JOPLIN, Mo. —
Because the Internet is a tremendous source of information about ancestors, novice researchers can easily be misled into thinking that they no longer need to do other types of research.
Unfortunately, a family history compiled solely from Internet sources is often shallow and riddled with mistakes.
Some details can only be learned by corresponding with relatives, reading books about the areas where ancestors lived, and by going to those areas. While there, researchers visit old home sites, churches, cemeteries and courthouses, talk with historians and distant relatives, and search resources at local archives. Those types of research provide primary documentation and details that make the family history more accurate and make it come alive for those who read it.
Last week I learned about several changes that are occurring at archives in Southwest Missouri.
The Joplin Genealogy Society, which guided me as I began my research 35 years ago, has decided to close its library and move its resources to the Jasper County Record Center in Carthage. That center is an excellent choice because Steve Weldon and the volunteers at the center are dedicated to preserving historical resources and helping researchers explore the records.
I also learned that Rilla Scott, a dedicated genealogist who has worked at the Neosho/Newton County Public Library for many years, has decided to retire. Because she is one of the most knowledgeable historians in the Midwest, she will be missed by me and the thousands of other researchers who have benefited from her expertise. The local history/genealogy department that she helped develop is one of the best in the state.
The Anne Croxdale Memorial Library at Southwest City now has the Al Dixon photo collection indexed so that families can search for loved ones who are in the photos. The library will make color photos for a small charge. Dixon was the former mayor who displayed his photo collection along the walls of his barbershop. For more information, call the library at 417-762-7323.
Remarkable changes are taking place in the old McDonald County Courthouse, located on the square at Pineville.
The McDonald County Historical Society has successfully had the building designated as a National Historic Site, and it has rewired the building, replaced the windows and added new sheet rock. Last week the rooms were painted. The final step will be the installation of an elevator -- a project which still needs funding.
By the end of this spring, the building will be restored, and the rooms filled with displays. Genealogists will be pleased that one room will have a research library. An open house is planned for Memorial Day weekend.
To raise funds, the society is selling several books about the history of the area, as well as a Christmas ornament featuring the first log courthouse, an ornament featuring the courthouse on the square and a 2013 calendar that features community churches.
To learn more about the society and its projects, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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