In this column, we are featuring not one but TWO of the invaluable volunteers who supplement and complement the work of our paid staff in so many ways. Gordon is a docent and regular lecturer at the Society. Betsy covers the front desk and has been involved with our ongoing oral history project in various capacities. Both are also very active participants in community affairs, and are stellar ambassadors for WHS. It is a privilege and honor to work together to preserve and share Windsor’s history.
How long have you volunteered for the Windsor Historical Society, and what inspired you to become volunteers?
GORDON: When we retired we wanted to volunteer together somewhere. I have a degree in history and thought of WHS. It was a perfect fit so we began volunteering here seven years ago, I as a tour guide and Betsy as a desk volunteer and transcriber of oral histories.
What do you like most about volunteering here?
GORDON: I love meeting people from all over the world. I love to tell Windsor’s story and to hear the stories of the visitors. There is so much to learn. Also I love volunteering with our Genealogy Support Group where folks from all around gather and share their efforts in finding their roots.
BETSY: Transcribing the oral histories of Windsor citizens helps preserve the history and makes it accessible for present and future researchers. It is an honor and a privilege to hear eyewitnesses to Windsor history tell their stories and experiences about our more recent past.
Tell us about a memorable interaction you’ve had with a visitor. Any particularly noteworthy questions or comments during a tour or in our museum?
GORDON: Recently a visitor drove across country from Oklahoma to research her family in Windsor. Our Genealogy Support Group was meeting that night and the staff invited her to attend. At the meeting I started to tell the group about a recent ancestry link I had found in my line. The woman interrupted and proceeded to recite the rest of the line, knowing more about my family than I did. It turns out we are cousins.
Do you have a connection to Windsor history?
GORDON: Seven years ago I knew of no family connection to Windsor. Since then, through my genealogy research I found I am descended directly or by marriage to many of Windsor’s early families. I also found that I am related to other WHS volunteers and in the Genealogy Support Group attendees.
Do you have any advice for someone interested in volunteering but might be nervous about getting started?
Not all volunteers have to give tours; there are other ways of volunteering. Take a tour of the Society, talk to the staff and other volunteers. Your interest in Windsor’s history and sharing it with others might make you a great match with the Windsor Historical Society.
Photo by Michelle Tom, 2019.