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History Corner By Pat Ross & Fran Snead


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December 06, 2005
Welcome to the History Corner! If you have heard of the Bassett Historical Center, then you probably are one of our patrons or have visited with us to see one of our displays. If you haven't heard of the Center or haven't visited us, we hope that this "Corner" will familiarize you with who we are, what we have at our facility, and what we are trying to accomplish in the preservation of family and local history.

The Bassett Historical Center is the repository for all genealogical research and local history for this area, as we serve the counties of Henry and Patrick and the City of Martinsville. Known as "the best little library in Virginia" and a specialized branch in the Blue Ridge Regional Library system, patrons have come from all over the United States and nine foreign countries to view the 9500 family files and 3000 local history files that are housed here.

Books on different families are available, as well as records for all Virginia counties, plus many records for North Carolina, West Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, South Carolina and Maryland. Much unpublished information is available only at the Center. Internet subscriptions to HeritageQuest, Ancestry.Com and Genealogy.Com help patrons with their research. Also, HeritageQuest is available at home to our patrons in Henry and Patrick Counties and in the City of Martinsville.

The O.E. Pilson Collection has two links, one for family files available and one for books that are in his collection. The John B. Harris Collection, the only African-American collection in this area accessible to the public, has a listing of files. Family files are also listed for the Lela C. Adams Collection, the Grady Garrett Collection, the Bruce Locke Collection, the Ruth Fair Morris Collection, the Ethel Stacey Collection, and for the taped interviews for the Bassett Folklife Project completed in the mid 1970s. Collections of Virginia Stone Windle, Eunice Kirkman and Thomas D. Perry are housed at the Center. Information for these and other collections will be added as they are processed.

Family history is researched for a number of reasons. Persons research simply in order to find out who their ancestors were and where they lived. Other persons like to find out who they resemble, if their ancestor had blonde hair and blue eyes or brown hair, brown eyes. Descriptions as this are certainly found in some Civil War service records. Other people find it imperative to research their ancestors in order to find their medical history and the causes of death of their ancestors.

We have had patrons who have researched in order to try to locate relatives, although distant relatives, who may be matches for a bone marrow transplant. For bone marrow transplant seekers, the goal is to find a family member, the closer the better, whose genetic information matches closely enough with their own to undergo a safe transplant. The more relatives a patient can locate, the better his or her chances of getting a transplant. Whatever the reason you research family history, we are here to help.

If you have visited us before and are one of our patrons, come and visit with us often. If you haven't visited the Historical Center, and haven't started your family research, we hope that you will begin that journey soon. Genealogy is always a good Winter project!

If you should have questions concerning our building/expansion project, please contact Ronnie Stone, Chairman of the Bassett Historical Center Building Fund, at 632-2007 or call me at the Historical Center. We shall be happy to answer your questions.

Pat Ross,
Branch Manager, Bassett Historical Center

'The Roots that make Us One are Stronger than the Branches that Divide Us.' Author Unknown








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