From the Smithville (TN) Review, Wednesday, September 4, 1996 -- front page!
USING INTERNET Athol Foster of Smithville looks up the genealogy pages on the World Wide Web which includes a DeKalb County page. Foster and other volunteers can be reached through the Internet and can offer assistance to computer users around the world who have local family connections. (Dennis Stanley photo)

Foster Helps Others Discover Their Roots


Thanks to modern technology and the love of genealogy by Athol Foster and others, residents from all over the world can easily discover DeKalb County on the Internet, an information highway for computer users.
DeKalb County has its own genealogy page on the World Wide Web as part of the ge- nealogy program that will eventually cover practically ever country in the world.
In general terms, computer users can call up the DeKalb page and learn a brief history of the county and the information that is available to help them if they have roots in this county.
"I got interested in genealogy by reading the History of DeKalb County written by Tommy Webb, and there was a lot of Fosters mentioned, and I didn't know much about my family on either side," said Foster, one of the primary volunteers computer users can "E-mail" to solicit information.
I got on the Internet after finding out there were a few things you could get through the Internet as far as genealogy goes," he continued.
Foster explained that a group in Kentucky started putting information together for that state, and the program idea branched out from there to other states.
"I saw the message from the state (Tennessee) coordinator here asking for people to volunteer to be coordinators for each county," he said. "I'm fairly new to the computer and to genealogy, and I told her this. She said no problem, furnish the information and she would get it put up on the page. So, that's what I've been doing."
Resources available on the DeKalb County page include: 1840 to 1920 DeKalb Census, DeKalb marriages from 1848 to 1950, a list of cemeteries here, Administrator's Bonds from 1860 to 1890 and Administrator's Settlements from 1846 to 1907.
In addition, the page offers a brief history of the county, historic sites, a list of funeral homes, Civil War resources, and a list of surnames currently being researched by Foster and other volunteers like Darrell Spencer, Dale Givan Cantrell, Jorene Parsley, Jerry Capshaw, William Capshaw, Lisa Franklin, and Robert White.
There have been more than 300 inquiries on the DeKalb page since July 3 and close to 7,000 on the Tennessee page.
"I just looked up some information for a guy in Texas," Foster said during an interview Thursday. "He sent me information requesting a copy of a will. I went down to the library, pulled out that roll of film, made copies of it, went over to the courthouse and looked in the settlement books, made copies and sent them to him.
"Everyone who is involved is all volunteers," he continued. "Most of the time, we have to pay for the copies. We tell them (those who made requests) what we did and they'll reimburse us."
To access the DeKalb County page, the Universal Resource Locator (URL) is: http//
If there are any family associations or families with newsletters in this county who would like to be added to the page, contact Foster in Smithville, or you can reach him by Email at

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This information and the photo were used here with the permission of the Smithville Review.