Welcome to the
Gil is the Founder of the CFA organization and Gils wife Mary Newkirk Alford is his connection to the Chapmans. The following are excerpts taken from Gils notes on the background and history of the organization. Gil wrote these comments in December, 2005.
President Al Chapman asked me to put together something on our history. Since our CFA Historian is past President Bob Chapman, this has been coordinated with him.
In January, 1981, nine days after I became eligible for early retirement at age 55. I took the big step because I was fed up with both the job and the commute. Having been totally dedicated to my work all my life I had no pastime or hobby. About mid year in 1981 I decided that I would dabble in the stock market and purchased a computer to use in managing my soon to be financial empire. I didnt have any money and even less stock market moxie. I bought some Texas oil drilling company just before most of the oil drilling went to the mid-east. I bought stock in Pan American Airways just before that company went south. And there were other similar cases. I soon learned that I lacked the temperament, smarts and money to indulge in the stock market. In 1981 there werent a lot of choices in the way of personal computers but I shopped around for what was available. I wanted to get an Apple but when I went to their store I was very upset at the attitude of the sales personnel. I looked a little further and then decided upon an Atari 800. Initially it was a bare bones system but it grew over the coming months. There was no big rush in improve it because now I had no use for it.
In 1982 my dear mother-in-law, the late Della Chapman Newkirk, was visiting with us and we were sitting around the basement engaged in small talk when the subject of Marys grandfather came up. I dont remember what prompted it because at the time I had no interest in family history and Mary had even less. Seriously, I did not even know the name of my great grandfather, and had never wondered about him. Anyway, Mrs. Newkirk made the statement, youll never know any more about your grandfather John Newkirk because he was an orphan. Mary actually knew grandpa John as he had lived with her family for some short periods of time over the years.
The youll never seemed to hit a trigger in me and I decided upon the spot that I was going to learn more about John Newkirk. The first thing I did was to write to one of Marys aunts in southern Indiana, where the Newkirks were from, asking her to please send me a copy of a recent telephone book of the area. After Mrs. Newkirk returned home to Louisiana I dragged Mary to the local library where I asked them what they had on genealogy. They pointed me to a book on a nearby shelf and said Id find a magazine on the periodical rack. The book was of no value but the magazine was Evertons Genealogical Helper. I immediately subscribed and bought all the back issues that I could. I was attracted to their Root Cellar which was a section where folks could register the name of the ancestor they were researching along with a date and place of some event. Folks could then purchase all of the entries on a given surname for a nominal fee. I did not know where I was headed but it seemed like a good idea to purchase the data for the surname of both Marys and my four grandparents, so I got Newkirks, Alfords, Chapmans, etc. My list, dated July 1982 arrived and I found 14 Newkirks, 20 Alfords and over 100 Chapmans. I wrote letters to all the Newkirk folks on the Roots Celler list as well as letters to those from the Roots list who were interested in Chapman and all but about 20 responded.
The following is a list of the initial respondents from the Roots list for the Chapmans. Note that that eight of this group joined the CFA as indicated by the CFA number after their name. The ancestor code indicates name, date of birth and where, e.g., GEO804OH(George, 1804 in OH) and have been arranged with 2 separate names on each line to save space.
Dorothy Ahlgren NAT791!! Dorothy C. Cornwell GEO804OH
Ruth C. Bacon WAR800VA G.W. (#188) Daniels JED741NY
Bonnie Baker ELL817PA Morene Denney G. 851GA
Mary Barber MAR843SC Gladys Alta Deyo JOH750CT
Dorotha Bateman JOH834NY Beverly Dimmick ROB616EN
E.Jean(#044) Beckham JOH775VA Carrie M. Dudley PET801NY
John Robert Burgoon,III RIC795!! Margaret Freundenberg JOH750VA
Dawn Chapman CHA828EN Betty Goldstein JOH641EN
Ervin N. Chapman GEO 803MA Robert (#059) Goodding THO700IR
Thelma Goodlet THO820!! Clarice M. Griggs JOH775!!
Diane L. Gunderson THO770!! Dian (#005) Gustafson WIL651EN
Zona Hardy JOH680!! Jaqueline Harrington ROB616EN
Fred J. Henderson LUM803!! Chester R. Johnson ROB672NJ
Colin C. Kelley WIL633EN Barb Krzycki LUK827IR
William (#275)Luce SHA748SC Susan McArthur EDW805IR
Betty McDonald SOP849MO Delores McDonald JOH811LA
Louis R. Messing ALE821PA Norma Miller CHA665EN
Mary (#356) Miltner JOH800KY Virginia Oliver ELI870MO
E.Louise Quiring FRA798KY Cherie Robinson ELI820OH
Helen Roesch ISA760!! Noni(#028) Sawyer RIC720MD
Betty Snyder PHO818OH MollyLou Stoddard(#011)EZE783NY
Ila F. Sumption JOH815!! Jean Sweningsen GEO803MA
Judy VanRay ROB726!! Betty B. Vickery CLA803OH
Harriet Waggy JOH800EN Mary Watson ROB738!!
Paul Woodall HEN756VA
Needless to say we were immediately flooded with responses and the flow of Chapman information has not ceased to this day. We carried on an active correspondence and the data exchange for the next several months. We felt obligated to share all of the data we were receiving and had already learned with a quarterly newsletter on Alford and Chapman that it was an expensive and time consuming operation.
In August 1983 we published the first issue of Chapman Chatter which had 26 pages and contained, among other things, 34 inquiries in our Chapman Exchange, as well as 1456 lineages going back as far as 11 generations. The cost was $12 per year. We continued publication through number 37 in the Spring of 1994. During that time we did take a break for a period of about a year. By 1994 we had finally gotten the Chapman Family Association set up and running and Amelia Painter had begun a CFA publication which evolved into the CFA Quarterly we have today