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outline of a piece and then add in the fi ner details using paint. “The thing I think is unique about dad’s carvings is that he carved in every single little detail,” Colin said.


Bill’s vibrant passion, strong dedication and self-taught skills live on today through the woodcarvings he left for his family to enjoy. “My dad passed away six years ago,” Colin said. “One of the concerns we had was what we would do with his carvings.” Colin and his brothers amicably split up the carvings amongst themselves.


The woodcarvings serve as a sweet reminder of a wonderful man. “It’s really a keepsake,” Colin said. “It certainly makes me think of dad. I keep the carvings in my offi ce so that a few more people are able to see them.” While Nadine claims that all of the boys have a good eye for wood, Brett is


the fi rst to attempt to learn the legacy of woodcarving his father left behind. Brett’s attraction to woodcarving has a lot to do with watching his father do it for so many years.


“I don’t know that I have my dad’s patience, but I have been doing some relief carving,” Brett said. “I watched him carve for so long and I wanted to see if I had the ability to do it at all; I’ve found it very enjoyable.” Woodcarving itself is not solely about the fi nal product that comes from hours of dedication and patience. Sometimes the real reward is just being able to focus on something simple and clear your thoughts for a while. “You sit down and work on something and your mind can concentrate solely on what you’re doing and forget about something else,” Brett said. “Before you know it, you’ve been sitting there simply carving for a couple of hours.” While Bill may be gone, he will continue to live on in the lives and hearts of many.


One of the many hobbies Bill Whitley enjoyed over his lifetime was birdwatching. Courtesy photo


Photo courtesy Canebrake Resort and Restaurant


Genealogy Continued from Page 19


“You have to be really focused on trying to validate informa- tion you’re able to obtain. Just because someone has the same name, doesn’t mean you’re related to them. Try to get informa- tion from reliable sources,” Sperry says. This is especially important when using online sources. “Anyone can put anything on the Internet. Use caution when you’re collecting information,” Huber says. “Compare it with other sources and check for documentation. Try to prove every fact for yourself.” A source that Huber highly recommends is family. Talking with grandparents and great-grandparents, if they’re still living, can save you a lot of time. After collecting as much information as you can at home and from family members, head to the library. Several Oklahoma public and tribal libraries and the Oklahoma Historical Society have genealogy collections, free access to online databases such as Ancestry, Fold3, and HeritageQuest, beginning research classes and staff to assist with your search. Finally, be patient, persistent and use good ethics. It can be


a slow—and sometimes frustrating—process, especially in the case of adoption.


“Be sensitive to the other parties who are out there,” Coleman


says. “There were things suggested to me over the years that were unethical and even illegal. I remained patient and always considered the other side.” With patience and perseverance, you might be surprised how


much you can learn about your roots by studying your family tree.


Recommended Resources:


Photo by Laura Araujo ✓ www.ancestry.com: genealogy search


database ✓ www.fold3.com: historical documents and


military records from the National Archives ✓ www.heritagequestonline.com: database of


out-of-print books ✓ www.americanancestors.com: database of


New England genealogy research ✓ www.historygeo.com: database of maps and


land records ✓ www.familysearch.org: genealogy search


database from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- day Saints, the largest genealogy library in the world; “check out” resources from their microfi lm collec- tion and view them at a local affi liate library for a small fee ✓ The Oklahoma Historical Society Research


Center ✓ Your local library, genealogical society, tribal


library or courthouse ✓ Cemetery associations—many have maps of where people are buried


JANUARY 2014 27


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