Early Years

The Early Years

by Particia Gee (from the 1995-1996 Anniversary Membership Directory – 30th Anniversary)

In the early years, the group was quite small. Usually about ten to twelve members would turn out for a meeting. Don Baut was almost always there. He would open the building, and with him present, we did not have to pay a custodial person. Since there was almost nothing in the treasury, it was a great benefit.

Many skeptics expressed the view that this genealogy group would not last even a year. They believed there was simply not enough interest!!
The meetings were held around a table in an informal atmos­phere. The business meeting was brief. Sometimes there was a program and often members brought their genealogy charts and papers for a workshop session. The Executive Board·met upstairs in the museum work area about a half hour before the regular meeting.

As I remember, Yulon Smith and Marion Parkhurst were two of the most dedicated members. They joined at the second meeting in February, 1966. Yulon served as President more times than anyone else. Marion was Secretary and could do just about any task. Both women were representatives to the Michigan Genealogical Council and Yulon was elected Treasurer of that group. She also served as President of the Detroit Genealogical Society. Other faithful members in that core group included Joyce Maples, Maxine Hoffman, Joan Meaker, Col. George Bentley and his wife Lavinia, Helen Gasner, Mahala Brown, Glen Lockwood, Mary Hiltz, Daisy Knight, Helen Beard, and Don Baut. In those days, we had many women and few men. Quite often, Don Baut was the only male there and had to put up with all of us!

As time went on, the membership increased. Other groups looked to us as a model for their own genealogy activities. It’s hard to believe that thirty years have passed — Thirty years of genealogists at work in Dearborn, helping each other, searching for ancestors, looking for that “new” bit of information to complete a line.