KNIPPERS-L ArchivesArchiver > KNIPPERS > 2006-12 > 1165351806
Subject: [KNIPPERS] Re;Jackson County Jackson County Genealogic Else Nygaard Martin/ "TheJournal"
Date: Tue, 5 Dec 2006 15:50:06 EST
About Journal,' editor Else Martin
Sunday, August 13, 2006
By JOANNE ANDERSON
HURLEY -- Born in a house that was once the Harleston post office, Else
Nygaard Martin of Hurley has deep roots in Jackson County and an affinity
local history that began when she was just a little girl.
As editor of "The Journal," an annual publication of the Jackson County
Genealogical Society that preserves and shares county records going back
than 300 years, Martin is in her element. This retired genealogy and local
history librarian has research skills that would make a professional
proud, as she seeks and finds information and colorful stories on Jackson
and its families in a variety of places in a multitude of geographical
locations. She has traveled to Denmark to research her own family.
A recent find, a handwritten Vancleave United Methodist Church register,
found in the church attic. She laboriously read the handwriting and typed
it. She has retrieved vital data from old school records giving county
residents, whose birth records were destroyed in courthouse fires or were
non-existent, documentation they never would have had.
A walking encyclopedia, she can pull from memory chunks and pieces of
that, except for her efforts and that of the Jackson County Genealogical
Society, would have been lost forever.
Born in 1936, she is the granddaughter of Danish immigrants who made their
homes in Wisconsin and Texas. Her parents, Hans and Herdis Nygaard,
to Jackson County along with 25 or so Danish immigrant farming families in
1930s. Her family instilled in her a love for family history.
"I thought every family kept a family record," she said.
Educated in Hurley Consolidated School and Moss Point High School, she
married her Moss Point High School sweetheart, John Martin, in 1955. They
four children, eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
When she is not working on the journal, she does research for her family
others and occasionally conducts genealogy workshops. She also is near
completion of another major editing project for the society, the
the "Cemeteries of Jackson County, Mississippi," a work 12 years in the
which documents records of 235 major cemeteries located throughout the
She is extremely proud of the society's publishing record.
"No other county in the state has journals to compare to ours," she said.
"They are a collection of fascinating stories and material that people will
Others who share her passion and give freely of their time to historical
research are the officers and members of the society and other volunteers,
group that has worked for many years with little fanfare and recognition
their work. Jan Barlow of Moss Point is president; Doug Coulter,
secretary; Linda Ellis, recording secretary; and Sherry Owens, librarian.
Volunteers like Betty Rodgers and Harry McDonald have helped keep the dream
of saving the county's rich past alive.
Martin sees the journals as a legacy.
"It is incredibly important to see what's been done," she said. "People
don't appreciate who they are, their heritage, who made them like they are.
have an unbelievable thirst for history."
A past president of the society, Martin has served on the Board of the
Jackson County Historical Society, is past president of the Federation of
Mississippi Historical Societies and is the founder of the Granly Danish
Foundation Inc., a non-profit group dedicated to the heritage and
of the old Granly meeting house, built in the 1930s, and now restored.
Renamed Granly Danish-American Memorial Park, the organization serves more
than 300 descendants nationwide, who reunite on special occasions.The old
meeting house, cemetery and five acres of property are on Mulberry Road,
west of Miss. 613, halfway between Hurley and Harleston.
Martin's enthusiasm for her work is contagious.
"I loved studying history in school," she said, "but I have always been
interested in what we have here at home in local history."
The journals are proof of that.
Correspondent Joanne Anderson can be reached at
With warmth Regards,
Brenda Waltman Knippers