Betty Clay, R.I.P.

The many friends of Betty Clay will be saddened to learn that Betty passed away yesterday afternoon.

Betty was a prolific genealogist who believed in verifying every bit of information she found about her ancestors. She belonged to several national genealogy societies and faithfully attended the NGS, FGS, and GenTech conferences for many years. She also was online, helping others with the genealogy research, until recently.

I first met Betty in in 1988 and found this retired former schoolteacher to be active, full of life, and interested in many things. She obviously was already a genealogy expert at that time.

Betty soon became a sysop on CompuServe’s Genealogy Forum, along with me and several others. She maintained that position for years, becoming Chief Sysop, until CompuServe faded away as the technology changed. In that time, she assisted scores of genealogists, both newcomers and experienced researchers, with advice and information. She frequently found records herself to help others in their research.

Betty was at nearly every NGS, FGS, and GenTech conference for years, usually working in the CompuServe booth.

In late 1995, I mentioned to Betty that I was thinking of launching an online genealogy newsletter. Betty’s immediate reaction was, “Can I help?” That is an excellent example of her attitude towards life: always seeking to help others.

I certainly will miss Betty and her constant smile as will many of her friends. She epitomized the words “southern lady.”

I believe Betty was 91 years old at the time of her passing.

Visitation hours:

Friday, February 22nd, 2019 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Wade Family Funeral Home
4140 W Pioneer Pkwy
Arlington, TX 76013

Funeral service:

Saturday, February 23 at 11:00 a.m.
Broadway Baptist Church
305 W Broadway Ave
Ft. Worth, TX 76104

Details are available at the web site of the Wade Funeral Home in Arlington, TX:


Betty was truly a one of a kind. She will be missed by me and a lot of other for sure.


Thanks for letting us know, Dick. I met Betty on a Caribbean cruise where I also met you. I’d known her for years on CompuServe and she was exactly the same in person! Kind, sharing, interested in everyone and so helpful with other’s research problems. We shared a cabin on a genealogy cruise to Alaska and she hadn’t changed a bit. I’ll miss hearing from her and it has been an honour to have known her all these years. As Timothy says – she was very much a “one of a kind” and the Genealogy community has lost a very important member.


Dick, I am so sorry to hear about Betty. I know she was a very dear friend of yours. She has inspired me for many years. I loved seeing her at NGS conferences year after year when she was still able to travel. In between we would call each other from NY to Texas. You might recall I met you through Betty back at the NGS Kansas City Conference, and Judy Russell that year too. Betty was so proud of her “young” genealogists and seeing us progress over time. My favorite memory of Betty was at the NGS Conference in Charleston. It was about 100 degrees one day but Betty persuaded me to go to old town Charleston with her to look for some of her 18th century ancestors. She had a clue from a 1950s DAR report but when we arrived, the church sexton told us many gravestones were now destroyed from hurricanes. After walking around this old church yard, straining to read stones embedded in the ground, we were ready to pass out it was so hot. Betty said, “I don’t think we will find them here after all.” And with that I looked down, and right below our feet, I saw the year we were looking for…brushed away the weeds…and there was Betty’s ancestor’s stone, still just barely legible! She was so delighted, she talked about that day we spent together for years. I am so grateful to have known Betty, one of the finest people I have ever been acquainted with. Her sweet voice will resonate with me for many years to come. Terry Koch-Bostic


Truly a treasure lost to many of us. Betty and I were roommates on several TMG cruises. Such a lovely and well informed person. I will miss her. Doris Wheeler


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