be easily updated. There would probably be other volunteers. I would like to check with Elizabeth Roderick of LVA to see if they could give space to such a project. Her files are voluminous and preparing them for a web page would involve a lot of labor. I think one would want the project housed on a server which has the greatest likelihood of remaining active over the years. The other possibility would be scanning the papers such as LVA has done with their finding aids and some of their microfilm.

These two possibilities for preservation of her research material are not mutually exclusive. Microfilming would insure as close to "permanent" preservation as is presently possible, whereas scanning for Web use would insure ready access.

Are there any members of this list who are located in or near Staunton? I am certainly willing to contribute in any way which may be useful.

Jean Gillett

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