Gil and Mary Alford

The Father of CFA

Gil is the Founder of the CFA organization and Gil’s wife Mary Newkirk Alford is his connection to the Chapman’s. The following are excerpts taken from Gil’s 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 didn’t 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 weren’t 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 Mary’s grandfather came up. I don’t 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, “you’ll 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 “you’ll 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 Mary’s aunts in southern Indiana, where the Newkirk’s 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 I’d find a magazine on the periodical rack. The book was of no value but the magazine was “Everton’s 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 Mary’s and my four grandparents, so I got Newkirks, Alfords, Chapman’s, 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 Chapman’s. 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.

Last Name First Name Code
Ahlgren Dorothy NAT791!!
Cornwell Dorothy C. GEO8040H
Bacon Ruth C. WAR800VA
Daniels G.W. (#188) JED741NY
Baker Bonnie ELL817PA
Morene Denney G. 851GA
Barber Mary MAR843SC
Deyo Gladys Alta JOH750CT
Bateman Dorotha JOH834NY
Dimmick Beverly ROB606EN
Beckham E. Jean (#044) JOH775VA
Dudley Carrie M. PET801NY
Burgoon, III John Robert RIC795!!
Freundenberg Margaret JOH750VA
Chapman DAwn CHA828EN
Goldstein Betty JOH641EN
Chapman Ervin N. CHA828EN
Goodding Robert (#059) THO700IR
Goodlet Thelma THO820!!
Griggs Clarice M. JOH775!!
Gunderson Diane L. THO770!!
Gustafson Dian (#005) WIL651EN
Hardy Zona JOH680!!
Harrington Jaqueline ROB616EN
Henderson Fred J. LUM803!!
Johnson Chester R. ROB672NJ
Kelley Colin C. WIL633EN
Krzycki Barb LUK827IR
Luce William (#275) SHA748SC
McArthur Susan EDW805IR
McDonald Betty SOP849MO
McDonald Delores JOH811LA
Messing Louis R. ALE821PA
Miller Norma CHA665EN
Miltner Mary (#356) JOH800KY
Oliver Virginia ELI870MO
Quiring E. Louise FRA798KY
Robinson Cherie ELI820OH
Roesch Helen ISA760!!
Sawyer Noni (#028) RIC720MD
Snyder Betty PHO818OH
Stoddard (#011) Molly Lou EZE783NY
Sumption Ila F. JOH815!!
Sweningsen Jean GEO803MA
Van Ray Judy ROB726!!
Victery Betty B. CLA803OH
Waggy Harriet JOH800EN
Watson Mary ROB738!!
Woodall Paul 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




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