Macoupin County Genealogical Society Salute To The Original Sixty-One
© 2004-2011 Cindy Leonard
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A Salute to the Original Sixty-One

Back on June 16, 1980, a new genealogical society was born. Today, most of you recognize this group as the Macoupin County Genealogical Society. When we were first organized, it was under the name of The Staunton Area Genealogical Society. In June of 2005, our organization will celebrate 25 years. During our first year, (charter year), 61 members joined our group. The following information appeared in our very first newsletter dated October 1980:

A New Genealogical Society Is Born

"Several times while discussing genealogy, the question would come up-we wondered if there were very many genealogy buffs in this area-or if there was a possibility that a group could be formed to generate more interest in genealogy in this area. There were five or six of us who had been working together over a period of about two years and we thought if a society could be organized it would not only help us, but also could establish a community effort to record and preserve the heritage of our area. One of our group, Ellen DalPozzo, contacted Mr. Victor Heinemeyer of the Public Library Board to see if the Friends of the Library might help us with this endeavor. He agreed to this proposal and on June 8, 1980, Mrs. Florence Hutchison, President of the Jacksonville Area Genealogical Society and Chairman of the New Society Guidance Committee of the Illinois State Genealogical Society was invited to come to Staunton to help organize the Staunton Area Genealogical Society. It was decided to make this a Staunton Area Society, not limiting it to Staunton or Macoupin County alone, but to include surrounding towns and counties.

Ellen DalPozzo was named Temporary Chairman; Vera Ruffini, Treasurer; and Helen McBrien, Secretary.

The purpose of this Society is to help one another. We plan to hold workshop type meetings where anyone can share his/her particular knowledge in one area or another of research that could possibly be of help to someone else. A society can be only as good as its membership makes it and our goal is to make this society a GOOD ONE!!

The first meeting was held at the Public Library on June 16th. A committee was named to draw up by-laws for the Society: Eileen Koniak, Cindy Leonard and Shirley DalPozzo. Goals of the society were discussed. A surname index file will be started and plans were discussed regarding the indexing of the Staunton City Cemetery.

The second meeting of the Society was held at the Public Library June [sic] (July) 14, 1980. The principal speaker was Dr. Stanley B. Kimball of SIUE. Dr. Kimball, a Mormon, is very versed on the subject of genealogy, holding workshops and teaching courses in genealogy at the University. He discussed the basic beginnings of searching the bloodlines of families.

Election of officers for the year 1980-81 was held as follows:

Recording Secretary:
Corresponding Secretary:
Board Members:
Jeanne Voyles
Shirley DalPozzo
Olivia Karlovic
Amelia Sitko
Oleta Massie
Juanita Morgan
Lynn Reener, Fern Beyer, Ellen DalPozzo
Eileen Koniak

The by-laws were read and accepted. The Society will meet the third Monday of each month, excluding the month of December.

On August 9, 1980, Mrs. Eileen Koniak, Mrs. Jeanne Voyles and Mrs. Shirley DalPozzo were interviewed on radio station WIBI in Carlinville regarding the new genealogical society in Staunton. This was a fifteen-minute program: KNOW YOUR COMMUNITY. The purpose of the society was discussed and personal experiences of tracing family history were told. The society was very pleased to have this opportunity to share these experiences with the radio audience.

The regular monthly meeting was held August 15 at the Masonic Temple in Staunton. The Masons have agreed to allow us to hold our meetings in the Temple, and it was voted unanimously to do so. The meetings are to be the third Monday of each month at 7:00 p.m. Mrs. Shirley DalPozzo spoke at the August meeting concerning the Basics of Genealogical Searching."

In future articles, I will share with you the names of the 61 original members; other activities of the society and other articles from our newsletters.

Plans are being made to observe the anniversary. Among the proposed activities we hope to have a banquet in Staunton for all members, current and past. Tours of historical places in the county have been discussed. I hope our current and past members will consider joining in the planning of this event. Please contact the society with your suggestions and offers of help to make this anniversary a success. You can send correspondence to the society: Macoupin County Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 95, Staunton, IL 62088; or you can send e-mail to me, Cindy Leonard at: - please put MCGS Anniversary in subject line.

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