The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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Historical Societies Help When Researching Your Family Tree

By Susan M. Thigpen © 1991

Issue: October, 1991

If you are chasing down ancestors, one avenue you might want to consider is historical societies. Especially those in Southwest Virginia, even if you're from Texas or California, since many early pioneers passed through this area on the Wilderness Road on their trek west. Some families stopped for a year or more in this area before proceeding westward. They often married here or lost love ones while here and local records will often be a source of valuable information. Many historical societies offer research in their local courthouse, saving you a trip.

Practically all historical societies print a newsletter or journal periodically for their members that contains a wealth of information. They also keep back issues for reorders. Many societies help local authors of genealogical information by offering their publications for sale.

Write to historical societies for a list of publications they offer as well as any services they might offer. If you have specific questions, submit it to them in writing. If they don't know the answers, most will know of a member that might, and pass your inquiry along to them.

Ask how much it costs to join their society. It is usually a small fee and it will be a good investment if you are serious about your research. For instance, the Wythe County Historical Society's membership fee for an individual is only $5.00 per year and they send you a Historical Review publication semi-annually. The Historical Review prints short articles pertaining to the history of Wythe County including information lists. They are both interesting and informative and you can order back issues for $1.50 each to members. Non-member cost is $2.50.

We hope the following addresses will be helpful to you as you trace your way back through your family history.

Historical Society of Washington County
L.C. Angle
520 Beechwood Road
Abingdon, VA 24210

Smyth County Historical Society
Route 1, Box 284
Chilhowie, VA 24

Wythe County Historical Society
PO Box 721
Wytheville, VA 24382

Carroll County Historical Society
Route 6, Box 235
Galax, Virginia 24333

Grayson County Historical Society
Route 2, Box 26
Mouth of Wilson, Virginia 24363

Floyd County Historical Society
Route 2, Box 192
Willis, Virginia 24380

Giles County Historical Society
c/o Ruth Blevins
130 Main Street
Pearisburg, Virginia 24134

Montgomery Museum
c/o Ann Bailey
300 S. Pepper Street
Christiansburg, Virginia 24073

Russell County Historical Society
PO Box 1208
Lebanon, Virginia 24266

New River Historical Society
PO Box 322
Newbern, Virginia 24136

Franklin County Historical Society
PO Box 86
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151

Tazewell County Historical Society
PO Box 916
Tazewell, Virginia 24651

Bland County Historical Society
c/o Zareda Earnest, President
PO Box 8
Bastian, Virginia 24314