July 2019 President’s Tidbits

Betty Shelden Knopf, Ed.D. (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

"Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success. " ~ Henry Ford

Press that Big Blue Button!!!

All SFA members have been sent a 2019 Reunion Registration Form in the recent Quarterly and in the June President’s Tidbits. An easy to use form is also found on our website Sheldonfamily.org. Go to the website and then to the Reunion tab. Press that big brown button and join other Sheldons (and Sheldens) in September in St. Charles, MO. (P.S. Don’t forget two pewter Sheldon cups will be auctioned off at the yearly business meeting.)

Using Vermont Vital Records and RootsMagic to Document SFA Data.

Ancestry.com has a collection of Vital Record Cards from Vermont from 1790 to 1860. There are about 1.2 million of these cards in this set and, more importantly, the set of cards is ALPHABETIZED by last name. There are about 2,000 of these cards with a last name of Sheldon. Marv Parsons, our webmaster, decided to document his RootsMagic SFA data using these old cards, many of these cards are before Census records were kept. He found about half of the “Sheldon” cards fit in our 125,000 person SFA data. He created about 20 YouTube videos showing different techniques to match the Vital Record cards to his data. If you are a user of RootsMagic, you might learn many different methods to match these sources to your Sheldon ancestors. You would be amazed at the tips and the tricks he’s discovered to match these valuable sources. You can view his channel at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCi7qZINEujchmiT-9Xh77ew/videos?view_as=subscriber

Wisconsin Historical Society

On behalf of the SFA Board of Directors, I signed an agreement letter with the Wisconsin Historical Society. This agreement gives permission to capture the pdf issues of the Sheldon Family Association Quarterly as part of its digital archive. The issues of the SFA Quarterly will be hosted at the Internet Archive data center with access from the Wisconsin Historical Society’s online catalog, which is part of the University of Wisconsin-Madison library system, and the open web via www.archive-it.org.

DUES!!!!!!!

If you are an SFA member who pays annual dues, hopefully, you read the email reminder that annual dues are increasing on August 1, 2019, to $20.00. Check out how to pay electronically on our website sheldonfamily.org or contact Sue Sheldon at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

July 21 is the deadline to submit articles to the Quarterly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Coming soon to your email address will be a short SFA member survey. Michael Sheldon and I have been working as an ad hoc team to explore possible Reunion options. A very short survey will be sent to all members. We hope you will respond and be very candid.

A Big Shout Out!

We all have people who when we hear their names, we always smile. For me, Bob Halstead is one of those people. For many years and in many ways, Bob has generously contributed to SFA. Many SFA members will recall that Bob has been a super life-long student when it came to learning and figuring out new computer skills, including learning web site programs. (Yes, programs as he converted from one web site program to another.)

Bob and Carol are now preparing to move and are "down-sizing." He has asked if SFA would like a book titled The History of the School of Agriculture 1851 - 1960. This was another act of generosity but then Bob shared some great family information related to the book. Bob received the book while working on a story about his grandfather, Louis Sheldon. Lou and his wife Augusta both graduated from there as did Bob's parents, Fred and Hazel Sheldon Halstead.

Bob has shared additional memories from Peggy. Peggy's grandmother was Bob's grandfather's sister. Peggy and their sister Cora went to St. Cloud Normal School to become teachers. St. Cloud (Minnesota) became a teacher's college and is now part of the University of Minnesota system.

According to Peggy, she remembers that Uncle Lou, Bob's grandfather went to UM. That was where he met Bob's grandmother. Uncle Lester told her how all the boys, except Uncle Will, who went to business school, went to the School of Agriculture. They each went one year and then coming home to farm and sending another brother. In time, they all graduated, Lou, Merton, Horace, and Lester. Peggy was unsure but thinks in those days the school could have been a two-year school. As Peggy so clearly states, "Isn't this perseverance remarkable? How proud I am of our Sheldon family and of the value they inculcated into future generations."

Bob has added that Lou was valedictorian of his class. The original school was probably equivalent to high school. Grandma Sheldon's brother Frank Wood attended but had to drop out when his dad died. As a school project, Bob's grandmother made her wedding dress and Bob's sister still has the dress.

This short story started with a gift of a book and changed into a gift of Sheldon family history and character.

Thank you, Bob and Carol! Enjoy your new home!

Part II: “TIS the Season for Nominations”

Leadership is the key to a fully-functioning organization in our ever-changing world. SFA members have a wide variety of genealogical interests, diverse work-related skills, interests, and knowledge, along with a liberal dose of wisdom and common sense. Your contribution to the leadership needs of this group is greatly needed. If you want to get more information or to discuss possible options, please contact me!!! Yes, let us communicate.

Elected positions that are open:

President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Directors-at-Large

Appointed positions that are open include, chairs, co-chairs and committee members:

Archives, Bylaws, Database, DNA, Finance, Genealogy, Membership, Nominating, Publications, Quarterly, Reunion, Social Media, Webmaster

Reunion 2020!!! (yes, really)

While we have not yet had our 2019 SFA Reunion, the search has now officially started for the 2020 SFA Reunion. A host and location are needed. Please contact Alberta Dunn at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

July’s History

1846   The Donner Party leaves Fort Bridger, Wyoming.

1848   The first women’s rights convention in the United States convenes at Seneca Falls, New York.

1898   The United States annexes Hawaii.

1909   Orville Wright makes a record flight of 1 hour, 12 minutes, and 40 seconds while demonstrating the Military Flyer, the first military plane, at Fort Myer, Virginia.

1933   Aviator Wiley Post completes the first solo flight around the world.

1945   The United States explodes its first experimental atomic bomb at Alamogordo Air Base, New Mexico.

1954   Elvis Presley makes his radio debut on WHBQ in Memphis.

1969   Astronaut Neil Armstrong becomes the first man to walk on the moon.

1976   The U.S. Naval Academy admits women for the first time.

2008   NASA announces that its Phoenix lander has confirmed the presence of water on Mars.

(Source: The American Patriot’s Almanac by W. J. Bennett and J. Cribb, Thomas Nelson, Nashville, 2010.)

“You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality.” (Ayn Rand)

What open SFA position is most closely aligned to your interests, life skills, and time? Contact me to get honest and complete information.   Your consideration, comments, and conversation are important to me! Please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or call me at 916-944-3553 (Pacific Coast Time). From: Betty Shelden Knopf