The History of the Walnut Genealogy Society

The idea of organizing the Walnut Genealogy Society began when volunteers began preparing for Walnut’s Quasquicentennial in February of 1995.  The Book Committee worked on the “Walk Down Memory Lane” book of memories, but had a strong desire to do something more with the history of past Walnut residents.  That desire never weakened, even after the 500-page book was completed for the July 1996 celebration.

Close to two dozen people shared a desire to be involved in a local group that would not only work toward preserving Walnut’s vital records, but also assist each other in tracing their own family history.

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.  A constitution and bylaws were drafted.  Our goals, membership dues, and charges for queries were set, and officers were elected.  Many small details were discussed before we felt that we were ready to become a society.  The process was completed by March of 1997.

The society decided to meet on the second Thursday of each month at the Walnut Public Library.  Anyone with an interest in genealogy was invited to join the group.  Programs are presented by members or guest speakers.  Field trips have been taken to the Iowa Historical Building, Iowa Genealogical Society, Omaha Public Library, the C. G. Brisee Genealogy Library in Irwin, the Walnut Creek Historical Museum, the Cass County Historical Museum in Griswold, the Massena Cemetery, the Drake and Buboltz farms, and Plumer Settlement.

Our purpose:

            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 pertain 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.

Our first newsletter, Antique City Roots, was printed in January, 1999.  It was a 12-page publication, edited by Pastor Paul Hutchins.  We have published one quarterly since then.  This has involved coming up with many different ideas to try to help with things members might use in their research.  The history of families, veterans, churches, schools, homes and businesses have been researched and published.  The ACRs are copyrighted and by 2022, are being sent to most members by email.  It is now 8 pages long and has been edited by Karen Hansen since July 2006.  The newsletters are also shared with other genealogy societies and historical societies.

In March 2005, we applied for and received a tax-exempt number and have been gifted with several generous estate donations.