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Once upon a time a young girl collected grandmother's handwritten family records, filed family tales in memory and thought some day she would like to know more about her ancestors. That was the beginning. A family reunion in 1981 and display of books about the Cabaniss ancestor in Virginia colony started the initiative to look for materials to confirm other family stories. Were we really kin to Pocahontas? (Haven't found connection yet.) Was the Jones/Leach/Spoon family really shirt-tail kin to Davy Crockett? (Haven't found that either but eventually learned that the Van Bibbers on the Cobb/Stephens/Yoakum branch were close friends to Daniel Boone!)

Growing curiosity became research obsession and for several years I collected and researched Family History. I thought living in the boonies of SW Oklahoma would make it hard to research, but by writing letters to distant relatives and historical archives and browsing local libraries, reading books, catalogs, and straining my eyes at microfilm, I learned a lot about my family tree, not just Who begat Who but about family traditions and myself. Around the family tree I found patriots, pioneers, preachers, farmers, merchants, loggers, teachers, weavers, millwrights, blacksmiths, engineers, shipmasters, tanners, painters and innkeepers! The women kept the farm going while the patriots were away, gathered herbs, tended the ill, and served as midwives. A great-great grandmother, widowed, ran a livery stable.

Along the way I got enthused about the local history and joined the local historical society. Greer County, Oklahoma, has a unique history, claimed by Texas from 1860 to 1896. At first I knew of no ancestor relatives that lived in Greer County, but later found great-grandma Nancy's cousin William Starnes Maples came here in 1890s and her uncle George Washington Welborn and his daughters came in 1900. I edited the Greer Frontier, bi-annual newsletter for Greer County Genealogical and Historical Society 1994 to 2004.

My main family tree surnames are Cabaniss, Welborn, Jones, Mann, Cobb, Stephens, Dovel and Stoneberger, they all settled in Custer County Oklahoma between 1892 and 1906. Cabaniss, Welborn, Cobb and Stephens families traveled a southern route, mostly a route through Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Texas, to Oklahoma. Jones and Mann families came from Delaware through Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Missouri and Arkansas, and Oklahoma. Dovel and Stoneberger families were in Shenandoah Valley region, residing in Page County, Virginia for 100 years before they left for Oklahoma's opportunities.

To organize the growing family history and local history collection I got a computer April 1, 1990. I used Roots3 to start a family tree database, later Ultimate Family Tree by Palladium, then The Master Genealogist V5. Database includes Cabaniss (846), Dovel (779), Cobb (609), Stoneberger (312), Jones (234), Mann (156), Welborn (98), Stephens (58). For years I used Everton's Genealogical Helper magazine to help make connections. First day on the Internet was October 21, 1996 and created a web page two months later to post the "brick wall" in finding Jackson Jones family in Ohio County, West Virginia. It worked!

Since then I've added pages on great-grandparents, history and pioneers of Custer and Greer counties, Oklahoma and OKGenWeb Oklahoma Land Openings and Oklahoma Marriage Project and site volunteer of Greer, Dewey and Washita counties.
I live in the South West corner of Greer County, a rural area, sometimes I call it "the boonies." The origin of the word "boonies" comes from Daniel Boone who often went into the wilderness, exploring and hunting, away from his community. Daniel Boone, a friend of my ancestors, the Van Bibbers. Family history reaches a lot of corners.

These pages are a tribute to my grandparents and great-grandparents and a way to share the history with the cousins and friends. Enjoying local history and genealogy, computers and the Internet. If we are "cuzzins", please WRITE.

Thanks for coming by,
Susan Cabaniss Bradford
Duke, Oklahoma
April 13, 2005


Almost thirty-five years ago one SWOSU graduate with a B.S. Elementary Education landed in Mangum to teach Kindergarten and taught morning and afternoon classes for two years. Along came Jerry, along came three children (two are college graduates), along came crafts and family tree and Southwest Oklahoma history mysteries. September 2001 I resumed work in Early Childhood Education. It is a blessing looking back (researching and compiling), and looking ahead (preparing in early childhood education). Susan, November 2005

Cabaniss history, Alabama, Texas and Oklahoma
Jackson Jones in Carroll County, Missouri
Rufus R. Cobb family, Alabama, Texas and Oklahoma
Six Generations: Bradford, Cabaniss, Cobb, Dovel, Stoneberger, Lucas
Custer County Pioneers
Arapahoe Arrow, 1892 Newspaper
Family Tree
Oklahoma Land Openings 1889-1906
History of Old Greer County, Texas
Genealogy How-to
Western Oklahoma Newspaper Research 1892-1906
Research Homestead Records in Oklahoma
Pocahontas Kin?
Shary's Poems
Search "this site" Homepage

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A Genealogists' Prayer

Lord, help me find an ancient book or dusty manuscript,
That's safely hidden now away in some forgotten crypt.
Lord, let it bridge the gap that haunts my soul when I can't find
The missing link between some name that ends the same as mine.

unknown author

Beatitudes of a Family Genealogist

Blessed are the great grandmothers, who hoarded newspaper clippings and old letters,
For they tell the story of their time.
Blessed are all the grandfathers who filed every legal document
For this provides proof.
Blessed are grandmothers who preserved family Bibles and diaries,
For this is our heritage.
Blessed are fathers who elect officials that answer letters of inquiry,
For - some - they are the only link to the past.
Blessed are mothers who relate family traditions and legends to the family,
For one of her children will surely remember.
Blessed are the relatives who fill in family sheets with extra data,
For them we owe the family history.
Blessed is any family whose members strive for the preservation of records,
For theirs is a labour of love.
Blessed are the children who will never say,
"Grandma, you have told that old story twice today."


"Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past. Ask your father and he will tell you, your elders, and they will explain to you." Deuteronomy 32:7 NIV

"Here this you elders; listen, all who live in the land. Has anything like this ever happened in your days or in the days of your forefathers? Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation." Joel 1:2-3 NIV

You know you're an addicted genealogist

When you brake for libraries

If you get locked in a library overnight and never even notice

When you hyperventilate at the sight of an old cemetery

If you would rather browse a cemetery than a shopping mall

When you know every town/county clerk in your state by name

If you would rather read census schedules than a good book

If you can fit three hours research into a one hour lunch break

When your more interested in 1697 that 1997

If you search phone books from strange towns looking for family surnames

When all your correspondence begins, "Dear Cousin"

...You Know Your Addicted When ...

Lines to Granny

Where did you come from Granny Dear? ....................
How did you get from there to here?
Tell me what was your maiden name? ....................
Has it always been spelled the same?
What was your birthplace, County and State? ....................
When were you born? Please give the date.
(Yes, Granny, your descendants will cheer!!!
If you will include the year. ....................
Because you wanted it on the Family Tree,
For your great-greats through me!)

Granny, who was your father? ....................
Do you have proof?
What other children lived under his roof? ............... ................ ............... ...............
And what of your mother? Who was she?
What do you know of her pedigree? .....................................................
When were they married? ....................
Can it be proved - that they were not cousins, once removed?

A few other questions to ask you still:
Did your father own land? Where? ....................
Did he leave a will? .......... Please name County and State.
Your vital records, where are they?
What do original sources say? ....................
We must have documents, one or two
To prove, Dear Granny, that you are you!

Author unknown

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