Western Trails Genealogical Society

The Western Trails Genealogical Society is a non-profit organization, founded in 1971, to encourage and promote the study and research of family history. We support the Southern Prairie Genealogy Library in Altus, Oklahoma

The objectives of the Western Trails Genealigical Society are to promote the study of genealogy and research in Old Greer County, Texas. To collect the genealogical and historical records, and to encourage publications of genealogical materials relating to the family histories of the dirt farmers, business men, cowboys and ranchers who moved into Greer County, Texas in 1880 to graze the free grass, plow out farm land and build towns and businesses in the unsettled southwest corner of Oklahoma.

We share our records and library with our neighboring counties of Kiowa, Greer, Tillman, Washita, Beckham and Harmon counties in Oklahoma and Wilbarger, Hardeman, Childress, Collingsworth and Wheeler, counties of Texas. The Genealogy Library is open from Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 10:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m.

Current Active Officers Editor of Western Trails Genealogical Society
Newsletter- Phyllis Rhodes of Alamogardo, N M.
Treasurer- Nelda Gilbert of Altus, Ok.
Corresponding Secretary- Jodean Martin of Altus, Ok.
MEMBERSHIP: Membership in the Society is from January 1 to December 31 of any given year. Cost for membership is $10.00. Your membership entitles you to the Western Trails Genealgy Newsletter which is printed quarterly, January, April, July and October and mailed to all members. We print 12 pages of records from the four counties of Jackson, Greer, Harmon and Beckham Counties. You will receive four copies of the newsletter for the current year of your subscription. Back Issues may be ordered by contacting WTGS

We encourage Patron contribution from interested friend and volunteers to our Society to be used for new books and technology. Send subscription, contributions, suggestions and requests to Western Trails Genealogy Society, Box 70, Altus, Oklahoma 73521. We accept your family history and county books for review in our Newsletter. Holdings of WTGS are available to the public in our Genealogy Library at 421 North Hudson Street in Altus.

A little historyand editorial of Old Greer County and WTGS by Jodean Martin

We founded the Society to preserve the heritage of Old Greer County, Texas from 1880 until the present day of Jackson County, Oklahoma. In the days after the Civil War we were treated like a step child by the United States Government. They were busy with the recronstruction of the Southern States and didn't have time to stop Texas from almost stealing the land just across Red River. Texas just shouted a little too loudly and caused the federal government to take notice that a part of the Louisanna Purchase had never been properly claimed. The Supreme Court stepped in and settled the boundary question in 1896 and made Greer County a part of the United States and not a county in Texas. This history is unique, exciting and entertaining. The stories of the people between 1880 and 1997 have left us a strong heritage to preserve. The Western Trails Genealogy Society has endeavored to gather this history. We have no printed history of Old Greer County. After this generation there will be no first person stories. We want to protect, preserve and print the stories of the men and women who lived in the half dug outs, civilized the land, tamed the cowboys, survived the dust, drouth, dreaded rattlesnakes and gyp water, built homes, churches and schools so that we could inherit this land known as Jackson County, Oklahoma. These were the pioneer grandfathers and grandmothers of our county. They earned the right to be honored.

You and I have a place in this history. We are the present generation of our history and we are adding to the pioneer legacy by providing a document depository at the Southern Prairie Genealogy Library in Altus, Oklahoma, to guard the family files, Bible records, family histories, diaries, journals, letters and pictures. Visitors are welcome to our Southern Prairie Library in Altus, Oklahoma to continue their family research and contribute their research to our family files.

We make Genealogy throughout the world available to our patrons. Genealogy books may be ordered on Inter-library loan. We have a computer at the library that is connected to the Internet and is free to the public. Bring your CD's with you. You may share your microfilm and CD by leaving them in our depository, either as a gift or on loan.. They will be available for your use if when you need them.

Western Trails Genealogy Society prints the Western Trails Genealogy Newsletter.. We publish 12 pages of county records and personal stories of our pioneers. The period covers nearly 120 years of time and millions of lives. Every quarter we publish hundreds of names and places about our homesteaders. Subscribers to the Newsletter may submit family queries for publication if they are southwest Oklahoma related. We answer every letter of inquiry, that contains a SASE, and offer our suggestions for family research .

We collect family histories and family sheets. These are filed in alphabetical order in our file cabinets in the Library. All correspondence, queries, family sheets, newspaper stories, clippings and area information is stored in the open vertical files and is available to our visitors. We encourage our visitors to search our family files for the names of their research. Finding a family researcher brings instant success. Many smiles of happy family hunting and many tears of joy are shed when a match is found in the family files.

In 1995 we added one hundred rolls of Jackson County county records and nearly two hundred rolls of Greer County Court house records on Microfilm. These may be used at the Library. Microfilm readers and microfiche are provided. We have a complete set of the 1880 Texas Census. We have 1900 Indian Territory, 1910 and 1920 Census for Oklahoma and many county Census from various counties and states. There are area Newspapers on microfilm dating back to 1900. We have a book collection of family histories, deaths, marriages, county histories and assorted research materials.

In 1995 we were designated as a Family History Center by the Mormon church. We received their complete Index from their Salt Lake City Collection. This Index makes the Mormon records in Salt Lake City available to our researchers. These are records from all over the world. We hope you will visit and learn to use this excellent source of research materials.

We were the only library in Oklahoma to be accepted into this program. This is a pilot program and most Family History Centers were awarded to the capitol city library in the state. We found out about the project and wrote asking to be one of the pilot libraries and were awarded the only Center for Oklahoma. There were only fifty libraries chosen in the United States. Computers are changing the world of genealogy. We would like to hear from any Library or Genealogy Society who would like to exchange computer disks of their books and records. We exchange quarterlies with fifty societies throughout the country.

We have printed many of the County records, with a full index of names and places, and placed them in our library for research use. We are not selling these books but do exchange them with contributing libraries.

Research Service by mail is available for out-of-town members. Write to WTGS Box 70, Altus, Ok 73521.. SASE

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