Chilton County Genealogy Society will hold first meeting for 2013

Published 5:07 pm Tuesday, January 22, 2013

When trustees at Clanton First United Methodist Church challenged the church’s administrative assistant Elizabeth Smith to work on getting a historical marker for the church, she didn’t realize the research would bring up stories and people from more than 100 years ago.

“I thought it was going to be a quick write-up that I was going to do and once I started my research I found a bunch of information about the church and life in Clanton from more than 100 years,” Smith said. “I started realizing this would not be a simple task and after researching for a year I have a lot of information.”

Smith plans to present some of the information including church history as well as information about historical families in the church at the Chilton County Genealogy Society meeting at the Chilton-Clanton Public Library on Jan. 27 from 2-4 p.m.

Smith said she will talk about pieces of her research including things that have changed within the church throughout the years as well as genealogy on some of the prominent family names that have been within the church for many years.

Genealogy society president Martha Frye said this will be the first meeting of the genealogy society for 2013 and she looks forward to discussing stories among the members about different family lineage as well as Smith’s research on the church.

Frye said anyone interested in joining the genealogy society is welcome to attend the meeting on Sunday who might want to know more about his or her family tree.

“The genealogy side of things is a little bit different than the historical society in that we look more at the history of the family and gathering details about family trees,” Frye said. “It is amazing some of the things you find and the people you realize you might be related to.”

Frye said she relocated to Chilton County in 2008 from Washington County after being involved in genealogy societies for more than 40 years and realized Chilton County had a need for a genealogy society.

Frye organized the first meeting in April of 2012 with more than 30 people showing up and has been encouraged by the steady attendance of a solid 22 members who regularly meet.

“Having the genealogy society has been an encouragement to me because there are a lot of people out there who are really interested in their family tree,” Frye said. “We are able to share stories and different pieces of information. I have already found two ladies in this county that are kin to me.”

Frye said even in the technological age there are many people without access to a computer and are often unable to easily research their family history that Frye said is a perk of the genealogy society.

“There are still people who don’t own a computer and don’t have a way of researching their family history,” Frye said. “My job is to take their information and go find it for them.”

Frye said anyone wanting more information about the society can e-mail her at but reminds everyone that information involving a family lineage question must be handled by submitting a request via mail.