10 YEARS OF OUR WALNUT GENEALOGY SOCIETY
BY GAYLE STUART
Back in October of 1996, a group of people interested in genealogy started to meet and discuss the possibility of forming a society to help people trace their roots. Our goals, membership dues, and charges for queries were set, officers were elected and bylaws were drafted. Many small details were discussed before we felt that we were ready to become a society. The process was completed by March of 1997.
To collect and preserve vital records of Walnut and of the surrounding area – past and present.
To make available to the public information on people who were born, lived, and died or were buried in this area
To have in Walnut a copy of county records that pertains to our area.
To connect and provide help to people who are interested in researching their own family history.
To acquire books, periodicals, resources, how to information, forms, etc. for use by the public.
To index cemetery records.
So, what have we accomplished in our first ten years? We started with walking cemeteries and reading tombstones and compared our findings with a published list that was done by the society in Oakland several years ago. Then, we started collecting obituaries for everyone that we could find in the Walnut Bureau. In the early papers, all that we have been able to find sometimes have been one-liners that someone died. At this time, we feel that we may have information on about 80% of the people buried in the Layton Township Cemetery and about 60% of those in the Catholic Cemetery. Lincoln Township Cemetery is being researched for all available material we can find. We keep working on this whenever we have time. A list of the lot owners of the south side of the Layton Township Cemetery has been typed and we hope to type the north side in the future. We have some cemetery listings for surrounding areas.
Both federal and state census microfilms are in our collection. The society purchased a membership to both Heritage Quest and Ancestry, so if we do not have a film on what you want, we can go online and try to find information for you. The Walnut Bureau is on microfilm for 1878 – 1979, and 1999 – 2003; the years 1980 – 1988 are in bound books.
In the past, we have gone on field trips to different libraries to see what materials they collect to help their patrons. We have visited the Iowa Historical Building, Iowa