Washington County Arkansas Genealogical Society
It is the objective of the Washington County Arkansas Genealogical Society to collect and preserve genealogical and historical information with a focus on Washington County, Arkansas. We wish to encourage and provide training to those interested. We champion ethical and accurate research and publication of genealogical and historical information.
It’s a Brand New Year
The holidays are over, and the decorations are put away for another year. The radio and the mall are no longer playing Christmas carols. The turkey leftovers disappeared long ago, and even the last of the candy is gone! On January 8th the first meeting for WCAGS was held and new officers were installed for the year. Carol Reel, the out-going president officiated at this as her last official Presidential duty.
Carol’s remarks reminded us of why we do this -why we spend our time studying genealogy and family history. Some people think it is just a waste of time. To those, we could certainly answer that they just don’t get it. Carol quoted and paraphrased the 12th Century scholastic Bernard de Chartres, who said, “We stand… on the shoulders of giants,” and they deserve to be remembered. By remembering them, we encourage the current generation to continue with what those giants have done.
The officers for 2005 are:
Cheri Coley – President
Lisa Carper – Vice President
Jeanne Tackett – Secretary
Barbara Lewis – Treasurer
Marcia Connors – Program/ Historian.
We congratulate the 2005 officers, and send a heartfelt thank you to Carol Reel who has served as President for the last 2 years. This organization owes her more than can be told for her faithful and persistent guidance and support as we struggled to become a vital and functional genealogical organization.
THANK YOU, CAROL!
New Year’s Resolutions
“Never put off until tomorrow…” is a fine, old adage, surely, but it is easier said than done. We all know that procrastination can be damaging. Postponing those family interviews with the older family members until it they have died is one of the most common laments heard from genealogy researchers. George G. Morgan at Ancestry Daily News has a word for it. Procrastilate – to put off something until it is too late to do anything about it.
Deferring the filing of the documents and other evidence we’ve acquired during the course of research hurts when it causes us to omit facts from consideration as we develop hypotheses for further research. However, the worst case of procrastilation is what we do–or don’t do–with the source information in our databases and files. This is the subject of the ultimate, genealogy New Year’s resolution
• I Will Properly Assess the Value and Weight of Evidence
There’s no way we can properly conduct genealogical research if we don’t continually focus on the evidence we acquire. There are two, very basic and important methods of assessing the materials. First, is it a primary source or a secondary source? And second, is it an original document (or exact facsimile such as a photocopy, certified copy, or a scanned image) or a derivative document (one that has been transcribed, extracted, or abstracted and therefore subject to the introduction of errors). Other considerations that need to be dealt with include why the document was created, who created it, whether it is reliable and accurate, and whether there may have been any bias associated with the content. We should always maintain focus on the value, authenticity and veracity of the evidence we uncover. These elements are essential in determining the proper weight given to the evidence as we develop hypotheses and reach scholarly conclusions about an ancestor’s life events.
• I Will Keep Track of My Research
If you’re like most genealogy researchers, you don’t keep as careful track of what you have already researched as you should. This often leads to duplicate research, but, more often, it results in the omission of important sources. A simple research calendar can be an invaluable tool. You can create a research calendar (or log) for one ancestor or a whole family or define another research group that helps you stay organized. You can also create a computerized spreadsheet in Excel or another program with columns that better reflect your research style and informational needs. The benefit of using a spreadsheet is that, if you design it properly, you can sort the information by date, by surname/first name, location, repository, or some other quick reference.
• The Ultimate New Year’s Resolution
While all of the things discussed above represent best practices for conducting scholarly research, there is one notable omission that most researchers have made over the years. It is the failure to create and enter meaningful source citations in our records. Regardless of whether you are still using a paper-based system or are using a genealogical database program, if you acquire evidence but do not enter the source citation into your records, you have crippled your own research. You weaken yourself by always having to go searching for the documentary evidence to determine if it is primary vs. secondary, original vs. derivative, and high quality vs. perhaps not-so-great. You also lose track of where you obtained the materials. Therefore, the ultimate New Year’s Resolution for 2005 should be to stop “procrastilating” and start entering your source citations into your system. That may first mean filing the documentary evidence you already have and then developing a plan.
• Success Is at Your Fingertips!
Here’s where another “P” word comes in: perseverance. Sure, this can be a daunting project but it is one that can be undertaken when you want to work on your genealogy but can’t travel, or when you just have a few minutes here and there. The results will be wonderful. You will have a better overall understanding of just what evidence you have in your entire database and will become better acquainted with your ancestors and collateral lines. You’ll be able to produce a more scholarly database with content that you can refer to quickly without having to do an archaeological excavation in the piles of unfiled materials. You’ll also be able to quickly respond to other researchers’ queries of “Where did you find that information?” Your sources will be right at your fingertips.
This is an excellent New Year’s resolution that can become a primary project to help pass the winter doldrums. I hope you will accept this ultimate challenge to make a clean sweep and get your genealogical database and sources in top condition before your next genealogical research trip or vacation. Happy New Year! [Excerpted and paraphrased from Ancestry Daily News. George C. Morgan, author, Copyright 2005, MyFamily.com]
New Year/ New Directions
Did you notice our new logo on the first page of the newsletter? It was designed by Lisa Carper. For those of you who don’t know where Washington County is or are not local to the area, the county highlighted in red is Washington County. Also included on the front page is our mission statement. Both the logo and the mission statement reflect the direction that WCAGS is taking. There will be more new and exciting things throughout the year. One of our first projects is to develop and maintain an educational program. When the details are fully determined, our membership, acting as volunteers, will conduct Beginning Genealogy classes that will be open to the public. On the website, we are adding places for family histories and photos along with a surname index. We will also be adding additional Washington County records’ indexes and cemetery information.
We are also in the process of writing a history of WCAGS and of Washington County which will be placed on the website so that the information is available to all researchers. These are just a few of the things to come in 2005!
Our February meeting will be on February 13th. Catherine Foster, a WCAGS member, will present a program on her Cherokee heritage. Come join us for what is sure to be an interesting and exciting program. The March program will be presented by Ray Niblock addressing 17th and 18th Century legalese and customs. If you have a question about certain words, actions, etc. from reading wills, probates, court and land documents, you will really want to hear this program.
Let your genealogy come alive in 2005!
Celebrating 100 Years of the Washington County Courthouse!
“May 7, 1905: In the presence of 2000 people, the corner stone of the courthouse was laid Saturday afternoon.” The following people were listed as participating in the laying of the cornerstone.
J.F. Mayes, W.T. Nesbit, Frank Hill, A.H. Perdue, Otey Miller, J. W. Massingale, T.W. Clark, E. W. Lucas, Rev. J. E. Denham, Congressman Hugh A. Dinsmore, S. L. Marrs (contractor) and County Judge William Williams.
WCAGS is currently researching these participants to determine if any of their descendents are still living in Washington County. If you are a descendent or know of any descendents of these men, please let us know. Contact us by email, thru the website or by land mail.
Email: email@example.com. Website: www.rootsweb.com/~arwcags. Address: WCAGS, P.O. Box 41, Fayetteville AR 72702-0041.
100 Years Ago or Thereabouts
The Fayetteville Daily, December 24, 1904
Squire Wallace Killed
Squire Wallace, who lived the other side of White River near Gabbert’s ford, was shot and killed last night by a young man named Price. There was a dance at Wallace’s house and a number of men got tanked up on Christmas whiskey. There had been bad feeling between Wallace and Price for some time and when Price entered Wallace’s house last night and reprimanded a man who, it is alleged had spoken disrespectfully of his daughter, Wallace ordered him, Price, to leave the house. The intruder immediately went out but Wallace followed him with a club two feet ten inches long and two inches in diameter.
He swung at Price as he vaulted the fence but missed him and knocked off the caps of two pailings. He still pursued and clubbed him, once over the head and once across the chest. Price’s son, Will, a youth of 18 was standing nearby with a shotgun, he raised the gun and fired over the head of his father’s assailant; Wallace then turn and advanced upon the boy, telling him with an oath that he would kill him, whereupon young Price shot him through the body. The tragedy occurred at eleven o’clock last night and the wounded man lived until 5:30 this morning. The officers failed to arrest Will Price, but his father promised to bring him in and deliver him this afternoon.
Editor’s Note: There has been no editing in the transcription of the above article.
From the Beginning
Washington County was established in 1828, and Fayetteville was chosen as the capital site. It was first called Washington Courthouse. Because of confusion arising over the fact that there was another Washington in Southern Arkansas (near the present day city of Hope) and a “spark of love still burning” in the hearts of two of the commissioners for their home town of Fayetteville, Tennessee, the postmaster general heeded the request and Fayetteville, Arkansas began going out into the world as a postmark.
Lewis Evans, Larkin Newton, Samuel Vaughan and John Woody were commissioners who located Fayetteville as the capital site. Standing where there was to be located the town square, they were no doubt impressed by the majestic setting: the piling ramparts of the Boston Range to the south, the sturdy shoulders of Sequoyah to the east and the Kessler’s loftier lookouts to the west. Spreading north to the rim of their vision was the garden of the Ozarkian Plateau. Tradition says that most of the site was grass grown prairie, with timber growing only along the branches of creeks and rivers flowing from the springs at different points. This beautiful description was written by William S. Campbell in 1928. [One Hundred Years of Fayetteville 1828-1928]
To the End
In closing, I want to remind all of you that the Washington County Arkansas Genealogical Society year runs from January to January, so it is time to renew your memberships for the new year. Enclosed you will find an application for your convenience. On the back of the application is a questionnaire that we would like you to complete. Please return the application and your check for applicable dues to WCAGS, PO BOX 41, Fayetteville AR 72702-0041. Thank you all for your support and commitment in the past. Together we can keep this society going and growing.
Take care and happy hunting.
Editor, Family Links