Joel Reese

Joel Reese

The Genealogical Society of Iredell County will be holding an open house with refreshments on Monday at their new location at 400 South Meeting Street. That’s on the corner of Sharpe and Meeting Street in what was formerly the Iredell County EMS building.

The open house will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Special guests will be members of the Iredell County Historical Society. The Genealogical Society will have its rare genealogical and historical materials on display and encourages visitors to come and do family and Iredell County historical research Monday night.

Mike Trivette, a retired educator from Union Grove, is the current president of the Genealogical Society which formed at an organizational meeting in the Iredell County Public Library on May 17, 1977, with 13 charter members. The idea of creating a group dedicated to family research was an outgrowth of Continuing Education classes on Research and Genealogy taught at Mitchell Community College by Henry Klutz and David Pope. Harry Freeze of the Continuing Education Department of the college worked out the plans for having such classes at the request of Lois Schneider, a local genealogist.

Schneider was elected as the Society’s first president with David Pope serving as vice president and Fae Gill as secretary and treasurer. The purpose of the newly formed Genealogical Society of Iredell County was set as follows: “To study methods of family research, collect and preserve biographical materials, educate member and promote interest in family linage”. A committee was appointed to prepare a constitution and by-laws, which were approved at the next meeting.

Membership in the Genealogical Society grew to 50 after its first year with interest generated by a series of programs featuring local historian Homer Keever, Mitchell College history professor Louis Brown, professional genealogist Mildred Miller and Iredell County natives Frank Gatton, head of the local records branch of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources and Dr. Jerry C. Cashion with the North Carolina Division of Archives and History. Society members immediately began creating family history and local history files and gathering Bible records, research papers, letters, ledgers, and other Iredell County records, which in the beginning were placed in the Iredell County Library.

The Society created a newsletter during its first year in order to share and make public the information they were uncovering. By the end of their second year, membership had grown to 86 with Lois Schneider serving as the newsletter’s editor and Carole Hartness as typist.  Society member Fae Gill began writing a column for the Statesville Record and Landmark in the late ‘70s, and what began as a newsletter grew into a quarterly journal called “Iredell County Tracks” created by Irene C. Black, Mildred Miller, Schneider, Edith Walker and Madge W. Philbeck.

In 1980, the Society published “The Heritage of Iredell County 1980”, a 642-page book of family and local history. A second volume, titled “The Heritage of Iredell County, N.C. Vol. II 2000” was later published by Society members Tom Winslow, Wayne and Perma Brown, Victor and Ester Crosby, Sarah Cheek, Mildred J. Miller, Mike Trivette, Viola Robertson, O.C. Stonestreet III, Lou Ray Cartwright, Phyllis Bailey, Edith Walker, Rev. Jamie and Nellie Gray Stimson, Susie Miller, Irene C. Black, Teresa Turner and Marty Folsom.  

Other projects conducted by the Society over the years include surveys of Iredell County cemeteries and Iredell County military veterans. In 1991, the Society received the Excellence in Publishing award from the N.C. Genealogical Society for its publication of, “Time Is, Time Was” which surveyed Iredell County tombstones and local burial customs, by Mildred J. Miller.

The Society held its first meetings in the James Iredell Room of the Iredell County Public Library at the Water Street location where William “Bill” Moose was the library historian. For many years, the Genealogical Society office along with that of the Iredell Historic Properties Commission, was located in the Iredell County Government Center (the Old Courthouse) before relocating to the ground floor of the Iredell County Public Library at 201 N. Tradd St.

Renovations to the library lower level forced the Society to relocate their office to 212 South Center St. Statesville until recently when they moved to their current location. Plans are for the Genealogical Society to stay on Meeting St. for two years before they will once again be relocated back permanently in the Iredell County Public Library Local History Department.

The Genealogical Society of Iredell County office is open Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. It can be reached at 704-878-5384 or gsic@iredell.lib.nc.us. Mail should be sent to GSIC, 477 Trivette Rd., Union Grove, N.C. 28689.

Joel Reese is the local history librarian at the Iredell County Public Library.

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