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Rebekah Winters Genealogy groups seeks new members
June 26, 2014 Jerry Purvis   

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With a goal to preserve the histories of area families, the Rebecca Winters Genealogy Society was formed in Scottsbluff in 1968 to help keep those stories alive.

Board chairperson Wanda Henkel said their name was to honor the pioneers who moved through the valley. Rebecca Winters was part of the Mormon emigration that came west to Salt Lake City in the mid-1800s. She died of cholera near Scottsbluff and her grave was marked by a wagon wheel rim, a drawing of which was included in the genealogical society’s logo.

Over the years, the society had published a number of books, including lists of the Bayard and Forest Lawn in Mitchell, and West Lawn Cemeteries in Gering, an obituary index of Prohs Funeral Home, and Families of the Pioneers.

Henkel said family history is like geometry, where you need to prove your facts. That means the documentation and organization of sources searched has to be given top priority.

She also warned that many family histories have been written as biographies and published as books. So the researcher should never assume that if something is in print, it’s the truth. That information needs to be taken as clues for further investigation. The object of the research is to obtain the documents that prove dates, places and events.

Henkel said a piece of information she’d like to see more often in obituaries is the cause of death. “Whatever killed one of your grandparents might kill you,” she said. “If people knew about hereditary diseases, they’d know to take care of themselves.”

The Rebecca Winters Genealogical Society meets the second Wednesday of each month except August and December at 1:30 p.m. at the Scottsbluff Lied Public Library. Visitors are welcome and they’re always seeking new members.

The society website is at rootsweb.ancestry.com/~nerwgs.
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