The MGA was organized in October 1963 in order to further research on the ancestry and descendants of Daniel Murphree (ca 1715-1771) and his wife Sarah. A listing of the charter members of this organization is included below.
Several of the people listed were especially significant in the effort to organize this group, but Bill Royce Linder was the driving force behind this organization, and the MGA owes him a continuing debt of gratitude. The following, written in 1998, is extracted from the introduction to his book, "THE MURPHREE ANCESTRY of Bill R. Linder of Kenedy, Karnes County, Texas". (This book can be downloaded by following the link on the "Events and References" page.)
In 1957 at age 20, I had the privilege to drive my grandparents from South Texas to Mississippi for a visit. "Nanny" had been away from there for 65 years, having left Yalobusha County in 1892 as a child with her parents John and Jemima (Murphree) Shaw. Here I met more Murphrees than I could interview, and I even learned how to pronounce the name with emphasis on the "Murph" instead of the "ree". We excitedly took pictures of a roadside monument honoring Gov. Dennis Murphree, not realizing at the time that the honorable governor was a first cousin of Nanny's mother, and of my great-grandmother, Jemima (Murphree) Shaw.
Visiting relatives on both sides and extensions on the extended family, I was surprised at how very many of them Nanny knew. They either did remember, or acted as if they remembered Mattie. She found two Murphree aunts, three Shaw aunts, and a Shaw uncle, and Nanny was about to turn 76! There are some good genes in the family. The cousins gathered other cousins, fed us far too much good Southern cooking, and toured us around the cemeteries, homesites, farms, churches, and small towns. A treat was a night at a county fair. Nanny attended church as a girl in the rustic Primitive Baptist chapel at Airmount, which we visited. At another church her family had long ago attended, she sat at the piano and played hymns. While "What a Friend We Have in Jesus" echoed through the empty building, I saw tears on her cheeks and they rolled down mine, too. At one of the cemeteries, where we went with pen in hand and cousin Guy Shaw as a guide, I did a double-take when I saw a gravestone for a baby named Linder Murphree. Later I learned that the baby was named after preacher Lee Linder, and was a brother of Gov. Dennis Murphree and of Anne B (Murphree) Inman, who would become the first president of the Murphree Genealogical Association (MGA).
Six years after that first Mississippi visit, I emerged as a spunky college grad and ambitiously married man; and, to boot, was suffering from a strong bite by the genealogy bug. My Murphree correspondence surfaced as the most prolific, so much so that I conceived the idea of being better able to cope by forming an organization and using a newsletter to communicate with everyone. The Murphree Monthly was born that fall. The MGA blossomed out of the Monthly. Shortly, out of necessity, the Monthly calmed down to the Murphree Quarterly.
The organization and the quarterly have survived the past 35 years and there are incredible accomplishments to boast. Hundreds, or even thousands, of Murphree cousins from all over have participated. These are tremendous people, the Murphrees. Throughout the traced history of the family, going back some 300 years in the South, Murphrees have been up front and willing. They have led, followed, pioneered, taught, argued, preached, judged, and politicked. Many farmed, some merchandised. Today -- as well as raising prize-winning bulls and beef, crops and kids -- they track El Nino, explore space, design networks, wear lots of hats as 'home executives', counsel foreign governments, manage banks, discover cures, build skyscrapers, model fashions, transplant hearts, and run day care centers, colleges, and governments.
Join the MGA, if you haven't already. Start writing letters and visiting relatives and cemeteries as you develop your own family's history. Begin attending the national conventions and local reunions. You'll meet and get to know these nice, friendly, hard-working cousins with the Irish name of Murphree.
Bill R. Linder
We pay tribute to Bill Linder and these other charter members who had the foresight to organize the MGA. We honor each of them for their dedication and for providing ideals and promoting in younger generations the interest and pride in their heritage that continues the legacy of the Murphree clan.
Deseret News, Salt Lake City, UT, 19 June 2000
Bill Royce Linder, former director of historical information at the National Archives and a leading authority in genealogical research, died June 9, 2000, at his home in Arlington, Va., of a heart attack. He was 63.
Mr. Linder worked as director of the central reference division of the National Archives from 1969 to 1982 before working as a systems analyst for the General Services Administration for 13 years. He retired in 1995.
Throughout his career, Mr. Linder maintained his own genealogical research, concentrating on American families. He wrote beginner's guides to genealogical research and family history and helped form organizations to support genealogical research.
Most recently, Mr. Linder collected and posted information on selected American families on his Web site, www.familyhistoryhouse.com.
Mr. Linder was born in Kenedy, Texas, in 1937, the oldest of four sons born to Royce and Maxine Linder. He graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in history and did postgraduate work at Brigham Young University. He married Nancy Kathryn James in 1963, with whom he is the parent of five children and 12 grandchildren.
While living in Utah, Mr. Linder served as editor of the Ensign. In 1969, he was instrumental in establishing the first World Conference on Records, at the time that he joined the National Archives. For five years he served as a director of the National Institute on Genealogical Research in Washington, D.C., including the 1976 Bicentennial Session on Genealogy. Mr. Linder was also chairman of the National Genealogical Society, serving during the NGS's 1981 Atlanta and 1982 Indianapolis conferences.
Mr. Linder assisted many dignitaries with the development of the field of genealogy and lectured widely in the United States and abroad on genealogy, including hosting yearly genealogy tours in London, Salt Lake City and Washington, D.C.