Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Legacy of Walt Holliman

by Glenn N. Holliman

The Research and Writings of Walter O. Holliman Preserved and Being Shared with a New Generation

Walter Orien Holliman, pictured above, a meticulous family researcher, passed away November 1, 2003.  His birthday was May 5, 1927.  Walt's father was Moses Holliman, the son of Warren C. Holliman, the son of Charles Holliman (1795 - 1841 ca), who was the son of James Grantson Holliman (1750-1836), a common grandfather to almost all reading this blog.

Above, Glenn N. Holliman, distant cousin of Walt Holliman, surveys over 300 pounds of papers and books donated to his Holliman Collection from the children of Walt.  The material is housed in a 5,000 volume collection of books and papers in Newport, Pennsylvania (yes, it is in Perry County as the liberated highway sign reveals).

"I walked into my library/barn just as the UPS truck was pulling away to discover this awesome collection of research, manuscripts, raw data and genealogical books.  The children of Walt - Lynn, Bryan and Ann - had been in touch with me about preserving the collection.  After checking with other children - Debbie and Paul - they decided to pass this invaluable material to my growing family history collection.  This is 24 feet of shelf space of important papers and books.

I am honored by their trust.  This winter I intend to inventory the collection and begin posting appropriate materials on the web so that other Hollimans and associated families can benefit from the decades of work accomplished by Walt.  After my time is over, I intend to pass the collection to a new generation of family members, perhaps in some type of family association or corporation.

While I have not had time to study the materials in depth, there are unpublished manuscripts and meticulous will and land transfer records obviously representing years of work and travel.  It is obvious Walt was careful and documented everything he did. His work is an excellent example of a historian who enjoyed his craft.

We are fortunate in our extended family to have this work saved.  Others in the family, the late Cecil Holliman and his son, Rhodes Holliman, Ron Holliman, Maxine Wright, Joe Parker, Vonceil Duckworth, Jeanette Holiman Stewart, Glenda Norris and other members of Tina Peddie's chat room have been likewise industrious in saving and preserving our family's history.  The story of the Hollimans and our associated families is America's story.

Walt was born in Birmingham, Alabama as was I.  A Boy Scout, he enlisted at age 16 in the U.S. Navy serving in World War II as a air gunner.  After the war, he graduated from the University of Tennessee and went on to a successful career in mobile home manufacturing and the aviation industry.  Tiring of travelling, he settled back in the Birmingham area as a stock and real estate broker.  He was a member of Mensa International, the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Methodist Church and various business associations.

From his last home in Pelham, Alabama, he spent countless hours collecting raw data, saving it and typing thousands of pages of notes and stories on his families.

Our great thanks to the family of Walt for preserving his work and their generosity is sharing it with the larger family.  I am happy to report that in the first few weeks of receiving this material, I was able to:

(1) pass along a thick file for review on the Blakeney family to genealogist Glenda Norris, a Blakeney descendant in Alabama, 

(2) review Walt's materials on Samuel Holliman (1707 - 1789) with Lynn Holliman (Texas) and Joe Parker (Texas), and together come to consensus, that yes, Samuel is the father of James Grantson Holliman, and 

(3) respond quickly to David Jennings of Pickens County, Alabama who sought to know the name of his great, great grandfather.  Like Walt, David descends from Warren C. Holliman, son of Charles Holliman, son of James Grantson Holliman."

For information on the Walt Holliman Collection or if you have papers to preserve, please contact yours truly at  Together we can save our history for our children who come after us.

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