Genealogical society to celebrate 15 years at May 18 meeting

May 13, 2019

The Sussex County Genealogical Society will celebrate 15 years of research, companionship and fun at its general meeting at 10 a.m., Saturday, May 18, at the Lewes Public Library. It is free and open to all. In addition to a well-known speaker, Craig Scott, via interactive video, there will be generous door prizes and refreshments.

The society was officially established in 2004 due to the efforts of Francis R. “Pat” Bray Jr., a certified genealogist record specialist who moved to Rehoboth Beach from Fairfax, Va. After a battle with cancer, Bray died in 2005.

Audrey Sensale, Lynne Hooker, Gene Chap and Marjorie Frampton were the first officers, elected in May 2004. The Searcher newsletter was begun at that time by Fred Schiding. Other early presidents who led the development of the organization were Jeanne Davis and Ralph Nelson, whose wife Sally was the newsletter editor and internet guru for a number of years.

The society has grown from 55 charter members to the current membership of 123. Its mission is to promote amateur genealogy by encouraging and instructing its members in quality research. A variety of program offerings in various locations and increasing use of technology to expand opportunities for researchers have kept the society active. In 2012 and 2013, SCGS offered one-day conferences that drew nationally known speakers. Local genealogist Cathy Hudson led that effort.

Recently, the organization has begun using interactive video presentations to make top speakers available. For more information, go to