, Muskogee, OK

September 16, 2013

Research is big part of Genealogical Society work

By April Reynolds
Times Correspondent

— Research is at the heart of the Fort Gibson Genealogical and Historical Society’s work.

That research helps people uncover things about their loves ones that may have gone unknown.

“Finding out more about family members helps bring them back to life,” said President Marcia Elliott. “It’s never ending too, the information is out there; you just have to know where to find it.”

The group, which includes some original members, has been meeting for 30 years.

They meet at 6 p.m. on the first Monday of each month at the First United Methodist Church. They discuss their findings and the progress of discovering their family history.

The group looks at marriage licenses, land deeds, death certificates, obituaries, and jail records. Funeral homes also can help aid researchers by providing files on anyone who has used their services.

Sometimes it is a simple date that can kick start a flow of information, “once you determine a date it is amazing what you can find in an old newspaper,” Pete Hagan said.

Pete and his wife, Vice President Mickey Hagen, enjoy going to National Cemeteries and traveling wherever their roots lead them while reflecting on their families’ history.

“The houses may be gone, but the rivers and trees are still there, and it is very interesting to walk where your ancestors walked,” Mickey Hagan said.

The group also takes field trips. They met last month with members of the Muskogee Genealogical and Historical Society and were able to use their library and find more information.

“All the help they provided makes it very worth our time,” said Kelly Cook a member who recently found three publishings on her great grandmother that date back to 1960.

Vice President Mickey Hagan also teaches a beginner’s genealogy class.

“She comes up with new, creative ways to research,” Elliott said.

“A lot of people that come to class are descendants of the Cherokees,” Hagan said.

The group has dinner at its meetings.

The menu ranges from home-grown tomatoes and pinwheels to “slumgullion” which originated around 1849. Settlers who were heading out west for the gold rush “would all chip in what they had, a potato, corn, tomato, whatever, and they would put it all in a pot and make a meal out of it,” Elliott said.

The group will be have a pizza party at October’s meeting.

If you go

WHAT: Fort Gibson Genealogical and Historical Society.

WHEN: 6 p.m. on the first Monday each month.

WHERE: First United Methodist Church.

OFFICERS: Marcia Elliott, president; Mickey Hagan, vice president and program coordinator; Donna Dobbs, secretary; Mable Taylor, treasurer.

INFO: Marcia Elliott, (918) 781-9883, or