More than 100 people turned out to attend a genealogy event at the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History.
Saturday marked the second year the Surry County Genealogical Association held the genealogy swap, according to the organization’s president, Esther Johnson. The event began at 10 a.m. and wrapped up at 5 p.m.
Johnson said, though she’s been president of the association for only the past eight years, she has been active in the organization since its inception in 1980. Throughout that 35-year period of time she has seen the group become active, holding at least one meeting per month.
The genealogy swap offers an opportunity for interested individuals to bring their family history and place it on a table for all to see. Johnson said guests compare genealogical history with one another, often uncovering interesting relationships.
“People come from anywhere and everywhere to put their information out,” explained Johnson. “I might look at somebody else’s genealogy and say, ‘That’s my grandpa.”
Johnson said the event doesn’t only allow interested people the opportunity to bounce family history off one another. It also promotes her group, which has about 150 members.
Saturday’s event was free for all, said Johnson. It included a lunch and the opportunity to network among like-minded people. There was also a table set up to use Ancestry.com free of charge. The only cost was for those who wanted to make copies at the rate of five cents per page.
The swap is just a small part of the association’s annual programming, according to Johnson. Its next monthly meeting on Feb. 8 will feature Randal Jones, a Daniel Boone expert. The meeting is to be held at Surry Community College at 7 p.m. The group also prints a quarterly journal for all members.
Johnson indicated her organization has a rich history with the museum. Johnson teaches genealogy for the museum.
She said her multiple-day class features trips to the Surry County Register of Deeds office and a research room at Surry Community College. The next class begins at the museum on Feb. 9 at 6 p.m.
Museum executive director MattEdwards said, in the instance of the swap, the museum only provided a venue. However, he said the relationship which has been fostered between the museum and the genealogical association is beneficial for both entities.
“This event is a great example of the collaborative type of programming we strive to do at the museum,” said Edwards as he highlighted other organizations with which the museum works closely. “It’s part of our mission to be an active and vibrant community partner.”
The Surry County Genealogical Association charges $15 for an annual individual membership and $17 for a family membership. More information can be gathered about the group by visiting its website at http://surrygenealogy.wordpress.com or on the association’s Facebook page.
Johnson can be reached at (336) 831-6437 or by email at [email protected]
Andy is a staff writer for The News and can be reached at (336) 415-4698.