The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Globe Life

May 14, 2012

Frankie Meyer: Historical societies need volunteers

JOPLIN, Mo. — Even with the tough economic times, dedicated volunteers at genealogy societies, historical societies and museums continue to help their communities. Please show your support by contacting your local groups and asking how you can help.

The Joplin Genealogy Society is an example of a group that is in a dire situation as a result of last year’s tornado. In spite of the problems, volunteers continue to keep the library open and help researchers.

The group is also offering a class that will be a great help to those who want to record their family history but don’t know how to begin.

I highly recommend the class because I began my genealogy journey when I took a similar class from the society more than 30 years ago. I was guided through the steps and met many wonderful people who have become dear friends.

The beginners genealogy class will be taught by long-time researcher Shirley Kennedy from 9 a.m. to noon on June 16 at the Genealogy Room at 306 S. Wall. The cost is $20, to be paid in advance. For more details, people may call 417-624-3125.

Another group that continues to be active in spite of tough times is the McDonald County Historical Society.

Not only has the group established a museum, it has also moved the first courthouse from a field west of Pineville to a site at the east side of the new courthouse, and has restored it. Master gardeners have landscaped the grounds around the old log building.

Another project is to restore a nearby courthouse that was built in the late 1800s. That courthouse was used for county business until recent years, but is best known because it was used in the filming of 1939’s “Jesse James,” starring Tyrone Power.

Much restoration work has been done, and much remains. To help with the project, stop by the Pineville square each Saturday.

In order to utilize the second floor of the building, the group will need to add an outside elevator, which will be a major expense. When finished, the old courthouse will be used as a county museum.

The society meets on the third Sunday of January, March, May, July, September and November in the new courthouse in Pineville. Gayle Foster will be speaking at the May meeting about the Mountain Township, which will include the Schell family Ñ they are one of the oldest and most prominent families in that area.

Stop by the Barry County Museum to learn of the great work there. The group’s latest project is the completion of Volume 17 of “Lifetimes of Memories, Voices of Barry County.”

The newly released book includes interviews of long-time citizens Doyle Bowman, Ralph Hilburn and Dortha (Bush) Roller. To learn more, people may call 417-847-1640.

Suggestions or queries? Send to Frankie Meyer, 509 N. Center St., Plainfield, IN 46168, or email

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