November 1, 2014

Historical society expands service

Concerned over survey results

By James Kuch
Staff Writer | news@arenacindependent.com
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AuGRES — The Arenac County Historical Society has a new genealogical research section, and a new name.

The historical society will now be called The Arenac County Historical Society and Genealogy Research Center.

Trustee Brenda Matt said that the historical society has collected a large amount of records over the years and did not have a place to store them.

“We have collected records from the cities, townships. We have assessment records. We (also) have many, many scrapbooks that have been collected from families,” she said. “As we collected them, we did not have a place for them, so they just got put on a shelf.”

Matt said that now all of that information is organized in one area. She added that new track lighting has been installed, along with cabinets, donated from the Arenac County Building, and a table in the center of the room.

Matt said the historical society is continuing to make the research of information easier.

“We start out with our township records, and they are in alphabetical order,” she said. “Most of our records are indexed now as well.”

Matt said that information is continuing to be logged into computers, organizing information like a library system.

“We have a volunteer who enters all (information) onto a computer,” she said. “So, now when (people) come in, they don’t have to look through an entire stack. You can go the computer, put in a name, and it will direct (them) to the area they need to go.”

Matt said the people behind The Arenac County Historical Society and Genealogy Research Center believe that it is important to preserve documents and the history of Arenac County.

“People are interested in the preservation of their history and records,” she said. “Some of these records get thrown away. We don’t want that to happen.

The Arenac County Historical Society and Genealogy Research Center has not been open since the new system was put in place. Matt said she hopes more people will come in, but it has been a struggle for the society.

“We have two serious issues. One, is our location,” she said. “We are thankful for the building we have, but we are not on a main road. (Second), we found out from a survey sent out by the Arenac County Planning Commission, that out of 781 people, 45 percent said that they have not heard of us.”

Matt said that the society has not been getting its name out to the county enough, and is hoping to find volunteers to help out during the day, so that the building can be open longer.

“Right now, we are open on a limited basis,” she said. “People have to call and leave a message; (someone) will meet you there.”

Matt said that the society will continue to look for help and reach out to the entire county.

“Our museum is located in AuGres, and we have to reach out to other people across the county,” she said. “We need to have them serve on our board, and I think by that, they will get the word out to other people.”

The Arenac County Historical Society and Genealogy Research Center is located at 304 East Michigan Avenue in AuGres.

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