Doors to the Past

Barry Huffstutler

Discover your heritage through 'doors to the past'

Cana Olenick
Staff writer

For local history and genealogy buffs, there is now an online portal of information available to aide in your research. "Doors to the Past" is a website that is filled with accurate Cabell County history. Unlike many other genealogy sites, this one is not just genealogy but also the history surrounding the area and the families. Webmaster Barry Huffstutler and his assistant Ed Prichard strive to keep the site updated with new and accurate information as they discover it.

Both Huffstutler and Prichard are retired teachers. They have taught at several different middle and high schools around the area but actually did not meet each other until the creation of this website. Both first got interested in genealogy when they decided to research their own family histories. After that Huffstutler continued doing research in Cabell and uploaded what he found to many different local sites. He then got the idea to start his own site dedicated to his findings and "Doors to the Past" was born. Prichard was researching his family and stumbled across the site. From that point on they have been the fun loving history-hunting duo.

The site originally started with old records from Heck's Funeral Home and surrounding cemeteries. However, the more they discovered the more they expanded the site. They have discovered over 200 cemeteries in Cabell County. With each one they document each headstone, take pictures and make a database for the site.

Many of the headstones that they have discovered have been cracked, broken or damage by the weather over the years. However, there are methods that they have in order to read the headstones such as rubbings or using shaving cream to fill the grooves of the words. They take extreme precaution so that they do not damage the headstone in anyway. "The important thing is to get the information off the headstone in order to preserve the history. If the headstone completely deteriorates without knowing what it said then that history is lost," said Huffstutler.

A lot of the information that they get comes from public records. Births, deaths, marriages, churches, photos and bible records are just a few things that are documented on the site. "We just want to share the information with those that are interested because not everyone has the time and money to dig through public records," said Prichard. Also, the information that is available online is very limited or incomplete so Huffstutler wanted to create this site so that people who are originally from Cabell but do not live here now, can easily access the information to learn about their heritage.

People that want to share the history of their families and land have submitted a lot of the information that can be found on the site. Huffstutler is always looking for more information to update the site with.

Currently they do not receive any funding for the work that they do. Huffstutler has funded everything himself. "I'm just doing it for fun, not recognition or glory. It's a hobby. I want more people to be able to use the information and the site for their hobbies," said Huffstutler.

According to Prichard, "Barry does all the work. I just assist him where I can for the fun of it. I'm like his Vanna White, head cheerleader and secretary. He finds something good and I applaud him."

Visit the site at or by googling "Cabell County Doors to the Past".

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