The BVGS was started in January of 1980 after a common interest in genealogy was discovered among local citizens
at a four-week workshop offered at the Oakland High School by Iowa Western Community College. Orpha Hackett suggested
the name for the Society, and Roma Smith designed the logo shortly after the meetings began. The Society became a chapter
of the Iowa Genealogical Society (IGS) in November of 1981.
Accomplishments and activities of the Society over the past twenty years have been significant. Since
the Society was founded, members have walked all Pottawattamie County cemeteries with the exception of Council Bluffs.
These cemeteries were then charted so that the graves of loved ones would be easier to locate. The information was published
by the Society in a series of books available for sale by the IGS. (See our section titled Publications for Sale.)
There were also major restoration projects in some of the cemeteries led and funded by BVGS.
Pottawattamie County Marriage Books have been extracted and information put on file with the Society.
Obituaries have been extracted from local newspapers with the information kept on file for researchers. Countless queries
have been answered.
Marcella Caughell funded an addition to the Eckels Memorial Library in 1997 in memory of her husband, Floyd
Caughell. This addition includes the Floyd Caughell Genealogy Room which holds the Society's collection of research
We try to keep the Floyd Caughell room open during library hours to assist family and history researchers in
finding needed information. To that end we have most of the local newspapers on microfilm. These papers go back
to the late 1800's and include the Carson Fair Dealer, Oakland Acorn, Carson Critic, Avoca Journal-Herald, and others.
We also have county, state, and federal censuses on microfilm.
We offer access to microfiche records, both foreign and domestic. Our collection also includes passenger
lists in book form and on computer CD's and on microfiche.
We have several county histories of Iowa and many volumes of local family histories on our shelves. We
have begun a collection of local school annuals. We continue to collect local church histories and platte maps.
We have one of the few microfilm/microfiche reader/printers in the local area. For genealogists, we have the Personal
Ancestral File program on the computer as well as several CD-ROMs for research purposes.
We welcome visitors to our room whenever the Eckels Library is open. If the room is not open when you
visit, we can make arrangements to be there when you are -- just let the front desk know, and they will call a member.
When visiting in person, the Society charges only a nominal fee for copies. For inquiries coming through the mail, the
Society charges a small research fee to have volunteer members look up answers to questions you may have about your family
or the local area. We are tyring to increase membership and enlarge our collection of materials so we can be of
more help as more and more people are becoming interested in their heritage.
(by Jennifer Drawbond for our 20th Anniversary Newsletter.)