Sunday, December 21, 2008

Henry A. Deland House

My dad collects postcards of Deland, Florida. So I figured there had to be some kind of book out there on the subject. Being in the book industry I checked books in print and came up with the title Around Deland A Postcard History. The problem was the book is a local publisher and was not distributed by any major wholesalers. I tried the phone number given--disconnected. Tried Google for the publisher and came up blank. Ebay, Amazon, Powells, Advanced Book Exchange,, Barnes and Noble, Books A Million, Borders--NOTHING.

My last effort was Googling the book title. It came up on the website for the West Volusia Historical Society. Why didn't I think of that? Deland is in West Volusia--just too easy I guess. The book was listed on their website for sale. $20 plus shipping OR I could take a quick trip to the societys gift shop and pick it up. That's what we decided to do.

The gift shop is located inside the Henry A. Deland House located just off highway 92 in downtown Deland. We managed to get the last copy they had. Hopefully dad will like it.

The Deland House was originally built in 1886 by George Hamlin the first attorney in Deland. In 1893 the house was purchased by John B. Stetson to be used for faculty housing at Stetson University. In 1903 the house was sold to Charles Farriss an instructor at Stetson. Farriss made considerable changes including adding a second floor, moving the stairs, adding a porch, and adding stained and leaded glass throughout. In 1988 the house was purchased by Robert and Hawtense Conrad and donated to the city. Over the next two years renovations were made to bring the house back to the style of when Charles Farriss lived there.

The house is available for tours Tuesday-Saturday from noon until 4:00pm with the last tour starting around 3:00-3:15. The charge is $5. Also located on site is the Robert M. Conrad Research and Educational Center which houses the Society's library, exhibit space, meeting room, and preservation areas for photos and newspapers.

Outside is the Lue Gim Gong Memorial. Gong was born in 1860 in Canton, China and moved to the U.S. in 1872. In 1886 he moved to Deland, FL. Gong was known as "The Citrus Wizard". Gong earned fame for a cross pollination of "Hart's Late" and "Mediterranean Sweet" producing a new orange called the "Lue Gim Gong". The orange ripens in early fall and is more cold resistant than others. It won a Silver Wilder Award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Gong also worked with grapefruit, roses, and other plant life. He passed away in 1925 and was buried in Oakdale Cemetery.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Florida census records added to

Florida State Census Collection Now Available Online
The following was written by The Generations Network, parent company of

PROVO, Utah -- According to historical documents available as part of's new Florida State Census Collection, actress Faye Dunaway, famous for her performances in "Bonnie and Clyde" and "Mommie Dearest," was a four-year-old living with her parents and brother in Florida in 1945 and NASCAR co-founder William France, Sr., was already in the car business by 1935, listed as a mechanic living in Daytona. Now others with Florida roots can make discoveries about their own relatives., the world's largest online resource for family history, has digitized and indexed the 1867, 1875, 1935 and 1945 Florida state censuses, which contain more than 3.8 million names and 75,000 original images. This is the first time these censuses have been indexed, making the information easily available and searchable online.

Florida is one of only two U.S. states (South Dakota is the other) to have completed a census as recently as 1945, which means many Floridians can potentially find their parents -- or even themselves -- while searching the collection and building their family tree. Using powerful search tools, users can easily discover the name, address, place of birth, level of education and occupation of family members and others living in the same household, as well as locate and view digital images of the original census documents handwritten decades ago.

"With the addition of our new Florida State Census Collection, never-before-discovered family histories will be found at the click of a mouse," said Gary Gibb, vice president of U.S. content for "Censuses are one of the best resources for tracing your family history and is adding the 1945, 1935, 1875 and 1867 Florida state censuses to the largest and most complete census collections available on the Web."

Some famous Floridians found in the Florida State Census Collection include:

Faye Dunaway -- Four-year-old Faye Dunaway is found in the 1945 Florida census along with her younger brother, Mack, and their parents. According to the census, her father, John, was serving in the Army, while her mother was involved in "defense work."
Janet Reno -- This former U.S. Attorney General is found as a 6-year-old in the 1945 census living in Dade County with her father, Henry, who was working as a reporter.
Edith Ringling -- Edith Ringling, wife of Ringling Bros. circus founder Charles Ringling, is the only family member noted to be living at the Ringling Estate during the 1945 Florida census and her occupation is listed as circus proprietor.
William France, Sr. -- NASCAR co-founder William France, Sr., was already in the car business at 25 years old. The 1935 Florida census lists him as a mechanic in Daytona.
Abraham Lincoln Lewis -- Florida's first African-American billionaire and his wife are found in the 1945 Florida census, retired and living in Jacksonville, Florida. also offers a wide expanse of other Florida historical records, including the 1885 Florida State Census, a Florida Marriage Collection (1822-1875 and 1927-2001), the Florida Death Index (1877-1998), Florida Passenger Lists (1898-1951) and Florida Land Records. offers more than 7 billion names and 26,000 databases, including census, birth, marriage, death, immigration and military records; family trees; stories and publications; and photos and maps. The site currently boasts the world's largest online collection of census records, U.S. military records and immigration records as well as the largest compilation of Jewish and of African-American family history records on the Internet. offers a free 14-day trial subscription and easy tips to help people learn more about researching their own family history.

About Ancestry and The Generations Network

The Generations Network, Inc., through its flagship property, is the world's leading resource for online family history. has local websites in nine countries and has digitized and put online over 7 billion names and 26,000 historical records collections over the past ten years. Since July 2006, users have created more than 8.1 million family trees containing 780 million profiles and 15 million photographs and stories. The Generations Network also includes,,,,, Family Tree Maker and Ancestry Magazine. More than 7.6 million unique visitors spent over 4.5 million hours on a TGN website in October 2008 (comScore Media Metrix, Worldwide).