By Jean Kramer
Learning about your family history has become a new national pastime over the last several decades. In 2007, the Kossuth County Genealogical Society was formed to develop and preserve local records of genealogical importance, as well as perform research. The society’s collection was kept at the Algona Public Library in a room the size of a walk-in closet which was shared with items owned by the library. Inventory began to grow by leaps and bounds until there was no longer enough space and members began to store items in their own homes.
As plans for the library renovation were being formulated, KCGS successfully lobbied for a full-size room dedicated to genealogy/history to be included in the design. The Society then volunteered to provide the shelving and furniture to make that space not only inviting, but comfortable for use by visitors. To raise the necessary funds, the Society put together and sold a book entitled, “A Telephone and A Typewriter” which contains a collection of historical articles written by Evelyn Cady, a long-time news correspondent for the Algona newspapers. Many generous donations were made by members as well, helping move closer to the goal. Finally, a substantial grant was received from the Haggard-Twogood Charitable Trust, given in the name of Barbara Haggard, one of the Trust grantors and long-time librarian at the Algona Public Library. Barbara’s family were some of the first settlers of the County and she herself had a keen interest in local history.
The shelving in the room was designed by current KCGS President Manita Murphy and built by K & W Kus-tom Woodworking of Algona. Made from durable materials that will withstand the test of time, the shelving is both beautiful and functional. Members have been busy unpacking and updating the collection since November and are now ready to formally celebrate the grand opening of this amazing new space. What better time to do it than over Founders’ Day weekend.
KCGS members will be welcoming visitors at the new Genealogy room on Friday, July 8th, from 11 a. m. to 4 p.m. A special program will be held at 2 pm on that day to both christen the room and dedicate the south wall in memory of Barbara Haggard. Light refreshments will be served. Again, on Saturday, July 9th, members will be present from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to visit with anyone who stops by.