Click below to get the latest SFA news in our Spring SFAQ (Sheldon Family Association Quarterly) newsletter.
The Sheldon Family Association
Connecting Sheldons since 1939
Click below to get the latest SFA news in our Spring SFAQ (Sheldon Family Association Quarterly) newsletter.
Reunion plans are underway for 2023. We hope you will join us in Fort Wayne, August 2-6, for our Annual Reunion and Meeting!
For those who attended the Board/Annual Meeting in 2021, some things will feel familiar. For instance, we have a block of rooms at the Hampton Inn and Suites, just two blocks from the Allen County Public Library. This is the same location as in 2021. The group rate includes a large buffet breakfast and free garage parking.
Something totally new and never done before Sheldon activity is that we are planning a group outing (ideally in a private suite with A/C, food and beverages) to see the Fort Wayne TinCaps take on the Great Lake Loons at Parkview Field, directly behind our hotel. This is a minor league team and the High-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres. More information on that to follow. We hope you’ll join us for a fun night at the ballgame.
Other plans include tours to the neighboring town of Grabill, and Amish community with shops and horse drawn vehicles, The DeBrand Chocolate factory tour, a stroll through the Botanical Conservatory, a downtown walk to see 11 amazing murals, or how about trying an escape room?
Of course, we haven’t forgotten that the main reason why we have an annual reunion:
There will also be time for you to work on your own family genealogy projects as well. The ACPL has an amazing genealogy department and staff to help you. The last time I was there I found a photo of my Grandfather in a 1930 yearbook! The ACPL is a FamilySearch affiliate library, providing access to digitized records from all over the world. For more information on the genealogy department and how to make the most of your visit, please see https://www.acpl.lib.in.us
As you can see, there are a lot of activities and discussions planned!
The Hampton Inn & Suites is ready to take your room reservations using the online link below. Please remember to make your reservation by the cut off date of July 2, 2023, to get the group rate of $149 + tax per night.
Hampton Inn and Suites, Downtown Fort Wayne
223 West Jefferson Blvd
Fort Wayne, IN 46802
Sheldon Family Association group booking link –
We look forward to seeing you in Fort Wayne!
Libby Wilson, Reunion Committee
To the SFA members and friends,
I want everyone to welcome and congratulate Lauren Sheldon. She is our newly appointed Social Media Administrator. She will be taking over the responsibilities from Wende Warren, who has been our acting admin. Lauren will be responsible for our Facebook pages, Twitter account, and lnstagram account. She will be collaborating with Kevin, our Webmaster, James, our SFAQ editor, and Wende, our Membership Chair.
Lauren is a person with experience using these medias as forms of communication. She is bustling with ideas and creativity. SFA looks forward to her contributions!
Sincerely, Michael B Sheldon
Sheldon Family Association
This year’s annual reunion will be held in Fort Wayne, IN on August 2-5 and all members and prospective members are welcome. Details will be provided as they are finalized.
The latest SFA Quarterly Newsletter is now available.
The Sprit of Volunteering
You may have heard the phrase, “The spirits moved me.” Often this is in reply to a call to action. This is a call to all members with the hope that the spirits will move you and summon you to volunteer for the Sheldon Family Association.
The SFA has been in existence since 1939, with an additional history that goes back even further in time. Its mission is much the same now as it was when it was started. In a few phrases:
It has always been about pursuing the knowledge of who, what, when, where, why and how. It is amazing how much has been accumulated and learned through the years. The effort of previous leaders and the huge participation of volunteers over these 83 years is phenomenal and awe-inspiring. All of this takes selfless people to research, organize, write, and distribute the growing wealth of knowledge and to do so in keeping with the times.
Volunteering is not that onerous, and it is not tedious, either. Yes, it will require that you devote three to four hours
during a week if you are President, or it might be as little as a couple of hours a month if you serve on some of the
committees. The amount of time depends on what it is you seek to do and the level of engagement you wish to make. You have to remember that any amount of contribution moves all of us Sheldons forward. It is rewarding, educational, and very worthwhile. It can even become a passion.
The upcoming year will be one that requires help from new blood. Bottomline: We need some members to step up and be or become the next wave of SFA leaders. The election in July 2023 will be for a new President and a new Secretary. We also need to fill some Director at Large seats. There is a lot to do and a lot to sustain. You can take it in small steps if you wish by first becoming a Director at Large and learning the ropes and responsibilities. Can you heed a call to leadership and help?
Currently, we have a need to fill the Vice President role since the term ended in August 2022. Our VP is still filling in for her role as well as remaining as our leader of the Annual Reunions, but she has new responsibilities to help her immediate family, so we need a VP ASAP. The VP role is obviously active. The VP is a Board Member on the Executive Committee, and the backup should something happen to the President. Being in the loop is critical to this role. My real hope is that this person becomes our Policy and Procedures Manager.
We need to fill a void by having someone take up the mantle of our Social Media accounts and oversight. You do not need to be on the board to fill this role. The SFA has several social media sites. This person is there to keep them current and monitor the activity. This July will be the end of my fourth year as President. While I will remain on the Board and shift my focus to other things SFA, such as the Finance Chair, the Nominations Chair, and a member of the ACPL review team, I am also active in my community and have a growing responsibility as a caretaker, so a step back is required.
Finally, we always need volunteers on our committees for DNA research, Reunions, By Laws, the 501(3) exploration, research, and ACPL data review are at the top of the list. You do not need to be on the board to fill any of these roles. If you want more information or if you want to throw your hat in the ring, please let me know by emailing me at
Michael B Sheldon
Exclusive SFA mugs for sale on our website! If you are an SFA member, login first to receive a discount. Shipping is included in the price. These are big, sturdy mugs that are great for your preferred beverage. Click here to get yours!
The Fall SFAQ is now available. It contains a lot of news about the Annual Reunion in Boston and a very special message from the SFA President. Additionally, this is our new editor’s first edition! Click here to read it.
During the past year, the SFA Board of Directors met ten times, with at least one meeting per quarter in compliance with the SFA Bylaws. The meeting minutes are on ﬁle. The frequency of the meetings was primarily dictated by the SFA property issues with the subsequent ﬁling of a complaint detailed below. Some new policies were created based on membership requests for research data and dues refunds. At each meeting, the status of the business was reviewed regarding matters of membership growth/retention, ﬁnances, and committee activities with a focus on the website, media sites, and the FTDNA study.
There were 18 members on Zoom, and 15 were present in person. This was suﬃcient for a quorum. A total of 25 members and guests attended the Annual reunion activities. All comments about the meeting and activities were very positive.
The following is an extended version of the President’s Report given at the annual meeting in Chelsea, Mass., on Aug. 20, 2022.
There were three signiﬁcant disappointments this year. I begin with the passing of an SFA board member, our SFAQ editor Joseph Uphoﬀ. I will miss his ways and his quirks, but I miss most of all the love he exhibited for SFA and his passion for trying to improve the SFAQ. He relished his role as editor. It was a shock when we learned of his sudden passing.
The second item was the inability to make progress on the public viewing of Sheldon documents on the ACPL website. The September 2021 board meeting and activities were epic, with the eﬀort put forth by those that went to Fort Wayne. We saw tons, learned tons, planned tons, had tons of fun, and developed a very good comradery. Unfortunately, the issues of Covid and some of a personal nature got in the way for both SFA and ACPL, and while scanning has been done, the visual output is not there for all to see because of SFA not being able to review all the content.
Lastly was the diﬃcult but necessary organizational changes in leadership structure. At issue was that over time, membership, research, data management, and ﬁnance all fell to one person.
September 2020 saw the addition of some very talented individuals, and the opportunity to shift and distribute roles was a natural evolution. Unfortunately, the desire to change was met with resistance. Requests were made and ignored. There were also rogue actions taken that were not authorized by the president or the board that put SFA at risk. There are many details, and I can assure you the board has been very aware of them and discussed them. For some, this was too much, very unpleasant, and they understandably resigned.
In August 2021, SFA saw a full-on frontal assault with the speciﬁc intent of replacing SFA. Because of their collaboration, the group that created this organization was able to obtain and retain copies of all the ﬁnancials, DNA data, membership information, research records, and entire database in diﬀerent formats.
The board made many attempts to resolve the matter of having its research, records, membership records, and ﬁnancial records returned. In June of this year, it voted to proceed with creating a legal complaint that is now a matter of public record. During the week of August 8th, 2022, SFA ﬁled a complaint with the Superior Court of the State of Washington State in Mason County. The complaint was served on Aug. 22, 2022. It speciﬁes SFA’s intent to take our former treasurer to court for breach of her ﬁduciary duty as an oﬃcer of Sheldon Family Association and failing to comply with the association’s bylaws fully. SFA seeks to collect from her the digital/electronic SFA Quick Books client records and speciﬁc membership and research records that are the property of Sheldon Family Association.
This matter has been time-consuming and expensive for our small organization. After the treasurer’s resignation, SFA received some information from her. With mediation, just a little bit more, with two letters sent by the lawyers even a bit more, the most important of which was ﬁnally returning to SFA control of our social media accounts. Despite this gradual acquiescence of data and power, the fact is that the most critical things, such as the client ﬁles with supporting documentation on Quick Books and assurances that the membership and research records we ﬁrmly believe to still be in her possession will not be used for personal or commercial beneﬁts, have not been given.
The board was unanimous in its decision in June to ﬁle because it ﬁrmly believes that our organization must protect its history, ﬁles, and membership. SFA has been a leader in many areas over the years. Many have contributed signiﬁcantly to its collection of objects and data. SFA was a leader in converting its data from paper to digital. It was a leader in DNA research and its collaboration with FTDNA. It will continue to strive for the return of its data and records.
Now the good news:
Thankfully, those board members who remained have been amazingly resilient and productive. Our most recent addition to the board and our webmaster has created a masterpiece of an SFA website. We keep an open mind and keep moving forward with our goal to deliver a quality product for our members and potential members. Our webmaster and membership chair have made keeping membership current and meaningful. Their additions to the SFA website, including the Sheldon Family Places Map site and the chat rooms, increasingly diﬀerentiated it from other sites. If we could get more volunteer help, there would be more than we already envision.
The restructuring of the website has helped to reduce some of our operating costs, which has allowed us to consider such things as making contributions to places like the Henry Sheldon Museum in Middlebury, VT. The board sees gifts like that as being in line with being a charitable organization and contributing to public education. It also keeps us in tune with maintaining historical sites with Sheldon connections. The message is that SFA and the monies you contribute or pay are not just about a family tree; it is SFA’s mission to protect and preserve the actions, activities, and records of Sheldons anywhere in the US. It is about 83 years of organizational history. It is about tying things together from the DAR, SAR, and Mayﬂower records. It is about letters SFA received from Sheldons years ago, and decades of SFAQ Newsletters and manual research. It’s about the journey of Sheldons’ research, starting with HO Sheldon himself and the ﬁndings they made and attaching it to people in our trees.
This year we ﬁnally re-initiated the annual reunions after a two-year hiatus with a visit to Salem, Danvers, and Boston. Salem is a historic site with solid ties to the Godfrey line, and Boston is home to the Red Sox and Sheldon Patriots, some of whose gravesites we visited.
We had new challenges arise, which the board investigated and discussed. Several people approached us about donating enduring records and research. We have no oﬃce or place to store such material physically. Electronic storage is diﬀerent. It is good news that ACPL has indicated its willingness to continue collecting more durable records and materials, whether personal genealogy or the Association’s. ACPL Director Curt Witcher spelled out the requirements, and we have written them up into a guide to help those who choose to add to the Sheldon collection.
I mentioned that we ﬁnally got control of our social media sites. On Facebook, two are open to the public, and the other is only open to active SFA members. We experience more insights and draw oﬀ both the new and old on these sites. At a cost, however, since recent phishing probes mean we need to be a bit more guarded. We have a plan currently in discussion as it relates to our website. We need your help here. I am the ﬁrst to know that electronic communication for our more mature members is challenging. A number of our members are in their mid-nineties, and computers and handheld devices present challenges (updates, button size, jargon, etc.). At issue, though, is cost; again, our senior members are the least able to pay more. So, it is a balancing act for those who can; please create your member logins on our website. More and more information will be placed behind the membership wall for your membership beneﬁts. What we will do with the open-ended social media sites is to be determined. We need a volunteer to help us here!
Through it all and despite the passing of our editor Joseph, we kept up the SFAQs because our heroine Wende Warren stepped in to take on the publication/formatting of it. Many thanks to the authors who contributed in the last year. Please keep it going, and now I am proud to announce a new editor: Jim Berrie is our new SFAQ editor and has also been elected to the board of directors. Jim has a lengthy background in newspaper journalism.
Wende’s membership report is on record. We are status quo in our membership numbers from a year ago. Given the year, I could not be prouder of what has been accomplished. The SFA Ancestry Tree data has grown by almost two thousand names. In addition, the tree now identiﬁes any Patriot, as proven by the DAR, with ongoing work to add data from SAR and Mayﬂower. We will do what we can to identify other veterans and attach notes from personal contact and through our records at ACPL. If this interests you, please contact us through firstname.lastname@example.org.
SFAs ﬁnancials, like membership, are stable. The bank account numbers a year ago and today are about the same despite giving a $1,000 donation to the Henry Sheldon Museum restoration project. We saved during our website transition and cut back on some of our research newsletter purchases. I expect that in 2023 SFA will have to draw on our savings account because of our legal expenses.
I want to say a few words about recognition. The board honored E. Hortense Sheldon this year by placing her name on the memorial plaque. She was the essence of being a Sheldon. She did phenomenal, if not epic, work on the Isaac line. She was a Godfrey descendant. She went to many places in her research and had insights into the origins of Sheldon from England. I would ask that you might log on to read the tribute written about her as well as the others we have memorialized.
In closing, I want to make my ﬁnal remarks with recognition of the board. It has been challenging, yet we have had a few laughs. I give each of you a sincere heartfelt thank you. Two oﬃcers cycle oﬀ this year but have agreed to stay on until replacements are found. One will also remain as our reunion administrator, and the other will stay in the role of historian. I am delighted to have Kevin Sheldon and Jim Berrie on the board of directors, each with a three-year term. We have the positions of president and treasurer up for election in 2023. Finally, the coﬀee mugs (pics on social media) we gave out to each reunion attendee were a hit. We will be ordering more—price and shipping to be determined.
See you next year at our next annual meeting in July 2023 in Fort Wayne. The exact mid-month dates are to be determined. If you are a genealogy buﬀ, this is one of the best record archives in the USA!