Central Florida Chapter History
Laura B. Chapman
The Central Florida Chapter received its Certificate of Charter from the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society, Inc., (AAHGS) on May 17, 1991.
The Chapter's founders were Alberta Lynn Gibbs, Arlene Echols and Tom Kovalak. These three persons met and discussed the need for an Afro-American Genealogy group in the Central Florida area. Their desire was that persons interested in researching their roots would have a nurturing group to come to network. They thought it was important that each member had the opportunity to discuss their successes as well as those valleys, which happens in the life of all genealogists.
The Orlando Public Library was selected as the primary meeting place, because of its standing in the nation. This library was considered, at that time, to be one of the top four (4) libraries. Although the group has met at other locations, the Central Florida Library has remained the meeting place of choice. Selecting this site was an excellent decision because of its meeting rooms and helpful genealogical research staff.
Arlene Echols was the chapters first elected President. Her dedication and devotion to genealogy research resulted in a group which has had many successes in individual member's research. Arlene Echols remained faithful to this group until illness necessitated her move in 1999, out of state.
Our chapter's membership has exerienced consistant growth from those three original pathfinders. Some of our members have written and/or published their research, others have discovered previously unknow members of their family and encouraged beginners to conduct successful genealogy research.
Everyone is invited to our meetings with the hope that they will hear something which will inspire them to continue or start their individual family history research.
Members who succeeded Arlene Echols as President were Mary Fears; Stuart Doyle, Laura Chapman and current President K. O. Mitchell.