Grand Prairie Genealogical Society

Incoming Officers

It's a new year for GPGS and we have a new slate of officers that will take their positions in September.  Officers to be installed at the September meetings are:
  • President:                 Bonnie Cockrum
  • President Elect:         Mary Ann Hartsell
  • Secretary:                 Lea Ann Stone
  • Treasurer:                 John Cockrum
  • Program Manager:    Pam Knight
  • Editor:                      Richard Waller
  • Web Manager:          Kathy Ritterhouse
Preparations have already begun to have a smooth transission.  The Board met on Tuesday night with both the current board and invited the incoming members as well.  Everyone gave a short explaination of duties and a more solid outline will be ready as soon as the Policies and Procedures Manual is finished.  It is expected shortly. 
Bonnie Cockrum certainly has the energy for the incoming President.  With all the Grand Prairie History books she has been able to sell in the last couple of months she's proven to be a real fire cracker.  She's acquired another box so Mary Ann will have a jump start on her fundraising for the upcoming year.  Lea Ann is a breath of fresh air for the Board.  As a new member it's great to see her getting involved.  John Cockrum and Richard are staying in the same positions they had but Pam is taking on the roll of Program Manager once again and Kathy Ritterhouse is going to learn all the in's and out's of our website. 
Congratulations to our new officers!  Here's wishing you a great year.

MEETINGS 1st Thursday @ 7:00 pm

We always want to welcome visitors!.  Check the Events page for more information about all our activities.  And we love to hear from our visitors.  Please send us your comments, quesitons and queries to 

Kroger Rewards

We want to remind everyone that if you shop at Kroger we'd love to have you designate GPGS on your card.  Every little bit helps.  If you already have us designated, August 1st is renewal time!  Next time you're in the store be sure to ask the cashier to renew your committment, or you can go on-line to update your information.  Check the Announcement Page for more details.
Also, August is renewal month!  It's a new membership year.

Membership Renewal

And speaking of renewal.  GPGS's new membership year is approaching September 1st.

Valuable Friend Lost

GPGS members have lost yet another friend.  Former member, Jay Philpot passed away on July 28, 2014.  An avid train enthusiast and veteran, Jan was born July 9, 1935 in Roanoak, VA.  His body will be cremeanted and returned to his family in Virginia.  There will be no local memorial services. 
Jay partnered with Ruth Goodman in indexing the members llineage book many years ago.  In doing so, he discovered a distant cousin within the society.  A private person, Jay withdrew after falling ill several years ago.   If you'd like to reminisce or just learn more about this sweet man, you can browse through his website at


Brief History 
     The Grand Prairie Genealogical Society was formed in the fall of 1967 by several patrons of the Grand Prairie Memorial Library.    The first years formed a solid foundation for this organization now celebrating more than 45 years.  
     The “DAR Patriot Index” was the first book our organization gave to the library, who placed them in a barrister bookcase, for security.  By 1970 the collection of research materials had grown significantly and a proposal was made to the library that a separate section be established.  By 1971 GPGS had purchased a reader and 40 rolls of microfilm and various books for the library.  Over the years, the Genealogical Society and it’s members have compiled and published a number of books.  Donating research materials to the genealogical section continues to be a major focus for the Society.  Over the years, the Society and the library have worked together to expand local research facilities and materials.

     In addition to the materials provided to the library, the Grand Prairie Genealogical Society has sponsored a number of workshops.  The first workshop was “How to get started in Genealogy” held on Saturday, February 3, 1968.  A few in other years have included “Family Tree Climbing Can Be fun!” in 1977, A Civil War Workshop in 1988, “Organizing & Managing a Genealogical Project” in 1990, “Texas Our Texas” in 1997 and “A Day with Lloyd Bockstuck” in 2005.  We have also enjoyed countless informative programs by Librarians, Professional Genealogists, Authors and a wide variety of other speakers at our monthly meetings.  

     We manage to sneak fun in as well.  Besides all the talented speakers GPGS has benefited from our own members who have shared their time, treasures, personal research materials and stories.  The annual “Antless” Picnic held every July and the Christmas Potluck Celebration are always fun and a hit with the members.   "What I did on my summer vacation" or "What I accomplished in my genealogy research" are always interesting antidotes.

     As technology provides greater resources for research  the Grand Prairie Genealogical Society faces new challenges for resources and equipment and training. 

What's it Take to Spark Your Interest?

At our December Show & Tell, Sharon Galligan shared what sparked her interest in genealogy.  She got started because someone in her family had already done a lot a research and she received a beautiful pedigree chart in the mail.  Now this might not looks like a beautiful wall hanging to many but to a genealogist this radiates the dedication and enthusiam of someone that loved exploring their heritage.  It is also the inspiration for Sharon joining the research pool.  Looks like she has a wonderful heritage to pass along.

A Proud Member of

GPGS 6th Annual Lock-In

Welcome to the 6th Annual GPGS Lock-In!
Lock-In participants were greeted by John & Bonnie Cockrum on Friday, March 21st as they checked in for a night of research.  People started getting there early. 
After Gathering for some food and fellowship while the libary was closed,, everyone was welcomed and given a few instructions.  
Then began some serious research.  Lots of visitors and first time genealogist came and joined in.  Our Orange Dots (helpers) were every where.    There was a lot of research going on. 
One of our new genealogist visitors was even on the phone to New York with a relative seeking informtion so she could find things. 
The meeting room has never been so quiet with so many people in there.  You could have heard a pin drop.  Well, at least until Pam walked in the room. 
Some were stumped by brick walls and others found wonderful information through Fold 3 , Mocavo and Genealogy News Bank.  Of course the library access for Ancestory and Heritage Quest were helpful.  There was some serious research going in in the Genealogy Room too.  All in all it was a wonderful success.  About six new members joined GPGS and are coming back for our meetings.   Many of those that left early missed out on a door prize.  Those went to the ones that hung around.  
Those who did win door prizes were:  Marilyn Waters, Jean Simpson, Regina Shumaker, Sharon Wilson, Bonnie Cockrum, and John CockrumSince John was drawing names there was a little quest there but we all decided he was pretty honest and had a great laugh.  Then the Raffle for the Haircut/Manicure/Brow Wax and Book went to a new member Lee Ann Stone.   
If you missed out this year, make planes for next years Lock-In.  It's always fun!