A person might think that 53-year-old Bob Chada would have a lot of spare time on his hands.
Retired from his job with the state Department of Agriculture, the Guthrie resident spends his days and nights with wife Tammie and their 3-year-old daughter, J'Koa.
But Chada also has another love, one for history, and that is what dominates his "second career" as a genealogist and researcher of Logan County's past.
The Chadas have more than 1,000 pages of information and photos posted on the Internet, detailing the history of the county and also Oklahoma's early days as it transformed from a wild and untamed territory into a legal state.
"It kind of started out as a hobby, but I guess you could say it's almost a religion for me now." Chada joked Tuesday.
But for the Iowa native, digging through old records and finding gems of information, from the past is a serious matter. His passion for the work did start, however, as something to do one summer during a break from drills with his U. S. Army Reserves Unit.
"It was about 15 years ago, We were in Columbus, Ga. on summer camp and another guy there was doing some research at a library there on his family's history. I tagged along, and so I kind of got into it." Chada said.
An area resident since 1961, Chada later became much more interested in genealogy because of his own roots and lack of knowledge about them, he said, and the work being done by his wife on her family's history.
"My side of the family goes back in America to 1858, and Tammie's working on an application to the Daughters of the American Revolution, because her ancestors go back that far," Chada said.
The couple met while working for the State of Oklahoma, where Bob followed his father's footsteps after earning a master's degree in agriculture from Oklahoma State University.
Naturally, Bob's and Tammie's interest overlapped into historical research.
But after moving to Guthrie about eight years ago, the Chadas became enthralled with the rich history of the town and the entire county, they said. At first, they worked purely to satisfy their own curiosity and thirst for history.
"But it's to a point now where we don't have much time to work on our stuff," he said.
The Chadas are doing that so that other people who can't afford to do the research themselves or simply don't have the time can use the World Wide Web to find the answers to the questions.
"We have two cemeteries, now we haven't put on the Internet, but we're looking at that. One of them we haven't even been able to find, but it is on the county maps. It's over by Langston somewhere." Bob said.
He said one of the more unique stories he and Tammie have researched involved the mysterious death of a Crescent man found dead in his car.
"A lady from Fort Worth, Texas, asked us to look what we could on Sim Reynolds. It took us six or seven months to really find anything on him. But then a gentleman found a death notice on him in Oklahoma City and we were able to search for newspaper articles on Sim," Bob said.
"Apparently, he was a traveling salesman and he was found with his throat cut and his mouth full of aspirin. At first it looked like a murder, and then later a suicide. But neither answer was really very clear."
So far, the couple has put about 900 pages of text about Logan County on the Web as part of the U. S. Genealogy Web Project, Tammie said. She took over the local Internet site after Harriet Jensen moved away. The project is designed to put as much genealogical information on the Web as possible.
All the work is performed by volunteers, Tammie said.
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