Monday, December 12, 2005

Volume 18- 4, Winter 2005: President's Message

Designating 2005 as "The Year of Our Members" was a good move. All of us became more familiar with the other members of our society. I enjoyed meeting and learning more about each of you with whom I had the chance to talk. Thank you for your time. Please keep it up.

A new BGS member became an officer (Dorrie Dykstra was elected Vice President and Program Chairman succeeding Dolly Rosales). I don't know if this is a first, but people with fresh and new ideas are always welcome. Another new member, Readie Cooper, presented a fascinating program on heritage societies in November. We also have a new Publicity Chairman, Dee Swink, replacing Lucy Brown. Please take a moment to thank these three people for stepping up to these tasks.

Our society was featured in the January/February 2005 issue of Everton's Genealogical Helper magazine. Very few societies get such an opportunity. Many 1000's of readers learned about you and your activities. Everton was quite generous by sending us extra copies of this magazine which were handed out to members at our November meeting.

Our cemetery photographing projects were stymied by the 2004 hurricanes but they are returning to full strength this coming year.

Please volunteer to help us out in February.

We did something new and unusual this summer by putting on a Beginning Genealogy course (thank you Vera, Betty and everyone who helped). Would you believe we had many more students applying than we could take?

We also had good, strong, educational programs of interest for our general meetings. The two workshops in July and August which focused on
solving brick walls were well attended and received.

All in all, 2005 has been a good year for BGS. More is planned for 2006. I hope all of you find it stimulating and informative. Please step up and participate when you can. Don't be bashful.

Happy holidays everyone! Take care... Pete

(18-4) 2005 Year End Report from our Committees


A genealogy database program is an essential tool that the genealogist uses to document individuals, relationships, research, and sources. A program also allows reports to be printed and family history to be shared. A number of programs are available.

Personal Ancestral File (PAF) is a free genealogy and family history program provided by the “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”. PAF allows you to quickly and easily collect, organize and share your family history and genealogy information.

In 2005 PAF demonstrations were given during the two Beginners Genealogy Classes in February and July, and beginners PAF classes were conducted in March, August, and December to a total of about forty people.

The Computer Interest Group Chairman also made several house visits to assist Club Members with specific items.

Two computers were transferred to the Brevard County Library during the year and are in use on the second floor of the Central Brevard Library.



Beginning Genealogy Class January 12 - February 16, 2006
By Vera Zimmerman and Betty Eichhorn

Another session of the popular Beginning Genealogy Class is scheduled for Thursday, January 12 to February 16, 2006. The classes will be held from 9:30 a.m. to noon in Meeting Room 1 and will be able to accommodate 40 students, twice as many as the previous classes.

Teachers Betty Eichhorn and Vera Zimmerman will be assisted by Frank Bryan, Patrice Green and Joan Bullard who will handle special topics.

The course includes an extensive syllabus and helpful forms. Using experiences in teaching the first and second sessions of the class, Betty and the other instructors have fine-tuned the syllabus. This course has been designed to teach students how to find and document their relatives back through their great-grandparents. Emphasis is placed on family resources, whole family research, and source
documentation. Further instruction is provided on how to find original documents, how to do library research, and how to file research and store documents. Included will be instructions in using the computer for research and advantages of using genealogical software.
Registration for the course includes membership in the Brevard Genealogical Society.

The greater portion of the BGS budget is used to enlarge the genealogical collection on the Central Brevard Library and Reference Center. A guided tour of the genealogical library is part of the course. Each year BGS spends over $2000 for books, periodicals, electronic media and other materials for research and education.

The Education Committee held two sessions of Beginning Genealogy classes in January-February and July-August 2005. There were 20 students in each class and the teachers learned a lot both sessions.



Due to being out-of-state from April to November and having health problems for the past three months, your Historian is behind with the 2005 scrapbook. As soon as everyone who said they would collect publicity and meeting notes, take photographs, and save speaker's hand-outs gets the material to me, I will attempt to catch up.



Average attendance this year for the 9 months when the society had a speaker was 62 people including members and guests. Counting the July and August workshop that average drops to 56. Approximately, 14% of those attending our meetings have been visitors; many coming from the North and South Brevard Societies.

Sales of our charts and donations for the door prizes have added over $500.00 toward the purchase of books for our library.

A hearty "THANK YOU" to all who contributed the excellent materials for our door prizes. With a little effort by each of us let us work to improve our attendance for 2006.

October: 47 members, 13 guests ......Marian Harrison Speaker

November 53 members, 7 guests ......Readie Cooper Speaker



I would like to thank you all for the articles of which you have sent me to include in our newsletter. As this is YOUR NEWSLETTER I would like to include more information of which YOU, OUR MEMBERS, would like to see.




The publicity chairman's job is to inform the public of, and bring attention to, Brevard Genealogical Society events: our programs, meetings, classes and projects.

To accomplish this, contact was made by telephone or email with print media in the community, county libraries, similar organizations and the membership of BGS. Notices and feature articles have appeared in Florida Today, Senior Life, The Eagle and various community newspapers.

An extension of publicity is ordering name badges for members. These not only identify the members and surnames they are researching, but also the genealogy society to which they belong.



Cocoa Tribune Death Report Index

Bonnie and Jim Garmon have finished the index of the death reports carried by the Cocoa Tribune newspaper. This newspaper was first published in March 22, 1917, and printed the obituaries, funeral notices and death reports of the local area up until April 1966, when these notices were transferred to the Florida Today newspaper. Almost all issues of the Cocoa Tribune newspaper are available on microfilm at Genealogy Department of Central Brevard Library and Reference Center. We have scanned the microfilm images of the Tribune, page by page, writing down the name, age, date of publication and page number of all death reports and obituaries and then entered into a computer database.

After transcription and proofreading, we uploaded a copy of the files to Roots Web, and made a print copy for Michael Boonstra for use in the Genealogy Department of the Central Brevard Library and Reference Center. We also give our webmaster, Patrice Green, a copy of the files. She has posted the files on several Internet sites. We have printed 12 copies to be donated to various genealogical libraries and societies.

The index can be found, in print form, in the Genealogy Department of Central Brevard Library and Reference Center. Look on top of the filing cabinet containing the Microfilm collection of the Cocoa Tribune newspaper.

The index of the Cocoa Tribune can also be found on the Internet at: Click on Research, then Obituaries. These files are searchable or browsable. Click on the link to the Cocoa Tribune. Files are searchable. Scroll down to Deaths. Browsable.

Having finished the Cocoa Tribune index, Jim and Bonnie are now working on the Florida Today newspaper, transcribing the obituaries carried by that publication. "We expect this to be a much longer project", said Bonnie, "and would like to invite volunteers to help." If you would like to be involved in this worthwhile project, contact Jim or Bonnie.



It's Been a Very Dead Year!

Literally. Visions of graveyards dance in my head. I count obituaries in my sleep.

In the past year we have added thousands of Brevard Obituaries to the Internet thanks to Jim and Bonnie Garmon, Betty Eichhorn and Dee Swink. All of the Cocoa Tribune obit indexes are available on the BGS website. There is also a searchable index at Roots Web and another full copy of the list in the Brevard GenWeb Archives. That covers a period of almost 50 years, from 1917 to 1966.

We also have the full year of 1975 TODAY newspaper obituaries indexed and on the BGS website.

The Cocoa Cemetery Project is taking shape. Section D is almost complete. That is the Southeast corner for those who want to know. Betty Eichhorn is credited with the index and Pete Bradish did much of the CSS coding (if you don't know what that is - don't worry about it) and layout templates. I "improved" many of the photos by simply adjusting the contrast. Then I linked each photo to the plot, and linked plots together so you can virtually tour the cemetery. You can preview the index, grave photos, plot layout and take the tour at:

That is one eighth of one cemetery completed. Many, many more to go... and right around the corner, in February, we'll be adding more photos to the stockpile. That's the great thing about cemeteries, and genealogy in general -- we will never run out of work.


(18-14) WELCOME! New Officers, New Members, Guests & Speakers


A little about Dee Swink our new Publicity Chairman

Originally I'm from South Carolina and although I have lived in many states and moved many times, I spent most of my life in Georgia. I moved to Florida 2 years ago. I retired from Lockheed Martin where I was a software engineer and systems analyst for mainframe computers. I started working on my genealogy 6 years ago. I live in Rockledge now with my two dogs, Suzy, a Dalmatian / boxer mix, and Casey, an elderly miniature dachshund I inherited from my father.

A little about Dorrie Dykstra our new Vice President

Dorrie Dykstra, our new vice president graduated from high school in Brevard county before going off to college at Stetson University. She spent 32 years being a Media Specialist in the Volusia County School system before retiring and moving back to Brevard. She is living in the family home on Merritt Island.

She was active in the teacher union, VTO, her entire teaching career and brings with her the idea that you should be involved in your community. Since moving back to Brevard she has joined the Ladies of Merritt Chapter of the Red Hatters, the Dirt Daubers Circle of the Cocoa Garden Club, the Brevard Retired Teachers Organization and the BGS. In addition she likes to spend her free time gardening, painting, doing craft projects, reading and just enjoying this wonderful community.




Registrar of the Indian River Chapter of the Daughters of the Republic, Editor of the newspaper of the Genealogical Society of North Brevard. She also volunteers each Tuesday at the Titusville Library and each Wednesday at the Family History Center in Rockledge.


Vera is our past president, Committee member on Education, Teaches the Beginning Genealogy Classes, and has revised the Syllabus along with Betty Eichhorn. She gives many speeches and will be speaking on Dating Old Photographs in March.