November 15, 2022
The Family Research Society of NE NC is officially CLOSED as 11/15/2022.
We won’t take any more appointments to do (look ups) research or sell any books. Most of the library books themselves will be packed by the Friends of the Shepard-Pruden Memorial Library (SPML) this coming Friday and most of the books we sell are being packed now for the Edenton Historical Commission who will take over sales of the NC books which FRS owns. These items will not magically appear on the shelves in Edenton as it takes time, but the plan is to transport them to Edenton on Monday.
Please allow 6 weeks or more for the Shepard-Pruden Memorial Library to make room on their shelves, buy new shelves as needed, inventory and mark their new books, etc before seeing the books on the shelves. The Twiford Funeral Records and Family Histories will take longer than that as they are taking not only the ones from our shelves, but ones we haven’t had enough volunteers to process. So allow them time to do what a “proper” library needs to do – or better yet, join the Friends of the SPML and help make it a reality.
Allow even longer for the Edenton Historical Commission to start selling the FRS books. Some titles we are providing the master and the copies, but in some cases we have sold out of the books so they have to be printed and all of that takes time. Plus there are arrangements with authors, finding display room for an additional 100 titles, etc. All time consuming and like all non-profits they depend on volunteers too.
Bottom line, don’t rush them – we want them to do a good job, not a fast job so volunteer to help out.
August 13, 2022
It is definitely with a heavy heart that we inform our members that we are closing the society. Over the past 30 years genealogy has changed. We have attempted to change with it, but we can’t keep ahead of the change.
We were formed in 1992 – 30 years ago, when it was considered a luxury to have access to a census record – especially an indexed census record. You felt like you could soar with that sort of access and we did. Now, indexed census records are available for free on FamilySearch.org where you can see the original and interpret it yourself, after finding it with their index. But this one thing didn’t do us in, people are destroying genealogy. It’s still an active hobby and there is so much you can do with your genealogy, but if you listen to the advertisements for genealogy you hear how easy it is… at the tips of your fingers you can find all of your ancestry with just a click of the mouse. And you can, if you don’t mind taking someone else’s word for their unsourced family tree or if you believe all of the little “leaves” that appear to give you clues to your ancestors. What we are missing for several years is a sufficient number of volunteers – of course we have a few, but not enough who can step in and serve on the board of the society or can even step up and volunteer to be the librarian. Today at the society meeting, we had two members- we also had two couples (one from Perquimans and one from Chowan) who didn’t know we even existed until now…. one even told me we should have a social media presence, and I assured her we did and gave her a brochure. Interest in keeping the society viable at a local level is definitely waning … or maybe our local members are just getting old and tired like I am.
The easy part of genealogy (easy for most lines) is right there at the tip of your fingers or the click of your mouse, but if you want to delve deeper and understand your family history you need to first make sure you are searching your family, not just a family with the same name. You also need to understand the time they lived in – the laws, the interactions of the people, the modes of transportation, the roads, the fact that people didn’t scale those small mountains (Blue Ridge, Great Smokey, etc) and fight hostile forces just so they could move from one county to another and then come back to NE NC to do their muster every month, etc. I know that sounds improbable, but it is the type of questions and comments we get from people trying to do genealogy knowing that they have accurate data because they found it on the internet.
We are down to an extremely small number of volunteers….. opening by appointment only is working as we have had 4 appointments since we started that process (I handled three and Martha Ann handled one) and even though we try to “vet” the request before sacrificing our day we aren’t always successful as people can’t understand why we (1) don’t have access to the internet); (2) can’t provide them with the birth certificate of their great-great-great somebody who was born in some county in NE NC in 1668; (3) we can’t answer the questions they have when they haven’t even completed enough research to tell you what county in NC their ancestor was in; etc.
As you know I’ve been the president and treasurer for a number of years with taking only one election cycle off when my husband was dying. I was the FRS librarian before that. Teresa on the other hand has been a staple in FRS when I joined the society 23 years ago. And wouldn’t you know it, we both ended up getting older…. and now we’re both to the stage where the burden of the job is too much. Teresa has had a lot of health issues and now her husband’s health has deteriorated as well. Volunteers are few and far between and as we age, the volunteers are aging as well and have doctors appointments for themselves or their spouse, or they find that they can’t spend long hours at the society library trying to help people especially those who travel to NE NC without having done any basic research on their own, etc.
So we are going to close the library around Thanksgiving and dissolve the society. The October issue of the CT&B will be our last as we still have Allum producing them for us and we have two excellent writers who are keeping them filled (Howard Hansen and Gordon Trueblood), but neither one of them come in to keep the library – Howard lives in Florida and Gordan is concerned, rightly so, that getting back into Canada could become an issue with Covid still out there. Allum on the other hand lives in FL as well, but can do the editor job from home after she gets home from work. Teresa is no longer able to serve as VP and I’m getting tired of the positions I hold while filling in all the other unfilled positions (Publications Chair, Librarian, Membership, Refreshment Chair, etc) and now VP as well.
So, we are closing and we are finalizing the plans now. We’ll be in touch with members who have paid for several years, authors we have books on consignment from, etc in the coming weeks as we finalize our plans.
Sharon Rea Gable
President of the Family Research Society of Northeastern NC
A list of our publications for sale is found at https://frsnnc.com/publications/.