Smith County, Mississippi Genealogical Society

The Society has worked diligently to collect and preserve valuable family histories and genealogical information pertaining to the many family lines that made their way into and through Smith County. Much of the information has been published and is available for researchers to help with their work.

The Society began in 1998 through the efforts and leadership of Kathy Murray and Sheila Bryant of Raleigh. Kathy had for years worked on her family genealogy, and she had contacts with genealogical and historical societies in other parts of the country, and since there was no such group in Smith County, she undertook the effort to organize one. It did not take long for membership to grow and not only include residents of Smith County but also individuals all across the country that had “roots” in Smith County. Kathy served for several years as President of the Society and can be credited with getting the organization up and going.

And up and going the Society was. Under Kathy’s leadership, there were several “Swap Meets” held in Raleigh that encouraged family researchers from all over the country to come and share and swap family histories and information. These were all day events and provided ample time for genealogical workshops and time to review family and history files provided by others. During this time the Society also published Ancestral Charts of Charter Members and Smith County Memoirs.

Charlotte Webb would later become President of the Society, and other worthwhile projects were started to build on the available family histories and genealogical information. Several publications during the first ten years focused on Federal Census Records, out of print publications like the 1930’s WPA History of Smith County, Mississippi, Smith County marriages, and obituary records from the old Taylorsville Signal and the Smith County Reformer. Probably the most challenging publication projects in this period were the enumeration of cemeteries in Smith County and the two volumes of individual family histories for Smith County.

The Society has also partnered with the Raleigh Library to enhance its genealogy section. Many publications have been purchased by the Society or donated by Society members to the library for researchers. The Society has also purchased and dedicated a computer for genealogy research in the library. With this computer and access through the library to the internet to Ancestry.Com (perhaps the premier genealogy website), patrons of the library can do extensive family research without leaving the county. A microfilm reader/printer was also placed in the Library. A partnership with the Raleigh “Friends of the Library” provides an outlet at the Library for all Society publications.

What lies ahead for the Smith County Genealogical Society? Membership continues to grow with about 150 members in about 20 states. Members can join with the local members in promoting and working to save and make available family histories and information. The Society has  just completed work on an updated version of Cemeteries of Smith County, Mississippi. The first volume sold out, and the Society decided to not reprint but update the cemeteries across the county. Almost every cemetery was revisited for updates and will include 181 cemeteries. There will be several that were not included in the first edition due to their presence not being known.

The Society meets at 10:00 a.m. the second Saturday of each month at the Conference Room at the Raleigh Library. Anyone  interested in knowing how to get started or furthering their research is invited to attend. There is always something new and exciting going on with Smith County history and genealogy; so, if you would like to learn more about the Society and its projects, plan to attend a meeting, which are always open to the public. Also, the Raleigh Library is open on the second Saturday until noon; so, anyone attending the monthly Society meeting can also visit the genealogy section in the library.