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Writing history
Mother, daughter working on new county history book

by Danaline Bryant
Miami News Record Article (2002)

Two local women are seeking submissions on family history for a new book about Ottawa County families.

Carrie Ann Cook, and her mother, Fredrea Cook, are writers with experience in the fields of genealogy and history.  Fredrea Cook said she and her daughter felt it was time to update the good work done by a former Ottawa County historical writer.

"During her lifetime, Velma Nieberding did an outstanding job of preserving Ottawa County's past," she said.  "No one can ever replace her work, but new people have moved into the county since she wrote 'The History of Ottawa County' in 1983.  So we felt it was past time to update the book.  This book (series) will be for the future.  You don't have to be part of the families who were here from Day One to have your families represented in the book, because if something happened yesterday it's history."

Individuals and families from Ottawa County are asked to submit information about themselves, Fredrea Cook said. Any families who were not mentioned in the original history book can also submit information, and families in the book may want to submit additional information, she said.

The Cooks plan to cross-reference both historical volumes.

"This will be an ongoing project that should serve as a nice companion to Mrs. Neiberding's work and a wonderful extension of country history," Fredrea Cook said.  "Because Ottawa County is a large area filled with rich history and interesting families, there will be as many "Ottawa County Families" volumes as information is available."

Fredrea, her husband Fredas and daughter Carrie Ann are co-owners of Gregath Publishing Company in Wyandotte.

"Most people don't know that an international publishing company is right here in their back yard," said Fredrea.  "It's a well-kept secret."

Gregath Publishing has been selected by the Department of Commerce to represent the United States at the International Book Exhibition, exhibiting books in the genealogy and history sections.

Additionally, both women have taught genealogy courses.  Carrie Ann currently teaches genealogy and writing at the Afton vocational-technical school.

"My daughter and I have always been interested in genealogy," she said.  "It's not surprising that my daughter is interested in it.  If you crawl around cemeteries half the time when you are a toddler, you're bound to develop an interest in it."

Information can be found at, or from Gregath Co. Offices.

There is no charge for submitting information; however, there is a $15 fee for each photograph submitted.  Submitted photos cannot be returned.

Fredrea said she hopes to have the first volume published before the end of the year.  Those submitting information will be notified of a special advance pricing available only to them.

Click here for more about the Ottawa County Families Project

Page Last Updated: October 12, 2018