~~~ Celebrating 50 Years, 1957-2007 ~~~

Presentation Gavel

History of the
Fort Worth Genealogical Society

In April 1957, twenty-eight local genealogists met in the lecture hall of the old Fort Worth Public Library and formed the Fort Worth Genealogical Society. The first officers elected for a six months term were: Edna Perry Deckler, President; E. Charles Hinckley, Vice President; Mrs. John M. Stiffler, Secretary and John Gano, Treasurer. John Gano chaired a committee to begin work on a charter and by-laws. The charter was approved in Austin as a non profit organization in January 1959. There were over 100 charter members and in the early years, membership came close to the 1,000 mark. Many of these were out-of-state.

The guiding force behind the new society was Edna Perry Deckler, assisted by Miss Frances Coldwell (the first librarian for the Genealogy Section of the Fort Worth Public Library). Mrs. Deckler served as both President and Editor of the Newsletter for five years until she resigned to lead another new group - the Texas State Genealogical Society.

The Newsletter of the Society first consisted of one page, hand-addressed by Mrs. Deckler. It grew over the years to some 15 pages and in 1967, went to a periodical, issued five times annually, with the name Footprints. In 1968 the publication became a quarterly. Other editors have been Norma Rutledge Grammer, Delores Miltenberger, Damon Veach, Betty Winchester and Mildred Smith (co-editors); Lucille Miller, Barbara McLane, Catherine Gonzales, Barbara Knox, Carol Drexel and currently, Rita Martin.

Over the years, the Society has donated thousands of books, manuscripts, microfilms and other equipment to the Genealogy Department of the Fort Worth Public Library. All books donated to the Society for review and/or advertising in the quarterly, as well as all exchange publications are donated for use by patrons of the Genealogy Department.

There have always been members who volunteer time and expertise in assisting the staff at the Fort Worth Public Library. Classes for beginners have ranged from help before regular meetings to an annual beginners' workshop to Saturday workshops.

In 1972, the Society had its first workshop. It featured a nationally known speaker, Virginia Pope Livingston, who discussed research in Virginia. Since that time, Spring Seminars have featured other well known genealogists such as Brent Holcomb, Dr. George K. Sweitzer, Margaret Hoffman, Jo White Lynn and Robert Scott Davis -- to name a few.

One of the Society's outstanding publications (no longer in print), is "Old Northwest Texas - Historical - Statistical - Biographical, Navarro County, 1846-1860" compiled by Nancy Timmons Samuels and Barbara Roach Knox.

FWGS Presidents' Plaque

FWGS Presidents

Edna Perry Deckler (deceased) 1957-1961
Chalmers Hutchison (deceased) 1962-1963
Christopher Larkin 1964-1966
Eleanor (Mrs. Billy Couts) Hutcheson 1967-1969
Weldon Hudson (deceased) 1970-1973
Nelita (Mrs. C. B.) Snow 1974-1976
Paul Campbell (deceased) 1977-1980
Geraldine West (deceased) 1981-1982
Marc B. Smith, Jr.


Barbara (Mrs. Rogers) McLane (deceased)


Patricia Chadwell Jackson (deceased)


W. A. Satterwhite, Jr. (deceased) 1986-1987
Olyve Abbott


Dr. Donald Martin


Jim McMillen 1990-1991
Rob G. Yoder


Robert Borland (deceased) 1993-1994
Joe  F. Grant (deceased)


Dixie Hall Bennett (deceased) 1996-1997
Jari Emmons


Pat Gordon 1999-2000
Eleanor (Mrs. Billy Couts) Hutcheson 2001-2002
Rob G. Yoder 2003-2004
Donald H. Crews 2005-2006
Virginia Brown


Rob G. Yoder


Debbie Pearson


FWGS History - Page 2 - Boards of Directors, 1957 to Present

FWGS History - Page 3 - Charter Membership List, 1957

FWGS History - Page 4 - Early Membership Ledger

Obituaries and Memorials of Fallen Members


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