Monthly Archives: December 2010

Ten Reasons to Join a Local Genealogy Society

by Kathleen W. Hinckley, CGRS


“But my ancestors are not from this area, so why should I join the local genealogical society?” 

Are you guilty of this “why should I join” attitude? I know I was several years ago when I moved to Colorado. My ancestors were from Minnesota, Ohio, New York, Denmark, and Sweden. None of my ancestors were gold miners or pioneers who may have trekked across the Rocky Mountains. So I, too, wondered why I should join the Colorado Genealogical Society.

Eventually, someone convinced me to attend a meeting of the local society. Little did I know that my life as a genealogist would never be the same. I found a group of passionate family historians who were eager to share their experiences and knowledge. It did not matter that our ancestors were from different parts of the world. In fact, most members did not have Colorado roots.

So why, you ask, did a simple genealogical society membership impact my life as a genealogist? Here are ten reasons:

1. I was no longer alone.

Until I discovered the network of local genealogists, I was researching within a vacuum. I had no idea there were more than 300 genealogists within a few miles of my home. I could now share my passion with other like individuals. More important, I plugged into a network that alerted me to the latest products, news, and educational opportunities locally and nationwide.

2. I learned new research skills.

The guest speakers at monthly meetings and annual workshops taught me how to prepare a research plan, how to evaluate evidence, and techniques to discover new sources.

3. I learned how to evaluate genealogical software.

One of the most frustrating decisions for a genealogist is deciding upon the right software for their specific needs. Our society created a Computer Interest Group and sponsored educational seminars and hands-on learning workshops. Without their guidance and instruction, I would have floundered within the world of computer genealogy.

4. I improved my skills in reading old handwriting.

My personal research included transcribing old documents, but until I became involved in a society project, I didn’t realize that my skills were elementary.

5. I learned from other members.

Our society encouraged members to share their latest breakthrough or discovery at our local meetings. This sharing was not only fun, but gave me ideas on how to solve my own brick wall research problems.

6. I gained an appreciation of other local societies.

While abstracting or indexing Colorado records, I realized that volunteers in Ohio or Denmark might be indexing some records pertinent to my own ancestry. Genealogists helping one another in this manner is one of the most significant gifts we receive within this unique hobby.

7. I gained experience in using a new record type.

I volunteered to be the “society genealogist” which meant I answered Colorado research inquiries. Many of the questions could be answered through city directory research. Since my ancestors were mostly farmers, I did not have experience with this record type. Had I not volunteered to answer the society’s mail, I may never have learned the value of directories.

8. I developed leadership skills.

As an active and involved member, you will ultimately be given opportunities to participate in the leadership of the organization. While serving on committees and board member positions, I developed skills that would be valuable in future state and national leadership roles.

9. I did not find a cousin, but someone else did.

I’m always amazed at the odd connections that are made at meetings. For example, someone will casually mention they are researching the Watson family in Kentucky. Another member will answer that they are too. After comparing notes, they discover they are related six generations back into time. Believe me, it happens more often than you may think. Members will also find others researching the same geographical area and can help each other with resources, etc.

10. I developed lifelong friendships.

Common interests create friendships, and I have gathered many through genealogical connections. Can you imagine what it might be like if you didn’t have an understanding genealogical friend to call when you make a major discovery or solve the problem you’ve been working on for several years?

How to Find a Genealogical Society

There are hundreds of genealogical societies throughout the United States. To find one near you, visit the Society Hall developed by and the Federation of Genealogical Societies. The Society Hall is an excellent place to begin your search, with contact information on over 500 societies. The Society Hall also features a Calendar of Events arranged chronologically. There may be a genealogical activity planned in your area that you can attend, or one on your vacation route.

The Historical and Genealogical Society Pages, arranged geographically, are also an excellent resource for locating a society near you.

Cyndi’s List has over 3,000 links to societies and groups. The list is indexed alphabetically by the name of the society, rather than geographically.

The fourth edition (1999) of The Genealogist’s Address Book by Elizabeth Petty Bentley gives contact information on over 25,000 libraries and repositories, including genealogical societies.

The Federation of Genealogical Societies also has a Guide for the Organization and Management of Genealogical Societies. It has advice on how to start a society and keep it running.

Beyond the Local Society

The personal benefits of joining a local society are quite different than reasons to join out-of-state or other types of genealogical organizations. When you cannot attend local meetings, the obvious benefit is receiving the society’s publications. One of the primary goals of local societies is to index, abstract, or transcribe local records and publish the results in their journals and/or online.

If you have roots in Wood County, West Virginia, for example, you may want to join the Wood County Genealogical Society in order to receive notice of their publications and projects. And just because you do not reside in Wood County, does not necessarily mean you could not participate in extraction projects. Some non-local members participate by using microfilm or photocopies of records.


About the Author
Kathleen W. Hinckley, CGRS, is a professional genealogist and private investigator who specializes in locating living persons by using the Internet, public records, and genealogical sources. She is the Executive Secretary for the Association of Professional Genealogists and lectures at state, regional, and national conferences. You can reach her at or through her web site Family Detective.

Sentenced to death

Have you ever wondered what the court decree looks like  which sentences a man to death? How does it read? What words have to go into it. How does it feel to read it? Below is a word-for-word copy of the actual document which sentenced Virginius Carter to the electric chair on Feb. 10, 1942.


14th day October Term

Oct 21, 1941

No. 4584

State of Indiana


Virginius Carter


Come now the parties and comes also the jury heretofore impaneled herein and the evidence in this cause having been concluded, argument of counsel is now had, and the same being concluded the Court instructs the Jury in writing after which the Jury in charge of Mathew Connelton, a sworn officer of this Court, now retired to their Jury Room to deliberate of their verdict.

And comes now such Jury into open Court and returns its verdict herein into open Court, which verdict reads as follows, to-wit:

“We, the Jury, find the defendant, Virginius Carter, guilty of murder in the first degree as charged in the first count of the indictment, and fix his punishment at 1st. degree murder and that he suffer the death penalty. (Signed) Paul Kaiser, Foreman”

And now the Court accepts such verdict and by order of the Court the same is filed with the Clerk of this Court in open Court in the presence of such Jury, and the Court thereupon pronounce the following judgment:

No. 4584 Crime

State of Indiana


Virginius Carter



Come now the State of Indiana, by Lester G. Baker, Prosecuting Attorney within and for the Seventh Judicial Circuit of Indiana, of which Judicial Circuit the County of Dearborn forms a part, and comes also the defendant herein, Virginius Carter, in person and by Willard M. Dean, his attorney, and in custody of the Sheriff of Dearborn County, William A. Winegard and Woodrow W. Woods, Officer of the State Police, and the Court finds that the defendant, Virginius Carter, is thirty-three (33) years of age, and that said defendant is guilty of the crime charged in the first count of the indictment herein, namely: – MURDER IN THE FIRST DEGREE.

And thereupon the Court informs such defendant above named that the jury herein has returned a verdict of guilty of murder in the first degree, as charged in the first count of the indictment herein, against him and has fixed the penalty therefore at death. And the said defendant above named is now asked in open Court, if he has any legal cause or reason to show why judgment should not be pronounced against him upon such verdict of such jury herein; and no legal cause or reason being shown.,

IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED BY THE COURT that Virginius Carter, the defendant, is guilty of murder in the first degree, as charged in the first count of the indictment herein, and that said defendant above named for such offense by him committed, do suffer death; that the said defendant above named be taken into custody by the Sheriff of Dearborn County, Indiana, and after a space of two weeks be taken by said Sheriff to the Indiana State Prison, at Michigan City, Indiana, and there safely be delivered to the Warden of said Prison, there to be safely kept until Tuesday, the 10th day of February, 1942, and that before sunrise on said day be taken by said Warden of said Prison, or in the case of his death, disability or absence, by his Deputy, to a room inside the walls of said Prison arranged for such purpose, and there be put to death by having caused to pass through his body continuance of such current through the body of such defendant above named until such defendant above named is dead. All of which shall be done by the Warden.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, ADJUGED AND DECREED BY THE COURT that this judgment shall be held and construed to be full and sufficient authority for the doing and performance of any and all acts and things on the part of the Sherriff of Dearborn County, Indiana, and the Warden of the Indiana State Prison at Michigan City, Indiana, that may be requisite for the carrying hereof into execution.

The Sheriff of Dearborn County, Indiana, and the Warden of the Indiana State Prison at Michigan City, Indiana, are hereby charged with the due execution of the above and fore going judgment.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, ADJUDED AND DECREED BY THE COURT that a duly certified copy of the above and foregoing judgment, under the hand of the Clerk and the Seal of this Court do issue forthwith to the Warden of the Indiana State Prison at Michigan City, Indiana, which copy when so certified, shall be to said warden full warrant and authority in this behalf, and said Warden shall in due time, return the same with his doings thereon to this Court.

All of which is finally ordered, adjudged and decreed by the Court.


The Secret of Their Success

The Royal Gazette
25 Jul 2009
By Jessie Moniz

Communication and laughter are the secrets to a happy marriage.

This came from Bermudians Sophie and Michael Panchaud who celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this week.

The Panchauds have lived in Ontario, Canada for many years, but celebrated this special milestone with a cruise on the Norwegian Spirit to Bermuda with 34 of their family members.

“We have been planning this for three years,” Mrs. Panchaud said. “I told my family this is what I wanted to do for my 50th, I wanted to go back to the church where I was married. Doing the cruise was the best solution, because of the size of the family.”

The Panchauds were childhood sweethearts.

“We met in Dellwood School when I first came to Bermuda,” said Mrs. Panchaud. Mrs. Panchaud’s maiden name was Cordeiro and her family were originally from the Azores. “But I didn’t notice him until I was 12. We were in the same class. He use to pull my blouse, or flick me on the back. I pretended not to like it.”

The two parted ways when she went on to Mount St. Agnes Academy.

“I had a job after school, on Saturdays,” she said. “I would be sent to the Bank of Butterfield on errands. He was working as a teller there. ”

Sparks flew again.

“We used to sneak out and meet each other in the Bermuda library. I wasn’t allowed to date.”

Her father wouldn’t give his approval for them to date until after she finished high school. They were married two years after her graduation.

“We have been very happy,” she said. “He just has to remember I am the boss! What has made us successful is the fact that we keep communicating with each other. “Anything that is going on we discuss it. We don’t leave it up to chance that he knows what I am thinking. Communication is extremely important.”

And she said their lives were full of laughter.

“With six children you need a big sense of humour,” she said.

They have six sons Mark, Daniel, Kevin, James, Thomas and Phillip.

“After the sixth one we stopped holding hands,” said Mrs. Panchaud, with a laugh.

The Panchauds have their own business dealing in battery backup electronic support systems in Kitchener, Ontario.

“I am 69, and my husband is 70 years old,” she said. “We were 19 when we were married. My husband had to get his mother’s permission for us to marry because 21 was the age of majority at the time.”

The couple have have fourteen grandchildren.

While in Bermuda, their marriage was blessed at St. Theresa’s Roman Catholic Cathedral where they were married. The blessing was particularly special because their son, James is a permanent deacon at the church.

“Being an ordained deacon, he was able to give us the blessing,” she said. “It was very nice. “I still can’t believe that I didn’t cry the whole way through. I am a bawly baby with everything. Somehow it didn’t happen.”

And she said she didn’t cry at her wedding either.

“I was so happy to get married and be out of my parents’ control,” she said. “I was lucky to get a wonderful husband. He is a kind, considerate man and I couldn’t have better.”

Her advice to other young women was make sure you love him for him.

“Don’t try to change him later,” she said. “Make sure the person you are dating is the person you love, not someone you are imagining. After 50 years and they lose all their hair and they have a big belly, you are sure glad you didn’t marry them for their looks.”

She said coming from different cultural backgrounds was never a hindrance to their marriage.

“He is Bermudian, he was born here,” she said. “His family and ours were very different in their ways of doing things, but I was loud enough to take over. Ha.”

And she said the challenges of marriage change as you go through different life stages.

“When you first start it is all about how you are going to be able to buy the house and support your children,” she said. “You are so busy with that for many years. Then suddenly the children are all gone and you have to watch your health. We have been very blessed with a healthy family.”

The face of evil

Ever wonder what the face of evil looks like?

It’s not what you would think. It’s not unspeakable ugly nor is it undeniable beautiful. It’s not the face of a monster or the bogey man from our childhood nightmares.

But it is evil.

It is the face of a friend, a neighbor, a father, a brother and an uncle. It is the face of a loved one and it is the face of contempt and hate.

You can not see the evil in his face. But what of the eyes… what do you see there?

Can you see the unspeakable deeds he committed? Can you see the callousness and deliberate action of pulling the shotgun trigger time… and time… and time again?

The face of evil existed on 16 May 1941 and his name was Virginius “Dink” Carter.

Virginius "Dink" Carter

Virginius "Dink" Carter was charged and convicted of the mass murder of Johnson and Nina Agrue, their sons, William and Leo and their 11yo granddaughter, Mary Breeden on 16 May 1941 in Dearborn County, Indiana.

Visits Nephews at Camp

The Lawrenceburg Press
Thursday, May 22, 1941

Mr. and Mrs. George Doenges visited their nephews, Leslie and Raymond Doenges at Camp Shelby, Hattiesburg, Miss., over the weekend. Leslie had been in the camp’s hospital for a week and it was thought he might have to undergo an operation.

Leaving there on Friday morning, the visitors arrived at the camp on Saturday morning. They were with Raymond at the camp part of their stay and visited Leslie in the hospital. On Sunday, they ate at the camp mess hall with the men and enjoyed a fine chicken dinner.

Other Dearborn county boys they saw while at the camp were Lyndon Moon of Lawrenceburg, Jerry Zimmer of Dover, both of whom are in the medical detachment, Luther Sappenfield, of Lawrenceburg and Paul Sutton of Aurora.

The Doenges boys are in Co. B, 151st Infantry, 28th Division.

Lawrenceburg Boy Seeks Army Wings

The Lawrenceburg Press
Friday, May 23, 1941

Leo Seitz, Jr., Xavier University Senior is Slated For Scholarship In Army Flying Cadets

Leo John Seitz, Jr., son of Mr. and Mrs. Leo J. Seitz, 167 Ridge Ave., Lawrenceburg, has passed his preliminary examinations toward a scholarship in the Army Flying Cadets, Fifth Corps Area Headquarters, Fort Hayes, Ohio.

Young Seitz graduated from Lawrenceburg High School in 1937 where he distingushed himself in basketball and track. He has since then attended Xavier University in Cincinnati and was a member if the varsity boxing team and the Unversity Reserve Officers Training Corps.

Flying Cadet scholarships are awarded to single young men at least 20 years old and not over 27 who can pass an educational examination or who have two years of college credit. Scholarship applications forms may be obtained at any Army recruiting station.

Roy Gardner manager of Rising Sun plant

The Lawrenceburg Press
Friday, Oct. 24, 1941

Mr. Roy T. Gardner, Sr., has been appointed manager of the Glass Roller Mills of Rising Sun, Ind., which was recently purchased by Wilford Aylor and Bud Meyers, owners of the Aylor & Meyers Co. Aurora.

Mr. Gardner was a valued employee of the Lawrenceburg Roller Mills Co., in this city, until the mill ceased operation last May. Since that time he has been with the Early & Daniel Co., Cincinnati.

The Glass Mill began operation under its new management last Monday. The elevator capacity is 30,000 bushels. They will handle a complete line of fencing, roofing, feed, fertilizer and grain and will do custom grinding.

For the present, Mr. E. J. Glass, former owner ogf the mill, will remain with the business.

Mr. Gardner’s son, Mr. Roy Gardner, Jr. is basketball coach and instructor in the Rising Sun high school.


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