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
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.