History of Clay County Genealogical Society, Inc.
In 1980 a group of Clay County citizens pooled their “family research materials” to start a genealogy library and formed the Clay County Genealogical Society, Inc. In 1981 a small room of Helen Tarvin’s home in Brazil, Indiana, was open each Wednesday afternoon for public research. Monthly meetings were conducted in homes of members. When the library outgrew the room and spilled onto the member’s dining room table, she made the announcement that it was time to find a permanent home for the collection.
In June of 1985 Ben Coffman volunteered to purchase the building at 309 Main St. in Center Point, Indiana, for housing the collection. The first monthly genealogy meeting was held in the building on November 11, 1985. By January of 1986 the Clay County Genealogical Library was opened to the public on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The Society repaid Mr. Coffman with revenue from membership fees, research fees, a successful fund drive, and sales from a reprint of the county histories. The mortgage was burned on December 10, 1989.
A few years ago the building’s heating/cooling system was updated using funds from an anonymous donor and matching funds donated by Society members. The remainder of the money was used to start an endowment fund for the Society with the Wabash Valley Community Foundation. The Society continues to receive yearly checks that are deposited in a special fund to be used when needed for future heating & cooling expenses.
Membership in the Society is open to anyone who has an interest in genealogy. Members receive the Clay County Researcher, a 16-page quarterly newsletter. The newsletters contain original research, excerpts from various historical records and historical newspapers, photographs, lists of recent Clay County deaths, and articles of interest pertaining to Clay County families. The Clay County Researcher has been published quarterly since July of 1980. The Society meets on the third Tuesday of every month at 1:00 in the library in Center Point. Meetings are open to the general public.
Library holdings include: Over 2,000 books including over 300 family histories; 1820 Indiana Census; 1830, 1840 & 1850 Indiana Census Index; 1860, 1870, 1880, & 1900 Clay County Census (handwritten or copied from microfilm in notebooks); 1920 & 1930 Clay County Census on microfilm; obituary information beginning in 1979; Clay County, Indiana, cemetery records recorded from tombstones by volunteers; naturalization papers; random church and school information; over 6,000 file folders of family surnames; burial information from Clay County funeral homes and the Fox Funeral Home (located Riley, IN, in Vigo County); WPA marriage, birth, and death indexes; WW I, Clay County Draft Registration Cards; Indiana county histories dated 1884, 1909, and 1984; and the indexed Oak Hill Cemetery Book, which lists many Clay County family members buried in Vigo County.
A copy machine is available for patrons to make copies. WIFI is available for patrons to use the Internet in the library on their personal computers. The building is air conditioned to help preserve the materials and add to the comfort of volunteers and patrons.
Our ongoing project is the CCGSI web page. It is the combined effort of our volunteer members and is designed to make our resources available to the public via the internet. We are all new to the internet family and any comments, suggestions, or inquiries about our web page are welcome. We also accept requests now for Clay County research through the CONTACT page. Drop us a line; we are always glad to hear from you!