Now located in the lower level of the Historic Carroll County Courthouse, the Carroll County Genealogy Club now offers an office much more accessible to the public.
Although the club has been in the new office since April, it will celebrate its Grand Opening on Saturday, July 18 with a ribbon cutting at 11 a.m. Located on Main Street in Hillsville, the Carroll County Genealogy Club’s office is now open four days a week, Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
“We were located upstairs above where are now. We had trouble with the steps going up to the second floor. Most of our members and a lot of researchers are elderly people and they couldn’t get up the steps so easy,” said Bobby Patterson, President of the Carroll County Genealogy Club. “We had an opportunity to get the basement floor, which we secured from the Carroll County Board of Supervisors.”
The new office has been received well by the group’s approximately 100 members as well as the general public.
“Everybody likes it a lot better,” Patterson said. “We have a beautiful place. We have redecorated it some, we have new carpet. It looks really good.”
The Carroll County Genealogy Club offers help to individuals interested in searching their family history and genealogy. Also offered are a variety of books already prepared on many Carroll County families.
“A lot of times they give us a copy or we purchase a copy of their family histories and have it for them to look through and search,” Patterson said. “And then we have a lot of public records from the courthouse – marriage licenses, death records, those sorts of things.”
The Carroll County Genealogy Club offers a wide range of research materials. When you enter the new building, you are immediately met with the Jubal Early Sons of the Confederate Veterans Camp #1691 Room, which features items of interest from the U.S. Civil War and other American conflicts.
The research room is loaded with research materials from family histories to obituaries that date back to 1854 to research books on Carroll County and surrounding counties such as Patrick County and Surry County, N.C. One entire bookshelf was donated by the late Betty Jane Perkins Camin of Mount Airy, N.C., which includes her life of research from all over the United States.
While genealogy research is available to anyone online, Patterson said he’s found through the years that a lot of the information available isn’t always accurate.
“On the internet, you can find anything, but a lot of it is not accurate unless you have documentation and records, and we can provide that in a way they can be as sure it is as accurate as can be,” Patterson said. “One of the things we provide is actual copies of the documentation if they are searching family histories. We found a lot of stuff on the computers is not completely accurate, and what we have is copies of the actual records, courthouse records, and try to provide an accurate account of the family history and what they are looking for.”
The Carroll County Genealogy Club does not charge for its services other than for the cost of copies. The organization also has some publications for sell, including two volumes of the Carroll County Heritage Book, 1842-1994, and 1842-1997.
There are 160 family histories indexed in the Hillsville building, including an extensive history of the Stoneman family put together by Kent Stoneman. There is also a wall dedicated to drawings of historical markers by area artist Ron Leonard.
Area residents can also apply to be a “First Family of Carroll County” if they can prove their family was a resident of Carroll County at the time of the 1850 census. If the information is correct, the Carroll County Genealogy Club will issue you a First Family of Carroll County certificate for $20.
Patterson said the group always solicits volunteer help to keep the Carroll County Genealogy Club office open. Anyone interested in volunteering or joining the club is invited to come by the office. Annual membership is $20 for an individual or $25 for a family. A quarterly newsletter also comes with membership.
Allen Worrell can be reached at (276) 779-4062 or on Twitter@AWorrellTCN