How It All Began
In about 1989, when my uncle Samuel D. Gaston's job required him to periodically
visit the court house in most of West Virginia's 55 counties, his curiosity caused him
to occasionally check the birth, death and marriage records for anyone named
Gaston or Husk. His thinking was that anyone in sparsely populated West Virginia
who had the same relatively uncommon surnames as his parents was probably
related to him in some way. Little did he realize!
Sam soon got my mother, Geneva Gaston Brown, involved in his little project.
Together, they went through his voluminous handwritten notes, visited cemeteries,
interviewed relatives, created makeshift Family Group Sheets, and assembled it all
into a 3-ring binder. Tracing her roots and identifying all the leaves on the family tree
quickly became Geneva's raison d'etre. It was important to her, and it therefore
became important to everyone around her. She and Sam continued to pursue their
In about 1991, my mother and uncle, still determined to complete their project, were
struggling with the sheer volume of information that they were collecting. It became
clear to me that the only solution was a computer, something that neither of them had
any experience with. But I gave one to my mother, loaded it with genealogy software,
and coaxed her into using it. That made all the difference. Soon, everyone in the
family had their own book-length report of all their known ancestors and all the known
descendants of our earliest Gaston and Husk ancestors.
Where We Are Now
In 1997, following a 20-year Army career and a few other adventures, I moved from
Baltimore to Doddridge County to be near my mother. While Geneva and Sam
remained the principal compilers of the genealogy, I soon became the de facto
editor. When my mother died in December 2001, genealogy took a back seat with us
for a while. But Sam stayed with it and kept me involved. His enthusiasm and
commitment motivated me to develop this website, launched in August 2005. With
greater visibility and input from the site's visitors, this led to an expansion of our
scope. At the same time, although never stated as such, it seemed that Sam wanted
to document all the families that he remembered growing up with in the Oxford area
of the county. Interesting to him, beneficial to others. And so it continued.
But Sam's health took a turn for the worse in 2011, and we lost him in March 2012. I
am now left to continue the work begun by my mother and uncle. As I still feel
inspired by them, I will continue to say "we" and "our" in reference to the information
that you find here. I know that it was their hope that our work might help others learn
their own ancestry in the same way that so many had helped us discover ours.
Renee L. Brown, Editor
Doddridge County Roots
Samuel D. Gaston
Geneva Gaston Brown
Renee L. Brown