Welcome to our Dec. 2001 meeting. First, let me apologize for more than our usual mistakes in our newsletter. Our meeting being a week early, time ran out and I did not have the time to let it get cold for several days, and then check it that last time.
Some housekeeping information. Help is still needed to man our office and help file and document our library. Call Margaret Sue Berryman.
At this time, it looks like we may have to move our office again in around a year. Surry County is preparing plans to build a large addition to the courthouse. If they do, it will be behind our present courthouse, and it looks like the old jail may be a casualty.
At this time, we have no firm plans, but are exploring several possibilities. Financially, we obviously do not have the resources to build a permanent facility on the property we were given last year. Unless we can get a large gift, this will obviously not be possible at this time. We will do all we can to secure funds.
It may be possible to get an office trailer from Dominion Power and put it on the site. This would be a good alternative. We may have to just look for another office in town.
It is hard to believe, but we already have filled our present facility. All of our bookcases are nearly full, and more and more information comes in weekly. Filing and logging ,while progressing, is not up to date. The biggest problem is the loose papers, and copies of all types of history we receive. Trying to organize them takes time. We have bought many loose leaf folders and binders for this purpose. A good example is High School yearbooks. We have copied dozens that became available to us. Recently we received a College thesis on Surry County written in 1932. All of these likely contain some information not likely found anywhere else.
Among our needs in the upcoming months is a good portable digital scanner or camera and CD burner. Many of the records in the courthouse cannot be copied by copying machine, but can be scanned or photographed digitally. They then could be put in our computer and printed or put on a disc or CD. This could become a great help to members and a source of income for the Society. We also hope to get filmstrips that are available of many of our old records, and the ability to make copies from them. Ultimately, I hope that we will have a copy of every filmstrip available on Surry County records, and the ability to copy all not in our files.
Along with this, we hope to help the county get help in copying old records not copied. If we succeed, it would be a boon to Surry County Research.
Specifications have been written for the work on Rogers' Store. I expect to have them reviewed and approved by The Virginia Dept. of Historic Resources within the next few weeks. Then we will put it out to bid. At that time we will find out how much work we can do.
Concerning grants, I met with the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities recently. They are freeing up $2,500.00 of the grant we received last year to transcribe the loose papers from which the Register of Free Negroes was written.
We expect to use this research as part of workshops on black genealogy next year as part of the 2002 festivities, our 350th birthday.
Equally important, they have expressed great interest in supporting our identifying, filing and making available the slide collection from Lorena Leath. I expect to put together a grant request for this purpose soon after the first of the year. I have every reason to expect it will receive favorable consideration.
Some comments concerning the 350th celebration. I hope all who can will offer their help and support to Janet Appel and P. J. Watson and their steering group in every way you can. Much help is going to be needed, and we must have a successful celebration. Next year, this is the most important job we have in front of us. Lets make Surry County look much better than good. Lets have a bang up excellent celebration!
Concerning our Surry to Surrey tour, I have no reason to expect that it will not go on as planned. While all of us are horrified at the events of 9/11/2001, travel will be safer than it has been for years. I can attest to the laxness that had taken over international travel over the years. We flew into Ireland several years ago, were routed around customs, and no one knew we were there. In many cases recently, going in and out of countries, customs did not spent 5 seconds looking at our passports.
All of this has changed, and it is to our benefit. We are flying on a first class airline, with first class tour directors, in the friendliest country in the world to the USA. Peggie and I expect to be there. I have application forms here on the table for those interested. I suggest you get the official forms from Alice Elmore. Her address is in the newsletter.
We have copies of It took a Village, by Gray Rowell Henry, for sale here tonight at $6.00 a copy. It is a good Christmas present.
We welcome the formation of the Sussex County, Virginia, Historical Society. It is being formed very similar to our Society. They expect to be inclusive of all the history of the county. I expect we will likely have some joint meetings and projects in the future.