By Susan Redden
JOPLIN, Mo. —
The Joplin Genealogy Society has closed its research center at 306 S. Wall Ave. and will give most of the materials there to the Jasper County Records Center in Carthage.
Shirley Kennedy, society president, said the group can no longer afford to pay rent and utilities on the building it has occupied for the past six years. The center previously had been housed in the Joplin Public Library.
The society’s revenues come from donations along with dues from memberships, which have dwindled to about 35. Volunteers had been keeping the center open four days a week, but only about six members have been available for that duty, Kennedy said.
“We explored our options, and the Jasper County Records Center offered us space where we can keep our things intact and get them back if we ever can open a new center,” she said. “We’re not dissolving, and at some point we hope to find another space.”
The Joplin group’s materials include census records and other genealogy research material, school yearbooks, city directories, and cemetery and mortuary records, most focusing on Joplin, Jasper County and Newton County. Most researchers who used the materials came from outside the area to research a family history or the history of a family member with Joplin area ties.
Society members also did some research for those from out of town who could not make a trip to Joplin. That work was done for a fee and handled through the group’s website.
“That probably won’t happen on the same scale, from here on out,” Kennedy said. “People who have contacted us recently have been referred to the county records center or the Webb City Genealogy Society.”
Area residents who have donated books and materials to the society may retrieve them, if they wish, from 2 to 8 p.m. today and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
Other materials that the group does not plan to move to Carthage will be offered to area genealogy societies and historical societies on Friday, Nov. 16. Surplus shelving, office furniture and other items will be sold the following day.
“We’re inviting area genealogy groups and historical societies who might want to pick up materials and office furniture for their own libraries,” Kennedy said. “We want to make sure all the materials are utilized, either by us or someone else.”
RESEARCHERS WILL HAVE ACCESS to materials from Joplin at the county records center in Carthage. It is located at 125 N. Lincoln Ave., in the same building as the Jasper County Health Department.