Welcome to the Local History & Genealogy Room
By: Jocelyn Rayford / Updated: Joni Wood
The local history and genealogy room of the Ozark Dale County Library features an assortment of information about Dale County, the Wiregrass, and the southeastern states. This collection of documents and books is made available to any interested researcher or casual visitor. The only requirement for researchers or browsers is their signature on the sign-in sheet each and every time they enter the room.
Researchers are free to explore the shelves and open file drawers and pull out any file of interest to them. Likewise, they are free to take down and look at any book of interest. Books can be signed out overnight only with permission of the research Librarian. Otherwise, books and documents may be taken out of the room only to be copied on the library's copy machine.
Many of the documents are materials from the Val McGee, Creel Richardson, Rebecca Newsom Dobson (from Coffee County), and the Hazel Matthews Turner (African American) collections. Most of their materials are made available in our movable filing storage unit. The files are arranged into the categories of TOPICAL and FAMILIES and are arranged alphabetically. Some information has been copied and made into notebooks that are arranged around the room for browsing and research.
Topical files include information about communities, churches, sporting events, civic organizations, businesses, professions, schools, hospitals, Creek affairs, WWI, II, etc. This Topical information is not only valuable when researching organizations or events; it is often helpful when researching families and persons.
Family files tend to be generic. Information about all persons with the same last name or same sounding last name are put together in the same file. Research donated by families are often put in a binder and catalogued. Our files are constantly expanding as more materials are researched, donated, and/or catalogued.
Locally made books containing compiled information about persons in the Wiregrass are kept together among the "Dale County Materials" section in the movable filing storage unit. There are books about marriages, land purchases, cemeteries, town, and community histories, church histories, as well as Civil War information. The SOUTHERN STAR and Phone Directory collection is housed behind the Genealogy Room, and the scrapbook collection are located on the back wall. Just past the computers on your right, is our School Census Records, as well as yearbooks from area schools.
Most researchers like to browse through the collection of books about history and genealogy that have been compiled locally. They are generally about Dale County, Alabama and other states. To locate a book quickly, the computer catalogue is available. Those unacquainted with its use should ask the Librarian to assist. When materials are removed from a shelf or file cabinet WHILE BROWSING OR RESEARCHING, IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT MATERIALS ARE NOT RETURNED TO THE SHELF BY THE BROWSER OR RESEARCHER. Materials that are left on the table will be counted and put away by the Librarian.
This collection includes many maps, obituaries, papers by Dale County's original historians, W.L. Andrews, and W.E. Matthews (aka Preston) among others. There are digitized copies and bound copies of the SOUTHERN STAR from 1867 through the 21st century.
The Room's greatest treat is free use of the expansive website, Ancestry.com. On this website, a researcher can find information about census data, death certificates, immigration, as well as family tree information in any U.S. state and abroad. Alabama Public Library Services makes it possible for us to provide this invaluable resource to our community. A staff member will assist and/or instruct any person wishing to use it.
The primary resource this research room offers is assistance. Assistance is gladly offered upon request. If help is needed for those who cannot visit the Room, a researcher may contact the Librarian by sending an e-mail to email@example.com or calling us at 334-774-5480.
African American Heritage Ancestry.com, Biographies, Cemeteries,City Phone Directories, County Land Records, Family & Topical Files, Genealogical & Historical Society Meetings' Recordings, Historical Maps, Historical Photos, Histories of Civil War, County, School, Church, Town, Communities, WWI, WII, & Post Offices, Marriage Records Index, Obituaries, and Helen Taylor Andrews' Historical Sites painting
Click here for a list of catalogued resources